Inexplicably, since the US is disliked for its good qualities, not for running a mass international torture ring, Obama continues to censor the latest anthology on American torture.
Douglas Valentine, author of The Phoenix Program: America’s Use of Terror in Vietnam, gave a recent interview to RT in which he discussed what we will get out of the report when and if the heavily censored version is released:
RT: …Why do you think it’s not published yet?
Douglas Valentine: There is a lot of legal and also psychological reasons for the administration to try and keep it as narrow and as undisclosed as possible. They are concerned about what will the American public think of this report so they are trying to shape it to contain the damage as much as possible. You have to remember that after 9/11 the American public was demanding action, and a terrible crime had been committed against the American people and they wanted revenge. As simple as that. The Bush Administration, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their whole crew, they let it be known that the US was going to engage in all sort of terrible things, including torture, and they made it publicly known so that the American people would be satisfied that the government is doing everything it can do. They did it for psychological reasons to make the American people think and believe that the government was responding to their desires. Now those desires and those passions have subsided, torture is not as popular as it was, so they have to take that into consideration, basically along with certain legal constraints. The only thing on the administration’s mind is “How we do this to make the American people think we are responding to their desires and their needs?” Of course you have to realize the government does not really care and it is going to continue to do all the things it wants to do anyway, it is just going to try to make this report look like it has the interests of Americans at heart.
RT: How open and revealing do you think it will be?
DV: It is certainly going to be as narrow as possible in every respect. It is not going to reveal certainly the names of CIA officers, it is not going to name the countries that participated in that, and allowed CIA officers to engage in torture in their countries. It is not going to reveal torture techniques that were not on that list of ten that were allowed initially back when the nation was clamoring for action. It is going to try to narrow the report to strictly talking about torture, it is not going to get into the fact that the CIA works for the President, with the consent of Congress, and that everything that was done was done via our political leaders, who are the people that are ultimately responsible. So it is not going to leave any trail of evidence that connects America’s political leaders with the CIA, which of course conducts all of its illegal and immoral activity. It will be just as narrow as possible.
RT: We know about waterboarding, secret prisons and multiple other atrocities, thanks to whistleblowers. Should we expect anything new?
DV: Let us be clear about one thing – everybody knows everything about the CIA, there is nothing hidden. We have been studying and documenting everything the CIA has done for 67 years. We know that it tortured and murdered, engaged in sabotage and subversion up until 9/11. We know that they did all these things except that they were made somewhat public right after 9/11 and for a period of time. Now we know that as the mood has shifted, that the government is less willing to talk about all the atrocities and the things that the CIA does. The problem is that it is illegal to talk about the details of what the CIA does. We know that historically, we know that from other countries, the countries that are victimized by the CIA are constantly talking about things the CIA does, how it subverts their political systems, how it sabotages their infrastructure, how it corrupts their political systems. We know everything that the CIA does, it is just that it is illegal and the corporate media is not going to report the details of what the CIA does because it is afraid that it will lose its access to government officials, and secondly, that any individual reporter who names CIA officers or exposes ongoing CIA operations is subject to going to prison. Quite frankly we know that the CIA is providing arms to terrorists in Syria and that these terrorists in Syria are committing all sorts of atrocities, we know that this is happening in dozens of countries around the world. It is not a secret, it is just not talked about, and the little bit it is talked about periodically do nothing to shape American public opinion, because American public opinion is actually in favor of the CIA committing all the war crimes that it commits. That is basically the sad fact that people have to accept.
RT: Obama’s ‘we tortured some folks’ sounded a bit dismissive. Do you think the administration will try to sweep this under a rug?
DV: Of course it will. There is no question exactly what is happening and it is what always happens and frankly the American people are happy that it gets swept under a rug. There are very few people who are clamoring for more information, and the American people are quite frankly happy to see their favorite actors on TV and in the movies doing all sorts of terrible things to terrorists and to the people who are stereotyped as terrorists throughout the world. That makes them feel good, that makes them feel safe, because they are brainwashed by the government to think that the CIA is actually defending them from enemies as opposed to what the CIA actually does, which is always terrible things to expand the American empire and to keep the American empire afloat, but 70 percent of the American people right now in recent polling believe that Russia is a serious threat that they have to worry about before they go to bed at night. And there is just highly propagandized and this report will not have any effect really overall on how Americans feel or think, it is pretty much just a flash in the pan like all the other scandals that involved the CIA in the last 67 years.
Robert Barsocchini is a researcher focusing on global force dynamics. He also writes professionally for the film industry. Here is his blog. Also see his free e-book, Whatever it Takes – Hillary Clinton’s Record of Support for War and other Depravities. Click here to follow Robert and his UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson, on Twitter.