President George W Bush visits CIA Headquarters, March 20, 2001.

The fact that The Senate Intelligence Committee has provided the public with a report on the torture program that our government operated is an unqualified victory for our democracy. There were many powerful forces arrayed against its release,  including the CIA itself, former Bush Administration people, Republicans and some Democrats.

In the report, they frankly stated the bottom line that the CIA’s torturing (“Enhanced Interrogation”) of prisoners was ineffective and never prevented a single terrorist attack nor provided any meaningful information, the CIA provided extensive inaccurate information to Congress (that is, the CIA lied to Congress) and the White House and far more people were tortured and far more brutally than the CIA reported. Despite the valuable exposure of what this mercenary organization was perpetrating in secret and in all of our names, there is one glaring omission from the report…naming a single person who participated in this violation of U.S. Constitutional and international laws.

Not even President George W. Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney who are even today exclaiming how proud they are of those serving under them for brutally torturing human beings at their behest. How can there be a complete report on torture without identifying the people who did the torturing or more importantly, the government leaders who ordered them to torture? Bush and Cheney were quite frank when news first leaked about the torture going on under them, that it was necessary to protect America. They expressed pride in those who were torturing prisoners and he was Commander in Chief at the time, in charge of and responsible for the actions of the military and CIA. Yet oddly, the names Bush and Cheney are oddly absent from this report.

Realistically, I don’t know that anyone expected that it would be politically possible to name names since doing so would have to include Bush and Cheney as well as military and CIA leaders and operatives. So once again, just as with the Wall Street engineered destruction of the economy and millions of Americans’ losses of their jobs, savings and homes, no one is held responsible, no one is tried, no one goes to jail.

What does seem clear from the Senate authors of this report is one clear and noble mission, stopping the U.S. from using torture in the future. Knowing that the goal of holding any individual responsible would have been stopped dead by greater powers than them, they didn’t include the names of those leaders. Sadly and out of self-interest, President Obama also apparently doesn’t want to set a precedent of prosecuting ex-Presidents since that could be used against him (no matter how unjustified).

What the Senators did in this report was what was doable and on that count, they do seem to have been successful. It would not seem fair to discount what they did achieve because they didn’t pursue something that would never have come to fruition anyway, the DoJ has made clear that it would never prosecute Bush or Cheney for their crimes nor would they do so with the CIA or military. What could have been accomplished though by honestly stating who did what would be providing history with a complete perspective of how this horrible chapter in the story of America took place. And…how our government and leaders can go so terribly wrong in a period of crisis and fear when not properly kept under checks and balances.

As for the push back against the report, is anyone surprised? The group that directly committed the crimes, the CIA, is still claiming, “We didn’t do anything wrong!”. Yep, the organization that has been factually proven to criminally torture human beings, who illegally spied on the Senate Committee and tried to hide evidence they were seeking, they should really be believed.

The Republicans meanwhile add to that BS, their whine about how releasing this information is political, or it wasn’t thorough enough, or it’s only going to enrage those in other nations to harm Americans…or of course, somehow what happened before Obama was elected was his fault. And Republicans are all over the media today calling the facts in the reports “opinions” and “views” that disrespect and damage the always-justified CIA. Republicans are saying that the best thing we could have done in response to our government committing torture and horrid violations of our Constitution…would have been to hide it because admitting it makes us look bad to the world. Man, Republicans just can’t help thinking like criminals, the best way to deal with a crime they commit, is to cover it up. Hmm…wonder what President had to cut his stay at the White House short due to that kind of thinking?

One final note on this investigation. When Democrats took over government after these criminal acts of torture under the Bush Administration, many Americans expected and urged Democrats to prosecute Bush and Cheney for their violations of the Constitution and war crimes. President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were very clear that they would absolutely not pursue any criminal investigation into these massive crimes committed during Bush’s Presidency. It was a point of contention for many Democrats and many who believed in the importance of the law applying to everyone. The explanation for this might be a bit less apparent than the claim that Democrats didn’t want to look backwards but move the country forwards.

Not only are Bush and Cheney absent from this report…but so are those in Congress. It is hard to believe that many Democrats, along with Republicans, who were on The Senate and House Intelligence Committees had absolutely no knowledge of what the CIA was doing. They may have been misled by the CIA but it seems likely that Congressional Democrats were also in the loop along with Republicans, that torture was taking place. So if some Democrats had been complicit in torture in such a way, their pursuit to prosecute those involved could put them on trial as well. There was a legitimate argument to say that prosecuting Bush and Cheney would derail any positive work by Congress, tear the nation apart and possibly inspire a Republican Congress to do the same to Obama and any subsequent Democrats as an act of revenge.

What we know confidently now is that torture did take place under the Bush Administration by the CIA, that it didn’t work or help keep Americans safe, that it permanently undermined our nation’s moral authority in the world and that there is absolutely no regret or apology from those who oversaw and committed it.

Did these people order and commit torture on fellow human beings because they truly believed it would work? Was it a sadism and vengeance borne from the attack on 9/11? Was it something else? We may never know the genuine motivation between such heinous acts and apparently, we will never know all the names of those who actually committed the torture but the fingerprints on this war crime are from the leaders of our democracy and by not holding them personally responsible, we risk the horrible prospect of history repeating itself in the future.

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SearingTruth
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Gentle friend AdLib, I believe that only brutal sociopaths could have carried out this type of systematic torture and murder. It had nothing to do with protecting our country, and everything to do with sadistic monsters freed by a morally corrupt administration, and frightened and apathetic people.
ST

“And so, just as Hitler and Stalin before us, we recruited brutal sociopaths to torture and murder, accounting only to their personal will. Lending them, wholeheartedly and enthusiastically, all necessary moral and legal blessing.

I have always been curious, and wondered, who the American people thought were torturing and murdering in our name.”
SearingTruth

A Future of the Brave

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Kalima
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Nirek
Member

Ad, I would be satisfied and gratified if “w” , cheney, and rummy were tried for War Crimes. However I don’t think I’ll hold my breath.

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choicelady
Member

My overwhelming concern is that we’re seeing several things that are common to this report and all else around us. We look to finger the perps – Bush, Cheney, Woo, et al. – without tackling the underlying issue.

Since the mid 1970s we have permitted almost without objection to the ‘commodification’ of ‘the other’. From factory labor to minorities to immigrants to enemies abroad, we have done what we reviled in our enemies – we have dehumanized those who stand in our way of what we want.

We excoriated the Germans in WW I and WW II for doing this to Belgians and Dutch in the first war, to Jews, labor, gypsies, gays in WW II. But after WW II forces that actually admired the ‘hard practicality’ of German fascists embraced the very notion of objectification and used it to build a more dehumanized racism, war targets, immigrants, and now, as in Vietnam, targets of war.

We see in the rise of bragging over gang rape to plant shutdowns to the murders of young Black men and women a persistent retreat to the dehumanization of others. We made progress after the gains of the Civil Rights movement but have lost that sense of collective equality. When we entered a war of lies, we had to objectify Muslims to justify the adventurism. We have racial divisions because they help divert us from the erosions of our well being by the few.

It’s that collective disregard – and the Left is not immune in its sneering dismissal of so many people – that justifies torture, racism, class bias, fragmentation. Whenever we let that occur, then it is we who are culpable. Anti-torture movements and groups arose long after the deeds were known. Why weren’t they there at the beginning? When did we lose our ability to stand against such things always, not just when we learn about them later?

This is a pivotal moment not just to identify perps in this one administration but to do a whole lot of soul searching about how we contribute to objectification and, by extension, commodification of others when we think it serves some interest we support.

It’s all of us. It’s our society as a materialistic capitalist culture that needs to be held to account. We have our work cut out for us.

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Kalima
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Now the shifting of the blame starts as they begin to devour their own.
————

Bush ‘fully informed’ of CIA methods

President George W Bush knew all about CIA interrogation methods, says his vice-president, dismissing a Senate report as “full of crap”.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-30427211

—-

CIA interrogation report: Who knew what when?

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-30416398

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funksands
Member

Ad, thanks so much for posting this. I can’t recall anything that I’ve been as heartsick over than our country willingly and eagerly ginning up legal cover for evil.

Since the release of the report, the most disgusting comment about the report is “It doesn’t even work”. Even if evil has a 100% success ratio, its still evil. Hearing discussion about the efficacy of evil as a legitimate policy option “B” is awful.

Any society that uses torture as state policy ceases to be worth protecting.

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GreenChica
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GreenChica

Ugh. I can’t stand the thought that my tax dollars helped finance this and that it was done, so to speak, in my name and in the name of all Americans.

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S-Man
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S-Man

We never learn from history do we? Sad day. Now that Congress actually has something to investigate will they?………I think we all know the answer.

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Kalima
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CIA report sparks prosecution calls

The UN and rights groups call for US officials involved in what a Senate report calls brutal CIA interrogations of al-Qaeda suspects to be prosecuted.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-30407950

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kesmarn
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Not a surprising reaction from the rest of the world, is it Kalima? As the details of this horror story are coming out, it just seems to get worse and worse.

According to the article, even the Prime Minister of Lithuania is still uncertain as to whether or not there was a CIA torture facility in their country!

Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius called on the US to say whether CIA used his country to interrogate prisoners.

A previous Lithuanian investigation found the CIA set up and ran a facility near the country’s capital but could not determine if prisoners were held there.

How arrogant is it to set up a place like that — apparently without even bothering to get the consent of the “host” nation?

When Dubya was in office I remember saying to friends that it would take decades to clean up the mess that he’d left behind in the world financial community, the environment and the shambles of America’s reputation in the world. I think I may have “mis-underestimated.”

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Kalima
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No kes, it’s not surprising at all that the UN and human rights groups are already coming out to condemn it. It’s against international law, not that it bothers some countries, just look at Israel as a prime example.

I’ve only had the chance to read a few stories about the extent of the torture, like this article that quite honestly made me feel physically sick and is haunting me even now after I woke up.

Then you have Repubs, the CIA brass and Bush and Cheney lying to defend it. It’s like a sadists convention. It’s beyond comprehension.

THE MOST GRUESOME MOMENTS IN THE CIA ‘TORTURE REPORT’

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/12/09/the-most-gruesome-moments-in-the-cia-torture-report.html

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kesmarn
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I just finished reading that article and it really is sickening. We Americans would love to delude ourselves that “our guys” wouldn’t do things like that. But it’s so obviously not true. It would be easy to simply blame Cheney and Bush. But doing things like this required the cooperation of a lot of other people too. From Michael Hayden at the CIA and John Yoo, the lawyer who cooked up the phony legal “justification” for all of it, all the way down to medical personnel who went along with what happened and didn’t strenuously object.

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Kalima
Admin

The chain of command began with the WH with the influence of the CIA, and escalated from there.

There will be names leaked in the future and these people along with those at the top should be punished. Shame that they can’t be stripped of their citizenship, and asked to leave so that the ICC can start the process.

This show of feeling no shame from those involved is inhuman.

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kesmarn
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Thanks so much for a very thoughtful and thought-provoking article, AdLib. I read an interesting suggestion today and — honestly — I’m still not sure what I think about it.

The suggestion was that President Obama should issue a formal and very public pardon to (at the very least) Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. Not because they’ve asked for it or deserve it, but because — in the absence of charges against them — it’s the one way to clearly establish that they committed crimes.

Even if for no other reason than the fact that Cheney and Bush would find it incredibly galling to be pardoned by Obama — this may deserve some consideration.

Also — I’m no fan of John McCain’s. Not at all. But I have to say that I was impressed by his speech today in support of the value of the report itself and of the public release of its contents. It was really very eloquent and called (for once) on the GOP to heed its better angels. He also countered the usual Republican argument that releasing this report would cause a furious and violent backlash against Americans (especially military) around the world. He said — I’m paraphrasing here — that it’s not as if American servicemen and diplomats are not in danger already. They’ve been in danger for a long time. Doing this is the right thing and there are people in the world who will recognize that too.

Final thought — I would really love to see released the names of the two psychologists who were paid $80 million dollars to devise new and more hideous methods of torture. I think they should also return the money and lose their licenses. But that would be a whole other article.

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KillgoreTrout
Member

So much for the ethical standard of “doing no harm.” I guess if you’re just a mere psychologist and not a psychiatrist, you don’t have to concern yourself with the Hippocratic Oath. Oy Ve!

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kesmarn
Admin

I can’t imagine going for counseling to anyone who had that “accomplishment” on his/her resume, Homie. Sounds like a pair of psychologists who need to see a psychologist. Or psychiatrist. Maybe some shock treatment would be in order?

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pinkpantheroz
Member

I can’t wait to see how the GOPTP will spin this so it’s all Obama’s fault.

I have to smile at all the craw-thumping. The buck stopped with Dubya. Period. Every country in the world uses torture methods, big or small, to exert power and try and obtain information. Some of the USA’s ‘allies’ are notorious for the brutality of their prisons and interrogation methods. It is a credit to the US that at least they have owned up to it and that it has stopped. Or has it? And do we really want to know?

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GreenChica
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GreenChica

I saw one rightwing goober on TV claim in one breath that 1) it stopped under Bush not Obama and 2) it was the right thing to do. If that makes any sense.

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choicelady
Member

Thank you for this. Understand that I respectfully disagree on several points coming as I do from a position of advocacy against torture on a national campaign.

I served on the Board of a national organization against torture. As part of the responsibility, I had to figure out where prosecutorial responsibility lay. We started well ahead of the 2008 election, and we knew whoever won would have an immense burden dealing with what to us was a horrific breech of democratic process, Constitutional authority, and a violation of international standard.

When President Obama won in 2009, virtually his first act was to abolish the faux legal standards written by Yoo and others that seemed to justify the use of torture. Law was clear – no presidential authority allowed us to over-ride our commitment to treaties, to history, to our Constitutional obligation to protect people from ‘cruel and unusual punishment’.

Torture is not and never has been about getting ‘truth’ from prisoners. It doesn’t. It never has. Torture is totally, exclusively, and historically always about asserting the power of the ‘sovereign’ over other people – injecting terror in every aspect of their lives to make them fold and become subject to the power of the sovereign. If you wish a grim but incredibly important look at torture, read French philosopher, Michele Foucault’s amazing book, “Discipline and Punish”. It is what you need to know about the PURPOSE of torture. Truth has no role in torture. POWER is what it extracts from people.

What became obvious to me is that it has a most horrifying impact not just on the tortured but upon everyone in a nation that uses it. So when one asserts – and it’s probably accurate – that Dems knew something about Bush’s unleashing of terror, understand that those people who knew were under the most horrific mandate to keep silent. By LAW they could not reveal what the administration had done. It’s no cowardice to refuse to fight in public – it is absolutely essential. Only a handful – maybe Nancy Pelosi when she became Speaker – had access to this information. They could NOT legally speak out.

Would you?

We keep pretending that the system can be ignored, we demand the ultimate sacrifice from our leaders, we insist that courageous and principles elected officials should defy the law.

Would you?

Well – I have. And I have paid HUGE costs for it, and it’s not even around something of national security significance. What people in this position do is what got done – information such as Abu Ghraib is leaked. Laws are changed. Public opinion is swayed with the hard, cold facts.

Now we have an administration that has declared NO TORTURE and has released this document. Not enough you say? You don’t know what you’re asking. You cannot think ahead to the embedded interests that support American hegemony to the point they’d KILL to keep us No. 1 over all the others in the world. So we don’t have names. So we don’t cite Bush and Cheney. Well – what country has ever prosecuted its OWN for war crimes? Anyone?

Yes – Guatemala last year, and the courts overturned the verdict, and now the people who came forward are once again hunted by the supporters of RW extremist Rios Montt. This is progress?

The International Criminal Court has acted – Bush and Cheney have been tagged They cannot leave the US without risking arrest. They may live here – they cannot leave here. Were this administration to try to prosecute them – they actually can’t prosecute ANYONE – we would already have civil war. That’s why we leave it to ICC. We must as a matter of national survival. It’s not that easy. It’s not just putting away the Mafia – it’s killing the nation.

IF the Congress had originally acted in 2009, we might have gotten a bill of particulars, but they did not. I spoke directly with the chair of the Dem led Civil Rights subcommittee in the House. The Dems who now felt they had some measure of freedom to open an inquiry still wanted to leave it to ICC – and they did.

There is no simplistic solution. Think carefully about how torn this nation has become over every damned issue then think what would have occurred if Bush and Cheney were to stand trial IN the US of A. We can press ICC to do more – especially now the report has been released – but let it be logical, mature, and useful action.

Nothing less than the survival of our nation is at stake depending on what path we take, what we recommend. Democracy requires maturity and thoughtfulness – simple revenge is never EVER the answer.

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VegasBabe
Member

I’ve not been in your particular position but I’m inclined to agree that prosecution of Bush/Cheney could and would have torn this nation apart. I’m still astounded at how so many liberals and progressives abandoned the POTUS when it became clear his administration wouldn’t pursue criminal charges. It is best to leave it to the ICC, lets see righties go to war with them and we should perhaps be satisfied with the likelihood that history will handle these two accordingly.

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Kalima
Admin

Of course George said the same thing in an interview and the WH didn’t know about the torture? BS!! They had their lawyers bend the laws so that they looked like a row of crooked and contorted “S’s”.

To Brennan I say, name the times torture saved American lives in detail.

To Bush I say, sit down and shut up. How dare you!! You should be sitting in a cell awaiting trial in The Hague.

If that WH didn’t know, then why are they now defending it so fiercely?

Cheney even repeating that water boarding was legal and he would do it again. Of course they knew, Gonzales couldn’t just go ahead and change these laws all by himself. So the report is not 100% honest about dealing out the blame.

Looks to me as if the CIA hired a bunch of untrained, insane sadists to break the Geneva Convention.

—-

CIA director rebuts report, says interrogation techniques ‘saved lives’

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/cia-director-rebuts-report-says-interrogation-techniques-saved-lives/2014/12/09/27a5f520-7fc6-11e4-81fd-8c4814dfa9d7_story.html?wpisrc=nl-eve&wpmm=1

—-

Senate report on CIA program details brutality, dishonesty

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/senate-report-on-cia-program-details-brutality-dishonesty/2014/12/09/1075c726-7f0e-11e4-9f38-95a187e4c1f7_story.html?wpisrc=nl-eve&wpmm=1

—-

THE MOST GRUESOME MOMENTS IN THE CIA ‘TORTURE REPORT’

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/12/09/the-most-gruesome-moments-in-the-cia-torture-report.html

As always, thank you for the article, AdLib.

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Beatlex
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Beatlex

Sorry to say my friends,but America’s reputation wasn’t exactly sterling in the world before this report came out.Who do we hear from almost automatically? George&D!ck!.The 2 most culpable for this whole mess,covering their asses.Sure it was good to get the report out.There was not a lot of it new anyway.Good Post Ad!

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