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(Cross-posted at My Left Wing)

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.

The "masters of the universe" create reality by disregarding the truth and repeating the lie until it becomes truth. (I know; I'm slow.) Reality isn't real; reality is the perceptual feel.

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.

Originally posted to Michael Alton Gottlieb on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 10:01 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  At Least They Still Have To Lie About It (none)
    At least a little bit, if transparently; and with a giant, mocking, wink punctuating the leer. But at least there's that.

    9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

    by NewDirection on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 10:18:07 AM PST

  •  Yeah... (none)
    and you can see how much America cares.

    Like not at all.

    The fact is, America in 2006 wants to torture arabs.

    At least a significant enough population of Americans... and even many otherwise liberal ones as well (like folks in my office).

    I think that we all need to just face the really disturbing facts...

    most Americans look and sound more like Barb Bush than Seymour Hersh.

    They don't want to pollute their "beautiful (ie putrid) minds."

    And many of them are just fine with torture.

    No, America doesn't have 1/5th the moral integrity we once had... if it was really ever representative of the general population and not just a set of intelligent leaders who were smart enough to see WWII for what it was.

    America is Nazi Germany. Probly always was, except for the uncharacteristic brief/intermitent injection of the most basic humanistic values beginning with FDR and ending with Carter.

    America is Nazi Germany. Same fuckin' difference.

    •  I don't think that's true (none)
      If it was, I'd really have to leave this country. I really don't think Americans are any more evil or immoral than people in other countries. More ignorant occasionally, and possibly more easily frightened, but no worse than anyone else. And I think most Americans are opposed to torture, though we can't let the rightwing sell it to America as something that's acceptable.
      •  We did it all a Hundred Years ago (none)
        and got away with it and nobody here ever forced the government or the perps to account for it, and we forgot about the ethnic cleansing and the torture and the war crimes and the insistence that it was "their fault" that we couldn't civilize them by slaughtering them, and we went and did it all over again forty years ago - just as we did it and got away with it a hundred fifty years ago, and two hundred fifty, too.

        Where is the Truth & Reconciliation Commission and the War Crimes Tribunals and the Reparations for Slavery, the Native American Genocides, and the Philippines? Where, tell me, huh?

        Don't tell me Americans care, or that we're any better than anyone else, as a whole. We never have and never will, and we will shoot the messengers as traitors the way we did to Mark Twain a hundred years ago.

        "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

        by bellatrys on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 12:06:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  we are worse (none)
        because we're spoiled.

        more ignorant, more cowardly...

        that equals worse.

        what are you talking about?

        and i wouldn't bet most americans are opposed to letting our leaders torture suspected terrorists... and to decide when and where to do it.

        which is basically the same thing as indiscriminate torture... because that's the practical outcome.

        americans don't want to be troubled with it.

        no, most americans don't have the integrity to have the right opinion on this topic.

        it's just the solid proof of exactly how german we are in 2006.

        it's been a long time coming... that kind of in your face evidence.

        but it's just the reality.

        our rural/suburban areas in this country are trash pits, full of spoiled gluttonous swine.

        •  Polls I've seen.... (none)
          ....have shown that Americans aren't as bad as you think. Well over 70% of people were disgusted by the conduct of US troops in Abu Ghraib and majorities remain opposed to torture. Americans favor universal healthcare, an increase of taxes on the rich, and distrust big business. Yes, there's plenty of racism, xenophobia, sexism, and homophobia, but that's no different from any other country. It's just that places like Sweden have the advantage of having politer people and a government more willing to actually meet their people's economic needs. Also, don't fall into the trap of assuming that everyone in the suburbs, exurbs, and rural areas are a bunch of religious fanatics, rubes, or desensitized rednecks. Nor should you assume that people in major cities are universally tolerant and understanding. It's just that in big cities, if you're a bigot, there are consequences for expressing your views.
          •  people (none)
            need to stop assuming that when others argue about the problems with rural and suburban america that we're saying all the people there have shit for values.

            not all, just the majority.

            and that's the point. in no way does your argument of a few reasonable people negating the cultural problems in rural america hold any water.

            in no way.

            we're talking in generalitites... about millions of people... we're talking about culture.

            stop excusing their bullshit values just because there happen to be a few enlightened midwesterners.

            i come from there and know what it's like. i know where black people live in indiana... and what the white suburbs are like.

            i know how the people think and what they talk about and how they behave.

            i know how their churches act and what they preach. i know what groups these people join and what they advocate for.

            and chrisitan liberalism in america is f'ing dead. dead as dirt. and that's a real problem in the overwhelmingly most religious of the top 18 wealthiest democracies on the planet.

            about 3 in 10 people in a college town in indiana even approach reasonable, intelligent, educated people who have the facts to make political decisions. maybe 2.

            about that many are responsible citizens living in the reality based community.

            in a city, that's maybe 5.

            but that's the difference. it's a cultural difference.

            but... you get up where roberts is from, northern indiana.

            forget it. your argument breaks down completely. and that's what rural america looks like in large part. that's what their culture is about... rural indiana values.

            it's a social problem.

            start f'ing owning it. as an american, it's your duty.

            have you ever lived overseas? do you know what other people are like?

            i have. and i can tell you that america is a cesspool.


            there's reasons everyone hates america. and that's because a majority of americans are bastards.

            why? because our culture is bullshit. just the way it is.

            please get real.

  •  They do it. They train for it. They are guilty. (none)
    Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib are not prisons. They are in fact torture centers.


    "Torture is the sign of the emerging police state in America." as this book shows:

    Abu Ghraib and the American Media
    by Lila Rajiva

    This book influenced my thinking on torture:
    The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World
    by Elaine Scarry

    " W " is the New Swastika

    by Yellow Canary on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 10:33:40 AM PST

  •  Re: Photographs as blackmail, here. (none)
    Do you think Rove's WH uses photographs to blackmail people?  I have long wondered if the Mariana trips were used in this way.  Just speculating on how these bastards keep the political troops sweating so hard at the cash bucket brigade.

    " W " is the New Swastika

    by Yellow Canary on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 10:41:53 AM PST

  •  Not only that (none)
    Can you imagine being tortured because someone turned you in for a bounty? Can you imagine being tortured because you own a Cassio watch? Because you saw Osama Bin Laden on TV?

    Can you imagine being tortured and imprisoned indefinitely because it would be too embarrassing for the Bush administration to admit it was all one big, enormous fucking mistake?

  •  Rumsfeld Probably Leaked the Pictures Himself (none)
    I don't think this was ever actually about getting useful information. It was about sending a braodcast message that you don't fuck with these particular badasses. The people behind this approach, Cheney, Perle, Wolfie, Rumsfeld, Feith, all have little bitty peni, and a resulting pathological need to overcompensate.

    Torture does some things extremely well, others not so much. It's unbeatable for extracting revenge, but only if the one being tortured has actually offended you in some way. It's a wonderful tool for spreading terror, as long as word of what you are willing to do gets out to the right people.

    What it's not particularly good at is extracting reliable information that you can bet your house on. By the time you torture a determined individual to the point where they will tell you what you want to know, they will tell you exactly whatever will make you stop, which you will have made abundantly clear by asking the same detailed questions repeatedly.

    I personally oppose torture in general because it's immoral and does damage to the U.S. that will last for decades, but mostly I oppose it because, if the objective is getting useful information, it rarely works.

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