Senator Richard Burr, Sex talk, and Sex Torture

Senator Richard Burr, Sex talk, and Sex Torture

North  Carolina Senator Richard Burr initially denounced Donald trump’s talk of groping and sexually assaulting women. NBC News quoted Burr tweeting that Trump’s statements were “inappropriate and completely unacceptable.”

burr-hatThat’s good, and he was right. But Sen. Burr’s tweet left me feeling surprised and unsatisfied.

Surprised because it was so quick.

But unsatisfied because there are many more sexual assaults that I’ve been expecting Burr to denounce, but he hasn’t.

I’m talking about sexual assaults on and threats to detainees subjected to the U.S. torture program.

Remember the Senate Intelligence Committee report on this? Its 600-page executive summary was released in December of 2014.

img_2353The summary detailed horrible sexual assaults — what else can you call shoving things up detainees’ rectums, not once, but repeatedly?

In a regular jail that would be rape; a crime, dead-bang.

Senator Burr has spent all his nearly twelve years in Congress on the Intelligence Committee, where oversight of all this is his job.

I bet Burr has lost count of how many secret intelligence briefings he’s attended, in the Committee’s super-secure inner offices, and likely more at Langley.

And what was his reaction to the amply documented reports of this years-long epidemic of sadistic sexual abuse by those acting for American intelligence agencies?

An urgent, timely question, even if it’s been hanging there for two years. I’m still waiting to hear Burr’s answer.  And I’m not the only one.

I’m waiting, Impatiently, because an ugly trail of similar & documented sexual assaults and threats leads all the way back to the early revelations about torture at Abu Ghraib, more than a decade ago.


Remember Abu Ghraib? where prisoners were kept naked, photographed naked & while being forced to simulate sex, & men were made to wear women’s underwear, among other ventures in sexual sadism.

Plus there were threats to other detainees about how their wives and female relatives would be seized and raped (and worse) if they did not “cooperate.”

There was lots more to the torture program, but here we’re talking about sexual assaults, real and threatened, of which it had plenty.

All this in a program which years of Intelligence Committee investigation have repeatedly shown to be worthless for anything except helping recruit more terrorists and other enemies of America and our troops.

It was a torture program most of whose hundreds of victims, after years of detention and mistreatment, have been released without being convicted, or even accused of any crime.

There’s a word for that outcome: innocent.

In a law-abiding society, such practices by a government agency should be called, at the least, “inappropriate and completely unacceptable.”

Even more, they’re crimes under existing U.S. and international law.

I might have missed Senator Burr’s denunciations of these actions and practices. But I don’t think so. I’ve been monitoring disclosures about the torture abuses for more than ten years now.

That’s not to say Burr’s been silent about the torture program. Not at all: he’s denounced the Intelligence Committee’s own investigation of it, since its beginning six years ago.

And he’s done more than talk. Since Becoming Intelligence Committee chairman in early 2015, Sen. Burr has rejected the report’s findings, and worked vigorously to impound and destroy all the copies of it.

All the report’s gruesome, documented details about the rectal rapes, threats to kidnap, rape and murder detainees’ female relatives, and much much (several thousand pages) more: Senator Burr wants them all to disappear: shredded and in burn bags.

Only a lawsuit by the ACLU has stopped him — so far.

It’s a remarkable performance, one with special salience in a year when Sen. Burr faces re-election. It’s further highlighted by the continued bottom-scraping by the presidential candidate Burr supports.

No wonder that when a tape revealed the candidate making crude sexual comments about various women, Burr at first was quick to join the chorus of repudiation. Of course: such talk is disgusting.

And then, as the revelations turned from talk to actual assaults, Burr hastened to say he’d “forgiven” the candidate, and has stuck by him.

On the other hand, when it comes to actual sexual torture and other abuses by the intelligence agencies he’s supposed to oversee in the U.S. Senate, Burr’s long-established stance is plainly, to spare no effort to — silence those who would expose their abuses. 

For  the torturers and their masters in high places, Burr’s record is “See no evil, hear no evil” — and certainly, denounce no evil.”

Not a peep.

No, not even a tweet.


Chuck Fager was Director of Quaker House, a peace project near Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, from 2002 to 2012. 

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