Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Senate Intelligence Committee Releases CIA Torture Report

The Senate Intelligence Committee just recently released a declassified (by the White House) report on torture engaged in by the CIA and other agencies under the Bush Administration post 9-11. There's not too much here which is surprising or that was unknown to anyone who was paying attention to some of the leaks and other allegations that have come out over the past decade. And certainly it's not unknown to the people who were tortured or the governments which assisted the US in activities which are illegal under both national and international laws. No, the only people who might be surprised are American citizens who don't pay a tremendous amount of attention to what their government is doing. Because the Obama Administration whiffed on bringing these perpetrators to justice immediately after the inauguration it's unlikely that any of these folks will ever be identified and held to account under the American criminal justice system. Prosecutorial discretion is a wonderful thing sometimes, eh? But that aside as others have said in a democracy, in a constitutional republic, in America, theoretically the citizens are still the boss. And the boss always has the right and for that matter the obligation to know what his employees are doing. It is amusing to me that some of the conservatives who were against this release claim to be more concerned about the possible negative impact on US interests or citizens overseas than they are about the rights of US citizens to know the crimes the government has committed in their name. 

I think that secrecy in government, even where needed or legitimate, tends to corrode trust. But in this case, unlike say diplomacy, there is no need or right for the government to commit crimes and then claim that we have no right to know what they did. It's important to point out that the torture techniques were harsher and more expansive than we were first given to believe. They also didn't work. Although this report release is only a very small step in doing the right thing, I think it's a good start. Let justice be done though the heavens fall.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The CIA used sexual threats, waterboarding and other harsh methods to interrogate terrorism suspects and all were ineffective at eliciting critical information, according to a U.S. Senate report released on Tuesday. Senator Angus King, an independent, told CNN releasing the report was important because it could persuade a future president not to use these techniques.
Besides the now-well-known practice of waterboarding, tactics included weeks of sleep deprivation, slapping and slamming of detainees against walls, confining them to small boxes, keeping them isolated for prolonged periods and threatening them with death.
Three detainees faced waterboarding, the simulated drowning technique. Some were left broken by the treatment, pleading and whimpering, one described as assuming a "compliant" position on the waterboarding table at the snap of an interrogator's fingers.
"We did things that we tried Japanese soldiers for war crimes for after World War Two. This is not America. This is not who we are. What was done has diminished our stature and inflamed terrorists around the world."

  • Rectal feeding
  • Interrogators with histories of sexual assault
  • Russian Roulette
  • Kidnapping mentally challenged people to use as hostages
  • Stress Positions
  • Threats to kill and rape the children or mothers of prisoners

Executive summary of Senate Report
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