News this holiday season of the hacking of Sony studios and new U.S. relations with Cuba “flushed” the bad news of the Senate’s torture report from the public mind, Robert Hennelly writes at Salon.

Among the revelations that are fast escaping public notice is the fact that contractors who waterboarded detainees made $1,800 a day — four times more than contractors who didn’t.

Hennelly reports:

In this case the devil really is in the details. For years the public was told the torture techniques saved lives, prevented additional terror attacks and helped lead to the capture of Osama bin Laden. Not so, says the Senate report, which goes on to chronicle years of obfuscation, deceit and deception by a CIA that was hell-bent on covering its tracks. Now the CIA is saying it is “unknowable” if the torture techniques produced results.

… Dozens of individuals were wrongfully detained by the CIA and  two of the Agency’s informants were mistakenly tortured. One detainee died of hypothermia after 48 hours of sleep deprivation, getting doused with cold water and being  chained to a concrete floor. Certainly these are all activities that would be defined as illegal under the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which the United States ratified in 1994. Under the terms of the Convention there are no “exceptional circumstances,” like  preventing a potential terrorist act, which would permit the use of these techniques that deliberately inflict “severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental.”

… New Crossroads labor correspondent Gregory Heires writes in his aptly titled post  “Outsourcing Torture”  that “the contract workers had a conflict of interest. They were responsible for carrying out torture while also determining whether it was effective and safe.”  Heires notes there was a built-in financial  incentive to be brutal.

Read more here.

— Posted by Donald Kaufman.

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