Category Archives: 12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment

30 Disgusting Facts from the CIA Torture Report

From The Guardian:

Justification was fake:

The CIA’s justification for the use of its enhanced interrogation techniques rested on inaccurate claims of their effectiveness.

CIA blocked DoJ:

The CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information to the Department of Justice, impeding a proper legal analysis of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.

CIA blocked Congress:

The CIA has actively avoided or impeded congressional oversight of the program.

CIA blocked the White House:

The CIA impeded effective White House oversight and decision-making.

It disrupted national security overall:

The CIA’s operation and management of the program complicated, and in some cases impeded, the national security missions of other Executive Branch agencies.

CIA blocked their Office of Inspector General:

The CIA impeded oversight by the CIA’s Office of Inspector General.

They didn’t even care if it worked:

The CIA failed to adequately evaluate the effectiveness of its enhanced interrogation techniques.

They stopped others from finding out that it wasn’t working:

The CIA marginalized and ignored numerous internal critiques, criticisms, and objections concerning the operation and management of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.

It fucked things up for the next several decades:

The CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program damaged the United States’ standing in the world, and resulted in other significant monetary and non-monetary costs

From Salon:

It didn’t work:

Of 20 reported “counterterrorism successes” cited by agency officials who claimed that the use of torture was essential to thwarting terror plots. In some of the cases, the report states, there was “no relationship” between the counterterrorism success and the use of torture.

Sleep deprivation for over a week:

CIA facilities would be deprived of sleep for days on end — in some cases for up to 180 hours.

9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times:

The waterboardings eventually turned into “a series of near drownings. .Abu Zubaydah, the CIA’s first detainee, also underwent waterboarding, once to the point that he became “completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth.”

Rectal hydration and feeding:

Agency interrogators forced at least five detainees to undergo “rectal rehydration” or “rectal feeding” even in the absence of any “documented medical necessity,”

Detainees familes were threatened:

CIA interrogators threatened to harm detainees’ families — including threats to harm a detainee’s children, to commit sexual violence against a detainee’s mother, and to slit a detainee’s mother’s throat.

CIA lied about how many in the detainee population:

Even though the agency publicly maintained that it held 98 prisoners, CIA records indicated that 119 detainees were in its custody.

Detainees forced to stand on broken legs:

Detainees who had sustained either broken legs or feet were made to stand in stress positions, the committee found.

From a Think Progress rundown:

Torture didn’t help get Bin Laden:

Torture did not lead the CIA to the courier who ultimately helped capture Osama bin Laden.

CIA staff objected to torture, leadership told them to keep going:

CIA personnel objected to torture techniques, but were “instructed” by the CIA headquarters to continue. Several on the team profoundly affected.. .some to the point of tears and choking up.

Two psychologists made $81 million justifying torture:

CIA’s base contract with the company formed by the psychologists with all options exercised was in excess of $180 million; the contractors received $81 million prior to the contract’s termination in 2009

They hid it from Colin Powell:

“At the direction of the White House, the secretaries of state and defense – both principals on the National Security Council – were not briefed on program specifics until September 2003. An internal CIA email from July 2003 noted that “… the WH [White House] is extremely concerned [Secretary] Powell would blow his stack if he were to be briefed on what’s been going on.”

CIA didn’t punish an officer that killed a detainee:

In one instance, involving the death of a CIA detainee at COBALT, CIA Headquarters decided not to take disciplinary action against an officer involved because, at the time, CIA… In another instance related to a wrongful detention, no action was taken against a CIA officer

We tortured innocent people:

Of the 119 known detainees that were in CIA custody during the life of the program, at least 26 were wrongfully held.

The CIA inflicted propaganda on the public to guide opinion and stop criticism:

The CIA’s Office of Public Affairs and senior CIA officials coordinated to share classified information on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program to select members of the media to counter public criticism.

They dismissed information that later turned out to be true because it wasn’t obtained through torture:

KSM’s reporting during his first day in CIA custody included an accurate description of a Pakistani/British operative, which was dismissed as having been provided during the initial “‘throwaway’ stage” of information collection when the CIA believed detainees provided false or worthless information.’”

Torture techniques included mock burials and the use of insects:

“(1) the attention grasp, (2) walling, (3) facial hold, (4) facial slap, (5) cramped confinement, (6) wall standing, (7) stress positions, (8) sleep deprivation, (9) waterboard, (10) use of diapers, (11) use of insects, and (12) mock burial.” [Page 32]

Contractors had previously been involved in sexual assault:

Group of officers included individuals who, among other issues, had engaged in inappropriate detainee interrogations, had workplace anger management issues, and had reportedly admitted to sexual assault.

Russian roulette:

“Among other abuses…had engaged in ‘Russian Roulette’ with a detainee.” [Page 424]

CIA tortured their own informants by accident:

After both detainees had spent approximately 24 hours shackled in the standing sleep deprivation position, CIA Headquarters confirmed that the detainees were former CIA sources.

We had a dungeon:

 CIA detainees at the COBALT detention facility were kept in complete darkness and constantly shackled in isolated cells with loud noise or music and only a bucket to use for human waste. Lack of heat at the facility likely contributed to the death of a detainee. The chief of interrogations described COBALT as a “dungeon.”

It cost a lot:

CIA records indicate that the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program cost well over $300 million in non-personnel costs.

The GOP Can’t Control the Tea Party

“the gop made the same mistake that some on the left did in their perception of the tea party – they thought it was a top down, cynical manipulation of people, similar to what the gop has accomplished with the evangelical vote – a demographic that could be farmed for votes without having to deliver all that much of anything, whose elected leaders could be taken in hand when they got to washington and taught the real rules of the game … no, it’s a real grassroots movement with real dedicated leaders who actually MEAN it – and they’ve brought our government to a grinding halt – and the gop can’t control them … the republicans are splitting – if they go for a reasonable compromise, they lose the tea party – if they go for the tea party’s line, they lose wall street and much of main street’s business community … obama may have set them up beautifully – but the problem is that now we have an ungovernable country until 2012 and maybe after”

Commenter on MetaFilter

Dan Savage on Weiner

“And here’s the inevitable “professional help” question: Is he going to seek professional help. Because horniness is an illness. Wiener is being asked to apologize to Andrew Brietbart… and he does. Ugh. A reporter asks if Weiner was drinking or using drugs—if he has a problem—because only a man who has a drinking problem or a drug problem could get caught up in something like this. Do reporters know what men are like? (And lots of women too?) This desire to pathologize behavior that isn’t sick—that is, indeed, very common and human and completely and instantly understandable—is itself pathological. Weiner does not have a problem. He has a computer. The whole world has Weiner’s problem: same old horniness, brand new box. Weiner’s asked, again, if he has an “addiction.” … A reporter points out that some of the women Weiner interacted with were young enough to be his daughter. Oh, the horror. Newsflash: Straight men want to fuck women who are young enough to be their daughters. Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich, Larry King, Rush Limbaugh—all married to women who are “young enough” to be their daughters. How can reporters sit at a press conference and insist that no man—except one with an addiction to sex, drugs, or alcohol—could ever lust after, flirt with, fuck senseless, or marry a women who was more than 13 years his junior? Do they read their own papers?”

Dan Savage, Live Slogging Weiner’s Press Conference

Justice Scalia and the Little Black Box

“I’ve always wanted someone to run a black box experiment with all the SCOTUS justices. Here’s how it would work. Take any case, X. Break it down along ideological grounds… an opinion/ruling … favored a corporation over the consumer or the other way around; or expanded/upheld/restricted civil rights; expanded/restricted government power vs citizen rights, labor vs owners etc. Now we assign Justice Scalia (or whoever) a certain profile – say, we assume that really, at bottom, Scalia is a social conservative with an authoritarian complex (for the sake of argument). … So it’s like a black box – feed Scalia on one end, and at the other end you get the ideological outcome. … A case comes up. I think to myself – “OK, how would someone rule in this case, so that they can stick it to the little guy, or favor a corporation over the consumer, or restrict civil rights, or have a negative outcome for women, gays etc.” – and then I say to myself: I put this in my magic black box, and I already know how Scalia is going to rule/opine – and darn, it, it’s right! … The black box works, folks.”

Commenter on MetaFilter

Former Military Interrogator on How Torture Delayed Finding Bin Laden

“One of the things that people aren’t talking about is the fact that one of the people that was confronted with this information that bin Laden had a courier is Skaykh al-Libi, who was held in a CIA secret prison and was tortured and who gave his CIA interrogators the name of the courier as being Maulawi Jan. And the CIA chased down that information and found out that person didn’t exist, that al-Libi had lied. And nobody is talking about the fact that al-Libi caused us to waste resources and time by chasing a false lead because he was tortured. The other thing that’s being left out of this conversation is the fact that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed certainly knew the real name of the courier, whose nom de guerre or nickname was Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. But Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had to have known his real name or at least how to find him, a location that we might look, but he never gave up that information. And so, what we’re seeing is that waterboarding and enhanced interrogation techniques, just like professional interrogators have been saying for years, always result in either limited information, false information or no information.

” I don’t torture because it doesn’t work. I don’t torture, because it’s immoral, and it’s against the law, and it’s inconsistent with my oath of office, in which I swore to defend the Constitution of the United States. And it’s also inconsistent with American principles. So, my primary argument against torture is one of morality, not one of efficacy. You know, if torture did work and we could say it worked 100 percent of the time, I still wouldn’t use it. The U.S. Army Infantry, when it goes out into battle and it faces resistance, it doesn’t come back and ask for the permission to use chemical weapons. I mean, chemical weapons are extremely effective—we could say almost 100 percent effective. And yet, we don’t use them. But we make this—carve out this special space for interrogators and say that, well, they’re different, so they can violate the laws of war if they face obstacles.”

“When I was in Iraq, I oversaw the interrogations of foreign fighters. And those foreign fighters, the majority of them, said, time and time again, the reason they had come to Iraq to fight was because of the torture and abuse of detainees at both Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay. And this is not my opinion. The Department of Defense tracked these statistics. And they were briefed, every interrogator who arrived there, that torture and abuse was al-Qaeda’s number one recruiting tool.

“They won’t talk about the fact that al-Qaeda uses it to recruit. They won’t talk about the fact that future Americans are going to be subjected to the same techniques by future enemies using our own actions as justification. They’re not going to talk about the fact that it makes detainees more resistant to interrogations as soon as they walked in the interrogation room, because they see us all as torturers. So they’re not going to talk about all these long-term negative consequences.”

Former Military Interrogator Matthew Alexander on Democracy Now.

Potency of the Moment

“The potency of the moment is Obama’s to lose. … So historic is the shift, in fact, that all Obama really has to do now is let the astonishing details of the clandestine operation trickle down and word of his direct, daring involvement penetrate the collective consciousness, and not only will any current agenda items be supercharged with new vigor, but many of his administration’s previous, unsung achievements will take on a fresh luster as well. … Osama bin Laden successfully poisoned much of the American spirit, brought tragedy, pain and unwanted, devastating war, was leveraged as an excuse to commit all manner of despicable misprision by the Bush administration, and changed the complexion of a nation for the worse. And now, his bloody demise a full decade later at the hand of a far more measured, intelligent, focused president could actually, in a way, bring America back to life, give it a focus and purpose like it never quite had before. The same pitiful demon that caused much of our pain could, if handled correctly, turn out to be the source of a new, more thoughtful kind of liberation.”

Mark Morford, SF Chronicle columnist, Osama bin Laden saves America.

The Empty Pulpit

“This has been the signature failure of the Obama administration. Instead of standing on principle, Obama’s modus operandi has been to accede before the battle has really been joined. We have seen this repeatedly in the major issues of his presidency: the emasculation of the so-called “stimulus package”; the abandonment of the health care public option; acceding to the Bush tax cuts; failure to push for effective global warming legislation; surrendering to the hawks on the Afghan war; failure to stand up for the rights to public trial for those detained in Guantanamo; and now complicity in irresponsible and unnecessary cutting of critical government services.”

The Empty Pulpit: The Obama Problem « SpeakEasy.