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Senate Report Says CIA Misled Government About Interrogation Methods 207

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-trust-us dept.
mrspoonsi sends this news from the Washington Post: "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. The report, built around detailed chronologies of dozens of CIA detainees, documents a long-standing pattern of unsubstantiated claims as agency officials sought permission to use — and later tried to defend — excruciating interrogation methods that yielded little, if any, significant intelligence, according to U.S. officials who have reviewed the document. ... At the secret prison, Baluchi endured a regime that included being dunked in a tub filled with ice water. CIA interrogators forcibly kept his head under the water while he struggled to breathe and beat him repeatedly, hitting him with a truncheon-like object and smashing his head against a wall, officials said. As with Abu Zubaida and even Nashiri, officials said, CIA interrogators continued the harsh treatment even after it appeared that Baluchi was cooperating."
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Senate Report Says CIA Misled Government About Interrogation Methods

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  • So Arrest Them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TechyImmigrant (175943) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @08:09PM (#46635389) Journal

    If it's obvious they were assaulting people without cause, why haven't they been arrested, prosecuted and thrown in jail?

  • Re:So Arrest Them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by houstonbofh (602064) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @08:17PM (#46635435)
    More than that, if Congress wants people to stop lieing to them, they have to have some consiquenses for it. Start jailing a whole bunch of people for purgery. Nothing major... Just what Martha Stewart did... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M... [wikipedia.org]
  • That's a shocker (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SoupGuru (723634) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @08:24PM (#46635483)

    This shakes my world view to its very core.

    Also, whoever decided to auto-play audio on Slashdot should be fired.

  • by billstewart (78916) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @08:25PM (#46635491) Journal

    Cowards. They're not willing to call it what it is, because they're still the Establishment Media, and don't want to lose access to the government people who are their big information sources.

    At least National Public Radio has the excuse that they're directly funded by the government (and "viewers like you", and grants from Exxon, Archer Daniels Midland, some recent movie, etc.) - it was 10 years after Gitmo before I first heard them use the T-word in a news story; before that it had only been guests on Terry Gross's interview shows (and Terry herself.)

    Don't let the right-wingers tell you that either of these are "liberal" media.

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @08:31PM (#46635539)

    Wish I had mod points. This was the first thing I noticed as well. Lots of mentions of "harsh treatment" or "excruciating interrogation methods" and yet they can never bring themselves to admit that it was torture. The closest they come is in saying "methods that Obama and others later labeled torture."

  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @08:36PM (#46635575) Homepage Journal

    Enabled: Have you missed the part where no one ever is held responsible?

  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @08:38PM (#46635591) Homepage Journal

    Also, whoever decided to auto-play audio on Slashdot should be fired from a cannon that was loaded with 3-inch nails, and then with them, into a brick wall.

    FTFY

  • by stackOVFL (1791898) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @08:54PM (#46635677)

    Also, whoever decided to auto-play audio on Slashdot should be fired from a cannon that was loaded with 3-inch nails, and then with them, into a brick wall and then slid from the brick wall into a vat of boiling acid.

    FTFY.

  • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @08:58PM (#46635695) Journal

    Pfft the committee doesn't care about the lying, that goes without mentioning. The report is just retaliation for being spied on. Tit for tat. Nothing will come of it. Yes, we are the enablers.

  • Re:So Arrest Them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rimwalker (1662459) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @09:01PM (#46635699)
    Agreed arresting them would be the just thing to do. But like all of the actions from that period their orders originated from the highest levels of the executive all the way to the Cheney and Bush. Arresting the lying CIA officials would entail carrying out a serious and rigorous investigation led by a competent Federal Prosecutor. The whole process was so muddied by politics, revenge and utter disregard for the principals and norms of war (all covered by international treats), but also a blatant disregard for the laws of the USA. Importantly one earliest actions of the Obama administration was to disallow and essentially censor the publication of all photos of torture and ill treatment that occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan. With that action Obama’s administration instead of cleaning house, made itself complicit in all the actions of torture and extra-judicial killings that occurred under the Bush administration. Of course extra-judicial killings are still occurring today under Obama with the executors being the remote pilot of the drones.
  • Re:So Arrest Them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @09:09PM (#46635745)

    if Congress wants people to stop lieing to them

    Just strap the CIA director to a table before the congressional committee and pour water on his face until he tells the truth.

    What's good for the goose ....

  • It's a "boys club" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by no-body (127863) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @09:22PM (#46635811)

    with people totally disconnected from the consequences of their actions, driven by some idea and illusion in their head doing the "right thing", not to use he term "pervert", which in fact this is coming from.....

  • by RJFerret (1279530) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @10:50PM (#46636225) Homepage

    Due to our own actions, the terrorists won yet another round...not a cry I'd championed previously.

    The future, scratch that, the present is looking really bleak now that the average civilian can expect to be spied upon, searches and home invasions are being done without cause, due process is ignored, travel is restricted, "Homeland Security" are targeting civilians for desiring sexual contact with minors, and those declared enemies of the state are outright tortured, everything that was considered "evil" about the opposition when I was a child (be it the Third Reich or the Soviet Union) is currently taking place in the United States.

    The only thing left is to disarm the populace to prevent revolt, and institute concentration or labor camps.

    I never imagined I'd grow up to be embarrassed by my government and everything it stands for. Is fear next?

  • by number6x (626555) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @11:08PM (#46636317)

    Also the 'T' word: Terrorism.

    The point of the torure and the extra judicial imprisonment beyond the norms of warfare is to spread terror and fear in those who are perceived as enemies. In other words, State Sponsored Terrorism.

    It does not keep anyone safe. It creates and breeds more hatred and desire for revenge. It isolates the US from allies. It does the exact opposite of ending terroism. Torture is like throwing gasoline on the bonfire of terrorism.

    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

  • by hey! (33014) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @11:33PM (#46636421) Homepage Journal

    Well, just to play devil's (!!!) advocate, because you don't *know* Baluchi is cooperating as fully as he might be.

    Ammar Al-Baluchi was unquestionably involved with moving money and goods around for Al Qaeda and was clearly involved with helping many of the 9/11 hijackers. Although that does not necessarily mean he was an active *member* of Al Qaeda or knew exactly what the 9/11 hijackers were up to, he'd have to be remarkably incurious not to know something was up. And he was captured with correspondence that was destined for Osama bin Laden.

    So this is a person who, even if he had no specific knowledge of imminent attacks, knows a lot of useful things. But that actually poses a challenge for interrogators. He can give them an impressive amount of useful stuff while holding back even *more* useful stuff.

    But one thing is certain: if he *had* known more important stuff, it didn't come out under torture. Nor did torture produce *anything* useful that couldn't be produced using different techniques. And now Americans -- servicemen, agents, and innocent bystandanders -- face an increased threat of torture throughout the world at the hands of people who figure if America does it, Americans should get a taste of it too.

    It's important not to be too glib about dismissing torture, because in the future we're going to find ourselves in situations where it seems like a pretty good idea. And the person we're thinking of torturing may be a very bad person -- I don't think it's unreasonable to characterize Al-Baruchi's crimes as "heinous". But if ever torture was going to break the back of an enemy it would have done so with al Qaeda after 9/11.

    Well, we tried it and it didn't work. What *did* work was ordinary interrogation and intelligence tradecraft. Which should come as no surprise. We spent the 19th and 20th C perfecting those approaches, and the idea that we could do better by tearing a page out of the medieval playbook should, in hindsight, seem ridiculous.

  • by lonOtter (3587393) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @12:48AM (#46636649) Homepage

    We are willing to sacrifice a certain amount of freedom for safety, or we'd all live in Somolia.

    You are not referring to fundamental freedoms. If you are, do not say "we." I am not willing to sacrifice fundamental freedoms for safety; that just leads to things such as the TSA, the NSA surveillance, DUI checkpoints, etc. Even if those things were effective, they would still be absolutely intolerable.

    That said, it's not even the point. Even if we value freedom to a very high degree, the information has already been uncovered.

    It *is* the point. If we want to make it less desirable for the government to break the law, their ability to use illegal evidence must be severely curtailed. Merely punishing them will not prevent the problem as much as is necessary. It's better that many guilty people get away than one innocent person be harassed by the government illegally.

    Punishing the police by punishing ourselves just seems counterproductive.

    I'm all for defending individual liberties, and that's why I think illegal evidence should be tossed. This is one aspect of our system that I have no problem with.

  • Re:So Arrest Them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @01:01AM (#46636707)

    More than that, if Congress wants people to stop lieing to them, ...

    Which is the crux of the point. Congress does *not* want people to stop lying to them. It serves Congress' best interests to have the CIA, NSA, lobbyists, major corporate executives, etc to lie to them because it allows Congress to set the lie as a truth in the Congressional record. At the same time, it's the irrelevant and small that are attacked (Martha Stewart, steroids in baseball, etc) because it's the low level fodder that a few Congressmen can get behind as lamenting while pretending the system they're part and parcel of is good and acceptable.

    Because last I checked, neither the NSA nor the CIA fall under the purview of the Constitution* and their blackhole budgets seem an obvious target for defunding, regardless of how honest and good they were. I mean, look at how much effort is meant to cripple Medicare, Welfare, Social Security, etc. Rampant fraud and abuse? Sure, that's the calling card of the NSA/CIA. But at least they feed people, treat them of injury, and provide them shelter and necessary living expenses when old. Nope, the NSA/CIA is the killing foreigner business.

    Apples and oranges. Good defense is a good offense, which is why I always random groin kick strangers. Please excuse me if my mumbling of incoherent nonsense somehow makes sense to you and seems justifiable. Because we all know the only ones keep the nukes out of the US are the NSA/CIA...except the ones we have...and that none of the other major powers really want to actually use a nuke and face retribution...and all the smaller groups don't have the resources to build a nuke from scratch..and none of the major powers want to hand over nukes to nut jobs because they're just as likely to be a target. Not to mention that eventually a nuke is going to be stolen/built and used (well, presuming we don't kill ourselves off some other way) and we're just going to have to life with the fact that the genie is really out of the bottle. Nope, the CIA/NSA aren't anti-genies. They're just assholes.

    *Most of their actions if part of the military amount to continuous acts of war against other nations, which clearly violation Congress' unique power to declare war and really gives plenty of justification for just about *everyone*, including terrorists, to launch attacks against the US. Outside that scope, the major mechanism for international actions of the sort the NSA and CIA engage in would fall under scope of "Letters of Marque", but that too really wouldn't apply as part of the US government and would be of an on-going basis if done right to be handed out to individuals which Congress itself is unwilling to invest the time into. It's easier to bitch and moan a lot and not do anything real.

  • by sjames (1099) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @02:14AM (#46636925) Homepage

    If we allow prosecutions to succeed on the strength of illegal evidence, we allow a perverse incentive to continue gathering evidence illegally. It has to be perfectly clear that illegally obtained evidence might as well not exist. Otherwise we end up at a point where your rights get violated at the first whiff of suspicion (however unfounded) and nobody ever pays because it never goes to trial.

    Add in that convicting a cop will require at least proof beyond reasonable doubt (presuming the prosecutor doesn't just find an excuse not to pursue the matter). In practice, the police still (for reasons that escape me) still get an extra benefit of the doubt. Because of that, we would see abuses run rampant with practically no convictions.

    Public trust of the courts, prosecutors, and cops is already falling fast, If we start letting them profit from criminal activity, it will get worse fast.

    If you don't want to see murderers go free, hold the police's feet to the fire. If they never violate people's rights, nobody will ever go free because of thrown out evidence.

    In cases where a cop plants evidence, he absolutely should face whatever sentence the defendant would get.

  • by erikkemperman (252014) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @02:15AM (#46636937)

    It does not keep anyone safe. It creates and breeds more hatred and desire for revenge. It isolates the US from allies. It does the exact opposite of ending terroism. Torture is like throwing gasoline on the bonfire of terrorism.

    This.

    Something else I find truly and jaw-droppingly shocking is that all the discussion of terrorism remains selectively detached from our own foreign policies. So on the one hand we always hear about terrorism shaping foreign policy, but never about foreign policy shaping terrorism.

    "They" don't hate us because of our freedom. And with the possible exception of a very small fraction of true believers, they don't hate us for not being Muslims. Most of them hate us because we've been overthrowing their democratic governments and propping up the brutal dictators in their countries.

  • Re:So Arrest Them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rvw (755107) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @03:24AM (#46637143)

    if Congress wants people to stop lieing to them

    Just strap the CIA director to a table before the congressional committee and pour water on his face until he tells the truth.

    What's good for the goose ....

    This is exactly what they want! If you do this, you follow their frame, their method, and you (or congress) approve of it. If congress approves of this, they don't have to hide it anymore. Mission accomplished! And thanks for your helpful suggestion!

  • by Sique (173459) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @04:33AM (#46637333) Homepage
    We know the conundrum since 350 years, it's written down in Friedrich Spee [wikipedia.org]'s "Cautio Criminalis". Torture doesn't yield reliable results, if any. Because even if someone in the know might reveal something useful under torture, someone who isn't, won't, but they might just say anything, if true or not. And if you then, based on those confessions of unclear truth, arrest the next one, what will his interrogation yield? And someone in the know, who knows the unreliability of confessions under torture, might even blatantly lie to the interrogators, causing them to go after false leads and thus winning time for his cause, while someone innocent is taken into custody and tortured without any chance to ever produce something of use for the interrogators. All you get is a huge bunch of white (actually bloodish red) noise, and everthing possibly useful is drowned into lots of worthless or outright false statements.

    Torture only works for confessions of things you already knew for sure. Then you can force someone to give up and confess. But as an investigative method, it is just unproductive. If you don't know what the suspect knows, how can you tell if he reveals something of value? And how many not-so-bad guys came under torture because of misleading statements, produced more misleading statements (as they didn't know shit), but when they were released they bore a grudge against their torturers and had firsthand knowledge of their structure, mentality, inner workings and locations?

  • Re:So Arrest Them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cffrost (885375) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @04:48AM (#46637375) Homepage

    Can't get them for torture as they were enemy combatants. Can't get them for violating POW rights and policies as they were enemy combatants.

    The US government's designation/use of this term "enemy combatant" to refer to POWs — POWs generally being captured "enemies" engaged in "combat" — for the purpose of skirting international law — is tantamount to my getting out of a speeding ticket by telling the judge I wasn't speeding, but engaging in "enhanced-velocity travel" or some such bullshit. If we (as a supposed "nation of laws") are to accept this ridiculous, ongoing wordplay, we may as well resign ourselves to fully embracing the concept of a US government-produced "American Newspeak [wikipedia.org]" vocabulary, and the degradation of our ability to engage in meaningful dialog that such acceptance would entail.

    I'd be interested to see a list of the "American Newspeak" euphemisms coined for various war crimes and Constitutional violations over the years, categorized by US presidents' administrations. I'm willing to bet that this American Newspeak's vocabulary size has been expanding at an increasing rate during the past few administrations, much like we've witnessed the accelerated expansion of other facets of a totalitarian police state: mass surveillance; militarized police forces; world-record incarcerations (and the rise of the private prison industry that lobbies for draconian laws and sentences (and increasing the slave-labor workforce beyond pre-Civil War numbers); persecution/prosecution of whistle-blowers; over-classification of government documents (often to hide unconstitutional activities and war crimes); government infiltration of peaceful/law-abiding groups; mass arrests at peaceful protests; mass deportations (without regard for the families shattered); undermining the critical function of the free press; and so on...

  • Re:So Arrest Them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheCarp (96830) <sjc&carpanet,net> on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:07AM (#46638217) Homepage

    I have made the open offer before that anyone who thinks waterboarding isn't torture is welcome to explain to me why that is, as long as they can do it while being waterboarded until I am satisfied with what they are saying is the truth.

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