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Senators Fume Over Torture Revelations

Posted on Jun 17, 2008

With statements such as “if the detainee dies, you’re doing it wrong” guiding our government’s thinking during the formation and implementation of interrogation techniques, it’s no wonder Carl Levin and others were outraged in the Senate on Tuesday.

According to the Armed Services Committee chairman, “The truth is that senior officials in the United States government sought information on aggressive techniques, twisted the law to create the appearance of their legality and authorized their use against detainees.”


The committee also released details from previously classified minutes of a meeting in October 2002 in which a top military lawyer at Guantanamo said previously banned techniques such as sleep deprivation were being used secretly.

“Officially it is not happening,” Lt Col Diane Beaver told the meeting, adding that commanders feared the Red Cross might find out.

John Fredman, then chief counsel to the CIA’s counter-terrorism centre, argued during the meeting that torture “is basically subject to perception”.

“If the detainee dies, you’re doing it wrong,” he said.

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By squirrel, June 25, 2010 at 10:34 pm Link to this comment

CDR Gary Hoyt PsyD., a clinical psychologist with the Navy, played a big role in
torture procedures.  He is licensed in the state of Virginia.  Encourage all to file

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By cyrena, June 18, 2008 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

This is another excellent piece by Spencer Akerman,  (independent journalism of course, since we wouldn’t know this any other way).  So this is an intro to the piece, and then the truthout link to the rest.

He makes reference here to another in-depth report by Jane Mayer,  published in the New Yorker, back in 2005.  I don’t have the link to that one handy right this moment, but I’ve read it, (a few times actually) and it was one of the best and most informative reports to date, at least at the time. That said, I highly recommend it. It should be easy enough to find the link via a google search.

Roadmap to Torture

Wednesday 18 June 2008

by: Spencer Ackerman, The Washington Independent
Newly released documents show that in the summer of 2002, Pentagon officials compiled lists of aggressive techniques, soliciting opinions from the CIA and others, and ultimately implementing the practices over opposition from military lawyers. (Photo: Guardian UK)

  Testimony reveals how torture resistance training, “SERE,” became Pentagon’s “enhanced” interrogations.

  In August 2004, a Defense Dept. panel convened to investigate detainee abuse after the Abu Ghraib scandal issued its much-anticipated report. Interrogation techniques designed for use at Guantanamo Bay, which President George W. Bush had decreed outside the scope of the Geneva Conventions, had “migrated” to Iraq, which Bush recognized was under Geneva, concluded panel chairman James Schlesinger, a former defense secretary.

Schlesinger’s panel, however, did not explain which officials ordered the abusive techniques to transfer across continents - or how and why they became Pentagon policy in the first place.

  Tuesday the Senate Armed Services Committee answered those questions. In a marathon hearing spanning eight hours and three separate panels, the committee revealed, in painstaking detail, how senior Pentagon officials transformed a program for Special Forces troops to resist torture - known as Survival Evasion Resistance Escape, or SERE - into a blueprint for torturing terrorism detainees.

(Matt Mahurin) The committee, chaired by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), released numerous classified documents from the crucial period of mid-2002 to early 2003, when the policies of abuse took shape inside the Defense Dept. “Senior officials in the United States government sought information on aggressive techniques, twisted the law to create the appearance of their legality and authorized their use against detainees,” Levin said. “In the process, they damaged our ability to collect intelligence that could save lives.”

  The SERE program - first introduced to many by a 2005 article by the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer - is not an interrogation program. Nor is it an intelligence-collection program. Instead, it’s an obscure program across the different military services’ special-forces wings that teaches troops how to withstand torture if captured. Instructors subject students - under the rigorous watch of psychologists and physicians - to various torture techniques, including waterboarding, prolonged stress positions, sleep deprivation and sensory manipulation. Waterboarding “is an overwhelming experience that induces horror, triggers a frantic survival instinct,” Malcolm Nance, a former Navy SERE instructor who was himself waterboarded, testified to Congress in November. “As the event unfolded, I was fully conscious of what was happening: I was being tortured.”
More at the link:

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By Don Stivers, June 18, 2008 at 10:08 am Link to this comment

We have the stupidest ignoramuses in the world representing us….PERIOD.  And to let this continue, criminals.

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By Arabian Thoroughbred, June 18, 2008 at 9:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A half-hearted temporary theatrical fuming reaction, playing for the media, is all what some senators are willing to do with every new revelation about the systemic torture sanctioned as policy by US top officials over the years.

We will never certainly know the full story of the levels of tortures sanctioned and carried out by official America, simply because these were carried out in total secrecy, and whatever little physical evidence was there it was eventually destroyed.

There are four dimensions to the culture of torture and travesties of justice established by official America under the criminal Bush Administration:

1. The tortures at American prisons in occupied
  Afghanistan and Iraq, of which the Abu Ghrieb case
  was a sampling;
2. The tortures at Guantanamo;
3. CIA Secret Jails in several countries,
4. Rendering for torture, whereby the US rendered
  suspects to countries like Egypt, Jordan, Israel, 
  etc. because these countries are experts in
  torture techniques, or because they don’t have the
  vaguest laws covering torture.

In other words, this quadruple-axis-of-torture regime, is the epitome of criminality practiced by official U.S. secret policy. If ever, and I know it will never happen, all the crimes of injustices committed under these four categories will be revealed, it will put the US at the same level of criminality of the Nazi system; at least at the theoretical principle, though not in scope.

Now the saddest part of all this is not that incidents of great injustices were committed by official America, but rather that a country that always brags about being a nation of laws, has gone totally lawless at worst, or that its system of justice was dealt the deadly blow of being one of double-standard at best. Either way, no amount of corrective steps of justice can remedy the situation short of bringing all official America, from Bush on down, to a court of justice for crimes against humanity. The other alternative is that the US would declare itself a bread apart from all humanity,  so that all its bragging about human rights will be seen for what it is: just an empty deceiving slogan and propaganda!

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By watchdog, June 18, 2008 at 9:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So, does this mean that impeachment is back on the table, or is the outrage simply political posturing?

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By mill, June 18, 2008 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

Louise said it well.

Me, ranting beyond Louise’s statement ...

Only appearances matter - the president need not govern, the congress need not hold the executive branch accountable, the courts need not decide justly .... they only need to appear to do so

just express outrage ... then hit a cocktail party fund-raiser ...  then a bit more outrage, another party, more outrage ... no one paying attention now?  good, here’s a noncompete contract for my cocktail party sponsors ....

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By Louise, June 18, 2008 at 7:25 am Link to this comment

Once again a shaft of light from Heaven [can you hear the heavenly choir] bathes a senator in the inspirational glow of revelation and a call to action. And once again action comes, in the form of expressed outrage and indignation.
End of story.

Oh! You mean there’s more? You mean that THIS time they really, really, REALLY do mean to have accountability? You mean THIS TIME they’ve decided wrong is wrong and needs to stop? You mean the story isn’t over and I should stay tuned?

OK. I’ll watch for more breaking news about how the Senate has discovered what, as cyrena points out, EVERYBODY has known since at least 2002!

Realizing how this goes to personal aggrandizement [we should leave that to congress since they’re much better at it than we are] we could scoop the scoopers by finding out what their next hearing will be about and predicting, then publishing their reaction before the fact.

Nice way of saying, enablers and hypocrites can always be counted on to never do anything, about anything ... except ... express outrage and indignation.

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By Jim Yell, June 18, 2008 at 5:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The problem is all thru this process there was resistence from this administration to properly investigate and determine who they had arrested. Were they actually terroists, or where they resident of the area where they were caught up by the military?

It was clear from the first that a large percentage were not part of international terror and many weren’t even combatants. So how can torture be promoted against this group? Only thugs and gangsters would do this. We didn’t even attack the 9/11 villians the Saudi’s, oh no not the Saudi’s. Even after decades of complaints about the Saudi’s protecting the financial records of terror groups, decades of Saudi money paying for the radicalization of what some might say an already radical and hostile religion, we attacked the one moslem country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and called the Saudi’s our friends.

No torture doesn’t make us safer and it manufactures fear and hate. People who promote torture are cowards and dirty rotten scondrels. The question is why does the Republican Party, some military types and Bush/Cheney Hate America? Inquiring people would like to know.

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By Mary, June 18, 2008 at 5:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

These guys are laughable.  How do they look at themselves in the mirror.  Must be in the water, there’s got to be something in their water!

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By elwood p.dowd, June 18, 2008 at 3:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The only thing more despicable than America involved in systematic torture, is Congress’ feigned outrage over the “revelations.” It’s as phony as Hillary Clinton or anyone else in Washington claiming that they voted for the invasion in the first place- only because they were “mislead” by reports of WMDs. All I can say to that nonsense is if they’re that friggin gullible and downright stupid, they don’t belong in any position of public trust.

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By Xtina, June 18, 2008 at 1:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I found this at WaPo today - evals of formo Gitmo prisoners and the tortures done to their bodies.  A significant number were just people unlucky enough to be in the vicinity of the sweeps.  I’m emailing this to the senators today.

I am so sick and hurt by this thing.  I don’t have the holy rolling proclivity but I got on my knees and asked for forgiveness shortly after reading this.

Former Detainees Still Suffer From Trauma

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By cyrena, June 17, 2008 at 9:22 pm Link to this comment

It is so totally outrageous to just NOW have senators allegedly ‘fuming’ about torture, when EVERYBODY has known about this since at least 2002!

What the hell have they been doing for the past 5 years? What? They don’t read?

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