We Can Call It Torture Now

The U.S. Senate Select Committee's release of the 525 page summary (available here) of its 6,000 page report of the CIA's detention and interrogation program under the Bush Administration finally puts to rest the false claim that the United States does not torture. The report shows the CIA not only tortured, it lied about it.

The report names the 119 detainees held by the CIA in overseas black sites. 26 of them were detained due to mistaken identity or erroneous intelligence. Even today, some Republicans took to the airwaves to defend the CIA's actions.

The world is watching and wondering, where are the prosecutions? The United Nations Special Rapporteur on counter terrorism and human rights, Ben Emmerson, today issued this statement. [More..]

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.

However, the heaviest penalties should be reserved for those most seriously implicated in the planning and purported authorisation of these crimes. Former Bush Administration officials who have admitted their involvement in the programme should also face criminal prosecution for their acts. 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.

Here is the U.N. Special Rapporteur's 2013 report, "Framework Principles for Securing the Accountability of Public Officials for Gross or Systematic Human Rights Violations Committed in the Context of State Counter-terrorism Initiatives."

I'd like to see the whole lot of them, from the torturers to the two psychologists at Mitchell Jessen & Associates in Spokane, Washington, which was paid $80 million and recommended the use of the torture techniques, to the Bush Administration's highest officials, tried in an international court. Those who are convicted should serve their time in a prison in the country where the torture occurred.

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    I agree 100 percent. They need to be tried, (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Angel on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 09:00:23 PM EST
    then jailed if found guilty.  

    But we all know it will never happen.

    I'd like to see the whole lot of them, from the torturers to the two psychologists at Mitchell Jessen & Associates in Spokane, Washington, which was paid $80 million and recommended the use of the torture techniques, to the Bush Administration's highest officials, tried in an international court. Those who are convicted should serve their time in a prison in the country where the torture occurred.

    Indict or charge them in the ICC. (none / 0) (#66)
    by Chuck0 on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 09:40:06 AM EST
    If they any of them set foot outside the USA, they can be arrested and extradited for trial. It may not do much, but it will certainly curtail their ability to travel internationally.

    Wow (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 09:05:04 PM EST
    there it is.  This is what republican were so worried about.  With Cheney out proudly taking credit for this how can he not be on the top of any prosecution list.  
    What is Obama and Holder going to do about this?   What would Hillary do?  The mind reels with the implications of this.
    Can W plead ignorance?  If any ne can I would say he just might be able to.  He tossed Scooter under the bus.  
    I would imagine there are going to be a few people who have trouble getting to sleep tonight.

    And it's about damn time.

    I had trouble sleeping after watching the (5.00 / 5) (#68)
    by ruffian on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:09:25 AM EST
    coverage of the report, just having this done in my name is horrible to me.  I don't know how the people that actually participated live with themselves.

    I've always assumed the worst... (5.00 / 3) (#70)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:32:22 AM EST
    and those assumptions are now proven correct.  Waterboarding, stress positions, beatings, isolation, sensory depravation and overload, sexual abuse, rape threats...all assumed.

    I never woulda guessed these sick f*cks were pumping hummus up people's arses though...a billy club yeah, the NYPD has done that...but not hummus.  How sick do you have to be to even think of something like that, never mind actually do it?


    Quite a description, KD. (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 11:34:39 AM EST
    There's nothing like a sealed room culture to incubate the worst in people.

    Yeah Man,,. (5.00 / 2) (#82)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 11:52:41 AM EST
    a sealed "classified" culture, and no accountability whatsoever...that's all it takes.

    Maybe... (none / 0) (#7)
    by lentinel on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 09:16:42 PM EST
    I would imagine there are going to be a few people who have trouble getting to sleep tonight.

    That might be so, but I suspect that Bush and Cheney will be sleeping just fine.

    Bush didn't know nothing.
    Cheney says that torturing is patriotic.



    They've never shown one iota of giving a damn (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Angel on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 09:32:46 PM EST
    with regard to what they did to this country nor to people of other countries. Bush and Cheney will not be losing sleep over this, ever.  

    Someone has suggested (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 10:19:28 PM EST
    that Obama pardon Bush and Cheney to make it official they are war criminals....

    Interesting twist.


    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 10:21:55 PM EST
    i think I see the logic in that now.

    The executive director of (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by oculus on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 10:47:38 PM EST
    the ACLU, in an NYT op ed, called on Pres. Obama to officially pardon specific-named people at the top. His rationale is this would put those tempted to employ these tactics in the future on notice they would be commiting crimes.  He is resigned to the reality the people named will never be prosecuted, which he has advocated for years.

    This (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 10:56:49 PM EST

    It would seem like there might at least be some consequences for the people who gave the guidance.  

    At the time, Durham also made clear that nobody would be prosecuted who had "acted in good faith and within the scope of the legal guidance given by the Office of Legal Counsel regarding the interrogation of detainees."

    Not saying I think there will be.  Only that there should be.  If nothing freakin else.


    Here's the ACLU ex. dir.'s list: (5.00 / 4) (#36)
    by oculus on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 11:11:20 PM EST

    Mr. Obama could pardon George J. Tenet for authorizing torture at the C.I.A.'s black sites overseas, Donald H. Rumsfeld for authorizing the use of torture at the Guantánamo Bay prison, David S. Addington, John C. Yoo and Jay S. Bybee for crafting the legal cover for torture, and George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for overseeing it all.

    Sure (none / 0) (#37)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 11:17:23 PM EST
    i guess I meant some other consequences.  Like never being allowed to hold a job that would put them in the position to give such advise again.

    It might be the best we can get (5.00 / 6) (#52)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 07:54:44 AM EST
    But my spouse says if we do this it destroys us in the eyes of the world, and he's been out in that world with a flag on his arm.  If we are going to have any human rights global standing and credibility we CAN'T do it.  The Hague needs to become involved.  War crimes have been committed and we signed treaties and agreements to promote strong trustworthy society and civilization.  Can we afford to just crap on that and publicly wipe our fannies with the paperwork?  There will be a long long term cost to us AND the world.  It makes being "the strongest nation in the world" utterly worthless, maybe even counterproductive and dangerous.  Just my opinion.

    "If we are going to have" (5.00 / 2) (#78)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 11:40:18 AM EST
    Try using the past tense.  Nobody believes anything we say any more.  Our moralizing is seen as nothing more than posturing, preaching to the rubes in the cheap seats.

    I agree with your husband (none / 0) (#193)
    by MO Blue on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:54:16 PM EST
    It was Anthony Romero at the ACLU. (5.00 / 6) (#41)
    by Anne on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 06:21:28 AM EST
    The problem with his idea is that Obama used the exact same Presidential Finding used to justify torture as authority for drone strikes that have killed many civilians.

    See emptywheel, here.

    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 hidden 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.

    But the thing is, it isn't just torture.  It's also the perjury before the Congress, the false statements and the obstruction of justice.  We were lied to, things were misrepresented, they looked members of the Congress in the eye and lied through their teeth.

    And having gotten away with it so far, what is the incentive for ever being truthful about anything they want to keep us in the dark about?

    This is, once again, just becoming a partisan political food fight, with more concern about not being hit with flying lime jello or cold mashed potatoes than in accountability and consequences.  

    Whole thing is just shameful; problem is, I think we're the only ones who are ashamed about what our government did.  Those who authorized it, those who facilitated it, those who participated in it, those who covered it up?  There doesn't seem to be much, if any, shame there, or regret.


    The CIA spin: that it was badly managed (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 06:28:56 AM EST
    A few years from now, some university somewhere will offer a Homeland Security Studies MBA in professional torture management.  Then everything will be rosy.

    And more (none / 0) (#57)
    by jbindc on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 08:21:07 AM EST
    Six years later, political debate over CIA interrogations hasn't gone away

    In the spring of his first year in office, President Obama talked to senior Cabinet and White House officials about options for dealing with the past practices of the CIA's anti-terrorism detention and interrogation program.

    Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) had called for a truth and reconciliation commission, like the one that exposed the police abuses of apartheid South Africa.

    But some White House officials suggested a more novel option: a Pentagon-style after-action report, similar to the 9/11 Commission, which could clear the air without public hearings and without setting up prosecutions. Aides even floated the idea of making former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor the commission's head.

    Obama complimented the suggestions -- and then rejected them all.

    Nearly six years later, the president finds himself embroiled in the same issues he was weighing then. The Senate Intelligence Committee did on Tuesday what he chose not to do then, delivering a stinging indictment of harsh interrogations, the people who oversaw them, and the lies told to Congress to conceal them.

    Well according to one memo (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 07:38:51 AM EST
    Condi was briefed, and then made the decision to leave the President out of the loop.  Soooooo, Congressional leaders had been briefed and that's on the record (which we already knew and includes Reid and Pelosi) but the President did not know.

    I believe none of that of course, he knew, they were just creating a construct where he did not know.

    The decision to use contractors, anybody know who made that call?  Because a year later we saw that repeated Iraq, it wasn't the military who were the biggest offenders, it was these strange contractors who would suddenly walk through the door.

    What do I think?  This is what I think.  Remember the hero CIA agent who got our people out of Iran.  He designed this thing, and when the initial CIA interrogations began disturbing the CIA having to do them and he went to contractors, somehow he quickly got the military on board too with disrupting chain of command and clear records of events.

    I want to see those phucking memos.  I want the Rumsfeld snowflakes!  Why did Rumsfeld send interrogation contractors to Iraq?


    Eric Fair, employed by a contractor, (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by oculus on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 11:58:13 AM EST
    tortured detainees at Abu Graib. He has an editorial in the NYT:  link

    Thanks for the link (none / 0) (#93)
    by sj on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 12:18:28 PM EST
    Even though for the last while the NYT website has been seizing my computer until the page loads -- which takes much too long.

    For some reason, for a couple weeks (none / 0) (#95)
    by oculus on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 12:34:48 PM EST
    I couldn't link or copy and paste w/iPad mini. With latest update: back in business.

    I wasn't suggesting (none / 0) (#12)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 09:39:50 PM EST
    they would give a damn about anything but their own well being.  That is a pretty damning statement.

    My response was to lentinel's comment. (none / 0) (#18)
    by Angel on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 10:00:28 PM EST
    I know (none / 0) (#19)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 10:06:16 PM EST
    but I disagree.  I think they might very well be losing sleep over this.  Even if they face no legal problems there is the whole Bush family political empire thing to think about.  W has a brother who is pretty much running for president.  Having a brother that is seen by the world as a war criminal and fugitive from world  justice is not going to help.  Or at least you would think.

    Not to pick on Slado, but I think his (5.00 / 4) (#59)
    by MO Blue on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 08:52:49 AM EST
    comment pretty well illustrates how this information will be rationalized.

    Also, while I wish you are right, I  tend to think that too many people will shrug their shoulders and say they were terrorist etc. and they deserved whatever they got.


    Blood & Treasure (none / 0) (#129)
    by christinep on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 05:33:13 PM EST
    All day, Mo Blue, I've been thinking about the late Senator Ted Kennedy's caution about initiating war in Iraq ... he spoke with anxious sorrow about the cost to our nation, the loss in "blood and treasure."  And, that came to pass.  Now, there is that renewed sorrow-mixed-with-anger time of wanting some form or some official measure of official response via prosecution.  For a number of reasons--including the succinct, perceptive statement you just made--I have come to believe that the path to prosecution, in the circumstances, will lead us down a further rabbit hole and emerge in a misadventure in a wonderland that won't resemble what we think it should be.

    It is troubling; it hurts in an almost physical way to read & hear (even when the outline was known or suspected already.)  But ... looking straight at it, I genuinely believe that the investment of self and national energies/$$$$/priorities into bringing those responsible to justice is doomed to years of finger-pointing, diversion from pressing day-to-day economic needs and other national actions, soaring legal costs and mud-throwing fundraising, dragging arguments way beyond the patience of most Americans, etc.  Ultimately, both the WH and the CIA managed to get some arguable form of cover from DOJ and/or Agency attorneys ... hard to pierce.

    After Watergate, I wanted to see Nixon tried (and even held upside-down by his toenails.) It took me years to conclude that President Ford did us a favor with his preemptive pardon, because he allowed the nation to escape the mire that Nixon had caused and to move away from him into the broader needs of a nation.  Also: The later pardoning (by Carter?) of those who rightly evaded the draft and left during the emotionally divisive Vietnam era promoted its own form of moving forward.  Also #2: In our bloodiest war--the Civil War--I understand that President Lincoln pardoned the Confederate soldiers.  IMO, the "forgiveness" seen in these examples has a tremendously practical living component.

    I am Slavic by heritage ... Slovenian from my Dad's side & Polish on my Mother's side.  So, tell me about rectifying past wrongs :)  Seriously, the other day, I had a conversation--an amazing chat with an older Serbian immigrant woman--about animosities and grudges and hurts that drag on and about what we can learn from them.  No, this isn't Srebrenitsa ... but, it is definitely about forging a national punishment for something done wrong and gone wrong under the auspices of previous leaders.  IMO, the learning process for all of us may be the most that we can obtain and grow from ... the reconciliation process may prove to be the best vengeance that those who were right can or should take from this harmful episode; for, to continue a prosecutorial purge is only an extension of the centuries-old and never-ending tit-for-tat.

    Thanks for listening.


    Christine (5.00 / 5) (#191)
    by MO Blue on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:52:51 PM EST
    You talk about a reconciliation process. Exactly what reconciliation process are we actually going to see?

    Seems IIRC the process in South Africa was called a TRUTH and Reconciliation process.

    The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was a court-like restorative justice[1] body assembled in South Africa after the abolition of apartheid.[2] Witnesses who were identified as victims of gross human rights violations were invited to give statements about their experiences, and some were selected for public hearings. Perpetrators of violence could also give testimony and request amnesty from both civil and criminal prosecution.

    Are we going to see those who authorized the torture, stand up publicly and admit their crimes and ask for amnesty? Are we going to see those who carried out the torture, stand up publicly and admit their crimes and ask for amnesty? Are we going to see those at all levels who lied to Congress, stand up publicly and admit their crimes  and ask for amnesty? Are we going to see all those who  knew about these war crimes and failed in their duty to take legal action publicly admit their guilt and ask for amnesty?

    Or are we going to give this issue a few minutes in the spotlight before it is buried so that we move on until the next time the laws are broken or the next war crime is committed.

    Each and every time those in power break the law and no legal action is taken it solidifies their right to be above the law. What is learned is that those in power can break the law with impunity and they will not be held accountable. Having people shake their finger at the perpetrators and saying their war crimes were troubling is not even close to holding people accountable for breaking the law.


    For the purpose of a private conversation (none / 0) (#198)
    by christinep on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 11:20:20 PM EST
    or even a blog dialog, I share a lot of your feelings, MO.  I also know that what should happen in the ideal situation, undoubtedly, won't happen ... for a number of reasons ... among those reasons is the obvious one that the theory of the ideal has never been known or shown to fit any existing nation-state.  

    I wish that a process modeled on the truth & reconciliation approach employed in the end-of-apartheid transition in South Africa.  Yet, the incredibly pluralistic nature of our society with patterns of governing so firmly in place doesn't lend itself to that clearly defined binary interest.  Instead, I'm guessing that the positives that can come from this start with the general recognition & publication of what happened.  Where we go from there isn't so obvious ... other than the definite need for CIA restructuring and reform on an operational level.  

    But, getting the kind of consensus it would take to effect true societal change ... about how we approach armed conflict, prisoners & detainees, and how much transparency should be expected in these matters in the 21st century ... these changes require the broader engagement of Americans than has occurred to date and may not occur for a long time unless/until there is a unifying leadership around the issues.  Right now, what are the odds for compromise/conciliation around such contentious issues as the torture-related matters appear to be??? Absent some specific proposals designed to unify major segments of our society around resolution steps--and for the reasons stated in my first response to your pragmatic conclusion--I find myself settling for accomplishing a few progressive measures and focusing on the domestic priorities at hand.


    I guess I'm still confused by (5.00 / 5) (#202)
    by MO Blue on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 12:05:47 AM EST
    What you said in your original comment. You specifically wrote about how a reconciliation process would prove to be the best vengeance,

    IMO, the learning process for all of us may be the most that we can obtain and grow from ... the reconciliation process may prove to be the best vengeance that those who were right can or should take from this harmful episode;

    What reconciliation process? Issuing a report is not a reconciliation process and what is needed is not vengeance but for law breakers to be held accountable for breaking domestic and international laws. Putting forth some pie in the sky theory that decades from now there will be some accountability is just so much smoke and mirrors being put forth to justify Obama's actions or should I say lack of action.

    All this about you and your friends wanting to move away from punishment, what is this all about? Are you and your friends going to advocate eliminating all punishment for all crimes or just for crimes committed by our government?


    Precedent for future torture. (5.00 / 3) (#204)
    by MO Blue on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 01:13:14 AM EST
    The Justice Department review considered "all potentially applicable substantive criminal statutes as well as the statutes of limitations and jurisdictional provisions that govern prosecutions under those statutes," according to department documents. At the time, Durham also made clear that nobody would be prosecuted who had "acted in good faith and within the scope of the legal guidance given by the Office of Legal Counsel regarding the interrogation of detainees."

    I believe the following statement accurately depict the possible ramifications of the acting in good faith policy.

    Both the translation of this policy and its future implications are clear. While a systemic program of torturing high-value, or low-value, or unknown-value prisoners in order to extract information via physical injury is clearly against international law, so long as an administration can construct a system of "legal guidance" claiming it to be legal, it will be considered as such, and all government officials who acted "in good faith" to set up, administer, and cover up the program will be forgiven.

    There is no ambiguity here. The decision not to prosecute for torture is a conscious decision to allow any future American administration to restart the program at will. Perhaps it will be again considered illegal after-the-fact; so long as a memo is written claiming to be in good faith, the torture can still take place. Perhaps future whistleblowers will expose those programs again; no doubt they will face the full wrath of the Department of Justice while those that ordered the actual torture again walk free. By declaring that the the torture of prisoners by the American government is not a prosecutable crime, the Justice Department has validated the torture of prisoners as a policy that will remain available to future government officials that wish to take up the practice.



    I think (none / 0) (#21)
    by lentinel on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 10:14:02 PM EST
    you overestimate the American people.

    They are comatose.
    They have been bludgeoned.
    First by Bush.
    Then by Obama.
    The latter more passive than the former...
    but someone who defended the abuses of the NSA, and gave a free pass to Bush and Cheney as a first order of business so that they never have to worry about a thing.
    And neither does he, the drone king.

    Who do we turn to?
    Do we take to the streets? Again?
    Only to be herded like sheep into little zones surrounded by police on horseback?

    I am more pessimistic than you, I think.

    This, like the NSA abuses, will blow over.
    No one in government really gives a damn.
    And we the people are spent and exhausted.

    And if things were to get a little hairy, and people started to wake up and mobilize, well, there's always a war or two in the wings to settle everybody down.


    I guess I'm hoping (none / 0) (#24)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 10:20:56 PM EST
    you under estimate them.  But I'm not betting the farm.

    I'm (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by lentinel on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 11:24:30 AM EST
    on your side.

    I would like the fervor of the '60s to be reincarnated.

    Ferguson gave rise to a taste of that energy...

    I never will say that I have given up hope - or am giving up on the people of this country... but when our people are just trying to put food on the table and a roof over their heads, the issue of torture by the CIA is not so arresting.

    That's why they keep us down and with our hands out - offering us hope - and then betraying us again and again.


    This is likely to destroy Jeb's possibilty (none / 0) (#53)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 08:00:47 AM EST
    Of running if it stays in the press.  How much leverage do the rich have over the press?

    The rich own the press. (5.00 / 5) (#90)
    by oculus on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 12:09:20 PM EST
    As to Jeb's prospects, Pres. Obama seems to be waffling re the report summary. Hard choices. Thank you CIA. For being there for us. Etc. if the current President, a Democrat, ferls the need to split the baby, the fallout for Jeb will be non-existent.

    If he doesn't split the baby (none / 0) (#126)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 05:12:18 PM EST
    What happens to all the Congressional Dems who were briefed and gave their approval?

    Jebbie (none / 0) (#98)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 12:54:42 PM EST
    was already pretty much DOA. This just throws dirt on top of his grave.

    Politalkix put that link up (none / 0) (#140)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 06:56:43 PM EST
    About THE DONORS trying to find and christen Teh One before the crazies could or would tear them to ribbons.  Not that I think that's possible, just in theory.  I don't think you can force birth packs of nutabular single issue lizard brains year after year and then suddenly tell them all you were kidding about being full on nuts and they all have to dial it down now.

    My personal opinion is that Bush is without any (none / 0) (#55)
    by Angel on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 08:09:06 AM EST
    remorse, and if this report affects Jeb's prospects for running or winning, then he's just collateral damage, so too bad Jebbie.  Bush's concern stops at himself.  

    I would be (none / 0) (#8)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 09:21:10 PM EST
    thinking long and hard about leaving the country.

    That is (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 09:22:39 PM EST
    about what might happen IF I DID leave the country.  

    In the (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by lentinel on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 09:47:21 PM EST
    scenario I would like to imagine, Bush and Cheney are hurriedly packing their bags, then piling into a van with an angry mob with pitchforks and torches in hot pursuit as they head for the border.

    John Brennan must go. (5.00 / 5) (#62)
    by Anne on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 09:23:13 AM EST
    From Charlie Pierce:

    Fire John Brennan from his job as head of the CIA. Today. This minute. Publicly. For cause. John Brennan should have arrived at Langley this morning to find his possessions boxed up, and a cleaning crew in his office, and his nameplate on the floor of the hall. I know all the reasons why not: Brennan was the president's choice to take the gig, the CIA would have its revenge, and the last thing the country needs right now is another day-laborer from the national-security state wandering the landscape, moaning about his mistreatment, and writing a book about how he and the strappado artists who came before him saved the world. But he should be given the gate anyway. It is time for him to decide to spend more time with his family.

    The reason for this is simple. Either Brennan shares the administration's support of the report issued yesterday in the Senate regarding the international horror show the U.S. conducted around the world, or he is utterly insubordinate and deserves to be fired merely for that, and (I believe) Brennan has made that decision a very easy one.

    i wouldn't hold my breath, but it seems like the least that should happen.

    Yes, John Brennan (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by KeysDan on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 02:24:15 PM EST
    needs to go, for starters.   But, in view of the succession of CIA Directors of like mind, the problem is one of institutional and systematic deficiencies.   In the not so distant past, we have had such Directors as Richard Helms (the only convicted director), William Casey, (the architect of arms for hostages--Iran Contra), and, more recently, the ill-gotten  Presidential Freedom Medal winner, George Tenet, Porter Goss (the hyper-partisan, CiA is to support Bush and his policies, only to fall from power owing to his relationship to Kyle Foggo/Randy Cunningham and those poker and "other entertainment" parties.  

    Then there is Michael Hayden, who when told in 2008 of a discrepancy in the number of prisoners held by the CIA (119 rather than 98), Hayden ordered that the record be kept at 98 and not count any additional detainees so as to keep the false reporting going.  

    Perhaps, the exception over the past 40 years was William Colby who spilled some beans (aka, "the Family Jewels") to investigative reporter, Seymour Hersh, in an attempt to reform the agency before it was dissolved by congress--leading to the Church Committee Report as well as President Ford's appointed committee.  

    The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan concluded that the CIA should be given a vote of thanks and then abolished.   Now maybe that is a reform we can get behind--incorporate or distribute its intelligence functions among the seventeen different agencies that comprise the US intelligence community.


    ^^this^^ (none / 0) (#120)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 03:51:31 PM EST
    the CIA should be given a vote of thanks and then abolished.

    It might be possible to find a reason to NOT do this if they had not been absolutely and completely clueless about every single important international event since and including the fall of the Berlin Wall.


    The Senate Report (5.00 / 3) (#114)
    by KeysDan on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 03:06:16 PM EST
    did find differences of opinion within its ranks although it was apparently resolved without the use of torture. The CIA faction that used traditional tactics lost out to the camp headed up by consultants, Mitchell and Jensen, who advocated for more pain to be inflicted if good results were to be expected.

    Perhaps the clincher was when the M and J camp claimed that the other faction was running "sissified interrogation programs."   That seemed to do it.  M and J were hired-- a sweet deal for them. They got to evaluate themselves and their advice.  And, they gave themselves excellent grades. Certainly worth the $1,800 each per day, four times the pay of other interrogators.

    But that pittance only lasted until M and J started their own company.and were in charge of the program from 2005 until 2009 when it was discontinued.  The CIA paid that company $81 plus $1 million to protect the company from legal liability.   Who says crime does not pay?

    81 mil..a rather grotesquely exoribant amount.. (5.00 / 3) (#117)
    by jondee on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 03:43:00 PM EST
    where are all the conservatives who love to rail about how we as a nation can't just "throw money at the problem"?

    I'd love to see a precise, intricate map of that money trail..

    I wouldn't be surprised at all if a discernible kicking-back zigzag pattern emerged..  


    Profile in courage: (5.00 / 4) (#123)
    by lentinel on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 04:33:13 PM EST
    President Obama said the interrogation program was "troubling".

    He's troubled.

    I have broken my house rule (5.00 / 1) (#132)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 06:18:05 PM EST
    and I'm watching Tweety because of the news. I'm have been missing most of the news the last couple of days.    I am astounded.  What a jibbering fool he his.  The man is a disgrace.  I would encourage everyone to watch his first segment today when it's online.  It encapsulates every craven morally bankrupt argument to justify torture you will hear in this discussion.  

    His central point seems to be "if it works WHY WOULDNT YOU DO IT."  Shouting over guests"WHY HAS IT BEEN USED FOR CENTURIES". spittle - spittle . John Yoo segment.  BUT IF ITS THREE THOUSAND PEOPLE WHY WOULDNT YOU PULL OUT SOME FINGERNAILS.  James Woolsey (sounding sane and thoughtful by comparison)

    I guess he missed the part where the report said it did not work.  I am astounded and I am changing the channel.

    The Spouse likes to watch Chris Matthews. (none / 0) (#162)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 09:06:05 PM EST
    And I must say that when Tweety's good, he's spot on. But when he gets caught up in the Beltway Games as he so often does, his on-air demeanor simply reminds me of his well-deserved reputation as MSNBC's most earnest hack. Because for all his references to his own Catholic upbringing, the guy can sure sound like he's checked his moral compass at the front door.

    Jonathan Turley's USA Today column: (5.00 / 1) (#135)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 06:28:23 PM EST
    'The CIA breaks international and domestic law, but is immune from prosecution.'

    Don't waste your time reading Turley's blog.  He's rational but the comments section has been thoroughly overrun by smug smirking bozos.

    This really seems to have (none / 0) (#137)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 06:37:44 PM EST
    brought them out of the woodwork.  Or out from under their rocks or where ever them hang.  I guess it's hitting them where they live.

    I am utterly amazed and ashamed by the reaction to this.


    Turkey's article (none / 0) (#200)
    by MO Blue on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 11:27:42 PM EST
    Was very good. Thanks for the link.

    Didn't bother to read the comments.


    Where's Hillary? (5.00 / 1) (#138)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 06:47:39 PM EST
    oddly silent.

    Someone needs to ask the presumed next president what she thinks about this.


    She'd (5.00 / 3) (#175)
    by lentinel on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:05:12 PM EST
    probably say that she found the report,"troubling". Oh.. she can't take that one..It's been taken... - "disturbing". She can have "disturbing".

    Asked to expand on her views, she'd say that while she does not condone torture on the other hand what is torture and we should move on but also recognize that the country protection saving lives in the balance of CIA needed abuses of this great country.

    Thank you and God Bless America! as she flees out the door with hungry reporters flailing after her until she boards her stretch limo and speeds off.


    She is against prosecution (none / 0) (#190)
    by Politalkix on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:49:45 PM EST

    HRC has been against prosecution of the CIA interrogators. link


    With a quick look (none / 0) (#195)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 11:00:10 PM EST
    that link does not seem to address the report.   Which is, of course, what I was talking about.  

    what will play in Peoria? (5.00 / 1) (#172)
    by thomas rogan on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 09:45:49 PM EST
    What a Beltway and bicoastal debate this is.  The silent majority secretly supports nonlethal torture of terrorists.  Heck, a substantial minority if not a majority would support nonlethal torture of probable cause major criminals (e.g. murder suspect who hid a body or kidnapped someone or serial rapist).  This is a country with majority support of the death penalty.  And survey results are skewed by political correctness; think of how few people nowadays admit to having racist views as opposed to acting and voting based on them.
    Any Democratic nominee who proposes exiling former President Bush to the "International Court of Justice" is going to lose the election, period.

    So you say... (5.00 / 1) (#173)
    by lentinel on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 09:56:41 PM EST
    Any Democratic nominee who proposes exiling former President Bush to the "International Court of Justice" is going to lose the election, period.

    I'm not so sure.

    I would vote for such a candidate.
    Remember - this is TalkLeft. I have a left point of view.
    I don't like authoritarian elitist thugs in government. I don't know what it is. I just don't. Funny me.

    So, yes. I would gladly vote for someone with the heart and intellect who proposes that we call a spade a spade - and call Bush out for what he is, and call Cheney out for what he is.

    It would be a well-needed cleansing.

    I would not vote for an Obama-type who sits in the middle of an issue as profound as this one. If the democrats put another like that before us again, they won't get my vote - even if the alternative is a republican behemoth from hell.


    jim, please try not to lose (5.00 / 1) (#219)
    by fishcamp on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 10:09:29 AM EST
    at poker today, since I think you are better as a winner, than a whiner.  :-)

    This is all so depressing. (4.50 / 6) (#72)
    by lilburro on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:40:41 AM EST
    I was listening to ex-CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin on NPR yesterday and I haven't heard that kind of completely depraved and immoral double-speak for oh.. 6 years. Time has done no favors for Bush & co.

    They weren't able to hide everything, but they hid enough that we are here today. And by turning a blind eye and installing Brennan as his CIA Director, Obama looks complicit as well... his moral stature shrunk several times yesterday and today.

    I agree with you (5.00 / 2) (#157)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 08:24:52 PM EST
    giving you a 2 is not going to make the president look any better.   I have been a pretty staunch defender of the president.  This is where I, personally, draw the line.  

    Lines may vary.


    I strongly disagree that (none / 0) (#158)
    by christinep on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 08:40:30 PM EST
    if President Obama doesn't accede to what some here are expressing that he becomes somehow culpable.  As you say, Capt., lines vary ... and my line varies very much from the philosopher king approach.  The President is president of all the people; it is a democratic republic; and, what the people--as a whole--decide is the sine qua non for our direction here.

    In short, we are all angry and upset by the sheer depth of depravity of what has occurred in terms of torturing detainees.  Yet ... translating that anger toward any standing authority figure is something with which I disagree and with which, I suspect, the American people might disagree as well.  We will see how that progresses, of course; but, indiscriminate anger is something that I reject in this and other situations.  Just my strong personal opinion, of course.


    He said it was troubling (5.00 / 5) (#160)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 08:52:48 PM EST

    I'm sorry.  IMO low hanging pants are troubling.  Science denial is troubling.  Republicans taking over the congress is troubling.

    This report is horrific.  It describes systematic disregard for law and treaties.  It is essentially a criminal enterprise I paid for and now must answer for to the rest of the world.  It's disgraceful, shameful, sick and unbelievable.

    Not troubling.


    Leaders use diplomatic words (none / 0) (#178)
    by christinep on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:08:25 PM EST
    ... except for Bush.  And, recall, that many here have wanted the exercise of diplomacy internationally, and not the Bush bravado talk.  For now and as this report is digested internationally, the word "troubling" is a word that works.

    Anecdotally, I spoke with 4 different individuals today--all friends for years, all who opposed our entry into Iraq in 2003, all who typically support Democratic programs and always vote that way, and all who can barely bring themselves to pronounce Cheney's name without hissing or something similar.  All four are in their 60s; 3 females, 1 male. The conversations were by happenstance.  During each talk, I asked each what they thought about the disclosure, the report, etc. and--specifically--whether prosecution in some form made sense.  Granted, only four trustworthy friends ... all were thankful that the report finally was released and approved of the method of release and were disgusted by how pronounced, systematic the torture-program was ... and, all quickly said that we need to put it behind us because it would paralyze progress in anything else; in fact, they uniformly brought up how they used to feel ala Watergate & Vietnam, and contrasted it with how they had changed about being wary of being "trapped" in a punishment mindset. (Oh, they thought that I was a bit lost by even suggesting prosecution.)

    BTW, it may be that I'm partial to the word "troubling" because it is a purposive word that conveys definite negativity & disapproval without throwing the whole hand at the table.  It is a controlled, thoughtful, almost ponderous word that can be quite useful in these difficult times.  


    Honestly (5.00 / 5) (#181)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:15:31 PM EST
    i find parts of your comment troubling.  

    Funny that you should say that, Capt. (none / 0) (#188)
    by christinep on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:43:13 PM EST
    Because some of what appears to be hyperbole in your several comments on the subject are cause for dismay.  ( I thought that a new word would help.)

    Hey, we disagree.  For now, we disagree very much. And, for now, let me suggest that politalkix has offered some timely comments about time in a democracy ... because the trains run on time and things are most efficient in systems quite different than a democracy.  

    We are finding our way back as a country, I believe ... belatedly ... but, the open presentation of that Intelligence report is a significant start.


    That actually sounded more glib (5.00 / 3) (#182)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:19:36 PM EST
    than intended.  I'm quite serious.  I'm tired of moving on.  

    And I honestly think that anyone who believes any progress is going to be made in the next to years With or without this has not really been paying attention.


    I'm pay a lot of attention ... we simply disagree (none / 0) (#189)
    by christinep on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:44:29 PM EST
    The wheels of justice take time to complete (5.00 / 1) (#161)
    by Politalkix on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 08:58:18 PM EST

    a circle but they have been set in motion with publication of the report. The screws will probably tighten abroad first for these people. And who knows what the political climate will be in America in 10-15 years! Some of Pinochet's accomplices are being sentenced now for crimes that they committed in the 1970s. Shouldn't that give us hope?


    Wait, what? (5.00 / 4) (#163)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 09:08:18 PM EST
    it should give us hope that 40 years later they are still walking around.   I'm sorry.  That seems like a pretty low bar for hope.

    A quick rush to bring these people (none / 0) (#167)
    by Politalkix on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 09:23:48 PM EST
    to justice in a totally polarized country will likely not bring justice now but can poison the well for a better outcome later when the political climate is more conducive.

    Make that (5.00 / 1) (#170)
    by Politalkix on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 09:41:09 PM EST
    in a totally polarized country with a John Roberts supreme court and with a media totally in the pockets of the ultra rich....

    Why does any of that (5.00 / 1) (#171)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 09:44:13 PM EST
    stop him from calling it what it is?

    Yell from the rooftops if you want (none / 0) (#184)
    by christinep on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:26:31 PM EST
    For the country's elected leader to pop-off doesn't make things change any faster.  Bush had those mouth fits all the time, and look where that got us.

    It may be counter-intuitive, Capt., but the strongest response that the President can give is a composed, controlled, and time-measured one. Emotions are understandably running very high on all sides right now ... it would be a mistake for the President to be played by that.  Over the next few days, we should be hearing from our traditional international allies; and, that requires time sensitivity.


    He has done his bit (none / 0) (#187)
    by Politalkix on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:29:10 PM EST
    by allowing disclosure of the report against stiff opposition from the Republicans. He was not in charge when the worst forms of torture occurred and he stopped the practice as soon as he became President.

    What good will it do by calling it "out for what it is" if it is not followed by immediate prosecution? Even the Democratic party front runner for President in 2016 has indicated that she does not want prosecution link and the leader of the minority party in the house had already ruled out prosecution when she was the leader of the majority party.

    From the linked article
    "While Mrs. Clinton has previously said she did not want to see the officials who conducted the interrogations prosecuted, Mr. O'Malley, in an interview, called on the Justice Department to name a special prosecutor to investigate."


    Obama not only slow-walked the report (5.00 / 3) (#196)
    by Anne on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 11:02:53 PM EST
    (the scuttlebutt being that if they could hold off until after the GOP took over the majority in the Senate, it would be essentially killed and never see the light of day), he had heavy input in the redactions, fighting for some time for even more redactions than had originally been proposed (the reaction to that was it would be so full of redactions, no one would be able to make sense of it).

    What seems to be going on is a massive effort to circle the wagons and cover all the asses that could potentially be hung out to dry.

    It's just so disappointing, but not entirely unexpected.


    Per Turley, more than just slow walked (5.00 / 3) (#197)
    by MO Blue on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 11:18:30 PM EST
    Six months after Congress began to investigate the program and was demanding to interview key players, Attorney General Eric Holder suddenly announced the Justice Department's own investigation under John Durham. As soon as the Justice Department investigation was announced, virtually every key player refused to speak with congressional investigators in light of the internal investigation. As expected, Durham later announced that not a single crime could be found. Not in the destruction of evidence. Not in the false statements. Certainly not in the torture itself. Link

    I thought Turley was recently (5.00 / 1) (#199)
    by christinep on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 11:27:04 PM EST
    engaged by the Repub party (Boehner's bunch) to initiate one of their threatened lawsuits against the President.  If so ... what Turley surmises would matter???

    Are you saying that the events (5.00 / 5) (#203)
    by MO Blue on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 12:37:41 AM EST
    Described in Turley's article are untrue?

    Did Attorney General Eric Holder announce that the Justice Department would conduct its own investigation under John Durham, a registered Republican, when Congress demanded to interview the key players?

    Did  key players refused to speak with congressional investigators in light of the internal investigation?

    Did Durham decide to take no action on any of the issues under investigation and was this decision made entirely on the basis of prosecutorial discretion?

    The only way they would not matter is if his statement is untrue. I don't see you actually denying these events. Which one of the above statements is false?


    Congress (none / 0) (#216)
    by Politalkix on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 06:56:53 AM EST
    (including Democrats in the Congress) has not demonstrated that they can be trusted more than President BHO in this regard. The actions of the Congress (including Democrats) between 2001-2005 led to this blot in the nation's history in the first place!

    NYT gathers opinions of (none / 0) (#201)
    by oculus on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 12:01:51 AM EST
    various experts re feasibility of prosecutions:



    Poor Obama ... so helpless (3.00 / 2) (#210)
    by Yman on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 06:20:22 AM EST
    Obama's "done his bit", despite having 2+ years left in his term - by doing nothing.  It's up to HC, who's not even running yet, to prosecute and to announce it now, because she opposed prosecution before this information even came to light.


    Sometimes, I wonder if you're actually trying to be funny, or if it's just a natural by-product of CDS.


    Thanks,. That really gives me something ... (5.00 / 2) (#165)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 09:10:28 PM EST
    ... to look forward to when I'm 90.

    Maybe you can print that out (5.00 / 3) (#206)
    by lilburro on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 01:49:02 AM EST
    and post it in Guantanamo.

    I don't think you're getting this... (5.00 / 8) (#180)
    by Anne on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:14:57 PM EST
    it isn't Obama's failure to accede to what is being expressed here that is the problem.  It is, for starters, that he used the same Finding used to justify torture to justify the drone strikes.  It is the unwillingness to hold anyone accountable, and the willingness to hold over many from the Bush years who were involved in all of that.  John Brennan as head of the CIA?  Does that sound like the decision of a president who wants to clean house and set a new course?

    I get that you are a devoted and loyal supporter of the president, but you seem to be allowing your devotion to interfere with your vision just a bit; "look forward, not back," is not exactly a shining example of an interest in accountability.  That he finds the report "troubling" is almost as jarring as hearing him say that "we tortured some folks."  

    The anger is not indiscriminate, christine, in fact, I think what's been expressed here has been remarkably measured given the subject.  Are you that threatened by how this will affect Obama  that you have to try to minimize the impact of the summary by ascribing people's reactions to their emotions?


    I get it; believe me I do understand fully (none / 0) (#185)
    by christinep on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:27:34 PM EST
    A lot of time was spent on this very blog (5.00 / 4) (#205)
    by lilburro on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 01:40:15 AM EST
    connecting some pretty obvious dots as to what happened with these "interrogations" around the time of Obama's inauguration, and asking that given the information we had, a moral compass, and common sense, that someone like Brennan be placed as far away as possible from the current Administration. AT THE VERY LEAST. Instead something like benefit of the doubt was granted the President with respect to this relationship by many, and Obama made the opposite of a clean break. Correct me if I'm wrong, I didn't hear any sorrowful acknowledgment on the part of Brennan after the release of this report, which was far, far worse than I had anticipated (oh naive me). Yet "looks complicit" is beyond the pale? And now we're arguing whether Congress should pass a law saying illegal torture is illegal. Same moral stature as the day before for sure. Good lord...

    We Can Call It Torture Now... (4.50 / 6) (#74)
    by lentinel on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 11:16:04 AM EST
    .. but they won't.
    We always have, and they never have and they never will.

    The Times is still calling this stuff "interrogation techniques".
    From the NYTimes:

    The debate over interrogation techniques has left President Obama facing an uncomfortable rift between two allies, the C.I.A. director and Democrats on the committee that produced the report.

    If the President is indeed facing an "uncomfortable" (!) rift between these two factions, my heart bleeds for him. Excuse the sarcasm. He can make up his mind, I presume, and come down forcefully and publicly about where he stands. That 's what leaders are suppose to do. Lead. Take a stance. Take even an (gasp) unpopular stance. Stand for SOMETHING.

    I don't think that this report will make any difference in our national policy. We will continue to kill, drone, target, maim and drown whomever we wish. And the people will have nothing to say about it - because we have no candidates to represent our thoughts and feelings.

    The "debate" is already being represented as a debate between two equally valid points of view. In fact, the point of view that "torture is not torture and in any case it is patriotic and saved lives" seems to be prevailing.

    America, my country, is seriously ailing.
    It is beyond saddening that President Obama, who seemed to represent (justified or not) a reversal of the policies of the Bush era, has instead become its assignee.

    This morning (5.00 / 3) (#83)
    by sj on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 11:55:16 AM EST
    even my shallow local "news"/weather/traffic program was saying that the debate was now about what actually constitutes "torture".

    The apologists are nimble I must say.


    Well, we can only hope (5.00 / 2) (#113)
    by KeysDan on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 02:49:19 PM EST
    that the news gets the traffic right and the weather within its customary range of error.  But, we can bank on these fair and balanced "debates."  Is it torture or enhanced interrogation, with a fatality from time to time. You say tomato, I say toe-maato.

     After all, we do need to be fair to those culpable, so as to take into full account those who have a self-interest.  Sort of like the mother who pleads for her errant son before the judge--he is really a good boy your honor. You understand her plea, but you also know what is behind it all.

    And, with regard to the Senate  Executive Summary Report, it has been so combed through and redacted it is amazing that there is anything left--demonstrating just how much there really is, and we don't have the full report.  The summary is more than enough.  The spin began before the torture program started and continues.  The cynosure of the spin was to be that torture saves lives.  And we show that by saying so--and, at worst, create a partisan controversy---these are terrorists and they deserve it. Sure a few mistakes will happen, such as deaths, but that is part of it all.  


    Yeah, (none / 0) (#107)
    by lentinel on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 02:22:37 PM EST

    That's the debate for me.
    What actually constitutes torture?
    Having your teeth pulled out without an anesthetic, that could be...
    Or, or being handcuffed to a bar above the head and being left  to hang for 22 hours. That could work. It sure sounds promising.

    But, seriously, like -  I think we need a national discussion.

    I mean, how is anyone to know how to torture if they don't really know what it is.

    We need a Torture Academy.
    And it could be open to anyone regardless of race, color or creed. Except Mexicans. No Mexicans.

    That would be so helpful to help us figure it out.

    Then, we could all torture.

    I'm psyched.


    I'd rather they were just kicked out the back (4.25 / 4) (#10)
    by scribe on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 09:25:00 PM EST
    ramp of a C-130, wearing a parachute of course, over territory controlled by ISIS, with a note telling ISIS who they are, why they're there and to be sure to send video.  We already know Bushie can dodge a single thrown shoe, but it would be interesting to see him try to dodge this.

    In the meantime, we can petition the Nobel Peace Prize people to revoke Obama's for his complicit "looking forward, not back".  A strong case can be made that he's made himself into an accessory after the fact.

    This is a test for him (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 09:54:10 PM EST
    i would say.  How will the republican control of everything figure into this I wonder.

    He'll fail (5.00 / 2) (#89)
    by scribe on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 12:09:16 PM EST
    He's been failing on this (and a lot more) from jump.  What makes you think he'll suddenly change?

    He's had this report - the unredacted version - for >4 years now, and did squat.


    Self interest (none / 0) (#125)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 05:04:11 PM EST
    he is leaving office.  And with the state of congress he sure ain't gonna do much else.   My expectations are not what you would call high  And I am not at all hopeful there will be any meaningful prosecutions.  There are other things he could do.  I am hopeful that he sees this as a way to have a meaningful legacy on international issues.  From the start he has been very conscious and mindful of what the world thinks of him.  And it's pretty darn clear what they think of this disgraceful chapter.  He is in charge.  He is the CiC.

    Your move Mr O.


    Well, when the word the president (5.00 / 3) (#130)
    by Anne on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 05:44:09 PM EST
    uses to describe what's in the report is "troubling," it's hard to imagine much - if anything - will happen.  Not least because Obama's now kind of in this thing himself, with the drone strikes.

    Read Dan Froomkin today; honestly, it's just really hard to read and try to absorb the depths to which our government lowered itself, and the effort - cranked up a dozen notches from the usual drivel - into covering their sorry asses.

    I cannot look at Michael Hayden with anything other than revulsion:

    The summary devotes a 37-page appendix on "Inaccurate CIA Testimony" by former CIA Director Michael Hayden in one Senate Intelligence Committee hearing alone.

       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.

    Anyone who doesn't think these "inaccuracies" were deliberate is not of this planet.

    Meanwhile, what's Hayden doing?  Making millions, of course.

    And Obama's CIA was still embroidering the truth to make a better story, and cast the use of torture in the best possible light:

    Although most of the misinformation documented in the report dates back to the Bush years, Senate investigators also debunked the narrative - spread by Obama-era CIA officials - that torture was responsible for the capture of bin Laden.

       Within a day of the UBL operation, the CIA began providing classified briefings to Congress on the overall operation and the intelligence that led to the raid and UBL's death. On May 2, 2011, CIA officials, including CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell, briefed the Committee. A second briefing occurred on May 4, 2011, when CIA Director Leon Panetta and other CIA officials briefed both the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Armed Services Committee. Both of these briefings indicated that CIA detainee information--and the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques--played a substantial role in developing intelligence that led to the UBL operation.

    The report documents the ample information the CIA had from other sources about the courier who ultimately led them to bin Laden.

       The CIA did not receive any information from CIA detainees on Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti until 2003. Nonetheless, by the end of 2002, the CIA was actively targeting Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti and had collected significant reporting on Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti--to include reporting on Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti's close links to UBL.

    In fact, the information in the report supports the argument that torture may have slowed the hunt for bin Laden.

    What's that?  Torture slowed the hunt for bin Laden?  Crazy talk, I guess.  I'm waiting for a new chorus of "why do you hate America?"

    What a stain on this country's flag.


    No (5.00 / 2) (#134)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 06:23:08 PM EST
    i don't disagree with a single thing you said.  As I said if he does  anything it will be out of self interest.  I a horrified by the administrations response to this.  It literally make his Peace Prize .... uncomfortable.

    The Repubs will wrap themselves (none / 0) (#79)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 11:44:54 AM EST
    ... in the flag of torture.

    The Fearless Torturers of Truth, Justice and the Newamerican Way.


    So which is worse? (3.50 / 2) (#33)
    by Slado on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 10:53:34 PM EST
    Torturing a few terrorists or killing terrorists by remote control with no trial, jury and the inevitable casualties of innocents?

    This is were the whole moral highground on this issue falls apart for me.

    What we've done under both presidents with drones to me is far worse then anything we did at black prison sites and through water boarding.

    Also what do you think the CIA was up to during the Cold War?   Going to have to try a lot of Presidents in abstenta if this is the new standard.

    I think the fact (5.00 / 3) (#35)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 11:03:25 PM EST
    that I don't disagree with any of that is what bothers me.

    Maybe we need a new standard.


    Why (none / 0) (#40)
    by Politalkix on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 06:20:58 AM EST
    is the launching of drones any different than the firing of Cruise missiles? link



    Not following your logic (5.00 / 2) (#91)
    by sj on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 12:13:02 PM EST
    So are you saying since we have a history of doing bad things we should just continue down that path? Because it looks like you are looking for ways to excuse the killing of innocent citizens. And, just be clear, a citizen of another country has just as much value as an American citizen*. They have a right to a water and food and family and a safe place to live.

    And it isn't any different if it happened in 1996, 1998 (the dates for your links) or for the last 12 years. It's not the technology that needs to be brought in to the light of day, it's total lack of concern for human life.

    * Although apparently this nation no longer places that much value on American citizens either. We, and our rights, can be sacrificed on the altar of "national security".


    Hyperbole much? (none / 0) (#131)
    by Politalkix on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 06:00:26 PM EST
    In places that have jihadi viper's nests, look at the places where we have used drones and where we have not and compare the outcomes.

    Hint: We used drones in Pakistan and did not use them in Syria.

    The number of Shias that get slaughtered in Pakistan by Sunnis in a single year are many times more than the few people killed by drones. Surveillance by drones has prevented Pakistan from sliding into the kind of chaos that Syria is enmeshed in.

    If you have any concern for human life, you may be willing to accept the use of drones as the best option in a bad situation. If you do not have any concern for human life but derive satisfaction in theoretical grandstanding, you and your friends are on your own. You will not get my support.


    wev (5.00 / 1) (#136)
    by sj on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 06:33:02 PM EST
    Never mind -- I'd forgotten how little you care about collateral damage. For a moment I forgot who I was talking to.

    In a strange way (5.00 / 1) (#145)
    by Politalkix on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 07:36:38 PM EST
    you are giving comfort to the people who are justifying the most sadistic forms of torture through obfuscation of facts. Comparisons of torture of captives with use of drones or Cruise missiles is very flawed.

    Huh? (5.00 / 1) (#148)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 07:59:04 PM EST
    Slado is the one making that comparison, not sj.

    Okay (none / 0) (#146)
    by sj on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 07:52:40 PM EST
    You can have the last word. Mostly because I'm not going to read that (and any previous comment you made) the 4 or 5 times necessary to make any sort of sense of them/this.

    So you just have nice day. Bless your heart.


    The drones ... (5.00 / 6) (#38)
    by sj on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 12:52:48 AM EST
    ...have killed innocent people. And non "terrorists" were tortured. There is no moral high ground to be found there.

    Moral relativism is a way of excusing acts for which there is no excuse.

    Deciding that what we've done with drones is far worse does not make engaging in torture "better". Both things blacken the soul of this country.


    So you're against both? (5.00 / 3) (#42)
    by Yman on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 06:23:05 AM EST
    Torturing a few terrorists or killing terrorists by remote control with no trial, jury and the inevitable casualties of innocents?

    Only in one instance is the person a captive entirely within our control.  The legal argument for drones is far stronger than for torture.


    The fact that there is no moral (5.00 / 3) (#56)
    by MO Blue on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 08:17:23 AM EST
    high ground should not IMO be used to excuse, condone or rationalize the use of torture.

    Unless you are willing to allow ordinary citizens to use the defense of "someone did something worse" to escape punishment for their crimes, this so called standard is just a way to place those who authorize torture and those who carry out the orders to torture, above the law.


    There is No Defense... (5.00 / 9) (#65)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 09:37:41 AM EST
    ...that I know of called "But they are doing worse" or "They did it during the Cold War".

    If you want to argue both should be tried I will buy that and probably get on board, but no one is suppose to be above the law in America.

    Did you look at the report, there is no doubt not everyone tortured was a terrorist of even committed any crime other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  26 of 119, that is a 22% error rate, over 1 in 5 people tortured were not terrorists.

    I mean seriously, non-medical enemas, that is just sick minds playing out sadistic fantasies with real human beings, and those folks are living among us.

    If this is not condemned harshly we are essentially giving up any right to prosecute people who treat our own soldiers with the same disregard for the most basic of human rights.

    Obama should hang his head in shame today and I really hope someone will decide if American is too weak willed to prosecute their own war criminals, then we will do it.  War criminals should never get a pass because it's politically inconvenient.


    Of course there is such a defense when (none / 0) (#156)
    by oculus on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 08:20:09 PM EST
    you're a kid b

    I'm sorry (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 12:58:04 PM EST
    but no, no, no. While drone killing is not something I condone the incidents that went along with torturing somebody are just horrific. What you're saying is that serial killers who torture their victims are no different than people who just shoot people dead on sight. Yes, both kill people but one pushes the line into Mengele territory during WW2.

    To Be Fair... (5.00 / 2) (#104)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 01:59:41 PM EST
    ...your serial killer would have quit the killing and just be a serial torturer.

    I think a better analogy would be equating the Japanese who tortured American soldiers to the ones who flew bombing raids.

    Drones aren't purposely killing innocent people, that is collateral damage and as bad as it is, it not in the same ballpark as people who purposely inflict the maximum amount of pain to someone without killing them, or making them believe they were going to kill them.

    One is a war crime, the other is pretty much been an acceptable form of war since zeppelins were fitted with bombs in WWI.


    Yeah (none / 0) (#111)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 02:29:24 PM EST
    that was pretty much my point. Drones as bad as they may be are more a side effect of war versus a conscience decision and policy of torturing people.

    I'm not in favor of torture. (none / 0) (#102)
    by Slado on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 01:49:37 PM EST
    However what defines "torture" for me is what actual act you commit and who you commit it against.  As others have pointed out if the victim is even remotely innocent, low level or can't possibly have much Intel then the level of should be much lower and not even approach the torture level.  Inverse to be true for someone we know beyond a doubt was the 9/11 mastermind.   Sorry that's just how I feel.   My line is probably farther then many but it stops way short of beatings and movie style torture.  

    So now we should debate did we go too far with too many?  I think the report shows we did.   Also it does bother me that no one from the CIA was interviewed for this report.   Such one sidedness casts doubt on the total scope but to be fair it's far to thorough to be dismissed and clearly shows our program went to far and probably farther then the president wanted.

    However it's too easy now with historical hindsight to say lets lock up Dick Cheney etc... I don't believe for a second that many, many people in Washington on both sides of the aisle didn't have an idea what was happening and either didn't care or didn't care enough at the time to stop it.     Only after it got out of control and politically inconvenient did most of the criticism start.   That is the sad lesson here.   Very few cared when it mattered because like Drones and NSA we were more scared then sorry and we still are.

    As for Drones I make the comparison because the same mindset that allowed our leaders and us as a nation to collectively do torture is still with us and allows what I see as a worse policy of war by drone and the continued loss of liberty through NSA and goverment surveillance.    Meaning so we don't torture anymore, great.   We still kill innocent people around the world and spy on our own citizens.    I get the sense that some in Wahington now feel like they are back on the sides of the Angels even though their collective actions today are even worse then what we did directly after 9/11 when we were actually chasing the one bad guy who did the crime.  


    I'm sorry (5.00 / 2) (#109)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 02:27:48 PM EST
    but there is no way the drones are worse than torture unless you put the Air Force in the same category as torture. War kills a lot of innocent people. It always has and always will do that and it's the reason the old quote War is Hell still holds true today. It's also why George W. Bush lying about all of this makes it even WORSE. Not only did it happen but he lied to make it happen and then apparently condoned torture.

    How is torturing someone (none / 0) (#127)
    by Slado on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 05:24:18 PM EST
    Worse then our government deciding with no judge or jury that person A must die?  The same CIA or pentagon who said former detainees had intelligence that justified harsh interrogation now says with high probability that this person is a threat and we must blow them up.

    This is not war this is assassination based on our intelligence and with only us deciding if the persons crimes or threats of war against us deserve execution and the collateral damage inflicted as a result.

    It to me is lazy to call drone strikes "Acts of War" when they occur all the time inside nations we're not even at war with and against people who are not clearly at war with us but instead possibly planning us harm through terrorism.  

    It's as if the sins committed at Guantanamo and at black sites are inevitable realities of the war on terror so we've taken the easy way out and we just blow them up now.   Less messy.

    For me I think we are overreacting to our real sins of torture and under reacting to our similar and in my view worse sins of drones because as I teach my children the fast and easy way isn't usually the better way.

    Drones worse than torture


    Nice Argument... (5.00 / 1) (#133)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 06:20:59 PM EST
    ...but the fact is torture is a war crime.

    Personally, I would rather be killed than end up like THIS American citizen tortured so thoroughly that 2 of the 3 psychologists declare him unfit to stand trial because of it.  

    HERE is pic of the government transporting him, they didn't want the sensory deprivation interrupted.  Notice the guards, riot gear to transfer a man they themselves stated "was so docile and inactive that his behavior was like that of a piece of furniture,".

    Did I mention this was done long before any torture memos were drafted or that the psychiatrist who said he was fine, was an employee of the prison he was tortured at, or that this was done on US soil, or that he was injected with mind altering drugs suspected to be LSD ?


    There is no mention in the indictment of Padilla's alleged plot to use a dirty bomb in the United States. There is also no mention that Padilla ever planned to stage any attacks inside the country. And there is no direct mention of Al-Qaeda. Instead the indictment lays out a case involving five men who helped raise money and recruit volunteers in the 1990s to go overseas to countries including Chechnya, Bosnia, Somalia and Kosovo. Padilla, in fact, appears to play a minor role in the conspiracy. He is accused of going to a jihad training camp in Afghanistan but his lawyers said the indictment offers no evidence he ever engaged in terrorist activity.



    True torture is a war crime (1.00 / 1) (#147)
    by Slado on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 07:53:15 PM EST
    And you a correct to be horrified and the mistakes or abuses if made under this program should in a perfect world be punished.

    However for the sake of argument like in War whenever the State takes it upon itself to inflict violence on others in our name it is going to make mistakes, abuses and people will break the rules and go to far.   We as a Nation called for blood following 9/11 and our leaders answered the call.  In every conflict of War in our name our nation has committed war crimes and torture.  Every time.  Why?  Because when you go there no matter who you send and how noble the cause it is inevitable when you open the door to evil it's going to slip out.

     It took a will of force from the populace for this type of program to be put in place and executed.   That is why nobody is going to jail ultimately in terms of a Bush or Cheney or anyone close to that level.   They couldn't do this by themselves and they didn't.

    What worries me is we haven't learned a damn thing from our torture mistake we have just changed tactics.  


    I have been following this conversation (5.00 / 2) (#149)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 08:03:08 PM EST
    with interest.  I have problems with a lot that has been said but I have to call this out-

    We as a Nation called for blood following 9/11 and our leaders answered the call.

    Don't be doin the "we" thing.  I didn't call for blood.  I was one of the ones screaming from the rooftops that what we were doing was insane.  I have had people I was on email lists with during that period - when I was shouted down on an almost daily basis - come up to me or email me years later and say "you were right"

    So I disagree with the drone argument but it's a reasonable argument.  Even if Hannity is making it.  But "we" did not call for blood.


    Adding (5.00 / 1) (#155)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 08:19:22 PM EST
    i was hardly alone.  It is revisionist history to say there was no descent from the rush to blood and war.

    There was.  We were just shouted down.  It pi$$ed me off then so now I really don't want to be part of the "we"


    You were in the minority then (1.00 / 1) (#177)
    by Slado on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:07:52 PM EST
    The nation and more importantly our bipartisan representatives passed the patriot act etc... And the war on terror and all its side effects that continue today under this president began.

    It'd be nice if this whole thing could be boiled down to a few bad actors but it can't.  It was done in our name by the people we elected and we own it.  I simply can't put all the blame on Bush/Cheney.   They had to have help and they got it till it was to late.   You didn't have anything to do with it nor did I but plenty of congressman, Senators and government workers knew what was up and didn't say boo till it was politically convenient.

    Just the way it is and why there will be no trials.   Too much dirty laundry all over Washington for that.


    Voting for the Patriot Act ... (5.00 / 2) (#211)
    by Yman on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 06:23:44 AM EST
    ... was not a vote for torture.  You can't just lump everything together in an attempt to try to spread the blame.

    "True" torture (5.00 / 1) (#152)
    by Yman on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 08:14:02 PM EST
    Why the qualifier?  Are you suggesting this wasn't really torture?

    And this was not some, rogue soldier going too far in the heat of battle.  This was our highest leaders clearly violating the law.


    Slado (1.00 / 1) (#194)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:59:16 PM EST
    this is an asymmetrical war.

    And we're not gonna win it acting like it isn't.


    Sad... (5.00 / 2) (#112)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 02:35:48 PM EST
    ...you don't even address the effectiveness.  Does it matter that they got nothing from KSM, you still don't mind.  I probably don't either, but he is the outlier in the victim set, for most they did not know if they were guilty, or if they had or would give up information.  The problem with torture and the reason it's a war crime, is the results are not known until the damage is done.  "Ops, that guy probably is a farmer like he claimed, yeah sorry about those enemas and broken bones, we though you had intel, our bad."

    I mean come one, did you even look at the highlights ?

    My line is probably farther then many but it stops way short of beatings and movie style torture.

    They broke bones and then put those people in stress positions after.  Does that qualify as movie style torture ?
    Such one sidedness casts doubt on the total scope

    You do remember the documents and videos the CIA destroyed, aka evidence, and they were also accused of breaking into the committee computers and taking docs.  

    The CIA claiming 'one sided' is hilarious when you realize the depths they went through to ensure the other side didn't know exactly what they were doing.  They lied to Congress, how much more one-sided can you get, they wanted to do what they wanted and to hell with everyone else, including Bush.  Now they are upset because they weren't able to redact the entire reports, so one-sided.  

    The tortures playing victim is pathetic.

    No objections from me if republicans want to investigate the NSA, the CIA, Obama, Drones, or anything else that is most likely illegal activity.  Take it up with republicans, democrats tried, and did what they could.  Republicans are too busy with a law legally passed and upheld by the SCOTUS to actually bother with their actual duties.


    It is not a fact (1.00 / 1) (#150)
    by Slado on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 08:03:47 PM EST
    That we didn't get info from KSM.

    That is a point of contention and there are serious and credible people who make the argument both ways.  

    For me it's not important because if you think we tortured KSM then it doesn't matter what we learned.  From what I know and have read what we did to KSM and a few other terrorists helped find Bin Laden but I can be pursuaded that we would have found him anyway or that it wasn't worh it.   But I think some in this debate short circuit it by just accepting the talking point that the tactics didn't work at all when plenty of people say they did.

    Ultimately because we collectively can't agree on these basic facts this whole episode will be a footnote of history like the fire bombing of Dresden and will not result in trials and jail time.    

    Next up is another report from the CIA republican side that says it was all worth it and doesn't interview any of the detainees to get their opinion.


    I don't know, Slado. (5.00 / 2) (#169)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 09:33:48 PM EST
    In obvious retrospect, perhaps you should not have started your post with the statement: "I'm not in favor of torture. However ..."

    Because right off the bat, you've qualified your own moral stance on the torture of prisoners, sounding as though you're open to the possibility of differing interpretations and / or exceptions to the current law prohibiting such behavior. That's why sj cautioned you earlier about moral relativism.



    "The root cause of the excesses which our record amply demonstrates has been failure to apply the wisdom of the constitutional system of checks and balances to intelligence activities. Our experience as a nation has taught us that we must place our trust in laws, and not solely in men."
    -- "INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITIES AND THE RIGHTS OF AMERICANS," Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations (April 26, 1976)

    ... during the Cold War, as well as the NSA and FBI, I'd suggest that you read the final report of the Church Committee, which undertook to investigate domestic intelligence activities as a direct result of what became public knowledge during the Watergate scandal. Its findings were released in April 1976 when I was a high school freshman, and they are as damning as any of those revelations which were released today.

    Further and more importantly, the Church Committee report prompted a considerable and very necessary overhaul of the nation's intelligence policies by Congress, which included the empaneling of the U.S. Senate and House Select Committees on Intelligence to provide for direct congressional oversight of all federal agencies charged with conducting intelligence and surveillance operations.

    It's really too bad that the Bush administration saw fit to deliberately undermine that report's recommendations, and that members of Congress acquiesced to its demands. That's what led directly to the present grief.

    I would also recommend James Bamford's excellent 1982 book The Puzzle Palace, which chronicles the history and workings of the National Security Agency through the late 1970s. Ed Beechert, a now-retired history professor at the University of Hawaii, turned me onto Bamford's work while I was pursuing my Master's degree. It's very well written and a real eye opener, and its contents remain relevant to today's discussions.



    Ah ha! (2.00 / 1) (#45)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 06:36:38 AM EST
    I am both surprised and pleased that you have recognized the Church Committee.

    This is the committee that steered the CIA away from human intelligence gathering... actual people... towards high tech surveillance.

    Which gave us information as to where the factory was but not what it was actually producing.

    Another prime example of unintended consequences by people who thought they knew it all.


    Uh, Jim, the Church Committee (5.00 / 4) (#46)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 06:41:27 AM EST
    investigated illegal domestic surveillance.  They could have looked up what those "factories" produced in the Thomas Register or the Yellow Pages.

    But don't let me interrupt your fantasies.


    Well, if that's the case, ... (5.00 / 4) (#73)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:43:52 AM EST
    jimakaPPJ: "Another prime example of unintended consequences by people who thought they knew it all."

    ... then I daresay that your entire adult life must be a veritable litany of unintended consequences. Read the Church Committee's report first, before you undertake to comment about its work and the long-term results.

    For example, it was only through that committee's investigations that the American people first learned of the CIA's successful collaboration with Belgian intelligence operatives in January 1961 to assassinate Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba, who was the first democratically elected prime minister of the Republic of the Congo -- and unfortunately its last, thanks to us.

    The direct result of that heinous act was the subsequent consolidation of a relatively weak but very accommodating neocolonial state under Mobutu Sese Seko (aka Joseph Mobutu), a brutal and thoroughly corrupt man who often acted on behalf of his Belgian and U.S. sponsors -- that is, when he wasn't treating his country's treasury as his own personal piggy bank, looting it of some $15 billion by conservative estimates, and thus establishing the world's foremost kleptocracy.

    And through later examination of Church Committee archives and an investigation by the Belgian government itself into the activities of its own operatives, we've since learned that the CIA's initial claims of having thwarted a Soviet-led plot to use Lumumba to take over the entire Congo basin were -- to put it kindly -- egregiously overstated. And that only compounds the tragedies of Lumumba's violent demise and the subsequent political and human rights disaster which unfolded across the region.

    Because as the Congo descended into chaos following Mobutu's own 1996 ouster by dissident rebels led by Laurent Kabila and assisted greatly by the military forces of neighboring Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda, by conservative estimates at least 5 million Congolese have since perished in the ensuing maelstrom, marking it as the single bloodiest conflict since the end of the Second World War.

    Now, THAT is an example of "unintended consequences."


    Whatever they did the facts are as I noted (2.00 / 5) (#192)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:54:09 PM EST
    Instead of understanding that nice people don't spy on their country and that you must be as "not nice" as the people you deal with the atmosphere created was expanded under Carter.

    The results have been that we have depended on pictures and analysts who wouldn't know a spy if they met one on the Washington Mall with a rent-a-van with all the Pentagon's files inside.

    Yes indeedy. The kinder and gentler approach with our enemies has worked out so well.

    I heard this today. Can't remember where but it is screamingly funny in an ironic kinda way!

    "Hey ISIS! Tell you what! If you'll just pour some water up the noises of those prisoners instead of sawing their heads off... well... we'll be cool.... ah what the heck! You can even keep'em awake for a few days.

    How's that for a show of good faith!"


    "Screamingly funny"? (5.00 / 2) (#207)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 02:06:04 AM EST
    Are you drunk?

    Anybody Paying Attention to Underlying Causes? (2.00 / 2) (#71)
    by RickyJim on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:39:41 AM EST
    The reason that some people were tortured was that they were thought to be part of a group that did some bad things to the US because they thought the US was messing with them.  The most important discussion should be about how much should the US continue it's interventionist foreign policy that it has practiced since WWII.

    Irrelevant (5.00 / 3) (#81)
    by sj on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 11:52:32 AM EST
    The so-called justification for committing war crimes is still only "so-called".

    But you can try to change the subject if you wish. You might even be successful. But I think most people can hold more than one thought in their head at a time.


    Are you 12? (5.00 / 6) (#96)
    by Anne on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 12:50:24 PM EST
    You "think" someone's part of a group doing bad things to the US, and that's a reason to torture?

    What if someone thought that about you - and they were wrong?

    What those who designed the programs, and what those who carried them out, did was a violation of international law; these were war crimes.

    Oh, never mind...I just remembered who I was responding to.


    You might want to read the laws (5.00 / 6) (#115)
    by MO Blue on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 03:23:38 PM EST
    that prohibit torture.

    Don't think any of the laws on this subject say it is legal to torture someone who you believe might do some bad things.

    If you believe that this is a valid defense, I suggest you encourage Bush and Cheney to agree to be tried for war crimes before the Interrnational Criminal Court so that they can clear their names usining this defense.


    Really? (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 07:13:16 PM EST
    Manadel al-Jamadi died November 4, 2003 after being apprehended near a recent bombing?  Tortured to death at Abu Ghraib in the Sunni Triangle.

    Iraqi Major General Abed Hamed Mowhoush November 26, 2003?  Tortured to death at Al Asad in the Sunni Triangle?

    Iraqi Lt. Col. Abdul Jameel January 9,
    2004?  Tortured to death at FOB near Al Asad in the Sunni Triangle?

    These three Iraqis were supposedly tortured to death via the CIA.  Two in 2003 and one early 2004, the start of the war so not part of Al Qaeda in Iraq.  They were simply some people who might know where WMDs were if there were any.  There were no WMDs and what group did these guys belong to?

    War Crimes!


    ... ever since the Barbary Wars with Tripoli, Tunis and Algiers during the first two decades of the early 19th century. In fact, our national policy of refusing to pay tribute for safekeeping or safe passage, or to pay ransom for Americans held prisoner overseas, can be traced directly back to this very early period in our history as an independent nation.

    Some more replies (2.00 / 2) (#218)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 09:51:28 AM EST
    Mordiggian - Yes, we do. The reason? We have a bit over 64 years when we have fought to break even. Not to win. That is a formula for... guess what...loosing.

    Thomas R -

    The silent majority secretly supports nonlethal torture of terrorists.
    - Define torture. The silent majority doesn't think our enhanced interrogation to be torture.

    lentinel - The Repub running in '16 just hopes and prays that the Demo candidate proposes prosecution of Bush, et al, by ANY body.

    Yman - Slado was right. Pelosi, Demo Majority Leader, did know. Try reading my link.

    RickyJim - Yes, many in the Tea Party have a strong libertarian bent. The problem is they don;t look at that picture taken by one of moon shots of that "big blue marble." As much as I would like to tell the radical islamists to just go away and then turn over and go back to sleep.... They won't go away.

    Donald - Re Tweety. Please don't compare him to a hack... He doesn't reach that standard.

    Donald - Yes, screamingly... I was thinking about those prisoners of the radical Islamists who have had their heads sawed off.. Yes sawed....Now that is torture.

    et al - I repeat. We are our brothers keeper and if we don't use what we have to protect him them the barbarians will come through the gate and civilization will collapse.

    And yes, it can happen. Remember Rome.

    Have a nice day. My game awaits!

    Yes (none / 0) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 09:06:40 PM EST
    it keeps trying to pop up but so far the iPad seems to be working around it.  

    What do we do?

    we're working on removing it (none / 0) (#25)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 10:21:16 PM EST
    it is not a V so please don't use that word or other words like that, they stick in search engines.

    I'll explain as soon as its fixed.


    It's fixed (5.00 / 5) (#32)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 10:51:26 PM EST
    It was an ad code of an advertiser of one of our analytics providers -- there wasn't anything bad in the ad code, it was something in the analytic provider's coding that caused the ad code which was only supposed to show on their site to transfer here.

    We've disabled that analytics provider for now so it's unlikely to happen again.

    Thanks to those of you who emailed me. I called Colin (our webmaster) as soon as I saw it and he figured out what it was and fixed it.


    Sorry (none / 0) (#27)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 10:23:07 PM EST
    I'd like (none / 0) (#6)
    by lentinel on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 09:11:23 PM EST
    to see Bush and Cheney tried in any court - national or international.

    I'd like them be made to testify as to what they knew, and when they knew it.

    It won't happen.

    They have been shielded by the current President, Mr. Obama.
    In the words of the NYTimes editorial:

    The litany of brutality, lawlessness and lack of accountability serves as a reminder of what a horrible decision President Obama made at the outset of his administration to close the books on this chapter in our history...

    So nothing will be done.
    No one will be held to account.

    Who are we going to turn to for action?

    Uh, you mean the Establishment? (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 11:47:53 AM EST
    That was a cheap buzzword when I was a kid.

    Now we know what it means.


    Wasn't just them (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by Slado on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 01:55:14 PM EST
    Plenty of people had to come together to pull this off and many of them were democrats.  

    Lots of democrats must have been deaf blind and stupid between 2001-2004 to not be implicated in this as well.

    As I said after 9/11 this country was scared and we did what we did afterwards.   To convenient and naive to lay it all at the feet of BushCheney.


    A little evidence would be nice (none / 0) (#142)
    by Yman on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 07:09:40 PM EST
    You know ... for a change of pace.

    Did you miss Sen. Feinstein's (5.00 / 1) (#153)
    by oculus on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 08:17:10 PM EST
    repeated reminder she knew stuff we didn't and couldn't?

    I did not (5.00 / 1) (#166)
    by Yman on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 09:15:06 PM EST
    Which is why I'm familiar with her other statements she made at the same time:

    1.  The first time that even the Senate Intelligence committee was informed of details of the interrogation program was the Sept. 6, 2006 meeting - long after the prgram.

    2.  After the CIA destroyed the interrogation tapes, a review of the CIA cables describing the sessions showed a "starkly different picture" of the program than what they told the SI committee.  This is what prompted the current investigation.

    3.  The CIA gave them "extensive amounts of innaccurate information" (aka lied) about the program and was "far more brutal" than they were told.

    More specifically, when Director Hayden briefed the Intelligence Committee for the first time on the so-called EITs at that September 2006 committee meeting, "He referred specifically to a 'tummy slap,' among other techniques, and presented the entire set of techniques as minimally harmful and applied in a highly clinical and professional manner. They were not.

    "The committee's report demonstrates that these techniques were physically very harmful and that the constraints that existed, on paper, in Washington did not match the way techniques were used at CIA sites around the world... "But the inaccurate and incomplete descriptions go far beyond that."

    I also realize that Sen, Feinstein is not "lots of Democrats".


    If Congress had eliminated the C.I.A. (5.00 / 1) (#168)
    by oculus on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 09:30:09 PM EST
    funding back in the day, maybe the would be able to argue now that they took action when they knew or should have known the agency was torturing people. Wonder if that high-priced psychologigists consulting company was a line item in the agency budget.

    All of which ... (5.00 / 1) (#174)
    by Yman on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:00:04 PM EST
    ... has absolutely nothing to do with Slado's claim.

    In your opinion. (3.50 / 2) (#176)
    by oculus on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:05:47 PM EST
    No - based on his actual words (5.00 / 1) (#214)
    by Yman on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 06:36:40 AM EST
    Slado was claiming that many Democrats knew about the torture during the 2001-2004 period.  Funding the CIA "back in the day" has nothing to do with that.

    You are assuming (2.00 / 1) (#179)
    by Slado on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:13:01 PM EST
    The CIA is lying and Feinstein has no motives.

    My claim is it's simply impossible that only mean Bush and Cheney and some rogue CIA actors are responsive for all this.

    More people had to know and my evidence will be history showing zero trials and sentences for the crimes because the truth would be much worse.


    Are we assuming that the CIA is lying? (5.00 / 3) (#186)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:27:57 PM EST
    Well, given the preponderance of evidence regarding the CIA's repeated acts of duplicity and failures to cooperate with Feinstein's investigation, I'd say that yes, that's a pretty good assumption to make at this point.

    Wrong (5.00 / 1) (#212)
    by Yman on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 06:28:38 AM EST
    You are assuming.  The CIA is lying and Feinstein has no motives.

    Everyone has "motives".  It doesn't contradict the evidence the CIA was lying in the report.  Neither does your non-evidence

    My claim is it's simply impossible that only mean Bush and Cheney and some rogue CIA actors are responsive for all this.

    Who said that?  What you claimed was entirely different and you presented - as always - no evidence.

    More people had to know and my evidence will be history showing zero trials and sentences for the crimes because the truth would be much worse.

    So the "evidence" of your claim now will occur in the future, after performing several leaps of logic.

    That's funny.


    My views are somewhat different. (none / 0) (#43)
    by Green26 on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 06:25:04 AM EST
    While many things in the report are interesting, unfortunate and  disturbing, and I agree with many things said in this thread, the report appears to be partisan and somewhat flawed, and was done solely by Democrats.

    Interviews were apparently not conducted. That's a huge flaw in the report. How can a thorough report be done without talking to the people who were involved?

    The report is being criticized for being too "prosecutorial" and not objective or balanced. It will be influential, but I just don't see it as being objective. It looks like it was done more to prove some points, not to do a thorough investigation.

    Former CIA officials, and even current ones, are criticizing or disputing it, or portions of it. They are saying it is one-sided and not balanced. They say the detention program was valuable and effective in various respects.

    The following have a response in the Wall St Journal: former CIA Directors George J. Tenet, Porter J. Goss and Michael V. Hayden (a retired Air Force general), and former CIA Deputy Directors John E. McLaughlin, Albert M. Calland (a retired Navy vice admiral) and Stephen R. Kappes.

    A website criticizing the report has been created by former CIA people. ciasavedlives.com

    Green, by virtue of your statement, (5.00 / 5) (#48)
    by fishcamp on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 06:45:32 AM EST
    do you, or do you not believe it?  Do you need more facts from the Republicans?  What is it you want to hear more or differently about?  Nobody wants to believe that we tortured people, but I think it's been happening in all wars for centuries.  

    Fishcamp, I don't believe (2.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Green26 on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 09:50:17 AM EST
    the report is balanced or objective. It can't be complete, because interviews were not conducted. That is an incredible flaw. My guess is that at least some of the criticism about cherry-picking is correct. I don't have confidence in the conclusions, for the reasons expressed above and otherwise. I don't know enough, and haven't read enough, to know which conclusions are more valid than others. I don't believe the conclusions about the lack of effectiveness of the detention program. I assume the "torture" stuff is probably fairly accurate. I can understand how people, or some people, would call some of the extreme stuff torture. However, if there are/were legal memos/opinions concluding that the certain techniques were permitted, then I'm not inclined to be critical of the people who approved or carried out the techniques. I'm fine with the review/discussion/debate of what occurred. That's what is done in a free democratic society.

    It was a  tough time in the US and the world. The detention program clearly had many positive benefits to the US, and world. I know the US would have been better off not doing some things, but I am not going to Monday morning quarterback these decisions. It's not exactly like most of the detainees were good guys. There were some horrible detainees. I don't have any sympathy for them. I have considerable sympathy for people trying to do their job of protecting the US and US citizens. Overall, I think they did a reasonably good job, even though mistakes were made.

    I hope the report isn't used against the US too much, and doesn't result in US deaths. I would hate for US employees and citizens to become "collateral damage" of this report. While I have read about those concerns, I don't know how valid they are.


    It isn't that the Committee (5.00 / 6) (#69)
    by Anne on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 10:23:12 AM EST
    failed to do interviews, or even made the conscious decision not to do interviews, it's that the persons who needed to be interviewed refused to do so, and further refused to give access to documents under their control.

    If the report is flawed, I would suggest that it is those who refused to participate in the investigation who bear the responsibility for that.  

    From a basic human perspective, that there may have been ways to legalize the implementation of torture isn't much of a safe harbor, not for a country that sanctions and lectures other countries for their human rights abuses.  Or are we at the point where we're making the distinction that it's all okay as long as a country isn't doing this to its own citizens?  Or as long as it is believed that someone is "bad?"

    I am struggling to understand the positives of the various detention programs; what good has come out of the black site prisons?  What positive do we take from people being warehoused under difficult conditions and subjected to punitive treatment for years and years without benefit of trial and with no recourse, especially since many were captured just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong ethnicity?

    "Mistakes were made."  And there it is, the lack of agency that holds no one accountable.  

    As for people just doing their jobs, all I can say is how utterly despicable it was that we put those people in the position of inflicting torture and dehumanizing treatment on other human beings.  Do you have any idea what that does to the person who's doing the torturing?  No?  I suggest you look into that a little bit.

    Finally, as with a lot of other things, we can't expect to be able to choose the consequences of our actions and decisions, but hoping the world doesn't exact too steep a price for it in this case, even as the justifications and invoking of relativism go on, unabated, and even as we, as a government and a people, refuse to impose any consequences on those involved, is chutzpah at the nuclear level, I think.


    Anne, it is not accurate (3.50 / 2) (#76)
    by Green26 on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 11:27:05 AM EST
    that everyone refused to talk to the committee. For the most part, the committee chose not to interview people. The committee's excuse is that some of the people were under criminal investigation, and they assumed the people wouldn't talk to the committee. That criminal investigation ended over 2 years ago. It looks to me that the committee didn't want to hear explanations or the rebuttal.

    As someone who has been involved in various investigations for multiple decades, no investigation or report can be valid, complete or accurate, without interviewing as many of the people involved as possible. While pieces of the report can probably be relied on, much of the report just can't possibly show the complete picture.

    Can you imagine trials, criminal or civil, being conducted with only the written record, and no interviews or testimony?


    Yeah. It's called the FISA court. (5.00 / 4) (#87)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 11:59:10 AM EST
    This Was Not a Trial... (5.00 / 6) (#94)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 12:22:51 PM EST
    ...and the basic facts stand, they tortured people, lied about it, and no one was held accountable.

    You can argue this part is slanted or that particular item isn't exactly accurate, but you can't argue the basic facts, which were already known.  The biggest disagreement is if they were authorized to go as far as they did, which seems unlikely and could be easily provable except for the fact they destroyed the video evidence.

    People aren't upset about the specific details and whether they are 100% accurate, they are mad that our government made torture a policy and lied through their teeth about it and were never held accountable.

    It did what it was suppose to, and I like that this is on the front page again, but there is nothing shocking or unexpected, more of a confirmation of what everyone already suspected.

    Let's not forget those people who are claiming they wanted to cooperate, have destroyed evidence, documents and videos, related to the issue and was suspected of hacking and removing documents from the oversight committee's computers.  They have also lied to Congress about the program, they aren't exactly a reliable source of information about their own misdeeds.


    Green26: "For the most part, the committee chose not to interview people. The committee's excuse is that some of the people were under criminal investigation, and they assumed the people wouldn't talk to the committee. That criminal investigation ended over 2 years ago. It looks to me that the committee didn't want to hear explanations or the rebuttal."

    If not, then you certainly can't presume to know definitively what Chair Feinstein and her members chose to either do or not do during the course of their investigation.

    And don't put words in Anne's mouth by misstating her contention. She never said that "everyone refused to talk to the committee." Rather, she said:

    "It isn't that the Committee failed to do interviews, or even made the conscious decision not to do interviews, it's that the persons who needed to be interviewed refused to do so, and further refused to give access to documents under their control."

    That is not what you implied Anne said. And further, she is correct in stating that key witnesses refused to cooperate with the committee, for whatever their reasons.

    Now, I really don't know you, and must accept at face value that you're "someone who has been involved in various investigations for multiple decades."

    But that said, and judging by both your comments on this subject and the biased partisan spin you're attempting to apply to the committee's executive summary and report -- all of which are current GOP talking points, BTW -- I've really got to wonder about your own veracity as an investigator.



    In the foreword to the summary report, (5.00 / 2) (#100)
    by Anne on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 01:07:00 PM EST
    Feinstein explains that an ongoing DOJ investigation occurring at the same time the Committee was working on this investigation would have put those under investigation by DOJ in legal jeopardy had they sat for interviews with the Committee.

    She also details what materials they reviewed.

    Also, I feel like I need to keep reminding people that this Executive Summary is about one-tenth of the report itself, which is still classified.

    Are there holes? No doubt, but I don't think there's any way to deny or refute what was being done. And I don't think we can deny that a lot of people lied about it.


    A few responses (none / 0) (#208)
    by Green26 on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 05:18:35 AM EST
    The committee didn't interview anyone, did they? Every possible interviewee was not under criminal investigation. Lots of people could have been interviewed. People at White House, or formerly there, could have been interviewed (to see if they thought the CIA had held back info or mislead them). The statement of Anne's that you quote above is incorrect. It's just not true. That was my point.

    And even if people refuse to do interviews, that doesn't mean the report, or any any report, is therefore deemed to be complete or valid. If no interviews are done, my view is that it is impossible for a report/investigation to be complete or valid.

    The link you provide above is not relevant. It doesn't even deal with the subject of the report; it's over the dispute over the CIA accessing computers used by the committee to review documents. It occurred in Sept. 2014, a time well after the report was completed. It did not involve an attempt to interview someone for the investigation/report.


    Wow - that was fast (4.00 / 1) (#144)
    by Yman on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 07:22:01 PM EST
    From "interviews were not conducted" due to "cherry-picking" to "For the most part, the committee chose not to interview people" and is giving an "excuse".

    What is your evidence?


    Yman, interviews not conducted (none / 0) (#209)
    by Green26 on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 05:30:42 AM EST
    and cherry-picking at 2 different points. It is a fact that interviews were not conducted. The report states that. Many people are complaining that the report cherry-picked and was not balanced or objective, or parts were cherry-picked. You don't have to believe those complaints, but I do. Here's an article referring to cherry-picking.

    From the linked article:

    "The senior officers added that the SSCI "'cherry-picked through 6 million pages of documents to produce an answer they knew the majority wanted."

    While the SSCI's 500 page summary of its four year investigation revealed that CIA interrogations performed on over 100 detainees "were not effective" and "far more brutal" than revealed to lawmakers and the general public, these assertions were vehemently denied on the former CIA agents' website.

    The officers said that the agency had in fact briefed the House and SSCI on the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" used on al Qaida detainees almost immediately after they were authorized in 2002. These included the CIA's use of "attention grasp, walling, sleep deprivation, facial hold, abdominal slap, cramped confinement, wall standing, stress position, diapers, insects, and waterboarding," and that at these briefings, "None of the members [of the House] expressed any reservations or objections to the program."

    The website further attacks the SSCI's report claiming "no one at the CIA was interviewed" as part of the $40 million investigation, which both lacked "context" and is strongly politicized.

    "The report defies credulity by saying that the interrogation program did not produce any intelligence value," the former agents claim. "In fact, the program led to the capture of senior al Qaida leaders, including helping to find Usama bin Ladin [sic], and resulted in operations that led to the disruption of terrorist plots that saved thousands of American and allied lives."


    What part of "this is a summary report and (5.00 / 4) (#215)
    by Anne on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 06:55:07 AM EST
    is not the full-length, 6,700 page full report" do you not understand?  Summaries are, by their nature, not as inclusive as the reports they are distilling; they can't be.  

    From the foreword:

    The full Committee Study also provides substantially more detail than what is included in the Executive Summary on the CIA's justification and defense of its interrogation program on the basis that it was necessary and critical to the disruption of specific terrorist plots and the capture of specific terrorists. While the Executive Summary provides sufficient detail to demonstrate the inaccuracies of each of these claims, the information in the full Committee Study is far more extensive.


    As noted previously, the Committee approved the Terms of Reference for the Study in March 2009 and began requesting information from the CIA and other federal departments. The Committee, through its staff, had already reviewed in 2008 thousands of CIA cables describing the interrogations of the CIA detainees Abu Zubaydah and 'Abd al-Rahimal-Nashiri,whose interrogations were the subject of videotapes that were destroyed by the CIA in 2005.

    The 2008 review was complicated by the existence of a Department of Justice investigation, opened by Attorney General Michael Mukasey,into the destruction of the videotapes and expanded by Attorney General Holder in August 2009. In particular, CIA employees and contractors who would otherwise have been interviewed by the Committee staff were under potential legal jeopardy, and therefore the CIA would not compel its workforce to appear before the Committee. This
    constraint lasted until the Committee's research and documentary review were completed and the Committee Study had largely been finalized.

    Rather convenient, don't you think?  Aided and abetted by Holder, who surely was not working on this all by his lonesome.  My guess is, there was a general belief that the Summary and the Report would never see the light of day - and now they are scrambling.

    The CIA is engaged in an ongoing and massive CYA effort, and I have no doubt it will continue to perpetrate and disseminate the lies it told to justify the development and implementation of these programs, as well as the ones they told to delude the American public into believing the programs were in any way worthwhile.

    Maybe you should stop for just a minute or two and try to wrap your head around the fact all of this pushback is about justifying the torture - the torture - of human beings.  And trying to save their sorry asses for doing it in the first place.  If we're still actually trying to justify the torture of human beings, we are already lost.


    Really? (none / 0) (#213)
    by Yman on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 06:33:41 AM EST
    Who are those people that could have been interviewed that weren't?  How many are there?  When someone makes vague claims with absolutely zero evidence - as you have - they should be ignored.

    BTW - Not that it really matters what "many are complaining", but the fact that you're citing some former (mostly anonymous) CIA officials who are crying "cherry-picking" as evidence is pretty funny.


    Looks like you missed the ISIS memo, Green (5.00 / 5) (#84)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 11:55:41 AM EST
    The entire world already knew about this.  The ISIS actors underlined it with the orange jumpsuits and stress positioning of their beheading victims in those gawdawful videos they produced.

    It's way too late to "worry" about collateral damage of that sort.  At this point, that's a disingenuously contrived straw man or red herring, and a pretty fair indication of the general cluelessness of our Security State.


    First, please be aware that what has been (5.00 / 4) (#49)
    by Anne on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 07:22:21 AM EST
    released is not the full report, only the executive summary.

    Second, it is simply not fair to criticize the report as partisan because it was prepared "only" by Democrats, when Republicans, the CIA and others involved refused to participate or be interviewed.  That those who refused to cooperate and participate apparently wanted to hamstring any chance at a full investigation seems to me to be what is really "partisan."  And now they're complaining about the end product?  Seems pretty disingenuous to me.

    Look, I'm not saying the summary - or the report it summarizes - is as complete as it should be, and if those who were part of these operations and decisions, who haven't assisted in or participated in the fact-finding now want to cooperate, they should feel free to do that.  By all means, let's hear it all - ALL, not just the "no, that's not right," "no, there was more to it than that," "no, that's not what we did" comments being made in the media, and not under oath.

    That will never happen, because these people have problems that extend beyond just the torture programs: they have problems of perjury and making false statements and obstruction of justice that will follow from it.

    And please let me also say that I think there were a fair number of Democrats who were complicit in this debacle, and who may also have some of the same problems with truth-telling and ass-covering as some of their colleagues.


    This is such a serious matter that first and foremost, our concerns here should rightly be nonpartisan. There are a number of congressional Dems who were privy to classified briefings, and who now need to explain themselves. I'm not being accusatory, but I really do want to know: (a) what they knew, and (b) when they knew it.

    And let's please not forget George Tenet who, after all, was a Democratic appointee. Pardon me, but WTF was President Clinton thinking when he appointed this ingratiating a$$wipe to lead the CIA? How did he ever come to settle on such a walking piece of bureaucratic mediocrity?

    But unfortunately -- with the notable exception of Sen. John McCain, who's been entirely consistent in his vociferous opposition to government-sanctioned torture policies from day one, and even held public hearings on the matter back in 2005-06 -- one entire caucus in the Senate has chosen to boycott this investigation. And now, they're braying as though they were pointedly and purposely excluded from participation in the proceedings, rather than having opted out by their own volition, like the duplicitous worms they are. Their collective behavior in this entire sorry affair has been simply contemptible.

    Where are the Arthur Vandenbergs, Howard Bakers, Lowell Weickers, Jacob Javitses and Bob Doles of today? It's like that breed of Republican -- who always put country ahead of party and could rise to the occasion in times of existential government crisis -- has been all but rendered extinct at a time when we really and truly need them.

    And in their place are the morally inferior and equivocating likes of Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and Joni Ernst, self-absorbed loudmouths all, whose dogmatic and divisive presence on the board of a local water commission would rightly give many of us great pause, never mind in the United States Senate.



    You are never getting interviews (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 08:06:31 AM EST
    With lower level beings involved as things stand right now.  Never!  If that happens this rumbling lid will blow off.  Leaks will stay in the press with fresh leaks refueling the fires.  Reid and Pelosi are on the line too.

    That's what I was thinking... (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 08:42:54 AM EST
    after Abu Gharib, you'd have to be one f*cking idiot low level CIA operative to be interviewed and speak honestly of the horrors...it would be like volunteering to fall on the sword for Bush/Cheney and be the fall guy.  The old "a few bad apples" bullsh&t.

    The report and the assured lack of any prosecutions whatsoever is another nail in the "equality under the law" myth. America is home to many things, but it is perfectly & painfully clear that "equality under the law" is not one of them.


    It's becoming painfully clear that there (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Anne on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 09:05:49 AM EST
    must be a second set of laws and rules that we are not afforded access to.

    I guess we didn't make the cut.


    Basically the country (4.67 / 3) (#61)
    by MO Blue on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 09:13:41 AM EST
    has adopted the Nixon Rule of Law. If a president does it, it is legal.

    Each and every time, this is accepted, the precedent is set more firmly and this becomes established (not quite acknowledged) rule of law.


    I wish it was just the president... (5.00 / 3) (#63)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 09:27:54 AM EST
    but that's just one soul who is too cool for criminal court...but we've got banksters and financiers that are too cool, cops that are too cool, cabinet members and senators and "civil servants" of all stripes.

    Respect the rule of law?  What a joke.


    You are right (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by MO Blue on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 09:36:12 AM EST
    I limited my comment too, too much. My sincere thanks for correcting my comment to reflect reality.

    "a second set of laws and rules" (none / 0) (#85)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 11:57:19 AM EST
    They're called "findings."

    What?? You expect fair and objective?? (2.00 / 1) (#47)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 06:41:44 AM EST

    This is the Demos last chance to hit the CIA which they have blamed for years for telling us, and them, that Saddam had WMD's. That prodded them into voting for the war thus removing from them a base on which to attack Bush. Without it all they could do was claim that "Bush lied."

    Paybacks are hell.


    Who are you referring to as us (none / 0) (#50)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 07:28:40 AM EST
    Vs the "Demos"?

    Social liberals?  Are you speaking for the folks who assured us on national TV that they knew where the WMDs were?


    Babbling is what you do best. (2.00 / 1) (#154)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 08:17:14 PM EST
    And if you aren't a Demo then you surely are to the Left of them.

    That doesn't answer the questio (none / 0) (#164)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 09:09:44 PM EST
    You used the term us, second-person plural in English the last time I checked.  

    If you can't answer a straight-forward question, now who is the one gibbering and not making sense?


    America must always strive to be better (none / 0) (#88)
    by Dadler on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 12:08:49 PM EST
    If not, we are failing in our responsibility to ourselves as a nation and national ideal. We will never be perfect, of course, but to simply shrug and accept the violent and inexcusable imperfections (in the context of our national "We're #1 We are the Greatest!" myth) of our recent past, if not continuing present, makes all of us, the nation, and the world a worse place. Who among us is willing to die for our country right here at home, standing up for this sort of thing? Are you? Am I?

    That we all hesitate speaks uncomfortable volumes, time and time again, as our shrugging acceptance of various injustices mount up like so many rusted badges of shame.

    Dadler Jr. and I are supposed to attend a Cal game out in Berkeley on Saturday. Taking Bart to the Downtown Berkeley station. As it stands now, we'll probably train ourselves right into the middle of some anarchy.

    Gonna be an interesting call on my part. Dadler Jr. ain't so small anymore. Is it time to let him see what this democracy is about, from a relatively safe perspective, of course, it's not like I'd shove our way into the path of tear gas.

    But still.

    But still.

    You get my drift.

    And Cal is playing Princeton, too. Ivy League perfect. Always wanted to see the Princeton offense run by Princeton itself. May get to see some government offense in the streets instead.

    Could be a pip, could be a pip.

    Go Bears!

    And yes, it's Berkeley... (none / 0) (#92)
    by Dadler on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 12:15:55 PM EST
    ...it attracts genuine anarchists, has a long history of such. They hijack to create mayhem. Idiots in many ways, but so are the police most of the time. Hardly makes anything right, but is small in comparison to the hammers of power. Heard from a friend on the ground in Berkeley a few nights ago, that the cops ran out of tear gas. Poor babies.

    Pet peeve alert... (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 01:45:35 PM EST
    Anarchist is not a synonym for vandal old friend.  Throwing molotovs or destroying property or the like has nothing to do with anarchism.

    I know you know this...like a said, just a pet peeve about the common misconception of what anarchy is.  

    Think Emma Goldman, not the fledging pyromaniac in a Guy Fawkes mask jamming up your local protest...who would be a better fit on the other side of the barricades.


    Point taken, but... (none / 0) (#105)
    by Dadler on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 02:19:34 PM EST
    Not sure I'd agree with the Emma Goldman ref, or that anarchism doesn't, by its very free-for-all nature, lead to power of the fittest, strongest, most bullying. But I phucking hate all isms, when it comes down to it. Everything as it exists, in its own specific context. But that's asking way too much, I know that. Even of my own hypocritical self, most likely. ;-)

    anarchism of today vs. Goldman's time, that is (none / 0) (#106)
    by Dadler on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 02:20:36 PM EST
    very different concepts, IMO.

    I hear ya... (none / 0) (#110)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 02:28:11 PM EST
    this common misconception is perhaps most common amongst those who self-identify as anarchists today...I think they think anarchy is something The Sex Pistols invented.

    As for lawlessness, it's "anarchy" in the CIA, White House, State House, and the local precinct up in here!


    The " Sex Pistols" anarchism (none / 0) (#116)
    by jondee on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 03:34:11 PM EST
    is closer to nihilism. And not even the informed-by-thought 19th century Russian kind. It's more like a quasi-organized white middle class adolescent temper tantrum.

    I believe the word Anarchy derives from a Greek word which actually means something like roots or root system. Ramifications..

    I picture it as process of stepping back and reexamining the systemic process of history and society and where it was exactly that we went down and continue to follow the wrong fork in the road.  



    There've always been provocatuers.. (5.00 / 1) (#121)
    by jondee on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 03:52:38 PM EST
    They've even been busted working for innocuous organizations like Greenpeace..

    In Chicago in '68, even after all the nonviolence talks and meetings etc etc, they were out front screaming Kill the Pigs and flipping everyone off..

    The mentality behind cointelpro never went away, just as the mentality behind the torture programs never went away.


    Why Would it ? (5.00 / 2) (#128)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 05:32:06 PM EST
    People who commit crimes rarely stop on their own volition.  They have figured out if you make it partisan, no one will have the fortitude to prosecute.

    Cough, fricken cough, Obama, massively loud cough, Holder.

    Obama, the most powerful man in the world, or so they say, is scared to take on the party who has done nothing but disparage him.  At the very least, it would keep R's busy doing something that isn't aimed at screwing people over.

    Nothing has changed legally, we could start torturing people tomorrow should some jack@ss decide it's in our best interest.  Everything is already in place, the legal justifications, the facilities, and the sadists have not gone away.  We could be doing it right now, as apparently lying to Congress carries no penalty for the CIA.

    I think a better question might be, why aren't we torturing people, all the Fox dido-heads are convinced it works, and that physically injuring people in hopes of getting information isn't actually torture, there is no penalty, and there are a lot of brown men out there who look like terrorists or at least have valuable information.  

    Based on past claims about torture, one could even make the claim not torturing is doing a disservice to our security.  Cough, cough, Cheney.  Unless the terrorist have given up, every justification used then still stands.


    ... of the Obama presidency, the repeated failure of both the president and other administrative officials to call out the Republicans' political mendacity and obstruction for what it is.

    If the Democrats in Washington look weak and timid, well, that's because they're acting weak and timid. And by and large, even though a number of voters might take exception to my contention and vociferously insist otherwise, it's been my observation that people tend to not be attracted to candidates who time and again get sand kicked in their faces and don't respond in kind.

    So, were I the current president and given present GOP behavior, I'd be meeting with several of my closest and most trusted political advisors for 60 to 90 minutes every late Friday afternoon over a frosty pitcher of margaritas, so we could brainstorm various scenarios and possibilities to make the so-called "loyal" opposition's life a living hell for the entire following week. That special project's codename:

    "Operation Who's Your Daddy."


    We spend more on the military than (none / 0) (#217)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 09:16:45 AM EST
    All the other countries in the world combined, but Jim says we're facing the threat of "asymmetrical warfare" because why?

    Thanks again for demonstrating the effects of (redacted) News on the gullible and fearful