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Senate Urged to Release Torture Report

Senate Urged to Release Torture Report

There is a new campaign out there on the one year anniversary of the take-down of Osama Bin Laden claiming that his killing resulted from the success of the Bush torture program.

America’s former torturer-in-chief Jose Rodriguez has written a book and was selling it and this argument on ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ (EITs) on 60 Minutes last Sunday.

According to Rodriguez, high-value detainees were not cooperative and resisted CIA interrogation when they arrived. As this story goes, after the CIA subjected them to EITs, the detainees became cooperative and started answering questions.

Except they didn’t. Rodriguez in his book mentions numerous times that even after rendering the high-value detainees “complicit” through EITs, the CIA still didn’t get all the answers they wanted.

Professional interrogators who have actually interrogated high-value detainees (unlike Rodriguez) say that threats and pain can actually render those detainees more resistant and make an interrogation more likely to fail.

In real life, professional interrogators use non-coercive interrogation methods with high-value detainees and get the reliable, actionable information they’re after, without torturing or abusing anyone (hear them in the video below). And in real life, EITs and torture get you false information. The false link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, a major motivation for the war in Iraq, came largely from interrogations that involved torture.

Winston Churchill, in Britain’s ‘darkest hour’, did not allow the practice of torture — because it did not work and because it could backfire.

The Senate investigation into the CIA Torture program [PDF] has this to say about Rodriguez:

The roots of the UBL operation stretch back nearly a decade and involve hundreds, perhaps thousands, of intelligence professionals who worked non-stop to connect and analyze many fragments of information, eventually leading the United States to Usama Bin Laden’s location in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The suggestion that the operation was carried out based on information gained through the harsh treatment of CIA detainees is not only inaccurate, it trivializes the work of individuals across multiple U.S. agencies that led to UBL and the eventual operation.

We are also troubled by Mr. Rodriguez’s statements justifying the destruction of video tapes documenting the use of coercive interrogation techniques as “just getting rid of some ugly visuals.” His decision to order the destruction of the tapes was in violation of instructions from CIA and White House lawyers, illustrates a blatant disregard for the law, and unnecessarily caused damage to the CIA’s reputation.

Kyle “Dusty” Foggo, then Executive Director of the CIA, wrote in an e-mail that Rodriguez thought “the heat from destroying is nothing compared to what it would be if the tapes ever got into public domain – he said that out of context they would make us look terrible; it would be ‘devastating’ to us.”

Rodriguez is going around saying what he did was not torture, yet he destroyed the very evidence which would prove his supposed point. How convenient.

The producers of the soft focus 60 Minutes piece actually admit that what Rodriguez did was as bad as the Nazis and the Khmer Rouge, but they just wanted him to give ‘his side of the story.’ Senator Dianne Feinstein reacted to 60 Minutes giving him a platform where he could brag about his order to destroy videotapes by saying that this “illustrates a blatant disregard for the law.” Which rather begs the question as to why he hasn’t been arrested, and indeed why the Obama administration has given all those who allowed torture a free pass.

Romney supports EIT (torture) and the pushback from Cheney,  and Rodriguez and their pals is not going to stop. Banished and denounced by Obama though torture was, it could still come back and this is why there is a call for the Senate to publish the full report on the CIA’s torture program, with as few redactions as possible, and comprehensively debunk people like them.

This is the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) three-year long review, a 4,000-page report of the CIA’s post-September 11 detention and interrogation practices.

Support Amnesty International, Human Rights First and many others in calling for the full report to be released here or here.

Watch experts explain why ‘Torture is Counterproductive’ in this report from Human Rights First:

Related stories:

Wanted: Torturer – Join Our Small But Enthusiastic Team

American Torture: 40 Years in Solitary

Ten Years of Guantanamo: One of the Prison’s First Detainees Breaks His Silence

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41 comments

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8:09PM PDT on May 6, 2012

@ Stephanie D.. “Sad truth about the world is that enemies can be an ugly reality” The sad truth is that America has made many enemies by its own actions, attacking other countries or the CIA overthrowing their chosen governments and installing dictatorships. Let’s finally cut the crap about “the good guys” [us] fighting “the bad guys”.[the people we have decided to bully on behalf of corporate ‘interests’]. The US is a rogue nation, now with an official policy of torture of captives and that is common knowledge in the world. Live with it.

4:55PM PDT on May 6, 2012

OF Course Eva they are bad prop;e those terrorist so let hurry up and become JUST LIKE THEM!!!!!!

YOu dodnt win a war by BECOMING YOUR ENEMY.

4:55PM PDT on May 6, 2012

OF Course Eva they are bad prop;e those terrorist so let hurry up and become JUST LIKE THEM!!!!!!

YOu dodnt win a war by BECOMING YOUR ENEMY.

11:42AM PDT on May 6, 2012

Torture is wrong and whomever does it should be jailed for a very long time, but I guess that's not going to happen

10:46AM PDT on May 6, 2012

Eva C.--abuse is just wrong. Decapitating Americans (or anyone else) is just wrong.

And calling people "traitors" because they disagree with you? Smear tactics and attempted intimidation. Just because I want my country to obey its own laws doesn't make me a traitor. Just because I advocate humane treatment of other people doesn't mean I love them and approve of their actions. And are you really condoning the Nazis who tortured Jews "just because they didn't like them"?

Paul B.--I ask again, are you volunteering? If nothing else, I'm sure you can find some bully who'll force your head into a toilet while telling you "It's not torture, it's for your own good!"

"Would you prefer that we had just killed them . . . " No, I would prefer that we put them on trial for their crimes. An honest trial, where they get access to their lawyers. Not just kidnapped out of their homes in the dead of night and brought to a secret jail and held for years without access to the outside world simply because they are suspected of crimes.

10:31AM PDT on May 6, 2012

Eva C.--abuse is just wrong. Decapitating Americans (or anyone else) is just wrong.

And calling people "traitors" because they disagree with you? Smear tactics and attempted intimidation. Just because I want my country to obey its own laws doesn't make me a traitor. Just because I advocate humane treatment of other people doesn't mean I love them and approve of their actions. And are you really condoning the Nazis who tortured Jews "just because they didn't like them"?

Paul B.--I ask again, are you volunteering? If nothing else, I'm sure you can find some bully who'll force your head into a toilet while telling you "It's not torture, it's for your own good!"

"Would you prefer that we had just killed them . . . " No, I would prefer that we put them on trial for their crimes. An honest trial, where they get access to their lawyers. Not just kidnapped out of their homes in the dead of night and brought to a secret jail and held for years without access to the outside world simply because they are suspected of crimes.

6:33PM PDT on May 5, 2012

@ Paul B.. “still hold to my opinion that waterboarding, while I don't like it, is not torture per se” Opinion ? It was OK because it was to save American lives ? .Reporters who tried it were quite convinced that it was torture. Waterboarding was torture when the Holy Inquisition did it, torture when The Gestapo did it, torture when the Japanese did it, or is that not your “opinion”? So didn’t the Gestapo torture spies and freedom fighters “to save German lives”, and the Japanese do it to get troop movement information to save Japanese lives, and are we now saying that they weren’t doing anything wrong ? On the subject of torture, is it your opinion that the field telephones hooked up to Vietnamese testicles, or prisoners thrown out of helicopters weren’t torture per se ? How about ‘suspects’ kidnapped and delivered to secret foreign torture chambers in the “extraordinary renditions”? Did that save lots of American lives ? Expand on your ‘’”opinion”.




5:42AM PDT on May 5, 2012

Stephanie D. - are you really Rove in drag? You got the talking points right but the moral issue dead wrong. Paul D. - are you "her" brother? I hope you both get to sit on a dunking stool some day soon.

11:22PM PDT on May 4, 2012

If I was under threat of torture, I'd make up whatever stories they wanted to hear. If I was drunk or slipped some drugs, I'd be telling the truth and then some. Why jump right to torture when drugs can make someone tear down their defenses?

9:16PM PDT on May 4, 2012

Sad truth about the world is that enemies can be an ugly reality, just as war is an ugly reality.

Add to this is if our enemies are 'unconventional' (terrorists) in an unconventional war (based on conflicting ideologies (hostile religions to our existence or values)), then it obviates the necessity of 'unconventional' interrogation techniques (torture) even if it ineffective most of the time, but may be effective only some of the time.

Torture is an ugly reality of an Unconventional War. Likewise, being INEFFECTIVE is a part of the ugliness of war, but a very necessary reality, which includes TORTURE, as inhumane as it is. Either the victims are those who are tortured, or those who may benefit from possible 'true' information extracted by those means (other means notwithstanding).

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