Torture

500-Page Torture Report Released. Come for the Forced Enemas. Stay for the Incompetent Leadership.

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Making friends and influencing people.
Credit: Credit: Shrieking Tree / photo on flickr

After years of struggle with executive branch agencies, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's report on the CIA's "Detention and Interrogation Program" has been released. Download it here as a PDF and curl up in front of a good fire with some wine. A lot of it.  

Obviously there's going to be a lot to look over for this, and it's sadly not clear how many people care anymore (I've already seen one tweet claiming the release of this report is intended to distract us from Jon Gruber's testimony today about Obamacare).

Here are just the headlines for the report's findings (which itself is 19 pages out of the 525 pages:

  • The CIA's use of its enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees.
  • The CIA's justification for the use of its enhanced interrogation techniques rested on inaccurate claims of their effectiveness.
  • The interrogations of CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than the CIA represented to policymakers and others.

(This is where they document that five detainees were given forced enemas)

  • The conditions of confinement for CIA detainees were harsher than the CIA had represented to policymakers and others.
  • The CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information to the Department of Justice, impeding a proper legal analysis of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program.
  • The CIA has actively avoided or impeded congressional oversight of the program.
  • The CIA impeded effective White House oversight and decision-making.

President George W. Bush was not fully briefed about specific interrogation methods until 2006.

  • The CIA's operation and management of the program complicated, and in some cases impeded, the national security missions of other Executive Branch agencies
  • The CIA impeded oversight by the CIA's Office of Inspector General
  • The CIA coordinated the release of classified information to the media, including inaccurate information concerning the effectiveness of the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques
  • The CIA was unprepared as it began operating its Detention and Interrogation Program more than six months after being granted detention authorities
  • The CIA's management and operation of its Detention and Interrogation Program was deeply flawed throughout the program's duration, particularly so in 2002 and early 2003.
  • Two contract psychologists devised the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques and played a central role in the operation, assessments, and management of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program. By 2005, the CIA had overwhelmingly outsourced operations related to the program

The summary notes the two psychologists had no experience as interrogators.

  • CIA detainees were subjected to coercive interrogation techniques that had not been approved by the Department of Justice or had not been authorized by CIA Headquarters

Things like forcing them to be naked and slapping them.

  • The CIA did not conduct a comprehensive or accurate accounting of the number of individuals it detained, and held individuals who did not meet the legal standard for detention. The CIA's claims about the number of detainees held and subjected to its enhanced Interrogation techniques were inaccurate.
  • The CIA failed to adequately evaluate the effectiveness of its enhanced interrogation techniques.
  • The CIA rarely reprimanded or held personnel accountable for serious and significant violations, inappropriate activities, and systemic and individual management failures.

In several cases no disciplinary actions were called for even when detainees died. In one case of an improper detention, no discipline happened because "[t]he Director strongly believes that mistakes should be expected in a business filled with uncertainty."

  • The CIA marginalized and ignored numerous internal critiques, criticisms, and objections concerning the operation and management of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program
  • The CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program was inherently unsustainable and had effectively ended by 2006 due to unauthorized press disclosures, reduced cooperation from other nations, and legal and oversight concerns.
  • The CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program damaged the United States' standing in the world, and resulted in other significant monetary and non-monetary costs.

That's just headlines, folks! That's a lot to chew over. In the meantime. Here is President Barack Obama's statement of response to the report's release:

Throughout our history, the United States of America has done more than any other nation to stand up for freedom, democracy, and the inherent dignity and human rights of people around the world.  As Americans, we owe a profound debt of gratitude to our fellow citizens who serve to keep us safe, among them the dedicated men and women of our intelligence community, including the Central Intelligence Agency.  Since the horrific attacks of 9/11, these public servants have worked tirelessly to devastate core al Qaeda, deliver justice to Osama bin Laden, disrupt terrorist operations and thwart terrorist attacks.  Solemn rows of stars on the Memorial Wall at the CIA honor those who have given their lives to protect ours.  Our intelligence professionals are patriots, and we are safer because of their heroic service and sacrifices.

In the years after 9/11, with legitimate fears of further attacks and with the responsibility to prevent more catastrophic loss of life, the previous administration faced agonizing choices about how to pursue al Qaeda and prevent additional terrorist attacks against our country.  As I have said before, our nation did many things right in those difficult years.  At the same time, some of the actions that were taken were contrary to our values.  That is why I unequivocally banned torture when I took office, because one of our most effective tools in fighting terrorism and keeping Americans safe is staying true to our ideals at home and abroad.

Today's report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence details one element of our nation's response to 9/11—the CIA's detention and interrogation program, which I formally ended on one of my first days in office.  The report documents a troubling program involving enhanced interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects in secret facilities outside the United States, and it reinforces my long-held view that these harsh methods were not only inconsistent with our values as nation, they did not serve our broader counterterrorism efforts or our national security interests.  Moreover, these techniques did significant damage to America's standing in the world and made it harder to pursue our interests with allies and partners.  That is why I will continue to use my authority as President to make sure we never resort to those methods again.

As Commander in Chief, I have no greater responsibility than the safety and security of the American people.  We will therefore continue to be relentless in our fight against al Qaeda, its affiliates and other violent extremists.  We will rely on all elements of our national power, including the power and example of our founding ideals.  That is why I have consistently supported the declassification of today's report.  No nation is perfect.  But one of the strengths that makes America exceptional is our willingness to openly confront our past, face our imperfections, make changes and do better.  Rather than another reason to refight old arguments, I hope that today's report can help us leave these techniques where they belong—in the past.  Today is also a reminder that upholding the values we profess doesn't make us weaker, it makes us stronger and that the United States of America will remain the greatest force for freedom and human dignity that the world has ever known.

And here's a partial response from CIA Director John Brennan (oddly, this press release is not yet showing up on the CIA site)

As noted in CIA's response to the study, we acknowledge that the detention and interrogation program had shortcomings and that the Agency made mistakes.  The most serious problems occurred early on and stemmed from the fact that the Agency was unprepared and lacked the core competencies required to carry out an unprecedented, worldwide program of detaining and interrogating suspected al-Qa'ida and affiliated terrorists.  In carrying out that program, we did not always live up to the high standards that we set for ourselves and that the American people expect of us.  As an Agency, we have learned from these mistakes, which is why my predecessors and I have implemented various remedial measures over the years to address institutional deficiencies. 

Yet, despite common ground with some of the findings of the Committee's Study, we part ways with the Committee on some key points.  Our review indicates that interrogations of detainees on whom EITs were used did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives.  The intelligence gained from the program was critical to our understanding of al-Qa'ida and continues to inform our counterterrorism efforts to this day.   

We also disagree with the Study's characterization of how CIA briefed the program to the Congress, various entities within the Executive Branch, and the public.  While we made mistakes, the record does not support the Study's inference that the Agency systematically and intentionally misled each of these audiences on the effectiveness of the program.  Moreover, the process undertaken by the Committee when investigating the program provided an incomplete and selective picture of what occurred.  As noted in the Minority views and in a number of additional views of Members, no interviews were conducted of any CIA officers involved in the program, which would have provided Members with valuable context and perspective surrounding these events.   

Throughout its 67-year history, CIA has played a critical role keeping our Nation secure, and CIA officers are rightly proud and honored to be part of an organization that is indispensable to our national security.  The numerous challenges on the world stage demand the full attention, focus, and capabilities of the women and men of the CIA so that our country can stay strong and our fellow Americans remain safe.  To be successful, the CIA needs to work closely with its Congressional oversight committees as we confront these challenges.  With today's release of Committee documents and the CIA response, we look forward to the way ahead.    

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  1. Is a forced enema not, in some official capacity, rape?

    Did we not, then, as a nation anally rape our potential enemies?

    WTF, CIA, WTMFH?!

    1. We are New Mexico.

    2. You know, forced enemas are a staple in some circles.

      Hentai, for example.

      1. yes. and they are animated rape there too.

        1. I’m not disagreeing. I was trying to draw a parallel between our government and the aggressors in Saint Naughty S Hospital.

          Everyone should see the government through my eyes.

          1. the government is like an octopus…

            1. How much red ink does an octopus have?

          2. +1 nightshift nurses

    3. Is a forced enema not, in some official capacity, rape?

      If it isn’t, these bitches crying rape cause a man looked at them surely have no basis.

  2. (I’ve already seen one tweet claiming the release of this report is intended to distract us from Jon Gruber’s testimony today about Obamacare).

    In case there was any, any question left in your mind that progressives are amoral sociopaths.

    1. sure, this was all Bush, right? So they can still throw him under the bus to distract? It’s worked for 6 years; why switch horses in mid stream?

      1. I am sad that your sarcasm reflects reality.

        1. as am I… as am I.

    2. I’ve seen this in conservative circles actually…

      1. I’ve seen this in conservative circles actually…

        I assume emphasis on the Neo- prefix.

        I can see the motivation, but not the choice of rhetoric.

        1. I don’t understand where you coming from, progressives think that Gruber is a non-story that everyone should ignore, and the torture report is a nice way to scream about BUSSSHHH instead (justifiably in this case).

          1. I like the generic assumption that the US has stopped “torturing.”

            1. No no no, it’s called “enhanced interrogation techniques”, not torture! Did you even read the article?! Yes, I’m sure there’s not of that going on anymore, I’m sure. Because the government is 100% trustworthy, as this report clearly shows.

          2. I was saying that attempting to distract from government venality (Gruber) through the timed release of lurid details about the CIA torture program is something that amoral sociopaths would do.

            To me, I would think the first instinct of terror conservatives would be to defend the CIA’s actions on principle as opposed to what you linked below. Looks like I was mistaken. It is a clever strategy, you have to admit.

      2. From Hot Air:

        I’ll close with a point I made on twitter: Tomorrow, coinciding with the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report, Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber will testify before a House committee and attempt to explain his inflammatory but candid comments about the law and the American people whom he helped to dupe. While one of these stories will be subject to intense scrutiny by the media, the other will be dismissed as old news.

        ? What’s wrong with this picture?

        Among other hand wringing about how releasing this report endangers Americans and how the media will focus on the “wrong” story. Also they put torture in quotes in the headline.

        1. Clever girl!

          Attack the release to please the “Nuke Mecca” base while doing so in a way that minimizes outreach to the Rand faction.

          But, oy vey, the article’s comments!

          1. *that minimizes harm to the outreach

          2. Oh, they’re doing outreach to us…I guess that means they need us, because I don’t see them doing that just to be nice.

            Oh, the times, they are a changin’

    3. Oh show a little patience. I’m sure they’ll start talking about it during the 2016 campaign.

    4. Nobody cares about Jonathan Gruber except talk radio trash.

      1. In case there was any, any question left in your mind that progressives are amoral sociopaths.

        1. I find it odd that you express this sentiment on an article about literal torture OKed by conservatives.

          1. There’s no law of conservation of sociopathy.

          2. Fair enough, but what did progressives in Congress do about it? Nada.

            1. I find it odd that you express this sentiment on an article about literal torture OKed by conservatives.

              Poor Tony. All he has left is an illi quoque – which is even more pathetic than a tu quoque.

            2. Making them equally bad I’m sure.

              1. Shift those goalposts, Tony! Shift them! Shift them fast, shift them hard!

                Don’t admit you said something mouthbreathingly stupid. But, shift, shift, shift!

              2. Making them equally bad I’m sure.

                For those who went along with it because they believed in it, yes.

                For those who went along with it despite not believing in it just to protect their fucking political careers, then that’s worse.

            3. Progressive are OK with torture as long as they don’t get blamed for it.

              1. The Bush torture regime is was cemented me and many others as lifelong liberals committed to his party’s destruction.

                1. But with no problem whatsoever with the continuation of his policies. That’s what’s so revolting about you. What’s being done doesn’t matter to you, as long as it’s the right people doing it. You want to destroy the republicans, but ignore the fact that you have become what you despise.

                  1. Could you be specific?

          3. That’s because you’re a virulent racist and anti-Semite, Tony. You are incapable of viewing the world within multifaceted paradigm. In your world there is only “us” and “the subhumans”.

            Now, in case you forgot, this is were you justify refusing to apologize for using the stereotype of the Southeast Asian prostitute to insult my wife merely because I disagreed with you. As from your imagined lofty perch constructed by your unwarranted sense of moral superiority, and disagreement with you can only stem from the most base of causes. Thus you owe no one an apology…because your intentions are “pure”.

            1. Just don’t feed it, Heroic. But I know an awful insult of a family member is hard to take.

              1. Thanks Tonio. I would even understand it had I been one of the ones who chose to consistently insult him with homophobic slurs. I had never done that and I was still shown no quarter.

                Evidence of the kind of man behind the sock.

        2. It’s Tuesday, heroic.

          Seriously, why feed it? It’s just putting up a brave front in the face of imminent defeat.

          1. It’s just putting up a brave front in the face of imminent defeat.

            And may it recognize its imminent defeat by committing seppuku; although, it will probably settle for bukkake.

      2. I thought that that was standard-issue snark until I saw who had posted it.

      3. Poor gruber, he went from being feted by Pelosi and Obama to being an unperson. Even Tony is yezhoving the dude now.

        1. You have to kill right-wing memes in their cribs. Gruber is no Republican’s idea of an expert to be deferred to, he is a political bludgeon.

          Though Republicans have been impressively successful at not having any ideas or doing anything good for anyone in like half a century, I just can’t stomach more manufactured outrage. They don’t like this law because it was passed by a president they don’t like, and not liking this president is their only political position.

          1. They don’t like this law because it was passed by a president they don’t like, and not liking this president is their only political position.

            Tony, I think we need to have an intervention.

            You know this is a lie. You know, we know that you are lying.

            You friends are very concerned that you are doing this to yourself. It hurts us to see you writing things that are so destructive to your own reputation.

            1. So what is the Republican position on healthcare policy?

              1. I would say that there are a variety of positions, generally incoherent.

                You can wade through it here.

              2. I can tell you mine: its none of the goddamn goobermint’s business! For fuck’s sake, how many times does it require the goobermint fucking up wherever they intervene in the economy?

              3. i think their position is, if only a white person like Bill Clinton would try healthcare reform, we could get behind it.

                Because, racism.

          2. Tony|12.9.14 @ 12:58PM|#
            “You have to kill right-wing memes in their cribs. Gruber is no Republican’s idea of an expert to be deferred to, he is a political bludgeon.”

            And you swallowed his lies hook, line and sinker, you gullible POS.

            1. Neither you nor I knew who this guy was until the rightwing propaganda machine found him.

              1. Neither you nor I knew who this guy was until the rightwing propaganda machine found him the Democrats feted him on the floors of Congress.

                Fixed it for you, Tonykins!

                You’re welcome.

      4. Tony|12.9.14 @ 12:39PM|#
        “Nobody cares about Jonathan Gruber except talk radio trash.”

        Pretty embarrassed about be suckered, asshole?

      5. Just like nobody cares about Sarah Palin except Daily Kos.

  3. President George W. Bush was not fully briefed about specific interrogation methods until 2006.

    WTF?

    1. Well, you know, there was Jenna’s birthday, and Jeb’s anniversary, and something with some shithole country. Hey, POTUS is a busy job and you can’t expect the prez to make time for every tedious account of the daily doings of some bureau…

      1. C’mon. This was plausible deniability. That’s been around since Nixon! Don’t act like its anything new.

        It’s probably the key reason why Obama needs to get all the information about his administration from the papers.

    2. So Obama isn’t the first president to learn about stuff from the media, just the first to be honest about it.

  4. “President George W. Bush was not fully briefed about specific interrogation methods until 2006.”

    To be fair, Executive President Cheney was fully briefed from the start.

    1. Actually, the report said he was out of the loop on certain details as well.

      1. We used to blow up mailboxes with M80s. We did all the ones on the block and then realized that ours was still intact whereupon we realized we had to blow ours up as well, so it wouldn’t be obvious who was doing it.

  5. So the CIA has gone rogue, lied to Congress, etc. In spite of this (or because of it) the world is not even a safer place. Can we abolish the CIA now?

    1. I love Homeland, but some people I know say that the show exaggerates how terrible the CIA is. It turns out the show writers in their imaginations couldn’t come close to the stupidity of the real thing happening every day.

    2. “But…but…it works for Jack Bauer!”

    3. Nah, their patriots doing an important job. They just got in a little over their heads. But they’ll do better next time, they promise.

    4. has gone rogue? Like it ever hasn’t been?

  6. Being naked and getting slapped ?
    Sounds like a typical night around the frat house.
    (too soon?)

    1. What about the forced enemas? Now that’s my kind of frat house.

  7. Why is it the redaction marks on the margins are the most intriguing element so far?

    I mean, there are redaction marks in the text, but what was on the margins that had to go?

    1. References to our shape-shifting Reptiloid “advisors” from Sirius B, of curse.

      1. I think they are probably reptiloids from Mt. Rainier, actually.
        http://prometheantimes.com/201…..t-rainier/

    2. That is a good and interesting question, UCS. Those rectangles which bleed (!) off the margin almost look like section tabs, so they might be trying to hide the original title of the section, or the section number (to hide the existence of other sections).

      The round redaction in the margins several pages down…some type of stamp indicating…something?

  8. But all of this should’ve remained secret because American lives are being placed at risk by revealing the truth. I actually heard Hugh Hewitt say that last night. What a flaming crock of shit. If lives are endangered, it’s by the government doing these illegal and/or immoral things in the first place, because they’re the kind of wrongs that piss people off.

    Sorry, but Americans have a fucking right to know what’s being done in their name, and, furthermore, need to know so they can do something about it. As do, incidentally, our elected officials. I think withholding stuff like this from the president is a pretty serious offense in itself, regardless of how useless presidents have been in stopping this nonsense to date.

    In any case, the CIA neither should nor is legally permitted to do all of this shit without oversight.

    1. the CIA neither should nor is legally permitted to do all of this shit without oversight.

      Fixed that for you.

      1. I agree of course. I just meant in addition to them doing things both illegal and immoral.

        I’ll tell you what, I know the world is a fucked up place and that bad shit happens, but I doubt from even a realpolitik angle that we actually need to do these things. We not only should keep the moral high ground because that’s the right thing to do, we have such power that we even have the luxury of doing it from the anything-goes perspective.

        Groups of people don’t get different moral and ethic codes than individuals. If it’s wrong for an individual, it’s almost certainly wrong for a bunch of individuals.

        1. Using torture properly does not cede the moral high ground but actually cements our standing on it.

          1. Depends on your morals, I guess. I’m not much of an ends-justifies-the-means kinda guy.

            1. I don’t see any moral difference between being willing to kill someone that meant to kill you first (self defense) and torturing that same person.

              If their life is already forfeit, my conscience doesn’t preclude me from any action.

              1. If you have then in a situation where you are able to torture them, they are no longer a direct threat to you and the self defense justification evaporates.

                1. The organization they are a part of can still be a threat.

                  1. This assumes a LOT of things, first and foremost that the person even has the information you’re looking for. The “ticking time bomb” scenario is a purely theoretical exercise.

                    Beyond that, I don’t claim to be an expert in torture, but from what I do know of the history of torture, precious little of it has been about gathering intelligence, while the bulk of it has been for forcing confessions. Sometimes, such as in the medieval justice system, it was to elicit a confession from someone for whom probable cause existed that they had committed a crime to which there were no witnesses. For the Inquisition, it was to confess heresy or to coerce a conversion–a confession of newfound faith, if you will. For the North Vietnamese, it was to coerce a false confession of war crimes. In most cases, therefore, it was not a matter of gathering actual information, but getting the subject of the torture to say what you wanted to hear.

                2. If you have then in a situation where you are able to torture them, they are no longer a direct threat to you and the self defense justification evaporates.

                  I FULLY disagree. Why would anyone ever be imprisoned for “attempted murder?”

                  You attempt to kill me, and instead I capture you rather than kill you, your life’s mine bitch.

              2. So IF you were to concede that Darren Wilson was acting in self-defense when he shot Michael Brown, you would have to concede that he also had the right to pull his teeth out one by one and then burn him with an iron till he died?

                Sounds pretty stupid when you apply it to real life, doesn’t it?

            2. Depends on the ends and means.

          2. Using torture properly

            I agree, not using it at all does take the moral high ground.

            1. Stop that. Stop being a twat.

              1. Stop being an asshole.

                Let me spell it out for you.

                You’re claiming that, in a case where someone possibly has information that could prevent the loss of one or more innocent lives, it is moral acceptable to torture them for that information.

                How do you know that person has said information? You don’t. So you are saying that one person’s suspicions are sufficient for visiting pain and agony on another person. That is immoral. It makes one or a small number of individuals into judges, juries, and torturers.

                And by your reasoning, a person need not be guilty of a criminal act for torture to be acceptable. They just need to hold some vital piece of information. Or at least that is how it seems to me. So let me ask: If a 12 year old girl overheard her terrorist uncle’s plans to launch an attack, would you find it morally acceptable to torture her for that information? If the answer is yes, how are you NOT treating her as a means to an end (and thereby denying her humanity) rather than an end in and of herself?

                1. There would definitely have to be some criminal act, like membership in a terrorist organization. Can’t just go with ‘they know’.

                  1. Why? Your justification is that if it saves innocent lives, then it’s OK. And you didn’t address the issue that, even if you are dealing with a criminal, you still don’t know that he has any useful information.

                  2. So what is the standard of proof? Preponderance of evidence? Beyond a reasonable doubt? Farooq, whose donkey the suspected terrorist stole, said so? Tariq, who we were torturing last week, said that the guy was a terrorist, so he must be?

          3. In any case, if torture is something we should be doing, why keep it secret? Legally, of course, that’s highly questionable in the U.S. system, but pushing that aside, not sure it needs to be done under the cover of darkness, if it’s morally justifiable and meets some grand utilitarian end.

            1. Now that’s a good point. See FDA, Tonio, others this is how you make good points.

              1. Sometimes, Cyto, an idea is so obviously invalid on face value, so toxic if you will, that calling bullshit is the only response. To do otherwise would be to say that the idea had merit and required a proper response.

                1. Shorter tonia: I don’t really have any solid reasoning to back up my reflexive emotional response. Please don’t call me on it.

                  1. Shorter and more accurate me: You can’t fix evil/stupid of that magnitude and I’m not going to waste my time trying to do so.

                    It’s like trying to convince Eddie that there’s this thing called a blastocyst.

            2. In any case, if torture is something we should be doing, why keep it secret?

              Not that I necessarily agree, but the reason for keeping interrogation techniques secret is so the other side doesn’t develop counter-techniques.

              Of course, as soon as you release one dude that’s been exposed to them, they are out there and there is little benefit to keeping them secret.

              1. the reason for keeping interrogation techniques secret is so the other side doesn’t develop counter-techniques.

                I remember reading that the original torture program was based on stuff that SERE was doing to its students, and SERE got its techniques from the horrible experiences of US POW’s in South East Asia.

                So basically, agents of the U.S. govt decided to do to terrorists the unspeakable things that the commies were doing to everyone who wasn’t a communist.

                … and I expect other than breaking the spirit those who were tortured, and destroying the humanity of those doing the torture, it really didn’t produce any actionable intelligence, which is much the same outcome that the commies experienced.

                1. I remember reading that the original torture program was based on stuff that SERE was doing to its students, and SERE got its techniques from the horrible experiences of US POW’s in South East Asia.

                  Yes, SERE exposes you to the techniques WITHOUT the actual torture.

                  And using those techniques against an enemy combatant (WITHOUT the torture) is what I have no problem with.

                  it really didn’t produce any actionable intelligence

                  This is a misnomer. When what they say (or didn’t say) is combined with other intell, you can paint a very accurate picture.

                  1. This is a misnomer. When what they say (or didn’t say) is combined with other intell, you can paint a very accurate picture.

                    I dsiagree; torture induces a victim to tell the torturer what the victim thinks will get the torturer to stop. Unless the torturer is incredibly skeptical and unprejudiced, the torture is most likely to result in the victim telling the torturer what the torturer is prejudiced to believe.

                    Torture is great if you want to elicit a false confession or some concrete bit of information (eg “if we look in the closet and the bomb is *not* there, mr pliers is going make friends with your *other* testicle”). IF you want truth that you didn’t know before hand, not so reliable.

                    Hell, the Wermacht’s best interrogator thought torture was a waste of time.

              2. Which has fuck all with not informing the legislature or the President.

                1. It’s not sufficient to inform the pres or the legislature if it stays secret.

                  Because the public is deprived any say. The only way the members of the public can correct what their agents do is by voting or petitioning. If members of the are unaware of their agents actions, they won’t petition them to change or try to vote them out.

                  Teh overwhelming majority of Americans are opposed to children being forced into sex-slavery. If Congress secretly approved a secret program to supply the members of the NSC with 12yo thai sex-slaves that doesn’t make it OK merely because popularly elected Congressmen did this despicable thing. Their secrecy deprives them of any moral authority.

                  1. My point is that this was sooo secret, you couldn’t even inform those in charge. You know, those who get to tell the CIA to cut it out or continue on. They could have told the elected officials without making it public. They guessed, probably correctly, that some of the representatives would be uncomfortable and put a stop to them.

    2. Secrecy in government is a common theme with many of the worst problems/programs in government.

  9. “The CIA’s justification for the use of its enhanced interrogation techniques rested on inaccurate claims of their effectiveness.”

    Well, as long as we’re reporting on that, if you go back through the archives, you’ll see that for many of us, the ineffectiveness of torture was not the only basis of our criticism.

    I wouldn’t have cared if torture had protected us from another 9/11 anymore than I’d care if slavery were the most efficient economic system on earth. They’re both fundamentally incompatible with a free society–and so they both have to go.

    1. ^ What Ken said.

    2. Torture is not incompatible with a free society at all. It’s just a tool.

        1. Prove me wrong. Oh wait you can’t.

          1. You can’t fix evil.

            1. Tools aren’t evil.

              1. I think you mean techniques. You are the tool.

      1. Murder is not incompatible with a free society at all. It’s just a tool.

    3. I wouldn’t have cared if torture had protected us from another 9/11 anymore than I’d care if slavery were the most efficient economic system on earth. They’re both fundamentally incompatible with a free society–and so they both have to go.

      I already stole this for my FB. Very well put.

      1. Seconded. Thanks Ken.

  10. Forcing someone to be naked is torture?

    1. It would be considered cruel and unusual punishment according to our domestic laws, and is in violation of a number of treaties. Being naked in the cold could definitely be considered torture, as well.

      1. It was also used as an execution method in Russia.

      2. Let’s not fall into the proggy rape hole here.

        Rape and torture are both wrong.

        Humiliation is no more torture than having sex with a drunk chick is rape.

        Before proceeding with this discussion, terms need to be defined and used consistently.

        1. torture
          noun
          1.
          the act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information, or for sheer cruelty.
          2.
          a method of inflicting such pain.
          3.
          Often, tortures. the pain or suffering caused or undergone.
          4.
          extreme anguish of body or mind; agony.
          5.
          a cause of severe pain or anguish.

          I’d say definitions 4 and 5 fit pretty well with forcing nakedness. Not to mention that the point of this is to coerce a confession of some sort.

          1. Really? Forcing someone to be naked is agony or severe pain and anguish.

            Sorry, Liber, words have meanings.

            1. But I would concur with the definition you present as being the definition of torture.

              It’s simply that humiliation is none of the above.

              1. Forcing nakedness on someone makes them vulnerable and reminds them that they are powerless. It is a technique that is used in conjunction with other, more torture-y techniques. A common nightmare is to be in a public setting without your clothes. Nudity can absolutely cause mental anguish.

                I think you may be approaching this from your own perspective, but try another and see if this fits more closely with a torture definition: A female prisoner is forced to stand naked, in varying positions, while her male captors make lewd comments in between interrogation questions.

                1. Forcing nakedness on someone makes them vulnerable and reminds them that they are powerless.

                  Yes, that’s the entire point. You are trying to mentally break them so they’ll reveal information.

                  Torture is physical, by and large. Yes, I suppose you could mentally traumatize someone to the point that you cause some sort of permanent psychosis, but if you’re going to be traumatized by someone seeing you naked, you are about the biggest pussy the earth has ever known.

                  1. Now we are getting somewhere. I am inferring that your definition of torture includes some sort of lasting, at least semi-permanent harm. Ok, I can buy that.

                    Not to move the goalposts, but I think we have some common ground: I am of the mind that we should treat our prisoners as we want ours to be treated. I once had the pleasure of attending a course called SERE. You would be surprised how a variety of non-physical techniques could torment someone. No lasting harm was done, but I would not wish that treatment on our captive service members.

                    1. You would be surprised

                      No, I wouldn’t. I’ve been through SERE.

                      I am of the mind that we should treat our prisoners as we want ours to be treated.

                      On this, I agree wholeheartedly. We are the US. We take the high ground. We don’t want our prisoners tortured so we don’t do it to them.

                      That said, nothing done to me at SERE would, in my mind, be considered torture. I wasn’t harmed in any manner. Yet after prolonged exposure to such techniques, particularly without any training, one might be disposed to talking.

                      This is why it’s important to define torture and delineate it from various other techniques.

                    2. Ah yes, good old SERE. Making cocky 18-20 year olds realise what little bitches they are.

                      Also, I’m skeptical of this report. I’m not saying CIA was a bunch of angels, but there seems to be a lot of pushback that the report was cherry-picked to lead to specific conclusions sans context or interview.

                  2. f you’re going to be traumatized by someone seeing you naked, you are about the biggest pussy the earth has ever known.

                    Which may be true, but it was effective considering Arab/Middle Eastern cultural taboos concerning nakedness. Every semester, I have a Saudi international student approach me about their first time in the athletic center’s locker rooms. And they are shocked, shocked they tell me, that dudes will just get naked in front of other dudes. They ask me how we can be so barbaric and then they never use the facilities again.

                    1. Haha. That reminds me of the significant amount of time and effort I had to put into extending some bathroom stall walls all the way to the floor because the (central Asian, muslim) users complained vigorously that a puddle of water on the ground would let someone see the reflection of the person in the next stall. Okayyyy…

                    2. a puddle of water on the ground would let someone see the reflection of the person in the next stall.

                      The only way that concept could have be in someone’s mind is that they have attempted it in the past.

                    3. Which may be true, but it was effective considering Arab/Middle Eastern cultural taboos concerning nakedness.

                      So you expose them to this and you may, if done correctly, be able to extract useable intelligence WITHOUT actually harming them.

                    4. I agree. I have no problem with the humiliation of prisoners* in and of itself, as one can choose whether to take the bait of the humiliation or not. That is, one can more easily defy humiliation than pain.

                      *Again, classifying terrorists as prisoners should, in a perfect world, render anti-terrorism actions as police actions. I would not support the practice of humiliating legal belligerents as a general policy, barring the basic humiliation of being imprisoned in a POW camp.

                    5. I see terrorism (international terrorism between groups, and not domestic terrorism) as an evolved/mature form of warfare. It is the next logical step and is extremely hard to defend against.

                      It’s a tenet of warfare that you strike the enemy at his weakest point while putting your forces at the least amount of risk possible. No one can compete with the US with tanks and aircraft. They can however beat us and never engage our military might by employing terrorist techniques. Hence, it’s just evolved warfare.

                      And it obviously works.

                      My .02

            2. Ok, so what is forcing nakedness on a prisoner? Keep in mind the use of nudity in interrogation is not “you have to sit in your cell naked” but “you have to stand here naked while this female interrogates you and intermittently makes fun of your nudity.” Is there a sliding scale you are using that rates things from ‘nice’ to ‘mean’ to ‘torture’?

          2. I’m with Francisco here. Being naked is not the same as having fingernails yanked or being strapped to a battery.

            1. And getting hit with a closed fist is not the same as being hit with a crowbar. But both are assault. There can be degrees of pain/suffering/humiliation in torture.

              But if you really want to call it abuse instead of torture, fine. It doesn’t change the fact that it is wrong.

              1. when you start conjoining pain and humiliation under a blanket definition of torture, the rabbit hole only gets deeper. And the rape analogy was ideal.

                I’m not going to be overly sympathetic to folks who hide among women and kids, often use them as shields, target civilians, and would laugh at what some here define as torture. Besides, this is a report that will result in nothing and everyone knows it.

      3. How cold does it get in Cuba?

    2. Forcing someone to be naked is torture?

      I’d argue that what separates torture from either plain old capital punishment or corporal punishment is the emphasis on the humiliation and degradation of the subject.

      1. You are claiming humiliation is torture?

        1. I would define torture as humiliation plus pain.

          1. Fine, but not humiliation alone.

            And I’d stipulate unbearable pain (or at least there is some degree). Being uncomfortable for short periods of time isn’t torture either unless it devolves to the point of physical damage to the body…raising welts, cuts…

            Or was I tortured by my HS football coach?

            1. I dunno. I’m sure you’ve been through SERE, so you know better than I the boundary between uncomfortableness and honest to goodness torture. Which brings up a good point, imo, what’s the difference between being uncomfortable during an interrogation and torture? From what I understand from what my buddies have told be about SERE, you’re mostly trained to deal with the type of interrogation the Russians or Chinese might do (as opposed to the ISIS psychopaths torturing just to inflict pain on the infidel). Now would having bright lights shined in your eyes while some dude yells at you count as torture? I wouldn’t think so. Would being made to stand at attention for hours on end in a solitary cell count as torture? Perhaps… How about a mock execution? There’s no physical pain involved, but most everyday people would probably classify it as torture.

              1. How about a mock execution?

                As with most things, it lies on a continuum.

                IMHO, mock execution and waterboarding are on the line of what constitutes torture.

                One psychological and the other physical. I can see how the trauma of being executed everyday could cause long term effects. With waterboarding, although it causes no long term effects, the pain/discomfort is agonizing.

            2. So being forced to listen to Nickleback – not torture

              Being forced to listen to Justin Beiber – torture

              1. You don’t work where I used to. They had the radio set to the worst pop junk…including heavy doses of NB. That is torture and not the humane kind.

            3. Or was I tortured by my HS football coach?

              Could you quit the football team? Could you walk away?

              Consent turns outrageous sexual violation into a pelvic exam.

              1. Or a fun-filled afternoon.

      2. That’s an odd definition. Flogging in private would not be humiliating or degrading but it’s still torture.

    3. Re: Francisco d’Anconia,

      Forcing someone to be naked is torture?

      It is if people can see your sagging butt…

      1. Well, Francisco’s ass is on prominent display here…

        1. Oh, my Gawd! Can’t someone have a little fun around here anymore?

    4. I look over this website from time to time. It specifically deals with indexing depraved acts that some folks inflict on other people.

      In my opinion, being forced to be naked is mostly about humiliation,* but a lot of “depraved” acts are about humiliation or breaking down the other person.

      *Absent external factors mentioned above like temperature, which could cause physical suffering.

  11. Ironically if Obama tells us that “he’s very angry this has happened” he now runs the risk of us believing it just as much as all the other times he’s told us that very same thing.

    Also, at least he apparently read this report before reading it in the papers.

  12. So who’s going to jail over this? Oh, no one? Ok.

    1. ^ This.

      I’m glad the report is out and people are being reminded that the CIA doesn’t give a fuck about the Constitution or any laws that might contain them, but the reality is we all know this will change absolutely nothing.

      This is a pure photo-op moment for the left to say that they oppose Bush. Again. Despite the fact that report stated many of the programs started under Clinton.

      Fuck them all sideways.

      1. MSNBC and Fox News are both running with the same basic talking points, or were yesterday. That’s crazy, and it tells you what you need to know about this report.

        My first assumption (which I have not entirely abandoned) is that this release was timed for some political purpose, definitely, among other reasons, to raise the old specter of “BOOOOOOSSSHHHHHH!” But I’m not sure this is entirely a leftie move now…

  13. That is why I unequivocally banned torture when I took office

    *wink wink*

    1. “Did you just wink?”
      “No.” *wink*
      “You just did it again.”

    2. Is there a good place to get a review of the Obama Administration’s torture activities? I don’t really recall much of his doing either way. He deserves credit for the few good things he does, if he did stop it. But I’m betting based on his record, so I’d like to know that as well.

      1. He outsources it now. Rendition.

  14. If the claims that releasing this report would put American lives at risk are even slightly true, then the situation is this: the CIA, in addition to being a lawless rogue agency, is/was engaged in activities that actively endangers Americans.

    The only proper response I can think of is to gut the entire agency and jail everyone involved in these activities. I’m guessing instead they’ll carry on like usual and no one will face punishment of any kind.

  15. It bears repeating that there is nothing inherently wrong with torture. It’s just a tool. Lying and incompetence and in one case negligent homicide are not okay. It seems the CIA itself needs to be shutdown. Really what good is this agency?

    1. It bears repeating that there is something inherently wrong with torture, actually.

      1. No there isn’t. That’s as stupid as saying ‘there’s something inherently wrong with killing’. Context determines the moral rightness of action, not your instinctual unthinking reflex.

        1. I can’t think of any contextual situation that would make me think torturing someone for information is morally right.

          Killing someone in self-defense, OK. Torturing someone in self-defense, …? I’m not sure how you would arrive at that situation.

          1. It’s easy: the USG has the moral responsibility to defend it’s citizen’s rights. Assuming a robust legal framework, the USG has the right to (with a warrant) humanely torture for information to prevent a massive violation of those rights. ‘Humane torture’ being water boarding and the like. No ‘Saw’ sequels.

            1. It’s not effective, waterboarding is no more humane than other forms of torture, and the constitution forbids it.

              1. damnit…I agree with Tony.

                1. Me too. I will agree with him when he climbs out of his politics and, blinking and looking around, actually makes an intelligent point, which is seldom.

            2. “Humanely torture.”

              So many things wrong with those two words being put together that way. For now, we’re just going to walk right past the part where the USG humanely tortured some folks to death.

              You can’t humanely torture someone. Torture is torture, and we rely on the inherent inhumanity of it to elicit confessions. Part of what might make torture effective is the implied threat of permanent physical disablement, which would not be humane. Let’s say you’re being tortured (much in the same way you’re torturing the English language with your misuse of adverbs), if you know that they can’t permanently harm you, all they can do is make you extremely uncomfortable, what incentive would you have to cooperate?

              The very concept of humane torture is broken.

              1. No it isn’t. You just based that on a series of faulty premises. First off, Humane Torture Protocol precludes death and disablement. Waterboarding is far more humane than pulling finger nails out. HTP relies on physical pain and psychological torment to get information. Drugs could also be used to further disorient and terrify the subject.

                if you know that they can’t permanently harm you, all they can do is make you extremely uncomfortable, what incentive would you have to cooperate?

                To make the pain stop?

              2. “Humane torture” is like “Humanitarian Bombs”: its euphemistic bullshit that only the most ignorant low-information voter would buy into…..

                1. And Cytotoxic, who doesn’t have those excuses.

          2. the contextual situation is not hard to fathom – the subject is believed to have information of some bad thing that is going to happen, a thing in which many will be killed. I supposed you could let the many die and explain later to their families how you still have the moral high ground.

            The variable here is how much does the subject actually know vs what someone thinks the person knows. I’m not saying it’s right, just answering the context question.

            1. If you blindly oppose torture under all circumstance then you favour sacrificing the lives and rights of Americans for your purely emotional irrational ‘icky!’ gut-reaction. Unfathomably evil to do that.

              1. I thoughtfully oppose torture because of the lives and rights of Americans.

                If you support the torture of brown people, you must also support the torture of American citizens when the situation “warrants” it.

                1. If you support the torture of brown people

                  just stop with the Tony level of derp. That the brown people are the ones usually correlated to incidents of terrorism is just fact corroborated by data; it’s not a social statement.

                  1. Use of the phrase “brown people” was tongue-in-cheek to imply foreigners, you racist. As in, “If you support torturing foreigners, why wouldn’t you also support torturing citizens, if it will save lives?”

                    1. Use of the phrase “brown people” was tongue-in-cheek to imply foreigners, you racist

                      if you are going to call me names, have the courtesy to back it up with something beyond the voices in your head. Because otherwise, you sound like the folks at Salon or New Republic tossing these accusations out like candy.

                      By the way, foreigners and citizens are not the same thing. And you act as though no domestic prisoner has ever been made uncomfortable on the suspicion that he knows something. I’m not condoning that, but hey, don’t let that stop you from calling me something else that you can’t back up.

              2. If you blindly oppose curfews at dark, Fedgov ID checkpoints on all public roads, and random strip searches of people using public areas then you favor sacrificing the lives and rights of Americans for your purely emotional irrational icky gut reaction. Unfathomably evil to do that.

                After all, the things I listed would keep us safer from terrorists. I, for one, value liberty over security.

            2. I supposed you could let the many die and explain later to their families how you still have the moral high ground.

              Or explain to them how real life is not an episode of 24, you twit.

              1. Or explain to them how real life is not an episode of 24

                Strawman.

                If you support the torture of brown people, you must also support the torture of American citizens when the situation “warrants” it.

                This statement does not comport with the first. If I support jailing people if the situation warrants it, does that mean you have to oppose jail to support the rights and lives of Americans? No. Torture and jail can both be used to defend the rights and lives of Americans.

                1. Call me crazy if you must, but you can’t violate the rights of one or many individuals to protect the rights/lives of everyone else.

                  Because in the end, then they’re all just individuals whose rights can be sacrificed for the collective.

              2. Or explain to them how real life is not an episode of 24, you twit.

                welcome to Salon level discourse. A poster asked about context; I provided some. The only one invoking tv shows is you. Strive to come up with smarter rebuttals.

                1. welcome to Salon level discourse. A poster asked about context; I provided some. The only one invoking tv shows is you. Strive to come up with smarter rebuttals.

                  You’re a fascist, condescending fucktard. How’s that?

                  1. Spoken like someone who has ceded the argument. I accept your surrender.

                    you can’t violate the rights of one or many individuals to protect the rights/lives of everyone else.

                    What are you talking about? Jail is a tool. Torture is a tool. They can both be used to violate rights and both used in a rights-inforcing manner.

                    1. So is rape a tool?

                      What if it’s not rape-rape, but just finger rape?

                      Some things are beyond the pale, and torture is one of them.

                  2. You’re a fascist, condescending fucktard. How’s that?

                    it’s like hearing from someone who has no actual argument. Not much different from people mumbling to themselves on the street except for the Interwebz access.

                    1. it’s like hearing from someone who has no actual argument. Not much different from people mumbling to themselves on the street except for the Interwebz access.

                      I’m not arguing with you, I’m calling you a fucktard and a morally degenerate torture-lover. Engaging in an argument would presume that you have a position worth responding to.

                    2. I’m calling you a fucktard and a morally degenerate torture-lover.

                      please show where I stated support for torture. I’ll save you the trouble – you can’t. All you have is one person asking for context and me providing it.

                      You are now descending into parody mode, like the Rolling Stone apologists. By the way, your string of ad hominem is not argument; it just demonstrates the lack of one, so we can add projection to your list of talents.

                    3. please show where I stated support for torture. I’ll save you the trouble – you can’t. All you have is one person asking for context and me providing it.

                      Oh please, you’re just being disingenuous now.

                      Riven says: “I can’t think of any contextual situation that would make me think torturing someone for information is morally right.”

                      You respond: “the contextual situation is not hard to fathom – the subject is believed to have information of some bad thing that is going to happen, a thing in which many will be killed. I supposed you could let the many die and explain later to their families how you still have the moral high ground.”

                      You’re providing a “contextual situation” in which you think “torturing someone for information is morally right”, ergo you support hypothetical torture in those hypothetical circumstances.

                      The only other way I could parse that response is if you were offering a situation in which Riven would think torture were morally right, so let me know if you’re also claiming mind-reading powers now.

    2. The CIA’s justification for the use of its enhanced interrogation techniques rested on inaccurate claims of their effectiveness.

      If it’s “just a tool,” as you said, it’s an incredibly blunt, ill-advised tool whose effectiveness is in question.

      1. Now that is a fair point.

    3. It bears repeating that there is nothing inherently wrong with torture.

      You are a sick fuck.

      1. You are over-emotional and clearly incapable of anything rational at least on this subject.

        1. You are confusing normal human affect with emotionalism. That’s a trait common to psychopaths.

          1. You are spouting psychobabble. That’s a trait common to the weak-minded.

          2. And people think I was joking when I said Cytotoxic has psychological problems and should undergo a psychiatric evaluation. Man’s got legit pathological personality traits.

            1. And people think I was joking when I said Cytotoxic has psychological problems and should undergo a psychiatric evaluation. Man’s got legit pathological personality traits.

              I always thought he was just kind of callous, but that shit he was spouting the other day, calling a child with cerebral palsy a “defective unit” that should be euthanised, was just chilling.

              1. calling a child with cerebral palsy a “defective unit” that should be euthanised, was just chilling.

                I have long been of the opinion that cyto is exactly the sort of person who would throw acid in the faces of school-girls if his imam commanded it.

            2. I learned something today about trying to argue/debate in good faith with CT.

              And I learned it from the genital body modification guy.*

              *Yep. That’s who you are now.

              1. You’re just jealous of my robo-tentacled multipenis with built-in surround sound.

                1. Of course I am! I mean, look at its prehensile majesty!

                  1. I’m typing with it right now! Only problem is the defensive flamethrower. Last time I had an erection I lost a good stripper.

        2. You know what Cytotoxic, you have ZERO credibility. You talk out your ass on shit that you clearly have no experience with.

          I’ve had formal training in interrogation/counter-interrogation techniques. I’ve been naked in a cage and been exposed to most of these techniques both academically and physically.

          So until you can tell me that you were a POW, you can pretty much fuck off with respect to rationality on the subject.

          1. Hmm..SERE-C or are you into some weird weekend retreats?

          2. You know what Cytotoxic, you have ZERO credibility. You talk out your ass on shit that you clearly have no experience with.

            Cyto’s problem is that he hasn’t yet figured out that the Imams of the Ayn Rand Institute aren’t infallible; that they aren’t channeling the spirit of Ayn Rand (PBUH).

            When you are commanded to accept a prophet’s clueless ass-talk as unquestionably true and as the final wisdom on matter, you face the horrible choice of turning off your brain or leaving the cult. Most cultists, sadly initially choose the former – until they hit rock bottom and are compelled to abandon the cult.

            1. Shorter tarran: I have no response, so here’s some psychobabble no one understand least of all me. CULTY CULT CULT

              You forget to blame Ayn Rand for you psycho-bitch ex.

          3. Do you have an actual point or just more argument from authority? I am ready to accept your surrender.

            1. Looks to me more like an argument against your ignorance than an argument from his authority.

            2. Yes, I do have a point. My argument is that you are an immoral pig and that my POV is superior to yours because I’ve actually experienced it and you are simply some fuckstain with an uninformed bullshit opinion.

            3. Grandiose, attention seeking, lack of empathy, extreme arrogance, expectations of superiority hiding fragile self esteem…let’s throw a other piece of evidence into the ‘Cytotoxic has narcissistic personality disorder’ pile.

        3. You are over-emotional and clearly incapable of anything rational at least on this subject.

          You confuse morality for emotion.

    4. +1 Gene Wolf.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T…..e_Torturer

      Great Scifi novel.

      Shitty American policy.

    5. It bears repeating that there is nothing inherently wrong with torture.

      How do you even begin to justify that?

      1. Read above. I am much better a thinking and understanding the role of government than you people.

        1. Jesus Christ. You psychotic little stick-limbed chickenhawk twerp. The only difference between you and Tulpa is that he has the good sense to hide his face in shame.

    6. Torture is a tactic. Tongs and whips are tools. The use of any tactic has advantages and disadvantages. It’s a matter of weighing the one against the other.

  16. Our review indicates that interrogations of detainees on whom EITs were used did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives

    Put up or shut up.

    1. you can’t have it both ways. You can’t take as gospel the parts of the report that says it DID happen but dismiss those that say it sometimes produced results.

      1. Good point.

      2. The parts of the report that say torture happened are backed up by facts and not in dispute. The claims that it helped are being made without evidence (as far as I’ve seen, anyway…correct me if I am wrong) and are very much in dispute.

        Regardless, torture is wrong and should not be used. But it never hurts to kick out the toothpicks its supporters are trying to stand on.

      3. What plots? The underwear bomber – oh wait that was citizens.

      4. Aren’t the claims that it was effective from the rebuttal, rather than the report itself?

      5. Aren’t the claims that it was effective from the rebuttal, rather than the report itself?

  17. The CIA impeded oversight by the CIA’s Office of Inspector General

    You do that, you know you are doing wrong. That just closes the case right there.

    1. Yeah, this is right up the, “As if we needed any more evidence…” alley

  18. “But did it get results?” asked the utilitarian, revealing himself as a moral idiot.

  19. Shorter Cyto: The end justifies the means

    1. “We must do Evil so that Good may result!”

      1. And we must condemn anyone else who utilizes the same tactics!

  20. “Enhanced interrogation techniques”

    If the govt insists on using this pathetic euphemism, they should at least be consistent:

    Arlington National Memory Garden
    Monument to the Unindentified PeaceKeeper
    The Final Solution Museum
    The Vietnam Police Action Memorial
    Washington National Nondenominational Faith Building

    etc.

    In other news, a recent conversation:

    Me: I’ve been thinking about this “perception is reality” phrase and I can prove is bunk. What happens when two people have opposite perceptions? They can’t both be right.

    Boss: In that case, there are two realities.

    Me: What? There’s only one reality. That’s what reality means.

    Boss: Oh, no. There are as many realities as there are perspectives.

    Me: But the whole point of thinking is to look deeper to find what’s really going on. That’s why we have phrases like “don’t judge a book by its cover” and “all that glitters is not gold”.

    Boss: Perspective is reality.

    People like my bosses are the reason Dilbert cartoons exist.

    1. I think it’s a mix. Some things are real no matter what a person believes, like gravity. Other things are subject to interpretation. In which case one person’s subjective reality can be totally different from another’s, and yet both interpretations are real to the people involved.

      1. I get the different perspectives part. But there is only one reality.

        If two people are looking out a window and one of them says it’s raining and the other says it’s not, they can’t both be right.

        1. Two people can be looking at the same weather, and to one it is a nice day while to the other it is not. Both people are right. The reality is that it is both a nice day and a crappy day. Depends on who you ask.

          1. No, the reality is that the temperature is 50 degrees F and cloudy. Whether it is nice or crappy depends on an individual’s interpretation of that data through the lens of pre-existing preferences of comfort.

            1. Their interpretation is their reality.

              1. *roots around in desk….disappointed there is no bottle of whisky*

    2. perception is reality

      My take on this is that people behave as if their perception of reality is in fact reality.

      Take Lena Dunham. There are people who perceive her as a loathsome no-talent ass-clown. There are other people who perceive her as an artistic genius.

      Both groups react differently towards her art. The people who think she is a genius act as if she is a genius. Those who find her loathsome (and I am among their number) act like she is a no-talent ass-clown.

      If you are trying to sell artisanal mayonnaise to the first group, your pitch cannot be incompatible with the notion that Lena is a genius, because they will reject a pitch that doesn’t fit into their version of reality.

      Conversely, a pitch for beer aimed at the second group that uses her genius as a selling point is also doomed to fail.

      That is what “perception is reality” is telling you. It’s not a statement about reality, but about how people treat their own perceptions.

  21. Another comments section debate utterly dominated by Cytotoxic. You all came at me and couldn’t lay so much as a finger one my central point. PWND

    1. Your arrogance is in a desperate footrace with your ignorance. This is nothing to crow about.

      1. That is a Shriekian level of self regard, isn’t it?

    2. I have yet to see you respond to my point above.

      1. Right here in case you can’t find it.

    3. Another comments section debate utterly dominated by Cytotoxic. You all came at me and couldn’t lay so much as a finger one my central point. PWND

      You’ve been completely dismantled and shown to be the immoral pig you are.

  22. I think Libertarians and Objectivists can agree on this point: man has a right to self defense. As an extension, a just and moral country has the right to defend its existence against an immoral aggressor.

    I think the issue really is in whether or not these torture techniques provide any legitimate advance in defending this country’s values. If they do not, then we can’t argue our actions are an extension of the self-defense principle and we’re just hurting people, guilty or not, for no real good reason. If it were shown that a moral and just country’s interests could be advanced against an immoral and unjust country’s interests by torturing POWs, then torture can be viewed as an extension of the self-defense principle.

    Hypothetical: If a man held a loved one at ransom (and you didn’t know this person and hadn’t previously offended them so they’re completely morally unjustified) and you could torture that man’s wife to find out where your loved one is being held, would that be morally permissible? I think yes.

    1. Re: Ghetto Slovak Goatherder,

      a just and moral country has the right to defend its existence against an immoral aggressor.

      Slovak, countries can’t be moral or immoral. Only individuals can be moral or act with morality.

      I think the issue really is in whether or not these torture techniques provide any legitimate advance in defending this country’s values.

      The problem is with the fact that the people suffering the torture already committed their crimes.

      If you were talking about torturing a person holding your daughter for ransom, then that could be justified under the Non Aggression Principle because the aggressor is the kidnapper, and you’re acting as an agent of your daughter for her safety and preservation.

      The same cannot be said of torturing accomplices or accessories to acts of aggression that already happened and are now in the past. That is water under the bridge, and any information you could hope to extract from them could only be outdated. Maybe you could obtain names and locations – if they’re really throwing their accomplices under the bus and not giving you misleading information they learned by heart. There is NO way to corroborate their information except through detective work which renders the torture pointless.

    2. you could torture that man’s wife to find out where your loved one is being held

      Is the man’s wife a co-conspirator?

    3. Hypothetical: If a man held a loved one at ransom (and you didn’t know this person and hadn’t previously offended them so they’re completely morally unjustified) and you could torture that man’s wife to find out where your loved one is being held, would that be morally permissible? I think yes.

      Monstrous. The threat of harm to an innocent party does not justify engaging in actual, direct harm to other, uninvolved innocent parties.

  23. Re: OldMexican

    Slovak, countries can’t be moral or immoral. Only individuals can be moral or act with morality.

    Fair enough, but countries can be founded on moral principles. Our constitutional government founded on individual rights-respecting principles is one founded on moral principles stronger than, say, Soviet Russia.

    The same cannot be said of torturing accomplices or accessories to acts of aggression that already happened and are now in the past. That is water under the bridge, and any information you could hope to extract from them could only be outdated. Maybe you could obtain names and locations – if they’re really throwing their accomplices under the bus and not giving you misleading information they learned by heart. There is NO way to corroborate their information except through detective work which renders the torture pointless.

    I don’t think it’s that clear cut. Why do we put people in prison after they’ve committed a crime if their crime is already over and done? It’s an extension of self-defense, this time with regards to “society.” Regarding detective work and corroborating information: detectives need a starting place. They need leads. If torture has any value, and I’m not sure it does, it’s in providing those leads. An “accessory” or “accomplice” to a given act during a time of war might have knowledge of future acts or locations of POWs or of other enemy combatants.

  24. Re: Heroic Mulatto

    Is the man’s wife a co-conspirator?

    In my hypothetical I presumed we had some reason to believe she at least knew of the plot or was involved in planning in some fashion. If torture is to be justified you’d have to come up with some standard of certainty before it could be justified.

    Re: paranoid android

    Monstrous. The threat of harm to an innocent party does not justify engaging in actual, direct harm to other, uninvolved innocent parties.

    Well, first, see above. I presumed we had some reason to believe she at least had knowledge of what her husband was doing. Second, there is no threat of harm. Your loved one has been taken against his/her will. That’s harm, plain and simple.

  25. “Crush your enemies,
    See them driven before you,
    And hear the lamentation of their women.”

    Which ever culture chooses to follow that doctrine wins. The “humanist” theory mental masturbation in will not bring about some liberal utopia.

    Fuck them harder than they’re willing to fuck you. Then your culture may survive – if the socialists don’t destroy the economy first.

    1. That’s why the Nazis won the Second World War and we’re all subjects of the Greater Soviet Union now right? Because their cultures were more extreme in suppressing dissent?

      1. Bullshit! We fucked them harder than they fucked us, dude. THAT is why we won, not because we had love and freedom fests on internet chat pages.
        We crushed the Nazis and the Japanese (Simultaneously.) And, I assure you had we not they’d have overrun us like coach roaches in summer.
        No society survives because of liberal philosophy – they survive because they have competitive economies and are WILLING to do worse things to their enemies.

        1. You’re describing total war in the context with nation states. And no, the U.S. was not ‘willing to do worse things to their enemies’. The U.S. did not set up rape or extermination camps for their military opponents. They didn’t attempt to institutionalize massacring POWs through starvation or death marches. They didn’t experiment on prisoners to the same extent. They did not torture to the same extent that Japanese intelligence or the Gestapo did. Total war was certainly a justifiable concept, but to act like the Allies engaged in more monstrous behaviour than their opponents is completely and utterly historically ignorant.

          Torture for information has not ‘fucked them harder than they fucked us’. It has not stopped international terrorism, nor will it. All it does is give a perfectly good justification as to why America can be seen as a ‘evil empire’. It also makes people such as myself, who are traditionally sympathetic to American geopolitical interests, much more willing to hope your nation collapses.

          1. What I’m describing is a doctrine that holds that when you have an enemy who is willing and dedicated to the destruction of your way of life – including our rapidly-dissolving liberty – we had better be willing to crush them by any means necessary. I argue they will not quit because we worry about what people think who are “traditionally sympathetic” and are willing to see our nation collapse because we decide to torture people to stop that enemy.
            Much of the other stuff you reference are straw-men.
            America did some bad stuff in WW2 and I’m not one who argues it was “good”. Also, few of the things you reference had anything to do with military strategy. Determined enemies are not deterred by our willingness to put utopian ideals above determined actions to defeat them.

            1. Please go back and examine, dissect, and think deeply in sustained ways about your first sentence. Maybe you’ll see the absolute disconnect you are perpetrating. The main reason our liberty is “rapidly-dissolving” is precisely that we are trying to win by any means necessary. We’ve abandoned the Constitution and the rule of law in the name of fighting communists, terrorists, criminals, and whatever other scary boogeyman might come around next, convincing ourselves that we must destroy liberty in order to save it (to paraphrase a famous dipshit).

              Terrorists can inflict damage. They can kill hundreds, sometimes even thousands of people, but they cannot defeat us. For perspective, the entire death toll of terrorism in the history of the United States, including 9/11, is less than are killed on our highways in three months. The damage we have done to our country was not inflicted by the terrorists, but by us.

        2. I’m making a mental note to avoid your neighborhood in the summer.

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  27. The CIA’s use of its enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees.

    This is what I don’t get: isn’t torture a pretty horrible way of getting reliable information?

    You torture someone enough, and they start telling you anything they think they can to get you to stop. People falsely accuse their neighbors of plots against the government, when they’re tortured enough, or, hell, just to avoid getting tortured in the first place.

    I’m not so sure that investigating the claims of tortured people is a recipe for national security.

  28. Sometimes criminals cause impending immoral hazard. Such as kidnapping your daughter so they can rape her. If you get one of the perps in custody and you are the father you can bet you will torture them.

    There are only 2 relevant points here to justify torture (many to disqualify)
    1) did perp cause current situation to exist and
    2) are they withholding relevant intel which can prevent some greater evil.

    When others do us harm, its on them to put it back together. If they don’t enjoy torture then give the fucking intel up. If they don’t want to be maimed by a father, tell him where your crew is holding his daughter. The father didn’t cause the necessity, and shouldn’t be held responsible for the ensuing ugliness.

    It’s the same moral shield as throwing bank robbers in prison for murder when cops pursue them and shoot innocent bystanders. The torturers are pursuing some moral good as best they can in a messed up world caused by the aggressors.

    Torture is not inherently evil, but neither should govt be allowed to use it, they are just too powerful to wield it without abuse. The frequency of “torture appropriate” circumstances is vanishingly small, even if its one of the 4 basic food groups of cop dramas. (cops partner is kidnapped with a ticking time bomb on their chest, gotta torture perp to find out where she is)

  29. The CIA AND The Senate should have employed The Cone of Silence

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