On the 3rd December 2014, the Senate Committee on the CIA torture programme finally published a report, after a delay of 2 years and heavily edited. The original report is about 6000 pages but only 525 pages were approved by the state for publication. Even the watered-down version is a massive indictment on the systemic violence that imperialism requires in order for its total domination to continue. We present an initial analysis of the report which must be seen together with the report from the Open Society Foundation called Globalizing torture (which is in itself another watered-down version of the scale of the imperialist terror apparatus).
Not a single act of ‘terror’ was prevented through this torture programme
The report reveals that not a single act of ‘terror’ was prevented through information gathered from this torture programme. This means that through internet surveillance, tapping of phones, etc, imperialism gained all the information it needed to prevent planned terror attacks. No new information surfaced through torture. In fact, sometimes the information uncovered was false, which led to the unnecessary harassment of people who were innocent. Imperialism knew all this as they constantly monitored the programme.
So if preventing ‘terror’ was not the aim of this programme, what was?
Death and human experimentation centres
The report states that when the torture sites were set up, there was ‘no release strategy’. In other words, once prisoners were sent to torture sites, there was no plan for them to be released. In other words, they were death camps. The report does not state how many prisoners died at the hands of the torturers. It only acknowledges that some died. Some died within a few days of release while the few who survived cannot take legal action against the CIA due to indemnity legislation that has been passed. The CIA deliberately chose operatives with a history of violence and a history of psychological problems. When prisoners died, the CIA took no measures to censure or remove the torturers; in fact they were kept in their positions.
The report cites that the CIA was reluctant for full details of the torture camps to be given to the public structures of state as they feared running foul of the existing US laws on human experimentation. Thus we can conclude that the prisoners were in fact being used for human experimentation on the limits of torture. This is further supported by the report which details that often techniques were repeatedly applied, even though the CIA knew they caused severe trauma.
2 psychologists, who had no background in interrogation, were given control of several aspects of the torture programme; they were allowed to test their theories and in several cases actually carried out the torture themselves. 2 private companies were set up, one run by the psychologists themselves, later carried out most of the torture, making up 83% of the torture staff.
The complicity of the US state in the death and human experimentation camps
The report contradicts itself when it claims that only the CIA knew and no other state structure was involved. Firstly, ex-President George Bush gave the order to set up the death camps. This meant that he and his administration knew about the programme in all its details. That Dick Cheney still defends the programme and would not hesitate for it to continue, also shows that the state apparatus knew about the extent of the torture. In fact the death camps were part of the normal operations of US imperialist control of the world.
The report claims that the programme was ended. How are we to believe this? Guantanamo Bay is still open, with the full blessing of the current state apparatus. How many more sites are still open? Who really knows?
That these death and human experimentation programmes are part of the ‘normal’ operations of imperialism is also shown by the repeated enactment of indemnity legislation and the refusal of the state to institute charges of any nature against the perpetrators.
It is claimed that Senator Rockefeller did not know about the full details of the programme, that the CIA lied to the state apparatus. This is just a cover up. The Rockefellers and other capitalists depend on the hundreds of US military bases around the world to enforce the domination of their monopoly capitalist control. The CIA faces no retribution for its ‘lies’, which shows that they were just carrying out their purpose, namely to assist and provide intelligence and support to the terror campaign of the state and imperialism.
In fact the report acknowledges that putting a prisoner in a coffin and burying them is part of the techniques used by the state, although they claim that it has been discontinued. This coffin technique was used in this programme, which shows that de facto, the practice has continued. It has been reported that a prisoner was buried in a coffin for 11 days and was subjected to the sounds of insects scratching the box. These incidents show that it was not a matter of ‘poor training’ or ‘inexperience’, but that torture is an integral part of the functioning of the imperialist state apparatus.
The report also states that torture should be limited to what is allowed in the military manual. This shows that torture is not only part of the CIA techniques but also that of the military. The report does not reveal what the contents of the military torture manual are.
The complicity of many capitalist governments
The report on Globalizing torture reports that at least 54 countries either hosted the death and human experimentation camps or facilitated rendition or kidnapping for these centres. The Senate report states that the CIA paid millions of dollars to government ministers and officials to allow these death camps to be set up in their host countries. These countries knew there was ‘no release strategy’ and thus are complicit in the atrocities committed by imperialism. Here we have a world network of torture and human experimentation, in more countries than the Nazis ever had. There is a long history of US imperialism making tens of thousands of activists disappear (through, for example, their dictatorships in South America). The kidnapping and disappearance of 43 leftist students recently, in Mexico, is a chilling reminder that the imperialist terror apparatus is very much alive and kicking. There are also strong parallels between the techniques used by both the CIA and the Israeli state. The Israeli state has strong links with the Kenyan regime. Khalid Rashid was kidnapped in South Africa and taken to Kenya for about 6 months. It is quite possible that his torture was overseen by the Kenyan, Israeli and CIA security. The existence of death squads among the Kenyan police for the purpose of assassinating political opponents, is further evidence of support from Israel who have the same policy but on a much wider scale.
The torture and human experimentation project of the CIA dovetails with the actions of the Israeli state towards the Palestinians, its long term torture and testing of weapons and chemicals on Palestinians and then arms fairs to market ‘tested’ products. That torture and human experimentation by US imperialism is systemic is evidenced by the $2bn arms grants given to Israel every year, knowing full well what the uses of such arms are for. The Senate report does not even go into such detail which shows that they have self-limited their own scope, that their own role is really damage-control- rather let the state apparatus be seen to be the one revealing these atrocities than them appearing through another damning leak.
There is a lot of confusion in the left over the role of the Assad regime. Some even portray this regime as being ‘anti-imperialist’. The reports on torture show the reality. In 2005 Canadian citizen Maher Arar was kidnapped by the CIA while in transit in New York. He was flown out to Jordan and then sent to Syria for torture. He was kept in a coffin-like hole in the ground for months. It was only after an international campaign that Arar was released.
Thus we can conclude that Syria held death and human experimentation centres for the CIA and that the Assad regime and quite likely Assad himself, received millions of dollars from the CIA for operating these. [2 CIA torture centres were in the Palestine prison and an area called ‘the Grave’]. Yes, Assad, like Saddam Husein, were puppets of imperialism. When it suits imperialism, such as when they prove incapable of controlling the masses on their behalf, they sometimes replace their puppet with a new puppet that is not so tarnished. This does not turn Assad into an ‘anti-imperialist’ hero; he remains a puppet being disciplined by imperialism so that he does their bidding .
The countries that co-operated with the CIA in the torture, death and human experimentation programme include, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Libya (in the time of Gaddafi), Egypt, Turkey, Syria, UAE, UK, Germany, Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Gambia, Morocco, Algeria, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Ethiopia, Somalia (warlords there), Thailand, Malaysia, Afghanistan, Albania, Austria, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Bosnia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran (in about 2002 when they handed over 15 kidnapped prisoners to the clutches of the CIA), Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mauritania, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Yemen and South Africa.
Some of those kidnapped by the CIA are still missing.
The complicity of the SA government
Saud Memon was kidnapped by the South African Intelligence agency in 2003 and handed over to the CIA. He was suspected of being involved in the killing of journalist Daniel Pearl. He was tortured for years then handed over to the Pakistan authorities for release. He died within days. No trial was ever held.
In 2005 Khalid Rashid, a Pakistani citizen, was kidnapped by the NIA (National Intelligence Agency), held at Estcourt cells in KwazuluNatal; then he was taken to Waterkloof military air base and was flown out in a private plane of the AVE/ex-Phoenix Air to Kenya. There he was kept for 6 months and then taken to Pakistan, held in a CIA torture centre. He was released after 2 years without any charge or apology.
Ronnie Kassrils, who was Intelligence Minister at the time, claims he was not aware of the matter and thought that it was a normal immigration deportation. Since when are British and CIA agents involved in immigration deportations? Since when is it normal that a chartered plane from a shady military merchant from Uzbekistan allowed access to a military base to deport 1 person? No Mr Kassrils, your answer betrays your lies.
Now we can see from the Senate report that the SA government, possibly Mr Mbeki and possibly Mr Kassrils received millions of dollars to open access to the CIA for their death and human experimentation programme. Khalid Rashid was flown out to Kenya- this shows this was not a ‘immigration deportation’ but a kidnapping for and behalf of the CIA. Even the Supreme Court of Appeal has ruled on this matter to declare the deportation illegal but you, Mr Kassrils, still stick to the story that it was an immigration matter. Once Khalid Rashid went missing, you made no attempt to search for him and to secure his safety. No Mr Kassrils, your actions show that you were part of the CIA programme of death and human experimentation.
Even though, publicly, the programme was closed down in 2009, it is possible that the Zuma regime was and still is involved in partnership with the CIA for aiding the kidnapping and possible torture of whoever is deemed suspect.
Members of the Numsa United Front and activists in general need to raise questions about the role of the SA regime and in particular of Mr Kassrils in the death and human experimentation programme of the CIA, seeing that you have elected him as one of your leadership. During the watch of Mr Kassrils as Intelligence Minister, the now late Vice President of Samwu, cde Boss, was strip-searched by Mossad agents at OR Tambo, where Kassrils made sure Mossad has a permanent office. We are owed an explanation by Mr Kassrils and the current Zuma regime.
The open operation by Mossad and the CIA on SA soil show that US imperialism is in real control- this goes hand in hand with the fact that US imperialism controls the mines, banks and best land; this is not neo-liberalism but the nature of imperialist capitalist control of SA, Africa and the world.
Torture has become a branch of imperialist science
The torturers are still part of the CIA, in their same positions, which shows that the torture programme and the human experimentation and death centres that are associated with it, are an integral part of how imperialism exercises its domination over the masses of the earth. Torture and death has become a branch of imperialist science that receives regular budgetary support. This shows the hypocrisy of the sing song of Obama of ‘universal human values’; The Senate report shows that monopoly capital is based on universal human terror. The United Nations and its so-called Human Rights agencies have not even raised a whisper of protest on the CIA death and human experimentation centres- this shows an acceptance of these practices as part of ‘normal’ monopoly capitalist control.
We should launch protests for the closure of all US embassies and consulates; for the closure of Guantanamo Bay prison and all other death and human experimentation centres, including those that may be in Africa and in SA. We demand that all the political prisoners of the CIA and Israeli state be released; that all the missing prisoners be delivered alive to their families. Where they have died, their bodies should be returned to their families. We should protest against the complicity of the various governments and in our case, against the ANC govt and their partnership with imperialism. We demand the closure of all the hundreds of US military bases, from Botswana, Diego Garcia, to Djibouti to Berlin, to Japan, etc.
We live in a period of barbarism and this is yet another reason why we need a revolutionary working class International to organise the vanguard fighters against the system and to spearhead the ushering in of Socialism.
Workers International Vanguard Party 16.12.2014