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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

CIA Torture Reports: Frozen to Death; Rectal Rehydration, Broken Limbs; 54 Countries Assist US; Dick Cheney War Criminal

We find it particularly odd that this cover-up came to light under a Democratic administration and US Senate Democratic leadership. Something probes our logic chips asking why did the Republicans conceal this horror? Be reminded that anyone who did know, but did not expose these crimes is himself immoral and an accessory to crime. This blame cannot be shifted to other countries, or to subordinate underlings. You must man-up. Dishonoring your country and its citizens is not what you were sent to Washington to achieve. Or was it?

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 6:36 PM

Today the US released its CIA report on torture. The results are shocking. For example, the New York Times provides 7 Key Points From the C.I.A. Torture Report.

1.  The C.I.A.’s interrogation techniques were more brutal and employed more extensively than the agency portrayed.

2.  The C.I.A. interrogation program was mismanaged and was not subject to adequate oversight.

3.  The C.I.A. misled members of Congress and the White House about the effectiveness and extent of its brutal interrogation techniques.

4.  Interrogators in the field who tried to stop the brutal techniques were repeatedly overruled by senior C.I.A. officials.

5.  The C.I.A. repeatedly underreported the number of people it detained and subjected to harsh interrogation techniques under the program.

6.  At least 26 detainees were wrongfully held and did not meet the government’s standard for detention.

7.  The C.I.A. leaked classified information to journalists, exaggerating the success of interrogation methods in an effort to gain public support.

Here's the full 525-page sanitized and redacted Congressional Study on CIA Torture. Various reports and excerpts follow:

Rectal Rehydration, Broken Limbs, 180 Hrs of Sleep Deprivation

The Guardian reports Rectal Rehydration and Broken Limbs: Grisliest Findings in CIA Torture Report.

While parts of the programme had been known – and much more will never be revealed – the catalogue of abuse is nightmarish and reads like something invented by the Marquis de Sade or Hieronymous Bosch.

Detainees were forced to stand on broken limbs for hours, kept in complete darkness, deprived of sleep for up to 180 hours, sometimes standing, sometimes with their arms shackled above their heads.

Prisoners were subjected to “rectal feeding” without medical necessity. Rectal exams were conducted with “excessive force”. The report highlights one prisoner later diagnosed with anal fissures, chronic hemorrhoids and “symptomatic rectal prolapse”.

The report mentions mock executions, Russian roulette. US agents threatened to slit the throat of a detainee’s mother, sexually abuse another and threatened prisoners’ children. One prisoner died of hypothermia brought on in part by being forced to sit on a bare concrete floor without pants.

Frozen to Death

At COBALT, the CIA interrogated in 2002 Gul Rahman, described as a suspected Islamic extremist. He was subjected to “48 hours of sleep deprivation, auditory overload, total darkness, isolation, a cold shower and rough treatment”.

CIA headquarters suggested “enhanced measures” might be needed to get him to comply. A CIA officer at COBALT ordered Rahman be “shackled to the wall of his cell in a position that required the detainee to rest on the bare concrete floor”.

He was only wearing a sweatshirt as a CIA officer has ordered his clothes to be removed earlier after judging him to be uncooperative during an interrogation.

The next day, guards found Rahman dead. An internal CIA review and autopsy assessed he likely died from hypothermia – “in part from having been forced to sit on the bare concrete floor without pants”.

Forgotten Man Chained to a Wall

One CIA interrogator at COBALT reported that “‘literally, a detainee could go for days or weeks without anyone looking at him’, and that his team found one detainee who ‘as far as we could detrmined’, had been chained to a wall in a standing position for 17 days’.’ Some prisoners were said to be like dogs in kennels: “When the doors to their cells were pened, ‘they cowered.’”


What did all of this accomplish? The answer as any rational person might speculate is "nothing".

Please consider Senate Report on CIA Torture Claims Spy Agency Lied About 'Ineffective' Program.

Also consider Stop Believing the Lies: America Tortured More than 'Some Folks' – and Covered It Up.

For the past few days, we have seen many of the same resentful politicians and former CIA leaders in charge of the torture-denial regime being handed virtual royalty status by the American media to respond to pre-emptively respond to the report without much of any pushback. Dick Cheney basically got to write his own interview in the New York Times, while Michael Hayden, the former NSA and CIA director in charge of lying to the Senate for years, was handed softball after softball by Bob Schieffer of CBS News to make his case. It is borderline propaganda.

Still Classified

Borderline propaganda? No, it's blatantly obvious political propaganda of the worst kind. By the way, the full committee study, at 6,700 pages, remains classified. What the hell else has yet to be disclosed?

Map: 54 Countries Assist US

Vox has a nice Map of 54 countries that helped the CIA with its torture-linked rendition program.

The CIA torture program was even bigger than the details released in the Senate Intelligence Committee torture report might suggest. The reason is that the CIA didn't just have its own torture program, run out of its "black site" secret detention and torture prisons broad. It also used a vast network of other countries to help capture, detain, transport, and, yes, torture detainees.

That network is best shown by looking at the CIA's extraordinary rendition program. This is the program under which the CIA would detain and transport suspected terrorists with the help of foreign governments. In all, a stunning 54 countries participated in the CIA-run rendition program. Here they are:

Whether or not all 54 of those countries are complicit in the CIA torture program is debatable. The program could work in a number of different ways; each of these countries supported the CIA's rendition program, but not every country directly participated in torture. ...

Cheney Praises Torture

Yesterday, in advance of the release, Former Vice President Dick Cheney Dismissed Senate Report.

The reported conclusion by the Senate Intelligence Committee that the C.I.A. misled the White House, he added, “is just a crock.”

They deserve a lot of praise,” Mr. Cheney said. “As far as I’m concerned, they ought to be decorated, not criticized.

Dick Cheney War Criminal

My take is that Dick Cheney is a war criminal. He should be tried in a court of law, and if justice is served, sentenced to death and buried in the same grave as Sadaam Hussein.

The same goes for everyone involved in the torture schemes especially former CIA director George Tenet.

There is absolutely no excuse for this kind of behavior. Ever.

By the way, at a meeting on December 12, 2002, Tenet assured president Bush that the evidence that Iraq had WMDs amounted to a "slam dunk case."

Obama's Limp Response

Today president Obama issued this limp response: "I hope that today's report can help us leave these techniques where they belong, in the past. ... 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."

No charges will be filed and the rest of the classified report will be swept under the rug. And just two days ago Obama transferred Six Guantanamo Detainees to Uruguay.

The detainees were a Tunisian, a Palestinian and four Syrians who were captured in Pakistan and Afghanistan more than a decade ago and turned over to U.S. forces. "Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel initially was reluctant to approve the transfer."

Obama's Promise to Close Guantánamo Bay Torture Facility

In 2008 president Obama promised to close our Guantánamo Bay Detention Facility in Cuba. We are still there.

On January 28, 2013, The Wire posted a Timeline of Obama's Failed Promise to Close Gitmo noting "the office responsible for closing the prison has itself been closed."

On January 22, 2014, the National Journal reported Five Years After Obama Vowed to Shut It Down, Guantanamo Bay Remains Open.

"The pace of the push to close the controversial camp has slowed in recent years, and doesn't show signs of picking up."

On this day in 2009, President Obama issued an executive order that called for the Guantanamo Bay detention facility to be closed within a year. A month later, in his first State of the Union address, the president told Americans he had ordered the closure of the controversial camp in Cuba, and "will seek swift and certain justice for captured terrorists." Guantanamo, which remains open, has not been mentioned in the president's annual speech since.

Why is the US Still in Cuba?

Can anyone please explain why the US is still running a torture operation in Cuba?

Obviously not. As usual, it's nothing but a pack of lies from this president.

Color Me Cynical

As far as torture goes, I am cynical of Obama's announcements.

I suspect the biggest change will be for the CIA to stop putting its torture practices in reports as opposed to actually stopping the torture.

Cynicism aside, there is a zero percent chance president Obama will ever hold those responsible for the torture accountable.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock