Sunday, November 23, 2014

Fact: Torture (or whatever we choose to call it) Does Not Work

Sorry Boss: We Worked on Him forever. He Never Broke. 
He Never Gave Up One Drop of Info

Here we go again and here we are again. Right back at the starting point on this nasty story of torture by Americans and the awful stain on the country. This lingering and lopsided story we have all heard so much about since 9/11 seems to have no positive resolution. 

Two updates follow regarding the release of the so-called Senate Report on CIA Torture and the sustained stalemate between the CIA, GOP, DEMS, White House, and the public's right to know and decide for itself. A sure case of open government, right — ha. Anyway, thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the updates.

The first update is from the NY Times.

BACKGROUND ON HOW WE GOT HERE: The Senate Intelligence Committee spent five years working on the 6,000-page report. It is said to to contain grim details about the torture of detainees in CIA prisons and “Black Sites” all during the Bush administration. They further describe the persistent effort by CIA officials to mislead the White House and Congress about the efficacy of its interrogation techniques back then. The committee voted this year to declassify the report’s executive summary, numbering several hundred pages, but the fight over redactions has delayed the release has reached this fervor.

The protracted battle over the detention and interrogation report led to a separate dispute between the Intelligence Committee and the CIA after senators accused the agency of spying on committee staff members working on the investigation. An inquiry by the CIA IG found that several agency employees penetrated a computer network used by the Intelligence Committee and read the emails of the Senate investigators.

The findings of the CIA IG led CIA Director John Brennan to apologize to Senator Feinstein, who is chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee. Brennan also set up an internal accountability board to review the matter and possibly recommend disciplinary action against the CIA employees.


THE WHITE HOUSE: An Obama spokesman says: “The president has been clear that he wants the executive summary of the committee’s report to be declassified as expeditiously as possible. We share the Intelligence Committee’s desire for the declassified report to be released, and all of the administration’s efforts since we received the initial version have been focused on making that happen while also protecting our national security.”

THE DEM STANCE: A group of Senate Democrats accused the White House of trying to censor significant details in a voluminous report on the use of torture by the CIA in a tense White House meeting recently. The senators say that the White House is siding with the CIA and trying to thwart negotiations over the report’s release. The negotiations have dragged on for months because of a dispute over the CIA’s demand that pseudonyms of agency officers be deleted from the report.  Senate Democrats are worried that whatever leverage they have in having the report declassified on their terms is dwindling. Republicans will take control of the Senate in January, and the Intelligence Committee’s new leadership could choose to drag out the report’s release even longer.

THE GOP STANCE: Most Republican members of the committee have long been opposed to the investigation — which they have said is a partisan attempt to discredit the Bush administration — although several committee Republicans voted in favor of declassifying the report’s executive summary. They are supported by the White House and both say that even without using the real names of the officers (even only use their pseudonyms) that their identities could still be revealed. 

At the recent meeting, although civil in tone, neither side gave ground, and it ended without resolution. The report is said to provide grim details about American approved torture of detainees during the Bush administration. Further it describes the persistent effort by CIA officials to mislead the White House and Congress about the efficacy of the techniques. 

The second update is also from the NY Times: Republicans take over the Senate in just a few legislative days. And when they do, they will probably snuff out the last possibility of releasing a huge report on the use of torture by the CIA during the Bush-Cheney Administration. Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee prepared the report over the course of five years. Many of them are increasingly desperate to release it to the public. They know that, like most Republicans, the incoming chairman of the committee, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), thinks the report amounts to a political hit job on the Bush years.  

My View: This is a horrible stain on the country – one who prides itself, supposedly on the rule of law – but this aspect of the two long wars (one still on going and apt to get worse and Iraq about to crank back up it seems and drag us back in) will linger forever.

It is patently clear that the GOP subscribes to torture by any name and their stance on this report, which the public has a right to know, is disgusting. If they support torture so strongly, then let the public see, scratch out the CIA officers names, but release the data and then see how the public reacts. Perhaps we can heard from a few of our former POWs from the Vietnam War or from others who have ever been held captive — i.e., like like Sen. John McCain.

Keep in mind one golden rule and aspect of this whole mess for surely it is a huge mess, and that is to remember what the difference and purpose is between interrogation and torture.

Interrogation has one purpose and that is to gain valuable intelligence information for field commanders. The purpose of torture is to inflict pain and hope of the best. Torture seldom, if never produces positive results or good information.

P.S. Torture DID NOT lead to finding, raiding the location, and killing of bin-Laden, either. Period.

Playing politics on this issue that see once again is disgusting just like the ton of lies about WMD and Nukes in Iraq led to that invasion all that has transpired since.

In short: the public pays the bills, sends their sons and daughters and other loved ones to make the most sacrifices in time of war, and now witness the nasty, ugly politics in play on about torture and the release of the report that they have a right to read and know for themselves is, well in a word: totally un-American.

The hard nose approaches we see again on full display about the issue of torture must not be allowed to stand, As we like to say (but maybe do not practice) WE ARE BETTER THAN THAT.

Torture goes against everything we say we strand for. Let's prove it — release the report and do right for the country – not for narrow selfish political point making.

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