The Dark Side....Jane Mayer on CIA Secret Prisons and Torture

Jane Mayer, who has done such great writing on CIA secret prisons for the New Yorker, has written a book, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals. It goes on sale this week.

Mayer writes of a Red Cross report warning that the interrogation methods used on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah and others are war crimes. [More...]

Citing unnamed “sources familiar with the report,” Ms. Mayer wrote that the Red Cross document “warned that the abuse constituted war crimes, placing the highest officials in the U.S. government in jeopardy of being prosecuted.” Red Cross representatives were not permitted access to the secret prisons where the C.I.A. conducted interrogations, but were permitted to interview Abu Zubaydah and other high-level detainees in late 2006, after they were moved to the military detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The book says the C.I.A. shared the report, which Ms. Mayer first described last year in less detail in The New Yorker, with President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Mayer says the prisoners' reports of abuse, tendered to the Red Cross during visits after their transfer to Guantanamo, have been confirmed by some CIA agents.

The report says the prisoners considered the “most excruciating” of the methods being shackled to the ceiling and being forced to stand for as long as eight hours. Eleven of the 14 prisoners reported prolonged sleep deprivation, the book says, including “bright lights and eardrum-shattering sounds 24 hours a day.”

Ms. Mayer acknowledges that Red Cross investigators based their account largely on interviews with the prisoners. But she writes that several C.I.A. officers she spoke with confirmed parts of the Red Cross description.

Glenn Greenwald adds this thoughts here . The Washington Post today also reports on the findings in Mayers' book.

Other good Mayer articles, Can the CIA Legally Kill a Prisoner? and The Memo about the thwarting of an internal effort to ban the abuse and torture of detainees. Also don't miss her profile of Cheney counsel David Addington whom she calls "the legal mind behind the White House’s war on terror."

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    Jane Mayer has written some great (none / 0) (#1)
    by Anne on Sat Jul 12, 2008 at 03:39:11 PM EST
    articles - she reminds me of Charlie Savage, who continues to write articles that should be considered required reading for anyone who cares about democracy; his book on the Imperial Presidency was chilling.

    When you take what what Mayer - and Savage (and others) - have written about, it becomes incomprehensible that the people behind everything are still walking around, living their lives - and continuing to direct programs and advance policies that I consider to be criminal.

    The big question I have after reading these books is, why isn't someone doing something about it???

    The only thing that makes sense is that those who could do something about it were also in on it to one degree or antoher, and to take action against those within the administration means putting their own a$$es at risk.

    This is another time (none / 0) (#2)
    by magisterludi on Sat Jul 12, 2008 at 04:16:40 PM EST
    in history when supposedly good people did nothing to stop the madness. History will not be kind to us Americans, much like German citizens during WW2. I'm ashamed.

    These are all great titles... (none / 0) (#3)
    by ctrenta on Sat Jul 12, 2008 at 04:19:26 PM EST
    .... I guess the cynic in me says we can inform ourselves until we're blue in the face, but the object IMO is justice. There's enough information out there to impeach Bush & Cheney or prosecute them for murder (like what Vincent Bugliosi just wrote). The answer isn't more books to read. The answer is to bring Bush and co. to justice. This is where we as citizens come in and find a solution: activism and constant pressure on our elected officials until they're compelled to act. Let's get off our behinds, put down the books (and our laptops for that matter) and organize our local communities. Think globally act locally. Don't be passive citizens.

    My heart will go on (none / 0) (#4)
    by bluejane on Sat Jul 12, 2008 at 10:19:53 PM EST
    I've long admired Jane Mayer's reporting, from her landmark study of Reagan's second presidential campaign ("Landslide") to her masterful study of Chalabi's propaganda offensive on American media to sell the Iraqi war. But when I saw the cover of her latest work "The Dark Side," my heart sank. I said to myself, "What? More evidence? More accounting of war crimes? More secrets and lies? I cannot read another word until something is done about what we already know."

    Only a few weeks ago I had "hoped" that a President Obama would ask the Justice Department to assign a special prosecutor to investigate Bush, Cheney, Addington, Yoo and others for various criminal acts and bring a case to a grand jury for potential criminal indictments. But since the Obama's FISA cave-in (coupled with capitulation by most Dems in Congress), I can see  no justice will be gained via our national leaders, much less the over-rated Obama. So I agree fully with comments above, especially "ctrenta" about working at state and local levels, for example, in California we're trying to get a wonderful single payer bill, SB 840 passed (again) by the Legislature and signed by an enlightened Governor. There is serious grassroots pressure to make single payer happen out here, so this is where my energy will be going: for publicly funded, privately delivered health care for all Californians and then, someday, and for all Americans.

    As for the Constitution, the rule of law and Bush-Cheney "dark side," they got away with murder and my heart is broken. But as the song goes, "My heart will go on . . . "

    (I'll probably read Jane Mayer's book anyway out of sheer loyalty to a wonderful reporter. It's not her fault our leaders are fools).

    Jane Mayer is a real journalist (none / 0) (#5)
    by shoephone on Sun Jul 13, 2008 at 12:34:38 AM EST
    in a sea of fakers. She has done exemplary work and I'm sure her phone was one of the first to be wiretapped by Bush.

    A few months ago she documented the source and the course of the rendition flights being operated by Jeppesen International, a subsidiary of Boeing.

    There are so many war criminals and complicitors inside America's government and America's corporations it makes my slowing graying hair stand on end.

    I will definitely buy Mayer's book.

    Frank Rich (none / 0) (#6)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 13, 2008 at 12:06:36 PM EST
    Writes a good review in todays NYT comparing BushCo to Nixon via The Final Days.

    Top Bush hands are starting to get sweaty about where they left their fingerprints. Scapegoating the rotten apples at the bottom of the military's barrel may not be a slam-dunk escape route from accountability anymore.

    No wonder the former Rumsfeld capo, Douglas Feith, is trying to discredit a damaging interview [snip] apparently forgetting that Mr. Sands had taped the interview. Mr. Feith and Mr. Sands are scheduled to square off in a House hearing this Tuesday.

    So hot is the speculation that war-crimes trials will eventually follow in foreign or international courts that Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell's former chief of staff, has publicly advised Mr. Feith, Mr. Addington and Alberto Gonzales, among others, to "never travel outside the U.S., except perhaps to Saudi Arabia and Israel."

    Horrible (none / 0) (#7)
    by JohnnaCal on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 08:41:25 AM EST
    So now we have Monday Morning QBs seven years after the fact, printing on missing or bad sources about the "facts".

    Her book is based on third hand accounts and provide only a view she wishes to sell. The real crime here is that she wrote a very poorly investigated book based on hersay and third hand accounts using very slick wording to present something she has no first hand account about.

    Is she donating the proceeds to the victims she write about I wonder?