Igor Volsky has chosen what he considers the five most damning revelations
from the torture report. Here's an ultra-brief summary:
1. No terror attacks were prevented.
2. The CIA claimed that torture obtained useful intel.
The CIA lied.
3. Some CIA personnel questioned the use of torture
. (I should hope
4. It was way more brutal than most Americans thought.
5. Waterboarding did much more damage than the Bush administration admitted.
has a "top ten" list of his own. The first eight involve torture techniques...
1. "Rectal feeding" and "rectal hydration."
Forced enemas. Shoving food up a man's butt.
Slamming someone against a wall. It seems that there was a whole art to this.
3. Sleep Deprivation.
180 hours in the case of Khaled Sheikh Muhammed.
Forcing guys people to live in their own shit for days.
5. Mock executions.
Nice to see that the lads at Langley have read their Dostoyevsky.
6. Confined in a very small box with insects.
7. The rough takedown.
Very much like running the gauntlet.
8. The cordless drill.
According to Taibbi, this was more of a threat than anything else.
Taibbi, like Volsky, notes that the torture produced no actionable intelligence. He ends with the most important point of all: If there are no consequences, the whole thing will probably happen again.
Even if the Obama administration hasn't continued these policies (and who knows for sure about that), they sure didn't punish them, leaving the likes of Feinstein to simply write up what happened for the sake of posterity. That total lack of real consequence for the policymakers makes it almost certain that we will resort to the same behaviors the next time a 9/11 happens. And since the stuff we got away with (are getting away with?) this time was this weird – insects in coffin-boxes and drills and hangings and pasta-up-the-wazz weird – just imagine what the next round of innovations will bring. God help us.
Taibbi isn't the only one who considers the current administration to be complicit. Senator Mark Udall has said on the Senate floor that the CIA is still lying about what really happened.
"The refusal to provide the full Panetta Review and the refusal to acknowledge facts detailed in both the committee study and the Panetta Review lead to one disturbing finding: Director Brennan and the CIA today are continuing to willfully provide inaccurate information and misrepresent the efficacy of torture," Udall said. "In other words: The CIA is lying."
Udall, a Democrat, has already lost his seat, which explains why he is going after Obama-era officials with such gusto. What is there to lose?
For a long time, people have been asking: If torture does not produce useful intel, why do it? As near as I can tell, the only reason to employ torture is to force prisoners to "confess" to things that are not true. Taibbi on "rectal hydration":
In the case of KSM, they used the technique as a means to "clear a person's head," and believed it was helpful in getting him to talk. The report explains that KSM fabricated information during this period, leading to the capture and CIA detention of "two innocent individuals."
It seems that when a man's head is clear, he will indict the innocent.
The right-wingers on Fox News are throwing a tizzy fit because this report reminds the citizenry of one of the big reasons why everyone came to dislike Dubya. That's not the kind of reminder the partisans of Jeb would prefer.
I thus find it very intriguing to see Dick Cheney make things even worse for Bush. See, the report wants us to believe that the President did not know about the torture techniques until 2006, and Cheney considers that claim to be a "flat out lie."
"I think he knew certainly the techniques, we did discuss the techniques, there was no effort on our part to keep him from that," Cheney said on Fox News.
"That the president wasn’t being told is just a flat out lie."
Bush wrote in his memoir, Decision Points, that he did know about the interrogation practices.
"Read his book," Cheney said. "He was fully informed."
Can you imagine Jeb's reaction as he read this passage? 'Thanks a lot, Dick...!'
Will Dick and Dubya pay?
As noted above, Senator Udall is incensed by the lack of consequence. At emptywheel's site, Jim White draws our attention to a bombshell statement from UN official Ben Epperson
. You don't really have to read between the lines to see that Epperson wants to see Bush and Cheney and some high-ranking CIA personnel stand trial.
It is now time to take action. The individuals responsible for the criminal conspiracy revealed in today’s report must be brought to justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes.
The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorised at a high level within the US Government provides no excuse whatsoever. Indeed, it reinforces the need for criminal accountability.
International law prohibits the granting of immunities to public officials who have engaged in acts of torture. This applies not only to the actual perpetrators but also to those senior officials within the US Government who devised, planned and authorised these crimes.
As a matter of international law, the US is legally obliged to bring those responsible to justice. The UN Convention Against Torture and the UN Convention on Enforced Disappearances require States to prosecute acts of torture and enforced disappearance where there is sufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction. States are not free to maintain or permit impunity for these grave crimes.
The United States will do nothing, of course. But could we see a situation in which Bush is subjected to arrest if leaves this country? Lovely thought, that.
Will the psychologists pay?
Here's another damning revelation: Shrinks took $81 million in recompense for their participation
This is a matter of outrage for everyone, but as psychologists, we have a particular obligation to speak out. Many of the approaches the CIA used were developed by our discipline, and by individuals who will have known about the codes of conduct by which US psychologists are bound – which include beneficence and non-maleficence, and respect for rights, dignity and integrity.
Of course, anyone who has read anything about MKULTRA knows that psychiatrists are easily cajoled into betraying the high ideals that should prevail within their profession. The obvious remedy: Guilty psychologists should be stripped of their ability to practice. In fact, the American Psychological Association's stated policy is crystal clear
The American Psychological Association's (APA) position on torture is clear and unequivocal: Any direct or indirect participation in any act of torture or other forms of cruel, degrading or inhuman treatment or punishment by psychologists is strictly prohibited. There are no exceptions. Such acts as waterboarding, sexual humiliation, stress positions and exploitation of phobias are clear violations of APA's no torture/no abuse policy.
to the Senate's report is of interest...
The new details provided by the report regarding the extent and barbarity of torture techniques used by the CIA are sickening and morally reprehensible.
Two psychologists mentioned prominently in the report under pseudonyms, but identified in media reports as James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, are not members of the American Psychological Association. Jessen was never a member; Mitchell resigned in 2006. Therefore, they are outside the reach of the association’s ethics adjudication process. Regardless of their membership status with APA, if the descriptions of their actions are accurate, they should be held fully accountable for violations of human rights and U.S. and international law.
Last month, the APA announced an independent review of the allegation by New York Times reporter and author James Risen that the association colluded with the Bush administration to support enhanced interrogation techniques that constituted torture. The review is being conducted by attorney David Hoffman of the law office Sidley Austin...
Mitchell and Jensen are referenced in this report