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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 4/29/13

SCANDAL ABC: Huck - Torturer on the Outside, Tortured on the Inside

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Seven Fifty-Two aired April 25, 2013. For me, it was the most heartbreaking episode of the series.   Huck's background and life before we met him in Scandal are tragic. And we have the promise of Olivia's life being very sorrowful too. She tells Huck that it was his sad eyes that got to her, the saddest she had ever seen, sadder even than hers. Eyes are the gateway to the soul, it is said. Olivia tells Huck that both of them live on the dark side of the moon.


In this episode, we see a flashback of Huck being hired for a torture job by the CIA, for a very secret group called B613. Too bad that the CIA did not tell us more specifically what they so liked about Huck. And too bad he did not ask them. We also actually see him torturing and killing people. He is doing this on USA soil. When Huck was torturing his victims, I could not watch after the first one. Much too brutal and horrific for me, and eventually for him too. When Huck could no longer torture, Charlie (also a CIA hired assassin) was ordered to kill him, but for some reason, Charlie let him go. After his life has been spared, we see Huck begging in a subway station. Olivia sees him there and puts some money in his cup.

Let's not forget that Huck himself was waterboarded in the basement of the Pentagon in an earlier episode. Present at Huck's waterboarding were Homeland Security and the CIA. When Huck was being held for attempting to assassinate Fitz, VP Sally Langston immediately had him released after she read his file. Was his B613 record in the file? Is she involved in B613 or some other part of the CIA?


But the USA does not torture people. Or does it? The April 16, 2013 bi-partisan report on torture in the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations by The Constitution Project [full report] says yes.   Memo in Support of Finding #1 gives a detailed report of torture and CID [cruel, inhuman or degrading] techniques.   Memo in Support of Finding #2 has more details.Here is a list of "enhanced" techniques that the Bush administration approved of using: attention grasp, walling, facial hold, facial slap (facial insult), cramped container, insects placed in a cramped container, the waterboard. Other common techniques were hooding, subjection to noise, deprivation of sleep.

You can also read a summary of the report by John Knefel in Rolling Stone, by Barry Ritholtz in The BIG Picture and by Scott Shane in The New York Times.

About The Obama Admimistration, the report states that during his 2008 campaign Obama promised to close Guantanamo and "to reject torture -- without exception or equivocation." The Obama administration has fulfilled some of these promises, and conspicuously failed to fulfill others -- in some cases because Congress has blocked them, but in other cases for reasons of their own."

Amnesty International speaks out against the Obama administration's use of drones in Afghanistan and parts of Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia. They conclude that particularly the use of drones (remote-controlled aerial vehicles) far from the battlefields violates "the fundamental human right not to be arbitrarily deprived of one's life."

 A stunning graphic by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) describes the roles of the highest levels of the George W. Bush administration in torture. The graphic includes Bush himself, Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, John D. Ashcroft, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet and more. The Torture Report gives a wider picture of torture in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo, and secret CIA black sites -- which were secret overseas locations where prisoners were transported for interrogation. Both of these links and more can be found in this important ACLU document.

Here is what the ACLU graphic says about former Vice President Dick Cheney: "Cheney has been the most vocal and unapologetic supporter of the Bush administration's torture program since its inception, and he appears to have had a hand in virtually every aspect of it. From the beginning, he opposed recognizing the rights of suspected terrorists under the Geneva Conventions, a legal sidestep that set the stage for future torture. As a member of the National Security Council, Cheney received detailed briefings on the specific interrogation techniques that the CIA wanted to use on the so-called 'high value' detainees, and he approved them. Through his legal counsel, David Addington, Cheney also helped shape the legal memos used to justify torture."

Here is a terrific clip of Melissa Harris-Perry discussing Scandal with Janet Mock, Andrea Plaid, Heather McGhee and Joy-Ann Reid. Included is Olivia saying to Fitz, "I am feeling a little, I don't know, Sally Hemings Thomas Jefferson about all this." One of the women says that Cryus, Chief of Staff for Fitz, is Dick Cheney and Harris-Perry agrees. I do too. What a composite character -- both Karl Rove, as I have written about here and Dick Cheney as Cyrus.

Rhimes is dealing with some of the most important issues of our time - torture by the CIA and the rigging of presidential elections. She also includes both the inner and outer world of her characters. The inner and outer are inextricably entwined.   I recommend reading Alice Miller, about the Milgram experiment, and Project NoSpank and also watching a replication of the Milgram experiment for beginning to understand several aspects of torture and some of the ways we can stop it.

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Sheila Parks, Ed.D., is a former college professor. She had a spiritual awakening many years ago and left her career to do peace and justice work full time. She is the founder of the grassroots group On Behalf of Planet Earth (found on FB). (more...)

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