The Stench of American Hypocrisy, Part 2
In a recent column,
“The Stench of American Hypocrisy,” I noted that US public
officials and media are on their high horse about the
rule of law in Burma while the rule of law collapses
unremarked in the US. Americans enjoy beating up other
peoples for American sins. Indeed, hypocrisy has become
the defining characteristic of the United States.
Hypocrisy in America is now so
commonplace it is no longer noticed. Consider the
pro-football star Michael Vick. In a recent game Vick
scored 6 touchdowns, totally dominating the playing
field. His performance brought new heights of adulation,
causing National Public Radio to wonder if the sports
public shouldn`t retain a tougher attitude toward a
dog torturer who spent 1.5 years in prison
for holding dog fights.
I certainly do not approve of
mistreating animals. But where is the outrage over the
US government`s torture of people? How can the
government put a person in jail for torturing dogs but
turn a blind eye to members of the government who
Under both US and international
law, torture of humans is a crime, but the federal
judiciary turns a blind eye and even allows false
confessions extracted by torture to be used in courts or
military tribunals to send tortured people to more years
in prison based on nothing but their coerced
Compare Vick`s treatment of dogs
with, for example, the US government`s treatment of
soldier” Omar Khadr. Khadr was 15 when he was
captured in Afghanistan in 2002, the only survivor of a
firefight and an air strike on a Taliban position. He
was near death, with wounds to his eyes and shoulder and
shot twice in the back. The Americans accused the boy of
having thrown a hand grenade during the military
encounter that resulted in the death of a US soldier.
As there was no witness to support
the accusation, Khadr was tortured into submission. He
was beaten, deprived of sleep, left hanging with his
arms chained above his head, hooded and threatened
by dogs. The
National Post of Canada (Nov.
6, 2010) reports:
interrogator at Bagram admitted to telling the teenage
boy that unless he co-operated, he would be sent to a
U.S. prison, where a
group of black men would
gang rape him to death.”
Despite this and other evidence
that Khadr was coerced by torture into agreeing that he
killed a U.S. soldier during a military firefight that
left Khadr all but dead, U.S. military judge Col.
Patrick Parrish ruled that Khadr`s
“confession” had been freely given and could be used
to convict him in court.
The charge against Khadr is an
invention. We don`t know whether Khadr was a combatant
or just happened to be in the place where the American
attack took place. Khadr is accused of
“murder in violation of the laws of war.” Such a crime does
not exist. Soldiers who are enemy combatants are not
tried for killing one another. As the Americans
had pulled Khadr`s
“crime” out of a hat, they definitely needed a guilty plea. Shortly
“trial,” the Americans told Khadr that if he did not
plead guilty and escaped conviction, they would hold him
indefinitely in a torture prison as an enemy combatant.
This is the behavior of Nazi
Germany. When German courts freed Nazi victims from
false charges, the Gestapo simply picked up the cleared
defendants when they left the court house and sent them
to camps or prisons.
At the last minute new charges
appeared out of thin air in order to beef up the
nonexistent case against Khadr. He was forced to
admit to killing two Afghan soldiers and to sign away
his right to sue his jailers for torturing him. In
court, Col. Parrish repeatedly emphasized that Khadr
admitted his guilt freely of his own accord. In other
words, Parrish lied in court by presenting a coerced
confession as “willingly given.” This is typical of US
In a powerful editorial,
“Stalin Would Have
Been Proud,” the National Post of
“what it really was, was a show trial. . . . They
could have told him to confess that he had
simultaneously piloted all four hijacked planes on 9/11,
and he would have done it.”
The National Post
goes on to say that Stalin`s torture techniques, which “inspired
the standard operating procedures at Abu Ghraib, Bagram,
Guantanamo and the secret black sites, were not designed
to elicit truth. They were designed to produce false
The Americans need false
confessions in order to maintain fear of terrorists
among the deceived population and in order to cover up
the US government`s crimes of torture.
If a case can be worse, it is the
case of the young American educated neuroscientist, Dr.
Aafia Siddiqui. Read Yvonne Ridley`s account
CagePrisoners, February 12, 2010.
Siddiqui and her three young
children were kidnapped. Siddiqui was tortured and
abused by the Americans and their Pakistani puppets
simply because Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, according to
Wikipedia her second husband`s uncle, mentioned her name
during one of the 180 times that he was waterboarded.
Reminds me of reports by Soviet dissidents that when
they were being tortured by the KGB, they tried to
remember names on gravestones to give to the
authorities, and when they couldn`t they gave whatever
names popped into their memories.
Siddiqui`s young children
apparently are still missing. While she was in
detention, Siddiqui herself was shot in the stomach by
an American soldier, allegedly after she managed to
seize his rifle and point it at him. This absurd story
was enough for federal judge Richard Berman to sentence
her to prison for 86 years for assault with a deadly
weapon and attempting to kill U.S.personnel. Obviously,
Berman knows where his bread is buttered, and it is not
We imprisoned Michael Vick, because
he tortured dogs. But Department of Justice (DOJ)
officials John Yoo and Jay Bybee, in close collaboration
with the George W. Bush White House and VP Dick Cheney`s
office, fabricated the argument that US and
international laws against torture do not apply to the
US president. Yoo and Bybee were found by the DOJ`s
Office of Professional Responsibility to have violated
professional standards. However, DOJ official David
Margolis reduced the charges to “exercised poor
judgment.” This despite the fact
that Yoo actually asserted to an Office of Professional
Responsibility investigator than Bush`s powers as
commander-in-chief provided Bush with the authority to
unilaterally order, without recourse to law, the mass
murder of civilians.
Vick didn`t get off with
“exercised poor judgment.” In US “justice,” torturing dogs is a worse crime than torturing people.
In the US, if you torture a dog you
go to prison, but if you are a member of the government
you can give a green light to torture, and your reward
will be to be appointed professor of law at the
“liberal” University of California, Berkeley (Yoo) and to the
federal bench (Bybee).
With so many executive branch known
criminals running around at large, what did the
lobbyists` representatives, aka the US Congress, do?
They excoriated Charles Rangel, the black US
Representative from Harlem.
What had Rangel done? Had he
indulged in even more heinous acts of torture, rape, and
murder than the executive branch officials? No.
Rangel helped a school raise money, and as the school
was going to name itself after him, Rangel
personally” from using the power of his office to
help the school to raise money. Rangel also
committed another grave crime. He used a New York
apartment, which was designated for residential use
only, as a campaign office. Rangel also failed to pay
income tax on rent from a condo in the Dominican
Republic, most likely an insignificant sum of which an
80-year old man run off his feet by his demanding job
might not have been aware.
Because of these
the House Rules Committee concluded that Rangel brought
discredit upon the House of Representatives.
I mean, really, how many things can
you think of that are of less consequence than Rangel`s
transgressions? We have a Congress that is bought and
paid for by lobbyists, whose every vote is lobbyist
determined by campaign contributions that financially
benefit the Representatives and Senators. But Rangel is
guilty because he helped a school raise money?
We have a Congress that has
forfeited its power to declare war and sits complicit
while the president not only usurps its power but uses
illegitimate power to commit war crimes by launching
naked aggressions on the basis of lies and deception.
We have a Congress that turns a
blind eye to criminal actions by the president, vice
president, and executive branch, including violations of
US statutory law against torture, violations of US
statutory law against spying on Americans without
warrants, and violations of every legal protection in
the Bill of Rights, from the right of privacy to habeas
The hallmarks of the remade US
legal system, thanks to the
“war on terror,”
are coerced self-incrimination and indefinite
detention or murder without charges or evidence.
democracy” America has resurrected the legal system
of the Dark Ages.
But Rangel who helped a school is
stripped of his Ways and Means chairmanship and censored
by the bought-and-paid-for-Congress. One has the
impression that Rangel must have done something far more
serious, such as criticize the illegal wars or the
banksters` rip-off of American taxpayers. Or do we
simply have a case of white people ganging up on a
With the criminal mega-rich
banksters, thanks to their agents ensconced in the US
Treasury, regulatory agencies, and the Federal Reserve,
free of regulatory oversight, on whose head does
regulation fall? It falls on 13-year olds who sell
cupcakes in public parks.
In Westchester County, New York,
New Castle Councilman Michael Wolfensohn called the
police on 13-year olds Andrew DeMarchis and Kevin Graff
for selling cupcakes, cookies, brownies and Rice Krispie
treats in a Chappaqua park. The kids were guilty of
being vendors on town property without a license.
The kids were making about $100 a
day and had capitalist dreams of starting a business.
regulation stopped them cold. A license cost between
$150 and $350 for a scant two hours, and a $1 million
insurance certificate is also required.
So banksters, who were able to
purchase with campaign contributions, and who knows how
much in under-the-table-payoffs, the repeal of the
depression era banking regulations and then some, are
scot free after having robbed taxpayers of bailout funds
and their pension retirements. But the cupcake business
of two 13-year olds is closed down.
What does it say about a population
of 300 million that fails to see the hypocrisy in this?
Has a more insouciant population
Paul Craig Roberts
was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during
President Reagan`s first term. He was Associate
Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has
held numerous academic appointments, including the
William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and
International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior
Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford
University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by French
President Francois Mitterrand. He is the author of
Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider`s Account of
Policymaking in Washington;
and the Soviet Economy
Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy,
and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of
The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and
Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name
of Justice. Click
for Peter Brimelow`s
interview with Roberts about the epidemic of