Something More For Eric Holder To Chew On

The Senate Armed Service Committee just released its full report on detainee abuse by the US Armed Forces. Needless to say familiar faces like Rumsfeld, Ricardo Sanchez and Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller come out looking bad.

Find the executive summary below the fold (rush job; all errors are mine), or follow the link here to get the full (15 mb) .PDF .

Senate Armed Services Committee Conclusions

Conclusion 1: On February 7,2002, President George W. Bush made a written determination that Common Article 3 ofthe Geneva Conventions, which would have afforded minimum standards for humane treatment, did not apply to al Qaeda or Taliban detainees. Following the President’s determination, techniques such as waterboarding, nudity, and stress positions, used in SERE training to simulate tactics used by enemies that refuse to follow the Geneva Conventions, were authorized for use in interrogations of detainees in U.S. custody.

Conclusion 2: Members of the President’s Cabinet and other senior officials participated in meetings inside the White House in 2002 and 2003 where specific interrogation techniques were discussed. National Security Council Principals reviewed the CIA’s interrogation program during that period.

Conclusions on SERE Training Techniques and Interrogations

Conclusion3: The use of techniques similar to those used in SERE resistance training- such as stripping students of their clothing, placing them in stress positions, putting hoods over their heads, and treating them like animals – was at odds with the commitment to humane treatment of detainees in U.S. custody. Using those techniques for interrogating detainees was also inconsistent with the goal of collecting accurate intelligence information, as the purpose of SERE resistance training is to increase the ability of U. S. personnel to resist abusive interrogations and the techniques used were based, in part, on Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean War to elicit false confessions.

Conclusion 4: The use oftechniques in interrogations derived from SERE resistance training created a serious risk of physical and psychological harm to detainees. The SERE schools employ strict controls to reduce the risk of physical and psychological harm to students during training. Those controls include medical and psychological screening for students, interventions by trained psychologists during training, and code words to ensure that students can stop the application of a technique at any time should the need arise. Those same controls are not present in real world interrogations.

Conclusions on Senior Official Consideration of SERE Techniques for Interrogations

Conclusion5: InJuly2002, the Office of the Secretary of Defense General Counsel solicited information from the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA) on SERE techniques for use during interrogations. That solicitation, prompted by requests from Department ofDefense General Counsel William J. Haynes II, reflected the view that abusive tactics similar to those used by our enemies should be considered for use against detainees in U.S. custody.’

Conclusion 6: The Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) interrogation program included at least one SERE training technique, waterboarding. Senior Administration lawyers, including Alberto Gonzales, Counsel to the President, and David Addington, Counsel to the Vice President, were consulted on the development oflegal analysis ofCIA interrogation techniques. Legal opinions subsequently issued by theDepartment of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC)interpreted legal obligations under u.s. anti-torture laws and determined the legality ofCIA interrogation techniques. Those OLC opinions distorted the meaning and intent ofanti-torture laws, rationalized the abuse ofdetainees in U.S. custody and influenced Department of Defense determinations as to what interrogation techniques were legal for use during interrogations conducted by u.s. military personnel.

Conclusions on JPRA Offensive Activities

Conclusion 7: Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA) efforts in support of”offensive” interrogation operations went beyond the agency’s knowledge and expertise. JPRA’s support to U.S. government interrogation efforts contributed to detainee abuse. JPRA’s offensive support also influenced the development ofpolicies that authorized abusive interrogation techniques for use against detainees in U.S. custody.

Conclusion 8: Detainee abuse occurred during JPRA’s support to Special Mission Unit (SMU) Task Force (TF) interrogation operations in Iraq in September 2003. JPRA Commander Colonel Randy Moulton’s authorization of SERE instructors, who had no experience in detainee interrogations, to actively participate in Task Force interrogations using SERE resistance training techniques was a serious failure in judgment. The Special Mission Unit Task Force Commander’s failure to order that SERE resistance training techniques not be used in detainee interrogations was a serious failure in leadership that led to the abuse ofdetainees in Task Force custody. Iraq is a Geneva Convention theater and techniques used in SERE school are inconsistent with the obligations of U.S. personnel under the Geneva Conventions.

Conclusion 9: Combatant Command requests for JPRA “offensive” interrogation support and U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) authorization ofthat support led to JPRA operating outside the agency’s charter and beyond its expertise. Only when JFCOM’s Staff Judge Advocate became aware ofand raised concerns about JPRA’s support to offensive interrogation operations in late September 2003 did JFCOM leadership begin to take steps to curtail JPRA’s “offensive” activities. It was not until September 2004, however, that JFCOM issued a formal policy stating that support to offensive interrogation operations was outside JPRA’s charter. Conclusions on GTMO’s Request for Ageressive Techniques

Conclusion 10: Interrogation techniques in Guantanamo Bay’s (GTMO) October 11, 2002 request for authority submitted by Major General Michael Dunlavey, were influenced by JPRA training for GTMO interrogation personnel and included techniques similar to those used in SERE training to teach U.S. personnel to resist abusive enemy interrogations. GTMO Staff Judge Advocate Lieutenant Colonel Diane Beaver’s legal review justifying the October 11, 2002 GTMO request was profoundly in error and legally insufficient. Leaders at GTMO, including Major General Dunlavey’s successor, Major General Geoffrey Miller, ignored warnings from DoD’s Criminal Investigative Task Force and the Federal Bureau of Investigation that the techniques were potentially unlawful and that their use would strengthen detainee resistance.

Conclusion11: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers’s decision to cut short the legal and policy review ofthe October 11,2002 GTMO request initiated by his Legal counsel, then-Captain Jane Dalton, undermined the military’s review process. Subsequent conclusions reached by Chairman Myers and Captain Dalton regarding the legality of interrogation techniques in the request followed a grossly deficient review and were at odds with conclusions previously reached by the Anny, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Criminal Investigative Task Force.

Conclusion 12: Department of Defense General Counsel William 1. Haynes II’s effort to cut shortthe legal and policy review of the October 11,2002 GTMO request initiated by then­ Captain Jane Dahon, Legal Counsel tothe Chairman ofthe Joint Chiefs of Staff, was inappropriate and undermined the military’s review process. The General Counsel’s subsequent review was grossly deficient. Mr. Haynes’s one page recommendation to Secretary ofDefense Donald Rumsfeld failed to address the serious legal concerns that had been previously raised by the military services about techniques in the GTMO request. Further, Mr. Haynes’s reliance on a legal memo produced by GTMO’s StaffJudge Advocate that senior military lawyers called “legally insufficient” and “woefully inadequate” is deeply troubling.

Conclusion13: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s authorization of aggressive interrogation techniques for use at Guantanamo Bay was a direct cause of detainee abuse there. Secretary Rumsfeld’s December 2,2002 approval of Mr. Haynes’s recommendation that most of the techniques contained in GTMO’s October 11, 2002 request be authorized, influenced and contributed to the use ofabusive techniques, including military working dogs, forced nudity, and stress positions, in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Conclusion 14: Department of Defense General Counsel William 1. Haynes II’s direction to the Department of Defense’s Detainee Working Group in early 2003 to consider a legal memo from JohnYoo of the Department of Justice’s OLC as authoritative, blocked the WorkingGroupfrom conducting a fair and complete legal analysis and resulted in a report that, in the words ofthen­ Department ofthe Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora contained “profound mistakes in its legal analysis.” Reliance on the OLC memo resulted in a final Working Group report that recommended approval ofseveral aggressive techniques, including removal ofclothing, sleep deprivation, and slapping, similar to those used in SERE training to teach U. S. personnel to resist abusive interrogations.

Conclusions on Interrogations in Iraq and Afghanistan

Conclusion 15: Special Mission Unit (SMU) Task Force (TF) interrogation policies were influenced by the Secretary of Defense’s December 2,2002 approval of aggressive interrogation techniques for use at GTMO. SMU TF interrogation policies in Iraq included the use of aggressive interrogation techniques such as military working dogs and stress positions. SMU TF policies were a direct cause of detainee abuse and influenced interrogation policies at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere in Iraq.

Conclusion 16: During his assessment visit to Iraq in August and September 2003, GTMO Commander Major General Geoffrey Miller encouraged a view that interrogators should be more aggressive during detainee interrogations.

Conclusion 17: Interrogation policies approved by Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, which included the use of military working dogs and stress positions, were a direct cause of detainee abuse in Iraq. Lieutenant General Sanchez’s decision to issue his September 14,2003 policy with the knowledge that there were ongoing discussions as to the legality of some techniques in it was a serious error in judgment The September policy was superseded on October 12,2003 as a result of legal concerns raised by U.S. Central Command. That superseding policy, however, contained ambiguities and contributed to confusion about whether aggressive techniques, such as military working dogs, were authorized for use during interrogations.

Conclusion 18: U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) failed to conduct proper oversight of Special Mission Unit Task Force interrogation policies. Though aggressive interrogation techniques were removed from Combined Joint Task Force 7 interrogation policies after CENTCOM raised legal concerns about their inclusion in the September 14, 2003 policy issued by Lieutenant General Sanchez, SMU TF interrogation policies authorized some ofthose same techniques, including stress positions and military working dogs.

Conclusion 19: The abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib in late 2003 was not simply the result of a few soldiers acting on their own. Interrogation techniques such as stripping detainees of their clothes, placing them in stress positions, and using military working dogs to intimidate them appeared in Iraq only after they had been approved for use in Afghanistan and at GTMO. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s December 2,2002 authorization of aggressive interrogation techniques and subsequent interrogation policies and plans approved by senior military and civilian officials conveyed the message that physical pressures and degradation were appropriate treatment for detainees in U.S. military custody. What followed was an erosion in standards dictating that detainees be treated humanely.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit

68 replies
  1. 1
    used to be disgusted says:

    This seems like kind of a big deal. Thanks for the executive summary.

  2. 2
    Punchy says:

    Wow. TLDR, but I saw that Whitehouse (D-?) is saying that the DOJ report is going to fire up/piss off alot of peeps, too.

    So, basically, there’s a shitload of reports coming out outlining the war crimes that no one will ever get punished for. I think DKos’ server is about to explode. Not sure it can handle 1392 dairies/hour on torture….

  3. 3
    Mike in NC says:

    Nobody exemplifies the mendacity and stupidity of the Bush era better than Rummy. May he rot in hell forever, teabagging his mentor Dick Cheney.

  4. 4
    JK says:

    How can Eric Holder ever bring charges against anyone? I’d love to see it happen, but how could Obama counteract the reaction it would it would set off?

    How long it would it take for Republicans to bring the work of Congress to a screeching halt?

    How many knuckle dragging neanderthals could Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck mobilize to create civil unrest?

  5. 5
    JGabriel says:

    Following the President’s determination, techniques such as waterboarding, nudity, and stress positions, used in SERE training to simulate tactics used by enemies that refuse to follow the Geneva Conventions, were authorized for use in interrogations of detainees in U.S. custody.

    Jesus.

    That really gives new meaning to the famous Pogo line: We have met the enemy, and he is us.

    .

  6. 6
    Mr. Stuck says:

    Well, it would be important, if not for tomorrow’s freshly minted GOP talking point claiming the Senate Armed Services committee has been taken over by Obama Marxists out to get George Bush.

  7. 7
    Mainer says:

    Lyndie England and all the other low-level folks were so screwed. The upper-level folks claimed that they were terribly, terribly shocked and then they pinned it on her and the other working class shlubs — after having had approved ALL OF IT.

  8. 8
    demimondian says:

    I don’t know if anybody noticed, but there is already a “memo” out in which NDI Blair “acknowledges” that torture did work.

  9. 9
    used to be disgusted says:

    We kind of already knew most of this. But it’s nice to have it there in black and white. “The abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib in late 2003 was not simply the result of a few soldiers acting on their own.” It was the consequence of decisions by Rumsfeld.

    But some of those soldiers are serving time, and Rumsfeld isn’t. Funny thing.

  10. 10
    sgwhiteinfla says:

    The part about Abu Ghraib is what sticks out to me. Wingnuts always try to separate it out from GITMO and just blame it on “rogue” soldiers. Now this report shows that the abuses that happened there were directly attributable to the torture that was ordered at GITMO. Now if only someone would go on Morning Joe tomorrow and point that out. Of course that would take a miracle.

  11. 11
    JGabriel says:

    JK:

    How can Eric Holder ever bring charges against anyone? I’d love to see it happen, but how could Obama counteract the reaction it would it would set off?

    As more and more detailed information comes out regarding the Bush adminstration’s abuses of power – including but not limited to torture – I suspect national outrage will eventually overcome and neutralize any toxic counter-reaction from the right.

    At least I hope that will be the case. We’ll see what happens.

    .

  12. 12
    Soylent Green says:

    I have a dream. I have a dream that the previous Vice President of the United States will one day live in a nation where he will be judged not by the color of his skin but by the content of his character.

  13. 13
    Ash says:

    @JK: I wonder why people aren’t contemplating this more. This isn’t really the Nuremberg trials, as much as people try to liken it, where the entire world was involved and was examining the deaths of MILLIONS of people. As much as there SHOULD be prosecutions, going down that road would pretty much compromise EVERYTHING else Obama ever hoped to accomplish. It’s a tough line to walk. Hopefully, as JGabriel said, there will soon be enough outrage to support it. But I’m not counting on it…

    I use CAPS too much, don’t I?

  14. 14
    geg6 says:

    I am simply speechless at this point. Everything horrible that I ever dreamed was being done at the highest levels of our government and military are all true. I know this has been obvious for ages now but seeing so much of it in print is truly stunning. I want to grab every asshole that ever told me I was paranoid and just bitter over the 2000 coronation of the village idiot by the neck. And then yell “who’s paranoid now, mother fucker?” And then snap their necks. Gawd. I’m so angry at these people and I have nowhere to direct this anger. It’s starting to freak me out a little.

  15. 15
    Robertdsc-iphone says:

    Too bad Obama can’t order every one of these jokers immediately arrested, their personal fortunes confiscated, their families bankrupted, a gallows built on the National Mall and every one of them summarily executed for crimes against humanity. Any Republican who objects gets to be hanged, too, for obstructing justice.

    Cheney goes first, with Dubya shortly thereafter.

    I’m normally for the rule of law, but this is way beond that now.

  16. 16
    TenguPhule says:

    These people need to be dragged out and shot.

    Every last one of them.

  17. 17
    used to be disgusted says:

    Yglesias is right that prosecution is a secondary issue. I’d love to see it, but it’s not mission-critical.

    What is mission-critical is that we get the facts out and establish a robust, enduring consensus that this sort of behavior is wrong, and damaging to our national interest.

    And by “robust consensus” I mean 65%. There’s always going to be 35% of us that are too ornery to go to the Post Office if they have to make a left in order to get there.

  18. 18
    wilfred says:

    @Ash, et al.:

    Let justice be done, though the heavens may fall.

  19. 19
    grape_crush says:

    But wait, there’s more:

    A former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that intelligence agencies and interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration.
    “There were two reasons why these interrogations were so persistent, and why extreme methods were used,” the former senior intelligence official said on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity.
    “The main one is that everyone was worried about some kind of follow-up attack (after 9/11). But for most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there…”
    “…There was constant pressure on the intelligence agencies and the interrogators to do whatever it took to get that information out of the detainees, especially the few high-value ones we had, and when people kept coming up empty, they were told by Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people to push harder,” he continued.

    Apologies for the lengthy quote.

  20. 20
    Ohmmade says:

    This is why Cheney requested the release of classified CIA documents. He knew the Senate Armed Services Committee were about to release this report and he tried to change the subject.

  21. 21
    Ash says:

    I don’t know if anybody noticed, but there is already a “memo” out in which NDI Blair “acknowledges” that torture did work.

    Admiral Blair’s private memo was provided by a critic of Mr. Obama’s policy.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30335592/

    I wonder which ass-licking Bush crony is the culprit. Jesus, I HATE them.

  22. 22
    used to be disgusted says:

    @19: no apologies necessary.

    What utter assholes.

  23. 23
    Comrade Jake says:

    @sgwhiteinfla:

    Andrew Sullivan connected the dots on that sequence at least a couple of years ago now. Not that it’s any kind of revelation, except for the wingnuts.

  24. 24
    Wapiti says:

    JK (4), JGabriel (11);

    And I’ll bet more information will come out, until Obama and Holder are forced to take action in the face of the citizens’ rage.

    Remember the CD full of photos from Abu Ghraib that Congress saw, but was thought to be too inflammatory for the general public? How long before that puppy is leaked?

    And of the photos that we have seen, I remember one photo of a sergeant leaning over an iced-down body and giving a thumbs-up. Hmm – how did that Iraqi guy get dead? Do you think he was (wait for it…) tortured to death?

  25. 25
    grape_crush says:

    @22: What utter assholes.

    Yup. Froomkin, from March 30th:

    Quoting a “former Justice Department official closely involved in the early investigation of Abu Zubaida,” Finn and Warwick write that the pressure on CIA interrogators “from upper levels of the government was ‘tremendous,’ driven in part by the routine of daily meetings in which policymakers would press for updates…
    “‘They couldn’t stand the idea that there wasn’t anything new,’ the official said. ‘They’d say, “You aren’t working hard enough.” There was both a disbelief in what he was saying and also a desire for retribution — a feeling that ‘He’s going to talk, and if he doesn’t talk, we’ll do whatever.'”‘

  26. 26
    Comrade Jake says:

    @demimondian:

    Blair also said this:

    The bottom line is these techniques have hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security.

  27. 27
    Mr. Stuck says:

    @grape_crush:

    A former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that intelligence agencies and interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration.

    Dick Cheney, desperate and afraid little man now running his mouth to stay one step ahead of his demons and the long arm of the Law. That’s the thing about secrets Darth, they have a way of coming out in the end. Popcorn!

  28. 28
    Roger Moore says:

    @Wapiti:

    And I’ll bet more information will come out, until Obama and Holder are forced to take action in the face of the citizens’ rage.

    Yep, Obama would never organize a campaign to release that information in bits and pieces with the specific goal of raising the public’s ire. He’s not a clever enough politician to arrange it so that he’s forced by public opinion to put the entire previous administration on trial for war crimes. Whatever you do, don’t throw him into that there briar patch.

  29. 29
    Mike S says:

    @Ash: Part of the memo:

    “The information gained from these techniques was valuable in some instances, but there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means,” Admiral Blair said in a written statement issued last night. “The bottom line is these techniques have hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security.”

    Hardly a ringing endorsement of torture.

  30. 30
    Ash says:

    @Mike S: Obviously not an endorsement, but all you need to look at is the 5 minutes Ed Henry spent this evening bloviating about how much of a blow this is to Obama to see that, like pretty much everything else these days, context doesn’t matter.

  31. 31
    Darius says:

    Obviously not an endorsement, but all you need to look at is the 5 minutes Ed Henry spent this evening bloviating about how much of a blow this is to Obama to see that, like pretty much everything else these days, context doesn’t matter.

    Yup. Our mainstream media is now openly defending torture.

    I think I’m going to be sick.

  32. 32
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Ash:

    Isn’t Henry the same asshat Obama gave a smackdown to at his presser not too long ago?

  33. 33
    Xanthippas says:

    Good summary. I don’t know if anybody’s already linked to this here or in another thread, but you guys should also read this complementary story in today’s NY Times: “In Adopting Harsh Tactics, No Inquiry Into Their Past Use” which essentially finds that Bush administration officials didn’t even seem to put a whole hell of a lot of thought into whether or not torture should be employed against detainees.

  34. 34
    used to be disgusted says:

    Re: Cheney pushback, Blair, Henry, etc.

    Is this really where the right wants to make its last stand? Seriously, torture. Are they seeing some long-term PR angle here that I’m missing? Because from a brand management standpoint, I’m not getting it.

  35. 35
    Ash says:

    @used to be disgusted: Because like 50% (yeah, i’m pulling that figure out of my ass, but it seems plausible) of the population thinks it’s no big deal to torture some Muslim terrorists as long as it “works.” They get to keep pushing that Keeping America Safe meme.

  36. 36
    Darius says:

    Is this really where the right wants to make its last stand? Seriously, torture. Are they seeing some long-term PR angle here that I’m missing? Because from a brand management standpoint, I’m not getting it.

    The Republicans truly believe that a majority of the American public, deep down, supports torture. And god help us all if they’re right.

  37. 37
    gwangung says:

    @Ash:

    @used to be disgusted: Because like 50% (yeah, i’m pulling that figure out of my ass, but it seems plausible) of the population thinks it’s no big deal to torture some Muslim terrorists as long as it “works.” They get to keep pushing that Keeping America Safe meme.

    Yeah, and that makes prosecutions a slam dunk right now, right?

    I’ll repeat, that prosecuting now will result in, at best, hung juries, which is worse than not prosecuting at all. Gotta get a groundswell of support to prosecute to even think about bringing charges….

  38. 38
    GregB Formerly GSD says:

    If I recall, Sy Hersh said that one of the pieces of information that came out with the Abu Ghraib photos was a video of a girl getting raped.

    I found a link.

    It’s so fucking monstrous.

    -G

  39. 39
    used to be disgusted says:

    @35: Maybe. God knows I don’t understand the median voter.

    But here’s the way I see it. A lot of people think hemorrhoid cream is a necessary evil. Heck, I’m not opposed to it myself. But still, if I were a political party, I wouldn’t want to spend a lot of news cycles defending it on cable TV. My arguments might be perfectly logical, but from a brand management standpoint, what people would hear is

    Party A = painful inflammation of the anus

    and that just doesn’t help.

  40. 40
    Mary says:

    The thing that would really turn the tide is the leak of some pictures or video. At that point, all the denials and explanations will fail. Scott Horton posted a movie clip of the 1984 torture scene at Harper’s and I could not watch past the first 30 seconds. It’s the visuals that really bring it home.

    I wonder if the Bush Administration people ever think about the karmic payback for lying about the Clinton’s “trashing” the White House by stealing the silverware, the W keys, etc. I’ll bet Bill and Hillary do.

    In any event, these timed releases of torture documents are extraordinarily damning and do appear to be ratcheting up. Cheney is probably losing his mind trying to counter this with his Republican Noise machine. To me, it looks like the machine is about to break. But maybe I am being too optimistic.

  41. 41
    TenguPhule says:

    I’ll repeat, that prosecuting now will result in, at best, hung juries, which is worse than not prosecuting at all. Gotta get a groundswell of support to prosecute to even think about bringing charges….

    I believe in a quick and fair trial followed by swift convictions and executions.

    If we can’t find 12 people willing to find these torturers guilty on all counts, we aren’t looking hard enough.

  42. 42
    pattonbt says:

    Man, all of you people forget the facts:

    1) God Himself loves and has blessed the US of A,

    2) The US of A is exceptional and righteous in every way and its actions are always pure and good,

    3) Given 1 and 2, the US of A, by default, can never be wrong. When the US of A does things that look bad to others, they are actually good,

    4) Given 1, 2 and 3, STFU hippie!

  43. 43
    Jim says:

    @Darius: Darius, I don’t doubt for a second that at least a solid plurality of Americans have no problem with the torture of Muslim terrorists, or even the alleged terrorists. Keep in mind, this is a country that put Japanese-Americans into concentration camps (albeit less brutal ones than the Germans ran). A country that kept blacks as second class citizens as a matter of law for almost a hundred years after the Civil War. A country that fire-bombed civilians in WWII.

    Even many of the people who are against torture aren’t all that upset about it (somewhat understandably so since the terrorists are, to a great extent, almost sub-human in their brutality and disregard for human life). You watch a video of Daniel Pearl being beheaded and it’s not that easy to listen to the angel on your shoulder – the devil on your other shoulder sounds pretty damn good.

    It’s awful to contemplate that the torture of Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld will go unpunished, but if you want to win the bet, that’s the way to bet.

  44. 44
  45. 45
    gwangung says:

    @TenguPhule:

    I believe in a quick and fair trial followed by swift convictions and executions.

    Me, too.

    If we can’t find 12 people willing to find these torturers guilty on all counts, we aren’t looking hard enough.

    Finding them and putting them on a jury are two different things. Particularly when wingnuts make up 28%+ of the potential jury pool. And when the defense is aiming to up that 28% to a higher percentage on the jury.

  46. 46
    Johnny Pez says:

    @Punchy:

    Whitehouse (D-?)

    Rhode Island. Phone banked for him back in ’06.

  47. 47
    Medicine Man says:

    What is depressing about the situation is the likely reason why Barrack is not pushing for legal sanction. There is a real likelihood that pressing forward would tear a giant, bleeding chasm in the American public. Lancing festering boils of this nature creates scars. If you need proof, look at the baggage the Baby Boomers have over the Viet Nam war.

    Depressing is the large number of Americans who are fine with the torture of prisoners, so long as those prisoners are allegedly the “right type”. If they see a moral hazard, they honestly believe it to be secondary. They are buttressed by the Peggy Noonan’s of the world; moral cowards invested only in preserving their own comfortable preconceptions.

    Behind them all are a good chunk of the populace who are just mean as hell and want to see someone get hit when something goes wrong. Full of elemental fury.

    Very depressing thoughts, but I fear true ones.

  48. 48
    Batocchio says:

    Thanks very much for the summary. It’s a long doc (263 pages), so on the site or as a PDF, it can scroll very slowly.

    I’m happy to see this come out. Let’s see the coverage on this one.

    Some of the senators listed are quite conservative, and even more are less than honorable. I think it’s wise to remember that as damning as this is, this is still probably a watered-down version. It’s more useful for its documentation of facts and events than its conclusions. Case in point – those conclusions mention “anti-torture laws” twice, but always refer to “abuse” versus “torture.” I’d be very surprised is Cornyn and the lot didn’t fight like the scumbags they are over that. Also, the dissembling public statements of Cornyn and Lieberman, among others, are even more damnable given that they had access to this information. Lieberman has claimed waterboarding is not torture and described it inaccurately, while Cornyn has tried to claim torture is justified with his ludicrous ticking time bomb scenarios. Cornyn has also opposed a truth commission of any sort.

    That McClatchy piece merely confirms what long has been likely, even if there are smoking guns yet to come.

  49. 49
    terry chay says:

    No problem with the fact that some Americans have no problem with torture. I don’t these things get judicated by a jury of ordinary citizens. It seems to me that if these people are violating international treaties that the US is party to, they would be tried in international courts.

    That’s not going to happen right now or any time soon, but Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, et. al. might be wishing they died of natural causes in five years.

    By the way, I’m angry too, but I bet we should refrain from calls of execution. Life in prison would be a stiff enough deterrent from these people manipulating the laws in order to torture and probably would fit the level of atrocity—let’s leave death for those who actually commit genocide. But in the end, these people should be tried someday. If only to prevent this from happening again.

  50. 50
    kay says:

    @Batocchio:

    There’s one common thread in the conservative analysis of methods of acceptable torture. If it doesn’t leave a mark, it’s not torture.

    I don’t think that’s accidental. I think these methods were devised to do the most possible damage within one boundary: don’t leave a mark.

    I wonder why that is. I think it’s evidentiary.

  51. 51
    SGEW says:

    But for most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there…

    Top members of Mossad, MI-5, and the CIA compete in the International Intelligence Service Olympics. They are told to enter a nearby forest and return with a fox.

    The Mossad agents return an hour later with a fox. Two hours later, MI-5 also returns with a fox. The two groups congratulate each other on their respective gold and silver prizes.

    Hours pass. The judges begin to get restless.

    Finally, the CIA agents emerge from the forest with a deer, who is battered and bleeding, with shackles on its legs, opaque goggles over its eyes, and muffled earphones on its ears. As it passes the judges’ stand they hear it saying over and over:

    “I am a fox. I am a fox. I am a fox . . .”

  52. 52
    used to be disgusted says:

    @51: I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, so I think I’ll do both.

  53. 53
    Robert Johnston says:

    We either prosecute those people involved in torture, or we’re forever a banana republic with nukes, a country with no credibility and no power except that of the sword. That’s far too high a price to pay for not prosecuting.

  54. 54
    DougJ says:

    Good work with the summary.

  55. 55
    WereBear says:

    I don’t think the Big Median Voter… knew.

    People who cruise the blogs and read magazines might know. But for most people, this was a case of “bad apples” who got put in prison… end of story.

    This will stir it up again, and in a way that makes it clear that scandal was just the tip of the iceberg.

    You can’t listen to the rantings of the Right. The people who elected President Obama do care.

    They just didn’t know.

    I would bet what little money I have, based on small trial balloons I have floated among people I know, that they didn’t realize how widespread and terrible it was.

    So I think we haven’t seen the response from the public, yet.

  56. 56
    Scott says:

    SGEW, nicely done. I think I’ll be telling that joke a lot over the next few, um, years.

  57. 57
    someguy says:

    Some of the senators listed are quite conservativeevil

    Fixed.

  58. 58
    sparky says:

    i will be surprised–pleasantly surprised–if anything comes of these disclosures.

    here’s why:

    Topics of the Times
    New York Times May 2, 1902 p. 8
    We commend, as a particularly sane view of the situation in the Philippines, some remarks on the conduct of hostilities there which are made this week by one of the regular contributors to Harper’s Weekly. After noting that the seizure of hidden rifles, even by help of the “water cure,” means to save life, to stop fighting, and to give the civil arm a chance, he adds: “A choice of cruelties is the best that has been offered in the Philippines. It is not so certain that we at home can afford to shudder at the water cure unless we disown the whole job, and if we do disown the whole job we cannot put the responsibility for it on the army. The army has obeyed orders. It was sent to the Philippines to subdue the Filipinos, and it seems to have made remarkable progress. Having the devil to fight, it has sometimes used fire; having liars to fight, it has sometimes used lies; having semi-civilized men to fight, it has in some instances used semi-civilized methods. That was inevitable, and will be inevitable as long as soldiers are men. If these water-cure cases are brought to trial they should be tried in the Philippines, before men who are familiar with the circumstances of their occurrence and the general conditions and standards of conduct that obtained where they happened. None of us believes that cruelty runs in the American blood, or that wanton cruelty has been done in the Philippines, except in isolated cases, but the American soldier is an earnest man, and wants results. Major GARDENER says, ‘Use native troops.’ By all means use native troops as soon as they can be trusted. By all means, meanwhile, curb the zeal of our troops when it verges toward ferocity. But don’t condemn them unheard, and don’t blame them for faults that are part of the job. It is our job, not theirs.” There is much in that long quotation to horrify the anti-everythings who call themselves anti-imperialists, and a little to pain the thorough-going patriot who glories in being for his country whether it is right or wrong, but the recognition of facts as they are is apparent all through it, and such recognition is common sense.

    this comes from the wiki entry on the Senate (Lodge) committee.

    when was the last time you heard mention of what occurred there?

    OTOH, that we are discussing the subject at all could be taken as progress.

  59. 59
    melathys says:

    @JGabriel:
    i assume this is part of obama’s long strategy. at least, i hope it is.

  60. 60
    F.T.D.- says:

    WHAT A PUNK WE HAVE IN THE WHITEHOUSE WE SHOULD
    ALL HANG OUR HEADS IN SHAME

  61. 61
    Ash Can says:

    @ Roger Moore, Wapiti, et al.: Yep, I detect kabuki here. I was as disheartened as anyone else when Obama said, and Emanuel confirmed, that “this was not the time for recriminations” or however they put it. No justice? Say it ain’t so, guys. Cue us DFHs complaining. This makes conservatives smile, maybe even think well of Obama for a fleeting moment. Then Holder and the UN basically say to Obama, it’s not your call. Obama: oh snap. Further information on torture, e.g. what Tim has cited above, starts surfacing. Double snap. Whistleblowers, like Zelikow on Maddow, start talking. Triple snap. Obama, stage whisper: Keep it coming, guys.

    Back in the late 60s and early 70s, it took an awful lot of television news reports (night after night, to boot) and an awful lot of young family members and neighbors getting drafted off and killed to get the citizenry at large enraged enough to bludgeon their government into finally fucking DOING something already to end the Vietnam war years ago, and it looks to me like the same sort of thing may be happening here. Don’t get me wrong, I too want to see justice done yesterday, if not sooner. But with every new situation, I become more and more convinced that Obama’s all about the long game. In this case, the long game (hopefully) will mean that the guilty will get their day in court, with the added bonus of shitloads of evidence to ensure convictions, and any backlash against bringing them to justice will be so marginalized by the overwhelming public outrage that blowback — either the political kind or the more nefarious kind, at the hands of violent extremists — will be minimized or, hopefully in the case of the latter, avoided altogether.

    In the meantime, though, those of us who are already aware of the horrible shit that went down and are impatient for justice to be served had better lay in a supply of vodka and martini olives, good music, gourmet ice cream, or whatever else we need to help us access our happy places, because what it will take to build up public outrage to the point where it will support prosecution, conviction, and (necessarily) severe sentencing is not, not, NOT going to be pretty.

  62. 62
    Xanthippas says:

    @Mary: so basically, torture was used for what it has always been used for; to extract convenient-if totally false-confessions.

    I’d be curious to find out whether Zubaydah or Khalid Sheikh Mohammed actually ever did confess to links with Saddam. I have trouble imagining that they didn’t given the extent to which they were tortured, but I would also think that had they done so, Bush administration officials would have trumpeted that success (anonymously of course) in the run-up to the war.

  63. 63
    HyperIon says:

    @terry chay:

    By the way, I’m angry too, but I bet we should refrain from calls of execution.

    yes, some here sound EXACTLY like those folks who were screaming for revenge after september 11th. pathetic chest thumping.

    blood lust is a human frailty. that’s why civilized societies have laws to rein in these unfortunate human tendencies.

    so let’s follow the law. AG Holder, do your job.

  64. 64
    Batocchio says:

    @kay:

    Oh, I agree about not leaving a mark. I’ve posted a fair amount on torture, but this Tiny Revolution post directly relates to your point:

    “When you receive a subject, the first thing to do is to determine his physical state, his degree of resistance, through a medical examination. A premature death means a failure by the technician.

    “Another important thing to know is exactly how far you can go given the political situation and the personality of the prisoner. It is very important to know beforehand whether we have the luxury of letting the subject die…

    “Before all else, you must be efficient. You must cause only the damage that is strictly necessary, not a bit more. We must control our tempers in any case. You have to act with the efficiency and cleanliness of a surgeon and with the perfection of an artist…

  65. 65

    […] 9/11 that they may not have done otherwise, but some of these memos are from years after 9/11. We have clear evidence how this stuff spread from Rumsfeld’s desk to Gitmo to Abu Gharaib. Hell, there are several […]

  66. 66

    […] that they may not have done otherwise, but some of these memos are from years after 9/11. We have clear evidence how this stuff spread from Rumsfeld’s desk to Gitmo to Abu Gharaib. Hell, there are several dozen […]

  67. 67

    […] [Props=Balloon Juice has the rest of the summary’s conclusions] […]

  68. 68

    […] Just let that sink in. Cheney and Rumsfeld knew there had to be a link between 9/11 and Iraq, so they pushed interrogators to use torture techniques historically designed to illicit false confessions. […]

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Just let that sink in. Cheney and Rumsfeld knew there had to be a link between 9/11 and Iraq, so they pushed interrogators to use torture techniques historically designed to illicit false confessions. […]

  2. […] [Props=Balloon Juice has the rest of the summary’s conclusions] […]

  3. […] that they may not have done otherwise, but some of these memos are from years after 9/11. We have clear evidence how this stuff spread from Rumsfeld’s desk to Gitmo to Abu Gharaib. Hell, there are several dozen […]

  4. […] 9/11 that they may not have done otherwise, but some of these memos are from years after 9/11. We have clear evidence how this stuff spread from Rumsfeld’s desk to Gitmo to Abu Gharaib. Hell, there are several […]

Comments are closed.