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Showing posts from May 17, 2009

The Torture Memos, Noam Chomsky

Much better than the version I posted below; full citations, too. All labels to that blog apply here. Hyperlinks in the Tom Dispatch version are not reproduced in this version.

The torture memos released by the White House elicited shock, indignation, and surprise. The shock and indignation are understandable -- particularly the testimony in the Senate Armed Services Committee report on Cheney-Rumsfeld desperation to find links between Iraq and al-Qaeda, links that were later concocted as justification for the invasion, facts irrelevant. Former Army psychiatrist Maj. Charles Burney testified that "a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between Al Qaeda and Iraq. The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish this link ... there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results"; that is, torture. The McClatchy press reported that a former senior intelligence official familiar with the inte…

Noam Chomsky, Why We Can't See the Trees or the Forest: The Torture Memos and Historical Amnesia

[Note: A slightly longer version of this piece, fully footnoted, will be posted at Chomsky.info within 48 hours.]The torture memos released by the White House elicited shock, indignation, and surprise. The shock and indignation are understandable. The surprise, less so. For one thing, even without inquiry, it was reasonable to suppose that Guantanamo was a torture chamber. Why else send prisoners where they would be beyond the reach of the law -- a place, incidentally, that Washington is using in violation of a treaty forced on Cuba at the point of a gun? Security reasons were, of course, alleged, but they remain hard to take seriously. The same expectations held for the Bush administration's "black sites," or secret prisons, and for extraordinary rendition, and they were fulfilled. More importantly, torture has been routinely practiced from the early days of the conquest of the national territory, and continued to be used as the imperial ventures of the "infant em…

FBI Cointelpro: The War on Black America

Blurb:Duration: 48:01 Recorded: 16 January 2007 Location: Canada

In early 1971, the FBI's domestic counterintelligence program (code named "COINTELPRO") was brought to light when a "Citizens Committee to Investigate the FBI" removed secret files from an FBI office in Media, PA and released them to the press. Agents began to resign from the Bureau and blow the whistle on covert operations. That same year, publication of the Pentagon Papers, the Pentagon's top-secret history of the Vietnam War, exposed years of systematic official lies about the war.

Soon after, it was discovered that a clandestine squad of White House "plumbers" broke into Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office in an effort to smear the former Pentagon staffer who leaked the top-secret papers to the press. The same "plumbers" were later caught burglarizing the Watergate offices of the Democratic National Committee. By the mid-1970's Senate and House committe…