Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Falling into the hands of the godless

I read a couple brief passages from the CIA torture report recently released. It is disturbing, to say the least. Consider some of the ways in which the detained underwent torture:

Beginning with the CIA's first detainnee, Abu Zubaydah, and continuing with numerous others, the CIA applied its enhanced interrogation techniques with significant reptition for days or weeks at a time. Interrogation techniques such as slaps and "wallings" (slamming detainees against a wall) were used in combination, frequently concurrent with sleep deprivation and nudity. Records do not support CIA representations that the CIA initially used "an open, non-threatening approach," or that interrogations began with the "least coercive technique possible" and escalated to more coercive techniques only as necessary.

The waterboarding technique was physically harmful, inducing convulsions and vomiting. Abu Zubaydah, for example, became "completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth." Internal CIA records describe the waterboarding of Khalid Shaykh Mohammad as evolving into a "series of near drownings."

Sleep deprivation involved keeping detainees awake for up to 180 hours, usually standing or in stress positions, at times with their hands shackled above their heads. At least five detainees experienced disturbing hallucinations during prolonged sleep deprivation and, in at least two of those cases, the CIA nonetheless continued the sleep deprivation.

Contrary to CIA representations to the Department of Justice, the CIA instructed personnel that the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah would take "precedence" over his medical care, resulting in the deterioration of a bullet wound Abu Zubaydah incurred during his capture. In at least two other cases, the CIA used its enhanced interrogation techniques despite warnings from CIA medical personnel that the techniques could exacerbate physical injuries. CIA medical personnel treated at least one detainee for swelling in order to allow the continued use of standing sleep deprivation.

At least five CIA detainees were subjected to "rectal rehydration" or rectal feeding without documented medical necessity. The CIA placed detainees in ice water "baths." The CIA led several detainees to believe they would never be allowed to leave CIA custody alive, suggesting to one detainee that he would only leave in a coffin-shaped box. One interrogator told another detainee that he would never go to court, because "we can never let the world know what I have done to you." CIA officers also threatened at least three detainees with harm to their families -- to include threats to harm the children of a detainee, threats to sexually abuse the mother of a detainee, and a threat to "cut [a detainee's] mother's throat." (pp. 2-3)

It is very disturbing stuff. It is disturbing to know that our government agencies are comprised of such gravely immoral and mendacious people, who go to bed every night with things like these on their consciences (or perhaps not even that much), who have secrets they never want the world to know.

This is another aspect of sin and of God's justice. One cannot live a life of sin free of its consequences; if you commune with the ungodly and intend evil, you will eventually fall into the hands of the ungodly and the evil, who don't want anything but to destroy you. It is not worth it even to wade in slowly and slightly into sin's pool; before too long, the waves will pick up and pull you in, and the tide will be too strong and you will find yourself helpless at the bottom. This is an aspect of God's justice: those who live in evil eventually get what's coming to them.

The CIA detainees of course were not innocent. They played with fire in planning and perpetrating grave evil, and now they are reaping the consequences of their evil -- suffering at the hands of people just as godless as they are. But God only knows what awaits the CIA officials who tortured them and committed such disgusting acts of inhumanity.

In a sense, this is what hell is: to be separated from God and his people, to be outside the gates of the New Jerusalem, and to be at the mercy of people just as evil as you are. These CIA detainees, when they were captured, had died and gone to hell. Hell awaits these CIA torturers, as well, whether now or at a later time or perhaps both.