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.
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.
Murder in Samarkand: A British Ambassador’s Controversial Defiance of Tyranny in the War on Terror by Craig Murray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a strange book – part political thriller, part confessional, part sexcapade. He isn’t a journalist and not really a hero, more like a normal person with faults but decides to not be part of the lies that feed the horrific work of US and British politicians and military strategists (terrorists). I was hoping it would be grittier.
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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.