By Bill Van Auken |World Socialist Web Site, 16 February 2008
On the eve of his weeklong trip to Africa, US President George W. Bush Friday delivered an open defense of his administration’s criminal record of torture and repression, acts that have blatantly violated international law and turned the US into a pariah nation.
Bush’s intervention followed a carefully orchestrated propaganda campaign by administration officials aimed at legitimizing the use of torture by US intelligence agencies, and in particular defending the procedure known as waterboarding in which a prisoner under interrogation is strapped down and subjected to induced drowning by having water poured over his mouth and nose.
The intention of the campaign being waged by Bush and his aides is to consolidate during the little less than a year remaining to the administration the sweeping repressive measures that it has imposed since September 2001. At the same time, it has clearly signaled its desire to put terror back on the front burner of American politics with the aim of terrorizing the American people in the run-up to the 2008 election.