Torture

After Years of Wrangling, Senate Torture Report Drops Tomorrow

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Liberty for some. Sinuses full of water for others.
Credit: Shrieking Tree / photo on flickr

American embassies are apparently on "high alert" overseas in foreign countries in preparation for the release tomorrow of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA torture. The report descrbes interrogations that took place in during the Iraq War under the George W. Bush administration. The White House has "alerted" relevant parties in other countries to the "No Shit, Sherlock" news that America's terrible behavior during the war is going to inflame radicals and terrorists.

ABC News says not only does the report go into detail about waterboarding but also describes how "prisoners were sexually demeaned, and CIA interrogators were urged to continue, even after concluding that no more information could be gleaned."

Predictably, people who never want this information to get out don't want this information to get out. Soon to be ex-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) literally argues it shouldn't be released because it makes us look bad and will be used against us. Yes, indeed, our involvement in torture makes us look terrible in the eyes of the world and our enemies. That's one of the reasons why we aren't supposed to do it, not why we're supposed to hide it after the fact:

"They don't have to be accurate or right. They just have to believe it's true and they will take advantage of that," Rogers said. "We know that ISIL propaganda operations will—this is the motherlode for them."

Rogers said that there is credible warning that release of the report will endanger Americans around the world.

"You have foreign leaders saying this report in its current form will incite violence," he said. "You have liaison partners in the intelligence community saying this will incite violence. This will in fact incite violence and it's likely to cost someone their life."

I should point out, since Rogers is acting like this report was tossed together by some interns as a summer project, that the torture report is years in the making, originates from CIA's own documentation, and is thousands of pages long. The part of the torture report that will be released is just the executive summary, which will still be clocking in at about 500 pages (with currently unknown levels of redaction).

It's an awful, unserious response, which shouldn't really be a surprise at this point. The torture itself has damaged our reputation, not its revelation. The blame for any violence that comes from the release of the report falls squarely on those who chose to pursue torture as a form of interrogation, not for the release of the report itself.

Foreign Policy reports that former intelligence officials plan to launch a website tomorrow to counter the Senate report called "CIASavedLives.com."

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  1. As far as I know, nobody has ever been punished for anything related to torture, so we obviously did nothing wrong, so there’s really nothing to worry about. Right?

    1. Some privates got busted for Abu Ghraib. But they weren’t the big fish, obviously.

  2. How is this possibly news to anyone at this point?

  3. First, on behalf of all the people in the UK who are receiving pensions because IRA bombs crippled, maimed or killed them or their family members, I’d like to thank Mike Rogers for promoting terrorism and torture in Northern Ireland.

    Secondly, I’d like to point out to the aforementioned santorum gargler (Mike Rogers), that the time to worry about handing America’s enemies a propaganda victory was *before* the morons who thought torture would be helpful decided to engage in it.

    Maybe Mike Rogers would prefer to live in a paradise like North Korea or Cuba where exporting terror to destabilize enemy countries gets one a promotion. I’m sure the Norks in particular would be happy to welcome him and get his advice on how to build a dystopian paradise here on earth.

    1. Maybe Mike Rogers would prefer to live in a paradise like North Korea or Cuba where exporting terror to destabilize enemy countries gets one a promotion.

      wait, isn’t that exactly what the US does?

      1. .. it is, because shit-wipes like turd-smoothie spinners like Mike Rogers are permitted to hold office instead of being kicked in the balls every time they venture out of doors.

  4. Who gives a shit if the report could be used as Islamist propaganda? Everything is used as Islamist propaganda. We’re talking about the same people who will breathlessly claim that Pokemon is a conspiracy to indoctrinate Muslim youth with the ideals of Zionism because the last syllable of “Pikachu” sounds like the word “Jew”.

    For fuck’s sake, you have a high-level member of Fatah claiming ISIS was a US plot and the former President of Yemen claiming the Arab Spring was an Western-Zionist plot. And on and on….

  5. “The report descrbes interrogations that took place in during the Iraq War under the George W. Bush administration.”

    Nothing more current than six years ago? I wonder what happened around that time that we wouldn’t want to investigate further?

    1. If we couldn’t blame BOOOSH, who would we blame?

    2. Damn Libertarian, you beat me to it.

    3. US torture programs ended then.

      1. How do we know that if there isn’t a report?

  6. How many of those tortured were POW’s? Bill makes this excellent point

    I’m ashamed of what some U.S. soldiers did to Iraqi POWs because those
    POWs were ordinary men who were probably drafted into Saddam’s army, and
    they are entitled to the protections of the Hague and the Geneva
    Convention
    . They had nothing to do with atrocities that were committed
    by Iraqi terrorists. If our people (or the Israelis) did that sort of
    thing to Hamas members or similar vermin, however, I would not give a
    damn
    . If they had actually set German Shepherds on Hamas members or
    other terrorists instead of just threatening them, I would not shed one
    single tear.

    On the other hand, the guards who seemed to be enjoying their work too
    much, i.e. were engaging in sadistic enjoyment at the prisoners’
    expense, are not the kind of people who should be in any army even if
    they were doing it to terrorists instead of POWs. There is a difference
    between righteous anger (and revenge) and sadism.

    Then again, my opinion is that terrorists should not be taken prisoner
    in the first place. Their surrender should not be requested or accepted
    and first aid for terrorists should consist of the coup de grace. I hope
    the two terrorists who were killed were wounded first, and were then
    shot dead while begging for mercy.

    1. If soldiers committed torture, they should be punished, because it constitutes assault and battery under the UCMJ. But CIA spooks are not subject to the UCMJ. And for good reason. Unlike our soldiers, CIA spooks get no protection from the Geneva Convention. If they get captured, they are subject to torture. Who are we to tell them not to do the same to enemy spies under their custody?

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