It Would Be Funny, Except For the Torture Part

Looks like the CIA outsourced its torture operations to the same bozos who managed the Hurricane Katrina response (pp. 133-134 of the CIA torture report; boldface mine):

In the spring of 2004, after two detainees were transferred to CIA custody, CIA interrogators proposed, and CIA Headquarters approved, using the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques on one of the two detainees because it might cause the detainee to provide information that could identify inconsistencies in the other detainee’s story. After both detainees had spent approximately 24 hours shackled in the standing sleep deprivation position, CIA Headquarters confirmed that the detainees were former CIA sources. The two detainees had tried to contact the CIA on multiple occasions prior to their detention to inform the CIA of their activities and provide intelligence. The messages they had sent to the CIA were not translated until after the detainees were subjected to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques.

The utter stupidity notwithstanding, this is the utterly chilling part:

…CIA interrogators proposed, and CIA Headquarters approved, using the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques on one of the two detainees because it might cause the detainee to provide information that could identify inconsistencies in the other detainee’s story.

I wrote this seven years ago (boldface added):

…if torture is truly used as an interrogation technique, and not to fulfill a psychological need or as terrorism, it can not be an isolated event–it must be systemic and routine.

evidence acquired through torture will never reveal unique, unknown information. It is only useful when there is other confirmatory evidence. So torture serves no purpose in the Jack Bauer situation, since it, at best, further supports what you already knew or suspected. For torture to have any possibility of being an effective interrogation technique, you have to torture lots of people in the hope that multiple torture victims will confirm each others’ information. This means that torture has to become a routine component of interrogation.

That is the truly horrifying consequence of adopted ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ such as partial drowning interrogation (waterboarding). It is not the ‘banalization’ of torture and its effect on the torturers. It is far more simple. As with any other interrogation technique, innocent people will be subjected to torture.

Lest you feel sorry for the CIA officers, don’t waste your fucking time:

But CIA employees are just federal employees (with lots of security clearances). They can walk. There are no legal impediments to quitting if confronted with the prospect of being complicit with torture. Yes, they would have to sign lots of non-disclosure agreements. Their federal pensions would be smaller. They probably wouldn’t be able to line up a cushy, lucrative job with a private intelligence contractor. But those objections aren’t about law or the obligation to follow orders, they are about careers and money.

In other words, those who claim they were following orders, were complicit in torture for money. If that is not the definition of the banality of evil, I don’t know what is. The alternative is that they believed torture was the right thing to do.

Either way, the Republic is not safe until we prosecute these criminals.

You would think a nation that lionizes the Greatest Generation would not have forgotten Bataan.

You would be wrong. Many of us have.

Meanwhile, legal architect of our torture regime, John Yoo is safely ensconced in a tenured position (postdocs, maybe you should try torturing someone and see where that gets you…). Nothing will happen to these guys. They will still be comfortable, if not set for life. They won’t be publicly shamed.

Anger is the appropriate emotion.

Not funny at all.

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