Tuesday, August 25, 2009

And the Hits Just Keep Coming

After yesterday's information dump concerning the CIA & torture, I decided to spend some time reading the material released to the public. The following will be the highlights I'd like to share.

Special Review: CIA - Office of the Inspector General
Counterterrorism Detention & Interrogation Activities
September 2001 - October 2003


1- pg. 4 point 7: This is a long paragraph that starts by stating the Agency had Abu Zubaydah and another high value detainee in custody by November 2002. It ends, stating the Office of Medical Services provided care to the detainees. The middle is long and black. Hmm, why would they need care from doctors?

2- pg. 6 point 13: "there were instances of improvisation and other undocumented interrogation techniques."

Guess I found the answer to my previous question.

3- pg. 6 point 15 footnote 6: The difference between a "debriefer" and an "interrogator." "A debriefer engages a detainee solely through question and answer. An interrogator is a person who completes a two-week interrogations training program, which is designed to train, qualify, and certify a person to administer ETIs (Enhanced Interrogation Techniques). An interrogator can administer ETIs during an interrogation of a detainee only after the field, in coordination with Headquarters, assesses the detainee as withholding information. An interrogator transitions the detainee from a non-cooperative to a cooperative phase in order that a debriefer can illicit actionable intelligence through non-aggressive techniques during debriefing sessions. An interrogator may debrief a detainee during an interrogation; however, a debriefer may not interrogate a detainee."

Hmm, seems to me this policy can have a few negative outcomes.
1) How do you assess a person "is withholding information" or has "actionable intelligence"? What if they were just picked up off the street and sold to the US? We had a bounty out for those thought to be terrorists. How do we know people were not just turned in for the cash? In fact, we didn't, and some were.
2) By definition, an interrogator is a torturer. He steps in when the person isn't talking and "transitions the detainee from a non-cooperative to a cooperative phase." This type of logic is what leads to people giving false information just to get the pain to stop.
3) "Before 11 September (9/11) 2001, Agency personnel sometimes used the terms interrogation/interrogator and debriefing/debriefer interchangeably." This starts the footnote, and is where the whole premise runs into a problem. By changing the definition of interrogation to torturer, by taking away the true purpose of the position, they have twisted the minds of these officers. Whereas before they did what was legal and honorable, using their minds, getting close to the detainee, and manipulating the relationship they formed to get intelligence, now they believed the only way to manipulate the prisoner was with force. This is why the Geneva Conventions were created, to stop people from making the exact wrong decisions because of the emotions war illicits.

4- pgs. 7-8 point 18: "recognized that detainees may be held in US Government custody indefinitely if appropriate law enforcement jurisdiction is not asserted...no decisions on any 'endgame' for Agency detainees have been made. Senior Agency officials see this as a policy issue for the US Government rather than a CIA issue. Even with Agency initiatives to address the endgame with policymakers, some detainees who cannot be prosecuted will likely remain in CIA custody indefinitely."

So, basically they are willing to hold them forever, and believe it is not their problem to figuring out what to do with them, and are not concerned about having them stand trial. That is a problem for "lawmakers."

So, when the Supreme Court found what the CIA was doing unconstitutional, it must have been a "lawmaker" who stopped them. Can anyone say grounds for a lawsuit? Our former President may soon loose his ranch in a few civil cases sometime in the future. [cough cough ACLU]

5- pg. 8 point 19: "The Agency faces potentially serious long-term political and legal challenges as a result of the CTC Detention and Interrogation Program, particularly its use of ETIs and the inability of the US Government to decide what it will ultimately do with terrorists detained by the Agency."

Wow, I couldn't have put it better myself. Because of their actions, they face the possibility (I would hope inevitability) of legal woes. Hit that one right on the head.

6- pg. 8 point 20: Of course, they blacked out ALL of the recommendations given by the investigatory team. Of course they don't want us to know what they suggested, because they probably did none of what was said. By not allowing us to know, they are trying to cover their asses for the future prosecutions that are coming.

7- Of all the notes made (21 in total) in the Summary, 6 were completely blacked out and another 4 were at least half, if not more, obscured. They are trying to hide their crimes. We need to bring all of the scandal out into the light and see where the chips fall. I don't care which side of the aisle authorized or knew about this. I want people arrested, tried, and sent to prison for the crimes they perpetrated.


8- pgs. 9-10 point 23: "In 1984, OIG investigated allegations of misconduct on the part of two Agency officers who were involved in interrogations and the death of one individual [redacted] Following that investigation, the Agency took steps to ensure Agency personnel understood its policy on interrogations, debriefings, and human rights issues. Headquarters sent officers to brief Stations and Bases and provided cable guidance to the field."

So, 1) the CIA has had a detainee die in their custody before the "War on Terror" was initiated & 2) they knew about human rights 20 years ago, but I guess it has slipped their mind since then.

Genesis of Post 9/11 Agency Detention and Interrogation Activities

9- pg. 11 point 25 footnote 7: "DoJ takes the position that as Commander-in-Chief, the President independently has the Article II constitutional authority to order the detention and interrogation of enemy combatants to gain intelligence information."

This statement makes me very nervous. 1) What/Who constitutes an enemy combatant? 2) Does that mean the President can give full authority for soldiers, spies, or even private contractors, to detainee anyone they personally dub an "enemy combatant" even if this person has done nothing legally wrong? That, to me, seems like too much power centered in one person's hands, with little recourse to derail.

The Capture of Abu Zubaydah and the Development of ETIs

10- pg. 14 point 34: "OTS also solicited input...regarding techniques used in its SERE training and any subsequent psychological effects on students. DoD/JPRA concluded no long-term psychological effects resulted from use of the ETIs, including the most taxing technique, the waterboard, on SERE students. (footnote 14) The OTS analysis was used by OGC in evaluating the legality of the technique."
footnote 14: "According to individuals with authoritative knowledge of the SERE program, the waterboard was used for demonstration purposes on a very small number of students in the class. Except for Navy SERE training, use of the waterboard was discontinued because of its dramatic effect on the students who were subjects."

So, they literally said 'its not bad' and then in the footnote said 'its bad enough we don't perform it on students anymore.' Do they really think people are so stupid as to NOT READ THE FOOTNOTES!?! If you were not willing to waterboard students," because of its dramatic effect," don't try to bullshit me into thinking it won't have the same effect on the people you are holding prisoner, IF NOT MUCH WORSE.

Enhanced Interrogation Techniques
pg. 15

Here is my summary of the list of techniques detailed

1- Attention Grasp: grabbing the detainee with both hands by the collar and pulling them toward you

2- Walling: detainee pulled forward and then quickly pushed back; shoulder blades hit flexible false wall; head and neck supported with rolled towel to prevent whiplash

I wonder if the towel technique is OSHA approved for that purpose.

3- Facial Hold: keeps detainee's head immobile; open palm on each side of the face; fingers kept away from detainee's eyes

4- Facial or Insult Slap: fingers spread apart; contact between chin and earlobe

5- Cramped Confinement: detainee placed in confined space, usually a small or large box; usually dark; small box no more than two hours; larger box no more than 18 hours

How could you not call this torture when even our household pets aren't made to sleep in their own deification. This treats people as less than human, less even than animals.

6- Insects: harmless bug placed in confinement box with detainee

How are they to know it is harmless? What would be the reaction of the agents if a detainee had such a huge fear of insects, he suffered a heart attack and died? Would they have recognized it was torture then?

7- Wall Standing: detainee stands 4 to 5 ft away from a wall, legs shoulder width apart; arms outstretched, placing weight of the body on their fingertips against the wall; cannot reposition hands or feet

I can't imagine doing almost anything without the ability to readjust. The idea that anyone would be able to support themselves for any length of time is ridiculous.

8- Stress Positions: two examples given 1) sitting on floor, legs extended out straight in front, arms straight up in air & 2) kneeling on floor, leaning back at a 90 degree angle

This is how you tear muscle, dislocate joints, and cause permanent physical damage, that the naked eye can't see.

9- Sleep Deprivation: not to exceed 11 days

Am I wrong? I thought it was possible for a person to DIE without sleep for 10 days. They take it one day past that!

10- Waterboard: bind detainee to a bench with his feet elevated above his head; head immobilized; cloth placed over detainee's mouth and nose while pouring water onto cloth in a controlled manner; airflow restricted for 20 to 40 seconds; produces sensation of suffocation or drowning

When you threaten someone with no air, how can you not call that torture? When you make them to believe they are going TO DIE, how can you call yourself anything but a criminal? This is not how you fight wars. This is how you create terrorists.

And if these are the techniques given, I retch at the thought of the techniques "improvised."

I'm going to stop here for this post. The document I'm reading contains 159 pages. I just finished page 15. FIFTEEN!

If people aren't arrested and sent to jail for a very long time, if the previous administration is not held accountable for the atrocities it inflicted on these people (in the name of this country and a God who would never wish this from his followers), I don't know how we can call ourselves "the land of the free and the home of the brave." All I see right now are the ignorant, the inflicters, and the apathetic. It is time for justice.

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