As the 1949 Universal Declaration of "NEVER AGAIN" evaporates into thin air,read on for Chris Floyd's "Tattoo Nation": A shameful reminder that Bush Jnr's shrinking Coalition of the Willing is a Coalition of the Guilty:"The burden of proof is no longer on Bush's accusers, but on those who would defend his evil actions. Yes, evil is the word.The Nuremberg Tribunal called aggressive war "essentially an evil thing." To initiate such a war -- under any circumstances -- "is not only an international crime," said the tribunal, "it is the supreme international crime," because it carries all the others in its wake. It breaks down all barriers of law and morality,in states and in individuals, creating the necessary inner chaos -- and physical opportunity -- for the most abysmal perversions of human nature"
Compulsory reading for Tony Blair, John Howard et al.? - Lynette
Friday May 27 2005
By Chris Floyd
Seymour Hersh, chronicler of madness from the My Lai massacre to Abu Ghraib, tells a chilling story of the lingering aftermath of atrocity.
As the revelations of brutal torture by the victors were first spilling from conquered Iraq, Hersh was contacted by a family member of a young U.S. woman who had served in a unit policing Abu Ghraib, the Guardian reports. The young soldier had "come back a different person," the relative said: distraught and angry, turning her back on her family.
The relative retrieved a computer she'd lent the soldier to use in Iraq -- and found there a file crammed with torture porn: photo after photo of a naked Iraqi prisoner writhing before the onslaught of fierce police dogs. One of the pictures was later published and became an emblem of the dehumanizing brutality of the U.S. occupation.
The young soldier thought she'd been sent to fight for democracy and freedom, the relative told Hersh, but it was a lie. Instead she found herself in Hell, committing crimes, violating her own nature, her sense of duty perverted by leaders who twisted it into a weapon to serve aggressive war. Since her return, said the relative, the young soldier keeps getting black tattoos, more and more of them, slowly covering her entire body -- literally trying to change her skin.
The fate of this soul-broken, tormented daughter of America embodies the nation itself under the malevolent reign of President George W. Bush. The whole country is changing its skin, trying to cloak its complicity and shame with a wilful disfigurement. Who could look on the hideous form of Bush's America -- the snarling faces belching rancor on Fox News; the rabid partisans oozing bile through the halls of Congress; the money-glutting religious extremists relentlessly pushing ignorance, intolerance and theocratic dominion; the corporate beasts devouring the landscape, destroying communities, writing their own laws, gorging on unprecedented profits wrung from global sweatshops, corruption and war; the somnolent, silent, acquiescent public, blankly countenancing torture, deceit, military aggression and the destruction of their constitutional order -- and not see in all this a body politic in profound psychological crisis: traumatized, guilt-ridden, turning itself inside out in a frantic attempt to escape the truth?
And this desperation only grows as the truth piles up, fragment by fragment, dug out from Bush's slagheap of lies. In the past month, there has been a barrage of "smoking guns" outlining the Regime's criminality in such stark and blatant terms that even the U.S. corporate media -- those cringing enablers of atrocity -- have been forced to take some notice.
First came the leak of the 2002 "Downing Street Memo," where Britain's war council confirmed, once again, that Bush was determined to conquer Iraq no matter what and was "fixing the facts and intelligence around the policy." Of course, this was old news to anyone outside the echo chamber of the U.S. media. For example, we reported here in September 2002 that top Bushists like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld had signed off on a plan in September 2000 calling for the military occupation of Iraq -- even if Saddam Hussein's regime had already been overthrown. Thus the "liberation" of Iraq was just as much a phony casus belli as the nonexistent WMD.
Even more fresh evidence of Bush's deliberate deception surfaced in The Washington Post last week, with a story detailing the mountain of doubts, caveats and outright debunking about Iraqi WMD that U.S. intelligence services placed on Bush's desk before the war -- all of it wilfully ignored as Bush continued to deceive the nation about the "undoubted" WMD "threat."
Then last week, The New York Times highlighted Bush's murderous torture system in Afghanistan: U.S. captors beating prisoners to death, pulpifying their limbs as part of a regimen of exquisite torments later exported to Iraq -- including to Abu Ghraib, where Hersh's tattooed soldier entered Hell.
We have reported here in great detail on the voluminous evidence establishing that the endemic, systematic torture in Bush's gulag was instigated by the White House, sanctioned by Bush's appointed "legal experts" who ruled that as commander in chief, he is not constrained by laws against torture -- or, indeed, by any law whatsoever. Equally copious evidence establishes that Rumsfeld and selected Pentagon officials eagerly implemented the torture regimen -- then systematically worked to block or limit investigations once the truth began leaking out. For example, one of the low-ranking "bad apples" finally convicted in the Afghan murders -- after extended Pentagon cover-ups -- was sentenced to just three months in jail by a military court this week, The Associated Press reports. Three months for helping beat a chained, helpless man to death.
The evidence of the Regime's culpability for torture and mass murder is overwhelming. The burden of proof is no longer on Bush's accusers, but on those who would defend his evil actions. Yes, evil is the word. The Nuremberg Tribunal called aggressive war "essentially an evil thing." To initiate such a war -- under any circumstances -- "is not only an international crime," said the tribunal, "it is the supreme international crime," because it carries all the others in its wake. It breaks down all barriers of law and morality, in states and in individuals, creating the necessary inner chaos -- and physical opportunity -- for the most abysmal perversions of human nature.
There are other evils in the world, including the terrorism that Bush invokes, mendaciously, to justify an act of aggression he planned long before the Sept. 11 attacks. But the invasion of Iraq is the "supreme international crime" of our day. No tattoo, no new skin can blot it out.
The Unknown Unknowns of Abu Ghraib
The Guardian, May 21, 2005
In U.S. Report, Brutal Details of 2 Afghan Inmates' Deaths
New York Times, May 20, 2005
GuantÀnamo and beyond: The Continuing Pursuit of Unchecked Executive Power
Amnesty International, May 13, 2005
Pentagon Prepped Torture Defense, Said President Not Bound By Law
CBS News, June 7, 2004
Soldier in Afghan Prisoner Death Gets Three-Month Sentence
Associated Press, May 22, 2005
Dark Passage: PNAC's Blueprint for Empire
Excerpt from the book, Empire Burlesque
The Lies That Led to War
Salon.com, May 19, 2005
Pre-War Findings Worried Analysts
Washington Post, May 21, 2005
Secret Way to War
TomDispatch/The New York Review of Books, May 15, 2005
Memo Regarding Presidential Executive Order on Interrogations
Federal Bureau of Investigation, May 22, 2004
The Torture Memos: A Legal Narrative
CounterPunch, Feb. 2, 2005
No Degree, and No Way Back to the Middle
New York Times, May 24, 2005
Patterns of Abuse
New York Times, May 23, 2005
Religious Nationalism: The Weakest Link
Fredrick Clarkson, May 20, 2005
Corporate Money Washes Ashore, Not Jobs
Chicago Tribune, May 22, 2005
Virginity or Death!
CBSnews.com, May 19, 2005
They Really Are Watching You: Real ID
Commondreams.org, May 18, 2005
Pin Heads: The Bushist Push for Theocracy
CounterPunch, March 12, 2004
Forced Labor A "Social Evil," UN Report Says
Human Rights Reporter, May 19, 2005