Tag Archives: Afghanistan

Preliminary Notes on The Physics of Modern Torture

Preliminary Notes on The Physics of Modern Torture

1. Time bends in an unpredictable manner
when twisted around a human body
using easily obtainable tools such as wires,
water, ducting tape, cigarettes, dogs, words,
silence, . . .

2. Varying sounds emanate from most orifices
depending on instruments applied.
Some sounds resemble broken words
that are often unverifiable.
Other sounds are highly similar
to those heard in abattoirs.

3. Each human body has its unique threshold.
The expected words may be extracted at different points
or not at all. Thus, another subject must always be at hand
in order for these tests to continue.

July 2008
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With the release of some official information on the extent of the use of torture by the CIA, I thought it might be a good time to share this old poem of mine.

Torture is actually nothing new in the American way of dealing with anyone they want to squeeze (mis)information from. As early as 1902, the American public has heard of torture done by its soldiers stationed on the other side of the world. This New Yorker article revisits such horrors from over a century ago.

My poem first appeared in Alien to Any Skin. The book contains many poems on human rights and international politics.

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Finalist Again at Goodreads.com!

My poem “Those Who Still Have Black Blood Under Their Feet” has been selected as one of six finalists at Goodreads.com’s poetry competition. I posted the poem and various related links on my blog for ALIEN TO ANY SKIN.

The winning poem is selected by the members. I don’t know a lot of people. So do the maths. hahaha Oh well, good for a laugh. And maybe some readers will click my name, get to the information about the book. blah blah blah… 🙂 Enjoy the poem at least.

Last thing. In that post on the book’s blog there’s a photo of someone’s sole. I only know one person with flat feet willing to have a picture taken. hahaha


The Chill in the Bones of the Puppet Masters

Nice title.  I could sell it to a hack novelist. 🙂

George Galloway writes in The Morning Star:

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All the lies deployed to justify the wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan took this great lie as their premise – that the West must bomb and blast the people of those countries into “democracy” because they are incapable of changing their societies themselves.

The fall of Ben Ali and the rise of the Egyptian masses has put paid to that essentially racist stereotype. The women in Egypt – young and old, with hijabs or not, university educated and from the slums – are showing that they do not need Laura Bush or Cheri Blair giving a faux-feminist gloss to F16s to liberate them. The sisters are doing it for themselves alongside men drawn from across the base of Egyptian society.

And the US State Department, British Foreign Office and French Quai d’Orsay don’t like it one bit. It’s not only their close personal connections with the torturing regimes of Ben Ali and Mubarak which now stand fully exposed. We know a little about Tony Blair, who still found Mubarak a force for good as the death toll from his clinging onto power climbed above 300.

More is at stake than these politicians’ personal connections with Mubarak. The cornerstone of decades of US and Western policy of holding down the mass of the people in the region in the interests of oil, corporate control of trade and investment and Israel is shattering. Every Arab despot ruling the region almost without exception from the Atlantic to the Persian Gulf knows it. Which is why the wind of change that is intoxicating their people is bringing a chill to each of those regimes.

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Bush’s ‘Smoking Gun’ Witness Found Dead

FROM A.N.S.W.E.R.

The cover-up of Bush-era crimes is taking a shocking but not unexpected turn. A fateful move has been made and it is certain to backfire.

A prisoner who was horribly tortured in 2002 until he agreed – at the demand of Bush torturers – to say that al-Qaeda was linked to Saddam Hussein is suddenly dead. Several weeks ago, Human Rights Watch investigators discovered the missing inmate and talked to him. He had been secretly transferred by the administration to a prison in Libya after having been held by the CIA both in secret “black hole prisons” and in Egypt.

Under conditions of extreme torture, the prisoner, Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, agreed in 2002 to supply the Bush-ordered interrogators what they sought as a political cover for Bush’s marketing of the pending war of aggression against Iraq. Mr. Libi agreed to tell them whatever they wanted in exchange for an end to the torture. The now famous Torture Memos providing legal cover for the torture were written at the same time starting in the summer of 2002.

Libi’s tortured and knowingly fabricated testimony was the source of information used by Bush to sell the war to the U.S. Senate, and the source for Colin Powell’s bogus and lying presentation to the United Nations in 2003.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice are now running around saying that the torture regime “protected the country from terrorist attack.” But the torture was used for the personal political goals of Bush and Cheney: namely, to sell their Iraq invasion to a very skeptical and disbelieving country.

Having been discovered by human rights investigators two weeks ago, Mr. Libi’s story coincided with the release of the Torture Memos and the growing clamor for criminal prosecutions of Bush officials.

His testimony is the smoking gun that would reveal that the torture regime was not for “national security” but for the personal political aims of Bush and Cheney.

He was Exhibit A in the indictment that alleges that tortured confessions and the contrived legal justifications of torture set up by Justice Department lawyers in July/August 2002 were central to the launch of the war against Iraq.

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died and tens of thousands of U.S. service members have either been killed or badly wounded in a war that was based on lies fortified and promoted by the most sadistic torture.

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I Crushed Your Life, Get on With It

torture-cube

Original image from Amnesty International

No apologies.  No legal action.  Anything goes.  Whatever you did in the past is water under the bloody bridge.

US President Obama’s statements regarding the CIA’s treatment of “terrorism suspects” is simply disgusting however you look at it.  It is consistent with what previous US administrations have done in the past century to people within American borders and those living in different parts of the world.  Can you hear the sound of rattling bones?

It seems forgetting is a disease that quickly latches on even the most seemingly pro-human rights political leaders of the world.  Is the time for dreaming and hoping over?

Imagine if the same policy were used throughout the world.  Orwell’s Animal Farm comes to mind.

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Obama accused of “condoning torture”

17 April 2009

US President Barack Obama has been accused of “condoning torture” following his announcement that CIA agents who used harsh interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects will not be prosecuted.

Amnesty International has called on the US administration to initiate criminal investigations and prosecutions of those responsible for carrying out acts of torture, including waterboarding, in its “war on terror”.

“President Obama’s statements in the last days have been very disappointing. In saying that no one will be held to account for committing acts of torture, the US administration is in effect condoning torture,” said Daniel Gorevan, of Amnesty International’s Counter Terror with Justice campaign.

“It’s saying that US personnel can commit acts of torture and the authorities will not take any action against them.

Read the rest of the Amnesty International article.
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Mission Accomplished?

fear-woman

Do not let us go into that darkness with bare hands.
If you do, we shall claw our way out,
leave our nails on the back of the beast
that bears your face.

We know you and your caress
even as you pass
judgment upon our children
who are yet to know anger,

Grief with flailing arms,
solitude gone astray
among the ruined fabrics
of our homes.

When will you allow us
time and space to build
our own rooms of healing
that do not bear your name?

How can we, when every day you cast
the weight of your shadows on our lands,
bleed us of what lies beneath our feet,
speak to us with the language of corpses.

With eyes seared by your weapons
we stand
staring at all you have stolen
that can never be returned.

-o-


Remembering one of many invasions.


What We Always Suspected: Innocent Gitmo Prisoners

Taken for a ride: This award winning documentary needs to be seen again.

From a recent Associated Press report we find this:

Many detainees locked up at Guantanamo were innocent men swept up by U.S. forces unable to distinguish enemies from noncombatants, a former Bush administration official said Thursday. “There are still innocent people there,” Lawrence B. Wilkerson, a Republican who was chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, told The Associated Press. “Some have been there six or seven years.”

Wilkerson, who first made the assertions in an Internet posting on Tuesday, told the AP he learned from briefings and by communicating with military commanders that the U.S. soon realized many Guantanamo detainees were innocent but nevertheless held them in hopes they could provide information for a “mosaic” of intelligence.

“It did not matter if a detainee were innocent. Indeed, because he lived in Afghanistan and was captured on or near the battle area, he must know something of importance,” Wilkerson wrote in the blog. He said intelligence analysts hoped to gather “sufficient information about a village, a region, or a group of individuals, that dots could be connected and terrorists or their plots could be identified.”

Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel, said vetting on the battlefield during the early stages of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan was incompetent with no meaningful attempt to determine “who we were transporting to Cuba for detention and interrogation.”

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