I finally understand how it works. Reality, I mean, and how it's created. We all know the famous quote from the neoconservative about the nature of reality:
"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality--judiciously, as you will--we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
Well, I finally get how they do it.
And what, you may ask, has this to do with the titled promise of torture? Well, as the Bush Administration refuses to shut down the blight at Guantánamo and the Chamber of Abu Ghraib Horrors continues to spew into the mainstream, the Bush Administration persists in spreading the lie that the abuses in Abu Ghraib were perpetrated a long time ago in a gulag far, far away by a half a dozen or so "rogue" soldiers.
It's a lie. Torture is post-911 policy of the Bush Administration. And the reason we know it's policy is because of the heroic reporting of The New Yorker's Seymour Hersh.
In late August of 2003, Miller (General Geoffrey Miller, the Guantánamo commander) had brought a team of experts to Iraq to review the army program (of prison operations.) His recommendations, filed in September, were radical: that army prisons be geared, first and foremost, to interrogations and the gathering of information needed for the war effort. "Detention operations must act as an enabler for interrogation," Miller wrote. The military police on guard duty at the prisons should make support of military intelligence a priority."
Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib are not prisons. They are in fact torture centers.
General Sanchez (senior commander in Iraq at the time) agreed, and on November 19, 2003, his headquarters issued an order formally giving the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade tactical control over the prison (Abu Ghraib.)
Abu Ghraib was to be a "center of intelligence for the Bush Administration's global war on terrorism."
The Charlie Graners and Lynndie Englunds of the world were ordered by military intelligence and private contractors like CACI International to "set the conditions" for interrogation by helping to break down the will of Iraqi prisoners. This was done through sleep deprivation, sexual abuse, cultural humiliation and good old fashioned physical brutality.
(A lawyer for one of the `rogues' said,) "Do you really think a group of kids from rural Virginia decided to do this on their own? Decided that the best way to embarrass Arabs and make them talk was to have them walk around nude?"
You see, the whole naked, sex orgy simulation (and some not so simulated) was not the perversions of these lonely, confused, sexually obsessed rogue MPs, but the policy of the United States of America.
The notion that Arabs are particularly vulnerable to sexual humiliation had become a familiar talking point among pro-war Washington conservatives in the months before the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. One book that was frequently cited was The Arab Mind, a study of Arab culture and psychology, first published in 1973, by Raphael Patai, a cultural anthropologist who taught at among other universities, Columbia and Princeton, and who died in 1996. The book includes a twenty-five-page chapter on Arabs and sex, depicting sex as a taboo vested with shame and repression. "The segregation of the sexes, the veiling of the women... and all the other minute rules that govern and restrict contact between men and women, have the effect of making sex a prime mental preoccupation in the Arab world," Patai wrote. Homosexual activity, "or any indication of homosexual leanings, as with all other expressions of sexuality, is never given any publicity. These are private affairs and remain in private." The Patai book, an academic told me, was "the bible of the neocons on Arab behavior." In their discussions, he said, two themes emerged - "one, that Arabs only understand force and, two, that the biggest weakness of Arabs is shame and humiliation.
What's moronically ironic about all the staged shame and humiliation is the use of cameras to document it. Picture taking was also a rule of the torture. Cameras were always present in these torture sessions.
The government consultant said there may have been a serious goal, in the beginning, behind the sexual humiliation and the posed photographs. It was thought that some prisoners would do anything - including spying on their associates - to avoid dissemination of the shameful photos to family and friends. The government consultant said, "I was told that the purpose of the photographs was to create an army of informants, people you could insert back in the population." The idea was that they would be motivated by fear of exposure, and gather information about impending insurgency action, the consultant said. If so, it wasn't effective; the insurgency continues to grow.
You may wonder how our policy of torture began and developed. Well it was born out of the bloodlust of Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon. It's called an SAP (Special Access Plan.) In order to know what the plan is, you have to have special access. The `need to know' is very small. It's all about plausible deniability, don't you know.
The plan was put into action after witnessing the efficacy of torture by certain "allies" in the Middle East and South Asia. You see, we didn't always torture, but it did begin quickly after the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan.
Within a few weeks of the invasion of Afghanistan, the US and allied troops were overwhelmed with prisoners. "We exceeded our capacity for interrogation and detention," the former intelligence official said. "Our allies would tell us," the former official recalled, "`we pulled out teeth and fingers from prisoners, but we got some good shit. He's dead now, but we don't care.'" The former official recounted, "The line gets blurred between using liaison officers to bust heads and getting American guys to do it." The tough tactics appealed to Rumsfeld and his senior civilian aides, however.
And it was all shits and giggles from there.
Rumsfeld signed the orders to establish a top-of-the-pyramid, highly classified SAP that gave pre-approval to "kill or capture and, if possible, interrogate high value targets."
I guess if you're willing to kill somebody without due process; you'd be willing to torture them.
The SAP capture/torture program is a self-contained unit with personnel and materiel (including air support) recruited from the Seals, Delta Force and the CIA's own paramilitary assets.
The rules of the program are, "Grab whom you must. Do what you want."
Extraordinary renditions, secret prisons, Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib are all part of the Rumsfeld ordered "intelligence gathering" operation to capture and kill as many `terrorists' as possible.
So, the next time you hear the torture abuses at Abu Ghraib were the work of a few low-level rogues, remember Seymour Hersh's Chain of Command.
Remember that torture is Bush Administration policy and the rogues are in the Pentagon and the White House.
The facts and quotes for this diary can be found in Chapter One: Torture at Abu Ghraib in Chain of Command by the patriot-journalist Seymour Hersh.
As a young man, Hersh won the Pulitzer Prize for his groundbreaking work on the Mai Lai Massacre. He deserves one now for his bare-knuckles journalism revealing the war crimes of the Bush Administration. The account I have rendered is but a tip of the iceberg to Mr. Hersh's excellent reportage on this subject.