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Pakistan, United States, Italy and Morocco: What these four nations have in common?

Saturday May 12, 2018 3:21 PM, Richard Oxman

Gina Haspel

It’s good, of course, that Dr. Binoy Kampmark documented the recent Gina Haspel Hearings. And it’s encouraging to hear that former CIA employee Ray McGovern is writing articles about torture and continuing to put himself on the line in public protesting in the faces of the powers that be, calling a shovel a shovel for one and all to see. Planting seeds which must be planted for morality to bloom.

But the doom and gloom of our horrid national momentum, which includes psychiatrists providing their imprimaturs for our secret, illegal abominations can’t be stopped with what Kampmark and McGovern are doing alone; their efforts demand a supplement. And that extra something is not to be found in petitions, boycotts, marching in circles with placards in front of the White House… or with any of the other forms of protest that are in vogue.

All of that civic engagement is welcome, of course. As is the moral stand represented by John McCain when he tweets his reservations about Haspel… his ongoing support of the CIA and cheer leading the bombing of other countries notwithstanding.

They are obsolete forms of protest, all. Useful and even necessary at times, but sorely in need of what I’m calling a supplement. Look at what North Carolina Stop Torture Now described below recently:

“Abou ElKassim Britel was arrested in 2002, imprisoned, tortured brutally, and detained until 2011. He has never received an official acknowledgement of wrongdoing, apology, or restitution from Pakistan, The United States, Morocco, or Italy, the governments responsible for his ordeal.

While traveling for business purposes, Abou ElKassim Britel was arrested and detained in Pakistan in March 2002. Mr. Britel, an innocent Italian citizen of Moroccan descent, was beaten with a cricket bat, suspended from the walls of his cell for extensive periods, and deprived of sleep for three days while tied to a gate. Interrogations by the police and Pakistani secret service agents were so violent that he required medical attention for a week afterward.

After two months, Mr. Britel was handed over to the CIA. Using a private aircraft based in North Carolina, U.S. agents secretly transported Mr. Britel to the notorious secret Temara prison in Morocco where he was held for over eight months in complete isolation. Throughout this savage ordeal, Mr. Britel’s Moroccan captors continually tortured him and threatened him with greater pain, castration, sodomy with a bottle, and even death.

Under torture, Mr. Britel signed a “confession” that he was never permitted to read. He was then tried for terrorism offenses and convicted based on his forced confession. An observer from the Italian Embassy reported the trial did not conform to universally accepted standards, and its procedures were fundamentally flawed. The Italian government, however, did nothing to help Mr. Britel during his ordeal, even though it was aware of his secret detention and torture. In April 2011, Mr. Britel was finally released from prison and returned to Italy, but he and his family continue to suffer.”

The link I’ve provided for NCSTN above takes you to something that was written in 2015. I don’t remember when the words directly above were written, but… no matter. I’m not going to take out the heartbeats to back track on my steps this morning. Rather, I’m going to simply underscore that our horrid momentum vis-a–vis torture has been documented up the kazoo forever, and that it’s slated to get worse unless the kind of protesting I’ve cited (and all the other variations of “speaking truth to power”) are… supplemented. Supported by something fresh, something yet unseen in the realm of activism.

Something that will undermine what those four countries in the title of this article (and others) have in common.

[Richard Martin Oxman is the Director of Flannery O’Connor Academy. He can be reached for a discussion — in confidence — of the “supplement” he recommends at Jeffrey St. Clair’s recent posting might serve as a fine complement to this piece for some. The above article is published by]

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