The release of the report regarding CIA treatment of prisoners conducted by the US Senate Intelligence Committee was done on Dec. 9, 2014. This was a six year effort that documented the methods and effectiveness of the CIA in using “enhanced interrogation techniques” to attempt to extract information from prisoners to stop future terrorist acts.
The release of the report was challenged by the Bush administration and several other groups involved in interrogation of prisoners before and after the 9/11 attack. There is concern that there will be widespread reactions to the CIA’s disregard of the Geneva Convention on treatment of prisoners of war. The US has justified many of its actions in the name of fighting a war on terror, including spying on foreign allies, US citizens, and disregarding key parts of the Bill of Rights.
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was a Vietnam era prisoner of war survivor that underwent torture by the North Vietnamese. While many Republicans denounced the disclosure of the Senate report, Senator McCain stated that it was important for US citizens to know what had been done by the CIA.
They must know when the values that define our nation are intentionally disregarded by our security policies, even those policies that are conducted in secret. They must be able to make informed judgments about whether those policies and the personnel who supported them were justified in compromising our values; whether they served a greater good; or whether, as I believe, they stained our national honor, did much harm and little practical good.
One of the ironic aspects of this report states that the torturing did not produce much useful information. Extremist Muslims are willing to detonate bombs attached to their bodies. They are trained to mislead interrogators. They are willing to die before betraying their cause, albeit an evil cause in the minds of most the world.
The International Business Times (IBT) released an article on Dec. 9, 2014 entitled CIA Torture Report Release: Who Authorized Torture and Other Facts to Look For From the Senate Enhanced Interrogation Investigation. The article is by Howard Koplowitz.
There was a flurry of activity to get the report released while the Democrats still have control of the Senate. The George W. Bush administration stands to take a lot of criticism because of the direct involvement of President Bush and then VP Dick Cheney in authorizing the use of “advanced interrogation techniques” to try to gain information from terrorists before and after the 9/11 attack.
The report also states that the CIA deliberately lied about the interrogation techniques to President Bush with regard to how data that was obtained. The CIA also lied to Congress and to the American people about what they were doing, why they were doing it, and the value of the information gained from torturing the prisoners.
According to the Geneva Convention that was signed by the US, the CIA used torture under the guise of calling the procedures “enhanced interrogation techniques”.
Here and abroad, US government agencies are not following the US Constitution or the Geneva Convention. Our government agencies have been executing a war of terror that is unprecedented, and they have been doing it with collaboration and cooperation of domestic and international “security forces” inside the US and with foreign “allies”.
While this Senate report clearly defines some of the techniques and results of CIA interrogations after 9/11, this is really not new information. An article by Jane Mayer titled The Black Sites was published in the New York magazine on August 13, 2007, long before the 9/11 attacks that the Bush administration used to justify torturing alleged and real terrorist prisoners. These secret sites operated in several countries using foreign intelligence personnel and US military personnel. The interrogations in Iraq at the Abu Ghraib prison using torture that included inserting fluids up the rectums of prisoners and stripping them naked and forcing them to lie in piles on the prison floors.
The CIA charter specifically prevents the operation of the CIA in the US. The creation of the National Security Agency (NSA) has set up an organization specifically designed to circumvent the CIA prohibition. The USA PATRIOT ACT has created a war of terror mentality that has the NSA and CIA spying on US citizens and foreign allies with absolutely no connection to making the US safer from terrorism.
The extremism of the terrorists has been fueled by the actions of the US and its allies with torturing prisoners, drone attacks that have landed on innocent civilians, and misguided interference in political and religious battles around the world.
Like the revelations of Edward Snowden regarding spying by US government agencies on US citizens, the release of the Senate report on CIA interrogation is a major aid in understanding how the CIA and other agencies operate.
Senator McCain summarized the issue in a highly spiritual way.
But in the end, torture’s failure to serve its intended purpose isn’t the main reason to oppose its use. I have often said and will always maintain that this question isn’t about our enemies, it’s about us. It’s about who we were, who we are and who we aspire to be.
If we are to be considered a world leader for democracy, it is time to restore our honor in how we conduct ourselves when involved in conflicts. The US needs to act like a legitimate and honorable world leader and not allow rogue agencies like the CIA and the NSA to disregard the Geneva Convention and the US Constitution.