Thursday, 11 December 2014

The CIA Torture Report - Who Was Gul Rahman?

If you want, you can download the CIA Torture Report. However, if you don't want to read the 500 pages they declassified, here are the highlights, taken from the introduction:
  1. The CIA's use of its enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees.
  2. The CIA's justification for the use of its enhanced interrogation techniques rested on inaccurate claims of their effectiveness.
  3. The interrogations of CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than the CIA represented to policymakers and others.
  4. The conditions of confinement for CIA detainees were harsher than the CIA had represented to policymakers and others.
  5. The CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information to the Department ofJustice, impeding a proper legal analysis of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program.
  6. The CIA has actively avoided or impeded congressional oversight of the program.
  7. The CIA impeded effective White House oversight and decision-making.
  8. The CIA's operation and management of the program complicated, and in some cases impeded, the national security missions of other Executive Branch agencies.
  9. The CIA impeded oversight by the CIA's Office of Inspector General.
  10. The CIA coordinated the release of classified information to the media, including inaccurate information concerning the effectiveness of the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques.
  11. The CIA was unprepared as it began operating its Detention and Interrogation Program more than six months after being granted detention authorities.
  12. The CIA's management and operation of its Detention and Interrogation Program was deeply flawed throughout the program's duration, particularly so in 2002 and early 2003.
  13. Two contract psychologists devised the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques and played a central role in the operation, assessments, and management of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program. By 2005, the CIA had overwhelmingly outsourced operations related to the program.
  14. CIA detainees were subjected to coercive interrogation techniques that had not been approved by the Department of Justice or had not been authorized by CIA Headquarters.
  15. The CIA did not conduct a comprehensive or accurate accounting of the number of individuals it detained, and held individuals who did not meet the legal standard for detention. The CIA's claims about the number of detainees held and subjected to its enhanced Interrogation techniques were inaccurate.
  16. The CIA failed to adequately evaluate the effectiveness of its enhanced interrogation techniques.
  17. The CIA rarely reprimanded or held personnel accountable for serious and significant violations, inappropriate activities, and systemic and individual management failures.
  18. The CIA marginalized and ignored numerous internal critiques, criticisms, and objections concerning the operation and management of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program.
  19. The CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program was inherently unsustainable and had effectively ended by 2006 due to unauthorized press disclosures, reduced cooperation from other nations, and legal and oversight concerns.
The classified version is 6,000 pages. Holy crap! What's in the 5,500 pages we're not allowed to read?

Torture doesn't work. We knew it didn't work. We tortured innocent people. We didn't even gain useful intelligence from those we tortured who probably were guilty. We then lied, covered it up, and tried repeatedly 

The report also talks about Gul Rahman, a man who was subjected to total darkness, sensory overload, sleep deprivation, cold showers, beatings, and had his mobility limited by his short shackles. He was stripped from the waist down, thrown into an unheated cell in near freezing temperatures. Dehydration and starvation combined with hypothermia lead to his death that night. Gul Rahman had never been charged with a crime. Neither were the people who murdered him.

And from page 56 of that report:
"According to [DUNBAR], there were approximately five CIA officers from the renditions team. Each one had a role during the takedown and it was thoroughly planned and rehearsed. They opened the door of Rahman's cell and rushed in screaming and yelling for him to 'get down.' They dragged him outside, cut off his clothes and secured him with Mylar tape. They covered his head with a hood and ran him up and down a long corridor adjacent to his cell. They slapped him and punched him several times. [DUNBAR] stated that although it was obvious they were not trying to hit him as hard as they could, a couple of times the punches were forceful. As they ran him along the corridor, a couple of times he fell and they dragged him through the dirt (the floor outside of the cells is dirt). Rahman did acquire a number of abrasions on his face, legs, and hands, but nothing that required medical attention. (This may account for the abrasions found on Rahman's body after his death. Rahman had a number of surface abrasions on his shoulders,pelvis, arms, legs, and face.) At this point, Rahman was returned to his cell and secured. [DUNBAR] stated that [[CIA OFFICER 1]] [the CIA officer in charge of DETENTION SITE COBALT] may have spoken to Rahman for a few moments, but he did not know what [[CIA OFFICER 1]] said. [DUNBAR] stated that after sometliing like this is done, interrogators should speak to the prisoner to give them something to think about.'"
Did you catch that bit about the CIA officers trying not to hit Gul Rahman as hard as they could as they dragged him through the dirt? How sweet and thoughtful.
Even though Gul Rahman was the only person known to have died as a result of the CIA's programs, many things you'll read in that report are far worse.

The above details a rogue agency, completely out of control. If, however, you don't want to read the report and you simply reject the findings out of hand, then I guess you follow the motto "be the evil you want to see in the world."