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Torture, Torture Everywhere

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Unfortunately, while I also hope, first of all, that the report will be published, and, secondly, that it will not be excessively redacted, it is troubling to realize that everything relating to it will be calibrated by those in power to avoid the possibility that anyone will be held accountable for what took place in the darkest years of the Bush administration.

Sadly, torture remains either off-limits or glorified in the two other places where it counts -- in the military commissions at Guantánamo, where the chief judge, Army Col. James Pohl, confirmed last week that those facing trials were prohibited from mentioning the torture to which they were subjected in the CIA's "black sites," and in movie theaters across the country, where Kathryn Bigelow's new movie, "Zero Dark Thirty," will soon be showing.

As Carol Rosenberg described it in the Miami Herald, Judge Pohl "approved the use of a time delay on public viewing of the Sept. 11 death-penalty trial as well as a censor in his court to make sure nobody divulges details of a now defunct CIA interrogation program, citing national security interests." Rosenberg also explained that, in a 20-page protective order accompanying his ruling, in response to a challenge by the ACLU, he spelled out that "anything about their CIA custody is classified, including "their observations and experiences,' meaning the accused can't say what happened to them at the so-called "dark sites' in open court."

In contrast, film director Kathryn Bigelow faces no censorship for her deluded and dangerous account of the events that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden. As Jane Mayer of the New Yorker explained last week, the film "seems to accept almost without question that the CIA's "enhanced interrogation techniques' played a key role in enabling the agency to identify the courier who unwittingly led them to bin Laden," even though "this claim has been debunked, repeatedly, by reliable sources with access to the facts."

Mayer also explained that the film "does not capture the complexity of the debate about America's brutal detention program. It doesn't include a single scene in which torture is questioned, even though the Bush years were racked by internal strife over just that issue -- again, not just among human-rights and civil-liberties lawyers, but inside the FBI, the military, the Justice Department, and the CIA itself, which eventually abandoned waterboarding because it feared, correctly, that the act constituted a war crime."

As movies are so powerful, I fear that Bigelow will be playing a major cheerleading role for the advocates of torture, to which the best response, while repeatedly highlighting the case of Khaled El-Masri and the shame of rendering political opponents to Col. Gaddafi to secure his support and his oil, will be for President Obama and Congress to make sure that the Senate's comprehensive torture report is released, and not hidden away, so that the torturers cannot continue to evade accountability for their crimes.

Without accountability, the toxic virus of torture in America's body politic will continue to infect the whole country with its poison. It is time for the denial to end.

Posted at the website of the Future of Freedom Foundation.

  • Also posted in American tortureEuropean complicity in tortureExtraordinary rendition and secret prisonsFBI/CIAFilm reviews, John McCainLibyaMilitary CommissionsThe Death of Osama bin LadenUK complicity in tortureUK politics Tagged Abdel Hakim BelhadjAbdel Hakim BelhajAbu OmarAfghanistanCIA torture prisonsColonel GaddafiDianne Feinstein, European Court of Human RightsExtraordinary renditionJane MayerJohn McCainKathryn BigelowKhaled El-MasriLibya, MacedoniaOsama bin LadenSalt PitSami al-SaadiTortureUK complicity in tortureUS SenateZero Dark Thirty
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    http://www.andyworthington.co.uk

    Andy Worthington is the author of "The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America's Illegal Prison" (published by Pluto Press), as well as and "The Battle of the Beanfield" (2005) and "Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion" (more...)
     
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