The horrendous atrocities described in the Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture should be seen in an historical context, the context of the US colonial wars. These wars are not just any sort of wars; they are designed to enslave people; they are designed to break human spirits with fear and mold them into submission.
They are colonial wars of conquest. The horrendous atrocity of drone wars that target weddings, funerals, or rescue workers with most of the casualties being civilians; the chilling statement of Madeleine Albright stating that the deaths of 500, 000 Iraqi children was worth it; the appalling cruelty of the massacre in Fallujah by the US; the extensive use of depleted uranium weapons, which has caused worse radiation related illnesses among Iraqi populations than in Hiroshima. The list of atrocities goes on. The element of torture is one of them.
It is not a coincidence that these wars are carried out by countries that have a history of perpetrating colonial enslavement. And the fact that the wars are waged against people of dark skin is also not a coincidence. Racism is an essential part of it. Here is a part of a speech given by Willie Lynch, a British slave owner, to American slave owners in 1712:
"both a wild horse and a wild or natur[al] n-word is dangerous even if captured, for they will have the tendency to seek their customary freedom and, in doing so, might kill you in your sleep. You cannot rest. They sleep while you are awake, and are awake while you are asleep. They are DANGEROUS near the family house and it requires too much labor to watch them away from the house. Above all, you cannot get them to work in this natural state. Hence, both the horse and the n-word must be broken; that is breaking them from one form of mental life to another. KEEP THE BODY, TAKE THE MIND!
"Take the meanest and most restless n-word, strip him of his clothes in front of the remaining male niggers, the female, and the n-word infant, tar and feather him, tie each leg to a different horse faced in opposite directions, set him afire and beat both horses to pull him apart in front of the remaining niggers. The next step is to take a bullwhip and beat the remaining n-word males to the point of death, in front of the female and the infant. Don't kill him, but PUT THE FEAR OF GOD IN HIM, for he can be useful for future breeding".
Note the elements of fear, humiliation and submission, which can also be observed in the tortures carried out by the US.
We should also note the parallel assaults against the Blacks in the US, public executions of Black men on streets by the police, mass incarceration, and gentrification of their communities are contemporary incarnations of the slavery. This is an integral part of the colonial expansion of the US empire.
Now examine the mainstream media obsession with the gruesome details of the torture described in the report on torture as well as the normalized notion of the total lack of accountability of the perpetrators of the torture.
The report does not disclose the real extent of torture or the identities of the perpetrators--among the 6700 page report, only 525 pages have been disclosed with numerous words blacked out. It does not provide necessary facts to open thorough public discussions or to seek accountability for the crimes committed.
As a result, the report functions in a much similar way to the Warren Commission Report for the JFK assassination or the 9/11 Commission Report. It incites deep seated doubt and fear of the state and helplessness among those who know the facts. For the uninformed and willful criminals, it provides an illusion of transparency and the posture of an official investigation.
We the people must not succumb to the intimidation. The criminals in our government must be held accountable. Their psychopathic audacity of fear and the failure of the elected officials to make them accountable should lead to our solid recognition of this system as an illegitimate, criminal entity. The absence of this conviction will keep us struggling with deceptive changes--having the police instead of the slave patrol, the police brutality instead of the lynching (1), the mass incarceration instead of slavery and so on and on. We can not leave the system of violence and deception, which has given birth to the global empire of torture, death and destruction, to guide our future.
Our steps toward a humane structure of mutual respect and sharing will be welcomed by the global communities as a sign of hope and to our future generations as a source of courage and inspiration.
Hiroyuki Hamada is an artist. He has exhibited throughout the United States and in Europe and is represented by Lori Bookstein Fine Art. He has been awarded various residencies including those at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, the (more...)