As horrific as the CIA torture revelations were, please understand that most of the investigation is still classified. I have to wonder, what’s in the report we did not see.
Although I commend senator Dianne Feinstein for making sure excerpts of the CIA torture report saw the light of day, her efforts did not go far enough.
Feinstein should have published the entire document. I suspect that would have ended the controversy once and for all. Instead we have nothing but a pack of lies about the use of the intelligence gathered from the likes of Dick Cheney.
Even had Feinstein published the entire report, please understand there are hundreds if not thousands of horrific stories of CIA-sponsored torture that aren’t in the Senate report.
The Salon has details in its report on Outsourced Terror.
The executive summary released last week makes only passing reference to an integral component of the CIA program: the “extraordinary rendition” of prisoners to foreign custody for “interrogation” by those countries’ intelligence services—with the full knowledge that the men would be tortured.
Because rendition was beyond the report’s scope, there’s still no official account of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other victims of torture that the CIA is responsible for.
As the Washington Post revealed in 2005, the CIA identified two categories of prisoners for detention and interrogation: “high value” detainees that the agency held onto and “second tier” ones who were farmed out for detention and interrogation to other governments. As former CIA officer Bob Baer explained in disturbing detail, “If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear—never to see them again—you send them to Egypt.”
Of course, torturing or even killing the wrong guys does not matter to Dick Cheney. He had the gall to say “I’d do it again”.
New York Times Asks Obama to Prosecute Cheney
At long last, someone besides a few bloggers like myself has taken the right stand.
I am pleased to announce the New York Times editorial board has come out with the correct assessment.
Here’s the headline: Prosecute Torturers and Their Bosses.
Mr. Obama has said multiple times that “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards,” as though the two were incompatible. They are not. The nation cannot move forward in any meaningful way without coming to terms, legally and morally, with the abhorrent acts that were authorized, given a false patina of legality, and committed by American men and women from the highest levels of government on down.
Americans have known about many of these acts for years, but the 524-page executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report erases any lingering doubt about their depravity and illegality: In addition to new revelations of sadistic tactics like “rectal feeding,” scores of detainees were waterboarded, hung by their wrists, confined in coffins, sleep-deprived, threatened with death or brutally beaten. In November 2002, one detainee who was chained to a concrete floor died of “suspected hypothermia.”
These are, simply, crimes. They are prohibited by federal law, which defines torture as the intentional infliction of “severe physical or mental pain or suffering.” They are also banned by the Convention Against Torture, the international treaty that the United States ratified in 1994 and that requires prosecution of any acts of torture.
So it is no wonder that today’s blinkered apologists are desperate to call these acts anything but torture, which they clearly were. As the report reveals, these claims fail for a simple reason: C.I.A. officials admitted at the time that what they intended to do was illegal.
But any credible investigation should include former Vice President Dick Cheney; Mr. Cheney’s chief of staff, David Addington; the former C.I.A. director George Tenet; and John Yoo and Jay Bybee, the Office of Legal Counsel lawyers who drafted what became known as the torture memos. There are many more names that could be considered, including Jose Rodriguez Jr., the C.I.A. official who ordered the destruction of the videotapes; the psychologists who devised the torture regimen; and the C.I.A. employees who carried out that regimen.
Starting a criminal investigation is not about payback; it is about ensuring that this never happens again and regaining the moral credibility to rebuke torture by other governments. Because of the Senate’s report, we now know the distance officials in the executive branch went to rationalize, and conceal, the crimes they wanted to commit. The question is whether the nation will stand by and allow the perpetrators of torture to have perpetual immunity for their actions.
As I have noted before, “moving forward” to Obama means sweeping this all under the rug. I want every bit of this out in the open, preferably in front of an international war crimes tribunal.
At the very least the US attorney general is obligated himself to bring criminal charges.
I am pleased to be at the forefront of this issue from the beginning, years ago actually, as pertains to Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Bush.
Here’s my Top 5 prosecution list.
Top Five War Crimes Candidates
- Former Vice President Dick Cheney
- Former President George Bush
- Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
- Former CIA director George Tenet
- President Barack Obama – for drone policy
Number 5 sure is not going to happen, but I will take any prosecutions we can get.
For further reading, please see
- New Poll Shows US Citizens in Every Demographic Support Torture (Republicans, Democrats, White, Black, Young, Old)
- Napoleon vs. Cheney: “Interrogation That Actually Works”; Icing on the “Hate-Cake”
By all means, let’s move forward, complete with the knowledge that “moving forward” means sending Cheney to prison for the rest of his pathetic, disgusting life.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock