May 5, 2013

U.S. Tortured Detainees After 9/11

English: Torture device used by SAVAK (U.S.-ba...
English: Torture device used by SAVAK (U.S.-backed Iranian secret police) to pull out fingernails of detainees (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It has been quite awhile since I wrote anything with an explicitly political focus, and I can't say I've missed it too much. However, there was one huge story that came out recently that the corporate-owned media in the U.S. effectively buried that deserves mention.

The Constitution Project, a highly regarded nonpartisan think tank, released a report on how the U.S. treated detainees following 9/11. The report, described by ProPublica as "the most comprehensive public review to date," concluded that the U.S. did in fact torture detainees.

I realize that we have known this for some time, but this report is noteworthy for being both thorough and nonpartisan in nature.
“Perhaps the most important or notable finding of this panel is that it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture,” the report concludes. The task force says that despite overwhelming evidence of torture, both government officials and many in the media have continued to present the issue as a two-sided debate.
The ProPublica post provides a great summary of the report's highlights, and I encourage you to give it a read.

Following the bombing in Boston, one Republican politician after another has come out advocating torture. Each time, they roll out the tired ticking time-bomb scenario. And each time, they are effectively rebutted by those who do interrogation for a living. Torture doesn't work. No far-fetched scenarios can change that simple fact.

I heard a great interview recently on NPR with a high-level FBI interrogator explaining this yet again. The Republicans love to pose the question of whether one wouldn't torture in order to stop terrorist attacks, but this is a false scenario because it assumes that torture will produce reliable information. It does not. Under torture, the suspect will say anything to make the pain stop. The information is not reliable. The interrogator wants cooperation - not compliance.

Watching Republicans fall all over themselves to see who can be the strongest advocate for torture is sickening. They actually seem eager to trade their humanity for votes. The whole spectacle reminds me of the "get tough on crime" nonsense that raged throughout the Reagan and Bush I administrations that led to the U.S. having the highest rate of incarceration in the world. We are locking up more of our citizens than any other country, and yet, we continue to live in fear.