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Bush says torture is "alien" to America? Let me set that record straight

So Bush says Americans don't torture? Depends on your interpretation of torture. Here's mine from experience......
"President Bush has condemned torture as alien to American values and said he has never ordered its use, but Washington has faced an international outcry over its treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and the abuse of Iraqi inmates at Abu Ghraib jail near Baghdad."

I am sending this to "ya'll" to try and set the record straight about "American values on Torture" (OH, how "unAmerican" that would be...and American's would NEVER be "UnAmerican", would they?) Anyhow, bitterness aside. Let me share MY personal stories about "torture" American style......

Aside from the hick cops in my yuckity, yuck home state of Texas trying to scare me as a teenager (I know yor Daddy type scare tactics), my "first" arrest, (though I was never arrested) experience was when I surrendered to the SLC jail in 1995 (as was demanded of me by a sheriff delivered summons) because of a road-rage incident. (turns out the "plaintiff" was related to someone high up on the police force). I showed up in a suit and with U of U hospital property in my briefcase as I thought I was just replying to a summons to show in court to defend myself against a "criminal mischief" complaint. I'll skip the details...but a 30 minute to an hour thing turned into an eight hour ordeal (" a misunderstanding and paper-work mix-up", of course) where I was strip-searched and thrown in a "holding cell" with twitching drug-addicts, suspected murders and a bunch of feces smeared on the walls. I didn't sit at ALL for 8 hours. When duty came calling, I was faced with a metal toilet with no seat.....no wall to protect you from eyes of fellow "inmates" NOR from passing police officers. I immediately noticed various MALE cops stopping by in frequent intervals and peering through the window on the door, I am sure to check if any woman was using that "toilet", (they would leer, laugh and look immediately to the area of the toilet). We were denied water, food and were allowed one 5 minute phone call. When my husband was able to locate a lawyer, she came by the jail to find out just what had happened. I was led to a small room...we're talking closet sized...I spoke to my lawyer...she said a mistake had been made and I would be out soon...she left and I thought I would be let back into the holding cell..no...I was left in that small room for over 2 hours...I am EXTREMELY claustrophobic..I asked, then begged them to let me out...explained, at first calmly, then frantically, that I was claustrophobic. I was ignored at first, then laughed at for the remaining time I was in that small room. Cops would walk by the room, peer at me and then laugh when I would SCREAM at them in a panic that I was terrified of being in small spaces. I was photographed and finger printed, though I was never arrested and, as it turned out, innocent of any wrong doing (I have a separate story as to what the "prosecutors" were trying to charge me with...even the judge laughed in their face and told them to get out of her court-room...true story, man) This may sound tame to some or most of you..but my NEXT arrest is even MORE chilling.

My husband came out to Washington, D.C. in December of 2002 to visit me while I was on a job site (for the Dept. of Homeland Security, as a matter of fact). It was a surprise for Christmas as I had missed celebrating that recent Thanksgiving and I was working Christmas as well. He simply wanted to spend a nice holiday with his wife. Again, to shorten this diatribe, suffice it to say, we were arrested by the Metro Police while walking down the street in GeorgeTown at 3am with long hair (both of us) and colorful clothes. Oh,...we were laughing and we were "possessing" a wreath and ONE strand of X-mas lights we had found in a dumpster only 5 minutes before. (It was Christmas and when we saw the items, we thought to put them up in the hotel room and celebrate the holiday in "style".) The cop yelled at my husband to get on his knees as he was rushing from his squad car, (hubby was holding the holiday items, I holding a loaf of bread). My husband being who he is, said, "No, Sir I will NOT get on my knees...why am I being stopped? I'm just walking down the street." Before you know it, were being arrested by TWELVE cops and they were slamming us to the cement sidewalk with MUCH prejudice. (my husband is NOT one to physically resist and I was by then afraid of police.) We never lifted a finger in protest, though we were being ground into the ground. Fast-forward through the humiliating and violent strip-search and god knows what my husband suffered, to the final jail cells. (We spent 8 hours in a county ER having our wounds treated and documented from our having been arrested by D.C.'s finest.) In short, (because I've taken a BUNCH of space and time in the telling of this), my husband and I spent 3 days in jail charged with "APO" (assaulting a police officer). My husband suffered as much as I, but only HE can share his stories; I was denied a blanket or adequate covering in the December cold (there was NO heat in that jail) though I was dressed in a sheer dress shirt and jeans with NO coat (after all, I was meeting my husband on a romantic weekend after not seeing him for a few weeks). I was denied water for at LEAST 10 hours. I was not given food for 2 days. (nor was any other female in my "unit") I was denied sanitary napkins, as was other menstruating women. The lights were left on for the the entire 3 days. The heater was "broken" and the T.V turned up really loud so one could not sleep. People CONSTANTLY were screaming, yelling and begging for food/water/bathroom. When requests were made...even if politely, they were laughed at, at best, mostly mocked; ("what you think this IS? A MOTEL SIX? You're a CRIMINAL, baby!"). During this time, I was denied a phone call, as was my husband...("You watch too much TV." was the response to our requests, "You don't GET one!") During my ENTIRE experience, I was subjected to comments about my being the only "white trash" in the "unit" and I was called a "cop beater" over and over,(though I had contusions ALL over my knees, legs, forehead and buttocks from being arrested for walking down the street during a protest weekend...I forgot to mention that detail we found out AFTER that weekend), yet I had not a MARK on my hands where I supposedly "beat" a cop over the head with my fist. In the end? $3,500.00 in lawyer fees, 10 hours community service (who has money for a trial to prove one was abused by police and innocent of a violent crime) and who knows how much money spent traveling to D.C. from Chicago, the charges were "dropped" and we learned a valuable lesson about our lovely judicial system. We learned torture DOES happen..that one is NOT innocent until proved guilty...that cops are NOT out to "Protect and Serve" and that they DO lie. For ol' Dubya to say torture doesn't happen here is ludicrous. Sure, I was not gang raped or attacked with vicious dogs... but I was humiliated, deprived of basic human needs and treated as a criminal, though I was NEVER proved to be guilty of any crime(and was in fact only guilty of "looking suspicious", having a hippy husband and having a bit of a sarcastic mouth), I have not even touched on all that transpired that weekend, but what I have already shared should be enough to show that there is REALLY something wrong with the "system"; and I am only ONE person and nobody at that...imagine how others, more serious "criminals" are treated....no torture? I would say it is just a bully's nature to do this kind of thing when given an ounce of power (even if the bully is a system or government), ...I mean, they gotta get that information/conviction/conversion" after all......

Cornczech
Three words 04.Aug.2004 17:03

xyzzy

Stanford prison experiment.


POLICE THREATEN 04.Aug.2004 18:56

//

police threaten peoples lives in bellingham washington. when are we going to surround policedept.'s natio wide and bring internztioal attention to usa torture abuses?

we are all slaves 05.Aug.2004 03:54

most of us anyway

Cops learn quickly on the job that they can say almost anything they want about you and nothing will happen to them. If what they say isn't actually true, then maybe they won't be able to get you convicted in court, but definitely there's no downside for them. So gradually they start making more and more shit up to justify their more and more impulsive and anti-social behavior. Soon they're acclimated to a completely reality-disconnected, sociopathic, violent separatist cop culture.

Free people would not put up with this, but we live in a slave society.

It doesn't depend that much on definitions... 05.Aug.2004 09:02

nva

Torture is basically the deliberate infliction of pain, usually for some strategic, political-economic, purpose -- most often to extract information, or terrorize political dissidents.

Here's a little something I wrote recently that helps illustrate the false dichotomy between "First" and "Third" Worlds on the subject of torture:

Modern Torture: Old and New

A central premise of Kate Millett's book, The Politics of Cruelty, is the notion of the nation-state as the central force in torture as an official institutional tool. The existence of a multiplicity of nation-states as artificial barriers between people allows torture to flourish as a tacitly accepted tool of power. People of the wealthier nation-states fancy themselves immune to the threat, as they are taught to believe that they live in "enlightened nation-states," in contradistinction to the benighted, "backward nation-states" of the poor countries, where torture is an everyday affair for ordinary citizens. Recent events in Iraq, and the case of Maher Arar and other persons illegally "rendered" (handed over by the US for torture in other countries) help to put the lie to this flattering unction.

Arar is a Canadian citizen who was detained by the US without charges in 2002, held incommunicado, and secretly whisked off to Syria, despite his desperate pleas to his American captors warning them that he could face torture there. Eventually, human rights groups succeeded in prevailing upon the Canadian government to have him returned, but only after being held for a year in Syrian jails and repeatedly tortured.

During the Cold War, torture was an integral part of official US counterinsurgency policy. CIA operatives such as Dan Mitrione worked directly with police and paramilitary agents in countries in the US sphere of influence, training them on the finer points of torture as a counterrevolutionary tool. From Uruguay to Iran, the US influenced the policies and techniques of generations of torturers. (The Costa Gavras movie, "State of Siege," offers one of the better known popular introductions to this historical subject.)

Author William Blum, in The CIA: Forgotten History, illustrates the nature of this not-so-surreptitious policy:

[T]raining in torture techniques is taught in various U.S. military schools under names like "countermeasures to hostile interrogation." Former Green Beret Donald Duncan recounts a conversation between teacher and student during one of these training sessions:

"'Sergeant Lacey, the name of this class is "Countermeasures to Hostile Interrogation," but you have spent most of the period telling us there are no countermeasures. If this is true, then the only reason for teaching them [the torture methods], it seems to me, is so that we'll know how to use them. Are you suggesting we use these methods?'

"The class laughs, and Lacey looks down at the floor creating a dramatic pause. When he raises his head, his face is solemn but his deep-set eyes are dancing. 'We can't tell you that, Sergeant Harrison. The Mothers of America wouldn't approve.' The class bursts into laughter at the sarcastic cynicism. 'Furthermore,' a conspiratorial wink, 'we will deny that any such thing is taught or intended.'"

In the film, "Memorias del Subdesarrollo," some clips are played from the famous public trials of former henchmen of the Batista regime, captured during the Cuban Revolution. In a documentary film about the trials, the narrator explains the role of torturers in "bourgeois society." The torturer, he explains, insulates the bourgeoisie from the dirty work of police state repression required for the capitalist regime to function smoothly. The vast majority of the social elites would of course be horrified at the thought of such indelicacies, but luckily for them, there are proxies to shield them from any direct knowledge of participation in these horrors. They easily find enough amusements and distractions to ignore the cost of their affluence for others.

At an international level, the same analysis could be applied to the position of the ordinary populations of the "rich countries" vis-a-vis the poor ones. They can enjoy the illusion of "safety" and "enlightened government," only because the populations of the resource-rich, superexploited Third World are kept suitably under the thumb of a strict regimen of state repression, amply enforced with blood and fire whenever necessary.


Torture and Violence not Alien to America 05.Aug.2004 09:31

Gary Sudborough IconoclastGS@aol.com

Violence and torture have never been alien to the United States or indeed to the other capitalist powers which colonized and exploited the peoples of the Third World. King Leopold II of Belgium used slavery, torture and violence against the people of the Congo, killing an estimated 8 to 10 million Africans. He campaigned all over Europe as a great humanitarian, dedicated to the elimination of slavery, torture and other human rights abuses. He even established an organization supposedly to further the elimination of slavery. All the while, his military forces in the Congo were kidnapping the wives of African men to force the husbands into the forests to harvest rubber so he could enrich himself off the profits. Now, the US State Department lists countries which practice torture, Colin Powell travels all over the world talking about "American values" and "our commitment to democracy and the rule of law" and President Bush says that torture is alien to American values. There should be a much stronger word than hypocrisy to describe the actions of these people because such hypocrisy contributes to the suffering and death of millions of people.


Torture: A Republican Family Value 05.Aug.2004 11:08

Anyone But Skull and Bones

Torture: A Republican Family Value

Torture: A Democrat Family Value 05.Aug.2004 21:30

the same can be said for

Torture: A Democrat Family Value

America needs to be told 06.Aug.2004 01:00

Red neck

what it is really about, then what it sentimentally believes about itself
A very important post.

In actual fact christianity (and thus america) is a construct of the most.... 07.Aug.2004 07:01

King Amdo

...nightmarish and anti tribal anti goddess (pagan) abusive toture ritual imaginable. (ritual racist child abuse). This is how the freemasons (christian temple builders) temple is made. Remember the inquisition...that's why. This is why this 'order' rapes the Sacred Mother, the people for money.
For personal profit and finacial fortune. The ultimate in plastic shamanism. Ultimate bad karma. This is what is containing your consciousness, containing 'you' in a tiny world, limiting full brain consciousness, blocking occult sensitivity, turning you shallow and consumeristic, disempowered, and without magical powers. Why people don't see the living reality of the Mother Goddess, why people don't see what's wrong with trashing the Mother. These anto occult, anti goddess rituals are pecular (and inherently essential) to the christian paradigm. All eastern religions include positive female lunar goddess aspects in their ritual. Christianity is some sort of sick act of roman 'black' alchemy to do with containing tribal consciousness and individual powers for the purposes of money making and colonial exploitation. Evil freemason scum.

A fucked paradigm.

blessed be,

King Amdo