Category Archives: 4. Supremacy of the Military

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

Wielding Power

“The only rational thought is that he’s gotten what he wants. That he wanted to protect the torturers. That he wanted to protect the banksters. That he wanted to solidify and increase the powers of an Imperial Presidency. That he wanted Health Care Reform that amounts to little more than a giveaway to the megacorporations and no public option. That he wanted to put Social Security up on the chopping block.

“None of those are comforting thoughts but they don’t require us to imagine that Obama, a man of demonstrated intelligence, is an moron.

“And I’ll still (pointlessly since I live in Texas) be casting my vote for the lousy, backstabbing, villain in 2012 because even given all that he’s still a better choice than any Republican.

“Though, at this point, I’m pretty sure that’s entirely due to the Supreme Court.

  • Am I worried that the next Republican president will shit all over the Constitution and start a new and obscenely costly foreign war without even pretending to care about separation of powers? Nope, Obama (the Constitutional scholar!) already did that.
  • Am I worried that the next Republican president will slash social spending to the bone while increasing military spending? Nope, Obama already did that.
  • Am I worried that the next Republican president will decide that he has the power to imprison (forever and without even the possibility of charges and trials) any American citizen they declare to be a terrorist? Nope, Obama already did that.
  • Am I worried that the next Republican president will decide that they can order the CIA to assassinate American citizens merely on the presidential declaration that those citizens are terrorists? Nope, Obama already did that.
  • Am I worried that the next Republican president will attack whistleblowers while ignoring the crimes those whistleblowers report? Nope, Obama already did that.
  • Am I worried that the next Republican president will severely restrict abortion via executive order and legislation? Nope, Obama already did that.
  • Am I worried that the next Republican president will offer retroactive immunity to corporations which cooperate with blatantly illegal civil rights abuses? Nope, Obama alread did that.
  • The only thing I can see that differentiates Obama from Romney is who they’ll appoint to the Supreme Court.
  • I can’t be scared with dire threats that if Obama loses we’ll be plunged into war, the economy will be fucked, civil rights will be trampled, and the safety net will be shredded. Obama’s already done all that.

“The single, solitary, only thing I see that makes Obama better than any Republican up to and including Palin, is the Supreme Court.

“And on that basis I’ll vote for him. It will hurt. It will make me depressed and wretched for weeks after. I’ll hate myself for doing it, but I will because the Supreme Court is important.

“But I can’t keep pretending that the problem is that Obama just isn’t good at wielding power. He’s great at wielding power, and everything that has happened since he came into office is exactly what he wanted.

Commenter on MetaFilter

Regime Change is Not Revolution

“”There was no meaningful revolution. It’s former members of the Soviet elite and their kids who are still running the country as we speak. Nothing’s changed for the general populace except that their rights to medical care, education and (shitty, but functioning) housing has been removed. Life expectancy is fucking worse in modern Russia than it was under Communism and yet its seen as progress. Here’s what happened, in a simplistic description:

“Some of the wealthy elite decided that they weren’t getting rich enough in a closed economy. They realized that they could pacify the populace more effectively by stapling up a thin veneer of freedom while they privatized all the state-built infrastructure by way of selling it off to their buddies and simultaneously built an economy designed to do more for lining their pockets than stealing shared internal wealth ever could.

“Then they decided to clean house with the coup. This gave the illusion of distancing future government from the Central Committee and making a fresh start where the abuses of the past were blamed on historical figures, and not the people taking over who just moments ago had been ideological companions of those historical monsters.

“Yay! Communism’s over! We’re going to have elections! We’ll totally be counting the votes but there’s no corruption anymore so you can trust us! We’re going to be free now. ‘Free’ means that you can potentially purchase consumer goods that weren’t designed and manufactured by gibbons, and you can watch sitcoms instead of watching ballet and playing god damn chess. Backpacks for your children with cartoon characters on them, just like your cousin in Toronto has for his kids! Doesn’t that sound fucking sweet?”

“Then when the mic was off, they said “Of course, most of you still aren’t going to have the money to buy anything except turnips, rags and methanol. But a plutocracy’s an easier sell when people can aspire to step over their neighbor’s corpse to join it instead of that ‘we’re all in this together’ bullshit. And we won’t actually provide free speech or free elections. We’re not idiots; the idiots are those grimy people out there. Their lives are going to be virtually unchanged because they’re still going to have jack shit and they’re still going to have to be careful about how loud they complain. Hey guys, who wants an oil refinery?”

“A regime change doesn’t always equal a revolution. A revolution causes a fundamental shift in how government works. The “revolution” in question caused as much change for the ordinary Russian citizen as Bush I taking over for Reagan did for Americans.”

Commenter on a Metafilter discussion about the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Pro-War Ideology Connected to Being Shielded From the Human Cost of War

“[A new study] suggests that many Americans’ aggressively pro-war ideology may fundamentally rely on their being physically shielded/disconnected from the human cost of war. … The researchers analyzed data from the Jennings-Niemi Political Socialization Study of college-bound high schoolers and subsequent interviews of those same high-schoolers from 1965 onward. In the process, they discovered that men holding low draft lottery numbers (and therefore more at risk of being drafted into combat) “became more anti-war, more liberal, and more Democratic in their voting compared to those whose high numbers protected them from the draft.” Importantly, for these men “lottery number was a stronger influence on their political outlook than their late-childhood party identification.” That influence transcended previous party affiliation and made a permanent impact on their politics into adulthood. Men with vulnerable numbers show evidence of totally rethinking their partisanship in response to the threat of the draft,” the researchers report. “Republicans in the group abandoned their party with unusual frequency, while even Democrats moved toward the independent category with slightly greater frequency than others.””

Why people become chickenhawks, Salon.com

How Roger Ailes Failed at Setting Up a Strong Republican Candidate for 2012

‘”[Fox News’s Roger] Ailes is the most successful executive in television by a wide margin, and he has been so for more than a decade. He is also, in a sense, the head of the Republican Party, having employed five prospective presidential candidates and done perhaps more than anyone to alter the balance of power in the national media in favor of the Republicans. “Because of his political work”—Ailes was a media strategist for Nixon, Reagan, and George H. W. Bush—“he understood there was an audience,” Ed Rollins, the veteran GOP consultant, told me. “He knew there were a couple million conservatives who were a potential audience, and he built Fox to reach them.”’

‘”You can’t run for the Republican nomination without talking to Roger,” one GOPer told me. “Every single candidate has consulted with Roger.” But he hasn’t found any of them, including the adults in the room—Jon Huntsman, Mitch Daniels, Mitt Romney—compelling. “He finds flaws in every one,” says a person familiar with his thinking.’

“It would be easy to look at Fox and think it’s conservative because Rupert and Roger are conservative and they program it the way they like. And to a degree, that’s true. But it’s also a business,” a person close to Ailes explained. “And the way the business works is, they control conservative commentary the way ESPN controls the market for sports rights. If you have a league, you have a meeting with ESPN, you find out how much they’re willing to pay, and then everyone else agrees to pay the same amount if they want it … It’s sort of the same at Fox. I was surprised at some of what was being paid until I processed it that way. If you’re ABC and you don’t have Newt Gingrich on a particular morning, you can put someone else on. But if you’re Fox, and Newt is moving and talking today, you got to have him. Otherwise, your people are like, ‘Where’s Newt? Why isn’t he on my channel?’ ”’

And then the wheels came off: How Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes Failed at Setting Up a Strong Republican Candidate for 2012 — New York Magazine.

Fanboys Punk Out, Players Play

“Americans want to talk about killing and watch violent movies and play violent video games, and watch fighting sports. But it’s all about simulacra. Hence the popularity of things like the UFC gym franchise where you can “train like a UFC fighter,” without actually sparring. Which is sort of like spending all your time doing tennis drills and conditioning but never actually playing a game of tennis. And for all the fetishization of the military and the years of fear mongering by the commentariat, I have seen zero, ZERO interest in reviving the draft. … Americans at all levels of our society refuse to look at hard facts and make decisions accordingly; people prefer fandom instead of participation. Vast numbers of Americans look on the military, as fans. Fans don’t get on the field and play– the[y] stand on the sidelines and only participate in the narrative as the cheering crowd. And unfortunately, now that I think about it, vast numbers of Americans also look at politics as fandom as well. They don’t really want to participate in the civic life of our country, they just want to stand on the sidelines and scream for their team. The only good part about this, though is that fanboys generally crumble in the face of actual competence. Or to put it in the sports analogy: fanboys punk out, and players play.”

Commenter on Metafilter, What is the meaning of the assassination of OBL?