In a more moral and sane country it would be an outrage. In the United States of Ignorance it is not even a blip on the radar. There are mall shootings, celebrity reportage and wonderful little human interest bits such as a Georgia man accidently setting his wife on fire by flicking his Bic while gassing up. A recent report on medical ethics and the phony war on terror has revealed that the Central Intelligence Agency was engaged in pushing doctors to participate in the torture of suspected “terrorists” in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks. While I am sure that many Good Americans are perfectly down with this, especially given the desire for revenge after the towers fell, the establishments demonizing of a country that did not play any role in the attacks in order to attack and occupy Iraq and just plain meanness but there were people who were at one time actually prosecuted at Nuremberg for such things.
Of every compromise of the national image and what patriotic Americans once actually believed that this country stood for the state’s adoption of torture as a way of doing business has to be the most shameful of all. Firstly, it doesn’t work. Most subjected to such methods would spill their guts in fairly short order, telling the torturers anything that they wanted to hear to stop it. You really don’t have to water board a suspected ‘terrorist’ 183 times to induce a confession and quite frankly such an exercise in loathsome judgment by the state practically ensures that a guy like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will never be able to be tried and convicted for his crimes. That is unless he is hauled in front of one of those Stalin style kangaroo courts formally known as military tribunals. This was all justified of course in the name of “keeping us safe” just as the liars running the war machine justify every evil transgression of morality, the law and basic human decency in constructing their police state. Americans are inured to such acts, which can at least be partially attributed to propagandistic entertainment like the once mega-popular television show “24” featuring the exploits of a psychotic rogue agent Jack Bauer and later by the CIA friendly film “Zero Dark Thirty”.
But there is something darker here below the surface. When the state sanctioning of torture is taken along with the NSA mass surveillance, the militarization of the police and state capture of a media that has been turned into a propaganda machine it is important to recognize a common thread. It is one of the greatest secrets of the state of the post-WW II era that in the aftermath of that globally devastating horror of horrors that the ascendant U.S. intelligence establishment assimilated Nazis, including war criminals ostensibly to fight communism. While the post-war fear of Soviet communism was largely a bogeyman constructed to keep the flow of money into what Ike so aptly pegged as the Military Industrial Complex it was an accepted national dogma that stood until the “evil empire” as tabbed by President Ronald Reagan fell along with the Berlin Wall. Terrorism would come to be the new menace that would replace communism as the Manichean devil and to keep the cash spigots running. The ever trusty Department of Justice fought tooth, fang and nail to keep this report on U.S. intelligence and the Nazis secret.
The the CIA like its predecessor the OSS saw early on usefulness of getting defeated Germans to change teams, a deal with the yankee devils certainly beat a date with the gallows. General Reinhad Gehlen ran Hitler’s East European intelligence operation and was highly sought after by the allies as the set up the post-war world to fit their militarist and corporate banking syndicate worldview. Ratlines were formed under Project Paperclip to smuggle Nazis out of the reach of justice and into the service of the American empire. German scientists were brought into the space program, others as psychiatrists and medical ‘experts’ who cut their teeth in Hitler’s concentration camps were valued for the very knowledge and experience that their barbaric human experiments provided. The CIA became increasingly violent, using former Nazis like Klaus Barbie in backing torturing despots who protected big business interests and more than dabbled in mind control with programs like the notorious MK-ULTRA. In this crucial period of forming the new world order (a loaded term that I really dislike) the United States leadership took a critical wrong turn in the fork of the road towards perdition. The seeds of the moral collapse of the country were sowed long ago when it was determined that it was good business to lay down with wolves and to poison elements of our government with the remnants of the same regime that millions laid their lives on the line, and hundreds of thousands of Americans perished fighting. But the fascism was well into the national DNA by then and has continued to mutate the American character through the years. The CIA’s use of doctors in the carrying out of acts of torture in the early 21st Century is the direct result of what occurred nearly decades ago when it was deemed acceptable to have on staff experts who graduated from death camp torture chambers into service to our god-kissed land of plenty.
9/11 was a boon to defense contractors and the burgeoning surveillance industry that was capitalizing on the wave of high technology as America entered the digital age. The attacks would lead to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (which some are itching to begin to throw more money back into) and ultimately the torture craze. In 2004 when the perversions of U.S. servicemen and women torturing and sexually humiliating prisoners in Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison it triggered a wave of revulsion and then with much assistance from state flacks looking to deemphasize the importance of our torture state status. The use of torture is critical to imperialist aggression, both to enforce submission and destabilization abroad as well as a veiled threat in The Homeland to discourage dissent. This is the way it always is in an empire.
It is as if the death whisper of Colonel Walter Kurtz “the horror, the horror” has come to define us as a society, even more of a horror is that so few are bothered in the least by this ongoing travesty and remain willfully ignorant of history.