TORTURE: Will Anyone Pay?

      Noosa, Australia, December 13, 2014The real shock of the U.S. Senate report on the
government-sanctioned torture of terrorist suspects is not in the details of the brutal
methods practiced but in the damning conclusion the CIA mislead the public and the
Obama administration by claiming torture provided vital information which saved
lives.
      Torture did not, the 6000 page report insists.
       Worse, the victims were systematically water-boarded, beaten, deprived of sleep and
humiliated before they were even asked to ‘cooperate.’  Many became mentally and physically
comatose and unable to talk (or confess) provoking the question:
        
‘Was this use of torture a barbaric act of revenge for 9/11 rather then an effort to
extract information?’   
                
       What we are hearing and reading today is no novelty: Once again the U.S. is going into
damage-control mode ventilating its sins, purging itself of wrongdoing by exposing its
wrongdoings – and then walking away from it, only scarred temporarily in a world with short
memories while Washington argues: ‘What more do you want? We confessed. This is
democracy.’
       Doesn’t all this remind you of the equally fabricated invasion of Iraq?
      
As always no one ‘high up’ has been named or is likely to be charged as culprit
for elaborating, authorizing or executing a torture policy which falls into the category
of ‘crimes against humanity’ on a human rights charter to which the United States is
also a signatory.
          This is no surprise. Catholicism invented the ‘repent and be forgiven’ formula but the
United States of America adopted and perfected it to include crimes against humanity, among
them the reckless carpet bombing of civilians, the unprovoked invasion and destruction of
sovereign nations and now the barbaric torture of people suspected (though many have been
proven innocent) of being ‘terrorists’ or sympathizers.
          
Culprits can always be found elsewhere while the Cheneys, Rumsfelds and
George W’s remain Untouchables.
           After reducing Iraq to rubble and chaos on fabricated information Washington
supported a witch-hunt for rogue journalists blaming the media (which had been working with
Iraqi Deep Throats promoted and supplied by Deep Throats in the U.S. administration) for the
sad truth Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction and no links to Al-Queda.
            (Many journalists lost their jobs or were unjustly pilloried for minor peccadillo as
newspapers outdid one another to find a token rogue in its ranks in order to sanitize a
reputation tainted by jumping on the Iraq bandwagon.)
           
For years now we have been fed blatant lies that suspects arrested are
revealing vital information leading to the dismantling of terror plots. But this month
the Senate investigation found no such vital information was obtained. Instead the
arrested suspects were subjected to what the administration called ‘limited torture’
but in effect were systematically bestialized by full scale ‘total’ torture including
sexual abuses.
             Nearly all of the activities of ‘limited torture’ which turned out to be ‘full torture’
occurred in ‘black hole’ prisons  in countries paid to host  CIA interrogation facilities. This
subterfuge was used to avoid U.S. citizen being accused of practicing torture – a practice
banned and punishable under the US Constitution.
                The fact a dozen or so countries agreed to host these CIA facilities speaks volumes
for the leaders of nations willing to sell their principles for a handful of silver.               
                
Uli Schmetzer is a former foreign correspondent for Reuters and the Chicago Tribune. He is the author of four books
and his latest novel, now being edited and entitled ‘Confessions of a Terrorist’ deals with rendition and the abuse of
torture.