At least nine people were killed and at least 35 others were wounded in shootings across Chicago on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Thursday police announced that a man had been arrested on charges of firing on a number of motorists recently, wounding three of them, on Kansas City-area highways. On April 13 three people, including a child, were murdered at two Jewish-affiliated facilities in Overland Park, Kan., leading to the arrest of a white supremacist. On April 12, armed militias in Nevada got the federal government to retreat, allowing rancher Cliven Bundy to continue to graze his cattle on public land. All this happened over a span of only nine days in the life of a country where more than 250 people are shot every day. In America, violence and the threat of lethal force are the ways we communicate. Violence—the preferred form of control by the state—is an expression of our hatred, self-loathing and lust for vengeance. And this bloodletting will increasingly mark a nation in terminal decline.
Violence, as H. Rap Brown said, is “as American as cherry pie.” It has a long and coveted place in U.S. history. Vigilante groups including slave patrols, gunslingers, Pinkerton and Baldwin-Felts detectives, gangs of strikebreakers, gun thugs, company militias, the White Citizens’ Council, the Knights of the White Camellia, and the Ku Klux Klan, which boasted more than 3 million members between 1915 and 1944 and took over the governance of some states, formed and shaped America. Heavily armed mercenary paramilitaries, armed militias such as the Oath Keepers and the anti-immigration extremist group Ranch Rescue, along with omnipotent and militarized police forces, are parts of a seamless continuation of America’s gun culture and tradition of vigilantism. And roaming the landscape along with these vigilante groups are lone gunmen who kill for money or power or at the command of their personal demons.
Vigilante groups in America do not trade violence for violence. They murder anyone who defies the structures of capitalism, even if the victims are unarmed. The vigilantes, often working with the approval and sometimes with the collusion of state law enforcement agencies, are rarely held accountable. They are capitalism’s shock troops, its ideological vanguard, used to break populist movements. Imagine that, if instead of right-wing militias, so-called “ecoterrorists”—who have never been found responsible for taking a single American life—had showed up armed in Nevada. How would the authorities have responded if those carrying guns had been from Earth First? Take a guess. Across U.S. history, hundreds of unarmed labor union members have been shot to death by vigilante groups working on behalf of coal, steel or mining concerns, and thousands more have been wounded. The United States has had the bloodiest labor wars in the industrialized world. Murderous rampages by vigilante groups, almost always in the pay of companies or oligarchs, have been unleashed on union members and agitators although no American labor union ever publicly called for an armed uprising. African-Americans, too, have endured a vigilante reign of terror, one that lasted for generations after the Civil War.
Here’s a video of a heinous “material supporter” of violent Islamist extremism, brazenly pledging to give millions of dollars to armed “holy warriors” fighting to overthrow a secular government. This shocking footage shows us some of the deepest roots of the sectarian violence raging across the globe today — untold mountains of cash and arms shovelled to some of the most violent, retrograde religious gangs in the world by the leaders and war profiteers of the Western world and their economic cronies in Saudi Arabia. And this destructive dynamic is still going strong, still spreading death, destruction and hatred, most notably in Libya, Syria and Iraq. (Via the Angry Arab)
Or as Khurram Zaki, who posted the video, puts it:
Watch how the “free world” supported the same group of people (the “mujahideen”) along with notorious dictators they are fighting with right now to “free the world”. That is how they imposed the extremist ideology upon us in the name of “Jihad” only to later confront it with the name of war against “terror”. Check how a so-called “secular”, “liberal” state invoked the name of God and religion again and again only to further their strategic interests in the region.
“You left a godless country because you refused to live under a godless communist system which is trying to destroy your religion,; [know that] the hearts of the Free World are with you.” -Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, on a visit to the border with Afghanistan, during a state visit to Pakistan, 1981
Link to the video here.
According to the Senate report, SERE-derived techniques included “the facial slap, walling, the abdomen slap, use of water, the attention grasp, and stress positions,” in addition to “use of smoke, shaking and manhandling, cramped confinement, immersion in water or wetting down, and waterboarding.” Many of these techniques also were used by the CIA in its so-called “enhanced interrogation program,” but were not the subject of the Senate Armed Services Committee investigation. They are, however, said to be a key aspect of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s program.
Along with the techniques listed by SASC, a separate but complementary set of procedures included “tactics derived from JPRA SERE school lesson plans… designed to ‘induce control, dependency, complia[n]ce, and cooperation,’ including isolation or solitary confinement, induced physical weakness and exhaustion, degradation, conditioning, sensory deprivation, sensory overload, disruption of sleep and biorhythms, and manipulation of diet.”
These “control” techniques ultimately formed an essential part of the military’s post-9/11 detention and interrogation program. After the CIA’s “high-value detainees” were sent to Guantanamo in summer 2006, a new Army manual on interrogation introduced a special technique “restricted” to non-POW detainee “enemy combatants,” like those held at Guantanamo.
Titled “Separation” in Appendix M of the Army Field Manual 2-22.3 on interrogations, it was never one technique, but a collection of detention treatment procedures meant to disorient and break down prisoners using a combination of isolation (solitary confinement), modified forms of sleep deprivation and sensory deprivation, in addition to dietary and environmental manipulations, so long as they were not deemed “extreme.”
Yet the new interrogation techniques were so rough they required the presence of medical professionals, “in the event a medical emergency occurs,” according to the manual.