— The Erimtan Angle —

‘The US Senate has released a long-delayed report about torture techniques by the CIA, triggering widespread international anger. The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights has called for the prosecution of the US officials who ordered the crimes including torture against detainees. Ben Emmerson said the CIA and senior Bush administration officials who planned and authorized crimes must be prosecuted. Emmerson said under international law, the US is legally obliged to bring those responsible to justice. Meanwhile, Amnesty International says the US Senate report makes it clear that the CIA was acting unlawfully from day one. The rights body said the torture program gave the green light for crimes. And Human Rights Watch said the report shows the repeated claims that harsh measures were needed to protect Americans are fiction (10 Dec 2014)’.

Some time ago, President Obama did famously say “We tortured some folks”,[1]  and his predecessor, Bush Junior, sure did.

(8 December 2014)

CIA Director Brennan had this to say on the SSCI Study regarding the Bush Era practices involving coercion and torture: “Over the past several decades, and especially since the terrible tragedy of 9/11, the CIA has been at the forefront of our Nation’s campaign against al-Qa’ida and other terrorist organizations worldwide. The women and men of the CIA have operated around the globe, 24-hours-a-day, working with their U.S. colleagues as well as with foreign partners to prevent terrorist attacks. As a result of these efforts, including the many sacrifices made by CIA officers and their families, countless lives have been saved and our Homeland is more secure. As part of the CIA’s global effort to dismantle al-Qa’ida and to prevent future terrorist attacks, the Agency was directed by President Bush six days after 9/11 to carry out a program to detain terrorist suspects around the world. Certain detainees were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs), which the Department of Justice determined at the time to be lawful and which were duly authorized by the Bush Administration. These techniques, which were last used by the CIA in December 2007, subsequently were prohibited by an Executive Order issued by President Obama when he took office in January 2009”.[2]  The report itself, the Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program, states that this “updated conclusion asserts that the ‘CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees. ‘The Study attempts to validate this conclusion by relying upon four faulty premises. The first faulty premiseis that ‘seven of the 39 CIA detainees known to have been subjected to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques produced no intelligence while in CIA custody’. If true, that means that 82 percent of detainees subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques produced some intelligence while in CIA custody, which is better than the 57.5 percent effectiveness rate of detainees not subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques”.[3]  Following this somewhat blanket assessment, the report asserts that “[r]egardless, these statistics do not provide any real insight on the qualitative value of the intelligence information obtained. The true test of effectiveness is the value of what was obtained—not how much or how little was obtained”.[4]

[1] “Obama and Torture: Yes, We Can and Oh Yes, We Did!!!” A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog (13 August 2014). https://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2014/08/13/obama-and-torture-yes-we-can-and-oh-yes-we-did/ https://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2014/08/13/obama-and-torture-yes-we-can-and-oh-yes-we-did/.

[2] “Statement from Director Brennan on the SSCI Study on the Former Detention and Interrogation Program” CIA (09 Dec 2014). https://www.cia.gov/news-information/press-releases-statements/2014-press-releases-statements/statement-from-director-brennan-on-ssci-study-on-detention-interrogation-program.html.

[3] “Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program” Senate Select Committee on Intelligence http://www.intelligence.senate.gov/study2014/sscistudy3.pdf.

[4] “Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program”.


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