Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Torture Report

Illegal, inhumane, incompetent. Ineffective and expensive, too.

I'm glad the Senate Intelligence Committee managed to release its report on torture by the CIA. There's a lot more they weren't allowed to release, so just imagine what those pages included, if "rectal feeding" was thought allowable.

MSNBC last night included several great segments:

  • Chris Hayes with multiple insiders from the Bush years who back up what the report says. One, an assistant to Colin Powell, described how he was lied to. Another, a CIA interrogator, told how he was ordered to keep interrogating a person who clearly didn't know anything.

  • Chris Hayes's personal essay on how he wonders if we really are a country of laws.

  • Rachel Maddow telling of a Soviet-era KGB agent who defected to the U.S. in 1964 and was tortured to make sure he had told the CIA all he knew. Later, they realized he had been telling the truth, and changed their policy to never allow torture again. Suddenly, as he was dying in witness protection in 2008, the CIA gave him a commendation and an apology. Just as either Barack Obama or John McCain was about to become president -- both anti-torture, and (one would have thought!) likely to prosecute people who carried out torture.

  • Lawrence O'Donnell telling how retiring Senator Jay Rockefeller was key to making the report happen.
Writing on MinnPost this morning, Dr. Steven Miles, a local but internationally known critic of doctors who participate in torture, reiterates the ineptness, ineffectiveness, and expense of the torture program. He closes with one of the many fine examples of CIA lies about the program, this one before Congress in 2006 by CIA Director Peter Goss, a CIA director who oversaw the torture program:
"This program has brought us incredible information. It's a program that could continue to bring us incredible information. It's a program that could continue to operate in a very professional way. It's a program that I think if you saw how it's operated you would agree that you would be proud that it's done right and well, with proper safeguards." Contrasting the CIA program to the abuse of prisoners in U.S. military detention at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, Goss stated that the CIA program "is a professionally-operated program that we operate uniquely ... . We are not talking military, and I'm not talking about anything that a contractor might have done ... in a prison somewhere or beat somebody or hit somebody with a stick or something. That's not what this is about."
Miles concludes: "It was all lies — the CIA, our government, was lying to us."

For anyone who tries to make excuses about how it was post-9/11 and we had to use extreme measures in the face of terrorism, remember the Convention on Torture, which Ronald Reagan signed on behalf of the U.S. in 1984:

That yellow highlighted text says:
2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.
To get around those strictures, the Bush administration and the CIA changed its name to "enhanced interrogation" instead of torture. And got the so-called liberal media to go along with it.

The only person to serve time related to the CIA's torture program is whistleblower John Kiriakou, a CIA analyst who went on ABC News in 2007 and confirmed that a single case of waterboarding had taken place. He's still in prison. He should be released now.

To close, a few tweets from yesterday:
The two psychologists who helped the CIA create the torture techniques made over $81 million doing so.
By Alexis Goldstein

Shouldn't media organizations covering the torture report have a story on how they decided to use a euphemism vs. the word "torture"?
By § [lawremipsum]

Don't forget: Much of what is in the torture report (like death of a CIA detainee) was documented years ago by reporters who got shouted down.
By Monika Bauerlein

"They were planning an attack!" is the "He had a gun!" of national security.
By Saladin Ahmed 

Coincidentally, the only information interrogators got from waterboarding prisoners was "I can't breathe."
By Frank Conniff

1 comment:

BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Yes, those last two quotes are especially telling.