Monday, September 3, 2012

Nothing to see here

There is no question that the U.S. government has operated secret prisons around the world that have been used to torture detainees suspected of being terrorists or aiding terrorism.

Back in May I reviewed Larry Siems' book The Torture Report which dealt with the ways in which the Bush Administration implemented a systematic plan to torture so-called enemy combatants in the War on Everything Terrorism. The book is a chilling account of the ways in which our leaders conspired to violate every international treaty dealing with the treatment of enemy combatants.

Attorney General Eric Holder "conducted" an investigation of the CIA's torture apparatus after the government caught heat for the death of a detainee in custody. The investigation was nothing but a sham from the beginning as its purpose was to determine whether the program of torture broke the guidelines laid down by President Bush's aides. In other words, Mr. Holder wasn't looking into the question of whether CIA personnel violated international law in torturing detainees who have yet to be charged with any crime, he was looking into whether or not anyone crossed the line scribbled on a sheet of paper by President Bush's lackeys.

And, predictably, Mr. Holder came to the conclusion that there just wasn't enough "admissible evidence" to proceed with any prosecution.

You see the government has decided that much of the evidence proving the U.S. torture program violated international law is too sensitive to be released. In fact, in the show trials in Guantanamo, the courts have ruled that detainees cannot even testify as to the torture they were subjected to because releasing that information would harm national security. Or, to be more blunt (and honest) the information would be embarrassing to the government and might open some up to charges of crimes against humanity.

And we just can't have that, can we? We all know that the only folks who ever get brought up on charges of crimes against humanity are the losers. The winners never have to face justice. Not to mention that the winners get to write the history.

It is evidence of this program of systematic torture that made Bradley Manning the object of the government's hatred. Mr. Manning did what every soldier is required to do under international law - report incidents of torture and war crimes. That is Mr. Manning's sin - he did just what he was supposed to do but, because the information he released embarrassed the government, he is charged with treason and locked up and deprived of his rights.

There is no justification for torture. When you humiliate and degrade another person just because you have the power to do so, you are humiliating and degrading yourself, your institutions, your government and your country.

But no one will ever have to answer for their crimes. No one will ever have to stand before a court to justify the criminal acts they authorized or carried out. No one will ever have to defend himself against charges he committed crimes against humanity.

And it's because no one in our government has the guts or the moral compass to stand up and say it was wrong. President Bush committed crimes against humanity. President Obama has committed crimes against humanity. And whoever wins the election in November will continue to do the same.

All the time the American public will sit there staring at shiny objects not giving a second thought to what their so-called representatives are doing in their name.

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