Tag Archives | Torture

Torture Is Who We Are

Elvert Barnes (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Elvert Barnes (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Peter Beinart writes at the Atlantic:

Torture, declared President Obama this week, in response to the newly released Senate report on CIA interrogation, is “contrary to who we are.” Maine Senator Angus King added that, “This is not America. This is not who we are.” According to Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth, “We are better than this.”

No, actually, we’re not. There’s something bizarre about responding to a 600-page document detailing systematic U.S. government torture by declaring that the real America—the one with good values—does not torture. It’s exoneration masquerading as outrage. Imagine someone beating you up and then, when confronted with the evidence, declaring that “I’m not really like that” or “that wasn’t the real me.” Your response is likely to be some variant of: “It sure as hell seemed like you when your fist was slamming into my nose.” A country, like a person, is what it does.

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The Military and CIA Interrogation Program Has Not Stopped

The Senate report on torture created a tsunami of media coverage this week. The American public hasn’t been so shocked by evidence of the U.S. torture program since the Abu Ghraib photos of 2004. The program is far worse than previously disclosed. Greater numbers of victims have been tortured for longer periods and in ways that rival the most infamous tortures in history (“rectal feeding”). But one falsehood gets repeated as fact by even in the most serious reporters, namely, that the torture program stopped years ago. It has not. The Appendix M of the 2006 Army Field Manual on interrogation methods allows military and CIA interrogators to continue torturing detainees, and the current force feeding of Guantanamo hunger strikers is so brutal it rises to the level of torture.

The Senate torture report has stunning news about the two psychologists who first devised and demonstrated the torture protocols. Until now we knew only that the CIA had provided Drs.… Read the rest

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Psychologist Linked to CIA Interrogations Says He’s ‘Caught in Some Kafka Novel’

James Mitchell was one of the American psychologists identified as an architect of the “enhanced interrogation” programs in Martha Davis’s groundbreaking documentary Doctors of the Dark Side (well worth watching again in light of the release of the notorious Senate report on CIA torture programs). His company was paid $81,000,000 for its work running the CIA interrogation program. He’s now trying to imply that he’s retired, can’t confirm or deny the allegations and just wants to go kayaking, at Bloomberg News:

James Mitchell, a psychologist who allegedly co-founded a company the CIA paid to run its terror interrogation program, is retired in Florida and spends his free time kayaking, rafting and climbing. And finding his life a little surreal.

The 63-year-old, whose name was first linked by media reports in 2009 to the CIA program, said he can’t confirm or deny whether he had anything to do with the controversial program because of a non-disclosure agreement he signed with the government.

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Ex-CIA Directors Defend ‘Enhanced’ Interrogations

PorterJGoss.JPG

Porter J. Goss

At disinformation we’ve always tried to expose our readers to as many views as possible on a particular topic. As the distributor of the anti-torture documentary Doctors of the Dark Side we’re clearly in the anti-torture camp, but it’s always important to listen to the the other side, not least to be able to counter their thinking.

In the wake of the release of the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s so-called torture report, former CIA Directors George J. Tenet, Porter J. Goss and Michael V. Hayden (a retired Air Force general), and former CIA Deputy Directors John E. McLaughlin, Albert M. Calland (a retired Navy vice admiral) and Stephen R. Kappes placed this op-ed defending ‘Enhanced’ interrogations in the Wall Street Journal:

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on Central Intelligence Agency detention and interrogation of terrorists, prepared only by the Democratic majority staff, is a missed opportunity to deliver a serious and balanced study of an important public policy question.

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U.S. Senate Releases ‘Torture’ Report

The much anticipated United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s so-called torture report has finally been released after six years (or more accurately, they released a 500-page declassified summary of a 6,200-page report). It’s available as a PDF here. Dissections by critics are all across the media and largely follow political party lines. Disinfonauts should review it for themselves.

torture report

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CIA Won’t Defend Its Torturers

The CIA’s torture program has been well documented in the media and in films like Doctors of the Dark Side, so the only likely surprise when the Senate Intelligence Committee releases it’s expected “torture report” is that the CIA won’t defend itself too vigorously. Story from Daily Beast:

There may have been bourbon punch and festive lights at the CIA’s holiday party Friday night, but a frosty gloom hung in the air.

As everyone in the agency’s Langley, Va., headquarters knew, the long-awaited “torture report” from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Democrats was set to drop early the next week, perhaps as soon as Monday morning. It seemed a rather awkward time for a party.

United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.jpg

The CIA’s response to the report will be muted. The agency will neither defend the so-called rendition, detention, and interrogation programs. Nor will the CIA disavow those controversial efforts entirely. According to current and former officials familiar with the higher-ups’ thinking, CIA Director John Brennan is likely to keep his powder dry and essentially agree to disagree with the agency’s critics.

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Is Obama Covering Up the Scope of CIA Torture?

Central_Intelligence_Agency_logoJon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

“The public has to know about it. They don’t want the public to know about it.”

That’s what Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) told the Huffington Post on Thursday night regarding continued White House stalling over release of a report that catalogs the internal investigation of CIA torture during the Bush years. The comments followed a close-door meeting between Senate Democrats and Obama administration officials that took place just hours before the president gave a much-anticipated speech on another subject, immigration reform.

Rockefeller said the torture report is “being slow-walked to death” by the administration and told the HuffPost, “They’re doing everything they can not to release it.”

“[The report] makes a lot of people who did really bad things look really bad,” Rockefeller continued, “which is the only way not to repeat those mistakes in the future.”

Though the report has been completed for many months, the members of the Senate Intelligence committee have been fighting with the White House, which allowed CIA officials to review its findings, over the scope of redactions to the report’s summary before it’s made public.

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American Psychological Association Investigates Role Psychologists Played in US Torture Program

On Friday, The Intercept reported that the American Psychological Association (APA) is launching an independent investigation into the role that psychologists (and its members) played in the U.S. torture program under the Bush administration. The role of doctors and clinical psychologists is not new to the awareness of the public, the administration or the APA. The question, really, is “what took so long?” for the self-regulated organization to open their own eyes to the activities of its members and the psychology community at large.

via The Intercept:

The top professional organization for psychologists is launching an independent investigation over how it may have sanctioned the brutal interrogation methods used against terror suspects by the Bush administration. The American Psychological Association announced this week that it has tapped an unaffiliated lawyer, David Hoffman, to lead the review.

In 2002, the American Psychological Association (APA) revised its code of ethics to allow practitioners to follow the “governing legal authority” in situations that seemed at odds with their duties as health professionals. 

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An Innocent Man, Tortured by the US, Asks the UN: Where’s the Accountability?

Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay via Wikimedia Commons.

Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay via Wikimedia Commons.

via The Intercept:

U.S. officials are in for a serious grilling on Wednesday as they get hauled before the U.N. Committee against Torture and questioned about about a multitude of ways in which the U.S. appears to be failing to comply with the anti-torture treaty it ratified 20 years ago.

As Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU Human Rights Program noted on Monday:

This marks the first U.N. review of the United States’ torture record since President Obama took office in 2009, and much is at stake. The review will test the pledges President Obama made to reverse disastrous Bush-era policies that led to gross violations of human rights, like torture, secret and incommunicado detention, “extraordinary renditions,” unfair trials, and more. It is also likely to examine practices that emerged or became entrenched during Obama’s time in office, such as indefinite detention at Guantánamo, immigration detention and deportations, and the militarization of the police, as witnessed by the world during this summer’s events in Ferguson.

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