Like most normal people, by the 100th day of the Obama administration I had hoped that Bush-era freaks like Dick Cheney would have respectfully withdrawn from public view and ultimately (and ideally) ended up parked in an old folk's home where staff would joyfully beat them twice a day. But alas, like a recurring nightmare, Mr. Cheney at least seems unwilling to spare us his disturbing presence just yet.
Reading his recent rants on Obama's (now reversed) plans to release more prisoner abuse photos and roll back illegal wiretapping and close Gitmo etc., we get the impression that behind Cheney's anger lies fear (I'm generously presuming that there actually is something more to old snarly face than pure primal anger). But what could provoke fear in man whose idea of private conflict resolution is to try and blow your face off with his shotgun?
While Dick is undoubtedly frustrated at the thought of an end to the vicarious pleasure he surely derives from his personal (if indirect) involvement in the waterboarding, sodomising or plain ol' beating to death of innocent people
, not to mention an end to his personal assassination squad, the many degrees of separation between an order from the office of the VP and the "enhanced interrogation" room where the "fun" takes place ensure that Cheney need not fear any jail time for his "enhanced misdemeanors" (especially under the increasingly pusillanimous Obama aka "Judas Goat
Like so many political debates of the last, say, 2000 years, the debate on the merits of torture in attempting to extract accurate information from an alleged suspect in the war on terror is hubris.
In 2002, the Bush administration was gearing up to launch an illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq for profit (and Israel). The CIA at that point was tasked with providing justification in the form of "evidence" that Saddam had links to "al-Qaeda." Under the direction of the office of the VP and the Sec of Defense, the CIA began torturing individuals whom they had picked up in random sweeps of Afghanistan and Pakistan (and later Iraq after the invasion).
To seasoned sadists like Cheney and high-level members of the CIA, it was clear that far from being a reliable way to extract accurate information from a prisoner, torture was much better suited to forcing a prisoner to state something that was not true -- prisoners like Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi
(who coincidentally appears to have been suicided recently in prison in Libya) and Abu Zubaydah who remains in Gitmo to this day.
al-Libi was reportedly tortured many times, including waterboarding, in Egypt and later in Libya. He was also locked in a 20-inch high "coffin" for 17 hours and then beaten for 15 minutes before he finally found sufficient inspiration and the "right answer" about those "links between Iraq and al-Qaeda."
In the case of Abu Zubaydah, despite the fact that shortly after his capture by FBI and CIA agents in Pakistan in 2002, he was deemed schizophrenic
, he was treated to no less than 85 waterboarding sessions. As a result of their torture, both of these men felt obliged to finally agree that there were indeed links between al-Qaeda and Iraq. al-Libi later recanted
but not before his confession was used as evidence by Secy of State Colin Powell in his infamous February 2003 speech at the UN.
It's hard not to connect al-Libi's recent death in prison with the release of the Bush-era torture memos and the prospect that the Obama administration may have been planning to expose more unsavory details concerning prisoner abuse leading to greater public awareness about the real reason for it -- the creation of evidence for an invasion of Iraq. There is also the likelihood that Libyan leader General Gaddafi was growing anxious that his complicity in the U.S. war on terror would be made public as Newsweek
"al-Libi had recently been identified by defense lawyers in the U.S. as a prime potential witness in any upcoming trials of top terror suspects, either in revamped military commissions or in U.S. federal courts. Brent Mickum, a U.S. lawyer who represents Abu Zubaydah, says he had recently begun efforts through intermediaries to arrange to talk to Libi. "The timing of this is weird," Mickum says."
"Weird timing"?? Yeah, very
weird timing, You could almost say it was so
weird that it renders the idea that al-Libi died of an illness or committed unassisted suicide totally laughable, especially given that, according to Reuters, a Human Rights Watch
researcher saw him
on April 27th at which time he appeared to be in good health but reluctant to talk, saying only: "Where were you when I was being tortured in American prisons?"
What needs to be understood (and frankly it's amazing that so many people appear to be unable to do so) is that the U.S.-led war on terrorism was (and remains) a war based solely on the desire by U.S., British and Israeli warmongers to expand their influence and empire. In order to sell their immoral war to the people therefore, "moral" justification for it had be manufactured, reality had to be "created" as an unnamed Washington Neocon infamously quipped
a few years ago. That "reality" included the creation of a "terrorist threat" at home and abroad.
At home, it was sufficient for U.S. politicians to repeatedly invoke 9/11 and to issue regular "terror threat" alerts. From time to time however, they employed the same tactics used abroad and recruited mentally unstable individuals to flesh out their perverted "homegrown terrorist" reality.
"Just some hapless dudes"
One such case was that of the "Miami terror cell" back in 2006. This slightly deranged group of five Christian-Zionist-Muslim martial artist immigrants called the "Sea of David" were quietly living in a warehouse in Florida awaiting the fulfillment of the biblical end-times prophecy, when one day an undercover FBI agent came along and:
(1) offered them $50,000
(2) initiated them into "al-Qaeda" (complete with oath swearing)
(3) provided them with military boots and a video camera
(4) suggested that they wanted to blow up certain government buildings and the Sears tower in Chicago
The leader of this group of unlikely terrorists, Narseal Batiste, needs psychiatric help, according to his father
and even Justice Department officials acknowledged the group "did not have the means to carry out the plan," according to Knight Ridder
"The Justice Department unveiled the arrests with an orchestrated series of news conferences in two cities, but the severity of the charges compared with the seemingly amateurish nature of the group raised concerns among civil libertarians," who noted that the group had "no weapons, no explosives" and yet the government considers the arrests and case a "major announcement."
Two community activists familiar with the case and the group summed
A lot of show has been made about the militaristic boots that they had... It turns out... the FBI bought them the boots. If you look at the indictment, the biggest piece of evidence... is that the group may have taken pictures of a bunch of targets in South Florida. But the guys couldn't afford their own cameras, so the federal government bought them the cameras... The federal government rented them the cars that they needed to get downtown in order to take the pictures. In addition... the men provided the FBI informant with a list of things they needed in order to blow up these buildings, but in the list they didn't include any explosives or any materials which could be used to make explosives. So now everyone in Liberty City is joking that the guys were going to kick down the FBI building with their new boots, because they didn't have any devices which could have been used to explode..
Despite this, in a wonderful example of just how farcical the U.S. justice system has become, the men were charged with "planning to wage a full ground war against the United States"! And, just in case anyone still harbors any illusions about Mr. "Yes We Can!" -- last week, against all reason, the members of the "Miami terror cell" were convicted:
5 Miami men convicted of Sears Tower attack plot
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