There seem to be things Americans need to believe about themselves that require that we filter certain facts out of our awareness. In my work with the Hoover archives at Stanford, I came across documentation from an authoritative source who named 10 specific countries with which we partner in torture. We may not be the ones turning on the electricity, but our people are present when it happens. He claims this did not begin with 9/11.
Another source discussed the use of children in those experiments done decades ago.
Its interesting that there was a certain coyness about the data that came out of Iraq. The photographs that have been released so far are all photographs of men. Photographs of women have been retained and have not been released by the media sources that have them.
Sy Hersh said the other photos are much worse. He mentioned audio recordings of children screaming while being sodomized.
All of the prisoner deaths that have been included in official tabulations, which are admittedly incomplete -- curiously, you find references to the death of children by the Department of Defense only in footnotes. There is no reporting of kids’ deaths in official lists or in death certificates or anything else. So there are sets of this data that remain hidden. The data has obviously been scrubbed.
What have you seen ?
I have seen the footnotes referring to the kids' deaths and have seen credible evidence of sexual abuse described in Army investigations. I have not seen photos. I do not need to see them, but I have seen investigators’ reports.
Steve, aren’t we describing war crimes ?
Yes. We are describing war crimes and I think its important to name them for what they are for a couple of reasons. First, when you name it as a war crime, you hint at the reality of the things we have described, the gravity of the harms that have occurred. Second, in describing it as a war crime you also describe accurately the transgressions against a framework of justice and the damage to the civil order that would be avoided by pretending these are not war crimes. I think thats important to do.
Some of the medical involvement in torture defies belief. In one of the few actual logs we have of a high-level interrogation, that of Mohammed al-Qhatani..., doctors were present during the long process of constant sleep deprivation over 55 days, and they induced hypothermia and the use of threatening dogs, among other techniques. According to Miles, Medics had to administer three bags of medical saline to Qhatani — while he was strapped to a chair — and aggressively treat him for hypothermia in the hospital. They then returned him to his interrogators. Elsewhere in Guantánamo, one prisoner had a gunshot wound that was left to fester during three days of interrogation before treatment, and two others were denied antibiotics for wounds. In Iraq, according to the Army surgeon general as reported by Miles, "an anesthesiologist repeatedly dropped a 2-lb. bag of intravenous fluid on a patient; a nurse deliberately delayed giving pain medication, and medical staff fed pork to Muslim patients." Doctors were also tasked at Abu Ghraib with "Dietary Manip (monitored by med)," in other words, using someone's food intake to weaken or manipulate them.
After a while, you get numb reading these stories. They read like accounts of a South American dictatorship, not an American presidency. But we learn one thing: once you allow the torture of prisoners for any reason, as this President did, the cancer spreads. In the end it spreads to healers as well, and turns them into accomplices to harm.
Our ability to contextualize our own internal discussions of what it means to be a global empire is impaired. We wind up misreading our incredible impact not only on the world but on our own desires to project a civil society around the world. We can’t contextualize our actions internationally if we don’t have an international vision within our own domestic conversation.
The Bureau's culture remains committed to law enforcement, not intelligence gathering, and to combating crime rather than countering terrorist conspiracies. Power belongs to special agents from the criminal division who preside over the fifty-six field offices distributed throughout the United States. For the most part, their responsibilities are driven by the crime-busting needs of the localities where they are based. It is therefore not surprising that they insist that "bin Laden is never going to Des Moines." In addition, dealing with crime is better for one's career at the FBI, where accomplishments that are easily measured--for example, the number of arrests an agent makes--count toward promotion, while the murkier tasks involved in counterterrorism do not lend themselves as easily to this box-checking process. Counterterrorism is therefore unlikely to migrate to the top of the typical agent's "to do" list.
Neither will intelligence analysis. In order to detect the formation of jihadist networks in the United States, infiltrate cells, and disrupt conspiracies, investigators need analytical support. This is important because agents themselves do not have time, specialized knowledge, or skills to assemble all the scraps of information available to the FBI into a coherent narrative. This can be done well only by analysts with good language skills, a deep understanding of the way the enemy thinks and operates, and close ties to analysts in other agencies, especially the CIA, with whom they can compare notes and "hand off" targets. The FBI has had a hard time attracting and keeping such analysts, however, because they are not law enforcement officers. John Gannon, an experienced CIA officer who was the head of the National Intelligence Council from 1996 to 2001, puts it this way: "If you're not an agent, you are furniture." He told the successor body to the 9/11 Commission in June 2005 that the FBI "has not made an adequate investment" in a cadre of analysts who would have equal stature within the bureau.
This is not merely the impression of one respected senior intelligence official. In May 2005, the FBI inspector general released a report on the treatment of analysts that verged on satire. Analysts, according to the report, were made to spend much of their time on "escort, trash and watch duty... as the name implies, escort duty is following visitors, such as contractors, around the office to ensure that they do not compromise security. Trash duty involves collecting all 'official trash' to be incinerated. Watch duty involves answering phones." ...
Director Mueller has boasted about the 380 analysts the bureau has hired since 2001 ... but neglected to mention that 291 abandoned their positions during that period and most left the Bureau.
« Older Comparing Apples and Oranges.... | Mark McCutcheon's book... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt