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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/22/09

Taking it with (Less than) a Grain of Salt

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Message jill mclaughlin
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Not so many years ago a young man lay naked, beaten, and chained to a floor in a place not known by you or me...until now. It is a secret CIA black site called the Salt Pit. If his story is like that of many others, he was probably handed over by warlords or members of a rival tribe looking for a handsome reward. The U.S. military promised monetary rewards for the handing over of persons who were known terrorists or had terrorist ties.In a country as poor and as destitute as Afghanistan you and I probably can't imagine how much money the good ol' U.S. of A doled out. Everybody and their brother was a terrorist it would seem. I wonder do the numbers of those detained and tortured number the amount of granules of salt in a salt pit? Those numbers probably will amount to that at the end of it all-if it ends at all-it, meaning what our government calls the "war on terror", which seem to have no end.

But let's get back to that young man, a young Afghan man, who lays naked and chained to the floor. Well, he died. He froze to death or died from his beatings somewhere near Kabul. He died in the Salt Pit.

Oh, but not so fast. Maybe he didn't freeze to death. Just because he was naked, lying beaten, and chained to a floor doesn't mean he died because of it. An article from the Washington Post reports that the investigation into CIA torture practices narrows even further. It now turns out that this already narrowed investigation(remember Holder and the Obama administration won't investigate members of the Bush administration and has decided it will go after CIA interrogators) is even more narrowed to just a few cases. In this article, it would seem, that the past and current government lawyers are taking these torture cases with a grain of a salt.

Previous investigators couldn't determine if the young man died of his beatings or of hypothermia, which was originally listed as the cause of death. Now a current government official says that maybe his arteries were clogged. The official had this to say: "A lot of times cases look open-and-shut because a guy froze to death on a cold cement floor, but these cases are more complicated and involved than that," said a government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "You have to prove the cause of death. How do we know he froze to death? He may have died a natural death from clogged arteries. You have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he died as a result of the actions of the people who tied him to the floor naked. It may be a logical inference, but proving it beyond a reasonable doubt might be a different story."

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So I'm asking why was the young man naked? Why was the young man beaten? Tell me, Mr. Government official man, is not forced nudity torture? Is not beating a detainee torture? You do admit in this statement that people "tied him up to a floor naked". Gottcha, Mr. Government official man.

I take anything coming from a government that has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity with less than a grain of salt. I take anything coming from government intent on covering up those crimes and looking the other way with less than a grain of salt. When President Obama says that the U.S. will not torture, but keeps in place rendition, I take that with less than a grain of salt. When he says "we will not torture", but then talks of preventative indefinite detention, I take that with less than a grain of salt. When Obama promises the U.S. will not torture, but expands Bagram detention center and denies detainees there habeas corpus I take that with less than a grain of salt. As long as the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan go on I take anything that Obama says about the U.S. not torturing with less than a grain of salt. As long as Bush era officials responsible for torture go without prosecution I take anything coming from the leadership of this Empire with less than a grain of salt.

So what then? Well, I turn to you, the people of conscience-the salt of the earth.I ask you to take a stand, a visible one in resisting the crimes of our government. It is up to us, especially as the war in Afghanistan is escalating. A young Afghan man lying naked, beaten, and chained to a floor somewhere not known to me or you cries out for mercy -his cry for mercy is also a cry for our resistance to the U.S. torture state.

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Join World Can't Wait for the following to End U.S. Occupations and Torture Now!

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Jill McLaughlin is an activist/organizer with the World Can't Wait. She currently sits on the national steering committee of World Can't Wait and has been an active activist/organizer with the Chicago Chapter of World Can't Wait. She has written (more...)
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