1984

From: Torture memos reveal brutality of US imperialism

*Use of insects. A memo authorizes agents to place an insect in the “cramped confinement box” of a prisoner who interrogators noticed had “a fear of insects.”

[…]

The media generally joined Obama in studiously avoiding use of the term “torture” in describing the CIA’s methods. The New York Times referred to the acts of torture as “brutal interrogation techniques.” For its part, the Washington Post ran an editorial hailing as wise and courageous Obama’s decision to protect “government agents who may have committed heinous acts they were told were legal.”

This “just-following-orders” defense is also commonly referred to as the “Nuremberg Defense,” as it was so commonly used by Nazi defendants in the war crimes trials after World War Two. The American and British officials who set up the Nuremberg trials established the vulnerability of this defense through Principal IV, which states, “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”

Putting insects in a man’s cell because he is afraid of them? If you’ve read 1984, this should make you shiver. (And so should the rest of this stuff. These are the tools of fascists and dictators.)

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