The Terrifying Reality of the US Torture Program and Why it Matters to You

January 20, 2015   |   Justin King

Justin King
January 19, 2014

(ANTIMEDIA) Now that the world is done stating “Je suis Charlie,” it’s time to turn its collective gaze back to the US government’s torture program. One of the beautiful things about the world having such a short attention span is that it is possible to refocus after a distracting event.

It’s painful, torturous even, for US citizens to accept the horrifying details of the United States torture program which were revealed, briefly discussed, and then hidden. The information shed light on just how far our government has descended away from morality.

To be very clear from the outset of this article, which will go into graphic detail about some of the practices, it needs to be made clear that these were not acts conducted in the heat of the moment while under fire. These actions are not equivalent to sticking a finger in the bullet wound of a captured enemy to find the location of nearby explosives. These are not the actions of kids that decided to lay waste to a village after they had lost all of their commanders to bombs and sniper fire. These are not the actions of a platoon that just sustained heavy casualties that then decided to execute an enemy combatant. These are not the actions of Jack Bower attempting to avert a biological attack. Most importantly, these are not the actions of “heroes.”

There are things that happen in war that are horrible. War is horrible. In the heat of the moment, while under fire, people make decisions to preserve their lives and the lives of their friends. These actions are both unthinkable and inhuman; however, they’re also forgivable or at least understandable offenses. The US torture program does not fall into this category. These are the calculated actions condoned and directed by a systematic torture program in a controlled environment thousands of miles away from any fighting. In short, these are the actions of sadistic cowards who are guilty of war crimes.

What the government has cutely termed “enhanced interrogation techniques” includes the more mundane practice of waterboarding, a technique of torture perfected by the Khmer Rouge, as well as sodomy. The sodomy has been termed “rectal rehydration” and the Central Intelligence Agency acts as if it was some form of medical procedure necessary to keep victims alive, but the practice was used by the torturers during Spanish Inquisition. Doctors have stated that the practice is not medically justified.

Dr. Vincent Lacopino said:

“This is a form of sexual assault masquerading as medical treatment. In the absence of medical necessity, it is clear that the only purpose behind this humiliating and invasive procedure is to inflict physical and mental pain.”

There is the idea that the torture was conducted by America’s best and brightest in the service of some greater good; that they were “patriots” just doing what needed to be done. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Those tasked with committing war crimes on behalf of the United States were those who had previously admitted to sexual assault, those with workplace anger issues, and those that had engaged in “inappropriate detainee interrogations.” Waterboarding and sodomy are considered appropriate. Just imagine what falls under the heading of “inappropriate.” These people also received no training on how to deal with prisoners.

Waterboarding has been referred to as Baptism for terrorists. The idea is that these are evil men and that nothing should be held back. The problem with this little piece of propaganda is that about 25% of those rounded up and tortured were innocent. They weren’t terrorists. Well, they weren’t terrorists when they were kidnapped. After spending a few years getting sodomized and the only friendly contact being radicalized extremists, they probably are terrorists now, as are their family members. With the number of “mistaken identity” cases, it’s very probable that the CIA created more terrorists than they caught.

It has been presented that the CIA only used these tactics on high-value targets and were very selective when determining who was going to be tortured. This is a complete and utter lie. The CIA’s selection process was so haphazard that they wound up torturing two of their own assets. It can only be assumed that the selection process was something along the lines of requiring the kidnapped person to have a funny sounding name and be brown. The reason the CIA snatched up two western assets was simple: somebody they tortured gave up their names to stop the sexual assault and torture. The professionals over at “Christians In Action” never bothered to verify the information before starting to torture those named.

This brings up a critical piece of information about the torture program: it does not work. In addition to being morally repugnant, it is tactically ineffective. Torture just makes the victim say whatever the torturer wants to hear. The CIA points to the “success” of gaining information about Osama bin Laden during torture sessions. Of course, the report proves this to be yet another lie. In fact the most useful information came from an individual that had never been tortured. Three other detainees made information up in order to make the torture stop. This false intelligence likely hampered efforts to capture bin Laden.

This outcome is completely predictable. It’s even in the US Army’s manual on interrogation:

“The use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear.”

One of the largest delays in finding bin Laden occurred when the US intelligence community that was apparently too busy playing with detainees’ rectums and spying on American citizens didn’t confirm the death of someone close to bin Laden. It was believed the man was killed; however it turned out to be his brother that was killed. Once they realized he was still alive, he led them directly to bin Laden. Had the US intelligence apparatus been doing their jobs instead of acting out scenes from some bondage flick and listening in on Americans’ phone calls like an audio peeping tom, bin Laden could have been captured years earlier.

One victim was literally tortured to death. There was no discipline handed down to his torturer. Another froze to death.

Another victim that was selected for torture was a mentally-handicapped man who was tortured simply to demonstrate the CIA’s ability to do so to a family member who was also being detained. As the report says:

“These included an ‘intellectually challenged’ man whose CIA detention was used solely as leverage to get a family member to provide information.”

Let’s be very clear about this. The men the President of the United States called “heroes” tortured an Arab version of Forrest Gump just to show that they could. As difficult as it is, actually picture Forrest bent over a table with a hose shoved into his anus so water could be pumped in while he is crying and staring into the eyes of Jenny. The men that were standing around laughing are “heroes.”

Perhaps the most terrifying part of the report is that there is strong evidence that the CIA is lying and not releasing information about the extent of the program. At one site where the CIA is adamant torture never occurred, photographs surfaced of a well-worn waterboard. The non-disclosure to oversight indicates that the number of people reportedly tortured is a low ball estimate. There are entire sites that the CIA denies torture ever took place even though there is physical evidence that it did.

These “heroes” conducted torture on behalf of the US government. They had no idea whether their victims were innocent or guilty. They didn’t care. They were “just following orders.” They were just a cog in the wheel. They were conducting torture on behalf of a government that has lost its way. They will do it to you if ordered to do so. The last time a “civilized” nation engaged in systematic torture this brutal, the perpetrators were rounded up and hung.

Senator Feinstein attempted to do damage control for the government by saying the report was a “warning for the future.” She also said:

“We cannot again allow history to be forgotten and grievous past mistakes to be repeated.”

Senator, those mistakes were already made. A simple report cannot be the end of this. The only way to stop generations of future Americans from being tortured is to arrest, charge, and execute those that conducted it and those that ordered it. There is no compromise here. Either we are the world leaders and discipline our own, or we are nothing more than another two-bit dictatorial regime. These perpetrators might as well have SS tattoos, because they are cut from the same cloth.

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American citizens that recoil in horror at the beheadings of journalists or the footage of the torture that occurred in Benghazi should remember that at least the terrorists had the decency to eventually put their victims out of their misery. If American citizens allow this torture program to go unpunished, it will be your children that US “heroes” are eventually torturing and sexually assaulting.

On January 31st, there will be a nationwide protest against the use of torture. You need to be there. You need to take part. This cannot go unpunished. Protests are taking place all over the country. To demonstrate how torturous waterboarding really is, I will be “baptized” in Columbus, Ohio at the Peace Statue at 2pm.

American Dad’s Director Bullock was more accurate than the show’s writers could have ever imagined when he described how brutally CIA prisoners were treated.

This article is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and Tune-in to The Anti-Media radio show Monday-Friday @ 11pm EST, 8pm PST.

Author: Justin King

Justin King joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in July of 2014. His topics of interest include activism, human rights, international relations, and military affairs. Born in Japan, he currently resides in the United States.

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