December 10, 2014 archive

The Big Lie

The big lie is that CIA torture provided any information at all, because the truth proves that they were sadists (up to and including Cheney) AND utterly and completely incompetent.

For CIA, Truth about Torture Was an Existential Threat

By Dan Froomkin, The Intercept

12/10/14 at 11:31 AM

For the CIA officials involved in torture, one thing was clear from the very beginning: The only way they would be forgiven for what they did was if they could show it had saved lives.

It was the heart of their rationale. It was vital to public acceptance. It was how they would avoid prosecution.



And so, when the tragically predictable sequence of events began to unfold – and torture, as it always has, produced false confessions and little to no intelligence of value – admitting that it had failed was not even an option.

Instead, those involved made up stories of success.

They insisted that Abu Zubaydah was a top al Qaeda figure who, only after being waterboarded, provided information that foiled a major attack on the U.S. – even though Zubaydah wasn’t in al Qaeda, the plot was a farce, and the only related information he provided came before he was tortured.

They cast Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s false confessions as deadly threats, then announced they had been thwarted.

They viciously brutalized people, some of them entirely innocent, and described what they were doing as an art and a science.

Senate investigators, who had access to millions of pages of original CIA cables and other source material, used most of the 499 pages in Tuesday’s release documenting example after example of CIA officials doing gruesome things, then telling convenient falsehoods to each other, to their bosses, to the White House, to anyone who questioned them, and to Congress – all to prove to everyone that torture worked.

By mid-2003, the CIA’s constant mantra was that “enhanced interrogation tactics” had “saved lives,” “thwarted plots,” and “captured terrorists.” Saying otherwise was like blasphemy.



The people who actually knew the facts certainly lied, obliging the requests from their superiors for examples of effective torture.

Maybe some of the people who heard the lies, and passed them on, let themselves believe they were true. For the CIA, that would be even worse, because a susceptibility to lies is a fatal flaw for an agency charged with providing fact-based intelligence to keep the nation safe.

What the Senate’s summary tells us is that the modern CIA is actuated by fantasy and faith. It’s a familiar charge; we saw the same pattern in the CIA when its political masters wanted a case for war in Iraq.



There are no indications the CIA is ready to turn things around, of course. CIA Director John Brennan went to extraordinary lengths to stymie and discredit the investigation. And now, he is rebuffing its conclusions.



And while they remain offstage by design, nothing in this report in any way exonerates the people who were running the show from the White House.

Other reports and works of journalism have clearly identified Vice President Dick Cheney as the prime mover in creating a torture regime that extended not just to the black sites, but to Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and elsewhere. Cheney was no victim of misinformation; he was its architect.

And George W. Bush might have remained unfamiliar with the details until as late as 2006 – “According to CIA records, when briefed in April 2006, the president expressed discomfort with the ‘image of a detainee, chained to the ceiling, clothed in a diaper, and forced to go to the bathroom on himself’.” But he must have had some idea what Cheney and others were up to in the basement.



The report identifies 26 detainees, out of the CIA’s 119 in total, who the agency itself determined should never have been held at all. That unfortunate group includes “Abu Hudhaifa, who was subjected to ice water baths and 66 hours of standing sleep deprivation before being released because the CIA discovered he was likely not the person he was believed to be,” and “Nazir Ali, an ‘intellectually challenged’ individual whose taped crying was used as leverage against his family member.”



The authors don’t just document these new atrocities, they cite them to illustrate how baldly CIA officials deceived others about what was really going on.

A particular sore point is the inaccurate information the CIA fed to Congress. First CIA officials disavowed torture, and promised that the Senate Intelligence Committee would be notified about every individual detained by the CIA. Then came the misinformation and the outright subterfuge.

A 2005 proposal from Senator Carl Levin to establish an independent commission to investigate detainee abuse, for instance, “resulted in concern at the CIA that such a commission would lead to the discovery of videotapes documenting CIA interrogations.” As a result, the CIA destroyed them.

The summary devotes a 37-page appendix on “Inaccurate CIA Testimony” by former CIA Director Michael Hayden in one Senate Intelligence Committee hearing alone.



Although most of the misinformation documented in the report dates back to the Bush years, Senate investigators also debunked the narrative – spread by Obama-era CIA officials – that torture was responsible for the capture of bin Laden.



The report documents the ample information the CIA had from other sources about the courier who ultimately led them to bin Laden.



In fact, the information in the report supports the argument that torture may have slowed the hunt for bin Laden.



Attorney General Eric Holder has frequently stipulated “that the Department of Justice will not prosecute anyone who acted in good faith and within the scope of the legal guidance given by the Office of Legal Counsel regarding the interrogation of detainees.”

The Senate report makes clear that the DOJ memos giving legal cover to CIA officers were based on crucial misrepresentations by the CIA of its needs and its conduct. The DOJ memos “relied on the CIA’s claim that the techniques were necessary to save lives,” the investigators wrote.

And that continues to be the Big Lie about the government in D.C.  In order to buy proscar lloyds pharmacy portland http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=prednisone-29-mg not believe they are as evil as any of the great tyrants in history (Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin) you must believe that they are as breathtakingly stupid as turkeys who will stare at the sky mouths agape when it rains until they drown.

War Criminals

“These Are Crimes”: New Calls to Prosecute Bush Admin as Senate Report Reveals Brutal CIA Torture

Democracy Now

12/10/14

The report concludes that the intelligence agency failed to disrupt a single plot despite torturing al-Qaeda and other captives in secret prisons worldwide between 2002 and 2006, and details a list of torture methods used on prisoners, including waterboarding, sexual threats with broomsticks, and medically unnecessary “rectal feeding.” The report also confirms the CIA ran black sites in Afghanistan, Lithuania, Romania, Poland, Thailand, and a secret site on the Guantánamo Naval Base known as Strawberry Fields. So far no one involved in the CIA interrogation program has been charged with a crime except the whistleblower John Kiriakou. In 2007, he became the first person with direct knowledge of the program to publicly reveal its existence. He is now serving a 30-month sentence. We speak with Reed Brody, counsel and spokesperson for Human Rights Watch, who has written several reports on prisoner mistreatment in the war on terror, including a 2011 report which called for a criminal investigation of senior Bush administration officials.

CIA Torture Report Incomplete as Key Documents Remain Withheld

The Real News

12/10/14

Marcy Wheeler is the author of lasix anemia side effect Anatomy of Deceit , a short primer on the pre-war intelligence and the CIA Leak. She blogs under the name “emptywheel” at The Next Hurrah and live-blogged the Scooter Libby trial. She has a PhD from University of Michigan relating to politics and journalism. Marcy lives in Michigan, where she works as a business consultant.

Obama Would Not – Cannot – Deem Any Activities Authorized by Gloves Come Off Finding Illegal

By emptywheel

Published December 9, 2014

Romero’s proposal (if it is intended as anything beyond a modest proposal meant to call Obama’s bluff) fundamentally misunderstands the situation – a situation the ACLU has been at the forefront in exposing.

Obama would not – categorically cannot – admit that what Tenet and Bush and Cheney did on torture is illegal. That’s because he has authorized war crimes using the very same Presidential Finding as the Bush Administration used to authorized torture.

As I have laid out at length, the torture program started as a covert op authorized by the September 17, 2001 Gloves Come Off Memorandum of Notification. And along with torture, that Finding also authorized drone strikes. The drone strikes that Obama escalated.

Just 3 days after he assumed the Presidency, a drone strike Obama authorized killed as many as 11 civilians, including one child, and gravely injured a 14 year old boy, Farim Qureshi.  And several years into his Administration, Obama ordered the CIA to kill American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki with no due process. As far as we know, both of those things were done using that very same Finding, the Finding that Romero would like Obama to declare authorized war crimes.

When the 2nd Circuit ruled the President – President Obama, not President Bush – could keep a short phrase hidden making it clear torture had been authorized by that Finding in ACLU’s very own torture FOIA, it did so because the Finding still authorized intelligence activities. The Finding authorizing torture was still active – President Obama was still relying on it – at least as recently as 2012.

For Obama to pardon Bush, Cheney, and Tenet, he would have to admit that the same Finding that he used to authorize drone strikes that have killed hundreds of civilians authorized war crimes. There is absolutely zero chance Obama is going to do that.

Cartnoon

On This Day In History December 10

This is your morning watch Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

December 10 is the 344th day of the year (345th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 21 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1901, the first Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace. The ceremony came on the fifth anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor of dynamite and other high explosives. In his will, Nobel directed that the bulk of his vast fortune be placed in a fund in which the interest would be “annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.” Although Nobel offered no public reason for his creation of the prizes, it is widely believed that he did so out of moral regret over the increasingly lethal uses of his inventions in war.

History

Alfred Nobel was born on 21 October 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden, into a family of engineers. He was a chemist, engineer, and inventor. In 1895 Nobel purchased the Bofors iron and steel mill, which he converted into a major armaments manufacturer. Nobel also invented ballistite, a precursor to many smokeless military explosives, especially cordite, the main British smokeless powder. Nobel was even involved in a patent infringement lawsuit over cordite. Nobel amassed a fortune during his lifetime, most of it from his 355 inventions, of which dynamite is the most famous. In 1888, Alfred had the unpleasant surprise of reading his own obituary, titled ‘The merchant of death is dead’, in a French newspaper. As it was Alfred’s brother Ludvig who had died, the obituary was eight years premature. Alfred was disappointed with what he read and concerned with how he would be remembered. This inspired him to change his will. On 10 December 1896 Alfred Nobel died in his villa in San Remo, Italy, at the age of 63 from a cerebral haemorrhage.

To the wide-spread surprise, Nobel’s last will requested that his fortune be used to create a series of prizes for those who confer the “greatest benefit on mankind” in physics, chemistry, peace, physiology or medicine, and literature. Nobel wrote several wills during his lifetime. The last was written over a year before he died, signed at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris on 27 November 1895. Nobel bequeathed 94% of his total assets, 31 million SEK (c. US$186 million in 2008), to establish the five Nobel Prizes. Because of the level of scepticism surrounding the will, it was not until 26 April 1897 that it was approved by the Storting in Norway. The executors of Nobel’s will, Ragnar Sohlman and Rudolf Lilljequist, formed the Nobel Foundation to take care of Nobel’s fortune and organise the prizes.

Nobel’s instructions named a Norwegian Nobel Committee to award the Peace Prize, the members of whom were appointed shortly after the will was approved in April 1897. Soon thereafter, the other prize-awarding organisations were established: the Karolinska Institutet on 7 June, the Swedish Academy on 9 June, and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on 11 June. The Nobel Foundation reached an agreement on guidelines for how the prizes should be awarded, and in 1900, the Nobel Foundation’s newly-created statutes were promulgated by King Oscar II. In 1905, the Union between Sweden and Norway was dissolved. Thereafter Norway’s Nobel Committee remained responsible for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize and the Swedish institutions retained responsibility for the other prizes.

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