Does Being Dead Count for "Organ Failure" in Torture?

Yesterday a powerful American, so rare for these days, did the right thing and took us a step toward being an object of awe in the world once again.  Only in America can a poor man or woman from the humblest of origins rise to the highest office in the land.  Only in America were racist barriers torn down as a result of a national soul-searching.  And only in America, maybe, just maybe, can men like Dick Cheney get their comeuppance, after playing on fear and ignorance like a virtuoso for 9 years, and hitting the talk shows with it as recently as this very morning, a full 7 months after he became just a private citizen.

With Attorney General Holder (even the title suddenly has a more noble ring to it) now appointing Assistant United States Attorney John Durham to determine "whether there is sufficient predication for a full investigation into whether the law was violated in connection with the interrogation of certain detainees," my question is, does being dead count as organ failure?

Since the Bush administration in the person of now-Chapman College professor John Yoo said anything short of "organ failure" is not torture,  perhaps the anywhere from 70 to over a hundred detainees who have died in U.S. custody can be investigated.  While we've been talking about torture, the media has ignored the large number of interrogation subjects who were "interrogated" until lights out.  At least 51 of these have died since Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld was informed of the abuses at Abu Ghraib on January 16, 2004.

Dick Cheney is going around town saying torture is okay, because it was giving us information on Al Qaeda.  If we got a few who didn't know anything, well, that's how it goes.  In witch trials of old, they threw you in the water, and if you drowned and sank rather than floated, at least you died knowing that you had been proven innocent.

We're talking about murder.

This is not how you convict and execute an alleged terrorist in any modern democracy or in a prison run by one.  And yet it has received the silent treatment of century in this torture debate.  The AP article trying hard to spin the debate under some sort of control talks of interrogators blowing cigar smoke into prisoners faces to make them vomit.  Woo woo.  The right wingers are going to love that.  The libtards think you shouldn't blow smoke in a terrorist's face boo hoo!

It's not blowing cigar smoke, it's Palestinian Hanging, baby.  Documented in the General Taguba report, you are hung with your arms behind you often causing dislocation of the arms from the sockets.  A tweaked version was to put your feet on an electrified drum through which to deliver shocks.  Since Obama will not release the torture photos, because pictures are what make people "get it," here is an historic stock photo from World War II:

This is the position in which al-Jamadi died, the prisoner in the famous Abu Ghraib photo of his body packed in ice.

General Taguba makes no bones about where this must go.  Not the low-levels, but those who gave the orders.  Next up for Holder:

-- William Haynes, General Counsel of the Department of Defense, who Taguba notes told the "admiral in charge of detainees in Afghanistan "to `take the gloves off' and ask whatever he wanted" in the questioning of John Walker Lindh." Did this give the clear signal from the administration that no manner of atrocity would not be overlooked?  As Taguba notes in his seminal report:


the permissive environment created by implicit and explicit authorizations by senior US officials to "take the gloves off" encouraged forms of torture even beyond the draconian methods approved at various times between 2002 and 2004. In an environment of moral disengagement that countenances authorized techniques designed to humiliate and dehumanize detainees, it is not surprising that other forms of human cruelty such as physical and sexual assault were practiced. The fact that these unauthorized torture practices happened over extended periods of time at multiple US detention facilities suggests that a permissive command environment existed across theatres and at several levels in the chain-of-command.

-- Who does "Washington" refer to in the case of Binyam Muhamed, whose genitals were sliced to shreds.  Binyam was to be a "dot connector," chosen to implicate in terror plots whomever the administration wanted implicated, and terrorized into doing so.  He tells the Guardian:


Later, when a US airplane picked me up the following January, a female MP took pictures. She was one of the few Americans who ever showed me any sympathy. When she saw the injuries I had she gasped. They treated me and took more photos when I was in Kabul. Someone told me this was "to show Washington it's healing".

Could "Washington refer to someone whose last name starts with a "C (h)"?  

More to come.


Thank Attorney General Holder for appointing Counsel Durham to investigate torture, ask him to investigate torture deaths and to plea bargain with low-levels to obtain testimony, at (202) 353-1555 and 202-514-2001
 Then email the Justice Department.  Holder's fax:  202-307-6777

Tags: durham, holder, torture (all tags)

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