The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 Nick Turse Archive
Rebecca Gordon: Turning Our Backs on Nuremberg
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

The advent of sound recording deep-sixed this age-old thought experiment and offered a definitive answer: Yes!

I’ve got another one for you, though: if you water-torture someone at a secure military compound and no one is around to see it, is it a war crime?

Tricky, right?

Well, what if someone does see it? And what if you admit to it — and to a criminal investigator, no less? And what if you add that you also used electrical torture, too? Is that, in fact, a war crime?

More cut and dried, right?

And what if criminal investigators identified 28 other members of your military unit as having beaten prisoners, tortured them with electric shocks, and water-boarded them? And what if 15 of them actually admitted to those acts? Is that, I ask you, a war crime?

Some people are charged with, tried, or even convicted, of torture: Nazis, Ford Motor Company executives in Argentina, and high-ranking Guatemalan military officers, for example. But others aren’t.

Years ago, when I investigated the particular set of crimes mentioned above that were carried out by U.S. military intelligence personnel in Vietnam, I found that only three of the soldiers involved were even punished. And by punished, I mean that the three received fines or reductions in rank. None served any prison time.

One of the admitted torturers I spoke with was still unrepentant. He explained to me that, were he placed in the same situation again, he would do exactly the same things. And why wouldn’t he? You don’t find Americans in the dock at the International Criminal Court (ICC). But if the Trump administration has its way, as TomDispatch regular Rebecca Gordon reports so strikingly today, the ICC’s judges and prosecutors might be the ones who find themselves charged and — though it’s a stretch of the imagination — behind bars. And given what we know about the U.S. prison system, that might also mean finding themselves at risk of torture.

“We were… nothing short of criminals in the eyes of everyone except our parents and close friends,” the admitted torturer told me, while complaining about the postwar treatment of Vietnam veterans. But he was never charged, let alone tried or convicted for the torture he admitted to meting out. Will ICC officials one day be convicted in American courts of meting out justice? For the moment, the jury is still out.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Torture 
Hide 8 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:

    Not a word about Trump. Or Climapocalypse.

    Mr. Turse isn’t fit to unstrap Tom’s Birkenstocks.

  2. Stogumber says:

    Rebecca Gordon, I’m happy to say, does not want to torture the evildoers.

    She’s quite content with executing them.

  3. Wally says: • Website

    “Some people are charged with, tried, or even convicted, of torture: Nazis, Ford Motor Company executives in Argentina, and high-ranking Guatemalan military officers, for example. But others aren’t.”

    Spare me. Nuremberg was a Show Trial of the highest order that made Stalin proud.
    Vast amounts of torture, threats against family, mock trials, denying documents to the defense, the frauduent use of ‘judicial notice’ where the accused could not effectively defend themselves, where no forensic report was ever submitted on the scientifically impossible Auschwitz ‘gas chambers’, where not a single one of the alleged mass graves supposedly holding millions upon millions in known locations were ever opened and the alleged contents shown, etc., etc.

    ” All but two of the Germans [on trial at Nuremberg], in the 139 cases that we investigated, had their testicles kicked in beyond repair. This was standard operating procedure with our American investigators:” 23.1.49, The Sunday Pictorial (quoted in For Those Who Cannot Speak (ref. 27), p.21.The statements which were admitted as evidence were obtained from men who had first been kept in solitary confinement for three, four and five months..The investigators would put a black hood over the accused’s head, punch him in the face with brass knuckles, kick him and beat him with rubber hoses. American judge, van Roden

    Where, among many absurdities, it was accepted that Jews were exterminated en masse in steam chambers at Treblinka, it was accepted the Germans used A-bombs to murder Jews, it was accepted that the Germans were responsible for the huge mass murders of Poles at Katyn Forest when in fact it was a Soviet crime.
    Recall this fact of Nuremberg: English translations of Russian translations of Polish copies of an alleged German original which cannot be found are typical Nuremberg ‘documents.’ Imagine trying such nonsense in a real court of law.

    There were numerous executions by gas, executions by firearms, and by injections, in the camp. The gas chamber was finished in 1944, and I called Dr. Rascher to examine the first victim. Of the eight or nine persons in the chamber, three were still alive; the others seemed to be dead. Their eyes were red and their faces bloated. Numerous detainees were subsequently killed in the same manner.”
    IMT, vol. V, p. 198 (PS-3249).

    But we’re told now that there were no gassings, and THEN we’re told there were “experimental” gassings, all of which contradicts Blaha … the liars can’t keep their stories straight.
    How the Film Evidence at Nuremberg was faked, From the files of Justice Robert H Jackson, US chief prosecutor at Nuremberg. :
    ‘Document’ manipulation at Nuremberg, by expert Carlos Porter:
    “The Legally-Flawed Nuremberg ‘War Crimes Trials’ Did Not ‘Prove’ the Holocaust”: Peter Winter:
    Nuremberg – Fair Trial or Show Trial? :
    ‘The Nuremberg Trials and the Holocaust: Do the ‘war crimes’ trials prove extermination?’:
    ‘The Nuremberg Trials and the Holocaust, pt.2, Torture’ :
    ‘How the British Obtained the Confessions of Auschwitz Commandant Rudolf Höss‘:

    • Replies: @anon
  4. Christo says:

    I think the Hanoi Hilton pretty much absolves any American of committing “war-crimes” in Vietnam.
    My dad flying gunships killed hundreds , wiped out whole villages and his unit was disbanded, Commander relieved. Bet ya never read about that one. LOL He is blameless, but it dam sure changed him. Who was responsible? The US zog run gov.

  5. Christo says:

    Dang , left off the last line.

    The Germans? a.k.a.Nazis? They were blameless. Who was responsible? The zog run world.

  6. ariadna says:

    “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
    The advent of sound recording deep-sixed this age-old thought experiment and offered a definitive answer: Yes!”

    No, dead wrong. If there is no one around to HEAR it, the waves produced by the displacement of air are not “sound,” which is in and of itself not an objective phenomenon but only the way we PERCEIVE those waves. Do, no hearing, no sound.

    The fact that Nazis were convicted in a kangaroo court is not a standard to apply to any other potential war criminals. In the case of many of those Nazis, there were no waves but the jews perceived or claimed to — and still do– a deafening sound.

    • Replies: @ariadna
  7. ariadna says:

    CX: So, no hearing, no sound

  8. anon[804] • Disclaimer says:

    good job, Wally

Current Commenter

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Commenting Disabled While in Translation Mode
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Nick Turse Comments via RSS
Becker update V1.3.2
The JFK Assassination and the 9/11 Attacks?