Heightened Alerts for Release of Torture Report

The U.S. is preparing for security risks with tomorrow's long-waited release of the summary of the Senate's Torture Report, a history of the Bush Administration and CIA's "Rendition, Detention and Interrogation" program. The Obama Administration is backing the release of the report. Thousands of U.S. marines around the world have been put on alert in anticipation of reaction to the details in the reports. What's being released is the 450 or so page summary of the 6,000 page report. (Background here.)

Reuters has a preview.Here are the previously published findings. The report concluded: [More...]

“The CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques did not effectively assist the agency in acquiring intelligence or in gaining cooperation from detainees.”

It also finds that the CIA exaggerated the value of information obtained to justify its abusive methods. The ACLU has this prequel page to the report.

< Obama's Race Interview on BET | John Lennon: 34 Years Ago Tonight >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Bushies are circling the wagons (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 08, 2014 at 10:05:51 PM EST
    Well some are-

    Speaking to The New York Times on Monday, former Vice President Dick Cheney, a fierce defender of the government's use of torture, said that the idea that the CIA misled the White House "is just a crock."

    "What I keep hearing out there is they portray this as a rogue operation and the agency was way out of bounds and then they lied about it," Cheney said. "I think that's all a bunch of hooey. The program was authorized. The agency did not want to proceed without authorization, and it was also reviewed legally by the Justice Department before they undertook the program."

    Cheney also told the Times that he had no regrets about the interrogation program and that Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee had self-interested reasons for releasing the report.

    It will be interesting to see if someone pitches a net over crazy uncle dick before he queers the whole "we were mislead" thing.

    crazy Dick (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 08, 2014 at 10:10:59 PM EST
    Doesn't seem to have gotten the memo

    In an article in Monday's New York Times, Peter Baker says that the two-year-old report details the "brutal techniques" - considered torture by critics - the government employed on suspected al-Qaeda and other Islamic militants, and questions their effectiveness. It also reportedly contends that Central Intelligence Agency field operatives misled Congress and Bush Administration senior officials as to the extent of the programme.

    Empty wheel (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 08:28:23 AM EST
    It is (none / 0) (#8)
    by lentinel on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 10:23:44 AM EST
    a lasting blemish on Obama that he chose to, "move on" rather than charge those criminals, Bush and Cheney, and bring them to the bar of justice.

    Doing so would have let us move on.

    As it is, we're stuck in the muck.


    Anthony Romero, (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by KeysDan on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 10:51:20 AM EST
    head of the ACLU, proposes (NYT op ed, Dec 9) explicit pardons (versus the tacit pardons) for officials who planned and authorized the US torture program.

    Mr. Romero explains that before George W. Bush left office a group of conservatives lobbied the White House to grant such pardons, but the ACLU and other human rights groups strongly argued against.

    Now, he has second thoughts based on circumstances including the run of the statute of limitations and the lack of political will to prosecute.  Mr. Romero's argument is that official pardons will make it clear that crimes were committed and that the individuals involved were criminals. Moreover, pardons would serve as a warning to future architects and perpetrators.  Tenet, Rummy, as well as Addington, Yoo and Judge Bybee, may be pardoned, along with the overseers, Bush and Cheney.

    While Mr. Romero continues to believe that prosecutions are/were preferable, pardons constitute the most viable way, at this point, to close the pandora's box.

    We've already got Newspeak; (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 11:11:22 AM EST
    Now we'll have Newjustice.

    Marcy Wheeler has several posts up (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Anne on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 02:02:16 PM EST
    that relate to the Romero proposal, as well as to some important facts to keep in mind with respect to the torture report.

    First, her comments on the Romero proposal:

    There are many many problems with this proposal, some of which Kevin Jon Heller hits in a piece that notes this would not be pardon, but blanket amnesty.

    But Romero's proposal (if it is intended as anything beyond a modest proposal meant to call Obama's bluff) fundamentally misunderstands the situation -- a situation the ACLU has been at the forefront in exposing.

    Obama would not -- categorically cannot -- admit that what Tenet and Bush and Cheney did on torture is illegal. That's because he has authorized war crimes using the very same Presidential Finding as the Bush Administration used to authorized torture.

    As I have laid out at length, the torture program started as a covert op authorized by the September 17, 2001 Gloves Come Off Memorandum of Notification. And along with torture, that Finding also authorized drone strikes. The drone strikes that Obama escalated.

    Just 3 days after he assumed the Presidency, a drone strike Obama authorized killed as many as 11 civilians, including one child, and gravely injured a 14 year old boy, Farim Qureshi.  And several years into his Administration, Obama ordered the CIA to kill American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki with no due process. As far as we know, both of those things were done using that very same Finding, the Finding that Romero would like Obama to declare authorized war crimes.

    When the 2nd Circuit ruled the President -- President Obama, not President Bush -- could keep a short phrase making it clear torture had been authorized by that Finding in ACLU's very own torture FOIA, it did so because the Finding still authorized intelligence activities. The Finding authorizing torture was still active -- President Obama was still relying on it -- at least as recently as 2012.

    For Obama to pardon Bush, Cheney, and Tenet, he would have to admit that the same Finding that he used to authorize drone strikes that have killed hundreds of civilians authorized war crimes. There is absolutely zero chance Obama is going to do that.

    And, a few facts to keep in mind.

    1) Contrary to popular belief, torture was not authorized primarily by the OLC memos John Yoo wrote. It was first authorized by the September 17, 2001 Memorandum of Notification (that is, a Presidential Finding) crafted by Cofer Black. See details on the structure and intent of that Finding here. While the Intelligence Committees were briefed on that Finding, even Gang of Four members were not told that the Finding authorized torture or that the torture had been authorized by that Finding until 2004.

    1. That means torture was authorized by the same Finding that authorized drone killing, heavily subsidizing the intelligence services of countries like Jordan and Egypt, cooperating with Syria and Libya, and the training of Afghan special forces (the last detail is part of why David Passaro wanted the Finding for his defense against abuse charges -- because he had been directly authorized to kill terror suspects by the President as part of his role in training Afghan special forces).

    2. Torture started by proxy (though with Americans present) at least as early as February 2002 and first-hand by April 2002, months before the August 2002 memos. During this period, the torturers were operating with close White House involvement.

    3. Something happened -- probably Ali Soufan's concerns about seeing a coffin to be used with Abu Zubaydah -- that led CIA to ask for more formal legal protection, which is why they got the OLC memos. CIA asked for, but never got approved, the mock burial that may have elicited their concern.

    There are nine more; they do not get better.


    Here (none / 0) (#15)
    by KeysDan on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 10:52:17 AM EST
    is the link.

    Do You agree? (none / 0) (#16)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 11:04:02 AM EST
    i respect your opinion and I have none myself.

    Captain, I am (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by KeysDan on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 12:08:10 PM EST
    still pondering Mr. Romero's idea, but I am inclined to agree, although it is not likely to occur in any event. It may serve more to underscore the torture program.

    At first bounce, I thought it was tongue-in-check, but, knew that Anthony Romero is nothing, if not a very serious and thoughtful man.  The crux of his argument is that a presidential pardon sets forth the torture acts and actors as crimes and criminals, respectively; and that so doing will be a deterrent to future acts and actors.   That, of course, is not to argue that such acts and/or actors will not re-appear in the future but that the country will have defined torture for what it is, and identified torturers and their overseers, for what they are.  From that perspective, pardons, in lieu of the preferred prosecutions for whatever reason, makes sense to me.

    Acceptance of a pardon bears the imputation of guilt.  Nixon's pardon by President Ford covered crimes that he "has or may have committed."   Nixon expressed regrets for his actions and did not object to or decline the pardon.

    President Wilson granted a pardon to George Burdick for not revealing sources, but Burdick refused to accept the pardon.  The Supreme Court ruled for the necessity of accepting a pardon for it to be valid.  It would be revelatory to note if and who would accept a pardon, although if it were to be done, it would likely be done in the fashion of President Carter in the pardon of Vietnam- era resistors or President Lincoln's pardon of Confederate soldiers.  

    A pardon may or may not affect the need for "pardoned" officials, such as Cheney, to be required to escape from foreign hotels through the kitchen exit to avoid a General Pinochet fate.   Of course, Bush does not do much foreign travel (did not before being president either) and Cheney's health may not permit it, but it would be a factor for others.  The more I ponder, the more I agree.


    Cognitive Dissonance Overload: (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 11:41:01 AM EST
    White House Spokeshoser Josh Earnest: "We've declassified as much of that report as we can. We want to be sure that we can release that report and be transparent about it, and be clear what American values are."

    Gotta agree with the spokeshoser.  At this point it's pretty clear what America's values really are.

    There seems to much dispute (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by Chuck0 on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 11:42:50 AM EST
    as to whether the torture produced usable intelligence or not. To me, that is irrelevant. The mere fact that any torture occurred is the only subject to be discussed. This country has lost any moral high ground for generations on human rights, civil rights, etc. The lack of due process for detainees at Gitmo also solidifies that. Time for the US to stop wagging it's finger at the rest of the world. Time for the US to stop telling the rest of the world how to live. This country has no moral high ground to stand on. We incarcerate more people than anyone else, we deny due process, we assassinate and yes, we torture prisoners.

    On this topic today (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by CoralGables on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 11:49:47 AM EST
    John McCain is on top of his game...and will likely anger a few on the far right that still think the Bush/Cheney torture was fine.

    Torture Teacher Contracts: $80,000,000 (5.00 / 4) (#23)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 11:51:04 AM EST
    There were Big Bucks in Teaching Torture.

    The CIA contractors who helped develop and operate the "enhanced interrogation techniques" that the agency used on terror suspects, including waterboarding, were paid more than $80 million, according to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the CIA's interrogation program released Tuesday.

    The contract was for more than $180 million, but the contractors had only received $81 million when their contract was terminated in 2009.

    Although the committee did not identify the contractors, NBC News has previously identified them as Mitchell, Jessen & Associates, a Spokane, Washington company run by two psychologists, Dr. John "Bruce" Jessen and Dr. James Mitchell, who had both previously worked with the U.S. Air Force.

    lol.  We give Obama a hard time around here but it looks like he did do something.

    An interesting maneuver from Bush & Cheney (none / 0) (#3)
    by christinep on Mon Dec 08, 2014 at 10:40:30 PM EST
    So ... per early info, the Congressional report pinpoints CIA squarely and, apparently, allows for a bit of distancing by Bush/Cheney themselves (a kind of "yea, it was those spooks at CIA ... rogues, that's what happened.")  But, early reports that the Bush/Cheney WH decided to go all in supporting the CIA seem to be the responsive strategy that Bush/Cheney are pursuing.  

    Forgive my cynicism, but ... First, I doubt that Bush & Cheney are rushing to the CIA's defense because they won't abandon brothers-in-the-blood.  Second, it sure has the look of a quick & coordinated move to the PR offense as the best defense.  That is: If the report is to affix responsibility primarily on the CIA, it doesn't take long to realize that within a short time (probably a matter of hours) questions would arise from all sides about the extent of Bush WH involvement in explicitly or implicitly approving practices regarded as torture. Looked at that way, I'd guess that the Bush/Cheney crew viewed the unity position as their strongest stance ... a reprise of the Rovian lead-with-your-weakest or seemingly vulnerable.  How Machiavellian of them!

    Colorado's Senator Udall has been saying repeatedly that--before he leaves the Senate at the end of this session--he will do everything in his power to assure that the report is released.  I agree with his firm belief that it is essential for all to be aware of what happened when we, as a country following 9/11, used the ends to justify the means.  That release will finally demonstrate a kind of rebirth in government after the long, beclouded path to get here.

    Supposedly (none / 0) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 08, 2014 at 10:51:26 PM EST
    nearly all the fights over the last two years have been about redacting stuff that leads back to the White House.  
    So it seems to me they are defending them in public because they are in fact throwing them under the bus.

    Yep, Capt. Howdy (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by christinep on Mon Dec 08, 2014 at 11:04:37 PM EST
    And, I think that Bush/Cheney are trying to characterize this whole report as a mere political dispute by playing to the polarization that they themselves nourished during their tenure.  By doing that, Bush/Cheney could be calculating that a smokescreen of players and issues would lead to an already-jaded public zoning out all the expected finger-pointing.

    If that's the plan (none / 0) (#6)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 08, 2014 at 11:06:49 PM EST
    spmebody better get ole Dick back on the reservation.

    A tangential beneficiary (none / 0) (#9)
    by KeysDan on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 10:25:04 AM EST
    of the report may be Jeb Bush.  Nostalgia for the good old Bush/Cheney days and the inevitable apologia by wingers for torture and its "clear-cut" effectiveness may help Jeb weather the storm of the Republican primaries.  That, and fanciful predictions of Jeb's ability to defeat Secretary Clinton will play in his favor with the Republicans--monied and other wingers.

    I just threw up a little (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 10:27:46 AM EST
    in my mouth.

    Gastric reflux. Obama (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 11:04:28 AM EST
    was recently diagnosed with the same problem.  Now we know why.

    But see the preemptive rebuttal to (none / 0) (#25)
    by christinep on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 12:29:49 PM EST
    restructured longing by a portion of the "establishment" Repubs for the likes of Bush.  I watched CSPN with the live remarks from Sen. Feinstein followed by Sen. McCain. John McCain reached into his past and spoke about the dishonor that those who would torture bring upon the country and all of us. He supported the Intelligence Committee's open report in the strongest possible sense.

    BTW, both Senators (as well as the WH) have emphasized the ultimate importance of being able to look at and learn from our past wrongs--as only a democracy can do--and then progress without the same mistakes.  They both definitively said that their examination reinforces the obligation not to lose our conscience even in the most challenging times (such as the 9/11 aftermath consequence) as well as to realize that the heinous torture techniques do not work.


    If anyone is interested in a week's (none / 0) (#10)
    by CoralGables on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 10:25:30 AM EST
    worth of reading...

    Here it is

    It is really misleading, to say the least, (none / 0) (#12)
    by lentinel on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 10:30:37 AM EST
    to say that it is the release of this report puts our people in danger.

    It was the torturing of captives and prisoners by our government that has put our people in danger.

    ISIS and others have already said that the treatment they are doling out to some of the people in their custody is inspired by what they know we have done to people with whom they identify.

    Maybe that's a rationalization, but the fact is that it is no secret to them or to anybody else in the world.

    It has only been kept from the American people.

    Will we ever get through this - and live it down - and become the people we thought we were - a people who were better than this...

    Not in our lifetimes (none / 0) (#13)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 10:33:49 AM EST

    Your last paragraph and question (none / 0) (#26)
    by christinep on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 12:41:24 PM EST
    We have started, finally, with the open release of this report and the strong statement from the senior members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.  

    To regain the opportunity for us to progress as a nation and a people, the formal announcement and discussion of today is vital ... a confession calls for more than an "Oh, I'm/we're sorry," ... and, imo, that is why the detailed report with it's extensive summary has been essential.  The formal announcement of renunciation of torture under any circumstances, as here, is the start.


    Waiting for a senate report on Drone strikes (none / 0) (#19)
    by star on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 11:28:15 AM EST
    14 May 2014: A U.S drone fired three missiles on a compound near Pak-Afghan Boarder, killing 10 and injuring 14 others.

    12 June 2014: Two separate and successive U.S drone strikes in Dargah Mandi village and Dande Darpakhel area in North Waziristan killed at least 16 while injuring several others.

    18 June 2014: A US drone strike killed at least 6 in the Miramshah tehsil of North Waziristan.

    10 July 2014: A US drone strike killed at least 6 in the Madakhel village of Dattakhel tehsil in North Waziristan.

    16 July 2014: At least 18 people were killed in a US drone strike in Dattakhel area of North Waziristan.

    19 July 2014: At least 8 people were killed in a US drone strike in Doga Madakhel village of Dattakhel tehsil in North Waziristan.

    6 Aug 2014: At least 7 people were killed in a US drone strike in Dattakhel area of North Waziristan.

    24 Sept 2014: At least 8 people including Uzbek Militants were reportedly killed in a US drone strike Dattakhel tehsil of North Waziristan.

    5 Oct 2014: At least 5 suspected militants were killed in a US drone strike in Shawal area of South Waziristan tribal region.

    6 Oct 2014: At least 8 suspected militant were killed and several other injured in a U.S drone strike in Shawal district of North Waziristan.

    7 Oct 2014: At least 3 suspected militants were killed in a U.S drone strike in North Waziristan region.

    30 Oct 2014: A US drone strike killed at least 4, injuring several others in Birmal Tehsil of South Waziristan.

    11 Nov 2014: A US drone strike in Doa Toi area of Datakhel tehsil in North Waziristan Agency killed 4 suspected militants.

    21 Nov 2014:Reportedly 5 suspected militants including two commander of 'Qaedat al-Jihad in the sub-continent', a newly established branch of Al Qaeda were killed in a US Drone strike in Datakhel region of North Waziristan Agency.

    6 December 2014: A US drone strike killed a key Al Qaeda leader Umar Farooq along with 4 others in Datakhel region of North Waziristan Agency.

    This is 111 'suspected militants' killed in the last six months alone. Numbers are way higher previous years. These are nameless faceless victims..children, family members.. no questions asked no judge or jury. children orphaned in the blink of an eye.. please go ask those villagers if they would rather have confirmed terrorists picked up and 3 or 4 of them waterboarded or indiscriminate hell fire from the skies. I have family in pakistan ..there are new orphanages just to take care of kids orphaned by drones. it is horrific and our incompetent media does not even mention this atrocity.