"CIA personnel tortured detainees to confirm they didn't have intelligence - not because they thought they did. Director Brennan and the CIA today are continuing to provide interactive information and misrepresent the efficacy of torture. The CIA has lied to its overseers in public, destroyed and tried to hold back evidence, spied on the Senate, made false charges against our staff, and lied about torture and the results of torture.
And no one has been held to account.
The President needs to purge his administration of high level officials who were instrumental to the development and running of this program. He needs to force a cultural change at the CIA."
- Sen Mark Udall, Colorado
And the response of the Obama White House according to The Hill? It is "standing by the CIA calling the CIA chief a professional and patriot"
Can we say torture culture enablers? Yes, we can! People who'd toss a whistle blower into the clink (see end of last blog) but allow torturing fiends to roam free - including the asshole Cheney - who called the Senate report "a load of crap". No, asshole! YOU are a walking load of crap! This dickhead also stated flatly "absolutely the ends justified the means" but as the head of Human Rights Watch observed on Chris Hayes 'All In' that is exactly the line of terrorists. So is Obama willing to protect state terrorists too? If so, we are no longer a nation of laws as is so often parroted by Presidents - liberal, conservative, Neoliberal and in between.
On Chris Hayes' show a segment of an interview (compliments of VICE News network) with one of the torturers (psychologist James Mitchell) was actually aired. This fuckhead actually said, I kid you not, that he saw "no problem" with waterboarding. VICE News ancillary documents also showed he participated in several such water boardings. Why has no one dug this worm out of his Florida lair and hung him after a tribunal?
Well already yesterday, U.N. Secretary Ban Ki -Moon, has stated flatly that he "hopes the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Report is the start of a process toward prosecution."
However, Obama and the Obama-ites have vowed to step in - even in the case of an international push to prosecute- and save these vermin from righteous justice. Thereby - they have shown themselves to be enablers and on the wrong side of history. Not only that, but they've disclosed themselves as hypocrites - talking about rule of law on the one hand but allowing the worst vermin - next to the Nazi S.S. - to roam free and yap their hearts out. (Like NY congress critter Peter King who said "we're talking about people made to stand in awkward positions, have water put into their nose and mouth...no one suffered any lasting injuries from this." Hmmm....asshole, well maybe you'd like to try the rectal re-hydration some time - by one of those CIA imps- to see if you can handle it!)
Look, I do get that President Barack Obama lacks any yen for conflict, and often likes to politically split differences to try to keep it mellow and issues non-controversial ("No drama Obama"). . All of those genial, non-confrontational character traits are described in perhaps the best Obama autobiography: 'Barack Obama: The Story' by David Maraniss. The author's story allows us to perhaps get the best look ever into Obama's psyche and we learn that the man almost always hates to get embroiled in battles - political or other.
Fair enough, but this is not the time for Milquetoasts, charm offensives, craven pandering or ....avoidance of conflict. This is the time for serious, courageous men to take a stand on an era in which consummate evil has been perpetrated by verminous elements in our country. It is time to call these reprobates out- not provide cover- and allow for maximal accountability. Or else our nation will live with this shame in perpetuity.Worse, we will never again be able to take the world's moral stage and call out truly barbaric regimes - lest the H-word be hurled back at us. For we have ourselves flouted every human right in the freaking book and refused to take responsibility by prosecuting the evil doers. (Or even letting others do it!).
Let me be generous then, and grant that for political reasons and calculations Obama doesn't want to stir up a shit storm by prosecuting the Bushie torture fiends, their henchmen, or even firing his own CIA Director. I understand that he doesn't want to end up like Kennedy did, so okay we leave that hornet's nest alone and allow him the leeway not to have to issue an executive order for immediate prosecution.
But that's where generosity must end! Because even if one allows no action on active in-state prosecution, the same can't hold for the passive, external form. That means that if any international court does wish to prosecute these vermin Obama and his Justice Dept. doesn't stand in their way. Because if they do, they can then be regarded as courting the favor of the torturers and allowing torture - despite having been a signatory to a (1988) U.N.Torture Convention against it. This Convention, also signed by Reagan, requires that a government not only refrain from torture, but also that it prosecute torture. There are no ifs, ands or buts.
The news, however, that the DOJ and White House plan to interfere in any international case brought against these torture scum is unsettling in the extreme and carries accommodation to the point of being intolerable, lawless and irresponsible. If the U.S. is too hypocritical and unable to stand by the rule of law, okay, then at least allow outside courts to handle it if it chooses not to dirty its hands. But until it does, don't refer to a "nation of laws". No, because Nazi Germany was also a "nation of laws", the Reich laws, when it prosecuted those who insulted Hitler or even criticized him. A true nation of laws, as Chris Hayes observed two nights ago, executes the law based on equal justice - no special privilege for the powerful, and also in terms of sentences (weighing each by proportion of wrong) and it also follows the rule of international law - especially when it was a signatory to them.
As Hayes observed:
"The law always depends on context, every lawyer will tell you that, but it cannot depend on whether the person is powerful or powerless....Can you anally rape someone with a tube and threaten his mother with the consequences....well, you see, it depends on whose doing it"
Hayes then pointed out that one of the authors of this currently sick chapter actually serves as a federal judge, rendering verdicts and interpretations on the law. He added:
"Does that sound like a nation of laws? Or does it sound like the evil machinations of one of those regimes we so eagerly and rightly condemn? "
Thus, one might go so far as to assert that if the Obama-ites interfere in an independent outside (international) prosecution they are guilty of condoning the torture the U.S. is supposed to prosecute on its own! Double strike against us. Third strike, confirming in Hayes' determination (and mine too) we can't be regarded as any "nation of laws." A nation of laws upholds the law especially for the most vile crimes to which it was a signatory on the international scene. If it is willing to punk out or punt, because of some imagined right wing reaction, then it can't claim the legal (or moral) high ground. This was exactly the problem with the Reich laws and why it took the Nuremberg Tribunal to rightly declare none of them were legit - including "following orders".
Let us recall again ten of the most revolting findings in the Senate Intelligence Report in .
1. The CIA misled executive branch officials, members of Congress, and the public about torture’s effectiveness.
While Bush and Cheney steadfastly defended the CIA as the release of the report approached, the committee found that agency officials — including former directors George Tenet, Porter Goss, and Michael Hayden — misled the White House and lawmakers about the effectiveness of U.S. torture techniques like waterboarding and sleep deprivation.
The committee examined 20 reported “counterterrorism successes” cited by agency officials who claimed that the use of torture was essential to thwarting terror plots. In some of the cases, the report states, there was “no relationship” between the counterterrorism success and the use of torture. Meanwhile, in the remaining cases, the information CIA interrogators obtained from detainees either simply corroborated information the CIA already had or was extracted from detainees prior to the use of torture.
2. Interrogators would deprive some detainees of sleep for more than a week.
According to the report, detainees at CIA facilities would be deprived of sleep for days on end — in some cases for up to 180 hours. During sleep deprivation, the report says, detainees were usually kept “standing or in stress positions, at times with their hands shackled above their heads.”
The CIA Arsala Khan, an Afghan detainee, to 56 hours of sleep deprivation, the report finds. Khan could barely enunciate words by the end of his deprivation, while he was “visibly shaken by his hallucinations depicting dogs mauling and killing his sons and family.”
3. Detainees underwent waterboarding until they were unresponsive.
Among the most notorious torture techniques employed by the CIA was waterboarding, which simulates drowning. The committee report states that 9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times and that the waterboardings eventually turned into “a series of near drownings.”
Abu Zubaydah, the CIA’s first detainee, also underwent waterboarding, once to the point that he became “completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth.”
Other detainees experienced “convulsions and vomiting” when waterboarded. According to the report, the CIA used the technique on more than the three prisoners the CIA previously copped to waterboarding.
4. The CIA force-fed detainees through their rectums.
Agency interrogators forced at least five detainees to undergo “rectal rehydration” or “rectal feeding” even in the absence of any “documented medical necessity,” the report finds. Among the most prominent prisoners subjected to rectal feeding was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
5. Interrogators threatened to harm the families and children of detainees.
In at least three cases, CIA interrogators threatened to harm detainees’ families — including threats to harm a detainee’s children, to commit sexual violence against a detainee’s mother, and to slit a detainee’s mother’s throat.
6. An interrogator threatened to sodomize a detainee with a broomstick.
In at least one instance, the CIA chief of interrogation placed a broomstick between the knees of detainee while the detainee was in a stress position — suggesting that the detainee was at risk of being sodomized.
7. The chief of interrogations described one facility as a “dungeon.”
The CIA’s Cobalt facility, one senior officer quoted in the report says, was a so-called enhanced interrogation technique by itself. With detainees often kept in “complete darkness,” loud music blaring, and detainees allowed to use only a bucket to relieve themselves, the chief of interrogations said that Cobalt was a “dungeon.”
8. Agency interrogators forced detainees to stand on broken legs and feet.
At the same facility, some detainees who had sustained either broken legs or feet were made to stand in stress positions, the committee found.
9. Detainees experienced severe psychological problems.
While “[m]ultiple psychologists” warned that by shutting detainees off from human contact, interrogators risked fostering a wide range of mental health problems, the agency often ignored such warnings. Multiple detainees demonstrated severe mental health issues, the report finds, including “hallucinations, paranoia, insomnia, and attempts at self-harm and self-mutilation.”
10. The CIA lied about how many detainees were in its custody.
Even though the agency publicly maintained that it held 98 prisoners, CIA records indicated that 119 detainees were in its custody. A CIA official flagged this inconsistency in a 2008 email, only to be rebuffed by CIA director Michael Hayden.
Hopefully, Obama will at last find a spine on this issue, as he did with immigration and act. Ditch Brennan first, then stand back if international prosecutions ensue and don't interfere - thereby showing the world his administration actually condones this crap. Holding vipers accountable means not only allowing a report of their vile acts to go through but acting to prosecute them - or if you're timid, allowing the international courts do it.