The Washington Post has revealed the existence of reports written by US government experts in 2002 and 2003 justifying torture, but US Attorney General John Ashcroft has refused to turn them over to Congress. According to the Post, the US Justice Department commented in an August, 2002 memorandum addressed to the White House that resorting to torture in the battle against terrorism could be justified by arguments of legitimate defence. The Post affirmed that in August 2000, the memorandum was sent by the office of the Justice Department's legal counsel in response to a request by the CIA and was directed to the White House counsel, Alberto Gonzalez. The memorandum, the Post adds, also argues that to inflict moderate or temporary harm does not necessarily constitute torture, which "should be equivalent in intensity to the pain that accompanies a serious physical injury, such as damage to an organ, impeding a bodily function or even death." That 2002 memorandum served as the basis for a secret report in March 2003 that was prepared by Pentagon lawyers for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, after commanders at the Guantanamo Naval Base (on illegally occupied Cuban territory) complained that they were not getting enough information out of prisoners. Torture highlights A few examples to illustrate the history of Washington's use of torture: In Iran, the CIA instructed SAVAK, the Iranian secret police, in torture techniques. The New York Times quoted Jesse J Leaf, a former head Iran analyst for the CIA, "I do remember seeing and being told of [CIA personnel] who were there seeing the rooms and being told of torture. And I know that the torture rooms were toured and it was all paid for by the USA." The notorious Operation Phoenix, set up by the CIA to wipe out the infrastructure of the Vietnamese Liberation Front, subjected suspects to torture such as: electric shock to the genitals of both men and women, and insertion of a six-inch dowel into the ear, which was tapped through the brain until the victim died. The "School of the Americas" is an infamous CIA training school where many South American military personnel are still taught torture techniques. Under public pressure, SOA officials released training manuals that offered instruction of various methods of torture. In response to the torture revelation in Iraq, George W Bush said "that's not the way we do things in America", but there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. In US-colonised Puerto Rico, Socialist and Vieques activist leader Angel Rodriguez Cristobal was arrested at a protest then taken to the federal detention facility in Tallahassee, Florida where he was discovered dead from hanging. An independent examination of Christobal's body revealed that he was also tortured. In New York City, Abner Louima is the best-known recent example of what can happen at the hands of US law enforcement, who has been granted greater powers to terrorise poor communities. In a country with a prison population of over two million, the highest incarceration rate in the world, torture is a well hidden but common event. Torture is traditional in the way this country is ruled. Since the earliest days of US history, physical terror was used against Native peoples and African Americans to maintain their subjugation at a time when the rulers of the country were building their political power and accumulating wealth by thievery.
* * *Courtesy — http://www.viequessupport.org