Friday, March 10, 2006

Legalized Torture and Creepinfg Fascism

A third useful article on US use of torture is the following by Alfred McCoy, from TomDispatch (see  I heard McCoy speak on Democracy Now recently and he had many interesting things to say about the CIA's development of psychological torture techniques (and later about the CIA's involvement in the illegal drug trade).  Maybe I will post an article I saw a while ago on the mind breaking methods developed by the CIA in the 60's or 70's, supposedly modelled on Soviet methods (it could be true, but I won't believe it automatically out of prejudice against the USSR).  Britain is seemingly taking a higher road on torture than our government, although I am skeptical (and I recall that Britain had its own Iraqi prisoner torture photos coming out at one point). This article also shows the creep of American fascism.  Bush's claim of a "unitary executive branch" violates the Constitutional separation of powers and in this case is a claim that the President is above the law and Congressional oversight.  I'm currently reading Michael Ruppert's book Crossing the Rubicon, which links Peak Oil, illegal drugs, and the 9/11 attacks, and this week I got to the chapter on repressing the American people and it was chilling.  We might have the form of democracy right now, but everything is in place for the mask to come off when the ruling class feels truly threatened.  Without a strong revolutionary movement the government is not threatened enough domestically to crackdown at home.  That isn't to say that things are good now (witness Bush's flouting of Congress and other literally criminal acts and the militarization of New Orleans after Katrina). 
Why the McCain Torture Ban Won't Work
   By Alfred W. McCoy

   Wednesday 08 February 2006

The Bush legacy of legalized torture.
   Just before Christmas, two of the world's most
venerable legislative bodies engaged in erudite,
impassioned debate over what the right balance should
be between the imperatives of national security and
international prohibitions on torture. They arrived at
starkly divergent conclusions that reveal the depth of
damage the war on terror is doing to this country's
civil liberties.

   On December 7, the House of Lords, reviewing cases
in which a dozen Muslim militants were to be deported,
spoke with moral clarity on the issue of torture,
branding it "an unqualified evil" which should have no
place in the proud, thousand-year tradition of British
justice. Just a week later, the U.S. Senate amended
the Defense Appropriations Bill to prohibit the
"abuse" of detainees in American custody, including
the many Muslims at our Guantanamo prison, but did so
on the purely pragmatic, almost amoral grounds that it
"leads to bad intelligence." Under pressure from the
White House, the senators also loaded this legislation
with loopholes that may soon allow coerced testimony -
extracted through torture - into American courts for
the first time in two centuries.

   This disconcerting contrast is but one sign that,
under the Bush administration, the United States is
moving to publicly legitimate the use of torture, even
to the point of twisting this congressional ban on
inhumane interrogation in ways that could ultimately
legalize such acts. And following their President's
lead, the American people seem to be developing a
tolerance, even a taste, for torture.

   This country may, in fact, be undergoing an
historic shift with profound implications for
America's international standing. It seems to be
moving from the wide-ranging but highly secretive
tortures wielded by the Central Intelligence Agency
during the Cold War decades to an open, even proud use
of coercive interrogation as a formal weapon in the
arsenal of American power, acceptable both to U.S.
courts and the American people.
(the rest is at the Web address above)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Study group update - meeting March 25th

Below is an update on the next study group meeting.  I
suggest a Lenin reading, but it probably doesn't add
to what is said in the other readings and is more of a
summary.  Please let interested people or calendars
know about this.  For more information email

The group was advertised at the Conference of Students
United for a Responsible Global Environment February
25th at NCCU and I plan to table March 18th at the
Fayetteville anti-war protest.

Triangle Marxist Forum March discussion on the
evolution of society (the theory of historical
materialism), Saturday March 25th at 1:30pm at Duke's
Center for Documentary Studies (
For the list of background readings see

Readings for the March meeting:

Marx and Engels:  Communist Manifesto, Sections I and

Engels:  The Origin of the Family, Private Propety,
and the State, Sections I and II

A Short History of the Communist Party of the Soviet
Union (Bolshevik),  Chapter 4 Section II

A useful overview:  Lenin:  The Teachings of Karl
Marx, Section I:  Marx's Teachings – The Class

These readings are also available on the Web.
Marx2Mao is a recommended source, if it is still
available, and the Marxist Internet Archive might have
all of these readings as well.  Email me for help
finding texts.

The discussion won't be completely reading based, so
if you don't read everything you can still participate.  The
format will be a discussion based on what questions/comments
people bring and on general study questions.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Second Rendition Article - How NC Relates to the USA's Global Torture Archipelago

The Guradian/UK published an article March 19th (republished at, Afghanistan: "One Huge US Jail," which was the first article I saw on the Johnston County torture connection. The article alleges that the airplane based here has been used in the kidnapping of foreign citizens for torture and in several cases murder under torture. It also describes the lawless and oppressive occupation of Afghanistan by our country and supposedly more peace loving countries in Europe that later verbally opposed the Iraq War. There are also articles on the global torture network in Alliance!,

Triangle Marxist Forum discussion group update: The next meeting will be March 25th 1:30-3:30 at the Center for Documentary Studies again. Also, I'm going to suggest a Lenin reading that provides a good overview, but the other readings cover the same material, so they are somewhat interchangeable. I'll post more later in the week.