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A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Shine, Perishing Republic

And now on top of all the other horrors of this annus horribilis, the CIA torture report - that is, the 500-page executive summary, not the 6000 pages of the actual report, which the righteous, God-fearing Republicans in Congress don't want you to see - not now, not ever.

The New York Times reports:
A scathing report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday found that the Central Intelligence Agency routinely misled the White House and Congress about the information it obtained from the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects, and that its methods were more brutal than the C.I.A. acknowledged either to Bush administration officials or to the public.

The long-delayed report, which took five years to produce and is based on more than six million internal agency documents, is a sweeping indictment of the C.I.A.'s operation and oversight of a program carried out by agency officials and contractors in secret prisons around the world in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It also provides a macabre accounting of some of the grisliest techniques that the C.I.A. used to torture and imprison terrorism suspects.

Detainees were deprived of sleep for as long as a week, and were sometimes told that they would be killed while in American custody. With the approval of the C.I.A.'s medical staff, some C.I.A. prisoners were subjected to medically unnecessary “rectal feeding” or “rectal hydration” — a technique that the C.I.A.'s chief of interrogations described as a way to exert “total control over the detainee.” C.I.A. medical staff members described the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, as a “series of near drownings.”

The report also suggests that more prisoners were subjected to waterboarding than the three the C.I.A. has acknowledged in the past. The committee obtained a photograph of a waterboard surrounded by buckets of water at the prison in Afghanistan commonly known as the Salt Pit — a facility where the C.I.A. had claimed that waterboarding was never used. One clandestine officer described the prison as a “dungeon,” and another said that some prisoners there “literally looked like a dog that had been kenneled.”

During his administration, President George W. Bush repeatedly said that the detention and interrogation program, which President Obama dismantled when he succeeded him, was humane and legal. The intelligence gleaned during interrogations, he said, was instrumental both in thwarting terrorism plots and in capturing senior figures of Al Qaeda.

Mr. Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney and a number of former C.I.A. officials have said more recently that the program was essential for ultimately finding Osama bin Laden, who was killed by members of the Navy SEALs in May 2011 in Abbottabad, Pakistan. . . .

The Intelligence Committee’s report tries to refute each of these claims, using the C.I.A.'s internal records to present 20 case studies that bolster its conclusion that the most extreme interrogation methods played no role in disrupting terrorism plots, capturing terrorist leaders — even finding Bin Laden.

Many of the most extreme interrogation methods — including waterboarding — were authorized by Justice Department lawyers during the Bush administration. But the report also found evidence that a number of detainees had been subjected to other, unapproved methods while in C.I.A. custody.

The torture of prisoners at times was so extreme that some C.I.A. personnel tried to put a halt to the techniques, but were told by senior agency officials to continue the interrogation sessions.

The Senate report quotes a series of August 2002 cables from a C.I.A. facility in Thailand, where the agency’s first prisoner was held. Within days of the Justice Department’s approval to begin waterboarding the prisoner, Abu Zubaydah, the sessions became so extreme that some C.I.A. officers were “to the point of tears and choking up,” and several said they would elect to be transferred out of the facility if the brutal interrogations continued.

During one waterboarding session, Abu Zubaydah became “completely unresponsive with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth.” The interrogations lasted for weeks, and some C.I.A. officers began sending messages to the agency’s headquarters in Virginia questioning the utility — and the legality — of what they were doing. But such questions were rejected. . . .

Taken in its entirety, the report is a portrait of a spy agency that was wholly unprepared for its new mission as jailers and interrogators — but that embraced its assignment with vigor. The report chronicles millions of dollars in secret payments between 2002 and 2004 from the C.I.A. to foreign officials, aimed at getting other governments to agree to host secret prisons.

Torture, extreme, extended, even unto death in the most grisly, gruesome ways. Secret prisons all around the world. Lies. Cover-ups. Excuses and deceptions at all levels up to and including the Oval Office. And not one member of the BushCheney criminal gang has been made to answer for all this stinking heap of evil. Not one.

Is this the America you grew up in? Is this what your tax dollars pay for? Is this what brings a lump to your throat and a tear to your eye when you salute the flag?

Oh, and you think it can't get worse? In January, the Republican will control both houses of Congress, and 30 states. And in just two more years, as I sadly believe, they will be in the White House too. And do you think they will ever let go of supreme power again, willingly? You ain't seen nothing yet, boys - mark my words. When Republican majorities can no longer be had by democratic means, then will arise a line of American Caesars to be the "protectors of the people" - and that will be the end of the Constitution and the America we know, forever.

I'm too old and too weary to say more, fellas. You can read the report for yourselves, and weep for the death of the Republic as we knew it. But know this: all those wicked deeds, like hateful birds of prey, will come home to roost right here in your hometown and mine, one day. If the President and those under his command can use torture at will against foreigners, with no accountability, no publicity, no justice or law, they can and will use it against American citizens, as long as they think they can get away with it. And then no one will be safe from the whims of the Emperor.

What goes around, comes around. And paybacks are hell. Enough said.

Update, 12/10: Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) responds to the CIA report with a ringing condemnation of torture:

And thanks to Mimi at Wounded Bird for posting this crock of lies from 2007:


Anonymous said...

You may very well be right on the money on this.

Russ Manley said...

I hope I'm wrong, but --

Tim said...

Who will guard the guards themselves?

Russ Manley said...

That's always a good question, isn't it?

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