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Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:07 AM PST

Braking: Put the Prius in Neutral

by drational

I imagine there are more than one other Toyota Prius drivers in Kos-land, and if you are like me, you are a concerned about the possibility that you may some day find yourself riding a missile with a mind of it's own, sort of like Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove.

I think it important to note that in the most recent case of Prius run amok, there was one intervention that was not tried, that perhaps could have avoided the risk of injury or death for many people....

Putting the car in Neutral.

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Fearmongering is a tried and true tactic of the GOP for getting people to bow to their plans.  In the wake of 9/11 they frightened a nation into discarding civil liberties, and they invoked pretend mushroom clouds to scare us into a costly and unnecessary war in Iraq.  And now the GOP is up to their old tricks again, whining about how imprisoning and trying terrorists on American soil will lead to the kidnapping of our daughters and other horrors.  Well finally, our President and Attorney General seem to have figured out that they hold all the cards and can call the fearmongering out for what it is: cowardice.

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The CIA Office of Inspector General tells us that CIA personnel carried out mock executions and threatened detainees that their children would be killed and mothers sexually assaulted.  It also describes unauthorized application of "Pressure Points", a pretty name for choking someone unconscious that was used on a detainee in Afghanistan.  What it does not describe are the CIAs findings on the already publicized death of a detainee undergoing CIA-led interrogation at Bagram Collection Point who was beaten and left hanging shackled to the ceiling to die.  This section has been redacted.

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Today's release of the CIA Inspector General's report on the Bush Administration's "enhanced interrogation program" tells us that CIA personnel carried out mock executions and threatened detainees that their children would be killed and mothers sexually assaulted.

It also adds a bit more detail to the "poignancy" of waterboarding, which was applied in a manner inconsistent with approval by DOJ lawyers.  But as a physician, one passage caught my eye, as I believe it clearly illustrates that this long sought "Holy Grail" criticism of the Bush Administration torture program was as much a whitewash as the DOJ legal opinions that came before and after it.

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Not surprising, but the declassification and release of the 2004 CIA inspector General's report has been delayed for the third time.

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Assuming there is not a third delay, the CIA Inspector General's review of the CIA's Interrogation Program under George Bush will be released tomorrow.  Much has been written about waterboarding, including by me, as one of the "enhanced interrogation techniques" that is clearly torture.  Today, as part of a larger effort by many bloggers, I discuss other interrogation tools used by the CIA and US military that may have killed a detainee.  In addition to base cruelty by individual interrogators, we find evidence of programmatic medical experimentation in shaping the interrogation program.

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Yesterday, I wrote a diary detailing evidence that accused terrorist Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri (al-Nashiri) may have suffered a specific physical injury due to combinations of enhanced interrogation techniques when he was a CIA detainee.  This analysis was in part based upon the recently released transcripts from the 2007 Guantanamo military tribunals (CSRTs) detailing the charges against several "high value" detainees, including the three known to be waterboarded, Abu Zubaydah, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri (al-Nashiri), and Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM).

Today I extend this analysis to Abu Zubaydah, exploring evidence that Zubaydah may have endured severe physical or psychological suffering during CIA interrogation.

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On Friday, June 18, the CIA Inspector General's report from May 2004 will be released, hopefully in an unredacted form.  This report is anticipated to reveal the consequences of harsh detainee treatment that helped lead to the withdrawal of the Yoo-Bybee torture memos in 2004.

Last Friday, the ACLU obtained previously classified transcripts from the 2007 Guantanamo military tribunals (CSRTs) detailing the charges against several "high value" detainees, including the three known to be waterboarded, Abu Zubaydah, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri (al-Nashiri), and Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM).

In this diary, I examine (as a physician) the CSRT testimony, in order to explore further the reason why al-Nashiri was waterboarded only two times, versus 83 and 183 times for Zubaydah and KSM, respectively.  I hope everyone will recognize that this merely is informed speculation.  We will likely have a much better idea of the details of the medical outcomes of torture on Friday.

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As a physician, I have been shocked by the concept of physician participation in the torture policies of the Bush Administration.  I have previously written about medical personnel involvement in torture, and the particularly morbid fact that the CIA at some point added a physician with surgical tools to the room in which waterboarding occurs.

In the seemingly never-ending tidbits buried in the released "torture memos", I have found a new item yet to be covered by others.  Close reading of the memos has revealed a new horror that is particularly important because, if it has not yet been destroyed, will constitute graphic and tangible physical evidence of the shocking facts of our Government's Torture Program.

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Fri May 15, 2009 at 06:11 AM PDT

Don't Fall for GOP Meme on Pelosi

by drational

Cheney and factions within the CIA are invested in a campaign to smear Nancy Pelosi and other congressional Democrats in order to detract from their role in DESIGNING, IMPLEMENTING, and HIDING the Torture-by-contractor program that was designed to manufacture "intelligence" to justify the Iraq war.  
Some here have been focused upon pointing out "inconsistencies" in Pelosi's prior statements about her briefing by the CIA on the "enhanced interrogation (EIT)" program.

I feel compelled to post because this effort does not present the full story, and the focus on Pelosi, IMHO, is a distraction.  It is exactly what the CIA and Cheney want you to be putting on the Rec List and talking about.

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As a physician, I have been perplexed to learn that medical personnel were involved in the CIA interrogation program.  Physicians are bound by a 2500-year old oath not to do harm.  This central tenet of allopathic medicine has not always held- physicians have contributed their "skills" to torture throughout history.  But never before in America have physicians participated in Government sponsored-torture.

Along these lines, there were two important concepts revealed in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Torture yesterday:

  1.  The CIA hired contractors to "experiment" with torture.
  1.  A CIA psychologist who was on scene for the initiation of the harsh techniques for the first time on Abu Zubaydah left in protest when harsh interrogation began.
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Wed May 13, 2009 at 05:00 AM PDT

Today's Historic Torture Hearing

by drational

Today marks the first Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on harsh interrogation techniques since the release of the "Torture Memos", the OLC documents that outlined the guidelines for harsh interrogation techniques such as waterboarding.

Today's hearing will be chaired by Rhode Island Senator and former US Attorney Sheldon Whitehouse, and it will likely play like a prosecutor's opening argument.  The hearing includes two men who opposed the Bush Administration Interrogation Program but were silenced.

This hearing is the beginning of the process by which we as a nation formally address how our Government sanctioned torture.  Although only at the beginning of this inquiry, it will be historical.

Marcy Wheeler will be liveblogging it at Emptywheel.  While you are there, consider making a donation to continue her fabulous reporting.

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