Right on Cue, the Counter-Argument to the Torture Apology Comes Out

Three years ago, I rather sheepishly gave Dianne Feinstein kudos for the seriousness of the Senate Intelligence Committee inquiry into torture. I said then–and I maintain now–that reports of the investigation make it sound like a far more substantive investigation than I had at first worried it would be.

But I will say that the apparent timing of its release seems unfortunate. Because it is likely to come out in the wake of the Jose Rodriguez propaganda, the SSCI report is being portrayed as the other side of a two-sided debate rather than the result of the sustained, exhaustive inquiry it is.

A nearly three-year-long investigation by Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats is expected to find there is little evidence the harsh “enhanced interrogation techniques” the CIA used on high-value prisoners produced counter-terrorism breakthroughs.

[snip]

President Barack Obama and his aides have largely sought to avoid revisiting Bush administration controversies. But the debate over the effectiveness of enhanced interrogations, which human rights advocates condemn as torture, is resurfacing, in part thanks to a new book by a former top CIA official.

In the book, “Hard Measures,” due to be published on Monday, April 30, the former chief of CIA clandestine operations Jose Rodriguez defends the use of interrogation practices including water-boarding, which involves pouring water on a subject’s face, which is covered with a cloth, to simulate drowning.

Whether the timing–coming out just as Mitt Romney and his torturer-advisors face off against Obama in the General Election–was planned or not, the effect will be to turn torture into a campaign issue with two sides treated as legitimate by a spineless press, rather than one side with self-preservation in mind and the other with exhaustive study.

And sadly, that will probably mean the most interesting (and politically explosive) result of the investigation gets lost, relegated to paragraph 26 of 27.

Critics also say that still-classified records are likely to demonstrate that harsh interrogation techniques produced far more information that proved false than true.

Dana Priest reveals that, when Jose Rodriguez tried to persuade her not to publish news of the black sites in 2005, he tried to argue torture “was producing real results and helping to keep the country safe.” We’re about to get validation that the example of Ibn Sheikh al-Libi was not unique (though his treatment was included in the scope of the SSCI study). If torture “was producing real results” those results were false confessions, not real intelligence.

If we’re going to have a debate about torture, the fact that Cheney and his torturers used it to create false stories to–among other things–get us into the Iraq War should be at the center of that debate.

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12 Responses to Right on Cue, the Counter-Argument to the Torture Apology Comes Out

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @ryanjreilly @johnson_carrie Wait...that is new and not an old snippet? So Wilson at no time made any connection at all to Cigarello theft?
10mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @UrbanAchievr Ut oh! Backed into the illogic of your position it is made clear how perfectly you exemplify point in post!
27mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @UrbanAchievr I didn't just ask abt withdrawal. Your claim suggested we had to imprison EVERY SINGLE PERSON who opposed US oocupation.
28mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @UrbanAchievr From that you're suggesting US should still be an occupying power imprisoning every single person who ever opposed occupation?
30mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @UrbanAchievr And I did not say "they're mad at US." You do realize al-Baghdadi was in US prison in Iraq?
31mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @UrbanAchievr You're apparently unfamiliar with the way rape has long been used as a weapon of war. But your unfamiliarity w/a lot is clear.
32mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @UrbanAchievr And, um. One reason ISIS is what ISIS is is because of ... our torture.
40mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @UrbanAchievr Oh wait. You're the one ignoring all those casualties.
41mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @UrbanAchievr You mean the 200,000 killed in Syria? The hundreds of thousands the US caused to be killed in Iraq?
42mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @UrbanAchievr I DON'T however advocate doing things that will empower them, as our policy in Syria and Libya already has.
49mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @UrbanAchievr LOL. If I write a piece abt how loathsome both sides are, comparing to CIvil War, what IS the logical conclusion?
49mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @UrbanAchievr It does? Oh, wait. It doesn't. That's just you misreading again.
53mreplyretweetfavorite
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