Right-wingers have a habit of accusing anyone who disagrees with them — anyone who stands up for the Constitution or for non-violence or for environmental responsibility — of being a communist. If I had a dollar bill for every time some right-winger told me that I’m a commie, why, I could afford to live in one of their gated McMansion communities.
But now comes news of an actual communist plot inside the American government… the incorporation of communist aims and methods within the core of U.S. government homeland security services, no less. I am not lying. I am not exaggerating. The communist plot extends into the most classified and secure portions of our American military apparatus.
Just before the Fourth of July, when citizens were least likely to pay attention, news reports emerged that implicated American military training personnel in teaching communist materials to those under their authority … in classes held on the island of Cuba, no less.
Here is the chart used to instruct a class of military investigators in the art of “coercive interrogation” at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba:
I know, it’s hard to read. But if you compare it to the chart below, you’ll see that the two are identical:
Well, all right, you caught me. The chart used by the U.S. military removes the title “COMMUNIST COERCIVE METHODS” and replaces it with the more obscure “Coercive Management Techniques.” In that sense the two charts are not identical. But otherwise they are identical.
In 1957, Air Force sociologist Albert D. Biderman wrote a report with the title “Communist Attempts to Elicit False Confessions From Air Force Prisoners of War,” the table from which is used to catalog torture techniques used by the totalitarian Communist Chinese on Americans captured during the Korean War.
In this decade, the U.S. military used the list of communist torture techniques, took off the word “communist,” and adopted the list as its own teaching tool for interrogators in Guantanamo.
Two points bear remembering.
First, the original Air Force report affirmatively refers to these techniques, techniques subsequently used by the military, as “torture.” For example, here is a passage in which Biderman refers to stress position torture:
… One form of torture was experienced by a considerable number of Air Force prisoners of war during efforts to coerce false confessions from them. The prisoners were required to stand, or sit, at attention for exceedingly long periods of time — in one extreme case, day and night for a week at a time with only brief respites. In a few cases, the standing was aggravated by extreme cold. This form of torture had several distinct advantages for extorting confessions.
In the simple torture situation — the “bamboo splinters” technique of popular imagination — the contest is clearly one between the individual and his tormentor. Can he endure pain beyond the point to which the interrogator will go in inflicting pain? The answer for the interrogator is all too frequently yes.
Where the individual is told to stand at attention for long periods, an intervening factor is introduced. The immediate source of pain is not the interrogator but the victim himself. The contest becomes, in a way, one of the individual against himself. The motivational strength of the individual is likely to exhaust itself in this internal encounter.
Second, the methods developed by totalitarian Communist China, then embraced in this U.S. government plot, were used in order to obtain false confessions, not to obtain truth.
Falsehood. Torture. Control. How very totalitarian. How very communist.
For years, right-wingers have used the fake idea of imaginary communist plots to subvert the freedoms that sit at the very heart of what it is to be an American. And now, when the real communist plot is unveiled, who out there actually cares?