Is anybody else as sick and tired of listening to former Bush administration officials and Fox News suck-ups continue to deny that they tortured prisoners and simultaneously declare that waterboarding was an overwhelming success which yielded valuable intelligence? How about those “extraordinary renditions” where they scooped people up off the streets and then flew them in secret planes to secret prisons in secret countries to undergo “enhanced interrogation” techniques? Remember when on November 7, 2005, George W. Bush declared unequivocally that, “We do not torture”? Of course that statement came well after Dick Cheney, while on Meet The Press on September 16, 2001 said,
We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will. We’ve got to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world. A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies, if we’re going to be successful. That’s the world these folks operate in, and so it’s going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal, basically, to achieve our objective.
Looks like it was Cheney that was more truthful. A Central Intelligence Agency Inspector General’s report reveals that prisoners were subjected to mock executions and threatened with power drills. Prisoners were also told that their female family members, including children would be raped and killed. The “dark side” cannot get much darker than that. So, still believe we do not torture? If so, I’ve got some swampland in Florida that I would like to sell you.
Please click on the song link below to familiarize yourselves with the tune of the song parody and to have more fun singing along.
Chains song link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIVNrBrsEpI
(sung to The Beatles song, “Chains“)
Chains, Dick Cheney’s got me locked up in chains
And he ain’t the type to set me free
Oh no, these chains of Dick’s got a hold on me, yeah
Chains, well I can’t break away from these chains
I’m really bound, by Dick Cheney
Oh no, why won’t Dick Cheney just let me be, yeah
What they’re doing is not just shady
It is a crime
I’d like to tell you
But people I’ve been drilled right in the brains
Dick Cheney put a drill to my brains
I cannot describe the agony
Oh no, those planes above got a hold of me, yeah
Please believe when I tell you
They broke my feet
Dick Cheney hits them
And I can’t break away from all of these chains
Dick Cheney kidnapped me in a plane
And he flew me across the sea
Oh no, that plane above got a hold of me, yeah
Chains, that’s tough love
Chains, that’s tough love
Beliefnet.com - Aug 26, 2009
Some time earlier this blog was a scene of considerable discussion as various self-described religious people attempted to justify torture. ...
Mock Executitions, Power Drills to the Head and "We'll Kill Your ...
Huffington Post - New York,NY,USA
This coming from a party that impeached a US president, Bill Clinton, ... on national security while turning draft-dodging Bush and Cheney into John Wayne? ...
Atlantic Online - Aug 26, 2009
This is what Bush and Cheney truly achieved in their tragic response to 9/11: two terribly failed, brutally expensive wars, the revival of sectarian warfare ...
Examiner.com - 7 hours ago
Cheerful cuddlebug Dick Cheney is always down to help clear things up and set the record straight especially when it comes to matters of national security. ...
Since he left office, former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney has been waging a lonesome jihad to defend the practices of the Bush administration during the "war on terror," saying in an emblematic interview in February: "If it hadn't been for what we did -- with respect to the terrorist surveillance program, or enhanced interrogation techniques for high-value detainees, the Patriot Act, and so forth -- then we would have been attacked again. ... Those policies we put in place, in my opinion, were absolutely crucial to getting us through the last seven-plus years without a major-casualty attack on the U.S."
Townsend Admits CIA Documents Don?t Back Up Cheney?s Claims About ...
Townsend Admits CIA Documents Don?t Back Up Cheney?s Claims About Torture On Monday, the CIA released two memos from 2004 and 2005, which Vice President Cheney said would “show specifically what we gained” from the Bush administrations ...
The Hollywood Liberal - http://www.thehollywoodliberal.com/
Vice President Dick Cheney has claimed for months that two secret CIA memos would confirm his claim that “enhanced interrogation techniques” — a euphemism for torture — was essential in getting captured al Qaida operatives to sing to U.S. intelligence officers. He demanded that those memos be made public.
This week, both memos were released. They do not prove Cheney’s claim; they do not even address Cheney’s claim. Both memos are absolutely, thunderously silent on any role that “enhanced interrogation” may have played in extracting information.
The reports do describe the nature of the information acquired from detainees and its usefulness both in halting potential plots and understanding the nature and organization of al Qaida. However, if you read the memos through, nowhere do they state, imply, hint or suggest that information was acquired or could only have acquired through torture or “EITs.”
To the contrary, in the more than a dozen instances in which the documents explain how specific information was obtained, it is through standard interrogation techniques. Most often, it is because detainees were fooled into thinking that the information they were offering had already been obtained.
Vice President Dick Cheney seems to have made it his mission to redeem himself and his role in the war on terror during the Bush years. Unfortunately for Cheney, he seems to be running out of reasonable arguments as more facts are revealed about exactly what occurred with terror suspects during the war.
Cheney's first argument was simply that the GITMO detainees had no protection under international law. Eventually many others in the Bush administration (see Colin Powell) and the Supreme Court of the United States disagreed with him. Cheney's argument was ridiculous on its face. Imagine if North Korea made the same argument about the journalists they detained. Would we really have accepted the North Korean argument that these women were "enemy combatants" not subject to any human rights protections?
The second appeal from Cheney was that terror suspects were not really be "tortured" just interrogated in a harsh manner. Soon after this details began to leak about the widespread use of waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and even the use of insects in closed spaced on suspects. Now we are finding out that suspects were led to believe their life was in danger or that they could be drilled alive with a power tool. Call these methods "enhanced interrogation techniques" or whatever else you like but the fact is they are also torture.
Finally, Cheney's last claim was that these harsh methods were justified because they gave us crucial information that made the country safer. Cheney even went as far as to ask for the release of classified memos which he said proved his case. The memos have been released but contrary to Cheney's claim they do not prove these techniques made us safer. If anything, the memos have established that whatever information was given by these suspects was given under normal interrogation and not because they were being tortured.
With every failed appeal Cheney makes he continues to lose credibility with the public. Cheney appears to be more and more a man determined to use anything, including disinformation, to prove he was somehow justified in advocating torture….
Reader Commentaries: Dick Cheney, Enemy of Justice
Berkeley Daily Planet
By Jack Bragen A bad characteristic of the Bush-Cheney Administration, one of many, was the reliance on fear as a weapon to manipulate the American people. ...
Cheney Accuses Obama Of Politicizing Justice Department
In a statement Monday evening, former Vice President Dick Cheney accused the Obama White House of politicizing the Justice Department and insisted that a ...
Ted Kennedy was my senator for sixteen years, from 1984-2000, which means that I caught him in the mid-late years of his career. In Massachusetts, he was always there, a florid monument, and yet, unlike other legislators who become landmarks, he never stopped working. Senators who serve more than three or four decades usually cease being productive well before the halfway mark, and by the end are simply holding the chair until they expire and their state can turn to someone else a few generations younger. Not Kennedy: those years when I lived in Massachusetts were his most productive (think of Americans with Disabilities, Family and Medical Leave, Children’s Health Insurance Program). And he achieved many of his great pieces of liberal social legislation during the age of conservative ascendancy. He didn’t pursue the role of statesman; foreign policy seems not to have interested him much, beyond his opposition to the wars in Vietnam and Iraq. But if you measure a senator’s effectiveness by his impact on the daily lives of vast numbers of Americans, it’s impossible to think of anyone else in our lifetimes who comes close to Kennedy.
It’s the strangest of his many paradoxes that such workmanlike, even obscure, accomplishment was the product of a man who owed his career entirely to the glamor of his family name. When Edward Moore Kennedy, barely the legal age of thirty, first ran for the Senate, his opponent famously pointed at him during a debate and declared, “If your name was Edward Moore, your candidacy would be a joke.” In 1962 it would have seemed not improbable, but impossible, that the youngest Kennedy would achieve more than any of the others. But so he did.
When I was writing about Iraqi refugees in 2007, I quickly learned that Kennedy had been on top of the issue well ahead of me or anyone else. As far back as 2005, he was warning Condi Rice that the Administration was ignoring a catastrophe of its own making. His staff had mastered the details and produced the first legislation that obliged the Bush Administration to honor its debt to Iraqis who had worked with Americans there. Outside the small world of refugee advocates, the bill remained pretty much unknown. But it mattered to the Iraqis who finally started getting U.S. visas and found safety here.
That was the point of Kennedy’s career: he treated his legislative service not as a way to keep getting re-elected, but as a chance to do things that would improve people’s lives. That attitude seems fairly radical today. Let it act as a goad to the Congress that survives him, to pass the health-care legislation for which he worked most of his life and which he didn’t live long enough to see enacted.
On August 15th, Kenneth Bacon, the president of Refugees International, died, at the too-early age of sixty-four. I got to know Ken over the past couple of years through his work on behalf of Iraqi refugees (his organization and Kennedy’s office collaborated closely on this and other issues, and R.I. produced a performance of my play “Betrayed” at the Kennedy Center last January as a fundraiser). He came, in his own words, from blue blood, but he was, in his well-bred, bow-tied way, a fierce defender of people at the opposite end of the ladder of luck—refugees from Darfur and Congo and Burma and Afghanistan who had lost everything. He was also kind, generous, and without self-importance. His role as a leading refugee advocate was the last of three successful professional pursuits in Ken’s unusual life: he had served as an assistant secretary of defense during the Clinton years, and before that he was a Wall Street Journal reporter, from 1965 to 1994. (In spite of those twenty-nine years of work, just before his death, when he submitted a piece about health-care reform and his battle with melanoma to the Journal’s Op-Ed page, Ken didn’t even merit a reply. It was published twenty-five days before his death in the Washington Post.)
A couple of weeks before Ken died, my wife and I went out to Wyoming to participate in a Refugees International fundraiser. Ken couldn’t go, and his illness made all of us melancholy, especially the R.I. staff members who worked with him every day. A few hours before the fundraiser, we learned that Dick and Lynne Cheney, who had a house nearby, were going to attend. Apparently, the worst public official of my lifetime and Ken Bacon had been friends ever since Ken covered the Pentagon when Cheney was secretary of defense. And apparently, Cheney wanted to honor Ken with a donation to R.I. Perhaps he also wanted to do something about the suffering he did so much to create and so little to alleviate while he was in power.
For me, at least, this created a dilemma. I didn’t want to shake hands with Cheney, unless I also had the chance to tell him what I thought of him. But as soon as I saw the ex-Vice President and his ideologically combative wife making their way around the reception room, I knew that it would be impossible not to shake hands. Cheney was shorter and heavier than I expected, and he was leaning on a cane. This is the problem with meeting the high and mighty, and perhaps with Washington journalism: once you see important people in the flesh, they become just a little bit human, and it’s no longer quite so easy to preserve the dispassionate hatred that, for example, Cheney richly deserves. And as for issuing the stream of invective that I’d been storing up all day, it would have done a wrong to Ken and the purpose of the event. So I was trapped. My solution was to edge away every time Cheney lumbered closer.
It can work the other way, too. You can get to know a famous person you’ve admired all your life and find him a selfish and careless man. I only met Kennedy once and exchanged small talk for a minute. And in a way I’m glad I never knew him, because, though his personal failings were legendary, none of them can do more than lightly taint my admiration for his great public career. Ken Bacon, whom I did know, I will miss.
For OpEdNews: Sherwood Ross - Writer
Allowing today's leaders to get away with war crimes will send a dangerous signal to future leaders that they can do the same.
“The battle to impose criminal responsibility upon them (Bush, Cheney, etc.) is not for today alone but to safeguard a vast future,” points out Lawrence Velvel, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover.
“Otherwise the future will be threatened by Executive lawlessness undertaken because of knowledge that leaders need fear to no personal consequences,” he writes in his recently published “America 2008”(Doukathsan Press).
“Today, there is no accountability for our leaders, nor do their own families face death on the front lines as occurred during the Civil War when several Cabinet officials' sons or brothers faced battle and World WII when one of FDR's sons participated in extraordinarily dangerous missions in the Pacific.”
Instead, there are numerous factors today that make it easy for a President to wage war, Velvel continues, such as ”half trillion dollar appropriations, huge standing military forces which the President orders into combat all around the world at the proverbial drop of a hat, a compliant Congress that refuses to do its duty, and an incompetent, if not venal, mainstream media.”
“Not unless leaders fear prison or the gallows for actions that violate law will there be anything to check the next headlong rush to war for allegedly good reasons that later prove false, as with Mexico, Spain, Viet Nam or Iraq,” Velvel warns.
He says the U.S. has repeatedly fought in wrong wars for a number of reasons, foremost of which is the fact that “the nation larges does not know, and ignores, history.”
Other factors include a national penchant for violence, hubris, “lies, distortions and delusions,” “a desire to maintain American power at a preeminent level,” Congressional abdication of responsibility coupled with Executive seizure of power, public gullibility, nearly uncontrolled nationalism, the South's military culture, and Hollywood's incessant war-glorifying movies, i.e., “The John Wayne syndrome.”
After repeating the Viet Nam war in Iraq--- which historian Arthur Schlesinger termed “national stupidity”--- Velvel writes that although no one thought “it could happen again,” it did even though “Congress took steps to assure it couldn't, such as enacting the War Powers Act, reining in the CIA, and banning electronic eavesdropping of Americans by the NSA.”
Iraq's bloodshed is worse, Velvel writes “because today we not only have a years-long unwinnable war, but also torture, kidnappings and renderings to foreign countries for torture, many years of detention without trial of people who are innocent, the use of massive private armies to help carry out Executive policies"suppression of the media far beyond anything experienced during Viet Nam"the use of Executive Branch lawyers to write professionally incompetent secret memoranda giving clearance to awful policies, and the use of retired generals who are making a fortune from the Pentagon to spread its gospel on the mainstream media.”
Today's wars of aggression are being waged, Velvel notes, because previous Washington officials were not held to account for their crimes: “Lyndon Johnson retired to his ranch"Nixon received a pardon and went back to San Clemente, McNamara became the long time President of the World Bank, Kissinger became richer and richer (and secretly advised Bush and Cheney on Iraq)"Wolfowitz was given a sinecure at the World Bank, lawyers who facilitated the misdeeds---such as Jay Bybee and John Yoo---are federal judges or professors at leading law schools.”
Velvel says that courts in Italy, Germany, and France will prosecute U.S. officials for war crimes if they are apprehended in those countries and that they might even try them in absentia if necessary. Just as Lincoln said the Civil War was being waged for a vast future, Velvel reasons this is also true of war crime prosecutions.
The Massachusetts School of Law is an independent, non-profit law school purposefully dedicated to the education of minority students and those from low-income and immigrant backgrounds who would otherwise not be able to afford a legal education. The school also serves as an information resource on issues of national importance. #
(Sherwood Ross is a media consultant to the law school. Reach him firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Sherwood Ross has worked as a publicist for Chicago; as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and workplace columnist for Reuters. He has also been a media consultant to colleges, law schools, labor unions, and to the editors of more than 100 (more...)
The search for a fresh episode of Nurse Jackie left me looking down at my remote for a split second. It took no longer than that to get an injection of America's daily dose of Dick Cheney's patented fear mongering via talking knucklehead, ABC anchor, Charlie Gibson.
In television news everyone knows that the first words out of any anchor's pie-hole are the most crucial, most pertinent words of the newscast. Those verbs and nouns reflect what the editorial management considers to be the most important point to be made that day. ABC revealed much about itself last night.
As a clumsy finger accidentally punched up ABC World News Tonight, my painful, ongoing education in the recklessness of television news broadcasting graduated to a new low.
The long overdue release of CIA torture documents was the lead . . . well, sort of. In advance of the breaking the news, Mr. Gibson offered a pre-lead caveat. It was a quote from the nation's ubiquitous former Vice President and foremost king of national hysteria - Dick Cheney.
This story, about newly released CIA documents, is crucial to maintaining a democratic, transparent, open, accountable government . . . one in which the press is truly free to tell its citizens what the government's doing in their name. It cannot be interpreted by logical minds as anything but an attempt to become wiser, more knowledgeable and, therefore, more free.
But, as usual, up was down and down was up and in walked the unrelenting, omnipresent, Mr. Cheney. He was allowed to speak on the merits of the CIA story before it ran. His words were the first to set the context of the subject and, therefore, the most memorable and powerful.
As always, Mr. Cheney told Americans they were "less safe" now that the torture documents were released. It was no surprise that our national fear monger and professional pot-stirrer told Americans what he always has . . . that we should be shaking in our boots, paralyzed and afraid.
I'd like to refer Mr. Cheney to a quote from one of my favorite Civil War movies, and dedicate these words to his ongoing performance.
"They call this war a cloud over the land. But, they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say 'Sh**, it's raining.'"
It's raining alright. And Mr. Cheney seeded the clouds and helped deliver the downpour. Now he baits us still . . . with fear of biological and nuclear war.
What Mr. Cheney is really afraid of is prison. If we count the lies he's told, it's nothing less than reckless unprofessionalism to let this man deliver a pre-emptive lecture on any network at any time. Let's count the duplicity, shall we? Although it may be redundant to point out, we cannot allow these facts to swirl down some memory hole. This is particularly true when the masters of news seem to be caught in the hole's gravity.
Mr. Cheney lied to Congress and got Americans into an illegal, self- serving war. He's dodging his own prison cell by screaming "fire" in our crowded, national movie theatre.
As he tells this nation's citizens over and over that they are on the verge of being attacked by Weapons of Mass Destruction, we should ask him if those frightening, silence-inducing WMDs are the real kind or the imagined ones he told us we'd find in Iraq.
And while I am at it, this is a man who committed grievous offenses against his own nation by promoting the outing of a CIA operative whose job was, ironically, but not coincidentally, to look for WMDs!!!
As we finally see a modicum of effort by the mainstream media to focus on stories that shed light on the past nine years of dark secrets . . . why in the world would the one who gets to speak first be the person who made the rain in the first place?!
Charlie Gibson, it seems, should be demoted to weatherman. He certainly knows how to show us . . . even if by accident . . . which way his network sees the wind blowing.
The Plum Line Greg Sargent's blog
Indefatigable Dick Cheney hagiographer Stephen Hayes, nervously typing away while Cheney glowers over his shoulder, has yet another post up attacking yours truly for suggesting that the newly-released CIA docs don’t prove Cheney’s claim that torture worked.
Hayes accuses me of dishonesty and cherry picking, and then turns right around and cherry-picks in a comically dishonest way. To buttress Cheney, Hayes quotes the 2004 CIA I.G. report this way, referring to USS Cole attack mastermind Abd al Rahim al Nashiri:
“Following the use of EITs, he provided information about his most current operational planning and [redacted] as opposed to the historical information he provided before the use of EITs.”
Here’s what the report actually said, with the part Hayes left out in bold:
Because of the litany of techniques used by different interrogators over a relatively short period of time, it is difficult to identify why exactly al Nashiri became more willing to provide information. However, following the use of EITs, he provided information about his most current operational planning and [redacted] as opposed to the historical information he provided before the use of EITs.
Pretty clever omission. Hayes also points out that the report says that Al Qaeda mastermind Khalid Shakyh Muhammad provided little information before waterboarding, and then later became a “prolific” and “preeminent” source of info on Al Qaeda.
But, incredibly, Hayes doesn’t bother reckoning with the fact that the report itself says assessing which info torture produced is a “subjective process” that should cause “concern.” What’s more, the report’s author has clearly stated that “you could not in good conscience reach a definitive conclusion about whether any specific technique was especially effective.”
This couldn’t be clearer: Cheney vowed that these reports would settle the question of whether torture saved many, many lives. These reports don’t do that. That was the conclusion of The New York Times, Newsweek, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, ABC News, and probably others.
Best of all, Hayes argues I was wrong to describe torture techniques as Bush/Cheney administration policy because “they were conceived and executed by senior CIA officals.” Is Hayes really arguing higher-ups didn’t sign off on torture techniques? Why on earth is he pointing out that Cheney himself didn’t “execute” the policies?
Breaking: Cheney himself didn’t waterboard! Just wow.
Will Eric Holder's investigator hang Dick Cheney? | The Smirking Chimp
By Aimee Kligman
Despite documented evidence that torture does not produce reliable information, cited by expert sources, including ex-CIA operative Robert Baer, Dick Cheney continues to insist that when the 'evidence' is examined, the results will ...
The Smirking Chimp - News And... - http://www.smirkingchimp.com/
The Daily Doubter: Cheney is so predictable
By Hume's Ghost
During a hard hitting and highly critical interview from ace investigative journalist Sean Hannity, DickCheney asserted that he has "formally asked" the CIA to declassify memos revealing all the important information that the United ...
The Daily Doubter - http://dailydoubt.blogspot.com/
darkblack: Oh My God They Grilled Cheney
Oh My God They Grilled Cheney. Oh My God They Grilled Cheney ...You BASTARDS! ;>). posted by darkblack at 3:37 PM. 0 Comments: Post a Comment · << style="mso-bidi-font-weight:bold">...
darkblack - http://darkblack999.blogspot.com/
Thursday 27 August 2009
At Guantanamo Bay's Camp 6 detention facility, a US trooper guards a door. (Photo: Brennan Linsley / AP)
Among the treasure trove of documents released on Monday related to the CIA's detention and torture program is a 20-page background paper that, for the first time, describes in extraordinary detail the process of "rendition" and the torture prisoners are then subjected to when they are flown to "black site" prisons.
The document was turned over to the ACLU in response to the civil liberties group's Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the government late on Monday evening along with numerous others, including previously undisclosed Justice Department legal opinions.
The background paper clearly illustrated that the torture of detainees was systematic and micromanaged by the top officials at the CIA, the Justice Department, medical professionals and, likely, the White House. Previously, the CIA had refused to disclose any details of its rendition program, citing state secrets.
That the torture was overseen by medical professionals is a violation of international laws and treaties and, additionally, a breach of numerous professional ethical codes, including the United Nations Principles of Medical Ethics and the Declaration of Tokyo.
The background paper said the use of torture at the CIA's "black site" prisons "is essential to the creation of an interrogation environment conducive to intelligence collection."
High-value detainees "are well-trained, often battle-hardened terrorist operatives, and highly committed to jihad. They are intelligent and resourceful leaders and able to resist standard interrogation approaches."
"However, there is no template or script that states with certainty when and how these techniques will be used in combination during interrogation," the background paper stated. "The interrogators' objective is to transition the HVD [High-Value Detainee] to a point where he is participating in a predictable, reliable, and sustainable manner. Interrogation techniques may still be applied as required, but become less frequent.
"This transition period lasts from several days to several weeks based on the HVDs response and actions. The entire interrogation process outlined above, including transition may last for thirty days."
The December 30, 2004, document was prepared by the CIA for Dan Levin in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. The background paper included an unsigned note on the fax cover sheet that said, "Dan, A generic description of the process. Thank you."
"The background paper is a profoundly disturbing document that illustrates, as well as anything could, how far the CIA strayed from the law and from values that are integral to our democracy," said Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU National Security Project. "That the barbaric methods outlined in the paper were approved by the country's senior-most officials is particularly appalling."
The background paper reads as an instructional manual for interrogators on how and when to implement the "combined use of interrogation techniques" after a terror suspect is captured and "renditioned" to a "black site" prison in another country.
"The purpose of interrogation is to persuade High-Value Detainees (HVD) to provide threat information and terrorist intelligence in a timely manner, to allow the US Government to identify and disrupt terrorist plots and to collect critical intelligence on al-Qa'ida," the background paper said. "In support of information previously sent to the Department of Justice, this paper provides additional background on how interrogation techniques are used, in combination and separately, to achieve interrogation objectives ..."
The background paper then describes what happens after a terror suspect is captured and turned over to the CIA. The background paper described this as "rendition."
"The HVD is flown to a Black Site ... A medical examination is conducted prior to the flight," according to the background paper. "During the flight, the detainee is securely shackled and is deprived of sight and sound through the use of blindfolds, earmuffs, and hoods. There is no interaction with the HVD during this rendition movement except for periodic, discreet assessments by the on-board medical officer. Upon arrival at the destination airfield, the HVD is moved to the Black Site under the same conditions and using appropriate security procedures."
The so-called "Reception at Black Site" that follows involves a medical assessment and "administrative procedures." Detainees' head and faces are then shaved and they are photographed while nude to "document the physical conduction of the HVD."
"The medical officer also determines if there any contraindications to the use of interrogation techniques." Contraindications is defined as a pre-existing condition or other factors that would increase the risk of either using a specific drug, carrying out a medical procedure or engaging in a particular activity.
Detainees are then interviewed by psychologists, who prepare reports about detainees' mental states and if there are any "contraindications to the use of interrogation techniques."
At this point, interrogators begin to question a detainee - "in a relatively benign environment" - to gain an understanding of the prisoner's "resistance posture" and if he would be willing to cooperate in providing CIA interrogators with immediate information about terrorist plots against the United States.
"The standard on participation is set very high during the Initial Interview," the background report said. "The HVD would have to willingly provide information on actionable threats and location information on High-Value Targets at large - not lower level information - for interrogators to continue with the neutral approach."
The interrogation process, according to the background paper, is broken down into three categories: conditioning techniques, corrective techniques and coercive techniques.
The background report describes the detention conditions detainees are subjected to and states that, while that is not considered an interrogation technique, the conditions of their confinement will have an impact when they are interrogated.
The next phase is referred to as "conditioning techniques," where a detainee is reduced to a "baseline, dependent state" as a result of a combination of tactics that leaves the detainee feeling he has no control over basic human needs. The "baseline state" is crucial, according to the background report, because it is supposed to make the detainee feel that his welfare is more important than the "information he is protecting."
The combination of interrogation techniques, approved in Justice Department legal memoranda, to reduce a detainee to a dependent state includes nudity, sleep deprivation and dietary manipulation.
The paper noted that merely introducing these techniques alone won't bring immediate results. Rather, it's the repeated use of these techniques and using their combined use "which achieves interrogation objectives."
Clinical descriptions of how to effectively administer these methods is then described. The background paper said that high-value detainees remain nude for an indefinite period of time. Detainees then are deprived of sleep and are placed in the "vertical shackling position to begin sleep deprivation."
"Other shackling procedures may be used during interrogations," the report said. "The detainee is diapered for sanitary purposes, although the diaper is not used at all times."
Dietary manipulation then follows, whereby a detainee is fed Ensure Plus "or other food at regular intervals." Detainees receive a "target" of 1,500 calories a day based on guidelines from the CIA's Office of Medical Services.
A high-value detainee who, presumably, is uncooperative, then goes through the "corrective techniques" phase, which involves the "insult slap," "abdominal slap," "facial hold" and "attention grasp." The report said these methods are not administered simultaneously during an interrogation, rather they are interchangeable.
The insult slap "is often the first physical technique used with an HVD once an interrogation begins."
"As noted, the HVD may already be nude, in sleep deprivation and subject to dietary manipulation, even though the detainee will likely feel little effect from these techniques early in the interrogation," the report said. "The insult slap is used sparingly but periodically throughout the interrogation process when the interrogator needs to immediately correct the detainee or provide a consequence to a detainee's response or non-response.
"The interrogator will continually assess the effectiveness of the insult slap and continue to employ it so long as it has the desired effect on the detainee. Because of the physical dynamics of the various techniques, the insult slap can be used in combination with water dousing or kneeling stress positions. Other combinations are possible but may not be practical."
The same methods are employed when an interrogator uses the abdominal slap, the attention grasp and the facial hold. The next phase involves what the report called "coercive techniques," some of which were first disclosed in Justice Department legal opinions released in April. Those methods include, walling, water dousing, stress positions.
Cramped confinement, according to the report and the CIA's Office of Medical Services, calls for placing a detainee in a large box, no more than eight hours at a time, for "no more than 18 hours a day." The report also said interrogators can use a small box, no more than two hours at a time, and no more than 18 hours per day.
Because of the "unique" aspects of "cramped confinement," it cannot be combined with other torture methods.
The process that follows next is a sort of checklist for interrogators or, as the report said, "a day-to-day look" at the interrogation process.
Here's what the report said:
A hooded high-value detainee is taken to the interrogation room and, under the direction of interrogators, is stripped, placed into shackles and positioned with his back to the "walling wall." Interrogators approach the detainee, place the walling collar over his head and around his neck and stand in front of him.
The detainee's hood is then removed and the interrogator explains to the prisoner that he will do "whatever it takes to get important information" from him. If the detainee begins to resist he is immediately slapped across his cheek. If that doesn't work, the prisoner is then slapped on his stomach.
Once it became clear to interrogators that a detainee was "lying, withholding information, or using other resistance techniques," the interrogator would repeatedly slam the prisoner head first into a wall. Then the detainee would be placed in the center of the interrogation room - nude - diapered, and shackled and deprived of sleep. White noise not exceeding 79 decibels would then be played to as a tool to keep the detainee awake.
"This first interrogation session may last from 30 minutes to several hours based on the interrogators' assessment of the HVD's resistance posture," the background paper said.
Another torture session follows and the time lapse could be as short as one hour or as long as a day. Between the first and second sessions, medical and psychological personnel observing the torture must advise "there are no contraindications to another interrogation session."
The second round of torture follows the exact same pattern as the first; the detainee is placed in front of the "walling wall" and asked a series of questions and, depending on the answers, is slammed into the wall, slapped on his face and stomach. Except during this session, a detainee who fails to respond in a satisfactory manner is doused with water for several minutes. Stress positions and wall standing are also integrated.
Sleep deprivation and dietary manipulation and white noise are repeated again if a detainee does not provide information his interrogators believe he has. The detainee is nude at all times.
And then the process is repeated for a third time, with the methods and line of questioning becoming more intense. For example, slamming a detainee into a wall would be repeated multiple times. Or, if a detainee placed in a stress position fails to remain in that position, he would be slammed into the wall. The only way for a detainee to stop this brutal treatment, the background paper noted, is by "cooperating with interrogators."
Interrogators can then decide, after the third round of torture ends, to put a detainee in either a large or small box if it will have "the appropriate effect."
Sleep deprivation can then continue for five days straight "or possibly beyond for the hardest resisters," but it cannot exceed 180 consecutive hours.
"Sleep deprivation will end sooner if the medical or psychologist observer finds it necessary," the background paper noted. "On average, the actual use of interrogation techniques can vary upwards to fifteen days based on the resilience of the HVD."
If interrogators need to exceed a 30-day preapproved period, the interrogation team would need to submit a new interrogation plan to CIA headquarters in Langley.
In a craven attempt to keep CIA abuses under wraps, nine senators wrote to the attorney general warning him not to appoint a special prosecutor.
Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona is one of nine senators who signed a letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday urging him not to appoint a special counsel to investigate torture.
Nine Republican lawmakers sent a letter to Eric Holder on Wednesday saying the U.S. could face a terrorist attack if the attorney general appoints a special prosecutor to investigate the CIA's use of torture against "war on terror" suspects.
Holder is under pressure to resist launching a criminal probe, even one limited to rogue CIA interrogators. At the same time, he is facing mounting pressure from some prominent Democrats and civil liberties and human rights groups to not only sign off on a criminal investigation, but to expand it to include top Bush administration officials.
The latest correspondence came (last) Wednesday in a letter to the attorney general that said an investigation into the CIA's interrogation practices, no matter how limited in scope, would jeopardize the "security for all Americans, chill future intelligence activities," and could "leave us more vulnerable to attack."
The senators resorted to fear-mongering, invoking the terrorist attacks on 9/11 to try and dissuade Holder
"We are deeply concerned by recent news reports that you are 'poised to appoint a special prosecutor' to investigate CIA officials who interrogated al Qaeda terrorists. Such an investigation could have a number of serious consequences, not just for the honorable members of the intelligence community, but also for the security of all Americans," the letter said.
The letter was sent to Holder by Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona, Sen. Kit Bond (R-Missouri), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and was also signed by Sens. Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).
"The 9/11 Commission emphasized that keeping our country safe from foreign attack requires that the Justice Department work cooperatively with the intelligence community, but the appointment of a special prosecutor would irresponsibly and unnecessarily drive a wedge between the two ...
"We will not know the lost opportunities to prevent attacks, the policies to protect the nation left on the table, due to fear of future policy disagreement being expressed through an indictment. It is hard to imagine how the Justice Department could take that risk after September 11, given that the foremost duty of the Department is to protect Americans."
The timing of the letter [coincided with the public release] of a 2004 CIA inspector general's report that called into question the legality of the Bush administration's interrogation program.
Heavily redacted portions of Helgerson's 200-page report were released to the ACLU in May 2008 in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, but the ACLU appealed the Bush administration's extensive deletions and the Obama administration responded to that appeal with a promise to review the materials at issue and declassify, at the very least, portions of it to the civil liberties group.
The Justice Department has delayed turning over the report three times since then. Last month, a federal court judge gave the CIA until August 24 to declassify the report.
Amrit Singh, an ACLU staff attorney, said on Wednesday she believes the CIA will turn over the report next week, but she did not know whether it would be redacted yet again when released.
The secret findings of CIA Inspector General John Helgerson led to eight criminal referrals to the Justice Department for homicide and other misconduct, but those cases languished as Vice President Dick Cheney is said to have intervened to constrain Helgerson's inquiries.
His report reportedly says the techniques used on the prisoners "appeared to constitute cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, as defined by the International Convention Against Torture."
Holder started to consider the need to appoint a special counsel to conduct a criminal investigation after he read Helgerson's findings, according to published reports.
The Republican senators, in their letter to Holder on Wednesday, said the CIA IG report "has been available to the Justice Department for more than five years" and should not be used as a basis to "justify" the appointment of a special prosecutor.
The IG report has "been available to the Justice Department for more than five years," the senators wrote. "Three former Attorneys General and numerous career prosecutors have examined the findings of that report and other evidence and determined that that facts do not support criminal prosecutions.
"It is difficult to understand what rationale could drive the Justice Department to now reverse course, reopen a five-year-old matter, and tarnish the careers, reputations, and lives of intelligence community professionals ...
"The intelligence community will be left to wonder whether actions taken today in the interest of national security will be subject to legal recriminations when the political winds shift. Indeed, there is a substantial risk that the mere prospect of criminal liability for terrorist interrogations is already impending our intelligence efforts, as demonstrated from the fact that CIA officials increasingly feel compelled to obtain legal defense insurance."
The senators are wrong. Jane Mayer, in her book The Dark Side, said there was a mountain of evidence to support prosecutions and a belief by some "insiders that [Helgerson's investigation] would end with criminal charges for abusive interrogations."
But top Justice Department officials, including former head of the criminal division Michael Chertoff, his deputy Alice Fisher and Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, allowed the cases to languish and may have even scuttled the probes to protect the Bush White House.
McNulty resigned in disgrace two years ago and is under scrutiny by a special prosecutor investigating the firings of nine U.S. attorneys. McNulty faces obstruction of justice and perjury charges related to his February 2007 testimony to Congress about the ordeal.
In an interview with Harper's magazine last year, Mayer said Helgerson "investigated several alleged homicides involving CIA detainees, and that Helgerson's office forwarded several to the Justice Department for further consideration and potential prosecution.
"The only case so far that has been prosecuted in the criminal courts is that involving David Passaro -- a low-level CIA contractor, not a full official in the Agency. Why have there been no charges filed? It's a question to which one would expect that Congress and the public would like some answers.
"Sources suggested to me that, as you imply, it is highly uncomfortable for top Bush Justice officials to prosecute these cases because, inevitably, it means shining a light on what those same officials sanctioned. Chertoff's role in particular seems ripe for investigation. Alice Fisher's role also seems of interest. Much remains to be uncovered."
Mayer also reported that another possible reason that the Justice Department investigations went nowhere was that Vice President Cheney intervened and demanded that Helgerson meet with him privately about his investigation. Mayer characterized Cheney's interaction with Helgerson as highly unusual.
Cheney's "reaction to this first, carefully documented in-house study concluding that the CIA's secret program was most likely criminal was to summon the Inspector General to his office for a private chat," Mayer wrote in her book, The Dark Side.
"The Inspector General is supposed to function as an independent overseer, free from political pressure, but Cheney summoned the CIA Inspector General more than once to his office."
"Cheney loomed over everything," one former CIA officer told Mayer. "The whole IG's office was completely politicized. They were working hand in glove with the White House."
In their letter, the senators also said "media reports also suggest that the interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the mastermind of the September 11 attacks, would be a primary focus of the investigation that you envision."
Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in the span of a single month, far above the legal limit imposed by the August 2002 torture memos. Helgerson, Mayer wrote in her book, "had serious questions about the agency's mistreatment of dozens more, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed."
The Republican lawmakers said, "the interrogation of KSM, and others like him, produced information that was absolutely vital to apprehending other al Qaeda terrorists and preventing additional attacks on the United States."
They then go on to blame the Obama administration for failing to provide justice for the victims of 9/11.
"It is ironic that the Obama Administration, which has delayed justice for the victims of September 11 by suspending the trial of KSM, may soon be charging ahead to prosecute the very CIA officials who obtained critical information from him," the Republican lawmakers wrote. "That KSM's treatment is receiving more prompt attention from the Justice Department than his depraved acts cannot be justified."
On the other end of the political spectrum, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat and chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, said in a letter to Holder on August 4 that if he does appoint a special counsel to probe the Bush administration's program of torture, it must include the top officials who created and implemented the policy.
"There simply is no legal, moral or principled reason to insulate those who authorized the torture of detainees, either through legal reasoning or other policy directive, from investigation," Nadler wrote.
"First, such an investigation would fail to consider the possible violation of laws by high-ranking officials and lawyers who, through legal advice or otherwise, may have authorized torture," Nadler wrote.
"This country has been instrumental in establishing the principle that high-ranking officials and lawyers who use legal reasoning to justify or otherwise authorize war crimes can, and should, be held legally accountable. The ban on torture is absolute and we have a legal obligation to investigate torture and all of those who may have been party to its use."
Nadler, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers and about a dozen other Democrats on the committee sent a similar letter to Holder earlier this year.
President Obama has already stated numerous times that he does not support a truth commission or any effort that would result in looking "backwards" into the Bush administration's policies.
Considering the backlash the Obama administration and Democrats faced from their Republican colleagues this month over a proposal to reform the health care industry, and the extreme partisanship over Obama's domestic policies in general, it's entirely possible that the fear-mongering in the letter sent to Holder on Wednesday could have an impact on his decision.
At the Netroots Nation conference last week in Pittsburgh, Nadler said, "As difficult and traumatic" a criminal investigation "may be for the nation we must proceed."
Can You Figure Out What’s Stirring This Caldron?
(If You Thought You Were Confused Before You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!)