Looking Forward, Not Backward

By Dennis Loo

In the September 19, 2009 Washington Post we learn that the DOJ’s investigation of torture by US personnel will be even narrower than originally proposed by Eric Holder.

“The Justice Department's review of detainee abuse by the CIA will focus on a very small number of cases, including at least one in which an Afghan prisoner died at a secret facility, according to two sources briefed on the matter.”

That very small number of cases may be as small as two:
“Although earlier reports indicated that Durham would look into 10 cases, a source said recently the number is much smaller. In all, 24 alleged abuse cases were earlier referred to federal prosecutors by the CIA inspector general, of which 22 were declined, according to a letter in February 2008 from a Justice Department legislative liaison.”
The article ends with this:
"'A lot of times cases look open-and-shut because a guy froze to death on a cold cement floor, but these cases are more complicated and involved than that,' said a government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. 'You have to prove the cause of death. How do we know he froze to death? He may have died a natural death from clogged arteries. You have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he died as a result of the actions of the people who tied him to the floor naked. It may be a logical inference, but proving it beyond a reasonable doubt might be a different story.'"
Kabul's average November low temperature is 29 degrees Fahrenheit
Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit
Bound by metal chains
To a concrete floor
A young, unnamed Afghan
An unknown number of days
Before being left overnight
Alone on this concrete floor
In subfreezing temperatures
But, of course, let’s not be hasty here. We do not know how he died. He might have died of too much cholesterol in his veins before he froze to death.
The government official quoted above doesn't ask the following questions, nor does Eric Holder, nor does this Washington Post article, but I will ask them:
Why are the people who ordered that these black sites be created where this young, unnamed, Afghan was left to freeze to death in chains,
Why are the people who directed that detainees be kidnapped and rendered to black sites and co-operating countries like Uzbekistan where the guards were known to boil body parts as part of their interrogations,
Why are the people who on official stationary bearing US government seals who instructed CIA interrogators in the minutest details how they should proceed to torture their captives,
Why are the people who issued secret orders to “take the gloves off” to US personnel and their contractors so as to extract the information that they were absolutely sure that these individuals must have,
Why are the people who have admitted that they authorized these techniques in public speeches,
Why are the people whose memoranda evidencing all of this that are part of the public record already, with many more actions and orders still hidden, containing undoubtedly even worse details still under wraps,
Why are these depraved sadists
Not being held to account?
Why are Bush and Cheney and their henchman like John Yoo and Jay Bybee still walking free?
Dear Mr. President: Why, oh why?
Dear Dennis: We’re not looking backwards. We’re looking forwards.
We must not look backward else we turn and see too clearly 
This CIA black site they named the Salt Pit



World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.