Home     Writers     Op/Ed     Book Reviews     News     Bookstore     Photoshops     Submit     Search     Contact Us     Advertise  
  You are here: 





Famous Last Words
Wednesday, 11 April 2007 22:13
by Jayne Lyn Stahl

"The CIA does not conduct or condone torture," or so they, U.S. intelligence officials say, but try telling that to an Iranian diplomat, Jalaf Sharafi, who was abducted, in Baghdad, in February, and just released last week. Only hours after statements made by the 15 British sailors captured by Tehran alleging that they were blindfolded, and subjected to physical, as well as psychological abuse by their Iranian captors, come allegations by an Iranian official held in Baghdad that he was tortured by his CIA captors.

Mr. Sharafi, on Saturday, told Iranian state television that, while he was captured by the Iraqi military, his abductors were "driving U.S. coalition vehicles," (AP) and that he was interrogated by the CIA about his country's relationship with Iraq. After he told his captors that "Iran merely has official relations with the Iraqi government and officials, they intensified tortures," and tortured him "through different methods days and nights" over a two month period. The diplomat's body still shows signs of torture. What's more, proof that Sharafi's arrest, and subsequent questioning were covert operations, and not above board exists insofar as he was dumped at the back of the Baghdad airport as if he were little more than a mob informant.

This capture, and abuse of an Iranian government official is startling, because he is a diplomat, but is nothing new in these days of extraordinary rendition. What is different is that the CIA has now openly inserted itself into the process by which captives are subjected to ongoing abuse. Sharafi's contention that he was abducted by an Iraqi group that is controlled by the CIA now introduces a different factor into the equation. As a consequence of the Bush administration's so-called war on terror, and laws that have been passed that compromise the integrity of due process, habeas corpus, and redefine torture itself, those in American intelligence who feel compelled to raid, seize, and harass Iranians, or anyone else they deem to be "enemy combatants," may now do so with impunity.

While a U.S. embassy spokesman, in Iraq, repeatedly insists that the U.S. had no part in the abduction, or detention of the Iranian diplomat, bear in mind that legislation passed by Congress, last year, the Military Commissions Act, allows for what it calls "alternative interrogation techniques," some of which may well have been used by those holding Sharafi. And, as the Washington Post reported several months ago, even the president acknowledges the presence of secret cells, as well as the practice of outsourcing torture, which has euphemistically come to be known as "extraordinary rendition."

One of the inherent expediencies of the Military Commissions Act is that our government no longer has to enlist the aid of countries where torture is routine, and can now carry out practices, in defiance of Geneva Conventions, that were once synonymous only with regimes of Augusto Pinochet and Edi Amin. Thanks to the Military Commissions Act, torture is now in the eye of the beholder, subjective, and no longer defined by international law. Indeed, it is as if this administration has fashioned its own private language with newfangled phrases like "enemy combatant." What's more, while the U.S. denies any complicity with the Iraqis in capturing Mr. Sharafi, keep in mind that the U.S. military denied any role in the killing of Saddam Hussein, too.
An event preceding Sharafi's capture, and which received little notice by the American media, may have precipitated the taking of fifteen sailors by Iran earlier this month. On an official visit to Baghdad in mid-January, two high ranking Iranian security officers came dangerously close to sharing the same fate as their colleague when American helicopters raided an Iranian security office, in Kurdistan, and took five junior Iranian officers hostage. (Independent U.K.) The U.S. accuses the five men of working in Iranian intelligence and, to this day, is still holding them. This under-publicized, and bungled raid by our government may well have been the catalyst for the seizing, by Iran, of the fifteen British marines. But, the underlying, and galling question is: who is holding the American press, and media hostage, and why is the January raid, and ongoing detention of five Iranian officials receiving little, if any, attention? Have the press and media, in this country, been coopted by the same propaganda machine that brought us into the Persian Gulf in the first place?

While the U.S. mission flagrantly failed in its efforts to seize, and detain Mohammed Jafari of the Iranian National Security Council, and General Minojahar Frouzanda, chief of intelligence of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, it did succeed in capturing five Iranian officials from whom nothing has been heard since. What is the official party line on that one? American officials claim that the five currently held are believed to be "closely tied to activities targeting Iraq and coalition forces." But, by way of contrast, a senior Iraqi official asserts that the goal of the Americans was to capture Iranian officials whose only plan was to work towards a climate of cooperation, and "bilateral security."

Known and very popular cialis coupon which gives all the chance to receive a discount for a preparation which has to be available and exactly cialis coupons has been found in the distant room of this big house about which wood-grouses in the houses tell.

That a raid on an Iranian security office, in Iraq, was carried out by our own forces, and not by Iraqi puppets, is further proof of just how far over the line the foreign policy of this administration has gone; the concept of preemption no longer applies to those states our commander-in-chief and his advisors have deemed the "enemy," but those who have nothing more than the mere potential for being enemies.

At some point, these five Iranian officials currently detained, in Iraq, since January, will also be released . One wonders if, like Mr. Sharafi, they, too, will attest to "alternative interrogation techniques," and acts of torture. And, if so, then the rubric, "The CIA does not conduct or condone torture," can only be seen as famous last words as, sooner or later, evidence to the contrary can no longer be denied.

It is no secret that the CIA has a long, and distinguished career of meddling in the internal affairs of foreign countries but, in the past, few of their victims have survived to tell about what they have done. Thanks to the "terrorists," and our current president's hubris, we now have an infrastructure in place, as well as a sympathetic Congress, to look into the bold transgressions of those who'd like us to think they have right, and might on their side. So, it is now time that American intelligence investigate itself to get to the truth, and bring those responsible for giving commands to torture, as well as those who carry out those heinous commands, to justice. There can be no glass ceiling for acountability, and those investigations into criminal misconduct must not be allowed to surrender to calls for executive privilege. There is but one way that history can interpret our apathy, and silence, as complicity in these crimes.
More from this author:
Following in the Footsteps... (8481 Hits)
by Jayne Lyn Stahl The manic warriors, in Washington, are at it again, only now they've found someone who can manage more than one syllable at...
Worldwide Open Season on the Press (12611 Hits)
by Jayne Lyn Stahl On an otherwise quiet street in Istanbul, this morning, a 53 year old Turkish citizen of Armenian descent was gunned down...
On Hillary's announcement... (7733 Hits)
by Jayne Lyn Stahl You may have read the transcript of a speech given by George McGovern in The Nation last week in which he rightly...
An Open Letter to "The Decider" (8292 Hits)
by Jayne Lyn Stahl While the odds are probably better of getting a response from Santa, there are a few things I'd like to say if you can...
"Notes from the Undergrown: State of the Oilman Address" (8168 Hits)
by Jayne Lyn Stahl The president's speech last night was more important for what it didn't say than for what it did. In an address that could...
Related Articles:
Last Sunday: Digging in and digging deep (9503 Hits)
by Robert Jensen [Remarks to the first in a series of “Last Sunday” community gatherings in Austin, TX, November 26, 2006.] ...
Capitalism first – climate last (11544 Hits)
by William Bowles I think it should be pretty clear to all by now that regardless that the ruling elites of the planet know what’s in store...
Tomgram: Biking with Donald Rumsfeld - Rumsfeld's Last Stand (14507 Hits)
by Tom Engelhardt Last week, someone slipped New York Times reporters Michael R. Gordon and David S. Cloud the secret memo finished by...
Last Bad Deal Gone Down: War Profits Trump the Rule of Law (7560 Hits)
by Chris Floyd This is my latest piece for Truthout.org. I. The Wings of the Dove Slush funds, oil sheikhs, prostitutes, Swiss...
One Last Chance for Sanity in Iraq (5439 Hits)
By Ramzy Baroud US President George W Bush's new war strategy due to be officially announced on Wednesday, which will likely meet an uphill...

Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Comments (0)add comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger



Top 123