In Announcing Support for Declassifying Report, Susan Collins Uses Word “Torture”

It is fairly big — and welcome — news that, along with Angus King, Susan Collins will support the release of the Senate Torture Report. Collins’ vote will give the report the patina of bipartisanship, which will therefore increase its legitimacy among the chattering classes.

Just as welcome, however, is the language the Maine Senators use to describe what CIA did.

We remain strongly opposed to the use of torture, believing that it is fundamentally contrary to American values. While we have some concerns about the process for developing the report, its findings lead us to conclude that some detainees were subjected to techniques that constituted torture. This inhumane and brutal treatment never should have occurred. Further, the report raises serious concerns about the CIA’s management of this program.

Our vote to declassify this report does not signal our full endorsement of all of its conclusions or its methodology. The report has some intrinsic limitations because it did not involve direct interviews of CIA officials, contract personnel, or other Executive branch personnel. It also, unfortunately, did not include the participation of the staff of Republican Committee members. We do, however, believe in transparency and believe that the Executive Summary, and Additional and Dissenting Views, and the CIA’s rebuttal should be made public with appropriate redactions so the American public can reach their own conclusions about the conduct of this program.

Torture is wrong, and we must make sure that the misconduct and the grave errors made in the CIA’s detention and interrogation program never happen again. [my emphasis]

Two of the last weathervanes of right-centrism have deemed it acceptable to use the word “torture” to describe what the CIA did, a word most of the nation’s press still refuses to use for fear it will affect their claim to objectivity.

If Susan Collins can use the word torture, then can the other institutions that aspire to be such measures of centrism also do so?

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

5 replies
  1. der says:

    “Some people called it torture. It wasn’t torture,” Cheney said in an interview with ATV.

    Students protested the event due to the accusations of war criminality against Cheney, The Eagle previously reported.

    According to Cheney, the enhanced interrogation tactics used do not fall under the scope of the 1949 United Nations Geneva Convention, which outlaws cruel, inhuman or any degrading treatment or punishment because the Geneva Convention does not apply to unlawful combatants.

    The Bush administration considered terrorists as unlawful combatants and considered those undergoing enhanced interrogation tactics as terrorists.

    – Working the refs, Cokie’s Law: It’s Out There (and being talked about at my hair dressers).

  2. Strangely Enough says:

    “Torture is wrong, and we must make sure that the misconduct and the grave errors made in the CIA’s detention and interrogation program never happen again…”

    By not holding anyone accountable.

  3. ArizonaBumblebee says:

    Some people know the definition of everything and the meaning of nothing. All the sophistry in the world cannot disguise what the United States engaged in: torture. By his decision to protect the torturers and prosecute John Kirakou, the President did the nation a disservice. Hopefully, he or the Senate will have the courage to declassify the report on CIA torture, so that the public has a better appreciation of what transpired in the crazy aftermath of 9/11. The events at Abu Graib, Guantanamo, and other CIA-sponsored black sites have given this country a black eye. The only way to begin addressing this stain on our values is to at least come clean on what was done in our name by agents of the state.

  4. November says:

    CAT Article 6:
    1. Upon being satisfied, after an examination of information available to it, that the circumstances so warrant, any State Party in whose territory a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is present shall take him into custody or take other legal measures to ensure his presence. The custody and other legal measures shall be as provided in the law of that State but may be continued only for such time as is necessary to enable any criminal or extradition proceedings to be instituted.

    2. Such State shall immediately make a preliminary inquiry into the facts.

    3. Any person in custody pursuant to paragraph I of this article shall be assisted in communicating immediately with the nearest appropriate representative of the State of which he is a national, or, if he is a stateless person, with the representative of the State where he usually resides.

    4. When a State, pursuant to this article, has taken a person into custody, it shall immediately notify the States referred to in article 5, paragraph 1, of the fact that such person is in custody and of the circumstances which warrant his detention. The State which makes the preliminary inquiry contemplated in paragraph 2 of this article shall promptly report its findings to the said States and shall indicate whether it intends to exercise jurisdiction.

    Article 7:
    1. The State Party in the territory under whose jurisdiction a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is found shall in the cases contemplated in article 5, if it does not extradite him, submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.

    2. These authorities shall take their decision in the same manner as in the case of any ordinary offence of a serious nature under the law of that State. In the cases referred to in article 5, paragraph 2, the standards of evidence required for prosecution and conviction shall in no way be less stringent than those which apply in the cases referred to in article 5, paragraph 1.

    3. Any person regarding whom proceedings are brought in connection with any of the offences referred to in article 4 shall be guaranteed fair treatment at all stages of the proceedings.

    Article 12:
    Each State Party shall ensure that its competent authorities proceed to a prompt and impartial investigation, wherever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture has been committed in any territory under its jurisdiction.

Comments are closed.