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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The CIA and Torture

It is obvious the U.S. has done torture policies. This torture did not just exist since 9/11. The CIA has done torture for decades in nations globally. Operation Phoenix dealt with explicit torture and assassinations during the Vietnam War. So, America hypocritically lectures other nations on human rights abuses, but America must bring its own house in order. It is as simple as that. The Senate report on the CIA torture program documents the evil of torture. The unclassified executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report shows the brutal program of torture, and abuse. The U.S. government’s crimes are very intensive. The 500 page report of CIA torture under the Bush administration was released on Tuesday morning. Senate floor remarks were made by committee chairman Dianne Feinstein. It is a summary of a larger, still classified 6,700 page document, which was compiled by Senate staff from 6 million pages of documents. The report was completed in 2012. The CIA, with the collaboration of even the Obama administration, has sought to obstruct its release at one time. The reported said that the CIA used not only waterboarding. Prisoners were thrown against walls. Prisoners were secured in Mylar tape. Some detainees were slapped and punched. Other detainees were in mock burials where they were kept in small boxes in which they were unable to move for houses at a time. One prisoner, Gul Rahman, was forced to take “ice water baths” and was then “held partially nude and chained to a concrete floor” until he died of hypothermia. One of the officers responsible for Rahman’s death was then given a “cash award” of $2,500 by the CIA for his “constantly superior work.” According to the report summary, “CIA officers also threatened at least three detainees with harm to their families—to include threats to harm the children of a detainee, threats to sexually abuse the mother of a detainee, and a threat to ‘cut [a detainee’s] mother’s throat.” Further, “[o]ne interrogator told another detainee that he would never go to court, because ‘we can never let the world know what I have done to you,’” and another interrogator “engaged in ‘Russian Roulette’ with a detainee.” A CIA employee noted that prisoners in the COBALT detention facility (described by the chief of interrogations as “the dungeon”) “literally looked like a dog that had been kenneled,” and that when the doors to their cells were opened, “they cowered.” That is why some prisoners attempted suicide and mutilation. The report summary details how the CIA hired two doctors, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen (identified in the report by the pseudonyms, Grayson Swigert and Hammond Dunbar), and to develop a method of torture whereby prisoners could be reduced to a state of physical and mental devastation. The doctors based their recommendations on the theory of “‘learned helplessness,’ in which individuals might become passive and depressed in response to adverse or uncontrollable events.” At least 26 prisoners are acknowledged to have been held without any basis whatsoever. The report summary enumerates dozens of occasions when high-ranking CIA officials lied to Congress and the public. In the course of a single hearing to the Senate Intelligence Committee on April 12, 2007, then-CIA Director Michael Hayden lied about a total of 17 subjects related to the torture programs. The Bush administration officials, especially Cheney and George W. Bush, have defended the perverted program. The CIA officials involved in the programs should be prosecuted as these actions violate national and international law. This torture is a sign that we in America must get our own house in order and promote human dignity for real.

Obviously, some prosecutors use grand juries as a way to prevent someone from being prosecuted in a jury trial. The prosecutor in the Michael Brown situation acted more like than a defense attorney than a prosecutor. He has numerous conflicts of interests. The standard of proof for a grand jury to indict is only probable cause to believe the suspect committed a crime. It is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt, which is required for conviction at trial. Certainly, we have to organize our political and economic power. Prosecutors and legal authorities should be reflective of the interests of the communities that they represent. One great point that the Sister Marilyn Mosby said is that people should vote for legal authorities who harbor a sense of respect for the interests of the people, especially in the local level. America is virtually the only industrialized nation on Earth to have grand juries as a means to screen criminal indictment. We have to be educated on the legal system since historically the legal system has been used to deprive our rights (then and now, because we still have numerous unjust laws in the States). The police terrorism against our Brothers and our Sisters is an epidemic and it is a total, evil injustice. We have to continue to fight for freedom. Gil Scott Heron was a very intelligent Brother who knew about the world. There are other great conscious artists in the world too. Also, Arrested Development has great records. Their recent record "Living" is a great song with a great message too. Artists can and should speak truth to power. The reality is that we face oppression. Crooked cops are killing our people with impunity and enough is enough. It is important to promote consciousness since knowing yourself and helping others are part of doing the right thing. Corporate exploitation has caused a promotion of commercialized music which slanders black men, black women, etc. Music that uplifts and really inspires revolutionary change should be embraced more.

At the end of the day, the officers must enforce these guidelines (which don’t go far enough because of many reasons). If a cop is not trained to reject unfair profiling and if real change won’t happen in the state including the local levels, then real change won’t be comprehensively achieved. Yet, I have no issue with condemning racial profiling explicitly. Law enforcement must be forced to have accountability and be stripped of their money if they participate in racist or any abusive policies. The status quo must not exist. One thing is that people should not have permanent pessimism. Apathy is a problem. Activism and building our communities are part of the solutions. Black people have the right to grow our own power. There is nothing wrong with power if it is used correctly. Solutions must exist immediately. So, people should continue to fight. In the final analysis, things must change. Crooked cops, who exploit the badge, being involved in oppressing black people should be punished. Massive funding to militarized weapons to the local police should end. There must be a radical change in the economic system whereby the poor and the middle class have economic justice without a corporate plutocracy in existence in the world. Black people deserve justice. Black people have the right to determine our own destinies as human beings. Real change shouldn't be bounded by gradualism. Real change should come now or as soon as possible. That is the lesson that our elders and our heroes have taught us. At the end of the day, police terrorism against black people, the New Jim Crow, economic injustices, and racism must be condemned explicitly.

At the end of the day, people should not quit. Pessimism solves nothing. Black people fought to defeat the Maafa, to defeat the Confederacy, and to defeat many evils in the world. Black people defeated these evils not with pessimism. They won these battles via resistance, courage, and solidarity. So, we should have hope and do action as a means for us to be free. Freedom is not easy to obtain. As Dr. King has said, the oppressor never willingly gives the oppressed freedom. Freedom has to be fought for, and there must be great sacrifice. We have to fight for our freedom and liberation as black people. Our ancestors suffered a whole lot worse than what we suffer today. Therefore, we should carry on. We must understand the root of our problem and create solutions to end our problems. There is nothing wrong with protesters getting food. Also, there is nothing wrong with people wanting to demilitarize the local police and black people organizing their economic power (group/cooperative economics comes into play. Self-determination is great), so the black community can develop in a higher level. We have to stand up for the human personhood of black people and oppose oligarchy, imperialism, misogyny, and any injustice. Mobilizing, organizing, and having unity creates strength. Great Job Bill Duke. Bill Duke and others who were involved in the movie "Dark Girls" should receive great respect for talking about an important issue in our community. The truth is that all human beings, irrespective of color, deserve justice. We should use every fiber of our beings to extinguish the horrendous evil of colorism. Colorism is totally evil. People have the right to express their stories. Expressing stories can improve the soul and we have to have discussions and faulty biases must be eliminated. Dark skinned Brothers and Sisters should be treated fairly and with dignity. No person should be unfairly demonized. Solutions must be created and being black unapologetically is a blessing.

The black community deserves respect and justice. Another important point is that solutions must exist, because we can't live with the status quo forever. We all agree that police terrorism is an atrocity and that people deserve justice not by reactionary rhetoric, but by community development (like building institutions, allying with black African peoples internationally, etc.) including solidarity. This UNITY must exist among African Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, Afro-Brazilians, Afro-French, Afro-British, Africans, etc. Also, we should condemn imperialism and economic exploitation. There is no freedom without political independence and economic justice. Real intelligence is a blessing. Innocent black people are being killed, there are massive injustices in the globe, and things must change. In the final analysis, life is too short for that toxic rhetoric that has been shown by some people. We all believe in positivity and justice. We want black people to have true freedom and we reject the views of racists and snakes (who ironically believe in the views of white reactionaries) who want to divide. Life is about growth, love, and helping others. The more that I learn about the black Diaspora, the more I know about the wonderful power found in our people. UNITY among black people internationally is important. What the haters say don't matter. What matters is about doing what is right, standing up for justice, defending our people, and believing in helping our neighbors as ourselves. That is true talk. :) Cortney Hicks' story is an inspirational one. Her journey is her journey. She should feel happy for her accomplishments and congratulations to Sister Cortney Hicks. Her story signifies the lesson that people should keep on going to fulfill their aspirations. Life is never easy, but life is not a way for people to have permanent negativity or gloom. Life is an opportunity for us to help ourselves and to help others. That is one basic, transparent aspect of life. A support network of family and friends is crucial too. Not to mention that exercising, volunteering, eating healthy and treating people with dignity including respect will work wonders.

 By Timothy


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