Sunday, March 29, 2009

Weasel 101: Managing Euphemism

Administrators team with media in maintaining orthodox thought among the inhabitants of a command region. The US Government under President George W. Bush was notably successful in maintaining a disciplined use of euphemism to cloak what could be construed as crimes against humanity or war crimes. "Enhanced interrogation" or "aggressive technique" labels were a mask for torture. Let's be clear: using information often supplied by low-reliability paid informants, US forces seized people. These detainees were transferred hooded & shackled to military prisons (at Guantanamo and elsewhere). Still held without charge, they were stripped naked, doused with cold water, kept awake with loud music or continuous 20+ hour interrogations. Many were forced to maintain stress positions, threatened or attacked by dogs, or held underwater and drowned ("waterboarded") and then revived. Some were kept in isolation cells for months or years - uncharged, without access to the minimal comforts guaranteed by the Geneva Conventions. This US system flaunted the 1984 UN Convention against Torture. Those responsible for torture: US political leaders and staff affiliates, Department of Justice lawyers, interrogators from the US Department of Defence etc., should be prosecuted, convicted & imprisoned for their crimes.

"The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of "a few bad apples" acting on their own. The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees. Those efforts damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority." -- Senate Armed Services Committee Inquiry into the Treatment of Detainees in U.S. Custody