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Eric Fair, a former US contract interrogator in Iraq during the height of the war there, has now called for the government to totally open the book on the methods that were practiced there.

In April 2004 I was stationed at a detention facility in Fallujah. Inside the detention facility was an office. Inside the office was a small chair made of plywood and two-by-fours. The chair was two feet tall. The rear legs were taller than the front legs. The seat and chair back leaned forward. Plastic zip ties were used to force a detainee into a crouched position from which he could not recover. It caused muscle failure of the quads, hamstrings and calves. It was torture.

The detainees in Fallujah were the hardest set of men I’ve ever come upon. Many killed with a sickening enthusiasm. They often butchered what remained of their victims. It is easy to argue that they deserved far worse than what we delivered.

Still, those tactics stained my soul in an irrevocable way, maybe justifiably so. But as members of our government and its agencies continue to defend our use of torture, and as the American people continue to ignore their obligation to uncover this sordid chapter, the stain isn’t mine alone.

Jose Rodriguez Jr., the former head of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, insists that those who suggest we question more gently have never felt the burden of protecting innocent lives. I’ve felt that burden. And when the time came, I did not question gently.

I’m dealing with my own burdens now. My marriage is struggling. My effectiveness as a parent is deteriorating. My son is suffering. I am no longer the person I once was. I try to repent. I work to confess. I hope for atonement.

While our standing has improved from the days when we were at the height of the Iraq debacle, countries are sick and tired of the Neocon doctrine of perpetual warfare being spread throughout the globe, which in part explains the resurgence of Russia as a world power. And this is one of the main reasons why. Until we come to terms with what we did in Iraq and what we are continuing to do now, we are going to repeat the same mistakes sooner or later.

When we first decided to commit torture, we placed ourselves above international law, which prohibits the use of torture. We placed ourselves above our own Constitution, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. And we violated our own military field manuals, which also prohibit the use of torture.

And what's more, we permanently scarred the minds of a whole generation of men and women who enlisted with the idealistic notion that they were on the front lines of the war on terror and that they were there to make the world a better place for our children. Now, people are dropping out of the political process as evidenced by the fact that 138 million voted in the 2008 election, but only 121 million people voted in the 2012 election. This is in nobody's interest to see that many people give up on the political process because they do not see it as relevant to their lives anymore.

While the current President has been good on civil rights and has done a good job of stopping the bleeding from the economic freefall of 2008, more must be done. We have to have a leadership who can rally the country to think of something beyond themselves again like Kennedy and Roosevelt did when they were in power. In order to do that, we can't have it both ways and try and fund both a massive military industrial complex and a social welfare state. We have to drastically scale back the military industrial complex, corporate welfare state, and police state so that we can devote resources to building our country again and grow our economy to the level of prosperity that we had under Clinton.

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Comment Preferences

  •  How sad. I believe all the reports should be (12+ / 0-)

    declassified, including but not limited to the Summary Senate Intelligence report send to President Obama that Jay Rockefeller and Dianne Feinstein suggested be declassified, the full Senate Intelligence report, I believe they may be recommending be declassified, and the 6,000 page CIA report, that as far as I can tell, only critics outside the government are demanding be declassified.

    I'm not implying anything derogatory at all about Feinstein and Rockefeller who by comparison to others at least on a relative scale seem to be the good guys here.

    However, are we not "beginning" to see a pattern here where after a long controversy where critics demand for years that certain information be declassified, and allege certain violations will be proven in such disclosures, to the strong denial of other, then once proof emerges that these critics were correct and other editorial writers, and mainstream leader join the call for declassifying certain documents, a second set of classified summary reports is created, and an artificial "controversy" is created about declassifying that report is created.

    Then in a dramatic moment, a great leaders finally relents and agrees to declassify one of the summary documents, and the critics moan and gasp in great pain as is horrible things have happened. And, demand impeachment hearings or something least anything like this should ever be considered again.

    Meanwhile the original classified reportt is never declassified. Even the in Senate deeply classified double plus secret report then CIA Director Leon Panetta refused to let Senator interview CIA agents.

    I'm not done but need to send part one

    "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

    by HoundDog on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 11:58:14 AM PDT

  •  Hi ET, its me again. I wanted to send part 1 of (11+ / 0-)

    above comment because the last three times I've tried to send you comments this long, I lost them after touching some part of my keyboard that one should apparently not touch when making comments.

    If I were just slightly more "paranoid" I might suspect the CIA has planted a Trojan BounceBug on my keyboard to prevent me from exposing their deep shenanigans. LOL (snark alert.)

    Where was I? Oh, yes, can you believe that CIA Director Leon Panetta refused to let the Senate Intelligence Oversight Committee interview any actual CIA agents in this so called "oversight" investigation?

    Purportedly, to protect agents he feared might be exposed to prosecution. This is completely outrageous. If the agents want to appear in the Senate with their lawyer and plead the Fifth Amendment that is their right, and it is their lawyers job to protect that right, not Leon Panetta's who works for the Executive Branch authorized under the Constitution.

    The same Constitution that not only authorizes but requires, as I understand it, the Legislative Branch to have oversight responsibility.

    So how can they exercise this responsibility, which they've taken an oath to do, when Panetta effectively pleads the Fifth Amendment for the entire CIA!

    What the heck! Eternal Hope, What the Heck?

    Sorry for the length of this comment, but someone needs to say this, and it should be someone in congress on the Senate Intelligence Committee who took an oath to defend, protect, and serve our Constitution. I sure as heck hope that this is mentioned in the secret classified memo they sent to President Obama, who also took this same oath.

    We need to now cut this bullshit and hold some major Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the entire intelligence function, including but no limited to domestic and foreign intelligence, surveillance, torture, and all other violations of the Geneva Conventions, including the ones we do not know about, like SWAT teams and drones violating sovereign borders in black-ops, extra-ordinary rendition, CIA deception, of the White House and Congress.

    Also, all budgets related to these activities, on books, off books, on shore, off shore, and black accounts held in non-governmental organizations around the world.

    Also, included in this top to bottom review should be all NSA activity including allegations the NSA knew about heartbleed and other security flaws in the internet and did not report them so they could exploit them,

    And, also, all domestic intelligence in Homeland Securiy going on in regional Focus Centers and all budgets, and activities related to these.

     

    "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

    by HoundDog on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 12:16:41 PM PDT

    •  I agree, HD, and that exact same thing has (0+ / 0-)

      happened to me with long comments. Short ones too, but it's not painful to rewrite those.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 01:12:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Highly recommend using a word-processing program (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eternal Hope, Nannyberry, BusyinCA

        which will drastically cut down on the frustration quotient. Nothing worse than losing a laboriously constructed and well thought out piece of writing into the ether--it's enough to provoke the proverbial tearing out of hair and other mean old nasty things.

        As to the meat of the matter, I heartily concur with both EternalHope and HoundDog on this subject. Obama gave a speech on civil rights and LBJ the other day, and it was a good speech. But I pointed out that Obama has never displayed that same political courage LBJ did, even though provided the opportunity. No matter how unpopular or divisive investigating and prosecuting those who tortured and authorized it would be, it was the right thing to do, and it would have been for the good of this country. All Obama has done since taking office is facilitate making these kinds of government overreaches easier. In this respect he has tarnished his legacy, and wasted a golden opportunity.

        •  Good idea, but I never know when my comment is (0+ / 0-)

          going to "go long".
          I'd disagree about comparing Obama to LBJ. Totally different situation.
          Not that he hasn't made mistakes, had wrong policies, maybe the wrong people advising him from time to time.
          LBJ didn't have the gop in control of half the nation, conspiring to deny any success to his governance whatsoever.
          I'm willing to wait for history to sort this out, though, because we have other fish to fry right now.

          You can't make this stuff up.

          by David54 on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 07:37:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Obama had all the control needed (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sharon Wraight

            to investigate and prosecute those who committed and ordered war crimes like torture. He had all the control needed to set a different precedent on government overreaches. He had all the control needed to stop extrajudicial and indiscriminate killings by drones. Those are all fish in the frying pan right now.

  •  Kinda ironic that same people who spy at will (5+ / 0-)

    on citizens don't want citizens to know what they're doing in the citizens' name (while spending citizens' $).   I wonder if anyone ever actually read these guidelines:

    My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government.  We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.

    Government should be transparent. Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing.  Information maintained by the Federal Government is a national asset. My Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use. Executive departments and agencies should harness new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online and readily available to the public. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public feedback to identify information of greatest use to the public.

    Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

    by RFK Lives on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 12:20:54 PM PDT

  •  With regard to all of these activities we should (7+ / 0-)

    review their legality, constitutionality, effectively, unintended side effects, and whether they are really making the American people safe in both the short-term and the long-term, or rather are they reducing our domestic and national security, and damaging the perceived relative legitimacy and credibility of the United States as a once highly regarded, respected, and noble nation, admired for aspired to the highest imaginable values.

    Thank you for listening eternal hope. You seem to be among he more knowledgeable and intelligence people here with regard to complicated matters of international affairs, which is perhaps, why your post precipitated this surprising outburst on my part. Sorry, if I have distracted you and your readers.

    "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

    by HoundDog on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 12:23:03 PM PDT

    •  No, that's fine. (8+ / 0-)

      The fact that the CIA is covering all this up doesn't pass the smell test. It means that they have something to hide. Now, we're being told that the Russians are on the border of Ukraine and threatening to invade. I don't discount that possibility sometime down the road, but to claim that it is imminent makes no sense based on Russia's current behavior. They want a diplomatic solution to this crisis. And we're being told that the Big Bad Iranians want to build nukes and are acting in bad faith. I take a lot of heat sometimes for using RT and Infowars, but sometimes, you have to look outside the bubble to get at the facts. I read them not because I agree with everything they say, but because it's important to engage other points of view and not just ignore them.

      "The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." - W.E.B. Du Bois Be informed. Fight the Police State.

      by Eternal Hope on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 12:32:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What is RT? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        boofdah

        I go onto RedState and read right-wing stuff all the time.

        Sun Tzu said "the general who best knows his enemy is the general that will win the battle."

        Most shorten it to "Know thine enemy" but the whole thine and thou thing is a construct of old English.

        I have a copy of Sun Tzu work in Mandarin with translations and annotation around here somewhere. I've had to move so many times my personal library is in chaos.

        "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

        by HoundDog on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 01:12:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Russia Today. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AJayne, boofdah, native

          Presents world news slanted to reflect Russia's point of view. It's the most viewed channel on YouTube with over 1 billion viewers. Has some good information as long as you're aware of its biases.

          "The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." - W.E.B. Du Bois Be informed. Fight the Police State.

          by Eternal Hope on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 01:16:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think it's good to read or watch RT (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            boofdah, HoundDog, native

            but I try to refrain from using them as a source, as I'd rather not promote such biased journalism if I can help it. I've found that there is usually another more reputable source that can be used with the same information, and it is often more comprehensive, anyway. One should also be aware that the RT slant does not always provide the most accurate picture of what is going on; consequently, relying on that source too heavily would be inadvisable.

      •  It's not possible to get an accurate view by (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog

        limiting one's input to corporate-sponsored sources. They are often unreliable.

    •  One disagreement... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      boofdah, HoundDog

      While I believe that many of the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques violated our constitution and international law, I agree hearings on this matter would be useful in clarifying that and in setting a baseline over which we must never again cross.

      What i disagree with is the idea that torture should be evaluated for its effectiveness. In my view, effectiveness should not be part of any discussion going forward. To set up a paradigm wherein perceived effectiveness could be used to mitigate accountability would be extremely dangerous.

      What matters is a clear determination of what is legal and what is not; what constitutes torture and what does not. Torture does not morph into non-torture simply because someone can convince the people after-the-fact that it saved lives.

      We are either a nation that tortures, or we are not. As soon as we get bogged down in differentiating between acceptable torture and non-acceptable torture all is lost.

      Rupert Murdoch to Fortune Magazine, 4/10/14: "I could live with Hillary as President." I don't doubt that for a second.

      by WisePiper on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 04:37:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed WisePiper, Sorry if I miscommunicated this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WisePiper

        point. The tacit assumption I was making is that the most professional of the interrogators in the intelligence community reject torture and believe under these circumstances the tortured will tell you anything they think you wish to hear so the intelligence value of such information is dubious.

        I was trying to concentrate on my primary theme. Once you state it the way you to here I agree with you.

        "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

        by HoundDog on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 11:37:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I think the agenda was to get necessary (5+ / 0-)

    legislation out of the way and then open the can of worms. It's going to be really ugly. Rumsfeld and alia keep promoting the notion that Abu Ghraib was the worst. It wasn't.
    What still hasn't been admitted is that all actions were recorded electronically. The CIA destroyed some, but it was a small percentage. That one shooting from the helicopter wasn't anomalous either. The reason it was revealed was because it was an example of SOP.  That it was SOP is what was to be kept hidden.

    http://hannah.smith-family.com

    by hannah on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 01:58:10 PM PDT

  •  What's strange about all this... (4+ / 0-)

    ...we know how to interrogate, we've known since World War II how to do it right. Not only that, we have in the example of Hanns Joachim Scharff, a German air force interrogator, proof that merely talking to prisoners yields more intelligence than torture. The SS and Gestapo routinely failed to get anything usable out of their prisoners, whereas Scharff was able to gain intelligence even from people who had held out against torture.

    The British were also extremely effective in getting information from their captives, using such simple tricks as putting two men per cell and bugging the cells.

    Or watch The Ritchie Boys, a documentary about how the most effective interrogation unit in the US Army did its job in World War II.  Hint: didn't involve torture.

    Our torture campaign had more to do with that fucking TV show 24 than any real life experience of gaining information.

    By the way, Scharff so impressed the POWs he interrogated, the USAF brought him to the US to give speeches on his techniques. Some of the people he interrogated ended up as his friends. So yeah, no violence does it every time.

    Join Essa in a revolt against the gods. Continue the fight, Causality.

    by rbird on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 03:18:03 PM PDT

  •  The crypt has finally been cracked open (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bleedingheartliberal218

    with the Senate report — hopefully to be released shortly — MSNBC's 'Why We Did It' and Morris' 'The Unknown Known', which puts Rumsfeld's character disorder on full display, but the job won't be done until the entire sequence leading up to Iraq has been thoroughly illuminated, starting with PNAC and its warped desk-warriors who populated the Bush/Cheney administration.

    ... and all the perps, up to and including Junior, have taken their rightful place in the historical annals of war crimes and crimes against humanity — ending, forever, the kissy-face 'human interest' pieces on the cretin's abominable 'painting'.

  •  Open it up. (2+ / 0-)

    Open up that book for all the world to see, so hopefully Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo never happen again on our watch.

    "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." - John F. Kennedy

    by boofdah on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 06:20:48 PM PDT

  •  CIA Beat Innocent Terrorism Suspects to Death, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skrekk

    but George W. Bush said, "We Don't Torture!"

    No actionable information was obtained by "enhance interrogation techniques" (torture).

    (The CIA destroy their videotapes of the brutal murders/war crimes committed during "interrogations" for a reason.).

    Bush/Cheney surrendered the moral high ground this country once occupied and made us the nation of  warmonger criminals who start pre-emptive wars to rob countries of their precious natural oil resources and to line the pockets of multi-national corporations desperately wanting those resources.

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