We have been told for so long that "enhanced interrogation techniques" are just "aggressive questioning"; that the ancient waterboarding technique is not torture; that Guantanamo Bay is a model prison facility where detainees are, if anything, molly-coddled (in fact, Rudy Giuliani recently opined that "Guantanamo is better than half the Federal prisons.") We are also told routinely on Fox News that the United States has not and never would torture prisoners; we are told by the New York Times and NPR that use of the word "torture" is too biased; we have been told by many that to argue that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are war criminals is such an extreme position it disgraces anyone who states it, and marginalizes them to the fever swamps of leftist haters and hysterics.
These are all lies. They are pre-meditated lies. They are attempts to lie about some of the worst crimes committed by a president and vice-president of the United States in history. Anyone with their eyes open and their mind not closed knows this somewhere deep inside. And the only reason we do not know more about this is because of the criminal cover-up under the Bush administration and the enraging refusal of the Obama administration to do the right thing and open all of it to sunlight.
In the past, the Bush-Cheney administration could cover up their total control of the torture program and their direct authorization of the techniques used at Abu Ghraib by several distancing moves: "we are shocked that this happened"; it was the work of a "few bad apples"; the techniques we use are "relatively benign"; waterboarding is only torture if the Communists do it, and so on.
In Gitmo, the most tightly controlled and directly monitored prison and torture camp under Cheney's control, we already had a report that casts extraordinary doubt on the story-line that three deaths in Gitmo in 2006 were suicides. Dish readers may recall my recent airing of it here. Now, we have guards who have given clear and powerful evidence that strongly suggests that the three prisoners who allegedly hanged themselves did no such thing.
There are now credible accounts that, far from being suicides, these deaths were either the result of serious negligence in treatment of prisoners under "enhanced interrogation" or that, quite simply, they were tortured so badly in what appears to be a secret Gitmo black site that they died. Their deaths were then covered up and faked as suicides. Like some footnote in Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's work, these suicides were nonetheless described by the military as aggressive acts of asymmetrical warfare against the U.S. Many branches of government must have been involved in such an act of torture or negligence or both, and the subsequent cover-up – from the FBI, the Justice Department, the State Department, the Pentagon and the CIA, and JSOC. The cover-up appears to have been continued by the Obama administration – a staggering surrender to pragmatism that is in fact a cooptation of evil.
This deserves to be the biggest story on the torture issue since Abu Ghraib – because it threatens to tear down the wall of lies and denial that have protected Americans from facing what the last administration actually did. Notice that these torture sessions – so severe they killed three prisoners – were conducted in June 2006. Long after the original crisis was over. Long after we have been told real torture sessions occurred. They were part of an ongoing torture program whose methods were so extreme that the Pentagon has already conceded that over a dozen prisoners had been tortured to death and up to a hundred US authorized deaths-by-torture are alleged by many human rights groups.
This case deserves a thorough and complete and exhaustive inquiry and investigation. I no longer believe that any entity in the US government can be trusted with such a task. The investigation must be able to go right to the very top of the torture program and do so with no political influence whatsoever. The investigation must be conducted by an independent prosecutor – Patrick Fitzgerald comes to mind – or by the Red Cross or an international body. It must go up the chain of command to the very top to find the real people who are responsible for this war crime and three homicides.
Among those who need to be subpoenaed are the former president and vice-president of the United States.
(Photos: Gitmo, John Moore/Getty)