Michael Maiello's picture

    Torture Report Open Thread

    Honestly, I don't know what to say.  Would be very interested in hearing from all of you.

    Full report, via Mother Jones

    Great Annotation of Top Findings by WaPo



    Ironically, I feel a little proud. Not that the torture happened, of course, but that the Senate did the right thing for once.

    Simply posted for the record...

    Anyone recall these posts from the TPM Cafe days?

    Enhanced Interrogation? A Repost from April 24, 2009...

    Cooked Intel & Torture Abuse: So the 'Stovepipe' Stops Where?

    I'm simply dredging up the past to help connect it to the current ongoing yammering about the latest report from the Senate...


    Thanks for bringing those back.  The Nazi comparisons are particularly compelling to me as I notice in both (and this isn't a unique observation, I'm stealing from George Steiner) an attempt at creating Hieronymous Bosch style "Hell on Earth" conditions as method of coercion and establishing power.

    The paucity of comments here  tells us something.

    As a guess perhaps that many of the usual contributors  are sitting this one out..  Perhaps because in principle they had ,and perhaps still do,  approve of this particular use of torture ,in the campaign against Osama .At least to the extent that they would feel hypocritical  participating in a unqualified denunciation. .

    Personally  in  the month's immediately following 9/11 perhaps I  could have been convinced to join   the CIA's  cheering section   except for my ingrained  opposition to the Bush administration.Probably not. But it wasn't an open and shut case. Coulda/shoulda/woulda.

    Right now I have no disagreement with Obama's decision not to mount a program  either to  punish the bit players from the 2002/2003 reign of terror: Addington, Bybee ,"Scooter" Libby et al,or to now attempt to achieve "accountability"..

    " I have committed fornication. But that was in another country . And besides the wench is dead".. . 

    We can't undue the errors of the Bush government. But it's gone. Let's just draw a double line under it and get on with something useful.

    And if that's the goal,  it would be counter productive ,in spades ,for Obama to try to punish-or even judge-major players from  the preceding administration.It's already  difficult enough  to get  anything done in Washington.




    Would you consider using drones equipped with Hell fire missiles; striking villages to hit a wanted person and taking out innocent life in the explosion and ensuing inferno; Torturous?

    This report does nothing but send a message; America has tortured and still tortures.

    So if you cut heads off, we are not righteous either.  Despite our present show of Mia Culpa. 

    If the new Congress wants go after ISIL, and using their atrocities as the bloody shirt for war, think again. We were not angels either.  

    Was this report intended as a parting shot we were not as bad as those guys?  Obama is not going to pursue indictments and either are the democrats.

    The paucity of comments here  tells us something.As a guess perhaps that many of the usual contributors  are sitting this one out.. 

    For me, it's just that it's nothing to debate. It's history. I have to trust Obama on this because I cannot know at this time all that he knows that affected his decision to leave it all unprosecuted. As it says in today's New York Times piece, Obama Catches Blame on Tactics of Torture That He Ended:

    “He’s between a rock and a hard place,” said Karen Greenberg, director of the Center on National Security at the Fordham University School of Law. “The intelligence agency has become the lead agency in national security, and therefore he’s beholden to it, and there’s no getting around that. It’s much bigger than before 9/11. It’s not just about Brennan.”

    Indeed, in a written statement and a pair of television interviews after the report was released on Tuesday, Mr. Obama stressed his respect for the “patriots” of the C.I.A. who worked to guard the nation in an uncertain and dangerous period, even as he concluded that the methods they used “did significant damage to America’s standing in the world.”

    While that frustrated critics of the C.I.A. who wanted a more unambiguous condemnation of torture and its architects, others said his comments struck a reasonable middle ground.

    What is there to talk about, really? A reminder that the last time that the CIA was heavily reined in by Congress that it lead to a demoralization that ended up with the mess that was the 9/11 Report. We don't know the total information that Obama has that has lead him to react to it all this way and how he has to balance chastisement and support. It happened. It was bad. That the report is public and being publicized is good.That's all I got.



    We're in big trouble here. Artsy, you just folded, satire eats shit, NCD is hanging in there, OGD chipped in, Maiello's got nothing so put up the thread (but thanks), Michael is proud of the Senate, Flavius is trying to crank an old engine and Day has had too much cough syrup to comment. So no big ideas, how about small ones? No? What would Jesus say? Artsy, I think you nailed it---unfortunately. I think I'll go change a tire.


    "A reminder that the last time that the CIA was heavily reined in by Congress that it lead to a demoralization that ended up with the mess that was the 9/11 Report."

    I find this observation interesting because I have really never believed that 9-11 was an intelligence failure.  I can see it as a strategic failure where the U.S. was slow to adapt to growing asymmetric threats in the absence of a genuine "Big Bad" nation state, but I've never really looked at 9/11 and thought, "They really should have seen that coming and stopped it." I don't think that all bad things can be stopped.  Because of that, I have no problem demoralizing the CIA by limiting its powers and influence.

    was slow to adapt

    Especially knowing the CIA had already declared war in Afghanistan before 9/11.

    If your going to declare war, don't you think you better be prepared for the enemies response?

    Hadn't we learned our lesson from the attack at Peal Harbor? Or do these attacks further justify our course of actions? Civil Liberties suspended?

    The strategy may have been to let 9/11 go unhindered as a precursor to preemptive war on Iraq.

    Not covered much by the MSM was the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation of 9/11 in 2002, before the 911 Commission (which Bush was later forced into forming). The Senate investigation was headed by Senator Bob Graham of Florida who wrote Intelligence Matters: The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia, and the Failure of America's War on Terror. Graham found Saudi intelligence and financing was tightly involved with most or even all of the hijackers, and felt the Bush administration was stonewalling him in his search for Saudi connections.

    The anthrax attack immediately followed 911, and raised war fever to boiling point.

    As I have posted half a dozen times, the White House started on CIPRO a week before the first letter was mailed. Why? 

    Richard Cohen of WaPo says the anthrax attacks were 'not entirely unexpected.....The tip had come in a roundabout way from a high government official, and I immediately acted on it. I was carrying Cipro way before most people had ever heard of it.

    Also 'strategically' not unexpected was that Bush implicated Saddam as a source of huge quantities of anthrax, SOU 2002. In the end they blamed it on a dead guy from an Army lab. If the anthrax attack was done by the 'lone nut' Ivins, how could the White House, Cohen and others have known it was coming down, before it happened....?

    At NYT comments:

    Lemme see. We don't prosecute crooked bankers that destroyed so many lives with their fraud. We don't prosecute policemen who gun down unarmed black teens. We don't prosecute torturers. Seems like we have a "justice" system with very little justice in it.

    A troubling aspect to these torture revelations is that the US can no longer be a serious critic of human rights abuses by other countries. Such criticism would now be met with cynical laughter by the rest of the world. Tragically, the US has in effect given the Russians, the Chinese etc carte blanche free of any credible censure by us to continue to infringe on human rights, and nary a word we say against these practices can seem anything other than rank hypocrisy.


    Just try selling an untaxed cigarette and you'll see...

    Assuming NCD is white, then I don't think he'd experience too much difficulty. (He almost definitely wouldn't be subjected to a choke-hold.)

    True.  Though it's the same mindset for why it is tolerated in white America... nobody thinks it will happen to them.  "I'll never be renditioned.  I'll never get choked to death by an angry police officer."

    That kind of thinking tends to work until it doesn't.

    Selling nicotine delivery systems to minors will especially bring scorn.

    There are good good comments here.

    It is difficult to add anything.

    My anger turns to rage every time I read some comment by Cheney.

    Salon has a good conversation with Greenwald on this subject.

    Colbert does one upmanship by centering on FOX News:


    The one prick is saying that torture is okay as long as it is done fairly?

    It appears from the info contained in your links and from what I have read that there were at least 118? instances of straight out torture that would make some NAZI's cringe and I just kept thinking about Nuremberg.

    A bigger story I think would relate to our criminal justice system--especially these outsourced prisons. I would bet that there are a thousand times the 118 as far as instances of torture.

    It might have been more 'humane' to simply cut off their heads?

    And this issue does not even touch upon the prisoners at hard labor being paid fifty cents an hour as they depreciate their bodies.

    Do I care if a murderer or sex offender is tortured? No. But some idiot who passed bum checks or sold some drugs or.....?

    I think about our immigration system with fascist pricks like Arpaio putting mentally fit folks in 119 degree tents and putting some no so mentally fit folks in cages.

    China just issued a statement that really lambasts our country for its hypocrisy regarding the subject of human rights.

    See, I just get mad.

    So we're not the city on the hill although many of us like you wish we were . We can just accept that ,or pretend it's not true ("Say it ain't so, Joe") or just keep trying to make it so. If not across the board at least every now and then. AOBTW maybe tone down the bragging.


    We're neither pure nor wise , nor good.

    We'll do the best we know


    I care little what anyone else says...

    All I really have to say is... Hang these bastards by what's left of their shriveled testicles from the highest yardarm.

    What follows can be found here…


    Philip G. Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Stanford University knows.








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