Open Thread on the Subject of Torture: Does An Eye for an Eye Make the Whole World Blind?

StreckbettBy Elaine Magliaro

I’ve come across some articles on the subject of torture that I thought readers of this blog would find interesting and/or informative.

CIA on the Couch: Why there would have been no torture without the psychologists. (Slate)
This article was written by Steven Reisner. He is a psychoanalyst and founding member of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology and adviser on ethics and psychology for Physicians for Human Rights. In his article, Reisner writes of how the American Psychological Association appears to have colluded with the CIA to bend the profession’s rules of ethics to permit torture.


Recent revelations in James Risen’s new book, Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War, add an additional dimension to this story—it appears that senior staff members of the American Psychological Association, the world’s largest association of psychologists, colluded with national security psychologists from the CIA, the Pentagon, and the White House to adapt APA ethics policy to suit the needs of the psychologist-interrogators. Now, the APA, under enormous pressure because of the allegations reported by Risen, has agreed to an independent investigation to be conducted by David Hoffman, a former inspector general and federal prosecutor. It will in all likelihood provide a rare opportunity to look inside the secret world of APA-counterintelligence collusion.

Risen based his allegations on emails found on the personal computer of Scott Gerwehr, a researcher at the Rand Corp. and apparent CIA consultant, who died in a motorcycle accident in 2008. Gerwehr had established close ongoing collaboration with a group of “national security psychologists who had influence behind the scenes at key institutions throughout Washington.” Among them were Susan Brandon, behavioral science adviser at the Bush White House (she is now chief interrogation scientist for the Obama administration) and Kirk Hubbard, the CIA’s chief behavioral scientist. Hubbard has publicly admitted to bringing Mitchell and Jessen into the CIA to design the agency’s “enhanced interrogation” program. Brandon, Hubbard, Gerwehr, and Geoff Mumford, APA’s director of science policy, had worked together since soon after the 9/11 attacks to bring psychologist-researchers together with psychologist-operatives to collaborate on issues related to national security interrogations and interrogations research. Mitchell and Jessen were among the operatives present at these invitation-only meetings.

In July 2004, months before the role of psychologists in torture was made public when a report from the International Committee of the Red Cross on Guantanamo was leaked to the New York Times, Hubbard, Gerwehr, and personnel from the CIA and Pentagon were invited by Mumford and APA’s ethics director Stephen Behnke to a secret meeting. Publicly the APA has claimed at various points that the meeting was to address challenges faced by domestic law enforcement investigations. However, the true goal of the meeting, according to the emails obtained by Risen, was to “bring together people with an interest in national-security” interrogations and to “ask individuals involved in the work what the salient issues” were and to “provide guidance” for the ethical issues that may come up with regard to those interrogations—the very interrogations so nauseatingly described in the Senate report.


Torture Is Who We Are: A country, like a person, is what it does. (The Atlantic)

This article, written by Peter Binary, addresses the fact that the United States has employed torture at different times throughout its history.


The implication of the statements by Obama, King, and Yarmuth is that there is an essential, virtuous America whose purity the CIA defiled. But that’s silly. Aliens did not invade the United States on 9/11. In times of fear, war, and stress, Americans have always done things like this. In the 19th century, American slavery relied on torture. At the turn of the 20th, when America began assembling its empire overseas, the U.S. army waterboarded Filipinos during the Spanish-American War. As part of the Phoenix Program, an effort to gain intelligence during the Vietnam War, CIA-trained interrogators delivered electric shocks to the genitals of some Vietnamese communists, and raped, starved, and beat others.

America has tortured throughout its history. And every time it has, some Americans have justified the brutality as necessary to protect the country from a savage enemy. Others have called it counterproductive and immoral. At different moments, the balance of power between these two groups shifts. But neither side in these debates speaks for the “real America.” The real America includes them both. Morally, we contain multitudes.


The Humane Interrogation Technique That Works Much Better Than Torture: Confessions are four times more likely when interrogators adopt a respectful stance toward detainees and build rapport, a study finds. By Olga Khazan (The Atlantic)


A study published this year by Jane Goodman-Delahunty, of Australia’s Charles Sturt University, interviewed 34 interrogators from Australia, Indonesia, and Norway who had handled 30 international terrorism suspects, including potential members of the Sri Lankan extremist group Tamil Tigers and the Norwegian-based Islamist group Ansar al Ismal. Delahunty asked the interrogators what strategies they used to gain information and what the outcomes of each interrogation session were.

The winning technique, as BPS Research Digest notes, was immediately clear:

Disclosure was 14 times more likely to occur early in an interrogation when a rapport-building approach was used. Confessions were four times more likely when interrogators struck a neutral and respectful stance. Rates of detainee disclosure were also higher when they were interrogated in comfortable physical settings.


The ‘Graywashing’ of CIA Torture: The brutal interrogation program was far less defensible than its moderate critics seem to realize. By Conor Friedersdorf (The Atlantic)


This would be a lot more plausible (though still not actually true) if every last tortured prisoner was like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. But the attempt to portray the CIA’s torture program as relatively forgivable falls apart when examined beside the facts. Let’s take a smart, intellectually honest torture-opponent’s assessment of CIA interrogations as our illustration of the spy agency being given too much credit. Ross Douthat begins by harkening back to the September 11 terrorist attacks.

“In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, amid the shock the attack produced and because of what seemed like an immense knowledge deficit about what our enemies were capable of doing,” Americans feared that more mass casualty attacks were imminent, he argued. “This belief shaped the decisions made by senior policymakers as well as the attitudes of the general public, and it was shared by leaders of both parties, however leading Democrats prefer to cast their position nowadays.”

He continued, “the pervasiveness of that belief, especially in those first anthrax days, has to shape on how we retrospectively assess the decision to push the envelope,” adding, “this was a path our entire government took, with a public consensus at its back.” He sees these as mitigating factors, but consider what his analysis leaves out.


EDITORIAL: Torture: We are better than that (Asbury Park Press)


One of those truths is stated in the report’s introduction: “The CIA abuse violated U.S. law, treaty obligations and our values.”

We need to do more than just shake our heads over this. America must hold those responsible accountable for their actions. Otherwise, other nations could follow us down those same dark paths with the knowledge that America paid no attention to its international legal commitments, so why should they?

Some Americans argue that the release of the report puts Americans at risk for terrorist reprisal. It seems perfectly clear that terrorists do not need to concoct any other justifications for killing Americans. They do it wantonly and for no reason that logic or basic humanity can explain.

The report made clear that the CIA’s Orwellian “enhanced interrogation techniques,” otherwise known as torture, included beatings, solitary confinement and water boarding, and they simply didn’t work. They failed to elicit intelligence that helped to foil terrorist attacks…

What is reckless and irresponsible is forgetting the words of Gandhi: “•’An eye for an eye’ makes the whole world blind.”


What are your thoughts on the subject of torture?

This entry was posted in American History, CIA, George W. Bush, Government, Hypocrisy, Media, Politics, Psychology, United States and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

109 Responses to Open Thread on the Subject of Torture: Does An Eye for an Eye Make the Whole World Blind?

  1. eniobob says:

    “Cheney Seems Unfazed By Question About Innocent Detainee Who Died (VIDEO)”

  2. Elaine M. says:


    I watched Cheney’s interview on Meet the Press. The man is amoral–just like John Yoo. Yoo was interviewed on C-SPAN this morning.

  3. bigfatmike says:

    ” In times of fear, war, and stress, Americans have always done things like this. In the 19th century, American slavery relied on torture. At the turn of the 20th, when America began assembling its empire overseas, the U.S. army waterboarded Filipinos during the Spanish-American War. As part of the Phoenix Program, an effort to gain intelligence during the Vietnam War, CIA-trained interrogators delivered electric shocks to the genitals of some Vietnamese communists, and raped, starved, and beat others.”

    Well, that seems to cut off my argument that we have not used torture before… maybe… we haven’t claimed torture was legal before and made it national policy. I am pretty sure something is off the tracks, but it might take a minute to figure out what.

  4. blouise17 says:

    It’s impossible to fully understand people like Cheney and Yoo unless one thinks like them. If one does then the CIA is the place to be. Gotta remember that if one is introduced to a CIA employee. If they aren’t a torturer themselves they certainly know how to work alongside and with those who are.

  5. eniobob says:

    We will be seeing these folks 24/7 for the next (2) years no matter what the subject since the results of the last mid term election and with this “SELL OUT” on the spending bill by democrats(small D).The overeach is going to be very,very interesting.

  6. eniobob says:

    BTW,The sellout on the spending bill,was torture of a different kind.

  7. eniobob…sad but true.

    And we are what we do

    Especially when we do

    Nothing about it.

    We should all pick up GWB, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice, toss them into a boat on the sea… headed for The Hague and torture them on the questions of the legality of torture

  8. eniobob says:

    Can you smell what may be cooking ?

    ” ByAssociated PressPublishedDecember 14, 2014, 8:47 AM EST 243 views

    LONDON (AP) — A U.K. parliamentary panel wants access to information not made public in a U.S. Senate report that may pertain to Britain’s role in the interrogation and rendition of terror suspects following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.”

  9. bettykath says:

    Speaking of torture of a different kind:

    Scene at Botched Oklahoma Execution of Clayton Lockett Was ‘Bloody Mess’

    The court filing on Friday revealed new information about what happened to Lockett.

    The doctor ran back and forth to check Lockett, according to the document. Lockett “raised up a little bit a couple of times and the phlebotomist told him to take deep breaths, you know, kind of out loud”, a witness said.

    The witness, whose name was redacted, said he held Lockett down. Lockett’s movement “was a little bit more aggressive” than when the blinds were open, the witness said.

    A paramedic involved in the execution described the doctor’s efforts to introduce another IV.

    “I said [redacted] you’ve hit the artery,” the paramedic said. “Well, it’ll be alright [sic]. We’ll go ahead and get the drugs. No. We can’t do that. It doesn’t work that way and then I wasn’t telling him that. I mean I wasn’t trying to countermand his authority but he was a little anxious … I don’t think he realized that he hit the artery and I remember saying you’ve got the artery. We’ve got blood everywhere.”

    The court filing describes the accounts of other witnesses during the botched execution. The lawyers who made the filing have access to transcripts of interviews conducted by the state department of public safety about Lockett’s execution. The transcripts are sealed in the court case, but the court did not find that the facts of the case should be sealed.

    The first drug in the lethal injection was given at 6.23pm, records show. The doctor declared him unconscious at 6.33pm, but the doctor indicated that while the other drugs were given Lockett “raised his head up” and was “kind of jerking it”, according to the court filing.

    He said Lockett “started moaning” and he “thought he was seizing”.

    Warden Anita Trammell said she thought Lockett spoke.

    “… I mean, I was kind of panicking,” she said. “Thinking oh my God. He’s coming out of this. It’s not working.”

    Edith Shoals, a victim services advocate with the corrections department, was in an overflow room watching the execution. She said a woman ran out of the room. “It was like a horror movie … he kept trying to talk,” Shoals said.

  10. Wow…. But by Scald,ya,s logic, the cost of letting him up was prohibitive..

    His SCOTUS would have ordered the guy shot ..fir cost… n humanity,s sake.


  11. bettykath says:

    More on Cheney……
    The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program, otherwise known as the “Torture Report,” contains a number of references to male sexual abuse also seen in past reports about torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Guantanamo.

    The sexual abuse centers around inserting objects into the rectums of detainees. In the recent Senate report this activity also borders on coprophilia, a fetish that WMR exposed in the past on this website as one of Vice President Dick Cheney’s more prurient interests. Coprophilia is defined as “paraphilia involving sexual arousal and pleasure from feces.” Upon its release by Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Cheney was quick to defend the interrogation and detention practices revealed in the report.
    According to the report, it is quite likely that the “rectal infusions” were contained in CIA videotapes of the interrogations of Zubaydah and al-Nashiri. It is also known that live video streaming of interrogations was viewed by senior U.S. government officials. According to the report, “CIA officers were observing the foreign government interrogations of Ammar al-Baluchi via video feed.” Al Baluchi, a native of Kuwait accused of being an Al Qaeda financier in Pakistan and Dubai, was held in a CIA black site and is currently in Guantanamo.
    WMR previously reported that live video streaming equipment used by Vice President Cheney and his aides to view torture sessions in his Old Executive Building office was destroyed by a suspicious fire. On May 28, 2009, WMR reported: “On December 22, 2008, WMR reported on the high-tech support provided the Bush-Cheney White House by Mike Connell’s GovTech Solutions and his close colleague Jeff Averbeck’s firm SmarTech. Connell died last December when the plane he was piloting crashed short of landing in Akron, Ohio. We have now learned that Connell and Averbeck may have been behind the installation of live streaming black boxes in the White House and the Eisenhower Old Executive Office Building used to stream live video of torture sessions in Guantanamo, Cuba and Abu Ghraib to the Old Executive Office Building office of Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief Counsel David Addington and into the White House, itself.”

    Addington is mentioned a number of times in the Senate report as being a key player in the torture program. WMR’s May 28, 2009 report continued: “The fire that broke out in an ‘electrical closet’ in the Old Executive Office Building on December 19, 2007, near Cheney’s ceremonial office likely contained the live streaming boxes used to stream torture sessions from Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, according to our sources who added that SmartTech and Airnet have been in the live streaming video business since 2002. With the recent statement of retired U.S. Army General Antonio Taguba that rape and other sexual molestation sessions were prevalent at Abu Ghraib and that they were photographed, the stories of the suspicious death of Connell and the White House fire have taken on new relevancy. As reported by WMR on January 10, 2008: ‘Army Major General Antonio Taguba’s report on Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse stated that the abuse included ‘A male MP guard ‘having sex’ with a female detainee.’ ‘Having sex’ was an obvious attempt to avoid the use of the word ‘rape.’ It is obvious that Taguba’s report was either altered or some evidence was not shared with him and his investigators . . . Another investigation conducted by Lt. Gen. Anthony Jones and Maj. Gen. George Fay of Abu Ghraib reported male homosexual rape of prisoners but not the rape of female prisoners.”

    The Taguba report on detainee abuse in Iraq also stated that detainees were sodomized with glow sticks. WMR also reported that U.S. sodomized underage teens at Iraqi detention facilities with broom sticks and flashlights and that videotapes of this abuse were made available to senior White House staff for “entertainment” purposes. The coprophilia angle again came into play when in 2006 photographs from Abu Ghraib prison were released that showed prisoners crawling on the floor naked, being forced to perform sexual acts, and being covered in feces.

    Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld also personally oversaw sexual abuse of at least one detainee. A December 2005 internal US Army Inspector General report leaked to the on-line publication described how Rumsfeld personally monitored by telephone the interrogation of Saudi detainee Mohamed el Qahtani, described as the “20th hijacker.” Lt. Gen. Randall Schmidt reported to the Inspector General that the abuse of Qahtani “looked like Abu Ghraib.” Qahtani was forced to wear women’s underwear, perform sex acts in front of a woman, and perform “dog tricks” while wearing a leash. The nudity and “stress position” acts were personally approved by Rumsfeld in December 2002.

    However, it is Cheney who has been quick to defend the sexually perverse interrogation practices from which he appears to have derived personal gratification. On October 26, 2006, WMR reported that people who knew Dick Cheney in Wyoming before he served in the Nixon administration claimed he always had an unusual penchant for hanging around young girls, some as young as seven-years old. Cheney reportedly walked around his Wyoming home in his underwear, sometimes when his two young daughters’ friends were visiting. Cheney did not seem to mind that his activities around his home would inevitably expose his penis to the young girls.

    Senate Intelligence Committee report on rectal rehydration appears to match Dick Cheney’s most prurient sexual interests. Cheney’s staff suppressed the above edition of The Globe from DC metro area supermarkets.

    WMR also reported: “Cheney served as a Congressman from Wyoming from 1979 to 1989. This was during a time when two major page scandals, both involving Republican members of Congress, rocked Capitol Hill. They were the Koreagate scandal and the page/prostitutes visiting the White House in the late 1980s. In 1981, Lynne Cheney wrote “Sisters,” an Old West novel containing lesbian themes. Dick Cheney’s close friend and former chief of staff Scooter Libby penned a novel called “The Apprentice.” The following is an excerpt from Libby’s book, which features its main character, Yukiko, drawing hair on the ‘mound’ of a little girl: ‘At age 10 the madam put the child in a cage with a bear trained to couple with young girls so the girls would be frigid and not fall in love with their patrons. They fed her through the bars and aroused the bear with a stick when it seemed to lose interest.'”

    In 2002, Cheney held a reception for the publication of the second edition of Libby’s book at the vice president’s mansion.

    On June 5, 2007, WMR reported on bizarre and kinky sexual practices engaged in by top Bush administration and other Republican officials by clients of “DC Madam” Jeane Palfrey’s Pamela Martin & Associates escort service and other services: “The Bush administration’s increasing nervousness about Deborah Jeane Palfrey’s phone list is understandable after more details have emerged about some of the more bizarre prurient appetites of some past clients of Pamela Martin & Associates clients, said to include top officials of the Bush administration, Congressional members and staffers, and at least two well-known Washington, DC journalists.

    Some escorts regularly paid visits to clients with whips and handcuffs as part of their regular ensemble.

    Prostitutes hired by Louisiana Senator David Vitter in New Orleans are reporting that Vitter had a bizarre sexual fetish — he liked to wear diapers during his trysts.

    While that may be weird, some other prostitution clients due to be outed in Washington would appear much more bizarre. WMR has learned that certain VIPs who engaged the services of ‘fantasy’ escorts enjoyed what is known as ‘water sports’ — firstly, practices that involve urination and, ‘number two,’ activities that are even worse.

    Cheney’s coprophilia fetish was the subject of WMR’s April 11, 2008 report, “Cheney, according to knowledgeable sources involved in the Palfrey trial, paid at least one escort to straddle a glass top table and defecate on it while Cheney peered at the bowel ‘evacuation’ from underneath.” The act was performed before Cheney became vice president at a town home next door to his own residence at Madison of McLean, an upscale housing development in McLean, Virginia close to the CIA’s headquarters. Palfrey, had been found guilty of racketeering, mail fraud, and money laundering on April 15, 2008, just four days after WMR published its report about her escorts being involved in coprophiliac activities with Cheney. On May 1, 2008, Palfrey was found hanging in a utility shed at her mother’s home in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Police ruled the death a “suicide.”

    After WMR’s report on Cheney’s use of Palfrey’s escorts ran on the front cover of The Globe supermarket tabloid, the editor was informed that Cheney’s aides pressured two local retailers, Giant Food and Safeway, not to carry that issue. However, CVS pharmacy did sell the issue.

    The bottom line on the rectal abuse at the CIA black sites, Guantanamo Bay, and Abu Ghraib is that it was performed not to extract any meaningful intelligence but for the sexual gratification of coprohiliacs like Dick Cheney and his closest associates. While squirting a puree of hummus, pasta, nuts and raisins into the rectums of U.S. detainees had no nutritional value for prisoners who refused to eat, the prurient nature of the procedure is in keeping with the bizarre sexual appetites of Mr. Cheney and his entourage.

  12. Keith O., was interviewing someone who said Seymour Hersch let slip his book has information on Cheney hit squads going around to CIA stations.

    I can’t find if it is an old, or new issue

  13. Wayne has a knack for getting the real nitty, gritty

  14. Elaine M. says:


    That’s a story that came out about five years ago:

    Seymour Hersh: Secret U.S. Forces Carried Out Assassinations in ‘a Lot of’ Countries, Including in Latin America
    The investigative journalist for The New Yorker explains his recent bombshell revelation about Dick Cheney’s “executive assassination” squads.
    By Amy Goodman

  15. eniobob says:

    If there was***ANY***credible intell gathered during EIT we( The American Public) would have been the first to know.Case in point when we got Bin Laden I was working a night shift that Sunday Night and the President came on the radio and said what had occured I remember it so well because I called one of my co workers on the phone and asked had he heard what I heard and he said yep,We got Bin Laden,so I know there would have been,one of those disbelief moments.

  16. Harvey says:

    The WMR is trash. Unidentified sources my ass.

  17. Bob Stone says:

    What would Eisenhower say about the Bush administration’s and the CIA’s “spasmodic reaction to the stimulus of emergencies”?

    Excerpt from Dwight D. Eisenhower’s First Inaugural Address

    At such a time in history, we who are free must proclaim anew our faith. This faith is the abiding creed of our fathers. It is our faith in the deathless dignity of man, governed by eternal moral and natural laws.

    This faith defines our full view of life. It establishes, beyond debate, those gifts of the Creator that are man’s inalienable rights, and that make all men equal in His sight.

    In the light of this equality, we know that the virtues most cherished by free people — love of truth, pride of work, devotion to country — all are treasures equally precious in the lives of the most humble and of the most exalted. The men who mine coal and fire furnaces and balance ledgers and turn lathes and pick cotton and heal the sick and plant corn — all serve as proudly, and as profitably, for America as the statesmen who draft treaties and the legislators who enact laws.

    This faith rules our whole way of life. It decrees that we, the people, elect leaders not to rule but to serve. It asserts that we have the right to choice of our own work and to the reward of our own toil. It inspires the initiative that makes our productivity the wonder of the world. And it warns that any man who seeks to deny equality among all his brothers betrays the spirit of the free and invites the mockery of the tyrant.

    It is because we, all of us, hold to these principles that the political changes accomplished this day do not imply turbulence, upheaval or disorder. Rather this change expresses a purpose of strengthening our dedication and devotion to the precepts of our founding documents, a conscious renewal of faith in our country and in the watchfulness of a Divine Providence.

    The enemies of this faith know no god but force, no devotion but its use. They tutor men in treason. They feed upon the hunger of others. Whatever defies them, they torture, especially the truth.

    Here, then, is joined no argument between slightly differing philosophies. This conflict strikes directly at the faith of our fathers and the lives of our sons. No principle or treasure that we hold, from the spiritual knowledge of our free schools and churches to the creative magic of free labor and capital, nothing lies safely beyond the reach of this struggle.

    Freedom is pitted against slavery; lightness against the dark.

    The faith we hold belongs not to us alone but to the free of all the world. This common bond binds the grower of rice in Burma and the planter of wheat in Iowa, the shepherd in southern Italy and the mountaineer in the Andes. It confers a common dignity upon the French soldier who dies in Indo-China, the British soldier killed in Malaya, the American life given in Korea.

    We know, beyond this, that we are linked to all free peoples not merely by a noble idea but by a simple need. No free people can for long cling to any privilege or enjoy any safety in economic solitude. For all our own material might, even we need markets in the world for the surpluses of our farms and our factories. Equally, we need for these same farms and factories vital materials and products of distant lands. This basic law of interdependence, so manifest in the commerce of peace, applies with thousand-fold intensity in the event of war.

    So we are persuaded by necessity and by belief that the strength of all free peoples lies in unity; their danger, in discord.

    To produce this unity, to meet the challenge of our time, destiny has laid upon our country the responsibility of the free world’s leadership.

    So it is proper that we assure our friends once again that, in the discharge of this responsibility, we Americans know and we observe the difference between world leadership and imperialism; between firmness and truculence; between a thoughtfully calculated goal and spasmodic reaction to the stimulus of emergencies.

    We wish our friends the world over to know this above all: we face the threat — not with dread and confusion — but with confidence and conviction.

    We feel this moral strength because we know that we are not helpless prisoners of history. We are free men. We shall remain free, never to be proven guilty of the one capital offense against freedom, a lack of stanch faith.”

  18. Harvey says:

    It’s once removed but is The Globe now considered a reputable publication? What’s next? Drudge and Breitbart?

  19. Reliable sources or not, it sure would explain a lot about his other psychology.

  20. Bob,

    As you well know, I’d vote for Eisenhower tomorrow. Speeches like that one and the fact he walked the talk are in no small part why.

  21. Harvey says:

    I don’t need to understand Cheney’s psychology. He’s an authoritarian asshole. I do need to defend and support professional journalism. Once we give the likes of WMR and a grocery store tabloid a pass – how do we call out the likes of Drudge and Breitbart?

  22. I understand where you are coming from Harvey. Source vetting, both in journalism and in courts of law, is a critical function (in both meanings of the word “critical”). However, even speculation on psychology can have its value. I could quote something pithy by Sun Tzu or Marcus Aurelius about the value of knowing your enemy, but you get the idea.

  23. I’ll take the likes if WMR over your candor any day. To equate a former NSA man who chooses being broke than pandering. Ann to speak of he who spends money he doesnt have, to go to AZ and challenge the purported murder suicide of another journalist (Hartman) to being the same plane of purpose as Briebart;

    That,s Bull Shit!

  24. Tutoring men in treason by the usurpation of the principles of equity and the perversion of the good sense of justice, via tyranny, cronyism and corruption;

    has become the rule, rather than the exception

  25. Thanks for time affirm Eliane

  26. Inga says:

    I saw the interview, I felt defiled after. This man is evil, if there is such a thing.

  27. Elaine M. says:


    I see there are torture apologists over at that other blog.

  28. Elaine & Inga,
    I suppose you saw my two cents worth. Hopefully the comment won’t be deleted because I didn’t mention PS by name, just quoted him.

    So folks who might be curious won’t have to go looking for it, here is what I wrote:

    I thought I had stumbled into the wrong blog when I read comments like this,

    “….rectal rehydration is life-saving. It does not fall under any definition of rape, even the namby pamby ones the feminists have put forward do redefine ‘rape culture…”

    , which make one long for an intelligent conversation with a bowl of turkey innards.

    If that procedure is so life-saving, how come they don’t do it in hospitals? Ever?

    Because to strip someone naked, hold them upside down while forcing large amounts of viscous fluid into the lower intestines causes exquisite pain, is completely degrading psychologically, violates both the Hippocratic Oath and Geneva Conventions…….and is torture under every definition of the word.

    One known, and well documented, aftereffect of torture is PTSD. So far, mental health researchers have never been able to find an individual that has been tortured who does not suffer from some degree of PTSD.

    Apologists for torture are part of the problem. Anyone who blocks or impedes prosecution of torturers becomes an accomplice to obstruction of justice for war crimes. I don’t give a rat’s ass who they are, how wealthy they are, their political affiliation, or how high the office they hold.

  29. Elaine M. says:


    I left a number of comments on that thread. I also read your comment.

  30. pete says:

    Just think about it, somewhere walking around the good old US of A there are people who were paid to torture other human beings. You have no idea who they are, maybe it’s the guy you just flipped off for cutting you off in traffic. Maybe the guy behind you at the supermarket. Maybe it’s that person who just moved in next door. You never know.

    (it was either write this or one about what dick cheney does to himself while watching the re hydration video)

    aarrrggg Lynn, where’s my battery charger?

  31. I’ll not only admit that I looked to see what kind of responses they were getting to torture stories, I’ll have to say that I’m not surprised at neither the nature of those responses nor those responsible for them. That is what happens when a blog sells its ethical standards to the highest bidder. Either by consequence or confluence, you draw people with no understanding of or desire to work for the common good. Some standards are simply not debatable. Torture is unacceptable. Full stop. Not only ethically wrong, but as a practical matter it doesn’t produce quality actionable intelligence and it undercuts any claim of legitimacy of those who engage in it over their enemy and thus destroys their international credibility. There have been many torture debates there since the whole debacle started, but that is the first one where the apologists dominated the conversation as a matter of volume. Kinda sad really that a blog allegedly dedicated to civil and human rights draws a crowd that apparently doesn’t understand the basics of either nor seems to have any desire to learn the errors of their way. Or learn anything, for that matter. But that is a different story.

  32. Inga says:

    Yes Elaine, they infest RIL.

  33. Inga says:

    The rectal feeding comment by that person PCS was the most ignorant thing I’ve ever read on RIL.

  34. pete says:


    I go by from time to time but I rarely comment anymore. The torture thread was just one of many. Mostly they were just trying to attack raff for writing it.

  35. All weak beings seek to elevate themselves via bullying techniiques of subugating others they have some power over. Doing such as purported protector lords as subrogated duty to protect from evil,

    Is the devil made me do it logic of demons pretending to be humans

  36. pete says:

    OT (you have to watch the whole thing)

  37. Inga, re: Ignorant Things
    Are you sure? There is a lot of competition for the maximum ignorant. So much for civility and decorum.

  38. Inga says:

    Chuck, well there is a plethora of ignorance there the last several months, but that comment today just screamed “ignoramus!” Civility and decorum, yes well, today’s “lap dance for Rafflaw” comment by the Dick got deleted, there’s that at least.

  39. rafflaw;

    It appears that RIL us so far right, they are supposed to have a remote cintrol.over the likes of you.

    Thanks for going where mist goid peopke ni longer tread.

  40. pete says:


    and he’s still whining about it

  41. And Pete…

    That,s just soooooo wrong


  42. As the common sense caring few left,

    What remains is…..

  43. Inga says:

    Maybe he needs to go smoke some medical marijauna.

  44. Well folks, I see the astroturf troll has responded to my earlier comment, but as usual just lashes out with projection and vitriol rather than coherent argument. It is the type of response I don’t even bother to respond to any more. Might be “uncivil” to call a sadistic ignoramus by what it is. What puzzles me is that a formerly prominent blogger allows his blog to be eaten away by a cancer that can be remedied easily. Is it that he truly does not understand the difference between moderation and keeping some control, or does he want this to happen? I am now getting a LOT of emails from folks wanting to know what the hell is happening over there. Normally, the site would be getting hits into four or five digits per hour. When I wrote the Eric Snowden story, my hits were will into five figures within less than a half day. At the moment, the RIL hit rate is running about 600 per hour, less than half what it was just a few months ago. At the rate we are going, we should hit those numbers in another six to eight months.

    Look for more hits when my work with The Exoneration Project takes off. And I still have the American Psychological Association and state psychology licensing boards in my cross-hairs.

    A little birdie just told me that we may have a new face on the masthead right after Christmas.

    • bigfatmike says:

      ” What puzzles me is that a formerly prominent blogger allows his blog to be eaten away by a cancer that can be remedied easily.”

      Is it my imagination? When I started reading it seem that there were many articles and some that lead to the issue of conservative and liberal approaches.

      Now it seems that every article soon leads to a comment and then many comments of how it is just another example of how it is all the fault of liberals because of something they did or because of something did not do.

      I never realized that everything, every article can trace back to problems with the liberal agenda. Who knew, it is all the liberals fault – every bit of it.

      But then again I have not been keeping a strict count of comments and articles so maybe my bias is creeping in.

  45. bfm,
    If it ain’t the liberals it is the fault of the homosexual agenda or the feminazis. Whatever it is.

  46. All things earthly. ..must come to an end

    Of its greatest times.. your group was born

    Glean from it what you can n then let


  47. eniobob says:

    Morning all just getting vapors of what you have been writing and I guess an appearance on A Sean Hannity show will get you ,how does it go about laying down with dogs ?

  48. eniobob says:

    “WASHINGTON — Just hours before he publicly responded last week to the Senate Intelligence Committee report accusing the Central Intelligence Agency of torture and deceit, John O. Brennan, the C.I.A.’s director, stopped by the White House to meet with President Obama.

    Ostensibly, he was there for an intelligence briefing. But the messages delivered later that day by the White House and Mr. Brennan were synchronized, even down to similar wording, and the larger import of the well-timed visit was hardly a classified secret: After six years of partnership, the president was standing by the embattled spy chief even as fellow Democrats called for his resignation.”


    “All things earthly. ..must come to an end

    Of its greatest times.. your group was born

    Glean from it what you can n then let



  49. FACT. Obama,s parents met at a Russian language class, in Hawaii’s realm.

    As noted by Attorney/ activist Andrew Kreig, in his book Presidential Puppetry and kind of affirmed by eniobob,s notes directly above.. the POTUS n CIA lotus.. aren,t (really) strange bedfellows.

    Obama is.loyal, to a fault (as even a dead Sen. Kennedy can tell ya of ACA) and the Prez also knows … fully well.. what the CIA can n can’t do

    Or is capable of doing…

  50. bettykath says:

    Torture is wrong. What the CIA did is torture and it was wrong. There is no “right” about it.

    Due to comments here I went to RIL and read Raff’s post. Good job. The comments? Except for those from regulars here, what a cess pool.

  51. BK,
    Let’s not slander cesspools. :mrgreen:

  52. LOL.

    Chuck,, you’re in wry form tis mornin….

  53. Elaine M. says:

    Two psychologists’ role in CIA torture program comes into focus

    In its written response to the Senate report, the CIA acknowledged a “failure at all levels of management” when the interrogations began. But it defended Mitchell and Jessen, saying they had the “closest proximate expertise available to the CIA at the time the program was authorized.”

    The Senate report says their interrogations produced no actionable intelligence about terrorist plots that was not already available from other sources or obtained without duress. Current and former CIA officials have said the program thwarted plots and saved lives.

    Steven Kleinman, a retired Air Force reserve colonel who worked with Mitchell and Jessen at the SERE school, said it was tragic that they ended up using tactics they had spent their military careers defending against.

    “It’s just sad,” he said. “They’re not evil, psychological geniuses who just came up with this stuff. Somewhere along the way they lost their moral compass.

    “How did a system enable two guys who did such fantastic things in defense of this nation [to] end up developing a program that’s going to harm national security for decades to come?” he asked. “When you read the report, it’s excruciating. They have their hands all over it.”

    Joseph Margulies, a Chicago lawyer who represented Zubaydah, tried to get Mitchell’s and Jessen’s psychologist licenses revoked after their role was first revealed several years ago. He filed petitions in Texas and Idaho, where they had obtained their licenses.

    In a phone interview, Margulies said he was unsuccessful, in part, because he could not produce a client who had been harmed. Most who underwent the “enhanced” interrogations remain imprisoned on the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    “I think what they did is wrong. I think what they did is criminal,” Margulies said. “But I don’t think anything is served by making examples of them. They’re not demons or monsters. They made terrible mistakes.”

  54. Bob Kauten says:

    I read Raff’s article on RIL, and quite a few of the comments.
    It was about time to take a shower, anyway, so no major inconvenience.
    I hope that’s the last time I succumb to curiosity and visit RIL.

  55. Elaine M. says:


    It’s become a right-wing echo chamber. A few saner voices remain–but it is no longer a forum for enlightening discussions.

    • bigfatmike says:

      “but it is no longer a forum for enlightening discussions.”

      Yes, but from time to time it is very funny.

  56. Awh, poor Bob, has the res ipsa blues.

    As you can see, ye ain’t alone. We all succomb to our curiosity (kinda foolish, being we don’t have 9 lives).

    When you go, just remember to wear protection.. by using your brain.

    Maybe we can even start an RIL FFS civil war. I’ll see if I can come.up with a T shirt to sell.

    Something like

    Morus res ipsa loquitur

    Any ideas anybody

    Just askin…..

  57. Inga says:

    When you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas, so it’s said. I’ve had to use extra strength insecticide but I refuse to let the trolls win. One day when it’s too much for even me to stomach I’ll be gone. All those years at Althouse sort of immunized me.

  58. pete says:

    bigfatmike says:
    Yes, but from time to time it is very funny.

    true, kinda like watching someone paint themselves into a corner.

  59. bettykath says:

    On Netflix, George Gently, Series 6 Episode 3. It’s fiction but it has some good dialog about torture.

  60. blouise says:

    Remember Specialists Charles Graner and Lynndie England of Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse came? Gardner’s defense was that he was following orders from, and supervised by, intelligence officers. Gardner was sentenced to 10 years and has been on parole since mid 2011. His parole is finished this month, just in time for the release of the Senate’s report on torture.

    Irony, paradox, incongruity? Take your pick.

  61. Good catch Eliane n Blouise

  62. eniobob says:

    Sometimes I like to make a comment or two before I post something here I am” commentless” on this one.

    “Well, it didn’t take long for a Fox News host to use the hostage situation in Australia to justify the use of torture by the United States.

    During the network’s coverage of an Iranian-born gunman holding 17 men and women hostage at a cafe in Sydney Monday, “Fox & Friends” co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck used the crisis to defend the CIA and bash the Senate Intelligence Committee’s recently-released report on the agency’s interrogation techniques. ”

    How about “DUMBFOUNDED” ???

  63. Carterbo says:

    Bush/Cheney created a “Unitary Executive” doctrine post 9-11 that limited constitutional rights with regards to torture. Is it possible to get those powers back that were taken away?

  64. eniobob,
    We should have seen that one coming. Obviously, there is no way to guard against the lone wolf, and believe me, they are out there. Often, their paranoid delusions are fueled by the likes of the talking heads found on Faux News. One of these days there is going to be some kind of blowback, and when it happens it won’t be pretty.

    Lone wolf outlaws are usually driven by some nutty ideology, such as the Unibomber, Timothy McVeigh, and the nutcases assassinating doctors who perform legal abortions. All of them are domestic terrorists. On top of that, they are learning. Many of the paranoid ones are secretive because of the paranoia. They don’t send internet messages, faxes, or make cell phone calls that might telegraph their intentions. NSA, with all its vaunted capabilities, cannot catch them. It took almost twenty years to catch Ted Kaczynski after his first attack in 1978. They would not have caught him then, had it not been for his ego and his brother realizing Ted was the author of the “Manifesto.”

  65. Duh huh... says:

    Isn’t it much more a sin – than those who do acts of violence;

    for others to seek to piggy back the slaughter of innocents – for politico gains!

    just askin…..

  66. Bob Kauten says:

    The only way to stop a bad-guy with a waterboard,
    Is a good-guy with a waterboard!!!

  67. Elaine M. says:

    By Charles Pierce

    There is nothing exceptional about American torture. There is nothing exceptional about its stated motivation. There is nothing exceptional about the physicians and psychologists who took part in the program, and who ought to have their licenses lifted yesterday. There is nothing exceptional about the politicians who ordered it, the officials who conducted it, the officlals who covered it up, and the officials who are out there now defending it. There is nothing exceptional about it, not even the pale and puny excuses for it. There is nothing exceptional about America. It is a country that tortures.

  68. Elaine M. says:

    Dick Cheney’s grotesque legacy: Why the record is so much worse than reported
    He was an unpopular VP, whom history won’t remember kindly. But this is Dick Cheney’s real contribution to America

    As many of us wade through the horror of the Senate torture report, it’s hard not to think back to a time when the man who ran the country explained to us in plain language what he was doing. I’m talking about Vice President Dick Cheney, of course, the official who smoothly seized the reins of power after 9/11 and guided national security policy throughout his eight years in office. He was one of the most adept bureaucratic players American politics has ever produced and it’s his doctrine, not the Bush Doctrine, that spurred government actions from the very beginning. It was called the One Percent Doctrine and according to author Ron Suskind it went like this:

    If there’s a 1% chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al-Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response. It’s not about our analysis … It’s about our response.

    Or put another way: “It’s time to take the gloves off.”

    This was the philosophy that propelled the U.S. government to abandon any pretense of following the post-WWII international consensus about preventive war and inhumane tactics. Despite the fact that the U.S. had lived under a real existential nuclear threat for decades, they persuaded the people that this terrorist threat was so much greater that any rules and norms in place before 9/11 were no longer operative. If even a 1 percent chance existed that we might suffer an attack, we had to do whatever was in our capability, including torture, to stop it. That this also facilitated the long-term goals of Dick Cheney and other neocons was purely coincidence.

    He used the One Percent Doctrine most effectively to con the nation into backing an inexplicable invasion of a nation that had nothing to do with the attacks on America. And he was able to rationalize it with many people who knew better by evoking his doctrine: if there was only a 1 percent chance that Saddam had nuclear weapons or a 1 percent chance that he was in league with al-Qaida, we had to react. And so we did. And that kind of thinking permeated the U.S. government, particularly the intelligence services. The analytical side was bullied into providing intelligence conclusions that weren’t based in fact. The covert agents simply went over to the dark side. The military wasn’t immune. The torture regimes of Guantánamo and the treatment of prisoners in Iraq are on them.

    And let’s not forget the cowardice and abdication of duty among most elected officials of both parties and the media who were eager to believe whatever propaganda served the One Percent Doctrine. Yes, they were lied to. And the fact is that for the most part they were grateful for it. Even if there was only a 1 percent chance that something terrible could happen, the political risk was too great for them to speak out in anything but the most tepid terms. If they didn’t know the truth it was because they wanted it that way.

    It must be acknowledged that members of the media were among the first to call for torture. And long before John Yoo developed his sociopathic view that anything short of causing pain “equal to that of organ failure” was not torture, highly respected legal scholars were openly calling for torture to be legalized, even offering up tips like using “sterilized needles under fingernails.” In fact, the idea to jettison the taboo on torture became part of the conversation after 9/11 almost instantaneously. So much so that it’s clear it was more a reflexive desire to punish than any need for intelligence. And that desire to punish was perhaps best articulated by the experienced cheerleader President Bush when he famously stood atop the rubble of the World Trade Center and said, “I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!”

  69. Falsities can’t become verity, evil is never good and wrongs are never right;

    no matter how dense the.mob is that pushes manure as honey

    It’s. Still all Bull Shit!

  70. And Bob K

    I applaud that cross board premise

  71. bettykath says:

    Since this is a CIA topic, let me add to the mix. Something that the CIA has finally admitted.

    They haven’t admitted to “vaccinating” with harmful substances.

  72. Elaine M. says:

    Scathing report calls for war crimes inquiry into CIA health professionals
    Physicians for Human Rights issues call for investigation one week after release of torture report

    The health professionals who helped develop and carry out the Central Intelligence Agency’s torture program against terrorism suspects violated basic principles of the health profession and should be investigated for war crimes, the group Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) declared Tuesday, one week after the Senate Intelligence Committee released the executive summary of its investigation into the CIA’s detention and interrogation program.

    In a blistering report, the group urged the creation of a federal commission that would probe health professionals’ involvement in the CIA’s use of torture. Two CIA-employed psychologists, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, have come under scrutiny for their central role in developing the detention and interrogation program. Mitchell and Jessen, who had no experience conducting interrogations themselves but whose company nevertheless received $81 million from the CIA, recommended torture techniques based on the military’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) program, which the armed forces developed during the Korean War in part to train military personnel for potential torture by enemy captors.

  73. uh huh says:

    Sometimes. ..justice may come

  74. bigfatmike says:

    Perhaps someone here already mentioned it, but even torture architect John Yoo seems to believe the CIA may have gone too far and may have legal problems – if the senate torture report is accurate. I didn’t see the CNN interview but this from the Atlantic is interesting reading:

    It should be noted that if there were abuses, that could spell trouble for the entire chain of command if they ignored of cast a blind eye toward the bad actors.

    And Yoo’s acknowledgment there may have been abuses completely ignores the question of whether the policy could possible be legal – regardless of any legal opinions or court cases.

    We should remember there are many who claim that war crimes such as torture and crimes against humanity can never be legal, regardless of any legislation, legal opinion or court case.

  75. eniobob says:


    Does our government respect human life the way it claims to do?

    Hardly. And being a soldier is no deterrent.

    Ignore for a moment the lies surrounding 9-11, TWA 800, the USS Iowa, and the Gulf of Tonkin, and step back into horrid history with me. ”

  76. Elaine M. says:


    ,The CIA’s violations of its detainees are the tip of the torture iceberg. We run the risk, in the necessary debate sparked by the Senate’s release of 500 pages on CIA interrogation abuses, of focusing too narrowly on what happened to 119 detainees held at the agency’s black sites from 2002-2006. The problem of American torture — how much occurred, what impact it had, who bears responsibility — is much larger. Across Iraq and Afghanistan, American soldiers and the indigenous forces they fought alongside committed a large number of abuses against a considerable number of people. It didn’t begin at Abu Ghraib and it didn’t end there. The evidence, which has emerged in a drip-drip way over the years, is abundant though less dramatic than the aforementioned 500-page executive summary of the Senate’s still-classified report on the CIA…

    Just as the CIA opposed release of the Senate torture report, the Pentagon and White House continue to do their best to suppress the evidence. The Daily Beast noted the other day that the Obama Administration, responding to pressure from the Pentagon, continues to fight in court to prevent the publication of thousands of photos of detainee abuse. The argument against release is nearly identical to the argument used by the CIA to repress the Senate’s report—it could put American lives in danger. To her credit, Sen. Dianne Feinstein pushed back and published an executive summary of her committee’s 6,000-page report (which has caused practically no protest or violence overseas).

    Repression is the gut instinct of institutions that have something to hide, and I came across that in Samarra, too. Shortly after I witnessed the threatened execution of a detainee (an Iraqi soldier pointed his AK-47 at a prisoner who was against a wall with his hands up), an order came down from the American command to get me out of Samarra. I was told to pack my backpack for the next convoy out of town. After I made a flurry of calls on my satellite phone, the order was rescinded. Someone wanted the truth to come out.

  77. Elaine M. says:


    This isn’t the first time Zirbel’s surroundings have wowed someone. Over a decade ago, Zirbel, then a junior CIA officer, was in charge of the Salt Pit, a “black site” in Afghanistan referred to in the recent Senate torture report as “Cobalt,” where detainees were routinely brutalized and which one visitor described as a “dungeon.” A delegation from the Federal Bureau of Prisons was “WOW’ed” by the Salt Pit’s sensory deprivation techniques, and a CIA interrogator said that prisoners there “literally looked like [dogs] that had been kenneled,” according to the report.

    In fact, one of the most horrifying stories – and there are many – in the Senate report on torture takes place in the Salt Pit, where Gul Rahman was murdered by the U.S. government in November 2002

    Rahman, an Afghan, was rendered to the Salt Pit in the fall of 2002 after being apprehended in Pakistan. At that time the torture center was being run by a man referred to as “CIA Officer 1” in the Senate report. News outlets have not named him in covering the report but he has previously been identified as Zirbel, after the government accidentally included his name in a report that had been declassified.

    Zirbel was on his first foreign tour for the CIA and colleagues had recommended that he not be allowed access to classified material due to his “lack of honesty, judgment, and maturity,” according to the Senate report. A Senate aide who briefed reporters about Zirbel said the CIA officer had “issues” in his background, the Daily Beast reported, and should never have been hired by the CIA.

    The CIA officer deemed Rahman “uncooperative,” and ordered that the detainee be “shackled to the wall of his cell in a position that required him to rest on the bare concrete floor.” The following morning Rahman, who was wearing only a sweatshirt, was found dead of hypothermia. He’d frozen to death in his cell, where the temperature hovered around 36 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Zirbel’s initial cable to CIA headquarters about the case was riddled with lies — “misstatements and omissions,” as the Senate report put it. Four months later, a superior at the agency recommended Zirbel for a $2,500 bonus for “consistently superior work.”

    The CIA successfully covered up Rahman’s death until 2010 — his wife and four daughters were never notified — when Adam Goldman and Kathy Gannon of the AP revealed his identity. The Senate report identifies Rahman as one of 26 detainees who did not meet the “standard for detention”; Footnote 32 calls his a case of “mistaken identity.”

  78. “The Pew poll shows stark divides on views about torture between different demographic groups. Republicans overwhelmingly believe torture can be justified by a margin of 76 to 12 percent, while Democrats believe it is not justified by a margin of 46 to 37 percent. Whites say it can be justified by a margin of 57 to 26 percent, while blacks see a 42 to 38 percent margin and Hispanics see a 43 to 30 percent margin. While men believe torture can be justified by a 57 to 28 percent margin, the margin is just 46 to 30 percent among women.”

  79. swarthmoremom says:

    Glenn Greenwald ‏@ggreenwald 8m8 minutes ago

    Would love to see a list of the other countries where large majorities of the population say torture is justified. An #EndTheTaboo campaign.
    0 replies 34 retweets 26 favorites

  80. swarthmoremom says: “Whether consciously or not, that decision vindicated Revel’s vision of a more brutal West willing to play by the Soviets’ own rules. Bret Stephens, writing in The Wall Street Journal editorial page, dismisses any concerns about torture — even torture of innocent people! — as “moral preening.” Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin straightforwardly dismisses the American aspiration to hold itself to a higher standard than its enemies as hopelessly naive. “Americans have always clung to the notion that they never had to stoop to the level of their enemies to win wars even if that was always a myth. … ” he writes, “The tactics aren’t easy to look at, but as he can rightly assert, the only thing in war that counts in the long run is the results.”

    The only thing that counts is the results. Morality is a hypocritical pretext, the winners write the history books. This is the familiar philosophy of the dictator, at home within a major American political party.”

    • bigfatmike says:

      “The only thing that counts is the results.”

      If you really are convinced by Stephens or Tobin then the efficacy of torture has to be a major issue to you.

      At this point it seems there is strong evidence that torture is not as useful for producing actionable intelligence as other methods of interrogation. Yet that fact does not seem to dampen the enthusiasm of some for torture.

      And as the article points out, the methods we chose for torture are derived from techniques developed for mind control and brain washing which have little to do with motivating individuals to speak the truth.

      Even if you accept the values of those who advocate torture, it is clear their approach has left standards like objective results and effectiveness far behind.

  81. swarthmoremom says:

    Excellent points as usual, bfm.

  82. bfm,

    “Even if you accept the values of those who advocate torture, it is clear their approach has left standards like objective results and effectiveness far behind.”

    Exactly. You can do the ethical contortions to rationalize torture (one man’s suffering versus the lives of thousands) even if you have a principled stance against torture on humanistic grounds, but that calculus doesn’t hold up when the method doesn’t produce actionable intelligence. It becomes the logical equivalent of washing your car to make it rain. But that’s the thing about logic. It can be structurally valid and still be factual nonsense. Predicate facts and assumptions matter. The predicate assumption torture works is counter-factual.

  83. uh huh says:

    Hey… this just in….

    Police kill white people.too (much less often) and dont get charged.

    No Charges in shooting death of 19 yr old pre- school teacher Samantha Ramsey.

    All is Right Might makes right

  84. uh huh says:

    Noe, where’s that report on torturing white people?????

  85. Elaine M. says:

    The ‘Ticking Time-Bomb’ Defense of Torture Is Evasive and Irrelevant
    Prominent apologists for harsh CIA interrogations keep invoking a scenario that everyone agrees never happened.

    In the immediate aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, when almost no one had pondered the possibility of the U.S. starting a torture program, citizens could be forgiven for briefly pondering the “ticking time-bomb” scenario in conversation. What’s nonsensical is its reemergence in the wake of the Senate torture report. There never was a ticking time bomb. A prisoner never gave up the “abort” code to a nuclear weapon or “dirty bomb” thanks to torture. No one claims otherwise.

    Even so, prominent conservative commentators have responded to the torture report and the harsh criticism of the CIA interrogation program with time-bomb hypotheticals. One side in the debate is saying, “Wow, the CIA torture program we actually had was depraved and indefensible,” while the other side is responding, “Don’t pretend you wouldn’t torture if there was a ticking time-bomb in L.A.”

    It’s a blatant non-sequitur.

    Unable to defend the torture program that the U.S. government actually implemented, they’re defending a pretend torture program from a hypothetical fantasyland where terrorists behave as if conjured by hack Hollywood screenwriters.

    As for the innocents that the CIA did torture? And the Al Qaeda members subjected to brutal abuse even though they didn’t know about any ticking time-bombs? Dick Cheney is honest enough to acknowledge that he doesn’t care that they were tortured or killed. Many others simply avoid thinking about those people. For them, torture just is roughing up a bad guy until he betrays his mass murder plot.

    This is curious not only because America’s actual torture program had nothing to do with ticking time-bombs, but also because the logic is extremely weak even in the abstract.

  86. bettykath says:

    I sometimes check in at RIL to see if there is an interesting article. JT’s latest post is very definitely anti-torture. Many of the comments as well but the usual suspects are still apologists. One of them posted Megan Kelly’s interview with Mitchell. Interesting
    part 1

  87. bettykath says:

    I sometimes wander over to RIL to check out latest articles. JT’s latest is definitely anti-torture. Some comments agree. Usual suspects are apologists. I found Megan Kelly’s interview with Mitchel to be interesting.

    part 1

  88. bettykath says:

    sorry for the double post. I thought the first one got lost.

    part 2.

  89. bettykath says:

    part 3

  90. michaelbeaton says:

    A good addition to the collection of articles here.
    From the article a summary that pretty much summarizes those defenders of torture. We did it, therefore it isnt torture. Reminiscent of Nixon “if the President does it it is not against the law”…

    Basically, in Cheney’s world, nothing Americans do can be called torture, because we are not Al Qaeda and we are not the Japanese in the Second World War (whom we prosecuted for waterboarding) and we are not ISIS. “The way we did it,” as he said of waterboarding, was not torture. In other words, it was not really the Justice Department that “blessed,” or rather transubstantiated, torture; it was our American-ness. Is there an argument that could degrade that American identity more?

  91. michaelbeaton says:

    There are many aspects of this issue that interest me, and questions and facts of context that are not being asked that infuriate me.
    What interests me from a national psyche POV is how the issue has been justified and how at large the Citizenry has bought the argument. This was addressed in part in the article “Torture is who we are”, under the notion that actions speak louder than words.

    As a kid I precociously, and inexplicably, found myself reading tomes of books on WW2. Somewhere in there I begin to ask the question in response to the ubiquitous statement that “Hitler killed X number of [jews, poles, russians, gypsies…etc]” just who was it that did the killing? As far as I can determine Hitler never killed anyone himself. It was the beginning of the dark realization that it was not Hitler who did the killing, but willing citizens who , for what ever reason abandoned their reason and principles and did the deed.
    What Hitler did, and all such regimes, Stalinist Russia, Mao and all the heavy highlights, and the many more lesser examples, is create a context for the killing to take place.
    This was documented later in a book called “Hitlers Willing Executioners”, which indicted the population of Germany for the actual conducting of the policies of death dealing.

    And so we move to today. Many have compared this issue to the Nuremberg trials and the principles laid down there. And yet it seems to have no sway on the mind of those who justify America’s version of this horror as they respond “But we were attacked and we were in a panic and we had to do something.” All premises that have been thoroughly demolished by simple reading of events. Yet these justifications continue to be spoken as if they are axiomatically true. And it seems to me that the national discussion on this issue of Torture is sliding into a strange frame of partisan politics, avoiding entirely any of the essential questions and implications of what was done, by whom, and why.

    Someday, if we ever find our moral compass again, a proposition not altogether certain, people like Cheney and that strange man we had as president, Bush, and the whole cabal will become the public pariahs that they are, and will not longer be listened to and treated with respect as if they have something to say that is worth listening to. They will be required to stand for what they did to this country, and the country will then have to deal with its own complicity.

    These are patterns that will not be abrogated nor skipped.
    Just like Germany had to go through the process of telling the truth, so we will also if we ever hope to save ourselves.
    This is the great error of Obama… that he could not find a way to hold accountable those who not only abused these captives but as certainly abused our nation. As such he allowed the error to fester like some cancerous rot. And just as certain it is manifesting in so many other ways:
    – The way we treat immigrants
    – The emerging police state
    – The emerging (completed?) survelliance state.
    – The toxic, destructive global capitalism
    – The ability to deny and ignore basic science and facts. (Just like we are able to avoid looking at these issues clearly)
    – Which energizes such lunacies as how we (don’t) deal with Global Climate Change.
    – And poverty, and wealth distribution
    – and etc and on and on…
    It is my contention that how we are and what we are becoming as a nation, and how we are beginning to justify ourselves – from the top down, and then from the bottom up – in this issue is more than the particulars of how the CIA treated a few people, but that the principles and axioms of this issue have infested and affected how we do and approach nearly every issue.

    Who we think we are we are not any more. I wonder what grand trials await us.

  92. michaelbeaton says:

    So much to say about this… so much that it cant all be worked out here of course….
    So one more addition to the archive of things that I think will be useful.
    This program is particularly interesting as you have the legal officer who was, as he says in the piece, in the room every day evaluating the process. How he wiggles around the stark issues is compelling, and sad.
    What I wish could happen is after this level of inquiry and discussion that the next level would happen. The level where the journalists would not abandon the question so quickly and hold these people to account for even what they just said. As noted in the Todd/Cheney interview above Todd was unable to gather the power to tell the truth to Cheney, relying instead, apparently, on the passive power of “hypocrisy” and obvious contradiction to do the work for him. And he was astonished, apparently, I was anyway, at the level of denial right in front of him.
    Instead of going for the heart and telling the truth to power in a powerful way he demurred. Recalling that great bit of satire by Colbert at the White House Correspondence dinner “…. stop telling us things… . go write that novel , you know the one about the intrepid reporter…”
    Adam Goldman, terrorism and national security reporter for the Washington Post. (@adamgoldmanwp)

    Robert Baer, former CIA case officer. Author of “The Perfect Kill” and “See No Evil.”

    John Rizzo, former CIA legal advisor. One of the chief legal architects of the CIA’s terrorist detention and interrogation program. Author of “Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA.”

  93. People feast on power. The U.S. v They mentality always works (remember how low GWB’s ratings were – before 9/11 – and how {after} you were classified unpatriotic if you dared questioned anything he did).

    It is why I fight Pitten’s so arduously; even when everything says it’s nuts to try.

    Amoeba’s can bring down Goliath’s – you just have to get the truth to fly!

  94. michaelbeaton says:

    Last note in a series: Has anyone noted that what we have before us that has caused all the new turmoil about this issue of torture is a summary of a document?
    And having just the summary allows men like Cheney, and now apparently Republicans, to aver that it is not the whole story, and it is a partisan issue. A stupid thing to attempt to hang on to, but possible , so it seems to me, because of the ultimately tiny window that we have been given, that has been revealed.
    But what we know is this: That the complete report is 6000 pages long. And that report does not contain at least 9000 pages of documents that were specifically withheld, and the many more that likely we don’t even know about.

    So what would the debate look like if all were revealed? I suspect we could not last long as a nation in light of full disclosure. We would probably have to become a full on police state, or some form of authoritarian, maybe fascist – as Gene discussed elsewhere.

    It is reminiscent of many similar tiny leaks with massive consequences : Abu Griab photos, of which only a small percentage of them were made public. The Snowden revelations, as damning and comprehensive as they seem to be are only a slice of what is going on. Ditto the various investigations into the financial crisis and who profited and how it happened. ( I know we know the outlines…but have not yet done the deep work on this issue IMO. ) The stuff revealed by C. Manning was only the lowest level of stuff.. and yet had amazing impact. What about the things yet secret?
    I am not suggesting that we don’t have secrets.. that is another discussion…but what secrets we have!
    It goes, in part, to some of Mikes article on the global military we have as well as other issues.

    Anyway… my main point/question is that we seem to be distracted by the reports we have… forgetting that behind them is so much more…
    How does that bear upon the conversation.. I don’t know. I suspect Cheney et al, would not be so able to glibly get away with the gibberish they propound.

  95. Inga says:

    It was refreshing to see JT didn’t change his views on the immorality or the illegality of torture. I think that the commenters that inhabit that place now are havin a difficult time coming to grips with the fact that JT hasn’t become a full fledged rightist. Between his global warming posts and his torture posts I still have hope. Today Max-1 on a global warming thread said because of the abuse, he would no longer comment there either. I guess I get perverse pleasure in spouting the liberal viewpoint among mostly rightists.

  96. B E C O M E a fascist or police state!

    Are we reading and discussing ancient history of late;
    or are the killings and tortures contemporary lore?

    I’m just sayin………

  97. Hey Inga – the gravatar has wonderful beauty in it.

    And the jewelry adorn is too!

  98. Mike Spindell says:

    Hmm……..Maybe Bob Stone is onto something when he mixes up police and dogs?

  99. Mike.. thank ye much. :p

  100. What the @%$^& – Virginia police REFUSE to cooperate with federal investigators;
    and withHOLD the name of the officer involved in shooting a civilian!

    W T H?

  101. Mike Spindell says:


    As my pal Gene says often: “One lives to be of service”.

  102. Elaine M. says:

    The ‘Ticking Time-Bomb’ Defense of Torture Is Evasive and Irrelevant
    Prominent apologists for harsh CIA interrogations keep invoking a scenario that everyone agrees never happened.

    In the immediate aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, when almost no one had pondered the possibility of the U.S. starting a torture program, citizens could be forgiven for briefly pondering the “ticking time-bomb” scenario in conversation. What’s nonsensical is its reemergence in the wake of the Senate torture report. There never was a ticking time bomb. A prisoner never gave up the “abort” code to a nuclear weapon or “dirty bomb” thanks to torture. No one claims otherwise.

    Even so, prominent conservative commentators have responded to the torture report and the harsh criticism of the CIA interrogation program with time-bomb hypotheticals. One side in the debate is saying, “Wow, the CIA torture program we actually had was depraved and indefensible,” while the other side is responding, “Don’t pretend you wouldn’t torture if there was a ticking time-bomb in L.A.”

    It’s a blatant non-sequitur.

    Unable to defend the torture program that the U.S. government actually implemented, they’re defending a pretend torture program from a hypothetical fantasyland where terrorists behave as if conjured by hack Hollywood screenwriters.

    As for the innocents that the CIA did torture? And the Al Qaeda members subjected to brutal abuse even though they didn’t know about any ticking time-bombs? Dick Cheney is honest enough to acknowledge that he doesn’t care that they were tortured or killed. Many others simply avoid thinking about those people. For them, torture just is roughing up a bad guy until he betrays his mass murder plot.

    This is curious not only because America’s actual torture program had nothing to do with ticking time-bombs, but also because the logic is extremely weak even in the abstract.

    To understand this fully, an illustration is useful, and Jonah Goldberg has provided us with one at National Review. Traditionally, Americans have regarded the taboo against torture as a triumph of civilization and Judeo-Christian values. That’s how President Reagan cast it during his last year in office. A quarter century later, Goldberg would have us believe that the taboo against torture is unfortunate because it’s just too effective at stigmatizing brutality.

  103. If 10 million people gathered together in D.C. and demanded justice;
    they’d find all their possessions nabbed under RICO

    as their bodies, riddle with purported Tali and response bullets

    were tossed into the sea.

  104. Elaine M. says:

    The CIA Didn’t Just Torture, It Experimented on Human Beings
    Reframing the CIA’s interrogation techniques as a violation of scientific and medical ethics may be the best way to achieve accountability.

    Human experimentation was a core feature of the CIA’s torture program. The experimental nature of the interrogation and detention techniques is clearly evident in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s executive summary of its investigative report, despite redactions (insisted upon by the CIA) to obfuscate the locations of these laboratories of cruel science and the identities of perpetrators.

    At the helm of this human experimentation project were two psychologists hired by the CIA, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen. They designed interrogation and detention protocols that they and others applied to people imprisoned in the agency’s secret “black sites.”

    In its response to the Senate report, the CIA justified its decision to hire the duo: “We believe their expertise was so unique that we would have been derelict had we not sought them out when it became clear that CIA would be heading into the uncharted territory of the program.” Mitchell and Jessen’s qualifications did not include interrogation experience, specialized knowledge about Al Qaeda or relevant cultural or linguistic knowledge. What they had was Air Force experience in studying the effects of torture on American prisoners of war, as well as a curiosity about whether theories of “learned helplessness” derived from experiments on dogs might work on human enemies.

    To implement those theories, Mitchell and Jessen oversaw or personally engaged in techniques intended to produce “debility, disorientation and dread.” Their “theory” had a particular means-ends relationship that is not well understood, as Mitchell testily explained in an interview on Vice News: “The point of the bad cop is to get the bad guy to talk to the good cop.” In other words, “enhanced interrogation techniques” (the Bush administration’s euphemism for torture) do not themselves produce useful information; rather, they produce the condition of total submission that will facilitate extraction of actionable intelligence.

    Mitchell, like former CIA Director Michael Hayden and others who have defended the torture program, argues that a fundamental error in the Senate report is the elision of means (waterboarding, “rectal rehydration,” weeks or months of nakedness in total darkness and isolation, and other techniques intended to break prisoners) and ends—manufactured compliance, which, the defenders claim, enabled the collection of abundant intelligence that kept Americans safe. (That claim is amply and authoritatively contradicted in the report.)

    As Americans from the Beltway to the heartland debate—again—the legality and efficacy of “enhanced interrogation,” we are reminded that “torture” has lost its stigma as morally reprehensible and criminal behavior. That was evident in the 2012 GOP presidential primary, when more than half of the candidates vowed to bring back waterboarding, and it is on full display now. On Meet the Press, for example, former Vice President Dick Cheney, who functionally topped the national security decision-making hierarchy during the Bush years, announced that he “would do it again in a minute.”

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