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Decisionism (derived from the German Dezisionismus) is a political, ethical and jurisprudential doctrine which states that moral or legal precepts are the product of decisions made by political or legal bodies. According to decisionism, it is not the content of the decision, but rather the fact that it is a decision made by the proper authority, or by using a correct method, which determines its validity. The The End Justifies The Means principle is the core of Decisionism:
"At the beginning of an action I might not be able to determine whether that action is morally right or wrong, but when the morally right goal is successfully achieved, then the steps which led to it must be morally right too."
When a little twist is introduced to this interpretation, it becomes:
"I shall do a minor evil to achieve a greater good." or "My aim for greater good makes all the evils I have done right."
In legal theory, Decisionism had a notable proponent in the German law scholar Carl Schmitt. Schmitt held that it is not the actual precepts of the law which determine its validity, but rather the fact that it has been made into law by the proper authority. Later in life, when Schmitt became a member of the NSDAP, he used Decisionism as a way of justifying Nazi policy, when he was quoted as saying "Der Führer has made the law, der Führer protects the law". The opening of work “Political Theology,” provides a good working definition of Decisionism: 'The sovereign is he who decides on the exception.' [to the law]
Under Decisionism the action by sovereign is justifiable, if it made using proper channels and propter protocol, no matter whether it is legal under the current laws or no. Again the key principle is 'The sovereign is he who decides on the exception.'
Action, especially bold action, or disproportionate response is seen as a value in itself. So another way to define Decisionism is jingoistic, trigger happy, shooting from the heap cowboy mindset of the elite of the country. It is closely related to irrationalism:
Very closely related to irrationalism is “decisionism” in which action is seen as a value in itself. This is an existential element in fascism that elevates action over thought. Action is a sign of unambiguous power, and thought is associated with weakness and indecision.
Decisionism is typical for any ultra nationalism. That includes American exceptionalism. Th antion interests are (which in reality are interests of top 1%) are viewed as exceptional, indispensable, or whatever the term du jour is. And any methods of achieving them is OK.
Under Decisionism, any political fight is a war, which proceeds until the enemy has been physically annihilated. Bush II has instituted the regime of total surveillance of Americas with the Patriot act, which is based on the same justification Nazi Law used to empower the Fuhrer. A Bush lawyer and advisor, John Yoo, wrote, just two weeks after the September 11 attacks, a secret memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales’ office in which he concluded that President Bush had the power to deploy military force “preemptively” against any terrorist groups or countries that supported them — regardless of whether they had any connection to the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
Many scholars have written about the characteristics of the totalitarian state. Umberto Eco has listed fourteen attributes of the fascist state and its ideology. I want to focus on two of them: irrationalism and decisionism. Eco has them listed as attributes 2 and 3.
The Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, is seen as the beginning of modern depravity. In this sense Ur-Fascism can be defined as irrationalism.
3. Irrationalism also depends on the cult of action for action's sake.
Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation. Therefore culture is suspect insofar as it is identified with critical attitudes. Distrust of the intellectual world has always been a symptom of Ur-Fascism, from Hermann Goering's fondness for a phrase from a Hanns Johst play ("When I hear the word 'culture' I reach for my gun") to the frequent use of such expressions as "degenerate intellectuals," "eggheads," "effete snobs," and "universities are nests of reds." The official Fascist intellectuals were mainly engaged in attacking modern culture and the liberal intelligentsia for having betrayed traditional values.Fascism has an irrational element that rejects modern thought because it conflicts with traditional beliefs of the Christian religion and because fascism views communist ideology as a child of the Age of Reason and Jewish intellectuals. The Nazis were well aware that Karl Marx was a German Jew. Evolution is seen as modernist and is rejected in favor of Christian creationism. This debate is repeating itself today in American society with Christian fundamentalism attempting to gain control of state education.
Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt
Very closely related to irrationalism is “decisionism” in which action is seen as a value in itself. This is an existential element in fascism that elevates action over thought. Action is a sign of unambiguous power, and thought is associated with weakness and indecision. Carl Schmitt, a Nazi Law constitutional jurist, wrote that a decision is “(an actual historical event) and not within that of a norm (an ahistoric and transcendent idea).” The a priori is overshadowed by the posteriori. Actions over abstract principles, Fact over Idea, Power over pure thought, Certainty over ambiguity are the values and ideological norms that are primary in a totalitarian state.
After fleeing Germany, Marcuse wrote in 1934 a critique of German fascist society and attempted to identify those beliefs and philosophical themes found within fascist ideology. Marcuse believed that the seeds of fascism could be found in the Capitalist Democratic Liberal State, which over time mutate as Monopoly Capitalism gain control of the State as in the case of Germany.
The evolution of Capitalism is also the concealed dialectic of Fascism. Those mutated liberal democratic ideas and values are betrayed by a totalitarianism based on action and force.
Using Germany as his example of a fascist society Marcuse writes:From what social idea in Capitalistic Liberalism did this decisionism evolve? It is none other than the economic hero, the free independent entrepreneur of industrial capitalism.
And within the political sphere all relationships are oriented in turn toward the most extreme “crisis,” toward the decision about the “state of emergency,” of war and peace. The true possessor of power is defined as beyond all legality and legitimacy: “Sovereign is he who decides on the state of emergency.” (Carl Schmitt, Politische Theologie,1922).
Sovereignty is founded on the factual power to make this decision (decisionism). The basic political relationship is the “friend-enemy relationship.” Any crisis is war, which proceeds until the enemy has been physically annihilated.
There is no social relationship that does not in a crisis turn into a political relationship. Behind all economic, social, religious, and cultural relations stands total politicization. There is no sphere of private or public life, no legal or rational court of appeal that could oppose it.
Negations, page 36.
The idea of the charismatic, authoritarian leader is already preformed in the liberalist celebration of the gifted economic leader, the “born” executive.Negations, page 18.
The total-authoritarian state is born out of the Liberal state and the former concept of the economic leader is transformed into a Fuhrer. We can see this mutation of the concept of the “born” executive into the leader-state (Fuhrerstaat) in George Bush’s speech and actions.
An uneducated but privileged man, George Bush, has merged the idea of the CEO with that of the State Leader. But society has also made this same concatenation of ideas. He is a president of action and seen as a “strong” president. He is doer and not a thinker and his followers are proud of this persona. His opponents are “feminine” and members of the “reality based community.” Consequently, the Bush administration has attempted to engineer the executive branch to be the strongest in American history by claiming “inherent” presidential powers. It is precisely the concept of “state of emergency” that Bush has used to grab more and more state power in the name of security.
He has instituted the hyper-surveillance of Americas with the Patriot act, which is based on the same justification Nazi Law used to empower the Fuhrer. A Bush lawyer and advisor, John Yoo, wrote, Just two weeks after the September 11 attacks, a secret memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales’ office concluded that President Bush had the power to deploy military force “preemptively” against any terrorist groups or countries that supported them—regardless of whether they had any connection to the attacks on the World Trade Towers or the Pentagon. The memo, written by Justice Department lawyer John Yoo, argues that there are effectively “no limits” on the president’s authority to wage war—a sweeping assertion of executive power that some constitutional scholars say goes considerably beyond any that had previously been articulated by the department. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6732484/site/newsweek/
Carl Schmitt, a Nazi Law constitutional jurist in Hitler’s Third Reich, wrote a similar justification of power for the State Leader using the concept of the “exception” in his work “Political Theology,” Hence, the thundering opening of his treatise: 'The sovereign is he who decides on the exception.' It is a disturbingly 'realistic' view of politics, which, in the manner of Hobbes, subordinates de jure authority to de facto power: autoritas, non veritas facit legem. (The law is made by the one who has authority (i.e. power) and not the one who possesses the truth (the legitimate sovereign).)
The problem of the exception, for the constitutional jurist Schmitt, can only be resolved within the framework of a decision (an actual historical event) and not within that of a norm (an ahistoric and transcendent idea). Moreover, the legal act which decides what constitutes an exception is 'a decision in the true sense of the word', because a general norm, an ordinary legal prescription, 'can never encompass a total exception'. If so, then, 'the decision that a real exception exists cannot be derived entirely from this norm.' The problem of the exception, in other words, demarcates the limit of the rule of law and opens up that trans-legal space, that no-man's land of existential exigency, which is bereft of legal authority and where the decision of the sovereign abrogates the anomaly of the legal void. …against the legal positivism of his times, Schmitt seems to be arguing that not law but the sovereign, not the legal text but the political will, is the supreme authority in a state. States are not legal entities but historical polities; they are engaged in a constant battle for survival where any moment of their existence may constitute an exception, it may engender a political crisis that cannot be remedied by the application of the rule of law. From the existential priority of the sovereign over the legitimacy of the norm, it would also follow that according to Schmitt, law is subservient to politics and not autonomous of it. The Sovereignty of the Political Carl Schmitt and the Nemesis of Liberalism http://www.algonet.se/~pmanzoor/CarlSchmitt.htm
When the Bush administration argues that increased presidential power is needed to fight terrorism by suspending or overriding the constitutional protections against search and seizures, they are arguing the principles of Nazi constitutional law. Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday vigorously defended the Bush administration's use of secret domestic spying and efforts to expand presidential powers, saying "it's not an accident that we haven't been hit in four years." Talking to reporters aboard his government plane as he flew from Islamabad, Pakistan to Muscat, Oman on an overseas mission, Cheney said a contraction in the power of the presidency since the Vietnam and Watergate era must be reversed. "I believe in a strong, robust executive authority and I think that the world we live in demands it. And to some extent, that we have an obligation as the administration to pass on the offices we hold to our successors in as good of shape as we found them," he said.
http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/12/20/D8EK28B82.html Against these ever expanding powers of the State stand the once traditional individual freedoms upheld by the Liberal Democratic State. The theologian and philosopher of the Age of Reason, Immanuel Kant wrote…
Human right must be kept sacred, no matter how great the sacrifice it costs the ruling powers. One cannot go only halfway and contrive a pragmatically conditioned right….All politics, rather, must bend the knee before sacred human right…
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Jul 24, 2015 | naked capitalism
"[President Charles Rice,] president of the U.S. military's medical college said he took swift action after learning in 2013 that John Henry Hagmann, a former Army doctor teaching there, was injecting students with hypnotic drugs, inducing shock by withdrawing their blood, and performing rectal exams in class" [Reuters].
"[R]ecords reviewed by Reuters, including the university's own investigation, show that school officials had known of Hagmann's teaching methods for more than 20 years. The records also show that three faculty members sat in on Hagmann's course in 2012 but did not alert their superiors." And: "One former dean even pushed to have Hagmann court-martialed in 1993 over similar allegations, records show." I'm surprised to find myself doing this, but well done, that Dean. And why "former"? Bring that Dean back and make them President!
Jul 10, 2015 | The Guardian
The largest association of psychologists in the United States is on the brink of a crisis, the Guardian has learned, after an independent review revealed that medical professionals lied and covered up their extensive involvement in post-9/11 torture. The revelation, puncturing years of denials, has already led to at least one leadership firing and creates the potential for loss of licenses and even prosecutions.
For more than a decade, the American Psychological Association (APA) has maintained that a strict code of ethics prohibits its more than 130,000 members to aid in the torture of detainees while simultaneously permitting involvement in military and intelligence interrogations. The group has rejected media reporting on psychologists' complicity in torture; suppressed internal dissent from anti-torture doctors; cleared members of wrongdoing; and portrayed itself as a consistent ally against abuse.
Now, a voluminous independent review conducted by a former assistant US attorney, David Hoffman, undermines the APA's denials in full – and vindicates the dissenters.
Sources with knowledge of the report and its consequences, who requested anonymity to discuss the findings before public release, expected a wave of firings and resignations across the leadership of an organization that Hoffman finds used its extensive institutional links to the CIA and US military to facilitate abusive interrogations.
... ... ...
Substantial sections of the report focus on the APA ethics chief and describes Behnke's "behind-the-scenes attempts to manipulate Council of Representatives actions in collusion with, and to remain aligned with DoD" – a reference to the Department of Defense.
A University of Michigan-pedigreed psychologist, Behnke has held his position within the APA since 2000, and, according to sources, used it to stifle dissent. Hoffman's report found Behnke ghostwrote statements opposing member motions to rebuke torture; was involved in voter irregularity on motion passings; spiked ethics complaints; and took other actions to suppress complaints.
... ... ...
Behnke was hardly the only psychologist involved in the establishment and application of torture.
According to two landmark Senate reports, one from the armed services committee in 2009 and the other from the intelligence committee in 2014, psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen were instrumental in persuading the CIA to adopt stress positions, temperature and dietary manipulation, sleep deprivation and waterboarding in interrogations. (Neither man is an APA member.)
Psychologists assigned to the CIA's office of medical services assisted abusive interrogations, which the Guardian revealed in June appear to violate longstanding CIA rules against human experimentation.
Those tactics, save waterboarding, spread from the CIA to the military. Psychologists joined "behavioral science consultation teams" that advised interrogations at Guantánamo Bay.
... ... ...
Yet the organization withstood all public criticism, until New York Times reporter James Risen revealed, based in part on a hoard of emails from a deceased behavioral-science researcher named Scott Gerwehr, the behind-the-scenes ties between psychologists from the APA and their influential counterparts within the CIA and the Pentagon.
In 2002 – the critical year for the Bush administration's embrace of torture – the APA amended its longstanding ethics rules to permit psychologists to follow a "governing legal authority" in the event of a conflict between an order and the APA ethics code.
Without the change, Risen wrote in his 2014 book Pay Any Price, it was likely that psychologists would have "taken the view that they were prevented by their own professional standards from involvement" in interrogations, making it "far more difficult for the Justice Department to craft opinions that provided the legal approvals needed for the CIA to go ahead with the interrogation tactics".
In 2004, after the Abu Ghraib torture scandal burst into public view, the emails detailed a private meeting of APA officials with CIA and military psychologists to "provide input on how the APA should deal with the growing furor", Risen wrote.
Ethics chief Behnke emailed: "I would like to emphasize that we will not advertise the meeting other than this letter to the individual invitees, that we will not publish or otherwise make public the names of attendees or the substance of our discussions, and that in the meeting we will neither assess nor investigate the behavior of any specific individual or group."
Risen went on to report that six of the 10 psychologists on the seminal 2005 APA taskforce "had connections with the defense or intelligence communities; one member was the chief psychologist for US Special Forces". The subject of tremendous internal controversy, the APA ultimately rescinded the taskforce report in 2013.
In October, the APA called Risen's account "largely based on innuendo and one-sided reporting". Yet the next month the association announced it had asked Hoffman to investigate potential "collusion with the Bush administration to promote, support or facilitate the use of 'enhanced' interrogation techniques by the United States in the war on terror".
Throughout the controversy, the APA has preferred to treat criticism of its involvement in torture, either from journalists or from human rights-minded psychologists, with dismissal. Its internal investigations of the criticisms have typically ended up exonerating its members.
"A thorough review of these public materials and our standing policies will clearly demonstrate that APA will not tolerate psychologist participation in torture," the APA communications chief, Rhea Farberman, told the Guardian in January 2014, after the Guardian revealed that an APA inquiry declined to pursue charges against a psychologist involved in the Guantánamo Bay torture of Mohammed al-Qahtani.
The psychologist, former US army reserve major John Leso, took part in a brutal interrogation of Qahtani, the suspected intended 20th 9/11 hijacker, according to a leaked interrogation log and investigation by the Senate armed services committee.
Interrogators extensively deprived Qahtani of sleep, forced him to perform what the log called "dog tricks", inundated him with loud music for extended periods, and forcibly hydrated him intravenously until he urinated on himself.
"The concern that APA's decision to close the matter against Dr John Leso will set a precedent against disciplining members who participate in abusive interrogations is utterly unfounded," the APA's Farberman told the Guardian in January 2014.
Apteryx05 10 Jul 2015 22:05
If these doctors are guilty as alleged, then why aren't Bush, Cheney and the rest of their cabal of war criminals facing prosecution?
WatchEm 10 Jul 2015 22:04
Just the APA?? Of course elements of their APA membership are torturers - and they know this only too well. Don't leave out 'psychologists' who are not APA members and get profitable government contracts to develop 'better ways to torture'...
Add psychiatrists, 'government employees', mercenary profit centers aka 'contractors', police officers with torture expertise, the alphabet soup of government agencies and purported humans from the rank of major to general. The latter being directors and instigators of torture where a number of them were promoted for their efficiency in the finer arts of torture.
At the lower echelons of torture are military cannon fodder who are often assigned blame and have been known to be prosecuted. Just watch a few tapes of them speaking on camera and it's easy to see thru them - ranging from just sad to being control freaks. They are what is known as the "few bad apples" in the barrel full of bad apples.
There is no such thing as an old torturer... Add a few criminal retirees with long track records of torture and experience of slaughtering men, women and children. They were pulled out of retirement to show their expertise in the killing, torture and operating death squads - paid for by the US taxpayer.
Never leave out US 'ambassadors' who magically appear like bees to a honeypot when torture is in the air - e.g. Negropointe is an example of a US 'torture ambassador' with considerable experience in the slaughtering, torture and particularly in the rapes of innocent people. His latest skill set extends to being a diplomat for death squads.
In the Washington swamp there are the legal lemmings specialising in opinions of torture. All legal opinions are, of course, simply to support the rear ends of policy makers on torture - and their non-legal opinions violate the Convention against Torture and literally every human rights and crimes against humanity treaty ever ratified by the USG.
At the top of the pack of cards are the policy makers - Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush, the Black Widow Pianist, Wolfowitz and other self-relevant sickos, plus circa 400-500 of their I'm-very-innocent sycophants from almost every department of government. They will explain how torture is not torture - despite a written policy on torture. Needless to say, the travel opportunities of this group outside US jurisdiction is somewhat restricted.
Not unsurprisingly, US society is marinated in this vermin and some of them are pillars of society - e.g. college deans et al. Dysfunctional, corrupt and criminal would be an understatement. In most other nations with a real functioning justice system, most of this swamp with the vermin of humanity would be in jail cells.
The APA? Hell they are just a segment of a torture regime...
JinTexas -> Haynonnynonny 10 Jul 2015 22:03
In light of this:
How would we know if they've stopped doing it or not?
rfs2014 -> Slo27 10 Jul 2015 22:03
no, doctors are the worst. it's their job to help people. not so with lawyers.
dakaygees -> Haynonnynonny 10 Jul 2015 22:02
Which US was able to correct it self by condemning torture? You must be living on another planet.
TheBBG 10 Jul 2015 22:01
The Americans need Tony Abbott and his far right wing Liberal-Fascist Party for salvation. He will show them how to make it legal to torture and illegal to tell anyone about it, first or second hand.
bobliv -> Haynonnynonny 10 Jul 2015 22:00
Read the White Rabbit by Bruxe Marahall, just a variation on theme.
rfs2014 -> Lex Lozano 10 Jul 2015 22:00
by that logic, you should have no problem with terrorists capturing and torturing american armed services personnel (whose main goal may be to kill as many terrorists as possible).
the geneva conventions are there for a reason - each side believes it's right, so we need some basic standards by which to conduct ourselves in times of war. not torturing the other side is a good place to start.
Athell -> William Brown 10 Jul 2015 21:58
Of course, any fascist surveillance state considers everyone a threat
Athell -> Haynonnynonny 10 Jul 2015 21:57
Ha ha ha true - but I just think he was trying to compare the level of atrocities committed by the nazis to the one committed by the US government since the Bush years - and perpetuated by the Obama administration
Athell alverta 10 Jul 2015 21:55
Yeah, that bunch of criminals have evaded justice for many years.
Haynonnynonny 10 Jul 2015 21:55
In the history of humanity, all nations will torture, and fall from good character: only some, unlike the US teeter there longer, stay there, or go so far off the deep end they end up like Nazi Germany, or the Soviets. That the US was able to correct its self, and condemn the torture, and move on, drives many mad.
tomjoadmcalister 10 Jul 2015 21:53
Psychologists are not medical professionals. Why does the Guardian keep mistakenly referring to them as such? This habitual error casts doubt on the credibility of this and related articles.
en1gm4 -> MondoFundi 10 Jul 2015 21:53
Bingo. Democracy, rule of law etc is just a charade. In reality the rulers of today are no different than those of years ago. We're just compliant because we have a little version of freedom. So they keep us happy whilst they do what they want.
Maybe some time in the future justice will prevail but for now nothing is going to happen.
Haynonnynonny kowalli 10 Jul 2015 21:51
The Nazi never water boarded any one. If you get a chance, stop by your local library, and get a history book.
alverta 10 Jul 2015 21:44
Start with Bush. Cheney, Rummie and Condi first... Add in Wolfie and all who are already signed on to advise Jebbie.
Mansa Mahmoud gastinel1 10 Jul 2015 21:42
US foreign policy is dictated by US corporate interests. Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany (prior to WW1) were focused on colonization. Under the colonization model, the European countries owned the colonized countries and extracted resources and cheap labor to support the 'Home' economy.
America (aside from Okinawa Japan, Phillipinnes, Guam) prefers not to maintain direct control. Rather america installs puppets; the purpose of the puppets is to make it easy for american companies to exploit the resources of the proxy (via puppets) controlled nations. During the cold war, the USSR wasted resources in trying to finance and manage warsaw pact nations. The USSR did it (partially) for ideological reasons. USA focused on maintaining proxy control and creating access to cheap resources for american companies. That is the entire premise of globalization.. it enables an american (by brand only) company to access cheap labor and provides said company with access to a world of consumers.
Once you understand that fundamental concept, then american foreign policy makes absolute sense. America is run for the benefit of the big dollar people; nothing less, nothing more. Read the book "Confessions of a Hit Man".
kowalli 10 Jul 2015 21:39
nazi at the full face. USA are bunch of nazi
William Brown StuartBooth 10 Jul 2015 21:37
The U.S. Government considers its own citizens a threat. That's why they spy.
Brian Lippe 10 Jul 2015 21:37
Typical. They should start with Cheney if they're going to prosecute anyone and spread out from there. He's still saying it was OK!
StuartBooth 10 Jul 2015 21:34
American Exceptionalism allows Americans carte blanch to commit any crime against foreigners. Like standing on a cockroach.
Alistair73 10 Jul 2015 21:30
Lets not forget all the commie regimes... Stalin and Lenin, Mao, Castro, Pol Pot, Kim Jong Un and his daddy and grand daddy, and now Maduro in Venezuela, Castro in Cuba, Mugabe in Zimbabwe. You would think the left would embrace state sanctioned torture since it has been relentlessly practiced by all of its heroes.
camerashy 10 Jul 2015 21:24
Every god damn single one of these psychopaths must prosecuted and put behind bars! No apologies should be accepted. They're nothing but human scum!
philbertdelamorgue -> Trig Satyr 10 Jul 2015 21:22
the APA has a code of ethics, modelled after the Hippocratic oath. these psychologists violated that code of ethics, and then the APA took steps to protect them, at the expense of their own ethical code. that's the problem, independent of the guilt or innocence of the people tortured.
gastinel1 -> Mansa Mahmoud 10 Jul 2015 21:21
I appreciate what you are saying, however US foreign policy adopted the theme of 'America First' long before Bush and Cheney. This policy runs counter to its own stated values of freedom and democracy because it necessitates ensuring compliance from other regimes to American capitalist aspirations.
confettifoot -> libbyliberal 10 Jul 2015 21:19
It's a hard education. The best among us recoil; it breaks the heart and poisons everything, knowing. That's the problem. It wasn't so long ago that the Nazis discovered the same - make it so awful that no one can quite wrap their mind around it, so atrocious that it can't be discussed at table, so ugly that passing the information feels like assault. Make it very expensive to resist, make it life-wrecking - someone suggested that we stop paying taxes. That won't catch on. It's not just America. The world is full of good Nazis, frowning silently into the middle distance. We're all deploring like crazy in here. Who among is is actually doing something?
photosymbiosis 10 Jul 2015 21:13
One question here - what about the use of psychoactive / neuroleptic drugs in interrogation? Was that used? I just ask because those few Gitmo detainees seen in public so far have that kind of nodding dazed drooling expression of the lithium / tricyclic / SSRI victim of excessive drug treatment - nodding, dazed, stumbling, etc? Have they been doing drug-based interrogation on top of the waterboarding?
confettifoot -> Jake Wilson 10 Jul 2015 21:11
Pogo. You know. "I have seen the enemy...".
confettifoot -> pogomutt 10 Jul 2015 21:10
I don't want my life purchased by torture. I agree with those who don't believe that it saves anyone, anyway, but come down to it? I'm radical. Don't want to live in a world in which torture is"just n case" standard procedure. Sorry. Ends don't justify means. Appeal to self-interest here is shabby and false.
fairandreasonabletoo 10 Jul 2015 21:06
The spirit of one Doctor Josef Mengele……….found its way to America with all the other NAZI baggage….
It would seem?
gastinel1 10 Jul 2015 21:05
Its interesting isn't it, how governments justify torture. The Nazis were convinced that they needed to weed out dissidents and spies by any means possible. When the Allies occupied Germany, suspected Nazis were also given a very rough time. Those post war interrogators gained a lot of 'useful' experience and that has really formed the basis of postwar interrogation techniques - human rights be damned.
gastinel1 10 Jul 2015 20:57
They could have saved themselves a bit of money by recruiting NCO's from the British Army who served in Northern Ireland. They know all the techniques. To be fair to the UK Government, they did apologise. But then again, why did the UK go back to doing it with the Americans? What values did they say they are protecting?
CostaParkiMik -> Emily Pulane 10 Jul 2015 20:54
such sincerity ..... while forgetting that your lot were the illegal invading force operating in the interests of corporations and zionist interests.... who had spent years degrading the public infrastructure of a sovereign nations causing the deaths of many hundreds and thousands of women, children the old and the sick.
libbyliberal 10 Jul 2015 20:52
In Jan. 2014 I attended a "World Can't Wait"-sponsored NYC forum on Gitmo and a screening of "Doctors on the Dark Side" directed by psychologist Martha Davis.
Todd Pierce, who had been a Gitmo prisoner lawyer, said that our society expects professional people to exhibit high ethical standards. This has not been the case and an alarming number has colluded with the amoral Bush administration's torture program.
From the film I learned about the horrific tortures some ended by the Obama adm. and SOME NOT at Gitmo!
Temperature extremes, sensory deprivation, 24 hour flourescent lighting, 24 hour sustained assaultive noise, solitary confinement, riot squad attacks and punchouts with night sticks, sleep deprivation, aggressive force feeding, genital mutilation, sexual degradation, threats to kill a prisoner's family members, manipulation with drugs, stress positions, organ-damaging, bone-breaking sustained shackling and suspension from vulnerable body parts, withholding of appropriate and timely medical care, the infamous water boarding, etc. ETCETERA!!!
I also learned that having military personnel present motivated torturers to push torture to nth degree. Emergency tracheotomies at times had to be conducted on prisoners who had been zealously waterboarded. In spite of medical personnel present at least 100 prisoners were "inadvertently" tortured to death. Medical personnel were then pressured to falsify death certificates to cover up such mistakes.
UK's Andy Worthington spoke of not only the number of wrong place/wrong time innocent men rendered and tortured but how Obama's promises of release and then betrayals is a spiritual torture that has resulted in profound despair and even suicides. How the US Congress is heartless about Gitmo, wanting to posture as tough on terror and Pentagon issues propaganda about recidivism rates to back them up.
Worthington said Obama has decided to kill people with drones instead of use capture and imprisonment. Once again, innocent lives are destroyed with this reckless program.
Debra Sweet of WCW said instead of trying to win foreign hearts and minds the US is instead traumatizing and terrorizing foreign hearts and minds (and radicalizing them) with its draconian detention and torture programs.
Torture begats false confessions which the Bush administration used to justify its war.
Mitchell and Jenner who reversed the SERE program and set up the advanced interrogation program Worthington disclosed are now covered by a $5 million defense fund provided by CIA against attempts at liability and accountability. Mitchell was the one who decided one prisoner be waterboarded 83 times!
creweman 10 Jul 2015 20:50
Who wants to bet that the maximum penalty imposed on any individual will be nothing more than a slap on the wrist? The United States Of Hypocrisy will see to that.
CostaParkiMik Urgelt 10 Jul 2015 20:47
"....There are no such pressures on the FBI or the Attorney General to do their jobs and enforce the law....."
I could imagine with white man, intellectual arrogance that they saw it as part of their "mission" to maintain and spread all that's good and right about the American way and do away with threats to that mission..... self righteous neo christian nazis.
F H Dar 10 Jul 2015 20:46
21st Centuries truly Savage State, which a 'special relationship' with Britain?
reto 10 Jul 2015 20:44
It's a little like the death penalty... I don't really care what they do to terrorists who have carried out attacks and killed innocent people but do really hope they only do it to people who are guilty. What is clear is that the guy who is actually torturing is crazy afterwards. As for the APA... this organisation is so awash with group think and peudo-expertise I doubt they have found out anything at all despite their many "experiments". Being a scientist requires a minimum IQ. Look, if you actually can find out things using torture, why not have it in your arsenal but experience after 9/11 (see Senate report), the last couple of hundred years and the inquisition seems to suggest that it doesn't work well for most purposes. Names are just codes these days and aren't that important anymore in a cell command structure.
BrianHarry 10 Jul 2015 20:24
If medical professionals were coerced into lying about torture after 9/11, it's not to hard to imagine that the N.I.S.T. report(the official explanation of what happened on 9/11) is also a lie.
The question is, "Who in government, CIA, FBI, etc, found it necessary to coerce these people into lying"? And Why?
PamelaKatz JohnML2015 10 Jul 2015 20:15
The APA is currently lobbying the AMA (American Medical Association) and Congress to be permitted to prescribe and dispense drugs used to treat psychological/psychiatric disorders. Unless the APA outs every single one of these guys and kicks them out of APA permanently, yanks their licenses, and gets rid of every member of their Association's Board of Governors who 'covered up' these ethical breaches, no psychologist should be eligible for insurance reimbursement. Nothing happens until you hit the pocketbooks of the whole community.
1cjcarpenter 10 Jul 2015 20:14
In my opinion the APA and its members lost the majority of their credibility well before any CIA involvement. The 1995 Little Rascals day care trials, for a start, showed a degree of irresponsibility that I would have labeled criminal.
pogomutt 10 Jul 2015 20:13
"Community standards" What a fucking joke. The American Psychological Association came out with a position paper only a few years back that classified the rape of children by homosexuals as an "orientation". It's TRUE, Guardian! Live with it!
ID5175635 FancyFootwork 10 Jul 2015 20:00
A bit overboard, don't you think? APA is an organization. Some in that organization may be guilty of wrongdoing. The vast majority of APA members are psychologists who work in schools, workplaces, universities, for NASA, the DOD, and other workplaces and have no relationship with torture in any manner.
Michael Williams 10 Jul 2015 20:00
Right. Blame the doctors. Not the people giving the orders.
When Bush hangs, then we can worry about the doctors.
Barry_Seal franzbonsema 10 Jul 2015 19:57
They have domestic assassination squads and NSA surveillance teams to deal with any prosecutors who get any funny ideas which might threaten "national security"
Barry_Seal 10 Jul 2015 19:52
The CIA is absolutely untouchable. They are the law and they are the true government of the USA. They cannot and will not be prosecuted for anything. This is not because they never do anything illegal; it is because they are the government agency tasked with doing that which is illegal. This is the true reason why the CIA must necessarily be so secretive - nearly everything they become involved with is a grave legal and moral crime.
Angelaaaa Brucetopher 10 Jul 2015 19:51
Probably because alcohol, drugs and so-called "truth serums" don't actually deliver the truth. They just lower inhibitions. As anyone who has listened to chemically-enhanced stream-of-consciousness rambling will gather. You may get some truth (Grandma smells ... ) but probably no razor-sharp insights.
Of course, torture doesn't deliver the truth either. Just for other reasons.
The point that no one in power ever wants to acknowledge is that the most reliable way to get the truth is from someone who really wants to deliver it.
Bankhead 10 Jul 2015 19:50
Is it correct to refer to psychologists as part of the medical community? The writer perhaps should distinguish between Psychiatrists (medical doctors) and Psychologists (PhDs). As I recall, the Psychiatric professional association(s) were demonstrably against participation in military interrogation during the period in question.
Denial, however, is a term familiar to both professions. There is an irony on display here, and not a small amount of hubris.
Haggala Jeffrey_Harrison 10 Jul 2015 19:40
When the Americans were accused of torture after the world saw the Abu Ghraib images, the American administration to let themselves off the hook just redefined the terminology.
And that is what humanity does to allow itself to make the same mistakes of the past, it changes the definition unconsciously mostly but in the Abu Ghraib situation that was a conscious change.
And still GTMO is in operation where there are still untried prisoners being interrogated, where we may wonder is the beast we fight actually the image in the mirror
Angelaaaa synchronicfusion 10 Jul 2015 19:39
No. It's a fairly straightforward definition of the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist - the terms are not interchangeable.
The difference is important because psychologists want desperately to be acknowledged as "doctors" (Mengele notwithstanding) - rather than expensive crackpots for the chattering classes. To that end, their organisations adopt similar ethical commitments. However, unlike psychiatrists, joining these organisations is voluntary. And even if they kick out a member, that psychologist can still hang out a shingle and continue counselling, regardless of whether s/he is guilty of government-sanctioned torture, sleeping with patients or just really bad at the job.
Psychiatrists however, as doctors, can be stripped of the right to practice if they are proven to be incompetent or unethical.
ro2124 Will D 10 Jul 2015 19:34
Indeed if it was some African dictator Mr Yankee would be screaming for justice!
Still guess we should not be surprised after all the illegal wars, torture, lies, illegal gathering of information by the NSA and the way their police forces are behaving at the moment gunning down unarmed people like there was no tomorrow.
The Yanks have absolutely no credibility left whatsoever !!
But, hell when someone exposes the truth like Mr Snowden then they fall over themselves and scream about justice, etc what a bunch of damn hypocrites!
FancyFootwork 10 Jul 2015 19:30
Finally, those righteous and morally upright men and women, who for a very long time cried foul very loudly will feel vindicated that an upcoming report by an investigator, who was personally chosen by the brass of the APA is slated to point fingers at the organization, its leadership and members.
The report will blast a bombshell, which will be seriously consequential to the livelihood, reputation and possibly freedom of many in the APA, which includes the elite brass, who where involved with the Bush Administration by schooling, aiding and abetting its its principal torturing institution: The CIA
Now the APA will forever be decidedly linked with Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Who can forget the image of the imprisoned man at Abu Ghraib, kneeling on the floor, hands tied and been stared at eye level by a barking German Shepherd, which looked ready to bite and sever his head from his body. The horror displayed by the man was unsettling. How about the image of a hooded person in a black robe, arms spread, standing to look like enduring crucifixion? And the APA will also be forever lined with the term WATERBOARDING.
This is an institution that was entrusted to use the science of psychology to safeguard the mental and psychological health of Americans. Instead, it used its knowledge and power to do to engage in morally and ethically reprehensible acts of torture.
No doubt, the anticipated report will provide tremendous moral and political boost to those, who endured years of humiliation, rebuke, ridicule and even threats to their livelihood for opposing torture in all its forms. They will come back swinging with a swagger, aiming and hoping for a grand slam. My hope is that, once the necessary number of APA heads are bashed, the momentum will shift to go after Bush Administration officials Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, the former president himself and many other big fish, or small minnows that were involved in the CIA torture program.
Now, that will be quiet an event bigger in scale to the impeachment of former President Nixon, who by comparison committed far lesser reprehensible act than George W Bush and cohorts
Ali Kerrouzi 10 Jul 2015 19:27
And then they wander why USA is hated all over the world, Bush's administration is partly responsible what's happening in Iraq now and Syria, Bush & Blair made our world more dangerous created more terrorism they get away with it in this life but they will have to answer God on the judgment day for the blood on their hand, the torture, millions of refugees
IntoOblivion 10 Jul 2015 19:26
Better late than never. Many of us already knew what "enhanced interrogation techniques" really meant, an euphemism for terrorism. And that "responsible and humane medical practices" were never compatible with "EIT".
That doesn't mean that the ones who ordered the torture are not the ones we should really blame and that should face justice. But doctors were also aware of what they were doing.
Bklynite53 10 Jul 2015 19:23
Why do they always go after the bottom feeders first. Time to start at the top and that means the commander-in - chief.
talenttruth Juan Olmo (MOSAICOS COQUI') 10 Jul 2015 19:19
I HOPE that this is satire. If so, funny. If not . . .
The "war" against terrorism is an INVENTED FANTASY LIE, by the U.S. military industrial complex, to waste American's money, even beyond the 53% of our ENTIRE national budget going to Eternal War (and huge eternal profits for the criminals behind the "war industry".)
Yes there are insane "terrorists." And they have insane, sociopathic leaders and lost, borderline personality "followers." But the American response (all for PROFITS) is to turn everything into a fear/fear/fear 24/7 "War."
The Republicans are the paid representative of the Eternal War Profits machine.
Having the APA support Bush, or any other criminal who kills hundreds of thousands of people, just to further enrich themselves, is despicable. And Yichen Hu is partly right, Bush, Cheney, Halliburton's entire board and a host of other criminals should have been prosecuted for war crimes years ago.
Theodore Svedberg Laudig 10 Jul 2015 18:58
True psychologists are not physicians. However, there were a number of "real" physicians, i.e. AMA accredited doctors, that worked at Guantanomo who monitored the health of torture victims and alerted the interrogators that their subjects were close to death and they did two things: stopped the torture and then treated the victims back beyond the verge of death. At that point the torturers could resume their "interrogation". We know this was happening. So far these doctors names have not been revealed.
If the APA is now cleaning house on their torturer enablers maybe it is about time for the AMA to start looking into the "real" doctors that were part of this system.
ro2124 Brucetopher 10 Jul 2015 18:57
>Why do elaborate, horrendously painful, cruel and vicious actions need >to be undertaken
No doubt some are sadists and enjoy it and as any real interrogator knows, evidence under torture is mostly useless. If someone wired up my dangly bits to the mains, I am sure I would confess anything from eating babies for breakfast to being the best mate of Osama Bin Liner!
and the Yanks still insist on lecturing the rest of us about morals and the "Land of the Free" and all the other bullshit they like to spout ...but slowly we are seeing what a bunch of hypocrite F**** they really are!
Littlemissv norecovery 10 Jul 2015 18:51
Here is a comment from JCDavis with some important information:
Russ Tice revealed that the NSA was spying on Obama as early as 2004 at the behest of Dick Cheney, who had already convinced the NSA's director Hayden to break the law and spy on everyone with power.
It can't be any coincidence that President Obama went (or was sent) to Bill "Cheney is the best Republican" Kristol to get his foreign policy validated, and Kristol congratulated him on it, calling him a "born-again neocon."
And it is no coincidence that Obama has the Cheney protegee Victoria Nuland in his administration, right in the center of his new cold war with Russia. And no coincidence that she is the wife of neocon Robert Kagan, who with Bill Kristol founded PNAC. PNAC counts neocon Paul Wolfowitz as a member, who saw Russia as our main obstacle to world empire.
It's a nest of neocons running Obama as a puppet and pushing us into a confrontation with Russia while smashing all the Russian allies according to the Wolfowitz doctrine.
Littlemissv -> marydole 10 Jul 2015 18:46
the US and it's partners in crime turn around and say "gee how come all these folks got radicalised and are out to kill us"?
Gore Vidal explained why very well back in 2002 in his book, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got to Be So Hated
Littlemissv -> ID8918386 10 Jul 2015 18:41
I'm reminded of the work of R J Lifton
Yes! Lifton appeared on Democracy Now two months ago: Robert Jay Lifton, Author of "The Nazi Doctors": Psychologists Who Aided Torture Should Be Charged
Everyone should watch Amy Goodman's terrific interview with the 89-year-old, and very wise Lifton.
gtggtg -> IanCPurdie 10 Jul 2015 18:29
"I think you will find the USA has exempted itself from international law, ..."
Yes, and they should be called on it, relentlessly. Law is not law, only tyranny, if one can exempt oneself from it.
When a Spanish court took on Pinochet and by extension his US partners, this scared the shit out of powerful people here in the US, much more than has been let on. File charges against the bastards; demand their appearance; when they refuse to show up, try them in absentia; if found guilty, arrest them should they ever touch foot in that jurisdiction or wherever there is recognized procedures for extradition. Keep doing it again and again and again. Eventually it will have an effect, although it may seem hopeless now.
Imran Nazir 10 Jul 2015 18:23
Adam Curtis: Bitter Lake. . Puts things into perspective.
Longasyourarm KDHymes 10 Jul 2015 18:21
Regrettably true. The problem began with the notion that putting pharma into bed with academics would generate miracles, a delusion shared by many neocon governments.
confettifoot Longasyourarm 10 Jul 2015 18:19
No - I read the link. "Learned helplessness" is a thing that's been around since Pavlov, and is helpful in compassionately understanding depression. It wasn't developed for the military, and you've taken Seligman's comments wildly out of context. I HATE these bastards, want them out of the profession - Seligman is very much a pacifist, well-known good guy, actually well out of the medicalized model, against coercion, opponent to bad stuff in the profession and that's why I was shocked.
If you have real source that he was hushing up whistleblowers show me and I'll loathe him, but it would be extraordinarily out of character. Be careful with people's reputations.
frazzerr 10 Jul 2015 18:18
This is great don't get me wrong, they deserve to be jailed and for a considerably long time, but who oversaw all of the torture and sometimes the torture of innocent people?
He is also responsible for the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan as a direct reaction to the 9/11 bombing when neither Iraq or Afghanistan had any connections with Al-Qaeda.
I'll never forget his comment, "'I am driven with a mission from God'. God would tell me, 'George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did. And then God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did."
When is George W. Bush going to tried for his war crimes?
redpill 10 Jul 2015 18:02
US torture doctors could face charges after report alleges post-9/11 'collusion'
Good. Let them try using the Nuremberg defence!
MiniMo 10 Jul 2015 18:01
"an independent review revealed that medical professionals lied and covered up their extensive involvement in post-9/11 torture. The revelation, puncturing years of denials, creates the potential for leadership firings, loss of licenses and even prosecutions."
The very sad part of this is that they were involved in even a slightest way in torture, not that they might lose their jobs or prosecuted.They fully deserve to lose their jobs at the very least.
They are expected to be caring professionals. Obviously not always so, and they've let down most of their colleagues so very badly, as the majority of them really do care.
KDHymes Pete Street 10 Jul 2015 18:01
Your last paragraph pretty much reveals your true point of view. Know any women in the military? Bet they'd appreciate your words so much.
You know what? We could argue all day about whether any of this was justified, and as others have pointed out, your argument is irrelevant because all of it is illegal under both US and international law. But let's stick with something you might understand: it does not work. Period. Coerced confessions lead to bad decisions by those who use the information. How's things going for the US and Europe in the Middle East? Did any of these crimes make a single thing better?
Please enlighten us as to what difference torture made for us. And you'll have to do better than citing the same discredited cases over and over again. EVERY TIME the government has claimed to receive useful intel from torture, it has been disproved by those actually in the know. If they have evidence that is valid, they would surely be presenting it. But no, they don't have that, because there isn't any, so the only things they can do is lie and hope the first media report out-shouts the correction.
These people are very very stupid. NGIC is right up the road from me. They continue to have amazing smug confidence about their work. And yet their work has consistently been poor and misleading. Same goes for Homeland Security, the CIA, and the NSA. Every time we actually get a look at the details, it's obvious they don't know what they are doing at all, they're just spending their budgets, and sometimes indulging their sadism and racist paranoia.
But this has been the case all along with bloated intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Look at the FBI in the 60s and 70s. It's criminal, but it's also frankly laughable. There's a culture that builds up of certainty and self-reinforced ideology, and it becomes incapable of thought. It's worse now, because so much of the intelligence gathering is done from a desk. They know very little, but pretend they know so much. All that tech and all that spying can't make you smart. And we're all paying the very high price in dollars and military lives for their willful ignorance.
confettifoot marydole 10 Jul 2015 17:55
That's correct. And we all become good Nazis insofar as we tolerate it - but the average citizen has very little power against uber-powerful institutions like those that perform these abominations with our tax dollars. It's an outrage not only against the direct victims, but against every decent American and the conscience of this country.
IGiveTheWatchToYou 10 Jul 2015 17:52
"Sections of a previously classified CIA document, made public by the Guardian, empower the agency's director to "approve, modify, or disapprove all proposals pertaining to human subject research". The leeway provides the director, who has never in the agency's history been a medical doctor, with significant influence over limitations the US government sets to preserve safe, humane and ethical procedures on people."
I assume there's a tranche of records waiting to be discovered from US black sites around the world detailing various unspeakable illegal human experimentation projects with subjects rendered, I mean kidnapped from a war zone, by the military.
KDHymes Longasyourarm 10 Jul 2015 17:49
Here's an alum who heartily agrees with you. I've watched this pseudo-science play havoc with family members, generating income and label after label, while ignoring crimes. I worked as a residential social worker in Ohio for 7 years, with people who were placed in group homes and apartments after the Athens Mental Health Center was closed. Several were simply slightly eccentric people whose families had committed them for the sin of inconvenience, or in one case for daring to stand up to sexual abuse. The "care" was a scandalous mixture of polypharmacology and hideous punishments. Yeah, it was a while ago, but these folks are still alive, and the "doctors" who signed off on all of it have never been held accountable, never even been forced to apologize to them. And these days what we seem to have in the US is, like everything else, multi-tiered according to class and ethnicity and income. Being weird while poor is a shooting offense. Being an abusive sociopath while rich gets you a label and a suspended sentence, with the help of well paid "expert witnesses."
There is no integrity, no real science, behind any of it. Partly this results from the ongoing fantasy that human behavior can be reduced to chemicals and imaging. But a lot of it has to do with the profit motive and attendant careerism, with the pharmaceutical industry and the psychotherapeutic industries smiling hand in hand on the way to the bank.
aardivark 10 Jul 2015 17:49
Stephen Behnke, has a Yale law degree and a psychology Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. How ominous does that sound?
Mike Casey 10 Jul 2015 17:48
As these build, more and more people will be implicated. The APA, being a private organization can be held accountable more easily than can government officials. Hopefully this will lead to prosecution of decision makers within the government. We the people need to make our leaders accountable!
Jeffrey_Harrison usernameshinobi2 10 Jul 2015 17:35
You make me sick to my stomach. Just a few bad apples? Right. Torture is illegal under US law and our treaty obligations. For the military to conduct it, everybody from the CinC down to the individual torturer knew that. That's not a few nor were they rogue individuals acting on their own as you imply. This was systematic abuse of human beings deliberately conducted by the United States Government aided and abetted by Psychologists. They are scum and should be a total embarrassment to their profession although transparently the "profession" doesn't see it that way.
Contrary to your assertions, torture was not practiced nor condoned by the US military in the past and individual service members who tortured, even in the heat of battle, were punished. We also convicted foreigners who perpetrated the things that these psychologists did of war crimes after WWII. But never fear! I'm sure Egypt or Libya has an open slot for you in their system.
Longasyourarm 10 Jul 2015 17:35
The leading scumbag in the above story is illustrated in the link. He was instrumental in hiding and excusing the links between the corrupt APA and the CIA These greedy psychologist parasites are not physicians, everyone should realize, even though they make No attempt to clear the confusion that they are medical doctors.
The abject debasement of their own professional standards owes much to this Martin Seligman who was president of the APA and tried to squelch the whistleblowers.
He should be jailed and tortured by those who have suffered from the application of his crackpot theories, which he developed by giving electric shocks to dogs. The poor excuse for a university department that is psychology at Penn should be closed.
TaiChiMinh Pete Street 10 Jul 2015 17:35
Sorry for posting this twice, it was meant as a response to the apologist for US crimes, Pete Street:
>> The context of this historical period justifies torture not involving death or permanent physical injury, in order to protect national security at home and abroad. This context we call wartime.
Actually, the UN treaty (signed by the US in 1988 and ratified by the US in 1994) - Convention against Torture and Other Inhuman and Degrading Acts - specifically rejects the case you are trying to make, which makes you an apologist for crimes:
"2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political stability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification for torture."
Nor does US law make an exception for wartime: "18 U.S. Code § 2340A - Torture
(a) Offense.- Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life. . . .
(c) Conspiracy.- A person who conspires to commit an offense under this section shall be subject to the same penalties (other than the penalty of death) as the penalties prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy."
Throw the book at them - and the people up to W who designed this criminal enterprise.
Maybe you can come up with an rectal destruction exception? Keep, er, probing . . .
Gegenbeispiel 10 Jul 2015 17:35
Is there way for the International Criminal Court in the Hague to issue arrest warrants against these people? The US would not, of course, recognise them but it would keep them out of international professional conferences and make them afraid to ever travel outside the US.
DerekCurrie richy1 10 Jul 2015 16:43
richy: I warned you that 'the masses' aren't prepared to face the treasonous nightmare. Don't feel bad.
Meanwhile, the proven evidence of the enablement of 9/11 by the Bush League continues to collect. Hiding from it and hating on it won't change the facts. No looniness or anti-Semite bad attitude is required to read what really went on that day and thereafter. No clap trap. No Holocaust denial. No anything denial. Just the facts. Sorry about that.
drew4439 10 Jul 2015 16:41
Witch hunt.. Where are Cheyney, Rumsfeld and Pearl in all this..
MiltonWiltmellow 10 Jul 2015 16:25
In 2004, after the Abu Ghraib torture scandal burst into public view, the emails detailed a private meeting of APA officials with CIA and military psychologists to "provide input on how the APA should deal with the growing furor", Risen wrote.
The word "collusion" comes to mind.
Perhaps "criminal conspiracy."
Kudos to those APA members/agitators who forced a reckoning.
As long as the CIA (DoJ) isn't setting up Behnke et al as scapegoats to distract from the institutional criminality of the Bush administration, this is a great report. One doesn't need the ethics of the APA to read and understand the Constitutional prohibition against "cruel and unusual punishment."
Finally a reckoning appears on the horizon.
I hope it isn't a mirage.
These people attacked and harmed America as surely as the terrorists. Their self-proclaimed virtue and patriotism aren't relevant. (For instance, by their actions, they allow members of ISIS to argue their atrocities are reprisals.)
Let's see the DoJ and FBI perform their actual duties rather than interdicting terror plots which they imagine, instigate, finance and then -- with much publicity -- discover and prevent.
DerekCurrie 10 Jul 2015 16:17
This minor revelation about 9/11 is nothing compared to the Bush League's involvement in enabling that day and lying their way into the Iraq War, as per the plans of both the Israeli government and their pawn in the USA: PNAC, Project for the New American Century, run by the Neo-Con-Jobs. So much of this is out for anyone to read and prove to themselves at least a critical part of what really happened that day and thereafter. But the masses still aren't prepared to face that treasonous nightmare.
But if you want to get started!
Here's where scientists and engineers are collecting proven data about the actual 9/11 events. You won't enjoy it:
kgb999again 10 Jul 2015 16:17
I'm almost positive Mitchell and Jessen were members of the APA when they were designing and selling torture campaigns a decade ago. IIRC, at the time they were vocally supported by the then-president who also had ties to some of the companies that were monetizing interrogation techniques.
No longer being members seems irrelevant to the actions the APA has taken over the years defending the behavior of these two specifically - and the consistent APA defenses of these practices in general.
John Smith 10 Jul 2015 16:14
OK, this mind come across as a bit cold, but human rights aside, what most amazes me about this whole sad affair is that the APA didn't brief the US government about what value of intel can be gained from torture.
Torture has been found to be excellent in extracting confessions: the subject, once deprived of all hope and having to rely on their torturer for all emotional support and empathy, will confess to anything. Even shooting Kennedy.
As a means of securing reliable, actual info, it's worse than useless. Subjects will give answers to please their captors, and avoid pain.
This is widely known. If the APA didn't pass this advice on, they are actually complicit in undermining the safety and effectiveness of the US intelligence gathering organisations.
The APA would appear to have been caught up in both a blood lust for terrorists, and root and branch stupidity. What a mess.
sampson01 10 Jul 2015 16:13
The APA chose to be a rubber stamp for the govt, and allow for its members to be there to reaserch what the boundries were separating 'enhanced interrogation' and torture. Thus using human subjects being exposed to enhanced interrogation in an experiment to assess if it was in fact torture. One of the architects of this program (though hadn't renewed his APA membership) has admitted (proudly on Fox News) that he personally water boarded a prisoner during an interagation session.
The Wrong Senator to Oversee the CIA
Richard Burr now leads the intelligence committee, but he seems more interested in protecting the agency than holding it accountable.
Jan 22 2015, 6:56 AM ET
Senator Richard Burr is acting like a man who doesn't understand the role or duties that he now has. With the Republican Party assuming control of Congress, the North Carolinian is chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, the body charged with overseeing the CIA. His responsibilities are momentous. All senators are called to act as power-jealous checks on the executive branch. And the particular mission of the Senate intelligence committee, created in the wake of horrific CIA abuses, obligates Burr to "provide vigilant legislative oversight over the intelligence activities of the United States" and "to assure that such activities are in conformity with the Constitution and laws."
But as Senator Burr begins this job, he is behaving less like an overseer than a CIA asset. Rather than probe problems at the spy agency, of which there have been many, his first priority has been aiding CIA efforts to cover up past misdeeds. It is hard to imagine a more flagrantly inappropriate act by a head overseer.
Asking More From the Next State of the Union Address
Specifically, Burr is trying to help the CIA to suppress two reports on its torture of prisoners. Like the spy agency, he never wants the full reports to reach the public, and he is misusing his position on the oversight committee to advance that agenda. One report was commissioned by Leon Panetta, a former CIA director. Though it is classified, people who've seen it assert that it paints a scathing portrait of a spy agency that misled its overseers about the efficacy of tactics like waterboarding. No wonder current and former overseers on the intelligence committee, like Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, found great value in reading it.
But despite the significant value that some of Burr's fellow overseers insist that they gleaned from The Panetta Review, Burr wants to return the Senate committee's copy of the document back to the CIA. "The Panetta Review was never intended for the committee to have," Burr told the Huffington Post. "At some point, we will probably send it back to where it came from." On its face, the explanation makes no sense. Why would Burr speak as if the intentions of the CIA are dispositive? His job is to oversee the spy agency, not to respect its desire for privacy. What could be more antithetical to the proper posture of an overseer? (As if a bureaucracy would intentionally turn over evidence of its own abuses.)
The Senate intelligence committee ought to thirst for every drop of information it can get as it polices a secretive spy agency with a long history of hiding illegal acts. No overseer can credibly deny the value of a report showing how overseers were misled.
Efforts by any U.S. Senator to spare the CIA accountability for its illegal torture are affronts to the rule of law.
So what is Burr up to? The apparent explanation is that he's selling out his colleagues to protect the CIA from having to release The Panetta Review to the public. In Freedom of Information Act litigation initiated by investigative journalist Jason Leopold, it would be useful to the CIA to persuade a judge that The Panetta Review constitutes an internal CIA deliberation rather than an agency record. Burr's comments on The Panetta Review seem calculated to bolster that case.
What's more, Senator Burr is taking a similar stance consistent with that motivation: He is also intent on keeping the full Senate report on torture from the public.
In bygone years, Burr sided with the CIA and against a majority of his Senate colleagues in their effort to create a definitive report on torture during the Bush years. Now, again an effective lackey for the bureaucracy he's ostensibly overseeing, "Burr sent a letter... to the White House saying that his Democratic predecessor, Senator Dianne Feinstein, should never have transmitted the entire 6,700-page report to numerous departments and agencies within the executive branch-and requested that all copies of the report be 'returned immediately,'" the New York Times reports. The newspaper makes an informed guess about his motives:
Mr. Burr's unusual letter to Mr. Obama might have been written with an eye toward future Freedom of Information Act lawsuits. Congress is not subject to such requests, and any success he has in getting the Obama administration to return all copies of the Senate report to the Intelligence Committee could hinder attempts to someday have the report declassified and released publicly.
Leopold, a FOIA expert, concurs. "By advising the White House to cease entering the full torture report into an executive branch system of records," he explains, "Burr is saying that the document is a 'congressional record,' which is exempt from FOIA, as opposed to an 'agency record,' which is subject to the provisions of the law."
Dianne Feinstein, who preceded Burr as head of the Senate intelligence committee, argues that his stance is wrongheaded. "I strongly disagree that the administration should relinquish copies of the full committee study, which contains far more detailed records than the public executive summary," she stated. "Doing so would limit the ability to learn lessons from this sad chapter in America's history and omit from the record two years of work, including changes made to the committee's 2012 report following extensive discussion with the CIA."
Efforts by any U.S. Senator to spare the CIA accountability for its illegal torture are affronts to the rule of law, given that a treaty signed by a former president and duly ratified by the U.S. Senate compels America to fully investigate such crimes. But Burr's actions with respect to the CIA are particularly inappropriate and alarming given that they're being undertaken by the man most responsible for uncovering and stopping its abuses. His actions are close to the antithesis of his responsibilities.
As ACLU senior legislative counsel Chris Anders put it to Vice News, "Burr's attempt to recall the report seems like a bid to thwart Congress's own Freedom of Information Act, which protects the rights of the American people to learn about their own government. Americans should ask, if Senator Burr isn't going to serve his role in the Constitution's system of checks and balances, then why did he want to be chairman of the intelligence committee? This is a poor start to a chairmanship."
Indeed, this start strongly suggests that Burr is unfit for that chairmanship, which is no surprise. This is the same man who told interviewers in March, "I personally don't believe that anything that goes on in the intelligence committee should ever be discussed publicly." If there is a politician less suited to fill a role created thanks to the Church Committee's work I can scarcely imagine what they'd say.
If the Republican Party has any desire for rigorous oversight of the intelligence community, they ought to strip Burr of his chairmanship. Since only a small faction of Senate Republicans concern themselves with CIA abuses, a more likely remedy is a strong Democratic challenger successfully claiming Burr's seat when he defends it in 2016–for unrelated reasons, he is already a target-or a Tea Party challenger from the Rand Paul/Mike Lee wing of the GOP mounting a primary challenge.
Presently, Burr shows greater concern for protecting CIA secrets from FOIA and leaks than conducting rigorous oversight, despite his unique responsibility for the latter. Past and present CIA lawbreakers can rest easier thanks to his dereliction of duty.
groundbreaking memoir of a current Guantánamo inmate that lays bare the harrowing details of the US rendition and torture programme from the perspective of one of its victims is to be published next week after a six-year battle for the manuscript to be declassified.
Guantánamo Diary, the first book written by a still imprisoned detainee, is being published in 20 countries and has been serialised by the Guardian amid renewed calls by civil liberty campaigners for its author's release.
Mohamedou Ould Slahi describes a world tour of torture and humiliation that began in his native Mauritania more than 13 years ago and progressed through Jordan and Afghanistan before he was consigned to US detention in Guantánamo, Cuba, in August 2002 as prisoner number 760. US military officials told the Guardian this week that despite never being prosecuted and being cleared for release by a judge in 2010, he is unlikely to be released in the next year.
The journal, which Slahi handwrote in English, details how he was subjected to sleep deprivation, death threats, sexual humiliation and intimations that his torturers would go after his mother.
After enduring this, he was subjected to "additional interrogation techniques" personally approved by the then US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld. He was blindfolded, forced to drink salt water, and then taken out to sea on a high-speed boat where he was beaten for three hours while immersed in ice.
The end product of the torture, he writes, was lies. Slahi made a number of false confessions in an attempt to end the torment, telling interrogators he planned to blow up the CN Tower in Toronto. Asked if he was telling the truth, he replied: "I don't care as long as you are pleased. So if you want to buy, I am selling."
Slahi's manuscript was subjected to more than 2,500 redactions before declassification, ostensibly to protect classified information, but with the effect of preventing readers from learning the full story of his ordeal. The book is being published with all the censor's marks in place, and the publishers – Canongate in the UK and Little, Brown in the US – hope they will be able to publish an uncensored edition when Slahi is eventually released.
... ... ...
The 44-year-old travelled twice to Afghanistan in the early 1990s. There, he swore allegiance to al-Qaida and joined the fight against the Soviet Union-backed regime in Kabul. He says he severed all connection with the group in 1992.
But after 9/11 he was detained on suspicion of being involved in an unsuccessful plot to bomb Los Angeles international airport while living in Canada in 1999. No evidence has been found to support the allegation, other than his own forced confessions. In 2004 a military lawyer refused to play any further part in the prosecution on the grounds that the evidence against him was the product of torture.
The chief military commissions prosecutor in the mid-2000s, Air Force colonel Morris Davis, later said he could not find any offence with which to charge Slahi.
The detainee's lawyer, Nancy Hollander, said:
"Mohamedou has never been charged with anything. The US has never charged him with a crime. There is no crime to charge him with. It's not that they haven't found the evidence against him – there isn't evidence against him. He's in what I would consider a horrible legal limbo, and it's just tragic: he needs to go home.
"Mohamedou's book takes us into the heart of this man the US government tortured, and continues to torture with indefinite detention. We feel, smell, even taste the torture he endures in his voice and within his heart. It is a book everyone should read."
Publisher Jamie Byng said Slahi's account was one of the most significant books Canongate would ever publish.
"It's a gracious, brutal, humbling, at times funny, but more often enraging, and ultimately heartbreaking testimony by a truly gifted writer. And all of his many international publishers hope that by bringing his story to the wider world we can play a part in ending his wrongful and barbaric imprisonment."
Selected Skeptical Comments
IainGlasgow -> Biggles844 17 Jan 2015 14:02
Have you seen the evidence against everyone (or anyone) being detained in Gunatanamo?
At least IRA bombers were tried and convicted according to the rule of law. Even those who were victims of fabricated evidence by rogue coppers had the chance to stand in a legitimate court of law. The Gunatanamo detainees for the most part are not granted even a close doors trial in front of a proper judge.
On the other hand if they are deemed "hostile combatants" and thus prisoners of war then international law dictates they be treated according to the Geneva Convention (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva_Convention_%281929%29).
gigaboots -> Hawkman100 17 Jan 2015 13:44
Eventually our leaders will have to negotiate with this new group of terrorists and come to a truce. Hopefully lessons can be learnt from the last 50 years of these types of conflicts where loss of life and brutality leads to stalemate emerges and the two sides have to come to an agreement.
I dont think we in the west really understand whats driving these Islamic extremists, what turns western educated middle class muslims to believe they are at war with the society they grew up in?. Is it the behaviour of western governments over the past decades who helped install despots like Saddam Hussein, arming them with poison gas and other vicious weapons, then removed them, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths and a power vacuum for organisations like ISIS to fill.
And now we have another Bush aiming to get into the Whitehouse. Hasn't the World suffered enough from this family?
ImaHack 17 Jan 2015 13:33
[T]he Murky Story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi
"...the naive reader would have very little sense from it of who Slahi really is or why he is still at Guantanamo-let alone why he was treated as he was...Slahi's case is, in fact, a murky one-and a very morally complicated one. Because while his interrogation was perfectly horrible and the evidence linking him to any one plot is not strong enough to support criminal charges, he's almost certainly not a character one wants to whitewash. Here is how D.C. Circuit Judge David Tatel described the facts found in his habeas case-excluding, as the district court did, those that depended on the brutalization Slahi endured-in remanding the matter to the district court for further hearings:
"...the record contains significant evidence that Salahi recruited for al Qaida and provided it with other support after his alleged withdrawal in 1992. For example, the district court found that Salahi sent a fax to al-Qaida operative Christopher Paul in January 1997, asking for his help in finding "a true Group and Place" for "some Brothers" interested in fighting jihad... Salahi admitted to interrogators that he knew Paul to be a "man of great respect in Al-Qaida" and that he sent the fax to "facilitate getting the [aspiring jihadists] to fight."
"As the district court recognized, "[t]he most damaging allegation against Salahi is that, in October 1999, he encouraged Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Marwan al-Shehhi, and Ziad Jarrah to join al-Qaida."...Bin al-Shibh helped coordinate the September 11 attacks, and al-Shehhi and Jarrah were two of the September 11 pilots...The government contends that while bin al-Shibh, al-Shehhi, and Jarrah had originally intended to travel to Chechnya to wage jihad against Russian forces, Salahi convinced them to travel instead to Afghanistan to receive military training. According to the government, the three men followed Salahi's advice and with his assistance traveled to Afghanistan, where they were recruited by al-Qaida into the September 11 plot. But the district court, having discounted portions of the government's evidence as unreliable and inconsistent, found only that "Salahi provided lodging for three men for one night at his home in Germany, that one of them was Ramzi bin al-Shibh, and that there was discussion of jihad and Afghanistan."
"There's one other reason to be suspicious of claims that Slahi is was just a wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time guy-or, as it would have to be in his case, an all-the-wrong-places-at-all-the-wrong-times guy: Slahi flipped, and when he did so, he provided a lot of information that someone who had played no role in Al Qaeda just wouldn't have had."
"For two detainees who told what they knew, Guantanamo becomes a gilded cage"
"Sawah, now 52, and Slahi, now 39, have become two of the most significant informants ever to be held at Guantanamo. Today, they are housed in a little fenced-in compound at the military prison, where they live a life of relative privilege-gardening, writing and painting-separated from other detainees in a cocoon designed to reward and protect. By all accounts, Guantanamo has become a surreal sort of home for Sawah and Slahi. Each has a modular unit outfitted with a television. Each has a well-stocked refrigerator. They share a garden, where they grow mint for tea...Together-and they are reported to have become close-they are known by some in the military as Guantanamo's "Odd Couple": The taciturn Sawah is 5-foot-10 and has, on occasion, ballooned to more than 400 pounds; the gregarious Slahi is short and slight. Sawah, an enthusiastic painter, has decorated his place with his own watercolor scenes of the ocean and has been allowed chaperoned walks by the sea. Slahi has used his time at Guantanamo to write his memoirs."
"What sort of information did Slahi provide to warrant this segregated comfort at Guantanamo? According to Finn, 'At some point, he began to provide information that helped officials chart connections among Islamist radicals across Europe.'
Terry Huggles gymnutkamal 17 Jan 2015 13:30
Yes and these are the kinds of age group, 10 year olds, who were raped in front of their mothers in Abu Ghraib by "heroes who serve". http://www.veteransnewsnow.com/2014/12/29/513543us-soldiers-raped-iraqi-boys-in-front-of-their-mothers/
German_Dude 17 Jan 2015 13:30
Good to see that when it comes to fighting terrorism, at least the american authorities are doing their job properly. Maybe they can give a seminar to the Bundesverfassungschutz. Would make me feel a lot safer.
Byron Williams -> Roguing 17 Jan 2015 13:29
Roguish. And the United States is not a police state?
Jake321 -> McLuskie 17 Jan 2015 13:27
Now that's a classic case of projection. It is the Islamist Sunnis in ISIS and Boko Haram that are this guy's ideological buddies who are doing a wee bit more serious torture and actually raping 4 year old girls...
The Islamist apologists are out in force today abeaded by the good old Guardian who felt a balance to the bad press the Islamists where getting in Europe of late was in order.
And it's always nice to feed the hate America First Crowd along with those who feel the wrong side won the Cold War...Congradulations...Good job...
aroundandback 17 Jan 2015 13:26
Seems that we humans worldwide have an enormous capacity for depravity, cruelty and corruption of our morals, ethics and integrity - the supposedly superior skill set of our species seems to be used in great part for thinking up the ways and the reasons to justify, rationalize and carry out the basest of our instincts.
Let's face it the reason is just fear, hate, revenge, and try as we might to "make righteous" of that under the banner of Religion, Nationalism, Defense, Ethnicity, Gender, Class, Economy …. it's just plain dishonest. Maybe if we owned that we could evolve.
Torture is, always was and always will be the act of a depraved society and a depraved mindset.
Peter Wilton -> Jim Wharry 17 Jan 2015 13:26
The bumbling in Iraq was done by Bush when he illegally entered it.
bmoorcroft 17 Jan 2015 13:15
Everyone feeling safer now?
Cause personally, if you take someone, torture them for a false confession, then deny them liberty because you don't want to admit wrong-doing...I'm thinking people get kinda pissed off...they're certainly not going to necessarily be interested in thinking favorably of you...
Are they planting the seeds for their next terrorist? If so, who is to blame if it comes off?
Think about that.
Truthertom 17 Jan 2015 13:11
America has no moral right to call anyone a "terrorist " as they are the worst of all. The complete hypocrisy as they call others terrorists and behind closed doors act in this manner is staggering . America's days as world leader is numbered and I for one think that is no bad thing as they have lost their moral authority completely. It makes you think of all the atrocities that are still hidden from us and that will never be revealed.
Barbara -> Jean 17 Jan 2015 13:06
he looks healthy and happy for all he's been through.
Peter Wilton -> buccy 17 Jan 2015 13:04
I don't want to carry on the irrelevant tosh but the US did not finally enter WWII due to altruism or something similar but because Pearl Harbour was bombed and it saw itself threatened.
Just wanted to correct one of the many attempts to mislead here.
bloomday -> ArtCritic 17 Jan 2015 13:04
So this man has received a trial in a court of law and this information you quote has been revealed ? No, I did not think so. But what is on record as having happened repeatedly in Afghanistan is that people are 'fingered' as Taliban or Al Qaida, by someone with a grudge, to the US or Brits and are then arrested. Mutual vendettas are carried out in this way by Afghans against one another and the information is not verified by the occupying forces before or after the arrests.
stevonews -> Hawkman100 17 Jan 2015 12:56
if you think playing by the rules would have made the world safer your incorrect. the extreme Islamic movement doesn't play fair...it doesn't want peace. To extreme forms of islam "everyone " is the enemy not fighting the cause. every compromise is seen as a weakness to exploit including mostly moderates within Islam who they murder in far greater numbers to further their cause. Like any political ambitions they want power, money ,territory and control of people . however they are not playing by any rules and nothing at all is sacred. there is no grey and "nothing" in-between. Granted Western countries cant compromise the very principles we uphold as a way of life in a civilized society however need accept many of these being held see it as black and white..if let go are on a round trip ticket to a place near you.
quorkquork -> peacefulmilitant 17 Jan 2015 12:55
But he didn't meet al Qaeda again in 1999...
The 44-year-old travelled twice to Afghanistan in the early 1990s. There, he swore allegiance to al-Qaida and joined the fight against the Soviet Union-backed regime in Kabul. He says he severed all connection with the group in 1992.
But after 9/11 he was detained on suspicion of being involved in an unsuccessful plot to bomb Los Angeles international airport while living in Canada in 1999. No evidence has been found to support the allegation, other than his own forced confessions. In 2004 a military lawyer refused to play any further part in the prosecution on the grounds that the evidence against him was the product of torture.
I think the fact that the military itself says that they could not find any offence to charge him with is good evidence that he wasn't an enemy combatant...he was captured in his native Mauritania not Afghanistan.
No doubt some will will never see these men as innocent however, they are guilty by association due to their skin tone and religion.
Boris Badenov -> unended 17 Jan 2015 12:55
Simply put they share the NE World Order socialist values-Nazis is all they truly are even now in their infancy phase. There is no free press under the guise of these liberal leftist traitors to the civilizations that gave them the freedom to write whatever, no they deny us to do so.
Despots and dictators and oligarchies...that is what they offer mankind.
The Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture practices 2001 to the end of 2009 continues to stir up reactions.
Greenwald (The Intercept) was able to identify the CIA agent, head of the Bin Laden Issue Station (a.k.a. Alec Station), who ran the CIA program . Her name is Alfreda Frances Bikowsky. She is considered both to be the top al-Qaeda expert and to have made mistake after mistake in her crusade against the Islamist organization. Question: How can one be both things at the same time? Unless, of course, one assumes that her real function was not to combat jihadists, but to organize and manipulate them in order to serve US interests.
For further information on this subject, see: " ["The Congressional report on torture confirms that Al Qaeda was not involved in the attacks of September 11", by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Roger Lagassé, Voltaire Network, 15 December 2014,.
Dec 16, 2014 | salon.com
The torture report requires us to look in the mirror -- and accurately assess the monster that we see"You'll comment on the torture report?" a friend in London asked just after the Senate's revelations came out last week.
"No, everybody and his in-laws will be on it within hours. Besides, I do foreign and there's no angle."
Wrong times 10.
True enough, better thought than this space could offer has come out in the past few days, not least from Salon's Elias Isquith. Read it here and here. "Now that we know some of the harrowing details of what was done in our name," Isquith wrote with acuity, "it'll be easier for us Americans to step a bit closer to the mirror and see what we've become."
Charles Blow made a similar point on the opinion page in Monday's New York Times. It is here. "America, who are we?" the headline asked, and Blow's piece earned the head. It is the Miracle on Eighth Avenue that he gets this kind of thing in the paper from time to time.
Who we are and what we have become are exactly the questions before us. Their implications for foreign policy were not immediately evident, at least not to me, but they are now and they are of monumental importance. Elephant in the living room, I have to admit.
And as soon as I started thinking about the Senate's torture report in the context of America's conduct abroad, many other things seemed immediately of a piece. The string of police murders. The Surveillance State. The license granted corporations and the wealthy to purchase elections. No welfare for the poor but welfare for Wall Street. A minimum wage no one can live on. The bold-faced biases of our highest court-and when the judiciary goes, I learned during my years as a correspondent, all else is either gone already or on the way down.
The list goes on, of course. The reality in plain sight is that America is not the nation many of us think it is and we are not the people we think we are or claim to be. It follows: If we continue to act abroad as we have it will be to our loss and at our peril, given what we have just had our noses rubbed in, as Glenn Greenwald put it in the interview he gave Isquith.
RT Op-EdgeThe Senate's report into CIA torture activities is facing criticism for lacking testimonies from the agency's staff and the victims, professor Ben Davis told RT. He said that prosecuting low-level staffers isn't enough, as torture orders came from above.
Professor at the University of Toledo College of Law and member of Advocates for US Torture Prosecutions, Ben Davis, called for everyone responsible for torture to be held accountable.
RT: Within the past hour, CIA chief John Brennan said that, overall, the CIA did a good job – and enhanced interrogation methods were legal at the time. Is this an adequate justification and defense of what went on?
Ben Davis: Of course it is not. John Brennan is the head of the CIA. He was one of the people involved in putting in place these torture techniques by the US. And he is defending his agency, so to speak. But of course he is wrong. Two or three weeks ago at the UN Committee Against Torture, we presented our report on advocates for US torture prosecutions about the flawed legal advice that had been given back then. At the time, there were people – I'll give a couple of names, William Taft was a legal advisor at the State Department. And of course Colin Powell, [the former] secretary of state who said that all of the legal approaches that were being proposed – not to apply the Geneva Convention, etc – were terribly flawed and would be terribly damaging for the US. What we see today is that they were absolutely right at the time and that the people who tortured need to be held accountable by prosecutions.
RT: The Senate's report released earlier this week is heavily redacted. What are the most important points left out, in your opinion?
BD: There had been two major criticisms. One is that the CIA people were not asked to be interviewed, and that has been a criticism. The major error is that they never interviewed any of the actual detainees, many of them sitting now at Guantanamo Bay, like Abu Zubaydah and al Qahtani, to ask them exactly what happened. The ability to know from the detainees, what happened to them has been carefully blocked by the CIA for many years. And this is one of the problems with the way they are operating. They've done horrendous things to people and then with the military working with them, they have prevented anyone from any hearing it. This frustrates their lawyers, who represent them in the various military commissions, in their ability to adequately represent them. And it also is a weakness of the report.
It is not to say that staff that they looked at was not useful. I think for me, the most significant part of the report is that you have the low-level people at the CIA, who were doing these torture things, complaining back to CIA headquarters at many points, saying that this is not working or the person told us everything that we have and we'd like to stop. And over and over you see CIA headquarters coming back, saying: 'continue torturing them.' So it shows that there was criticism from the operators. We know there was criticism from lawyers in the administration with regards to this. There was criticism from the top jag or top military lawyers in uniform at the time. And all of that was being suppressed in this effort to try to go ahead and torture people and get away with it. What is important now is that they are not getting away with it. And the fact that they are working this very hard, showing that they fear prosecution, which they should.
RT: The UN wants to see prosecutions over this, but the US obviously does not feel the same. The US State Department said the US is willing to learn from its mistakes and change. So Washington appears to believe that making the report public is enough – is there any chance of bringing those responsible to justice?
BD: Absolutely. This is just a classic situation in DC, where the effort is put and pushed by the top people in the government to block any accountability for them. The usual way it said...is that at the top, mistakes were made and then at the bottom people get prosecuted. I hope everyone here still remembers the soldiers who were in Abu Ghraib who were court martialed in 2004-2005 for the horrendous things they did then. We prosecuted those people, and many of them were saying that it was people up the chain of command who asked them to do the horrendous things that they did. So we've already decided to prosecute people. The question is only how high up we want to go. From what I heard from John Brennan, it is very clear that what he is planning to do is to basically let the lower level people at the CIA possibly be prosecuted. I think Jose Rodriguez, for example, should definitely be getting a lawyer, who is the head of the Counterterrorism Center. But, in fact, it is process or a plan that was put in place by the former president.
The United Nations has the Testimony of the US citizen, who was tortured at Gitmo, and has had this Testimony for many years, it was given to Koffi Annon, who was the Secretarty General of the United Nations, at the time the Torture took place.
And also several Attorneys for the victim, have this documentation, and it is hidden by many others for safe keeping. Nowhere in this testimony, does it place the responsibility for the executive order to send the victim, to Gitmo, on to low level staffers. They were not Senators and Congressmen, and had no authority to sign an executive order. The United Nations knows all the Congressmen,and Congresswomen, and Senators Names, of the US Senate, and the US Congress, who signed these executive orders, and they were signed by an equal amount of Republican's and Democrat's.
Senator John Mcain was and still is, the senior member of the House intelligence committee, and most definitely, had prior knowledge, of all this information and most certainly was the leader of all actions taken by the US Senate, since he was the Ranking leader of the US Senate intelligence committee, and the Chairmen.
So he cannot now claim he did not authorize all the actions taken by the US Senate.
It seems strange that these kind of people are in power in the US. If you just look at them they have all the appearances of a stereotypical criminal and shouldn't be given community access never-mind positions in government or the military.
That is SO WRONG, the physical interrogators would have only specific compartmentalized information regarding who they were 'interrogating.' As far as they would know, the person could have placed a dirty bomb someplace in the US with it ready to go off any minute..
My Point is... YOU DO NOT TRY A SOLDIER FOR FOLLOWING AN ORDER AND DOING HIS JOB, you put the General On Trial and let the chips fall where they belong.
WRONG. Section IV of the Nuremberg Principles, the set of guidelines used to try Nazi's following WW2, for determining what constitutes a war crime, states:
"The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him".
This principle could be paraphrased as follows: "It is not an acceptable excuse to say 'I was just following my superior's orders'".
Previous to the time of the Nuremberg Trials, this excuse was known in common parlance as "Superior Orders". After the prominent, high profile event of the Nuremberg Trials, that excuse is now referred to by many as the "Nuremberg Defense"."
well done for the security officers.if we reverse the situation, we find daash chopping heads of innocent people .this torture is against bloody killers. It is fully justified.well done mate.
Dec 12 2014 | dewaynenet.wordpress.com
[Note: This item comes from friend Steve Schear. DLH]
The Big Story Torture Everyone Is Missing
While the torture report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee is very important, it doesn't address the big scoop regarding torture.
Instead, it is the Senate Armed Services Committee's report that dropped the big bombshell regarding the U.S. torture program.
Senator Levin, commenting on a Armed Services Committee's report on torture in 2009, explained:
The techniques are based on tactics used by Chinese Communists against American soldiers during the Korean War for the purpose of eliciting FALSE confessions for propaganda purposes.
Techniques used in SERE training include stripping trainees of their clothing, placing them in stress positions, putting hoods over their heads, subjecting them to face and body slaps, depriving them of sleep, throwing them up against a wall, confining them in a small box, treating them like animals, subjecting them to loud music and flashing lights, and exposing them to extreme temperatures [and] waterboarding.
McClatchy filled in important details:
Former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that the interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration…
For most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there."
It was during this period that CIA interrogators waterboarded two alleged top al Qaida detainees repeatedly - Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times in August 2002 and Khalid Sheik Muhammed 183 times in March 2003 - according to a newly released Justice Department document…
When people kept coming up empty, they were told by Cheney's and Rumsfeld's people to push harder," he continued." Cheney's and Rumsfeld's people were told repeatedly, by CIA . . . and by others, that there wasn't any reliable intelligence that pointed to operational ties between bin Laden and Saddam . . .
A former U.S. Army psychiatrist, Maj. Charles Burney, told Army investigators in 2006 that interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility were under "pressure" to produce evidence of ties between al Qaida and Iraq.
"While we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq," Burney told staff of the Army Inspector General. "The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link . . . there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results."
"I think it's obvious that the administration was scrambling then to try to find a connection, a link (between al Qaida and Iraq)," [Senator] Levin said in a conference call with reporters. "They made out links where they didn't exist."
Levin recalled Cheney's assertions that a senior Iraqi intelligence officer had met Mohammad Atta, the leader of the 9/11 hijackers, in the Czech Republic capital of Prague just months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The FBI and CIA found that no such meeting occurred.
The Washington Post reported the same year:
Despite what you've seen on TV, torture is really only good at one thing: eliciting false confessions. Indeed, Bush-era torture techniques, we now know, were cold-bloodedly modeled after methods used by Chinese Communists to extract confessions from captured U.S. servicemen that they could then use for propaganda during the Korean War.
So as shocking as the latest revelation in a new Senate Armed Services Committee report may be, it actually makes sense - in a nauseating way. The White House started pushing the use of torture not when faced with a "ticking time bomb" scenario from terrorists, but when officials in 2002 were desperately casting about for ways to tie Iraq to the 9/11 attacks - in order to strengthen their public case for invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 at all.
Gordon Trowbridge writes for the Detroit News: "Senior Bush administration officials pushed for the use of abusive interrogations of terrorism detainees in part to seek evidence to justify the invasion of Iraq, according to newly declassified information discovered in a congressional probe.
Colin Powell's former chief of staff (Colonel Larry Wilkerson) wrote in 2009 that the Bush administration's "principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at pre-empting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al-Qaeda."
firstlook.orgKen Silverstein Monday at 11:10 AM
Waterboarding: Yes or no? It's OK to selectively violate the Geneva Convention, right? Spying on Americans is illegal, but aren't rules made to be broken? The world is a confusing place and it's hard for young people to answer complicated questions like these on their own. Fortunately, students at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia,>>
Yes - Dick Cheney and John Yoo should be in jail!
December 22, 2014 | economistsview.typepad.comlosers.htmlSecond Best -> ilsm...
Torture photos from the Senate report were blocked as a forward defense measure to prevent their use against the US as propaganda and encourage more terrorist attacks.
They flipped a coin that came up heads for this decision. If it came up tails they had planned to release the photos as a deterrent to further terrorist attacks since torture is known to work. Maybe next time.
December 14, 2014 | The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity
What is the final meaning of the Senate's recent release of its report on CIA torture activities? We know that no one will be prosecuted, as they have already been given immunity by the president. We have no reason to believe the out-of-control CIA will have its wings clipped after release of the report. Just as the NSA did not cease, but rather increased, its spying on the rest of us after the Snowden revelations.
What purpose does the release of this information serve if it does not lead to any change in government behavior?
RPI's Daniel McAdams and Jay Taylor discuss the week in foreign policy with this and more. Download the MP3 here. Listen to YouTube her
15 December 2014 | http://www.voltairenet.org/article186204.html
Publicly released excerpts of the report of the Senate Committee on the CIA's secret torture program reveal a vast criminal organization. Thierry Meyssan has read for you the 525 pages of this document. He found evidence of what he has been saying for years.
Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on December 9, 2014, released an extract of her classified report on the secret program of torture by the CIA. 
Presentation of the report
The declassified portion corresponds to only one-twelfth of the initial report.
The report itself does not address the vast removal and sequestration system that the US Navy had put in place during the terms of President George W. Bush; a program that has led to worldwide kidnapping and sequestration of more than 80 000 people aboard 17 flat-bottomed boats stationed in international waters (these ships are: USS Bataan, USS Peleliu, USS Ashland, USNS Stockham, USNS Watson, USNS Watkins, USNS Sister, USNS Charlton, USNS Pomeroy, USNS Red Cloud, USNS Soderman, USNS Dahl MV PFC William B Baugh, Alex Bonnyman MV, MV Franklin J Phillips, MV Huage Louis J Jr, James Anderson Jr. MV). It is content to study 119 cases of human guinea pigs subjected to psychological experiments in Guantánamo and fifty secret prisons from 2002 to late 2009, a year after the election of Barack Obama.
The extracts of the report do not indicate the criteria by which these human guinea pigs were chosen. They merely state that each prisoner denounced the following, while indicating that the confessions were not extorted but learned. In other words, the CIA sought to justify its choices by making denunciations ex post facto.
In the initial report, the names of the CIA agents and contractors involved have been replaced by pseudonyms. In addition, the declassified extracts were widely censored, mainly to clear the names of foreign accomplices of the CIA.
The content of the report
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I read the entire 525 pages of excerpts from the public report. However, I am far from having drawn all the information because much research is needed to interpret the redacted passages.
Conditioning sessions were performed in fifty secret prisons under the responsibility of "Alec Station", the unit of the CIA in charge of tracking Osama bin Laden. Infrastructure, staff and transport were the responsibility of the CIA's Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation Group. The sessions were designed and carried out under the supervision of two contracting psychologists who established a firm in 2005. The conditioning techniques employed were authorized at the highest level, without specifying that these tortures were intended to condition and not to extract information.
Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Justice John Ashcroft, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell and CIA Director George Tenet attended meetings on this subject at the White House. They attended simulations at the White House and watched recordings of some sessions; records that were subsequently illegally destroyed. These meetings were obviously designed to implicate these personalities, but it is not possible to determine which of them knew for what these techniques had been used.
However, in June 2007, Condoleezza Rice was personally briefed by the CIA contractor who supervised the experiments. The National Security Advisor authorized the continuation of the experiments, but diminished the number of authorized tortures.
The publicly available excerpts of the report contain a detailed analysis of how the CIA lied to the other branches of the Bush administration, the media and Congress.
JPEG - 21.7 kbJames Mitchell and Bruce Jensen, supervisors of the CIA conditioning program. Mitchell was appointed Mormon bishop in 2012, but he was forced to resign when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints learned about his activities.
The experiments of Professor Martin Seligman
The public extract from the report confirms that the CIA conducted experiments based on the work of Professor Martin Seligman (theory of "learned helplessness"). They were not intended to obtain a confession or information, but to inculcate a narrative or behavior in the subjects.
Most of the quotes that the press has extracted from the report are confusing. Indeed, the CIA speaks of "conditioning methods" under the name of "non-standard means of interrogation"). Out of context, we can assume that the term "interrogation" means the search for information while it actually denotes conditioning sessions undergone by the subjects.
All the names of the torturers were censored in the declassified extracts. However, we recognize Bruce Jessen under the pseudonym "Grayson Swigert" and James Mitchell as that of "Hammond Dunbar." From April 12, 2002, the two men oversaw the program. They were physically present in secret prisons. In 2005, they organized themselves into a commercial company, Mitchell Jessen & Associates (referred to as "Company Y" in the report). From 2005 to 2010, their firm was paid $ 81 million. Subsequently, they were used by the Army to conduct a behavioral program on 1.1 million US soldiers.
In May of 2003, a senior CIA officer informed the Inspector General of the Agency that the work of Professor Seligman was based on torture practiced by North Vietnam to obtain "confessions for propaganda purposes". The officer put the conditioning program into question. His information was not followed up on. Moreover, he made a small mistake by citing North Vietnam; Seligman's research was based, like the North Vietnamese practices, on Korean work.
How torturers protected themselves
According to the Senate Committee, the CIA's torture program was ordered by President George W. Bush, September 17, 2001, six days after the attacks. He had intended only to give extraordinary means to investigate the attacks of 11 September 2001. However, this program was immediately developed in breach of some President's instructions. Therefore, from the attacks, the CIA, unbeknownst to the White House, sought to manufacture fraudulent evidence falsely attesting to the guilt of al-Qaeda.
President George Bush and parliamentarians were deceived by the CIA who
- got authorizations to practice certain forms of torture by masking their true purpose and
- misrepresented inculcated confessions as if they had been extracted under torture.
When , on September 6, 2006, President Bush admitted to the existence of the secret torture program of the CIA, he defended the practice, arguing that it had yielded information that saved lives. It was based on the false reports of the CIA and he was unaware that it manufactured evidence instead of searching for it. From that point, the Atlanticist media descended into barbarism and debated the merits of torture by presenting it as a necessary evil.
The torturers ensured legal cover for themselves by asking for permission to practice from the Department of Justice. But it took no action on the legality of the methods used (isolation, confinement in a small box, staged funeral, use of insects, etc.) and not on the program as a whole. Most lawyers allowed only particular postures ignoring their psychological consequences when combined. All authorizations were collected in August of 2002.
CIA officials who authorized these experiments have indicated in writing that the human guinea pigs were to be incinerated if they succumbed during conditioning or they should stay locked up for life if they survived.
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Let's be clear: the Senate Committee does not say that the confessions of CIA detainees are legally incorrect because they were obtained under torture, it states that the CIA did not question the detainees, but it conditioned them to confess to acts of which they knew nothing. The Commission states that the CIA agents did not even look to see what the detainees had confessed during previous interrogations with the authorities who arrested them. In other words not only has the CIA not investigated whether al Qaeda was involved in the attacks or not, but its action had no other purpose than to generate false evidence attesting to the involvement of al-Qaeda in the attacks of September 11.
The Senate Committee did not discuss whether the confessions of the human guinea pigs were extorted or inculcated, but after explaining that supervisors were conditioning experts and not interrogators, the Committee explains at length the fact that none of these "confessions" has allowed us to anticipate anything. It demonstrates that the CIA lied by claiming that they had helped prevent further attacks. The Commission does not write that information on al-Qaeda in these confessions is fabricated, but notes that it all was verifiably false. In doing so, the Commission explicitly refutes the arguments that were used to justify torture and implicitly cancels the testimonies which were used to link al-Qaeda to the attacks of Sept. 11.
This report confirms, officially, several items of information we presented to our readers and that contradict and invalidate the work of Atlanticist think tanks, universities and the media since September 11, both in regard to the 2001 attacks themselves and with regard to al-Qaeda.
Following the publication of excerpts from this report, it appears that all the evidence cited in the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the September 11 attacks connecting these to al-Qaeda is false. There no longer exists to date a shred of evidence for attributing the attacks to Al Qaeda: There is no evidence that the 19 people accused of being airline pirates could have been found that day in one of the four planes, and none of the former members of Al Qaeda's testimonials confessing to the attacks is genuine .
JPEG - 16 kbMartin Seligman, the designer of the CIA conditioning program.
The report confirms what we revealed in 2009
In October 2009, I published a study on this subject in the Russian magazine Odnako . I argued that Guantanamo was not an interrogation center, but a conditioning centre. Also I was putting personally calling Professor Seligman to task. A year later, the article having been translated into English,US psychologists led a campaign to ask Martin Seligman for an explanation. In response, he denied his role as a torturer and launched legal proceedings against myself and the Voltaire Network in both France and Lebanon where I lived. Ultimately, Professor Seligman instructed his lawyers to stop the procedures after we published one of his letters followed by an explanatory text.  Martin Seligman sued all those who treated this subject, such as Bryant Weich of the Huffington Post .
JPEG - 18.6 kbJohn O. Brennan was deputy director of the CIA (2001-05) and, as such, director of the National Anti-Terrorist Centre. He was the main architect of the secret program for fabricating confessions under torture. In 2009, he became adviser to President Barack Obams on Homeland Security issues. He was appointed CIA director in 2013.
Senator Diane Feinstein bravely managed to publish part of her report, despite the opposition of the current CIA director, John Brennan, formerly in charge of controlling the torture program.
President Barack Obama announced that he would not pursue any of the perpetrators of these crimes, while defenders of human rights are fighting to have the perpetrators brought to justice. It's the least we can do.
However, the real issues are elsewhere: Why did the CIA committed such crimes? Why did it fabricate confessions to link al-Qaeda artificially to the attacks of September 11? And therefore, al-Qaeda being unrelated to the attacks of Sept. 11, who has the CIA therefore sought to protect?
Finally, the CIA program involved only 119 human guinea pigs, what do we know about the 80,000 secret prisoners of the US Navy?
Antiwar.comIn the case related to the secrecy of 2,100 photos of prisoner abuse by US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon flat out ignored the judge's order to provide legal justifications on a case-by-case basis for the decade-old lawsuit.
Instead, the Pentagon is insisting that ISIS could conceivably use the photos to "incite" against the US, and that the photos "could be used to increase anti-American sentiment."
The judge hasn't responded to the filing, but since the Pentagon did the exact opposite of what he ordered them to do, providing a blanket excuse instead of individualized justifications, it's hard to imagine he'll react positively.
June 15, 2014 | RT USA
Nearly 95 per cent of terrorist arrests have been the result of FBI foiling its own entrapment plots as a part of the so-called post-9/11 War on Terror, a new study revealed.
According to the report entitled 'Inventing Terrorists: The Lawfare of Preemptive Prosecution', the majority of arrests involved the unjust prosecution of targeted Muslim Americans.
The 175-page study by Muslim advocacy group SALAM analyzes 399 individuals in cases included on the list of the US Department of Justice from 2001 to 2010.
"According to this study's classification, the number of preemptive prosecution cases is 289 out of 399, or 72.4 percent. The number of elements of preemptive prosecution cases is 87 out of 399, or 21.8 percent. Combining preemptive prosecution cases and elements of preemptive prosecution cases, the total number of such cases on the DOJ list is 376, or 94.2 percent," the report concluded.
The authors define 'preemptive prosecution' as "a law enforcement strategy adopted after 9/11, to target and prosecute individuals or organizations whose beliefs, ideology, or religious affiliations raise security concerns for the government."
Nearly 25 percent of cases (99 of 399) contained material support charges. Another almost 30 per cent of cases consisted of conspiracy charges. More than 17 per cent of the analyzed cases (71 of 399 cases) involved sting operations. Over 16 percent of cases (65 of 399 cases) included false statement or perjury charges, and around six percent of cases involved immigration-related charges.
According to the report, since 9/11 only 11 cases posed "potentially significant" threat to the United States.
"Only three were successful (the [Tamerlan and Dzhokhar] Tsarnaev brothers and Major Nidal Hasan), accounting for 17 deaths and several hundred injuries," the paper says.
One of the FBI's strategies involved "using agents provocateur to actively entrap targets in criminal plots manufactured and controlled by the government."
"The government uses agents provocateur to target individuals who express dissident ideologies and then provides those provocateurs 25 with fake (harmless) missiles, bombs, guns, money, encouragement, friendship, and the technical and strategic planning necessary to see if the targeted individual can be manipulated into planning violent or criminal action," the report concluded.
The government could also choose to use "minor 'technical' crimes," such as errors on immigration forms, an alleged false statement to a government official, gun possession, tax or financial issues, etc., to go after someone for their "ideology."
"What they were trying to do is to convince the American public that there is this large army of potential terrorists that they should all be very-very scared about. They are very much engaged in world-wide surveillance and this surveillance is very valuable to them. They can learn a lot about all sorts of things and in a sense control issues to their advantage," Steven Downs, an attorney for Project SALAM, which issued the report, told RT. "And the entire legal justification for that depends on there being a war on terror. Without a war on terror they have no right to do this. So they have to keep this war on terror going, they have to keep finding people and arresting them and locking them up and scarring everybody."
In the conclusion, authors of the report offered the US government several recommendations that the DOJ "should employ" to change the present unfair terrorism laws. A total seven recommendations call on the US government to accurately identify people who offer material support for terrorism, strengthening the "entrapment" defense in the courts; abolish "terror-enhanced sentencing" that triples or quadruples jail time in cases linked to terrorist acts; disallow secret court proceedings, and immediately notifying defendants if any evidence in their case is derived from secret surveillance.
16 April 2013 | The GuardianAn independent examination of the US rendition programme after 9/11 has concluded that it is "indisputable" that America tortured prisoners, and that the country's highest officials were responsible.
A 580-page report published on Tuesday by the Constitution Project, a non-partisan Washington-based thinktank, concludes that the programme was unjustified and counterproductive, damaging to the country's reputation, and has placed US military personnel at risk of mistreatment if they are themselves taken prisoner.
In findings similar to those of a report published two months ago by the New York NGO Open Society Justice Initiative, the study concludes that the US rendition programme enjoyed widespread international co-operation, with the UK, Canada, Italy, Germany and Sweden identified as prominent supporters alongside Egypt, Syria, Morocco and Jordan.
The authors also conclude that the UK-Libyan rendition operations that resulted in the abduction of two dissidents who were taken to Tripoli along with their families in 2004 were intended not to combat international terrorism, but to "gain favour" with the Gaddafi regime.
"Apparently someone (almost certainly at the CIA) thought that since the United States was sending people all around the world in our secret rendition programme to combat terrorism aimed at the United States, it would be a good idea to take advantage of the system to transfer some people to Libya in an effort to gain favour with that country's rulers," the report says. "We and the British government thought we were buying favour with Gaddafi's secret service."
Although some of the victims of those renditions are now in positions of some influence in post-revolutionary Libya, "the worst of the potential consequences of the earlier US actions appears to have been averted," the report says. In interviews, "the leaders of the revolt that overthrew Gaddafi expressed surprisingly little bitterness or even anger toward America. (Their attitude towards Britain is a different story.)"
The report also concludes that the CIA operated secret prisons within three European countries: Poland and Lithuania, which have acknowledged their existence, and Romania, which continues to deny that such a facility existed.
The study was embarked upon following the decision by the US president, Barack Obama, on entering the White House in 2009 that there would be no official inquiry into the rendition programme, on the grounds that it would be politically unproductive to "look backwards" rather than forwards.
The Constitution Project enjoyed no access to classified material – unlike the Senate's Intelligence Committee, whose 6,000-page report remains secret – but is nevertheless the most detailed attempt yet to produce a public reckoning of the impact of the rendition programme.
The panel of authors was chaired by Asa Hutchinson, a former Republican congressman who served as an under-secretary at the department of homeland security during the George W Bush administration. Other members include Thomas Pickering, a former US ambassador to the United Nations, a retired lieutenant general from the US army, a former president of the American Bar Association, and a retired army brigadier who taught interrogation techniques.
In one of their most damning conclusions, the panel says: "In the course of the nation's many previous conflicts, there is little doubt that some US personnel committed brutal acts against captives, as have armies and governments throughout history. But there is no evidence there had ever before been the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 11 September, directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody."
The report calls for the revision of the US army's field manual on interrogation, to prohibit interrogation lasting 40 hours, and to introduce unambiguous bans of the use of stress positions and sleep deprivation.
In an appendix, the authors dismiss arguments – which have frequently followed party lines in the US – that the mistreatment of detainees after 9/11 fell short of torture, citing cases in which comparable treatment was prosecuted as torture by the US in the past.
The Torturers' Manifesto
By NY Times
To read the four newly released memos on prisoner interrogation written by George W. Bush's Justice Department is to take a journey into depravity.
Their language is the precise bureaucratese favored by dungeon masters throughout history. They detail how to fashion a collar for slamming a prisoner against a wall, exactly how many days he can be kept without sleep (11), and what, specifically, he should be told before being locked in a box with an insect - all to stop just short of having a jury decide that these acts violate the laws against torture and abusive treatment of prisoners.
In one of the more nauseating passages, Jay Bybee, then an assistant attorney general and now a federal judge, wrote admiringly about a contraption for waterboarding that would lurch a prisoner upright if he stopped breathing while water was poured over his face. He praised the Central Intelligence Agency for having doctors ready to perform an emergency tracheotomy if necessary.
These memos are not an honest attempt to set the legal limits on interrogations, which was the authors' statutory obligation. They were written to provide legal immunity for acts that are clearly illegal, immoral and a violation of this country's most basic values.
It sounds like the plot of a mob film, except the lawyers asking how much their clients can get away with are from the C.I.A. and the lawyers coaching them on how to commit the abuses are from the Justice Department. And it all played out with the blessing of the defense secretary, the attorney general, the intelligence director and, most likely, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
The Americans Civil Liberties Union deserves credit for suing for the memos' release. And President Obama deserves credit for overruling his own C.I.A. director and ordering that the memos be made public. It is hard to think of another case in which documents stamped "Top Secret" were released with hardly any deletions.
But this cannot be the end of the scrutiny for these and other decisions by the Bush administration.
Until Americans and their leaders fully understand the rules the Bush administration concocted to justify such abuses - and who set the rules and who approved them - there is no hope of fixing a profoundly broken system of justice and ensuring that that these acts are never repeated.
The abuses and the dangers do not end with the torture memos. Americans still know far too little about President Bush's decision to illegally eavesdrop on Americans - a program that has since been given legal cover by the Congress.
Last week, The Times reported that the nation's intelligence agencies have been collecting private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans on a scale that went beyond the broad limits established in legislation last year. The article quoted the Justice Department as saying there had been problems in the surveillance program that had been resolved. But Justice did not say what those problems were or what the resolution was.
That is the heart of the matter: nobody really knows what any of the rules were. Mr. Bush never offered the slightest explanation of what he found lacking in the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act when he decided to ignore the law after 9/11 and ordered the warrantless wiretapping of Americans' overseas calls and e-mail. He said he was president and could do what he wanted.
The Bush administration also never explained how it interpreted laws that were later passed to expand the government's powers to eavesdrop. And the Obama administration argued in a recent court filing that everything associated with electronic eavesdropping, including what is allowed and what is not, is a state secret.
We do not think Mr. Obama will violate Americans' rights as Mr. Bush did. But if Americans do not know the rules, they cannot judge whether this government or any one that follows is abiding by the rules.
In the case of detainee abuse, Mr. Obama assured C.I.A. operatives that they would not be prosecuted for actions that their superiors told them were legal. We have never been comfortable with the "only following orders" excuse, especially because Americans still do not know what was actually done or who was giving the orders.
After all, as far as Mr. Bush's lawyers were concerned, it was not really torture unless it involved breaking bones, burning flesh or pulling teeth. That, Mr. Bybee kept noting, was what the Libyan secret police did to one prisoner. The standard for American behavior should be a lot higher than that of the Libyan secret police.
At least Mr. Obama is not following Mr. Bush's example of showy trials for the small fry - like Lynndie England of Abu Ghraib notoriety. But he has an obligation to pursue what is clear evidence of a government policy sanctioning the torture and abuse of prisoners - in violation of international law and the Constitution.
That investigation should start with the lawyers who wrote these sickening memos, including John Yoo, who now teaches law in California; Steven Bradbury, who was job-hunting when we last heard; and Mr. Bybee, who holds the lifetime seat on the federal appeals court that Mr. Bush rewarded him with.
These memos make it clear that Mr. Bybee is unfit for a job that requires legal judgment and a respect for the Constitution. Congress should impeach him. And if the administration will not conduct a thorough investigation of these issues, then Congress has a constitutional duty to hold the executive branch accountable. If that means putting Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales on the stand, even Dick Cheney, we are sure Americans can handle it.
After eight years without transparency or accountability, Mr. Obama promised the American people both. His decision to release these memos was another sign of his commitment to transparency. We are waiting to see an equal commitment to accountability.
Britain has tried to block release of US 'torture files' that could prove Blair Government was complicit in ill-treatment of te
Britain has tried to block the release of US 'torture files' that could prove how the Blair Government was complicit in the capture and ill-treatment of dozens of terror suspects, it was claimed last night.
US Senators are within weeks of publishing a top-secret report on America's torture and rendition programme carried out in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
The 6,300 files will expose the horror of the CIA's waterboarding and other tortures and could also reveal the extent of British co-operation in the programme.
Claims that Britain has put pressure on the US to halt the release of the documents have emerged in legal correspondence in the case of Abdel Hakim Belhadj, a senior Libyan politician and former opponent of Colonel Gaddafi who is suing Britain over his kidnap and forced return to Libya in 2004.
Mr Belhadj is relying on intelligence provided by the UK former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, who says Foreign Office (FO) sources have secretly briefed him about Britain's diplomatic lobbying against the release of the highly sensitive material.
In a letter to the FO, Mr Belhadj's lawyers say: 'The report and its executive summary is likely to feature information about [Mr Belhadj and his wife] who in 2004 were held in a CIA black site in Bangkok and rendered in a joint MI6-CIA-Libyan operation to Gaddafi's Libya.'
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They add: 'It therefore appears HM Government is seeking to dissuade the US Government from disclosing details about our clients' rendition...'
The true extent of British complicity in torture and kidnap of dozens of detainees has never been fully disclosed.
Plight: Abdel Hakim Belhadj is suing Britain over his kidnap and forced return to Libya in 2004
Mr Murray says: 'Britain has lobbied the US against the publication of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture and rendition.
'The lobbying has been carried out "at all levels" – White House, State Department and CIA.'
The FO declined to comment.
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