Tuesday, December 09, 2014

CIA's Brutal and Ineffective Use of Torture Revealed in Landmark Report

From the Guardian via AlterNet:

The CIA’s post-9/11 embrace of torture was brutal and ineffective – and the agency repeatedly lied about its usefulness, a milestone report by the Senate intelligence committee released on Tuesday concludes. 

After examining 20 case studies, the report found that torture “regularly resulted in fabricated information,” said committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, in a statement summarizing the findings.

“During the brutal interrogations the CIA was often unaware the information was fabricated.”

The torture that the CIA carried out was even more extreme than what it portrayed to congressional overseers and the George W Bush administration, the committee found. It went beyond techniques already made public through a decade of leaks and lawsuits, which had revealed that agency interrogators subjected detainees to quasi-drowning, staged mock executions, and revved power drills near their heads. 

More here.

It is profoundly notable that arguments offered to "justify" the American torture regime are essentially the same arguments offered to "justify" the overabundance of black men killed by police.  

There's the "bad people" argument seeking to change the focus from the misdeeds of officials to the misdeeds of their victims.  There's the "regrettable but necessary" argument attempting to establish that police killings and torture HAVE to be acceptable because that's just how it has to be.  There's the "patriotic" argument telling us that the CIA and the police are protecting American lives, which always comes with the implication that questioning their behavior is somehow un-American, and you're a bad person for even wanting to go there.  There's the "drown it all in a million irrelevant details" argument, seeking to bury opposing views with minutia, suggesting that anybody who doesn't like it just doesn't understand what's going on.  And on and on and on.

The truth, of course, is that far too many black Americans are killed by the police.  And torture, needless to say, is deeply immoral, a crime against humanity, profane and obscene.  There is no justification for either of these very American phenomena.  But people treat these "justifications" as though they mean something, as though they're serious trains of thought.

It is now impossible to avoid concluding that there is a perverse, foul, and twisted sickness deeply embedded in the American soul.  And we have, as a people, become very adept at rationalizing our national sins and perversity.

I fear we are beyond redemption.