Post-Torture America: Do You Feel Safer?:
When we talk about the actions of our government, we often forget that what we are discussing is what is being done in our name as American citizens, whether we like it or not. We are told that heinous acts are committed by our government for our good, to keep us safe and secure. For instance:
Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah, a Yemeni citizen, says he was arrested and tortured in Jordan and was eventually given to CIA custody, flown to Afghanistan, and interrogated, for 19 months total, until, never charged with anything, he was released. On his transfer to CIA custody, Bashmilah says, "They started tearing down my clothes, from above all the way down. And I was being stripped completely naked. They started taking pictures from all directions. And they also started to beat me on my sides and also my feet. And then they put me in a position similar to the position of prostration in Muslim prayer, which is similar to the fetal position. And in that position, one of them inserted his finger in my anus very violently." That was done to an innocent man. It was done in your name. It was done because the government told you it wants to keep you safe.
Binyam Mohammed, an Ethiopian refugee, arrested in Pakistan, based on the waterboarded information of Abu Zubaydah that Mohammed was in league with Jose Padilla to light a dirty bomb, sent to Morocco on a CIA flight, now a Gitmo resident, says of his treatment, "They took a scalpel to my right chest. It was only a small cut. Then they cut my left chest. One of them took my penis in his hand and began to make cuts. He did it once, and they stood still for maybe a minute watching. I was in agony, crying, trying desperately to suppress myself, but I was screaming... They must have done this 20 to 30 times in maybe two hours. There was blood all over." Now, Mohammed's lawyer wants to make sure any photos of his client's torture are not destroyed. This was done in your name. It was done because the government told you it wants to keep you safe.
Khaled al-Masri, a German citizen was abducted and held in Macedonia and Afghanistan, says about his transfer to a jail, "I was dragged out of the car, pushed roughly into a building, thrown to the floor, and kicked and beaten on the head, the soles of my feet, and the small of my back. I was left in a small, dirty, cold concrete cell. There was no bed and one dirty, military-style blanket and some old, torn clothes bundled into a thin pillow." A couple of months later, he was dumped on a road in Germany, never charged with anything. In October, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case he brought against the CIA because of "state secrets." This was done in your name. It was done because the government told you it wants to keep you safe.
All of it, all the waterboarding, all the denial of hearings, all the torture done by other countries at our behest, all the abuses at Guantanamo, and more, all of it was done in your name. It was done because the government wants to keep you safe.
Through all of it, we were told it was not only legal, it was necessary, it was for us, it kept us safe, even if they never showed us how.
Which brings us to the destruction of those CIA interrogation videos in 2005. The more we learn, including now the White House attorneys' involvement, the more we can see: that it was done not for you. It was done for them. It was to keep them safe.
You and your safety stopped figuring into the equation a long, long time ago. The rest has been a desperate scramble to justify themselves, again and again, no matter who has to suffer.