• Robert

Tales from the Dark Side

A number of our 17 security agencies (aka as the secret police)  are enjoying a rare moment of approval as they actually support the conclusion that the Russians interfered in the 2016 presidential election. However, before you start to view the CIA and NSA as benign, warm and cuddly entities consider the overlooked report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (always a troubling word) released a few years ago on the popular subject, torture.

“Meticulously formatted, this is a highly readable edition of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Central Intelligence Agency interrogation and detention programs launched in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Based on over six million internal CIA documents, the report details secret prisons, prisoner deaths, interrogation practices, and cooperation with other foreign and domestic agencies. It also examines charges that the CIA deceived elected officials and governmental overseers about the extent and legality of its operations.

Over five years in the making, and withheld from public view since its declassification in April, 2014, this is the full summary report as finally released by the United States government on December 9th, 2014.”

Human Rights activist Larry Siems, (no doubt one of the 12 people who actually read this report) authored The Torture Report: What the Documents say about America’s Post 9/11 Torture Program and created a website which I suspect is only used by those few people dedicated to human rights offers  concludess,

Here’s what I learned from writing The most senior members of the Bush administration, up to and including the President, broke international and domestic laws banning torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Worse, they had subordinates in the military and in civilian intelligence services break these laws for them. . .
I am hardly the first to learn these things or reach these conclusions. Dozens of outstanding journalists, lawyers, human rights investigators, bloggers, and members of Congress have discovered and reported similar conclusions for years. But I have reached them for myself, doing what I believe every citizen of conscience ought to do at moments like these, reading the documents themselves.

I learned one more thing as well, something that anyone who reads the record will also discover.Over and over again, men and women in Afghanistan and Iraq, in Guantánamo, in secret CIA black sites, in Langley, in the Pentagon, in Congress, and in the administration itself recognized the torture for what it was and objected, protested, and fought to prevent, and then to end, these illegal and ill-advised interrogations. While those who devised and oversaw the torture program insist their decisions were colored by the consciousness of impending danger, these men and women, who spent their days in far closer proximity to deadly threats, decried the cruel treatment as ineffective, shortsighted, and wrong. . . .This sense of betrayal permeates the documents—not just of abstract values and principles, but of the women and men we commissioned to represent these values and principles to the world.

The Dark Side: How The War on Terror Became a War on American Ideals”

Jane Mayer, who writes about counterterrorism for The New Yorker, offers , “The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals,” reveals more details of about its secret detention program—iIncluding the intragovernmental debates on this efficacy of this program. After September 11, 2001 Vice President Dick Cheney (in an interview with Tim Russert on “Meet the Press.” describes the  Bush regime’s rationale—on the continuing threat and US response,

“We’ll have to work sort of the dark side if you will. We’ve got to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world. A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies… if we are going to be successful. That’s the world these folks operate in. And, uh, so it’s going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal basically, to achieve our objectives.”

“Since 2001  Jane Mayer has been investigating and reporting on what the dark side really means. For the first time, she pieces together the full story of how Cheney, and a handful of extraordinarily powerful, but almost unknown lawyers including his Chief of Staff David Addington, took command of the war on terrorism. They seized on the mood of national fear to institute a top secret, covert program that twisted or ignored 221 years of constitutional history. She chronicles the behind-the-scenes meetings in the White House, Justice Department and CIA, and shows how the decisions taken behind closed doors in Washington spiraled out around the world, often with unintended consequences, violated the Constitution…”

Jane Mayer introduces this iteration of the Torture Report

“The more who learn the truth the better off the country will be because there is no better safeguard against the revival of torture than a well-informed public.”

On December 9, 2014, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a report that strongly condemned the CIA for its secret and brutal use of torture in the treatment of prisoners captured in the “war on terror” during the George W. Bush administration. This deeply researched and fully documented investigation highlighted both how ineffective the program was as well as the lengths to which the CIA had gone to conceal it.

In The Torture Report, Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón use their graphic-storytelling abilities to make the torture report accessible, Their adaptation adds to the original Senate report. There are brief chapters on how the CIA, Congress and the Justice Department responded to the committee’s report and how the media represented the program while it was classified. Explaining the significance and possible aftermath of the CIA program are an introduction by Jane Mayer and an afterword by Scott Horton.

Horton points out,

“The experience of Latin America is instructive. “Practices like those used by the CIA were hidden, covered with national security classifications, and amnestied in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, among other nations. It took a full generation — thirty years — before a formal process of accountability began to take hold and octogenarian intelligence officers were dragged before courts and sent to prison.”



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