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True American Values

Short Version: mp3, 3.36 MBs, 4:11
Speech Version:
mp3, 4.02 MBs, 5:01

[Col. Recorded 6/12/04]

"...[S]uch practices do not reflect our values." — G.W. Bush

After the guilty plea of U.S. Specialist, Jeremy Sivits, to charges arising from the torture scandal at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the shaping of the whitewash is almost clear.

Sivits has apparently made a deal that both he, and his bosses can live with: the tortures, both physical and mental, of Iraqi detainees, took place because of the actions of the 'little guys', not the brass, for, in his words, "If they saw what was going on, there would be hell to pay." Sivits thus clears the higher-ups, and gets a break by way of a "special" court martial, as opposed to a "general" one, which dramatically lessens his possible sentences.

In fact, as we've learned from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), torture has been documented in U.S.-controlled prison camps in Iraq, since at least March — *of 2003!* Over a year ago,the ICRC president met with US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice, as well as deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, to insist that the U.S. government cease the systematic torture of people in their Iraqi prisons. According to the *Baltimore Sun*, Powell said he fully briefed President Bush about these ICRC reports.

The government, *after the ICRC* findings, announced, through US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, that the United States would not be bound by Geneva Conventions, as it was involved in a war against terror, and the regular rules need not apply.

Moreover, it selected a man named Lane McCotter, a private prison company executive, to run the now notorious Abu Ghraib gulag on the outskirts of Baghdad.
The U.S. chose a man who worked for a company that was under investigation by the U.S. Justice Dept. following brutality charges against Management & Training Corporation.

Before his career at M & T took off, McCotter headed the Utah state prison system, until a scandal forced him to resign from his post in 1997. A naked prisoner was shackled to a chair in one of his prisons for 16 hours, until he died. Working for
their prison was a psychiatrist who wrote prescriptions for drug addicts, and whose medical license was on probation. When McCotter joined M & T, it was the nation's third largest private prison company, with 13 prisons online, and an unenviable record of brutality. Whatever can be said of McCotter, it can't be said that he wasn't qualified for the violence and depredations that would emerge at Abu Ghraib. Who better to run this colonial outpost of barbarity, than one who ran internal gulags, both for the State
and for the Dollar?

In January 2004, McCotter, in an interview, announced that Abu Ghraib "is the only place we agreed as a team was truly closest to an American prison." [*The Spark*, 5/17—6/6/04, p. 4]. And so it was, with violence, brutality, beatings, torture, and state-sanctioned sadism. It is, preeminently, America's cultural gift to the people of Iraq. It
demonstrates US domination, US repression, US violence, and US contempt.

In December 2003, an American Lt. Colonel, Nathan Sassman, gave the *New York Times* a unique insight into the mindset of U.S. occupation forces, when he said: "With a heavy dose of fear and violence... I think we can convince these people that we are here to help them."

The pictures from Abu Ghraib (those Americans have been allowed to view, that is)
have certainly shown the 'heavy dose of fear and violence.' [*The Spark*, p. 5]

The US has launched this mad, imperial exercise to gain a beachhead on the shores
of Darul Islam (the realm of Islam) from which to pluck the dark, ripe fruits of oil wealth from the earth.

In the name of 'freedom', Americans have supported dictators, only to discard them
when they outlived their usefulness (think Noriega, the Shah, etc.). They, like every
empire before them, are bound by the chains of avarice and economic interests.
This is what a petro-war looks like.

Copyright 2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal


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Text © copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.