Pointless Denials of Torture Report Details

Dick Cheney, former CIA officials Michael Hayden and Jose Rodriguez, and even the $80 million contract psychologists claim details in the newly released Senate Torture Report are "hooey" and "a bunch of crap" or they didn't know about the use of the techniques like "rectal feeding" and the program worked.

Their protestations are pointless. This report is the latest, but certainly not the only report containing many of the same details they dispute.

Just one example: Take a look at the 2013 extensively sourced report by the Open Society Justice Initiative, Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition. (Interestingly, it accounts for 136 detainees who were subjected to CIA secret detention and/or extraordinary rendition operations, while the Senate Report lists only 119.)

I'll focus on just one of the "mistaken identity" detainees -- Khalid Sheikh al-Masri (also known as Khaled Sheikh el-Masri.) There are many reports about him, as well as court decisions, here and in Europe. [More...]

El-Masri was the German shoe salesman who was plucked off the street in Macedonia by local authorities at the request of the CIA, which had mistaken him for a terrorist. He was (violently) transferred to CIA custody, shipped off to the Salt Pit in Afghanistan, and ultimately released with the U.S. saying basically, "So Sorry Charlie." His lawsuit against the U.S. was dismissed on grounds of the state secrets privilege, but it proceeded in the European Court of Human Rights, where his torture claims were upheld and he was awarded $60,000 Euros (for non-pecuniary damages. He didn't seek pecuniary damages.)

The European court decision and Open Society report present the same facts. From the Open Society report(emphasis added by me):

Khaled El-Masri, a German national, was seized by Macedonian security officers on December 31, 2003, at a border crossing, because he had been mistaken for an Al Qaeda suspect with a similar name. He was held incommunicado and abused in Macedonian custody for 23 days, after which he was handcuffed, blindfolded, and driven to Skopje airport, where he was handed over to the CIA and severely beaten.

The CIA stripped, hooded, shackled, and sodomized El-Masri with a suppository as Macedonian officials stood by at the airport. The CIA then drugged him and flew him to Kabul to be locked up in a secret CIA prison known as the “SaltPit,” where he was slammed into walls, kicked, beaten, and subjected to other forms of abuse.

El-Masri was held at the Salt Pit for four months and never charged, brought before a judge, or given access to his family or German government representatives. On May 28, 2004, he was flown on a CIA-chartered Gulfstream aircraft with the tail number N982RK to a military airbase in Albania called Berat-Kuçova Aerodrome and released without apology or explanation in Albania.

On December 6, 2005, German Chancellor Angela Merkel publicly stated at a press conference — with then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice standing by her side — that the United States had accepted that it had made a mistake in El-Masri’s case, but senior U.S. officials traveling with Rice disagreed with Merkel’s interpretation.

El-Masri’s case was investigated by the CIA’s Office of Inspector General. Although the inspector general found that there had been “no legal justification for el-Masri’s rendition,” and faulted a CIA analyst and a CIA lawyer responsible for the operation, the analyst was promoted and the lawyer received only a reprimand. (The inspector general’s report is not publicly available).

On December 13, 2012, the European Court of Human Rights held that Macedonia had violated El-Masri’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, and found that his ill-treatment by the CIA at Skopje airport amounted to torture. [added: The full opinion in here. A summary is here.]

Yesterday's report also describes the results of the CIA investigation on el-Masri:

On October 9, 2007,the CIA informed the Committee that it "lacked sufficient basis to render and detain al-Masri," and that the judgment by operations officers that al-Masri was associated with terrorists who posed a threat to U.S. interests "was not supported by available intelligence.

....The CIA director nonetheless decided that no further action was warranted against then the deputy chief of ALEC Station, who advocated for al-Masri's rendition, because "[t]he Director strongly believes that mistakes should be expected in a business filled with uncertainty and that, when they result from performance that meets reasonable standards, CIA leadership must stand behind the officers who make them." The notification also stated that "with regard to counterterrorism operations in general and the al-Masri matter in particular, the Director believes the scale tips decisively in favor of accepting mistakes that over connect the dots against those that under connect them."

Cheney, Hayden, Rodriguez, and the psychologists need to stop playing games with their denials. This report is just confirmation of so many earlier reports which show they knew, they lied and the program was shoddily run, poorly managed and useless in terms of results.

As I said, el-Masri is but one example. The court decision lists some of the amounts other countries have paid to abused CIA detainees when officials of those countries assisted the CIA. Maher Arar was paid $10 million by Canada. The U.K. paid $1 million to Binyan Mohammed. Sweden paid $450,000 to two detainees.

The CIA didn't just corrupt our values, it dragged other countries into the mud with it. Instead of making us safer, the CIA just put a bigger target on our backs.

Since no charges will be brought here, we can only hope that new charges are brought in other countries and arrest warrants are issued. (CIA agents have already been convicted in Italy. Charges were filed and are pending in Germany and were filed in Spain but dismissed.) These CIA agents and approving government officials should have to look over their shoulder every time they engage in international travel. They can ask Roman Polanski what it feels like. I think they deserve to live with the fear of arrest from international travel much more than he does.

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    Thank you for this (5.00 / 6) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 09:13:03 PM EST
    honestly I'm ready to jab ice picks in my ears so I don't have to hear any more rationalizing, equivocating and justifying.


    The CIA didn't just corrupt our values, it dragged other countries into the mud with it. Instead of making us safer, the CIA just put a bigger target on our backs.

    Seems so obvious to me.  And the idea that publishing the report INSTEAD IF DOING THE FREAKIN ACT put the target there is making me crazy.

    Absolutely. (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by desertswine on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 09:55:37 PM EST

    Years ago, before he was killed, ... (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:01:37 PM EST
    ... my father agreed to be the subject of a cover story / photo essay in the April 1964 issue of the Marine Corps Gazette, which was entitled, "USMC Advisor: Vietnam." Unfortunately, he died one month before it went to print.

    One series of photos in that essay was of a Viet Cong prisoner with his hands and legs bound, being held over the side of a boat by several South Vietnamese Marines and dunked head first repeatedly into the Mekong River.

    A few years later, when I was in first grade and first saw the magazine article, I remember having a visceral revulsion to what was being depicted in that series of pictures, and wondered aloud to my mother if my father had ever voiced his objections to this sort of appalling behavior.

    Later in life, after I attained adulthood, Mom voiced her regret at having allowed me to see the magazine article at such an impressionable age, because this was not sort of question which a 6-year-old should ever have to ask about his own parent.

    Your post reminded me of that, Jeralyn, and I felt like sharing. The sort of moral issues we're discussing here are not naïve, quaint or obsolete, as some on the right have insisted. Rather, in fact they are timeless, and go right to the heart of who we are as both a nation and people.


    Interesting analogy (none / 0) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:21:34 PM EST
    we are all that little boy horrified by those grotesque pictures.

    Amen (5.00 / 6) (#6)
    by lilburro on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 01:59:31 AM EST
    what bothers me the most (other than, you know, the rectal feeding and Hall of Fame sadism detailed in the report) is that we DID know enough to deserve to know all this sooner, through a method of inquiry tied to some sort of accountability (given that rectal feeding is presumably a crime in any civilized state), to question where our trust should be placed in the leadership of this country. Instead, Brennan is the Director of the CIA today, Congressional Democrats behind this report look partisan at best, and the Overton Window is set to move far to the right as Republicans continue to view human rights in the prism of some violent video game in which we are all secondary characters.

    Actually what bothers me most is that Guantanamo is still open. Or is it that leading America through fear alone is ok?

    I don't know, I just can't decide. It's troubling.

    It's Cruel. It's Useless. It's the C.I.A. (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 05:50:40 AM EST
    NYT op-ed by Gail Gordon

    We learned a lot from that big Senate Intelligence Committee report on C.I.A. interrogation tactics after 9/11. It was what may be the first time in American history that the term "rectal hydration" appeared in family newspapers throughout the land.

    Gail Collins (none / 0) (#8)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 05:58:42 AM EST
    Ha! (none / 0) (#13)
    by jbindc on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 08:36:22 AM EST
    You were thinking of him

    In a spectacularly non introspective moment, (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 06:33:08 AM EST
    Psychologist Linked to CIA Torture [complains]: 'I'm Caught in Some Kafka Novel'

    - Bloomberg

    Thank you Jeralyn (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 07:21:31 AM EST
    We all have known that George W. Bush was ordering people to be tortured for years now. All this report does is tell us the extent of the torture and the gory details.

    Welcome to our Democracy (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by NYShooter on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 11:40:43 AM EST
    You get what you vote for.

    London's "Daily Mirror" the day after GWB's re-election:

    "How Can 59 Million People Be So Dumb?"


    Even sadder, those same 59 million would vote for him again were there another vote.


    shortetr CIA Director: (5.00 / 5) (#11)
    by cpinva on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 07:32:29 AM EST
    1. We have really low standards for operations.

    2. As long as you follow those really low standards, regardless of people being wrongly harmed, you're good to go.

    Don't laugh, but.... (5.00 / 11) (#12)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 08:20:43 AM EST
    is there any way to do an asset seizure of the 80 million paid to the torture consultants/torture contractors?  

    As we well know on TL, asset seizure requires no trial, no conviction, no nuthin'.  Can the DOJ jack that cash back from those bastards?  Since they're above the law and can't be prosecuted for their crimes, maybe we can at least get our money back.  

    Besides, isn't there a law against profiting from such acts? Oops, I've done it again, made a funny...the law, pfft, I slay me.

    kdog, buddy (none / 0) (#45)
    by NYShooter on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 11:42:55 AM EST
    So early in the day?

    How doo yoo doo it?


    Coffee, cigarettes... (none / 0) (#66)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 12:57:40 PM EST
    and a little simple observation of our "civilization", my good man.

    It's not my material, I'm not sick nor imaginative enough to come up with this sh*t...just observing;)



    Interesting development (5.00 / 7) (#14)
    by MO Blue on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 08:50:27 AM EST
    Udal Publicizes Classified CIA Reportl

    Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) blasted the Obama administration for helping the CIA cover-up its enhanced interrogation program during a speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday morning.
    The outgoing Colorado senator publicized the contents of a classified CIA report that directly contradicts public statements the Agency has made about the Senate's explosive analysis of the Bush-era techniques.

    I'm liking this guy (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 08:53:50 AM EST
    more and more

    We in CO are losing a good Senator (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by christinep on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 11:38:16 AM EST
    My husband & I spent many weekends this summer walking precincts for him ... because Mark Udall exhibits integrity in all his dealings. (An outstanding environmentalist as well ... along with his incredible wife Maggie Fox.) We are proud of this genuine man of the mountains.

    Udall and Wyden (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by sj on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 12:44:49 PM EST
    ...have been making very broad hints about this for years. That is to their credit. But then again, they restricted themselves to hints of the "if the American people only knew..." variety.

    Neither Senator has been as courageous about this as Mike Gravel was about the Pentagon papers.


    Oh, and by the way (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by sj on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 12:46:08 PM EST
    Have you noticed how the 600 page summary is now being referred to as the 600 page report? No mention 6,000+ pages of detail.

    Who would have thought?


    Rather than present evidence that (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by MO Blue on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 09:00:46 AM EST
    Jonathan Turley's assessment of Obama's actions on torture were false, an attempt was made to discount the information by implying that he wasn't an honest broker.

    Let's look at what Sen. Dual has to say about the subject:

    The White House withheld 9,400 documents from the committee, "released information only when forced to by a leak or by court order or by an oversight committee," and dragged out the process of redacting sensitive materials in the report, Udall charged.

    "If there's no moral leadership from the White House helping the public understand that the CIA's torture program wasn't necessary and didn't save lives or disrupt terrorist plots, then what's to stop the next White House and CIA director from supporting torture?" he asked.


    I'll confess (none / 0) (#44)
    by christinep on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 11:41:58 AM EST
    J. Turley, imo, has morphed far away from his beginnings and is anything but an honest broker. For that reason, I do not read what he writes nor how he characterizes anything.  Sorry then that I cannot comment on his characterizations about any subject, other than to say that I would rather read Ron Fournier.

    Basically what you did was attempt (5.00 / 3) (#51)
    by MO Blue on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 12:00:10 PM EST
    To personally discredit Turley  rather than provide any facts to disprove what he said. The fact that you dislike him in no way proves that what he said is false.

    His statements on Obama's action  are not dissimilar  to what Sen. Udall said  on the floor of Congress.

    I am glad to see that you did not chose to discredit Sen. Udall as well.


    I would never attempt to discredit Sen. Udall (none / 0) (#55)
    by christinep on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 12:24:16 PM EST
    Jonathan Turley's self-serving statements on a range of subjects over the past several years make my hair stand on end.  It is what is known as a pet peeve & more.  I said that I cannot answer what he wrote because I no longer read what he writes.  

    Are you saying that you did not (5.00 / 3) (#60)
    by MO Blue on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 12:40:51 PM EST
    read my comment that quoted what Turley said about torture before you chose to try and discredit him?

    If you didn't read the quote, how would you know whether his statement was accurate or not and why would you chose to respond?  


    I no longer read whatn Turley writes. (none / 0) (#68)
    by christinep on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 01:11:59 PM EST
    Make of it what you wish for whatever reason that you may wish, MO.  Thanks.

    And yet... (5.00 / 3) (#71)
    by sj on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 01:21:41 PM EST
    I no longer read whatn Turley writes. (none / 0) (#68)
    by christinep on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 12:11:59 PM MDT

    Make of it what you wish for whatever reason that you may wish, MO.  Thanks.

    ...you chose to opine. I confess, I don't understand why so many people try to refute or dismiss reports that they never even bother to read. jim does it all the time, too.

    What's up with that?


    If you did not read (5.00 / 4) (#72)
    by MO Blue on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 01:21:51 PM EST
    my comment, which contained a quote by Turley, how could you accurately respond to it? Or better yet, why would you bother responding to a comment that you didn't read?

    I Was Wondering What Kind of Pretzel... (5.00 / 4) (#87)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 02:29:48 PM EST
    ...work that was going to take to explain, then I realized, I don't read her comments, I only respond to them.

    Oh, please see the totality of the Senator's (none / 0) (#57)
    by christinep on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 12:36:42 PM EST
    statements and concerns over the past many months.  Mostly, what Mark Udall does--as we all may be called upon to do with friends in difficult moment--is push the President to live up to the best in himself by taking a more complete action to redress this national wrong.  The Senator is himself following through with his intelligence committee work and beliefs (and has been open about this for some time.)

     At the same time, Mark Udall remains a close associate with the President; and, in most areas and issues, they are in synchronicity. Udall, like Obama, tend toward process ... and, in the matter of going full in, Udall is there in wanting to rid the CIA of those earlier tainted by the horrendous misdeeds; while the President still has a decision or re-decision to make about Brennan et al.  I respect them both; and, I am quite willing to await the final outcome of what-might-be-called the CIA personnel process.


    I have followed Sen. Udall's position (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by MO Blue on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 01:17:18 PM EST
    on this subject very closely since this is one of the areas that is extremely important to me.

    While Sen. Udall may agree with President Obama on some issues, by no stretch of the imagination could anyone truthfully state that they are in agreement on the subject of torture.

    He also accused Obama of failing to live up to his pledges during the 2008 campaign to be more transparent about the use of torture. And he said the CIA's internal Panetta review's findings reveal that the White House is misleading the public.

    "One would think this administration is leading the effort to right the wrongs of the past and ensure the American people learn the truth about the CIA's torture program," Udall said. "Not so. It's been nearly a six-year struggle in a Democratic administration to get this study out. For a while I worried that this administration would succeed in keeping this study entirely under wraps.

    "While the study clearly shows that the CIA detention and interrogation program itself was deeply flawed, the deeper, more endemic problem lies in the CIA, assisted by a White House that continues to try to cover up the truth."

    Evidently Sen. Udall is not willing to sit quietly by and wait decades to eliminate the policies that would easily allow torture to occur again.  Nor is he willing to continue to perpetuate the lies that the CIA acted in good faith or the lies that torture was successful. Also, In case you missed it, he clearly stated that the White House continues to try and cover up the truth.


    Actually, they agree on many issues (none / 0) (#80)
    by christinep on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 02:02:01 PM EST
    in all other areas ... that is my point.  People/colleagues can, do, and even should openly point out differing opinions in the areas where they diverge. Senator Udall and the President presently diverge on a portion of the appropriate governmental response to the report on torture.  They are not out to take each other down nor to maximize the limited areas of their differences.  My responses in this very particular area go toward that perspective.

    Perhaps, we are also really talking about our differing perspectives on a portion of this subject.


    The topic of this thread is (5.00 / 3) (#88)
    by MO Blue on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 02:34:21 PM EST

    Good thing I did not make a claim that Udall was trying to take Obama down. OTOH, Udall has not exactly minimized his disagreement with Obama on torture.

    Flat out stating that the president has been and  is currently engaged in a cover up of the truth is pretty strong stuff coming from a Senator from his own party.

    What I am talking about is what people like Turley and Udall  have actually said on the subject of torture and Obama's role in protecting the CIA and covering up the truth. I have to admit since you have chosen not to directly address what was actually said and would rather change the subject, it is impossible to debate the issue so I'm done for now.


    We are talking apples and oranges, MO (none / 0) (#91)
    by christinep on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 02:50:31 PM EST
    Udall and Obama presently disagree on the subject of what to do next in an action response to the Senate report.  That is the area on which they disagree; whereas, they agree on almost all other major and significant issues.  

    You have decided to introduce (5.00 / 4) (#94)
    by MO Blue on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 03:09:00 PM EST
    apples into a discussion of oranges. The topic was and is torture and not many other issues.

    Also, it is not merely a small disagreement on what to do next. Sen. Udall has clearly stated that the president has not been honest with the American people and is actively participating in a coverup on torture. More strong words from Udall:

    "I believe its flippant and dismissive tone represents the CIA's approach to oversight - and the White House's willingness to let the CIA do whatever it likes - even if its efforts are aimed at actively undermining the president's stated policies," Udall said.

    What I "have decided" to do (none / 0) (#100)
    by christinep on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 05:08:05 PM EST
    is not what you think nor what you are trying to get me to say.

     Rather, I am trying to agree, in part, with you by acknowledging that the Senator and President disagree--in part--on the Senate report on torture.  The characterization of "in part" is important for the reason that it does not distort the nature of their differences.  To the extent that your position is that there is this tremendous/huge/extraordinary/unbridgeable gap between the two men on major particulars of the report (or, for that matter, in general issue areas of governance), I respond by noting that the two colleagues agree on more than they disagree although they do disagree presently on the release of still-unreleased documents at the WH and although it appears that the President has yet take a further step with regard to structure/personnel at CIA.

    That any two gentlemen might disagree strongly on how to proceed with a very important matter is not unusual.  It should be expected in view of the national situation and in view of the different responsibilities of the Executive and Legislative Branch.  That is all I have been trying to say ... and, I really do expect that the saga of the remaining documents (now under FOIA's Deliberative Process protection) at the WH will move toward conclusion as the government sorts out their redress options AND that the CIA personnel matter is far from over.


    christine, here's the problem I have with (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by Anne on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 07:00:16 PM EST
    your comments: the WH has had the report for at least 2 years.  Do you understand, then, why people are disturbed, now that they are reading and learning about what's in it, at Obama's comfort with the status quo?  

    Do you appreciate at all that Obama went ahead and nominated John Brennan as CIA Director after Obama was in receipt of the report?  Someone who supported "enhanced interrogation techniques?"  Does this sound like the action of someone determined to change the culture at the CIA?

    Does it matter to you at all that one of the reasons the release of the summary was so delayed was the WH fighting to make even more of it unavailable?  That it was widely believed he was dragging his feet in the hope of delaying it until after the new Congress was seated, with the thought that the Republican-led SSCI would halt the release?

    Maybe this makes sense to you; maybe you are so devoted to Obama that you simply cannot allow your mind to appreciate what any of this means.

    But you have this weird romanticized view of things that just defies logic, ignoring what's right in front of your face.  

    I guess it's a good thing you're so fond of waiting for people to take their good ol' time to act on the glib things they say to score points, because I'd lay odds that the next president will be taking the oath of office before anything major happens by Obama's direction.

    Best not to hold your breath, eh?



    People have different ways of doing things (none / 0) (#108)
    by Politalkix on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 08:50:09 PM EST
    The President did change the working of the Pentagon, praised superstar generals like Petraeus and McChrystal before politely showing them the door, got Robert Gates to end DADT, enforced his will to stop needless wars against the wishes of the top military brass and successive Secretaries of Defense.

    He has a proven record of not sacrificing long term goals for feel good but ineffective hyperventilation.

    The CIA is another bureaucracy like the Pentagon.
    Everything may not be apparent to an outsider about how its culture can get changed from within. Why can't you consider this alternative possibility?


    politalkix: Well said. (2.00 / 1) (#110)
    by christinep on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 09:01:00 PM EST
    Your response is one borne of patience.  Thanks for your perseverance. (As you know, the if-we-don't-do-what-I-want-now-then-something-is-wrong-with-you theme imparted by Anne gets condescendingly old at times.)

    Yes, I understand & I appreciate, etc. (none / 0) (#109)
    by christinep on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 08:54:56 PM EST
    Does this have anything to do with him (5.00 / 3) (#85)
    by Anne on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 02:18:18 PM EST
    being hired to represent the House in its suit against the president on the matter of the ACA, by any chance?

    Or would you care to enlighten us as to what Turley has done that could possibly make him any less an honest broker than, say, many of the 535 members of Congress and the majority of the media?


    About 50% of my response (none / 0) (#92)
    by christinep on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 02:55:04 PM EST
    as to Turley has to do with your correct supposition in the first paragraph, Anne.  

    But, there are other squirrely areas (even going back many years to his foray into the environment ... where the outcome was fine, but the methodology I considered spotlight-seeking deceptive.) Some don't like Sullivan; some don't like Tweety Mathews, etc.


    The attacks on the (5.00 / 5) (#17)
    by KeysDan on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 09:21:27 AM EST
    Senate Intelligence Executive Summary are understandable--if you are among the culpable. If I was part of the torture gang,  I would probably try hard to show that I was not a war criminal, too. Or, if I was a rent-a-torturer, I may well give up false information to avoid penalty. Anything to make it stop. I would like to be able to enjoy my retirement, interrupted only by counting my cash.

    But, fair and balanced ends there, in my view.  The CIA and White House and others were given the opportunity to comb and tease out that which was objectionable to them. The report stands on its own.  Criticisms are made about the "flaws in the study," and the "inaccuracies," but the specifics go unspecified.  No interviews, hence, no good.  Sounds reasonable, but the study design was not an oral history, it was a review, collation and analysis of primal and contemporaneous sources.

    Histories do not depend on interviews.  Indeed, the capabilities for such often do not exist.  For example, what we know of the assassination of President Lincoln did not rely on an interview with him.  And, while many of those culpable are still alive, if not still in government, interviews would not necessarily be productive in this case.  We recall, for instance, that Bush and Cheney would not testify to the 9/11 Commission under oath, and would testify only while together, in the same room.  

    Well, there's another way to look at this: (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Anne on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 10:27:43 AM EST
    when those involved in these programs were put under oath and questioned by members of Congress, they were less-than-truthful; we know this because there is a mountain of evidence and documentation that supports that conclusion.

    How does an interview change that?  Seems to me that all they could do would be to repeat the untruths they've already told - because they certainly aren't going to do a 180 and dig themselves any deeper into a legal hole, are they?

    Let's look at Michael Hayden, for example.  

      At the April 12, 2007, hearing, Director Hayden verbally provided extensive inaccurate information on, among other topics: (1) the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, (2) the application of Department of Defense survival school practices to the program, (3) detainees' counter interrogation training, (4) the backgrounds of CIA interrogators, (5) the role of other members of the interrogation teams, (6) the number of CIA detainees and their intelligence production, (7) the role of CIA detainee reporting in the captures of terrorist suspects, (8) the interrogation process, (9) the use of detainee reporting, (10) the purported relationship between Islam and the need to use the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques, (11) threats against detainees' families, (12) the punching and kicking of detainees, (13) detainee hygiene, (14) denial of medical care, (15) dietary manipulation, (16) the use of waterboarding and its effectiveness, and (17) the injury and death of detainees.

    Is he going to tell a different story to the SSCI investigative staff than he did under oath to the Congress?

    I mean, come on...this whole "oooh, there were no interviews, so it must all be lies" argument is just crap.  


    Been thinking about (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by CST on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 10:33:13 AM EST
    what I would like to see as a response to this - given that I do not expect prosecutions from the U.S. government - an unfortunate but true reality.

    I think I would be fairly satisfied if certain high-level officials were no longer able to leave the country.  Internationally humiliated at the least.  Let's them know that there are consequences.  At least it's something.  I think there is something to be said for an official pardon as well.  It's an acknowledgement that it was illegal.

    Also, something very telling to me, despite all the crying to the contrary, no one seems to have used this as an excuse to attack U.S. interests abroad.  Everyone already knew this was going on, and given that our current most visible "enemy" is publicly beheading people and most likely engaging in torture - this is hardly going to be a big rallying cry for them against Americans.  What all this does (and I mean the actions, not the report on actions that everyone already knew about) is turn the middle against us.  The people who don't like ISIS for their brutality.  Now have similar reasons not to like us.

    Heck of a job guys.

    It's my opinion that the people who (none / 0) (#28)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 10:49:49 AM EST
    started that meme never actually believed it would "result in attacks on our interests".  It was an absolutely typical distract and divert that has worked so well for them.  

    it has happened in the past (none / 0) (#46)
    by CST on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 11:49:22 AM EST
    like with Abu Ghraib.  The fact is this is no longer breaking news, it's just the details of something everyone has known for years.  We've been the bad guy so long no one even bothers to pretend we have a higher standard anymore.

    I can't believe (5.00 / 11) (#26)
    by Repack Rider on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 10:37:12 AM EST
    ...that there are people, some on this very forum, who say, "Torture is bad but under some circumstances..."


    By my math, the CIA has harmed the country more in the last decade than all the terrorists in our history.  I would prefer to take my chances with terrorists, than protect the American citizens who killed 4000 of us by being wrong about WMD, and then tortured people in violation of everything that is American.  

    If someone thinks torture is "okay" under "special" circumstances, let that person surrender himself or herself after committing the act, and let the court decide whether torture was justified under the law.

    The law.  Remember when conservatives worshiped it?

    Me neither.

    I wish I could give your comment a 10 (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 10:53:22 AM EST
    i am so beyond sick of the "if you say it often enough it will be true" swamp we live in.

    It's especially unbelievable (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by lilburro on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 11:59:46 AM EST
    that people are saying that knowing what's in the report.

    Almost makes you long for the days when people were at least trying to argue that waterboarding WASN'T torture...



    Why? (none / 0) (#52)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 12:04:42 PM EST
      I believe I stated quite clearly that none of the "cases" described in the report come remotely close to meeting the criteria I would establish.

      That is not at all inconsistent with the simultaneous belief that circumstances could exist in different cases where torture could be justified.


    I wasn't responding specifically to you (5.00 / 4) (#58)
    by lilburro on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 12:38:29 PM EST
    although I don't agree with you because I think "ticking time bomb" is mostly a rhetorical device and I haven't seen any evidence suggesting torture is somehow more effective or accurate based on the scenario or that the CIA is in such a scenario with any frequency.

    The real issue is how do we deal with our fear of a ticking time bomb, which is the situation we are dealing with 99.9999% of the time. It is something to be afraid of, but the best way to handle it appears to be through intelligence gathering and normal interrogation techniques, not brutal tactics that generate emotionally charged misinformation and increase the likelihood of such a time bomb existing.


    I don't think (none / 0) (#64)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 12:51:21 PM EST
      we are dealing even with the inchoate "fear of the ticking time bomb" even a majority of the time let alone 99.9999% of the time.

      I also don't think the "ticking bomb" scenario has or will occur very often. To me, that means the type of "justification defense" I have proposed will not arise very often. That further means its existence would not foreclose appropriate punishment for the vast majority of "torturers." In the vast majority of cases, if due punishment is evaded that will be because of politics and power not legal doctrines of limited applicability.

       That said, just because a doctrine would rarely apply to a real world scenario does not mean it should not be available for those rare instances when it would make a difference.


    I see where you made your mistake (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by Repack Rider on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 12:39:41 PM EST
    There are no "criteria" that make torture "acceptable" or anything other than a violation of the 4th and 8th Amendments.


    When you concede that the Bill of Rights is still in effect, or at least it's supposed to be, and that torture violates every principle the country is built on, we can converse in a civil fashion, but not until we speak the same language.


    OK, fine (none / 0) (#65)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 12:53:41 PM EST
       Bear in mind, though,  conversing with you, civilly or otherwise, is not essential to my happiness, so I think I will choose not to make the effort.

    In that case (5.00 / 2) (#74)
    by Repack Rider on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 01:28:41 PM EST
    ...my correction of your mistake stands.

    There is nothing in Heaven or on Earth that justifies what the CIA did.  There is no excuse for these people not spending the rest of their lives in prison.

    I can live with that position.  Hope you don't like it.


    That's exactly what I am saying (none / 0) (#39)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 11:25:13 AM EST
     I also think  killing and many if not most other usually wrongful acts  can be fit into the __ is bad but under some circumstances..." framework.

       I accept that people can in good faith disagree with me and have little problem believing that some who do are not bad people.



    Add to the harm the CIA has done to (none / 0) (#48)
    by christinep on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 11:53:31 AM EST
    the country in the last decade ... other eras as well. I'm particularly thinking about the shenanigans of that group in Central America more than three decades ago.

    It makes one wonder what kind of person not only has the strength but also the respect for legal limits to run a spy/intelligence operation.  Anywhere. Is a Putin-type KGB or a Pinochet-ordered militia the only models.  I saw a passing comment elsewhere that wondered whether John McCain is the type of person or person that could finally bring this CIA into the ambit of a Constitutional Democracy.


    Yesterday, in response to a remark ... (5.00 / 2) (#77)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 01:45:48 PM EST
    ... about "unintended consequences," I wrote about what the CIA did in the Congo back in 1960-61, which was publicly disclosed by the Church Committee in April 1976. There is a direct correlation between Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba's assassination in January 1961 and the heartbreaking tragedy which the Congo's become today.

    In that regard, I consider Stephen Weissman'a July 2014 article about the killing of Lumumba in Foreign Affairs magazine to be a really worthwhile and useful read, because it underscores fully the fact that the CIA's longstanding and corrupt institutional mindset is rooted back in the earliest days of the Cold War. As such, its wholly ingrained and warped mentality will likely never be removed from its structure through a selective process of bureaucratic microsurgery.

    From the standpoint of our democracy's well being, we simply cannot tolerate the continued existence of an autonomous federal agency with this much power and authority, when its senior officials feel free to lie repeatedly and with this much impunity to Congress and the American people, and further proceed to spy on the very Senate committee and staff charged with oversight of their activities. I would argue that this sort of egregious bureaucratic behavior constitutes the inherent definition of a "rogue agency."

    And as uncomfortable as this subject and discussion is for some people, we really do need to confront the highly unpleasant probabilities that (a) the CIA has become rotten to its very core, and (b) at this point in time, whatever ostensible value this agency might still retain in its present form as a protective bulwark is very likely irredeemable.

    Therefore, given its behavioral history and the obscenely vial disclosures of the past few days, I'm now convinced that the CIA needs to undergo a complete decapitation from the shoulders up, with all its senior ranks purged from that agency in their entirety. There should be no exceptions, even for those officials who can prove that their presence there has heretofore been benign, because nits eventually become lice.

    Only then can we begin to reconstitute our overseas intelligence services in a more fully and publicly accountable form, and on a very, very tight leash. And given what we've learned from Edward Snowden's disclosures, we really ought to consider the same fate for the NSA as well.



    We need to have this evaluation (none / 0) (#86)
    by christinep on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 02:19:01 PM EST
    Thank you, Donald.  Can or should an "intelligence gathering responsibility" for a major nation be dispersed throughout more than one agency OR should the reporting lines be redrawn OR ???  Also, permit me to ask what may be a foolish query: While I have always assumed that it is the responsibility of the government to have an intelligence gathering capability in order to provide for the ability of the executive to "protect & defend," is there a realistic way to do a smaller-but-better approach via shrinking the sheer size of the present operation? Would that be unrealistic?

    I'm not presently of the position that ... (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 04:16:36 PM EST
    ... smaller is necessarily better. But that said, I'm certainly open to further discussion on that option. And given my current antipathy toward the CIA, I'd lay even odds that I could probably be convinced by a good argument in favor of it. At this point, I believe that we allow the status quo to stand at our own prospective peril.

    Frank Rich on the National Circus: (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Dec 12, 2014 at 10:29:11 PM EST
    America Is Still in Denial About Torture.

    The Sad Fact... (3.50 / 2) (#21)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 10:21:58 AM EST
    ...that in all of the world, the only groups not appalled with torture are people who watch Fox News and dictatorships.  I am sure the mob, cartels, and warloards might make that list, but they at least have the decently to not try to define words in order to claim they didn't do it.

    Sir, I have never murdered anyone, I did diminished their life expectancy abruptly, but my lawyer has advised me this was perfectly legal, he is the justification.

    I am failing to differentiate between people who commit horrendous crimes and the people with the power to prosecute them, who don't.  At some point Obama is just as complicit in failing to, at the very least, charge people who admit to war crimes in a TV interview.

    He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. -MLK

    In case (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 10:36:50 AM EST
    you haven't made the connection the constant theme that seems to run through conservatives' minds is fear. Apparently doing anything from torture to murder is a-okay if you're "afraid" Look at Zimmerman to the present. They're "afraid" therefore they get to kill someone or torture someone. Bunch of weenies who let fear rule their lives and use it to justify any dastardly act.

    It is more than overstatement (none / 0) (#54)
    by christinep on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 12:17:16 PM EST
    to deduce that an unwillingness to prosecute in court somehow transforms that individual into the culpable person him/herself.  It is one thing to believe--even believe most passionately--that an official prosecution should occur when criminal acts appear to be there for all to see.  But, that doesn't transform the reluctant "prosecutor" or other decider into being complicit with the alleged criminal(s).  The idea that it would or should cast the prosecutor as complicit, honestly, is rather scary.  If we don't like that the decider doesn't do what we would do or act as we would like, there are remedies either at the moment or in due course (elections.)

    Note: As an individual who spent most of her career on the prosecutorial/plaintiff side of the federal government aisle, I own up to my bias on this one.  I own up to separating out the different, assigned government roles and my own experience that there usually are specific reasons for forbearance. So...I'm willing to wait for more info as this necessary process unfolds.


    Completely disagree (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by sj on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 01:17:48 PM EST
    It is more than overstatement  (none / 0) (#54)
    by christinep on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 11:17:16 AM MDT

    to deduce that an unwillingness to prosecute in court somehow transforms that individual into the culpable person him/herself.

    If a court of law is the only way administer justice or determine there was no wrong doing, then the individual summarily deciding not to prosecute when substantial evidence indicates such trial, exhibits at best soul rotting corruption and at worst complicity.



    Ummmm... (5.00 / 2) (#78)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 01:52:52 PM EST
    ...how many suspects where granted exemption from prosecution before the investigation was started, in the offices you worked at ?

    April 2009 (Obama has been in office for 3 months):

    "It would be unfair to prosecute dedicated men and women working to protect America for conduct that was sanctioned in advance by the Justice Department," Holder said in a statement.

    For the first time, officials said yesterday that they would provide legal representation at no cost to CIA employees subjected to international tribunals or inquiries from Congress. They also said they would indemnify agency workers against any financial judgments.  LINK

    There had been no investigation.

    Also from 2009:

    In an unequivocal statement, he(Obama) said: "I believe that waterboarding was torture and, whatever legal rationals were used, it was a mistake."  LINK

    Torture is a crime, the US has singed many treaties and international documents stating so.  Some actually specifically state that war crimes require prosecution.

    Call it what you want, but Obama decided 3 months after taking office, later stated what they did was torture, launched an investigation, then declared no crimes were uncovered after releasing a 1/10 of the actual report in which his Administration played no part in producing.  I guess lucky for him no crimes were committed or his earlier statements would have looked rather foolish.  If only he hadn't declared crimes were committed...

    Prosecutors who ensure people aren't charged even though ample evidence exists, are complicit because they ensure justice cannot occur.  And by justice, I mean a trail, where people outside they system weigh the evidence and decide guilt, not a political figure who decided long before the investigation.

    You were right about one thing, it is damn scary that war criminals aren't standing trial when a Congressional report containing 6000 pages of evidence clearly indicate many, many crimes were committed.  Those people did not torture themselves, they did not feed themselves with hummus enemas, they did not break their own bones, and it's all documented.

    At the very least, they should be prosecuted for destroying evidence, aka the video tapes of the torture.  They have admitted to it, it's a fact they destroyed evidence.  They knowing lied to Congress, same thing, a fact.  

    But Obama tells me crimes were committed.  Damn these lying eyes.


    The decision to prosecute (none / 0) (#90)
    by christinep on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 02:40:14 PM EST
    can and must be faced on more than one factor.  Take a look, for example, at an area where many of us want to see forbearance stemming from prosecutorial/enforcement discretion ... the matter of undocumented immigrants ... and, the projected near-term outcome announced by President Obama will employ that discretion.  Another example: The practical forbearance exercised by the feds in the conflict of laws situation in CO as to marijuana. Or to review a number of years ago: Enforcement discretion in sensible states about the sodomy laws on the books until recent times.

    I don't want to offend you by listing the first examples that come to mind.  In my own area, environmental enforcement, necessary decisions were made occasionally early on to look at avenues to get the sought results through a variety of avenues.  Enforcement practice in the federal agency world has always included a mix of considerations that included an evaluation of resources, outcome potential, and purpose/particular case objective.

    Granted the extensive torture program officially disclosed via the Senate report occupies a level of importance all its own.  And, the ultimate response(s) will be equally important in history. I think that, because of the significance of the documented systemic torture, that not only can we afford to consider all alternative enforcement/prosecutorial responses but also we cannot afford to forego those considerations.  Of one thing I am almost certain, there will be more measures taken ... and, we really can afford to wait.


    Wow, Now I Get it... (5.00 / 4) (#98)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 04:24:14 PM EST
    ...you weren't playing games, you really don't read the posts you reply to.

    If you want to respond to my comment, I would appreciate it, but some random comment about prosecutor discretion and how it applies to sodomy and immigration, should be posted in an open thread.


    Then, read my comment, Scott (2.00 / 1) (#103)
    by christinep on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 05:30:08 PM EST
    My understanding from your comment was that a central question/concern from yourself focused on the reality of forbearance that I had seen, practiced, etc.  My response, beginning with the general intro--which you disparage--was my way of saying that many factors do go into decision-making on the federal level to assess the best enforcement/prosecutorial response to bring about the desired outcome.  I gave three broad references in the opening paragraph, followed by a general reference to environmental enforcement.

    I'm not sure why you seem to ask a question within the confines of your original comment and, when I try to respond with references to federal enforcement considerations, you consider that non-responsive.  What I find is that your response to me is unnecessarily disparaging ... perhaps, because my position differs from yours.


    I'm undoubtedly more (2.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 09:31:09 AM EST
     interventionist and hawkish than the vast majority here. I will even go so far as to say there do exist hypothetical  scenarios in which I would condone the use of torture to extract information.

      In the proverbial "ticking bomb" and "imperiled hostage" scenarios, I believe the lesser evil/justification rationale is a valid one. Faced with a choice of saving innocent people from an imminent threat by  resorting to extreme and brutal measures or allowing the  innocents to be killed, I'd say the ends do justify the means. I fully understand and respect the views of those who disagree, but that is my sincere belief.

      Here though, rather than quibbling about what "useful," "helpful" or "valuable mean," I don't think the CIA, co-complicit actors  or their defenders can point to any occasion when torture was employed to thwart an imminent threat for which torture was the only available means of prevention. I don't see anything even close to that, and I have to assume if such situations did exist those would have been disclosed.

       Rather, I see by their own admission tactics which were employed over long periods of time (which in itself serves to refute imminence) in order to extract information that was far more accurately described as investigatory intelligence of possible use in gaining understanding and planning longer-term operations, etc. than as information reasonably believed NECESSARY to prevent innocent loss of life.


    Yes, there (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by KeysDan on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 10:00:06 AM EST
    is in my mind, too, a difference between a program of torture, along the lines presented in the Senate Report, and consideration of extraordinary tactics in a  ticking bomb or imminent peril hypothetical.  However, I worry that the explicit condoning, by policy, of such extreme measures in unlikely or uncommon cases--either occurring or bringing valuable intelligence, would be difficult to control.  

    It seems to me that this needs to be, if at all, an implicit exception rather than an explicit rule.  If extraordinary tactics were employed in a ticking bomb case, on the basis of best operational judgment,  with or without success, the extenuating circumstances should (and would likely) outweigh other concerns.   In the worst scenario, this would be a case for presidential pardon.


    I disagree, KeysDan, and (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by caseyOR on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 10:28:43 AM EST
    I so rarely disagree with you.

    We know that torture does not work. Information obtained through torture is unreliable. In the "ticking time bomb" scenario the person being tortured is far more likely to give false information or to say whatever they think the torturers want to hear just to make the pain stop.

    We know what actions qualify as torture. They are not enhanced interrogation techniques or extraordinary tactics. They are torture. And if we get a bit confused we can refer to the Geneva Convention or review the long historical list of acts of torture that have been roundly condemned through the centuries. We could review our own prosecutions of Japanese and Nazis after WWII.


    First, (none / 0) (#29)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 10:50:40 AM EST
      the proposition that torture often extracts false information does not prove that it never extracts true information or that the information obtained is never helpful or useful.

      Following poor reasoning does not  much help  because it really plays into the hands of the "justifiers." If you make the bald claim "torture does not work," you are completely refuted by a single example of it working. I don't think that's the way to go.

      Now, the knowledge of the limits of its effectiveness and the reality that it will result in instances of false information should obviously inform policy (in addition to the moral concerns that are of greater import), but making an absolute statement that an act cannot possible result in a benefit and that impossibility is the underpinning for a blanket prohibition, actually helps those with which you disagree.

      As I said, I think any exception should be very narrow. At a minimum, there must exist both a subjective and objective belief of every element of the "justification," including at the least:

      -- An imminent threat of great harm exists

      --- That in the particular circumstances, torture is likely to result in extracting "true information and doing so promptly,"

     --- That the information is necessary to prevent the great harm

    -- That there exist no other means of preventing that great harm (this subsumes that there are both no other available means of obtaining the information from that individual and that there are not other means of preventing the great harm)

      I would propose that the potential "torturer" must affirmatively demonstrate that he actually believed each of those elements to be true and that his belief as to each individual element was reasonable. If he failed to demonstrate a subjective or objective as to any element, then the defense would fail.


    How about this for an exception- (5.00 / 4) (#34)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 11:13:46 AM EST
    torture is explicitly illegal and unacceptable under all circumstances.

    If some extraordinary event or threat presents its self let some courageous patriot engage in said torture with the full knowledge they will be prosecuted for it.  If this information is as vital as they say and they are as patriotic as they say they should be readily willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good.  And it would be possible that at trial it could be proven that it was in fact justifiable.

    But no matter what if there is torture there will be charges and prosecution?

    How about that?


    And let's not act (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by lilburro on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 12:14:36 PM EST
    like such a person would actually be found guilty. As recent events in domestic politics have shown, Americans have no problem with brutality and the police state. That doesn't mean we should stop putting the actions of such a state on trial.

    You could call it (none / 0) (#37)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 11:21:14 AM EST
    the Jack Bauer rule.

    I would not have a tremendous problem (none / 0) (#40)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 11:32:41 AM EST
    with torturers being charged and tried based on a determination that probable cause has been found that their acts constitute "torture" as defined in the relevant law.

      I would oppose a regime where the accused were not permitted to raise an affirmative defense based on justification, necessity (lesser evil) grounds and to have a jury decide whether the prosecution has refuted those grounds beyond a reasonable doubt.


    You present irrationally formed criteria (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by Dadler on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 11:14:20 AM EST
    For example,

    That in the particular circumstances, torture is likely to result in extracting "true information and doing so promptly,"

    It would require very advanced experiments and research in torturing actual human beings, who actually believed they were going to die, to even establish whether this is even a rationally possible criteria in any situation, or just one of Rumsfeld's unknown knowns of the known unknown.

    All available evidence is that torture does not work. As often as it has been used down through history, we would have reams of data on its efficacy and the plots it foiled were it such a "reliable" abuse of human beings.


    no, it would not (none / 0) (#49)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 11:55:22 AM EST
      As with most forms of justification defense, the accused should not be  required to prove that his beliefs were in fact true. He also should not be convicted even if  information unavailable to him at the time he made the decision to act "proves" his belief was incorrect.

      Take self defense. A defendant (in most American jurisdictions) has to present evidence supporting the conclusion he (a) subjectively (or actually) believed it was necessary to employ force to prevent infliction of grave bodily harm or death and (b) that his belief was REASONABLE (meaning that a reasonable person at that time and place with the knowledge he possessed would have believed the use of force was necessary.

      If a defendant introduces evidence tending to support both components then the prosecution bears the burden of convincing the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that that the evidence introduced by the defendant does not create a reasonable doubt as to whether the justification defense applies.

      Evidence that a defendant was incorrect in his beliefs can be relevant to determining both the subjective and objective components but he can be acquitted even if the jury determines he was wrong so long as the jury believes he did actually so believe and that a reasonable person in that circumstance would also have so believed.

      We don't in such circumstances do recreations or experiments placing "reasonable people" in circumstances identical to those the defendant faced and seeing what percentage  employ force to decide the cases..



    I do not think (none / 0) (#41)
    by KeysDan on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 11:33:21 AM EST
    that we are in disagreement, but I also think that I did not make my  point well, so thank you for permitting this second chance.   My response  to Recon. was intended as an argument against a torture policy that allows for such extraordinary tactics in hypothetically imminent situations (e.g., the ticking bomb idea).  Torture is torture, period.  

    The imminent situation too easily becomes seen as commonplace in war and especially so, in a "war on terror."    However, if an operational decision is made in  what is determined as a true ticking bomb situation,  counter to evidence and law,  it must be taken with all the  attendant risks and consequences.  If subsequently, it is shown somehow that the attempted means justifies the end in the particular situation, it does not change my position on torture, but it does suggest that individualized pardons for this rarity could be served, if required,  by the president's constitutional authority while preserving our values and rule of law.  


    It seems to me that this is situational ethics, (5.00 / 3) (#27)
    by Anne on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 10:40:59 AM EST
    and I think we've already had way too much of that, with results that are less-than-satisfactory.

    When we make decisions this way, we end up rationalizing behavior and actions we know are wrong.  And we make it easier to do it again, to blur the lines, especially if we're getting away with it.

    Torture is wrong.  And there's enough evidence to suggest that it doesn't work: it makes people say whatever they have to in order to make it stop.  And it seems that those who believe torture is permissible under certain conditions will always manage to find that those conditions exist.  Or create new conditions that make it possible.

    There's a reason it's been outlawed so definitively, and I don't see any reason why it's necessary to find loopholes in order to engage in it.


    It is indeed situational ethics. (none / 0) (#36)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 11:14:39 AM EST
      That's exactly what my belief the  "the ends can  justify the means" accepts.

      Personally, I have trouble fathoming an ethical system that does not take the circumstances (or "the situation") into account in evaluating the morality of  an act or contemplated act.


    There is such a system (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by Repack Rider on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 11:23:04 AM EST
    It's called The Bill of Rights.

    Read it.


    The difference - one of them - between us is (5.00 / 4) (#47)
    by Anne on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 11:49:49 AM EST
    that you can conceive of a situation where it is morally right to torture someone, and I cannot.  I can conceive of situations where my fear and anger might impel me to act against my rational beliefs, but that still wouldn't make it right.  And I cannot imagine dispassionately torturing someone at the behest of my government - or my government putting me in the position of having to do it, ticking time bomb or no.

    Torture is not elevated to a higher moral plain when it works.  Or in inverse proportion to the reason why it's being done.  The response to "it doesn't work" quickly becomes "but maybe this time it will!" and that still isn't a reason to engage in it.

    It simply does not reinforce our essential humanity to inflict inhumane treatment on other human beings.  Ever.  

    Reading that long post of yours where you tied yourself in knots trying to devise some plan or some guidelines for when it's okay to torture someone made my stomach hurt.  I'm reading it and I can't even believe someone is discussing this in the same tone and with the same objectivity as one might talk about the price of groceries.

    There's probably nothing we can do about individuals engaging in this kind of behavior, but there is no way we should be finding ways to justify our government engaging in it.  Sure, Obama's said it's illegal - but it didn't become illegal by virtue of his declaration - it has been illegal for decades.

    And to not hold anyone accountable, or to only sacrifice those at the bottom of the chain, is completely unacceptable.


    That may be an occupational hazard (none / 0) (#56)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 12:34:08 PM EST
      I am a lawyer and tend to think and communicate like one ( I may also to some extent  chosen to become one because that manner of analysis fits my predisposition).

      Perhaps, though, you might want to pause before condemning those who endeavor to proceed more dispassionately and consider all of the aspects of an issue rather than emotionally based solely on one's personal values.

      Obviously, reading the report would provoke emotions in just about anyone. an emotional revulsion to these episodes is justified. that revulsion should be focused though on these episodes and not allowed to simply foreclose consideration of all the factors that could exist in the future.

      I agree with "It simply does not reinforce our essential humanity to inflict inhumane treatment on other human beings.  Ever."

      On the other hand, I don't really think anyone is arguing that "reinforcing essential humanity"  is a possible outcome of inflicting inhumane treatment and justifying it on that basis.

      The more salient issue is whether torture could ever be justified or condoned despite detracting from our essential humanity. I believe that there are possible circumstances where the answer to that would be yes. I respect people who thoughtfully  disagree with that and I would not resort to questioning one's  humanity names if someone argued better to let 1000 people perish than  torture a single person. I get that some people are absolutists and believe some acts are "so wrong" that no circumstances could justify them. I just don't agree with that.



    I think I actually agree with that (none / 0) (#73)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 01:25:14 PM EST
    i think the problem might be in attempting to incorporate "exceptional circumstances" into law that is interpreted by men.  Exceptional can be a rather subjective term.  

    Yes, that's a problem (none / 0) (#81)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 02:03:24 PM EST
     and like many problems it has no perfect solution, simple or complex.

      I think though that it's preferable to have established rules, including exceptions to the prohibition if we are going to have them in place, rather than engaging in ad hoc after the fact determinations.


    There are established rules, as well as laws, (5.00 / 3) (#84)
    by Anne on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 02:11:30 PM EST
    and a great many people are in violation of them:

       The summary of the Feinstein report which was released this afternoon confirms what the international community has long believed - that there was a clear policy orchestrated at a high level within the Bush administration, which allowed to commit systematic crimes and gross violations of international human rights law.

        The identities of the perpetrators, and many other details, have been redacted in the published summary report but are known to the Select Committee and to those who provided the Committee with information on the programme.

    It is now time to take action. The individuals responsible for the criminal conspiracy revealed in today's report must be brought to justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes.

    The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorised at a high level within the US Government provides no excuse whatsoever. Indeed, it reinforces the need for criminal accountability.

    International law prohibits the granting of immunities to public officials who have engaged in acts of torture. This applies not only to the actual perpetrators but also to those senior officials within the US Government who devised, planned and authorised these crimes.

    As a matter of international law, the US is legally obliged to bring those responsible to justice. The UN Convention Against Torture and the UN Convention on Enforced Disappearances require States to prosecute acts of torture and enforced disappearance where there is sufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction. States are not free to maintain or permit impunity for these grave crimes.

    It is no defence for a public official to claim that they were acting on superior orders. CIA officers who physically committed acts of torture therefore bear individual criminal responsibility for their conduct, and cannot hide behind the authorisation they were given by their superiors.


    Torture is a crime of universal jurisdiction. The perpetrators may be prosecuted by any other country they may travel to. However, the primary responsibility for bringing them to justice rests with the US Department of Justice and the Attorney General."

    Statement of Ben Emmerson, the UN Special Rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights.


    Sure you can (none / 0) (#75)
    by jbindc on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 01:38:11 PM EST
    he difference - one of them - between us is (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Anne on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 11:49:49 AM EST
    that you can conceive of a situation where it is morally right to torture someone, and I cannot.  I can conceive of situations where my fear and anger might impel me to act against my rational beliefs, but that still wouldn't make it right.

    Someone does something horrible that affects a family member - your grandchildren, for example are kidnapped and strapped with bombs.  Someone in on the plot knows where they are.  I can't say for sure, but my guess is, you would want, even implore, the authorities to do whatever was necessary to get the babies back safe and sound. And if that meant torturing the accomplice to get the information, I have the feeling that you wouldn't care at the time.  If you got them back safe and sound, I have the feeling you would not feel a moment's guilt about how you got the information - you would just be glad you got them back and then you'd want those responsible to pay the biggest price.

    This is definitely one of those topics that has a much easier answer at the macro and hypothetical level than it does if you have a personal and immediate stake in the outcome.


    That's silly. (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 01:44:30 PM EST
    Usually a gun to the head in that kind of circumstance will yield the results you are talking about. And torture is time consuming. By the time you finished torturing somebody everybody could be dead. No, your argument there does not hold water. Torture just simply does not work.

    That needs to be repeated (5.00 / 3) (#118)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Fri Dec 12, 2014 at 09:10:22 AM EST

    And the hypothetical ticking bomb is just that , a hypothetical situation that almost never takes place in real life.


    I think a gun to head (none / 0) (#79)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 01:55:26 PM EST
     during an interrogation IS torture. That's a very extreme psychological stress. There are certainly more extreme psychological tactics and, of course, physical ones, but I would consider that "torture" and I suspect many here would as well in this context.

    Did you read the whole paragraph you (5.00 / 2) (#82)
    by Anne on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 02:03:25 PM EST
    excerpted, above?  The part where I said,
    I can conceive of situations where my fear and anger might impel me to act against my rational beliefs, but that still wouldn't make it right.

    Why are people working so hard to justify something for which there is no justification?  


    That's not what anybody is doing (none / 0) (#89)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 02:36:04 PM EST
      Your response uncannily  illustrates my point of the problem with reacting emotionally.

      You refuse (because of your emotions) to acknowledge that some people simply do not accept your conclusory premise that there can be no justification under any circumstances.

      Your view of what constitutes "something for which there can be no justification" is not universally accepted. You are entitled to your opinion, but basing your argument on the foregone conclusion that your opinion is the only one entitled to any moral weight means you really just don't have the willingness or capacity to engage in reasoned discussion and prefer to shout others down with your self-anointed superior virtue.



    I'm not refusing to accept that others (5.00 / 4) (#93)
    by Anne on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 03:03:42 PM EST
    have a different standard for what is and isn't justified or justifiable at all, simply trying to explain how I see the issue of torture.

    But, this isn't just about my standards, you know.  There are laws against torture, remember?  Laws we made a rather concerted effort to weasel out of so we could waterboard people senseless.  The UN Special Rapporteur seems to be of the opinion that those who designed and those who participated in the torture programs have committed crimes and are in violation of international law.

    Oh, those pesky international laws...don't these people know that we're the United States of GD America and we will do what we want, to whomever we want?

    Oh, and just so you know - no, it is not that "time of the month" for me, but I do so appreciate your eagerness to negate my opinions on the basis of emotion.


    You persist in failing (none / 0) (#96)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 03:42:53 PM EST
      to actually engage the substance of what I am saying when you choose to respond to my comments.

     If you made the foort to read and understand what I have written toy would no doubt realize that I have not once in any way whatsoever condoned the episodes contained in that report ot attempted to make a case for why people should not be prosecuted for those episodes.

      What you are doing is, as is you wont,simply ignoring what other people say and rsanting.

      That's fine rant all you want. this is worthy of some ranting. But, don't try to and make it seem your rants are responsive to the things I am writing when they aren't even close.


    I would say... (none / 0) (#99)
    by sj on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 05:04:43 PM EST
    You persist in failing  (none / 0) (#96)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 02:42:53 PM MDT

    to actually engage the substance of what I am saying when you choose to respond to my comments.

    ...that you may very well be right when you say this. IF, however, that is true, then you are guilty of the same thing.

    My views are in alignment with Anne's and I have specifically chosen not to engage the "substance" of what you are saying because I am in fundamental disagreement with your fundamental premise.

    What engagement is possible?
        "You're wrong" ... "No,you're wrong".

    or maybe
        "I'm right" ... "No, I'm right."

    Anne, instead has chosen to restate her position. Which is exactly what you have done. Weird that you find that something to criticize.


    No... (none / 0) (#101)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 05:21:37 PM EST
      I'm not guilty of the same thing. I began by stating that, while I believe while some hypothetical circumstances could justify torture, that the circumstances here do not come close to those hypotheticals.

      I then offered examples of the hypothetical examples of such circumstances and explained why I believe they could justify it. My explanation did not amount to an assertion only one valid premise exists and that anyone who questions that premise is a bad person and therefore I need not say anything else on the matter because I cannot possibly be wrong.



    motes... (none / 0) (#102)
    by sj on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 05:24:45 PM EST
    ...and all that.

    Again (none / 0) (#104)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 05:30:17 PM EST
     respond to the substance.

     There are people who can assert valid (not undebatable but valid) premises and explain how those premises lead to the conclusion that torture can never be justified. Some people can do so in an eloquent and compelling manner and cause people to THINK and reexamine their beliefs. That is the value of intelligent discussion. Unfortunately, you, Anne and Repack are not among those people. More unfortunately, you don't even try to be.


    Your haranguing (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by sj on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 05:35:37 PM EST
    doesn't make you any more engagement worthy. You never know when to stop. So go ahead and harangue away.

    I'm really sorry I took even one of the 200 available comments on this post to acknowledge you on this topic. Much less three.


    Patience, Reconstructivist, (5.00 / 3) (#121)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Dec 12, 2014 at 02:20:20 PM EST
    Your position will become mainstream once the fearless felons of D.C. get around to passing an AUTL, Authorization to Use Tortuous Logic.

    How is my logic tortuous? (none / 0) (#123)
    by Reconstructionist on Sat Dec 13, 2014 at 06:44:48 AM EST
      I'd welcome a meaningful attempt to show that rather than the silliness.

    I have no idea where you're coming from, jb. (5.00 / 3) (#106)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 05:38:08 PM EST
    And I speak as someone who lost a parent to an act of terror. I simply cannot relate to that sort of moral relativism, in which your own hypothetical positing of a potential but nevertheless rare hostage situation -- not unlike what you might see in a TV crime drama -- is used to justify the perpetual reality of an appalling status quo.

    Torture is spiritually immoral in its conception. It is ethically impractical in its consideration. It is statutorily illegal in its implementation. And its victims are wholly unreliable as a credible source of useful information.

    I honestly don't think it can or should be explained any more plainly than that.

    And if that sort of bedrock moral principle is something which some people can't bring themselves to support without hesitation, without reservation and without equivocation, then they likely stand for nothing other than their own continued and unhealthy addiction to personal convenience, material possession and creature comfort. (See "Brennan, John.")

    The bottom line as I see it is this: We're never going to save our country through the expedient diminution of our own citizenry's well articulated and oft-referenced founding principles.

    And if against all odds we do somehow manage that feat, then I would have to question for the sake of the greater world, whether this country was ever truly worth saving in the first place.



    The problem with the lack of an explicit (none / 0) (#20)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 10:20:06 AM EST
     and established rule or doctrine, is that in its absence any decision exonerating a person would be subject to the criticism that it was  ad hoc, unprincipled and ex post facto-- that's counter to the concept of the "rule of laws not men."

      I'd agree that, if any at all,  there needs to be a very narrow exception to the rule that torture is forbidden but I'm not comfortable with the exception being delineated and applied after the fact.


    I Somewhat Agree... (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 10:59:24 AM EST
    ...but, if they are going to torture because they truly believe they will get timely and valuable information otherwise unobtainable, they need to own it and defended their actions in court and let fellow Americans decide if their actions were necessary.  If they are going to claim they are doing it for us, then 'us' has to have some say in what they are doing.

    IMO no jury would convict if they could show why it was absolutely necessary.  This business of 1 in 5 people being tortured was innocent, is proof in my mind, their policy was 'better safe than sorry'.  Safe for who.  People held accountable for their actions tend to make better decisions.

    But they knew it would never float, otherwise they wouldn't have lied about it, continue to lie about it, and ensure the details and evidence is never viewed by the very public they claim they did it for.


    It is just not true that the detention program (2.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Green26 on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 11:03:53 AM EST
    did not yield useful information. Many people who were there at the time, including higher-ups, say there was considerable useful information and many lives were saved. This is not meant to justify the use of some of the techniques; this is provided only to address the narrow point of whether useful information was obtained.

    "First, its claim that the CIA's interrogation program was ineffective in producing intelligence that helped us disrupt, capture, or kill terrorists is just not accurate. The program was invaluable in three critical ways:

    • It led to the capture of senior al Qaeda operatives, thereby removing them from the battlefield.

    • It led to the disruption of terrorist plots and prevented mass casualty attacks, saving American and Allied lives.

    • It added enormously to what we knew about al Qaeda as an organization and therefore informed our approaches on how best to attack, thwart and degrade it."

    The detail and support for these statements are in the remainder of the piece from several former CIA directors in the Wall St. Journal.

    Just because the CIA says it doesn't (5.00 / 7) (#33)
    by caseyOR on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 11:13:28 AM EST
    make it true. In fact, I would suggest that anyone who believes anything coming out of the mouths of anyone associated with the CIA is terminally gullible.

    The only line of defense the CIA and its enablers have is to insist that torture worked; torture saved lives. Only the most ardent Bush/Cheney fanboys would buy that line. Oh, and, of course, everyone associated with this debacle who is trying to save their own skin.


    Casey, just because Senate Democrats (2.00 / 1) (#62)
    by Green26 on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 12:45:22 PM EST
    and staff have put a bunch of conclusions in a report, which was based only on written information that they located and not on any interviews they conducted, doesn't make their conclusions accurate. In fact, it completely calls into question the accuracy of some of the conclusions. The investigation didn't even purport to be an objective investigation. It was partisan from day one.

    On the topic of whether valuable information was obtained from the detention program, I completely believe the 3 former CIA heads (and other people involved) over the Senate Dem report.

    CIA types are also saying that most of the 20 case examples in the report that were provided to support the proposition that valuable information wasn't obtained, actually support the opposite conclusion. This is often a problem when people who are not experts in an area, i.e. intelligence in this case, do an investigation. They don't know what they're looking at, don't fully understand it, and can't or don't connect the dots. And then there's the partisan aspect, which also skews information presented and the conclusions.


    Because (5.00 / 3) (#67)
    by sj on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 01:05:37 PM EST
    naturally it would have been way more valid to have personal interviews with possible bad actors. I'm sure they would have been extremely honest and forthcoming about any role they might have had.

    No matter the potential personal cost, I am certain they would have put honesty above personal advantage. Or maybe not.

    Your insistence on "interviews" is kind of sad really.


    sj, many people who were not even close (2.00 / 1) (#112)
    by Green26 on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 09:39:14 PM EST
    to being bad actors could have been interviewed? Some White House people weren't bad actors. Some at the CIA were not bad actors. And, you are pre-judging who were or might have been bad actors, just like it looks like the partisan committee and its staff did.

    Certain things can be discerned by written materials, but many things can't--in part because many things are not written done or writings are lost. Sometimes writings can be misleading, inaccurate or wrong. When people are asked about writings or events, sometimes they can explain or clarify what happened or what they meant.

    In doing investigations, you still have to ask people questions, even if you think they will lie, distort, and say they don't remember.

    I am incredulous that things like this actually need to be explained to you or anyone.


    It's because (5.00 / 4) (#83)
    by Repack Rider on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 02:10:51 PM EST
    ... the CIA employees who denied 4th and 8th Amendment rights to others, claimed the 5th Amendment right for themselves not to answer questions about their criminal guilt.

    Clear enough?

    Also, "...which was based only on written information that they located..."  Yeah, writing stuff down to preserve it for later use is overrated.  I'm going to throw out everything I have collected over 30 years in five file cabinets, because it's just stuff I wrote down once.  No I'm not.


    Better to ask a criminal if he's guilty, and accept the answer as fact.


    RR, do you really think that the US Constitution (2.00 / 1) (#111)
    by Green26 on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 09:31:01 PM EST
    applies to non-US citizens outside of the US? Do you think the detainees who were citizens of other countries had US Constitutional rights?

    Laws banning torture (5.00 / 4) (#113)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 09:41:58 PM EST
    Torture is universally condemned, and whatever its actual practice, no country publicly supports torture or opposes its eradication. The prohibition against torture is well established under customary international law as jus cogens; that is, it has the highest standing in customary law and is so fundamental as to supercede all other treaties and customary laws (except laws that are also jus cogens). Criminal acts that are jus cogens are subject to universal jurisdiction, meaning that any state can exercise its jurisdiction, regardless of where the crime took place, the nationality of the perpetrator or the nationality of the victim.

    This ban on torture and other ill-treatment has subsequently been incorporated into the extensive network of international and regional human rights treaties. It is contained in Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), ratified by 153 countries, including the United States in 1992, and in the Convention against Torture or Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (the Convention against Torture), ratified by 136 countries, including the United States in 1994. It is also codified in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, and the American Convention on Human Rights.

    In 1948, following the horrific abuses of World War II, the General Assembly of the United Nations inserted the prohibition against torture in the landmark Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 5 states: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

    The prohibition against torture is also fundamental to humanitarian law (also known as the laws of war), which governs the conduct of parties during armed conflict.

    Neither international nor domestic law conditions the right not to be subjected to torture on citizenship or nationality. No detainee held by U.S. authorities--regardless of nationality, regardless of whether held in the U.S. or in another country, and regardless of whether the person is deemed a combatant or civilian--may be tortured. All applicable international law applies to U.S. officials operating abroad, including the Convention against Torture and the Geneva Conventions. The prohibition against torture is universal and covers all countries both regarding U.S. citizens and persons of other nationalities.



    I found your mistake (5.00 / 2) (#114)
    by Repack Rider on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 10:15:33 PM EST
    applies to non-US citizens outside of the US? Do you think the detainees who were citizens of other countries had US Constitutional rights?

    You think the Constitution applies to citizens.  You could not be more wrong.  The Constitution says what the US Government can, and more importantly cannot do.  The concept of "citizenship" did not even appear in the original Constitution or Bill of Rights, since it was not necessary in limiting what the government can do to individuals.  

    The Eighth Amendment is one sentence: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

    "Shall not be...inflicted."  It says the US government shall not inflict cruel and unusual punishments, and it does not limit it to a specific type of victim or to within the boundaries of the United States.  "Shall not be...inflicted."  Anywhere.  On anyone.

    Do you believe it is legal for our government to kidnap and torture people outside our boundaries?  Just because, the victims are not "us?"  You are not, by any chance, Dick Cheney, are you?


    RR, generally, the US Constitution does (2.00 / 1) (#115)
    by Green26 on Fri Dec 12, 2014 at 01:00:43 AM EST
    not apply to non-citizens outside of the US. My recollection is that the US Supreme Court has consistently refused to rule that the Constitution applies outside of the US, especially to non-citizens. The exception came about 6 or so years ago in a Guantanamo case. In a split decision the court ruled that habeas corpus applied to a detainee. This was a narrow decision, in that court stated that its holding applied only to this particular situation.

    Habeas corpus is not in the Bill of Rights; it's in the body of the Constitution. Thus, unless there's a later decision (and I have not looked), the Supreme Court has never applied anything in the Bill of Rights, including the 2 amendments you cited, to non-citizens outside of the US.

    My view is that this one decision was in fact narrow, and it was decided that it went largely because detainees were in a US-controlled facility in territory close the the US and controlled by the US, although not in the US, and the detainees were going to be tried in a special court created by the US. The closer a detainee gets to a regular US court in the US, the more likely US criminal and constitutional protections will apply.

    My view is that if a non-citizen detainee brought of violations of search and seizure and failure to read Miranda rights, that just wouldn't fly.

    Others in this forum know much more about the Constitution and criminal rights than I do, so hopefully some of them can speak up--and, if I'm not correct, provide the correct information.


    I see your mistake (5.00 / 2) (#117)
    by Repack Rider on Fri Dec 12, 2014 at 09:08:06 AM EST
    Generally the US Constitution does not apply to non-citizens outside of the US.

    I never claimed otherwise.  The Constitution limits what THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT can do.  There is no reference to what the government can do to a "citizen," there is no reference that confines these limits to our boundaries.  The Constitution says you can't kidnap and torture people just because they might live ten feet outside the United States.

    There is no reference to "citizenship" in the original Constitution or Bill of Rights, so any claim that this confers a right not given to others is unsupported by ink on paper.  Once again, for the hard of hearing.  THE CONSTITUTION IS ONLY ABOUT THE POWER OF THE GOVERNMENT.  It does not apply to "citizens."

    Apparently you are fine with torture, kidnapping, and murder as long as they doesn't violate your uninformed idea of the letter of the law.

    This just in.  Kidnap, torture, rape and murder would still be wrong even if the GOP made them "legal" tomorrow.


    RR, think you are the one who's making (none / 0) (#119)
    by Green26 on Fri Dec 12, 2014 at 10:22:21 AM EST
    the mistake. I know what the Constitution says and how it is written. I once knew how it was interpreted in this regard, as of about a dozen or so years ago. You need to look at how the US Supreme Court has interpreted the Constitution. To my knowledge, it never applied the Bill of Rights to protect a non-citizen from US government activity outside of the US. Think the first cause that even looked in a different direction was the narrowly written Guantanamo case. It doesn't matter what you think the Constitution says, or how it is written, or what some pundit says; what matters is how the US Supreme Court interprets it. Again, if there are some experts out there who are more up to date than I am, or are aware of Sup. Ct. cases to the contrary, please set the record straight.

    Do you really think they DON'T? (5.00 / 1) (#124)
    by Yman on Sat Dec 13, 2014 at 10:04:24 PM EST
    Because that would show a shocking ignorance of the law.

    I grew up believing so (none / 0) (#120)
    by sj on Fri Dec 12, 2014 at 11:17:07 AM EST
    RR, do you really think that the US Constitution  (2.00 / 1) (#111)
    by Green26 on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 08:31:01 PM MDT

    applies to non-US citizens outside of the US? Do you think the detainees who were citizens of other countries had US Constitutional rights?

    And it makes me heartsick that peoples of other nations are considered "less than".

    The CIA has released its 136 page response (5.00 / 4) (#116)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Dec 12, 2014 at 02:10:00 AM EST
    to the draft of the report it submitted in 2013. You can read it here. They set out in great detail what they think the program accomplished and failed to accomplish. It says "Tab C" to its response has the most detail on the this. Many other reports dispute the CIA's claims, particularly about Abu Zubaydah.

    The CIA's short version fact sheet is here.

    Here's an interesting page from an International Red Cross report where Abu Zabaydah and KSM describe the torture, juxtaposed with the CIA's description. It's contained in a Pro Publica report from 2009.

    Reading what was done to them, and how long they were subjected to this treatment in numerous black hole sites, should make it obvious that nothing justifies this kind of treatment.

    The CIA is playing word games. There are numerous reports contradicting their version of the usefulness of the information obtained.


    NYT article re public statements of (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 11:00:47 PM EST
    likely candidates for their party's presidential race as to the report summary:


    Sounds to me like these Republican (none / 0) (#95)
    by fishcamp on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 03:39:00 PM EST
    candidates all went to the same partisan class together.