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I never justified torture – ex-Bush official

( October 8, 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) ‘I never justified the use of torture nor, as far as I am aware, did my superior, Secretary of State Powell,’ said, a former official of the Bush Jr. Administration in an interview with Nilantha Ilangamuwa, editor of Torture: Asian and Global Perspectives. The interview will appear in the coming issue of the magazine which will be published soon.

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who worked as Chief-of-Staff, to the Secretary of State, General Colin Powel, is now professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William & Mary, USA.

“In fact, when the abuses of Abu Ghraib came to light in early 2004, Powell charged me with helping him discover how they had come about, which I did until I left the State Department in January 2005,” he recalled.

While commenting on the whistleblower Edward Snowden, Col. Wilkerson, who was a veteran in the Vietnam war, says, “…I believe dissent is frequently the highest form of patriotism -- I admire the courage of Edward Snowden to do what he did. Moreover, what he has so far revealed has not harmed real U.S. security at all, just embarrassed a great many people. More importantly, what Snowden has done so far has informed the American people of the often brutal, stupid, and even illegal actions their government is doing in their name”.

Meanwhile talking about the drone attacks carried out by the US, Col. Wilkerson said, “Drones are not just another weapon of war; they represent the cutting edge of a new kind of warfare -- inhuman, robotic, distant, and coldly calculated. The entire world needs to consider these developments and deal with them -- not just the sole superpower whom everyone else fears”.

one of the questions asked of Col Wilkerson was, despite of all the international conventions signed and laws passed, torture and other inhuman practices still occur with impunity in too many countries. The US is in the dock too. What is the international solution do you think, especially given that the track record and present inclinations of the most powerful nation-state?

In answering Col. Wilkerson said, “The 'solution' is not readily apparent to me. The world is experiencing major power and wealth shifts, huge impending transmigration, enormous challenges associated with planetary changes that will be hostile to human life, and in the meantime its greatest profit-making enterprises include drugs, human trafficking, massive arms sales to all and sundry, financial transactions that enrich the few and impoverish the many, and multinational corporate bodies in food, energy, pharmaceuticals, and media that have no other interest than their own self-preservation and profit”.

Torture: Asian and Global Perspectives is a bi-monthly magazine which focuses on torture and its related issues globally. Writers interested in having their research on this subject published, may submit their articles to torturemag@ahrc.asia

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