Highlights of the Inspector General's torture report


49 Responses to “Highlights of the Inspector General's torture report”

  1. Marcel says:

    #37 Regulas

    No-one ever tried to bomb the parkade where you work.

    No-one ever tried to poison your municipal water supply.

    No terrorist ever staged a DOS attack on your Internet Services.

    You’re not in danger.


  2. Boba Fett Diop says:

    Apparently the CIA’s waterboarding was supposed to work better than the technique used in SERE training (where trainees are taught that it produces false confessions) because it was “for real” and more “poignant” and “convincing.”



    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  3. Clay says:

    Um, Teapot, not cool.

    You know which part I’m talking about. The whole point of this is that we don’t lower ourselves to barbarism just because someone else’s culture may permit it.

  4. Fee says:

    Tell me again… what are those American values which the CIA are protecting and the terrorists threaten?

    What doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul? (Matt.16:26) Seems to me that the US and UK have lost sight of the things they purported to be fighting for.

    Where’s that guy who was going to change everything? He seems to have fitted into the system very quickly indeed.

  5. oyvinja says:

    I may be reading too much into it, but in my eyes the last excerpts makes it perfectly clear that they were fully aware what they were doing was probably illegal. You’re usually not concerned about being exposed or prosecuted for a legal action.
    And as we have heard a few times before, “I was following orders” is no longer a valid defense.
    I say they should be crucified, every one of them, including the ones at the top (yes, I mean former cabinet members).
    Unfortunately I guess America’s political scope is too narrow and too short term for anyone to dare to do that.

  6. Ugly Canuck says:

    Forkboy: at least the Egyptians torture their own citizens, and not exclusively foreigners: which latter seems to be “the American Way”…

  7. Cicada says:

    @#4- The answer is in the question– it profiteth him the whole world.

    You can decide for yourself whether your ideals or your physical endeavors are more important. So did these people.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Why, considering that it has been shown not to work, does the US persist with torture? It’s like it’s some sort of sadistic urge that you just can’t (or, more accurately, don’t want to) give up.

  9. mdh says:

    Where’s that guy who was going to change everything?

    FYI – The world will not be changed by any one guy in the the NEXT 150 days, either. All we can change are ourselves and what we bring to the table.

  10. mdh says:

    Unfortunately I guess America’s political scope is too narrow and too short term for anyone to dare to do that

    last guy was an MBA.
    this guy is a constitutional scholar.

    we’re working on it.

  11. Nelson.C says:

    The Northern Wolf: Why is there never any condemnation of our enemies from those so quick to condemn our own?

    Others will no doubt point out that your statement is completely unsupported by any evidence at all. But even if it were true, would our enemies stop if we condemned them? With our own, at least we have a theoretical possibility of altering their behaviour.

  12. Pantograph says:

    Ovinja said “And as we have heard a few times before, “I was following orders” is no longer a valid defense.”

    Funny you should mention that. I recall Bush saying precisely that when addressing the world on the day before the invasion. Of course it is a perfectly valid defence when you’re on the winning side…

  13. scdevine says:

    It is not the “American Way”. I know an American who got tortured, never quite knew the reason why, and the CIA apologized to him verbally.

    For four or five days of sleep deprivation, routine rape into exhaustion, waterboarding, stun-gunning to the head, various injections, and weeks of imprisonment.

    Is there anything I can do for my country? And not get tortured for it?

  14. Marcel says:

    I am waiting for the final stroke of bitter irony when a courtcase as a result of this report will be dismissed on the grounds of ‘unlawfully obtained’ evidence.

  15. gogsy1999 says:

    And this is the Government that is lecturing us Scots on the integrity of our legal system? Mr Pot, I’d like you to meet Mr Kettle….

  16. cycle23 says:

    “Every American should be forced to read and learn this in order to know what was done in their names.”

    But… wouldn’t that be .. TORTURE?!?

  17. _kevitivity says:

    It was also discovered yesterday that the Obama administration plans to continue the practice of extraordinary rendition.


  18. sleze says:

    Did anyone else notice that the CIA keeps using sharpies instead of highlighters in their “highlights” released to the public?

    It makes for a very difficult read.

  19. tuckels says:

    So i was the only one who skim read the title as “Highlights of Inspector Gadget’s torture report” and was expecting some sort of twisted fanfic?

  20. Anonymous says:

    If only these people did something really bad that would motivate a prosecutor and guarantee them a trip to prison. Such as arranging dog fights.

  21. Ito Kagehisa says:

    Why is there never any condemnation of our enemies from those so quick to condemn our own?

    I think some ancient Jewish guy said it is much more important to call out bad cops and bad priests than to speak out against hunted criminals and known sinners.

  22. coldspell says:

    #41 Marcel:

    You are absolutely correct. If terrorists actually wanted to harm us (or simply instill fear), it would be easy.

    No amount of airport strip searches would stop someone from driving a truck bomb to the Brooklyn Bridge or the San Francisco Bay Bridge (or BART tunnels). And I think the loss of those bridges would cause more economic damage than the loss of the World Trace Center.

    So either:

    1. Al Qaeda has ZERO terrorist cells (or even copy-cat sympathizers) in the US

    2. or Al Qaeda no longer cares about attacking the US

    Occam’s Razor suggests #2. Plus Osama Bin Laden has always asserted that Al Qaeda simply wants US military bases out of Saudi Arabia. The US pulled out most of its troops in 2003. So in some sense, Al Qaeda won!

  23. Ian70 says:

    Cory Doctorow says:
    “Every American should be forced to read and learn”

    I agree.. I heartily agree.

  24. nocitons says:


    “”In other words, saying “These are the atrocities whose architects and perpetrators Obama has refused to prosecute” is misleading…””

    No its not.well only slightly. the attorny general haz made very clear he will not prosecute “the architects”, and not the ones following orders, but only thoose who went beyond the orders.

    That is of course insane, but thats the way it is. Obviously the right thing would be to mainly prosecute the ones who made policy, the politicans and beaurocrats, the ones made ordinary people feel they were right to do stuff they would never have done if they were not order to do it.Prosecute them. You know like in nuremberg, with the nazis.

  25. normal1 says:

    Since we’re pretty much preaching to the choir here, I don’t think much will change anytime soon. But, I will add my two cents anyway.

    I’d like to see the current admin expose how the widespread recklessness practiced and endorsed by the former admin affected everything from the economy to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’d like to see them expose the charade that has kept Republicans in power for years: their form of capitalism is corrupt. Therefore, we need to re-assess what we now call conventional wisdom.

    It’s a lot to ask, and they will need help from various sources: interrogators, physicians, former government officials, etc. But, if the dots can be connected and easily explained, maybe then real change will occur.

  26. The Northern Wolf says:


    Here’s what our enemies are using.


    Why is there never any condemnation of our enemies from those so quick to condemn our own?

    As for the supposed torture, the only ones on there that could be considered torture by any rational individual are waterboarding and the buttstroke; the first of which was used on a limited number of individuals with potential high-value information, and the second of which was not a particularily intense form from the description (one or two strokes).

    Blowing smoke in someone’s face is hardly torture. Pressure points are a particularily fun day at a martial arts lesson. Implied threats to a family are simple psychological interrogation techniques, as are threats of violence. The faked murder was rather ingeneous but hardly torture.

    The only thing in that list that I really don’t like is:
    “Perhaps worst of all, the Report notes that many of the detainees who were subjected to this treatment were so treated due to “assessments that were unsupported by credible intelligence” — meaning there was no real reason to think they had done anything wrong whatsoever.”

    That’s sloppy and unnecessary. The perpetrators of those ones should be punished as appropriate.

  27. MrJM says:

    jere7my @21: ‘[S]aying “These are the atrocities whose architects and perpetrators Obama has refused to prosecute” is misleading — it is in fact these very revelations that have prompted the Obama administration to instigate criminal proceedings.’


    The appointment of a special prosecutor does not constitute “refusal to prosecute.”


    But I only went to a second-tier law school, so whatta I know?

    – MrJM

  28. Ugly Canuck says:

    Prosecute in open Court: and then Pardon, if need be.

    But by opening this up, the Americans are regaining my respect.

    For I believe in open, not secret, government: that the truth, not lies and evasions, is the best foundation and defense of a democratic State whose prosperity and wealth is founded upon widespread trade, and other familiar intercourse, with the myriad Nations of the earth.

    And as America had no CIA before 1947, this is recent history. Truly, IMHO something for the Boomers to handle. Let’s see if they have grown up yet!

  29. MrJM says:

    ‘the attorny general haz made very clear he will not prosecute “the architects”, and not the ones following orders, but only thoose who went beyond the orders.’

    Actually, neither the White House nor the Department of Justice will control the scope of the investigation. DOJ regulation 28 CFR Part 600 permits the special prosecutor/counsel to act independently (under statute, it used to be called “Independent Counsel”) of the political pressures of government. During Watergate, Nixon’s administration had to publicly fire the prosecutor, Archebald Cox, when he wouldn’t bow to pressure from the president.

    Nixon’s downfall followed quickly.

    It is due to the non-political and wide-ranging nature of the job that Peter Fitzgerald was able to prosecute and convict Scooter Libby, despite Libby’s very close ties to the Oval Office (Assistant to the President of the United States) and Office of the Vice-President (Chief of Staff).

    As special counsel, John H. Durham can go where his prosecutor’s nose leads him.

    – MrJM

  30. Marcel says:

    Listen to this guy talking about as if the CIA tried to wash daddy’s car but used the wrong wax:


    Yeah, cuz, you know, when we want to fight oppressive regimes in the future, we better have a clean slate ourselves.

    Like you have any effin’ moral ground left to take that position.

    Still trying to maintain that role of the world’s policeman.

    Bad cop!

  31. Fiddy says:

    No one has yet mentioned the interesting news from a few months ago that the Obama administration also refused to release additional photographs of prisoner abuse taken at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay that the ACLU requested as part of another FOIA filing. Journalist Seymour Hersh claims that the reason Obama is keeping these photographs and videotapes classified is because they prove conclusively that the CIA did not just threaten to rape the wives and mothers and molest the children of suspected terrorists, but they actually did so in front of them. And they took feelthy pictures of it to pass around and snicker over with their buddies.

    NPR and the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the youngest Guantanamo detainee, Mohammed Jawad, was finally released and sent home to Afghanistan to be with his family. He was only 12 years old when he was arrested (accused of throwing a grenade at U.S. soldiers who were shooting at his house during the 2002 purge of the Taliban), and has spent the last six years in that hellhole. The judge who ordered his release claimed that his “confession” was coerced by torture, and therefore cannot be used as evidence to convict him, should he ever face trial. Read these excerpts again, and imagine an interogator doing this not to a hardened terrorist operative, but to a 12 year old child. Now try to convince yourself that these thugs should be given immunity from prosecution, along with their bosses who authorized this behavior.

  32. GeorgeStanton says:

    From what I’ve read these interrogation methods were quite effective and did not result in injury to the detainees who, with the arguable exception of interrogation, were treated humanely.

    Implying that the interrogator might bring the guys mother into the room hardly seems worthy of prosecution, no matter what interpretation the prisoner happened to infer.

  33. jere7my says:

    Contrary to the implication in this post, these new revelations have spurred the Obama administration to launch a criminal investigation into the abuses listed above ( link):

    Obama has said interrogators would not face charges if they followed legal guidelines, but the report by the CIA’s inspector general said they went too far — even beyond what was authorized under Bush era Justice Department legal memos….

    In other words, saying “These are the atrocities whose architects and perpetrators Obama has refused to prosecute” is misleading — it is in fact these very revelations that have prompted the Obama administration to instigate criminal proceedings. Granted, they’re still saying that they won’t prosecute the “just following orders” folks — and I wish they would — but they are going after the specific crimes mentioned in this post.

  34. jere7my says:


    From the link I posted above,

    But the inspector general said it was unclear whether so-called enhanced interrogation tactics contributed to that success. Those tactics included waterboarding, a simulated drowning technique that the Obama administration says was torture. Measuring the success of such interrogation is “a more subjective process and not without some concern,” the report said.

    The report described at least one mock execution, which would also violate U.S. anti-torture laws. To terrify one detainee, interrogators pretended to execute the prisoner in a nearby room. A senior officer said it was a transparent ruse that yielded no benefit.

  35. Regulas says:

    Hmmmm … terrorists; people who want to fly planes into our office buildings, plant bombs in parkades where we work, launch DOS attacks, poison our municipal water supplies; aren’t being treated nicely enough by the CIA! They have had water poured up there noses, had their sleep disrupted, been forced to listen to rock’n’roll music, and HORROR OF HORRORS verbally threatened. Threats which to them are believable because the actions described are the very sorts of things they themselves have done to their opponents at home and would like to do to us here in the civilized world. [Oh wait, describing the civilized world as civilized is probably politically incorrect. Lets just replace that term with "anglo-sphere", or perhaps more broadly, "the 'west'".] Somehow my knickers are not in a knot over the CIA’s actions.

  36. Ugly Canuck says:

    George Stanton: LOL.

    Torture is always a “dance” between the prisoners’ psyche and the jailer’s use – or threat of – the use of force. The jailer uses the prisoner’s body to get at his psyche, in every case.

    The Laws are clear: there is no line, no distinction, where you’d like one to be: between the prisoner’s psyche, and his body.

    Holding aperson in prison for extended periods without trial or charge is also torture: one would think that a freedom-loving person would appreciate that.

    Or are you one of those, who feel that it is not self-evident, that all men are created equal? An apologist for an “Empire”, in other words, wherein all men are most certainly NOT created equal? For that is the first and primary rule of ANY Empire….

  37. mdh says:

    The Northern Wolf Why is there never any condemnation of our enemies from those so quick to condemn our own?

    Because you can’t hear it over your own deafening, blinded, hobbled, and sad black and white worldview where yours is the righteous path and everyone one else is jealous, wants your stuff, and works against you at every turn. Or something like that.

  38. Boba Fett Diop says:

    Aren’t you in Alberta? Not many terrorists flying planes into office buildings in Calgary. Oh, and your knickers should be in a knot about the CIA kidnapping innocent Canadians and arranging for them to be tortured.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Oh, and your knickers should be in a knot about the CIA kidnapping innocent Canadians and arranging for them to be tortured.

      Yeah, but they’re not real Canadians. Some of their ancestors were immigrants.

  39. Cicada says:

    So after a history of exterminating Indians, Philipinos, Vietnamese, etc, etc, etc, you mean to tell us we’re not the good guys and never have been?

    Gollee, looks like one of us fell for a set of propaganda that said otherwise.

  40. Forkboy says:

    BTW, they were probably posing as Egyptians : “Human rights groups say torture, including sexual abuse, is routinely used by the Egyptian security services during interrogation of prisoners.”

  41. Anonymous says:

    In a fight I usually prefer to “strangle” someone from knocking them out with my fists, because you get more control and the risk of them getting a brain damage is almost nonexistant. (Knocking someone out is very dangerous and they always (yes, always) get brain damages, albeit usually small ones that only can be detected with a brain scan and heal without any obvious symptoms.) Controlled chokeholds with immediate release is perhaps the least dangerous way of rendering a person unconscious without use of drugs. But even with proper technique there are small risks that the person have a weak blood vessel in their head that rupture or that you create a blood clog, both can be lethal but only happen on persons with preexisting weaknesses. That’s why you always are a bit nervous when you train chokeholds with someone who haven’t done that before, or haven’t trained chokeholds in a long time.

    To strangle someone more than a split second or repeatedly without the chance to recuperate however, as described in this report, is on the same level of danger as hitting a person in the head with a hammer. They are bound to get brain damages (and a really nasty headache that will last for days). Not to mention that it is very unpleasant. Even with a chance to recuperate between holds it is psychologically exhausting, it is something you can barely cope with for longer periods even in controlled training with people you trust. It really feels like your life is slipping away. (The sexual choking some nutheads enjoy are delivered somewhat differently (slower, so that they can adjust to the feeling), and are actually more dangerous.)

    I don’t know if the interrogator was miseducated and thought a chokehold was “always” harmless or if he just didn’t care. But it doesn’t matter, even as someone with a lot of experience in both delivering and retrieving chokeholds, I can only say that this is outrageous and shows a total lack of respect for human beings.

  42. mdh says:

    It takes a special breed of man to threaten to rape someones mother.

  43. teapot says:

    Thank god for the awesome people in the US digging this stuff up and putting it in front of people’s faces.

    It would be easier for everyone in the US just to sweep everything under the rug and pretend that they never elected an idiot who used them to fight his own ideological faith-based battle.

    Please…. PLEASE let this be the first step to putting Bush on the stand. He should rot away in jail for the rest of his life….

    n fct thnk cld vn stmch bngng n f hs dghtrs… jst t lt hm s hs fmly bng rpd.

  44. Ugly Canuck says:

    Yeah:wait till our Supremes kick Harpers ass…

  45. minTphresh says:

    hey ugs @ #19. hows the great white north? as per your take on the cia, it was put together by allan dulles, and his pals george herbert walker and prescott bush as a way to incorporate his nazi buddies from the ss and their intelligence agencies to keep them out of the hague. seems they liked the nazi’s skills. and since geo. and prescott actually helped-fund the nazis and their war machine, it was probably the least they could do to help their old friends out. i,personally, would love to see them gone. the problem is, what would replace them in the vacuum that would follow?
    oh, and REGULUS, u r doin it rong.

  46. Anonymous says:

    “n fct thnk cld vn stmch bngng n f hs dghtrs… jst t lt hm s hs fmly bng rpd.”


    Threatening to rape an uninvolved person as a way to punish the target of your ire? Have you considered joining the CIA? Oh, wait. They just resorted to verbal threats. You proposed actually doing it.

    Way to take the high ground, there, Teapot.

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