Thickly-overcast and gloomy this Tuesday evening here on this little stretch of California’s north coast — rain a-coming big-time.
Today is also torture-awareness day (via The Daily Beast): ‘Interrogations that lasted for days on end. Detainees forced to stand on broken legs, or go 180 hours in a row without sleep. A prison so cold, one suspect essentially froze to death. The Senate Intelligence Committee is finally releasing its review of the CIA’s detention and interrogation programs. And it is brutal.’
Least we forget, George Jr. from yesteryear: ‘“I’ve said to the people that we don’t torture, and we don’t.”‘
(Illustration found here).
And the lie continues some 48 hours or so ago: ‘“We’re fortunate to have men and women who work hard at the CIA serving on our behalf, These are patriots and whatever the report says, if it diminishes their contributions to our country, it is way off base.”‘
The notorious, infamous Senate Intelligence Committee Report in CIA Detention, Interrogation Program was released via California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office this morning, and has topped the news cycle all day. Nearly five years in the making, the report is a shame for all Americans.
There’s a shitload of news/info sources out there on the fixings of the report — a summary is available here.
Pretty shitty in technique, and highly incompetent in final results.
Amy Davidson at The New Yorker:
It took nine years and cost forty million dollars, largely because the C.I.A. and its allies pushed back, complaining about unfairness and, finally, warning darkly that Americans would die if the world knew what Americans had done.
Senate Republicans eventually withdrew their staff support.
The Obama Administration has largely enabled this obstruction.
As it is, only a fraction has been released—the five-hundred-page executive summary of a sixty-seven-hundred-page report—and it is shamefully redacted.
But there are things the redactions can’t hide, including that the C.I.A. and the Bush Administration lied, in ways large and small. One telling example has to do with the number of people held in the secret C.I.A. prisons.
General Michael Hayden, as director of the C.I.A., regularly said that the number was “fewer than a hundred.”
By that, he meant ninety-eight—and, when he was informed by others in the Agency that there were at least a hundred and twelve, “possibly more,” he insisted that they keep using the number ninety-eight.
The report released today lists the number, for the first time, as a hundred and nineteen.
Of those, twenty-six were held wrongly—that is the C.I.A.’s own assessment; the number may be greater—either because there was no real evidence against them or because of outright Hitchcockian cases of mistaken identity.
There’s a footnote where the report mentions the twenty-six who “did not meet the standards for detention.”
Footnote 32, the same one that outlines the motives for holding Nazar Ali, has a devastating litany, starting with “Abu Hudhaifa, who was subjected to ice water baths and 66 hours of standing sleep deprivation before being released because the CIA discovered he was likely not the person he was believed to be,” and including many others…
This is what the talk of family could look like: “CIA officers also threatened at least three detainees with harm to their families—to include threats to harm the children of a detainee, threats to sexually abuse the mother of a detainee, and a threat to ‘cut [a detainee’s] mother’s throat.’ ”
The interrogation of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri included “implying that his mother would be brought before him and sexually abused.”
Some of the few chastisements of C.I.A. personnel documented in the report came when the committee questioned the legality, practicality, or morality of all this—and, it’s worth noting, some members did.
The report also records a remarkably revealing moment, in 2003, when “a public statement by the White House that prisoners in US custody are treated ‘humanely’ caused the CIA to question whether there was continued policy support for the program and seek reauthorization from the White House.”
When it heard the word “humanely,” in other words, the Agency was not sure it knew what the President was talking about.
It may no longer have recognized itself.
Further, via The Daily Beast, this ugly shit didn’t work:
The report will conclude that the CIA’s interrogation techniques never yielded any intelligence about imminent terrorist attacks.
Investigators didn’t conclude that no information came from the program at all.
Rather, the committee rejects the CIA’s contention that information came from the program that couldn’t have been obtained through other means.
“When you put detainees through these [torture sessions] they will say whatever they can say to get the interrogations to stop,” the Senate aide said.
The Senate Intelligence Committee reviewed 20 cited examples of intelligence “successes” that the CIA identified from the interrogation program and found that there was no relationship between a cited counterterrorism success and the techniques used.
Furthermore, the information gleaned during torture sessions merely corroborated information already available to the intelligence community from other sources, including reports, communications intercepts, and information from law-enforcement agencies, the committee found.
The CIA had told policymakers and the Department of Justice that the information from torture was unique or “otherwise unavailable.”
Such information comes from the “kind of good national-security tradecraft that we rely on to stop terrorist plots at all times,” the Senate aide said.
A series of tales in a whole, sordid picture of dumb-ass horror. Hypocritical and mischievous as shit.
And another grasp at justice, but yet for a generation. Especially, with President Obama fighting the report tooth-and-nail since day-one.
Mercy Wheeler, always the best for nutshelling this kind of shit, posted this earlier today: ‘Obama would not — categorically cannot — admit that what Tenet and Bush and Cheney did on torture is illegal. That’s because he has authorized war crimes using the very same Presidential Finding as the Bush Administration used to authorized torture.
As I have laid out at length, the torture program started as a covert op authorized by the September 17, 2001 Gloves Come Off Memorandum of Notification. And along with torture, that Finding also authorized drone strikes. The drone strikes that Obama escalated.’
(Illustration: Pablo Picasso’s ‘Acrobate et Jeune Arlequin,’ found here).
This is a storyline to be bubbling, percolating for awhile.