Friday, March 16, 2007
The universal confession. posted by Richard SeymourOh fucking please. Having tortured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM from here on in, because terror suspects having complete names is an unaffordable extravagance), elicited the answers they required (or perhaps not) and released their very own transcript, officials in the Bush administration are saying that maybe KSM 'exaggerated' a bit. No doubt the multinational guffaw at the finding that their suspect is guilty of every substantial outrage for the last twenty five years (barring his work for the CIA in Afghanistan) has prompted this. But, seriously, fuck off! KSM lied? The man who was being tortured? He lied? The whole point about torture is that it elicits false confessions, usually ones fed to the suspect by the interrogator.
Let's go over the list: 9/11; plot to kill Jimmy Carter, and other former presidents (why?); "the assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II" (why?); managing an anthrax and biological weapons cell; cut off "with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew Daniel Pearl"; 1993 WTC bombing; planning the Richard Reid shoe-bombing plot; the killing of American soldiers in Kuwait; the Bali bombings; plot for a post-9/11 series of 'Independence Day'-style attacks on American monuments; plot to bomb the Panama Canal; plan to attack U.S. military ships and oil tankers in the Straits of Hormuz, the Straits of Gibraltar and the Port of Singapore; plot to bomb suspension bridges in New York City; plan to use burning fuel trucks to take down the Sears Tower (how?); a plot to destroy Big Ben, Canary Wharf tower and Heathrow Airport; attempt to attack Thai nightclubs frequented by US soldiers; a post-9/11 plot to blow up the New York Stock Exchange; plot to use Saudi planes to blow up Israeli buildings; plot to attack US embassies in Indonesia, Austrial and Japan; sending "several mujahadeen" to Israel to survey potential targets; bombing a Mombasa beach resort in 2002; attempt to hit an Israeli plane departing from Kenya with a rocket; plot to attack Nato headquarters in Brussels; plans to attack nightclubs visited by the US in South Korea; Operation Bojinka, plan to take down 12 American airliners; plot to assassinate General Musharraf; plan to attack an oil company in Sumatra which is allegedly owned by Kissinger; plot to attack Nato headquarters; plot to attack nuclear power plants in the US; plot to attack American, British and Jewish targets in Turkey.
And he 'exaggerated' a bit. What's the point of such an obvious pack of lies? The extraction of false confessions is not about persuading people of the veracity of some story or other, although it may do that. In the interrogation process, the attempt is to get the torture victim to accept the irrelevance of their own conceptions of fact and fiction, and to award the interrogator the right to determine what is true and what is not. Analogously, the release of this information is an assertion of power's right to narrate, it's permission to determine the 'facts', however absurd. Further, it contains the assertion that imprisonment in Guantanamo and torture in a secret cell is what elicits the 'truth'.