Demonstrators from the groups Code Pink and Witness Against Torture protest last month against President Obama's choice of John Brennan to head the CIA (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)
The title, "Globalizing Torture," says it all. This meticulous accounting of the network of torture chambers that the United States has authorized in more than 54 nations is a damning indictment that should make all of us in this country cringe with shame.
The report is a product of the Open Society Foundations, funded by international financier and philanthropist George Soros, who, as a young Jew, suffered through the Nazi occupation of Hungary and emerged from that experience an uncompromising fighter for human rights. That his lifelong goal to "foster accountability for international crimes," reflected in his organization's mission statement, now includes our government is a condemnation as awful as it is deserved.
When it comes to torture in the post 9/11 era, the record of the United States is so appalling that one must question our claimed abhorrence of the barbarism of other nations. In fact, the essence of our rendition program has been to outsource torture to those countries most sadistic in their use of "enhanced interrogation techniques." That is flattery of a most twisted sort.
For example, Syria, now universally condemned for its contempt for human life, was chosen as the site to torture Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen detained by U.S. authorities at John F. Kennedy Airport. The apology and financial compensation he received from Canadian officials is only one of three instances of governments apologizing, and that list does not include the United States.
Hosni Mubarak's Egypt, known for its horrid interrogation tactics condemned in the Arab Spring uprising, was selected by the U.S. to interrogate Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, who "under threat of torture at the hands of Egyptian officials, fabricated information relating to Iraq's provision of chemical and biological weapons training to al-Qaida," the report states. That is the very misinformation that Colin Powell relied on in his U.N. speech justifying the Iraq invasion. So much for the evil rationalization for torture as a source of reliable information, offered in the propaganda film "Zero Dark Thirty."