|James Steele, Operator|
Well, not in the sense that one didn't know that these things -- and much worse -- were going on during our continuing warriorism in the wastelands of the former Turkish Empire, but in the sense that another name and face have now been put to a throughline of atrocity that characterizes so much of the American Imperial Ambition. From the get go.
Many Americans, of course, will claim not to have known about any of it, and not to believe it now, for the simple reason that America is Good and Doesn't Do These Things -- unless necessary. You understand.
Therefore, the Wogs (Must) Deserve It.
What I saw, though, in this BBC/Guardian co-production (apart from the use of so much unrelated and uninformative video) was something I doubt many Americans are even remotely conscious of:
Steele and his ilk are operatives throughout the American corporate-government realm. So far as I can tell, they don't actually run things themselves; they carry out the directives of and report back to their Betters -- who are actually in charge. It was very obvious who was who during the Bushevik Reign, but it's not so much so now.
The exception to this rule is in the American prison industry and their gulag offshoots -- where the ilk does run things, and in many cases, they are free to do whatever sadistic shit they want. And they'll lie about it, too.
While it doesn't touch on America's domestic imprisonment industry, focusing instead on the development of Iraqi interrogation centers and death squads modeled on previous counter-insurgency wet work done in the fields of Vietnam and Central America under the guidance of Steele and people like him, Americans should long ago have come to the realization that this sort of thing comes from domestic American experience with prisons and prisoners. It has never been confined to "over there" somewhere in wartime.
Brutal interrogation -- torture -- has long been routine in America's domestic law enforcement practices. False confessions. Summary execution. Round ups of the innocent. Intrusive and constant surveillance. Property seizures. For all I know, "disappearances" as well. This is going on domestically and has been going on for many years. There has long been a synergy between what goes on domestically and how these things are done overseas by client states. None of it is happening in isolation or in a vacuum.
It's all linked together.
What's revealed in the BBC/Guardian production is actually not that much, and strangely a name that is strangely never mentioned in it is John Negroponte, perhaps the pre-eminent American Lord of Darkness, of torture and death squads. Once he was assigned to Iraq, the wet work commenced in earnest. Everyone knew it, too. Many cheered.
But putting other names and faces to what was happening Over There is useful. The bloody business of the day wasn't some aberration, it was intentional. Considered necessary. Effective. For a time at any rate.
The scale and the style may be somewhat different domestically. There are far more domestic prisoners, after all, most of whom are simply warehoused and rarely used for interrogation purposes since few of them have any information the government needs or wants. There have been exceptions, however. Round ups and street justice ("") are typically confined to particular jurisdictions and wards therein, generally neither witnessed nor even recognized by most people. Out of sight, out of mind.
Unless of course the Authorities want their cruelties and brutalities and their occasional street executions to be seen and appreciated by the rest of the herd -- in which case very public displays are made. This happens all the time, but many people don't seem to understand the deliberate nature of these displays. They are intended to induce fear leading to submission and cooperation. They generally do it well.
The problem is that eventually people become so inured on the one hand and fed up on the other that they revolt. Revolts that can lead to revolution. Ultimately, for example, even the client officials in Iraq revolted against the American intrusion, just as the Afghan clients are doing. Empire done so bloodily and brutally cannot last. The British should have learned this back in the day, but apparently they still believe they can impose their rule by main force forever, particularly if it is done through their far more brutal and bloodthirsty American proxies.
It doesn't work.