Benjamin G. Davis, Associate Professor of Law, University of Toledo College of Law, Visiting Professor Spring 2014, Albany Law School
“A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that the CIA misled the government and the public about aspects of its brutal interrogation program for years — concealing details about the severity of its methods, overstating the significance of plots and prisoners, and taking credit for critical pieces of intelligence that detainees had in fact surrendered before they were subjected to harsh techniques.”
From today’s Washington Post – http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/cia-misled-on-interrogation-program-senate-report-says/2014/03/31/eb75a82a-b8dd-11e3-96ae-f2c36d2b1245_story.html?wpisrc=emailtoafriend
While the games continue between the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the CIA about the access to the “internal Panetta Review” the above lead in the Washington Post is one of the most confounding phrases to be read in all these years of the torture crimes and impunity wars.
In all of these years of reports about the CIA enhanced interrogation techniques, the only persons that I as the ordinary citizen have had the privilege to listen to about the program are politicians from the Senate and House Armed Services, Judiciary and Select Committees on Intelligence, and high-level Executive Branch officials in the Bush and Obama Administration up to both Presidents.
So I find it exceedingly strange that the above line says that the CIA misled the American public. Wrong! It was and is the Legislative and Executive persons who put in place and oversaw the program and defended it incessantly on all the air and radio waves (and their echo chambers in authoritarian activist groups and academics primarily on the right) who misled me.
Now I did hear John Rizzo as the CIA Acting General Counsel as he then was blather on to an audience about all this being bottom up requested (and not top down authorized) and I do remember Glenn Sulmasy saying we should not be talking about each other as war criminals to the assembled applause.
Both of their comments and those applauding should make each of us Americans puke. That is, those Americans who do consider that torture is actually a crime and not a policy difference.
We do get some inkling of internal dissension at CIA from the report and we have replayed the FBI and CIA differences on the approach. What is not replayed in all this is the detail about who told who to go where and when to do what to whom and why. We need to know all the who’s and get the chains of command absolutely crystal clear. Even with the sophisticated ways of trying to blur responsibility to “dull the image” that players in this game love to do, we have the ability to persevere on and not let these additional misdirection efforts divert us from the task at hand – criminal prosecution of the high-level civilians and military generals who put in place and authorized this torture regime.
Now, if each of us in the home of the brave and the land of the free finds it so terribly difficult to point the finger at those who put in place and authorized this torture regime, that may simply mean that deep down inside we would just rather not make waves. You know the old go along to get along game. Just curve your back and look away from the crime in front of us.
Reminds me of the scene in “12 years a slave” where Solomon is hanging from a rope with his toes barely on the ground for an afternoon. We can go play in the field next to him. We can walk by and ignore him. Watching that scene of course brought me back to that deep trench of perversion in the American soul from slavery and segregation that still harms us today. It also reminds me of persons held by Americans and on behalf of Americans and treated in this new 21st century to barbarities at least as bad if not worse as that scene.
Some of us do not avert our eyes. Some of us cry out again for justice for those tortured by us and through that justice for the American people who have been bamboozled into a War in Iraq and sold so many bills of goods by the national security establishment about the wonderful things they are doing in our names.
When did torturing people become an American pastime that would lead to no recriminations for the elites who put it in place? With the combination of the release of this report, the release of the internal Panetta review, and the release of information coming from the inquiries in England, Poland, and other places – the ability to keep us in the dark is swiftly disappearing as we watch the desperate efforts of the protagonists of this evil to misdirect us from the difficult task of holding them accountable for their misdeeds.
We shall not be moved into countenancing torture and throw back at the collective powers of the elite the demand of the ordinary citizen for accountability at the highest levels for these abominations done in our name.
Let heads roll as justice flows down like rain. If I wanted to live in a state where torture was countenanced, I would have moved to the Soviet Union. Screw that. Refluat Stercus.
(Updated 4/8/14 – http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2014/04/02/when-cia-tortured-detainees-to-death-and-agents-escaped-accountability-were-granted-promotions/. Very sick, very sick.)