Debunking the Torture Apologists’ “Half the Intelligence” Claim

In another thread, Bob Schacht wrote,

BTW, according to CNN, Haynes and Mukasey are claiming that “half” of what we “know” about Al Qaeda came from torture sessions. Did they really write that, and if so, I’m wondering if its puffery or true.

Using the May 30, 2005 Bradbury memo, I think I can show where it comes from–and show why it’s a totally useless claim.

Bradbury Needed to Appeal to Efficacy to Claim These Techniques Didn’t Violate the Convention Against Torture

In the May 30, 2005 Memo, Steven Bradbury spends four pages recording the effectiveness of enhanced interrogation. He does this, at least partially, to make sure he can claim that the techniques at issue don’t "shock the conscience" and therefore don’t violate the Fifth Amendment (and therefore don’t violate CAT, which is the whole point of this memo) . In particular, Bradbury resorts to efficacy when trying to distinguish between torture condemned by the State Department and that practiced by the US. Speaking of torture practiced by other countries, Bradbury claims it simply doesn’t serve the same purpose as our torture.

There is no indication that techniques are used only as necessary to protect against grave terrorist threats or for any similarly vital government interests.

And when Bradbury is trying to distinguish enhanced interrogation from SERE, he again appeals to efficacy and necessity.

… the interrogation program we consider here furthers the paramount interest of the United States in the security of the Nation more immediately and directly than SERE training.


It follows that use of these techniques will not shock the conscience in at least some circumstances. We believe that such circumstances exist here, where the techniques are used against unlawful combatants who deliberately and secretly attack civlians in an untraditional armed conflict in which intelligence is difficult or impossible to collect by other means and is essential to the protection of the United States and its interests, where the techniques are used only when necessary and only in the interrogations of key terrorist leaders reasonably thought to have acionable intelligence, and where every effort is made to minimize unnecessary suffering and to avoid inflicting significant or lasting harm.

It bears noting that this rant goes far beyond what Bradbury elsewhere carefully laid out as the premise of his memo. But both this claim and the one dismissing State Department concerns about torture rely on his argument that the program was necessary to protect the US. 

So to accomplish his apparent task–which was to find a way to declare the CIA interrogation program did not violate CAT (after CIA’s own IG had already concluded it did), Bradbury needed to be able to say it was effective.

The CIA IG Report Appears to Have Been Ambivalent about the Value of Enhanced Interrogation Program

Now, in addition to the overriding problem presented by the IG Report’s conclusion that the CIA interrogation program violated the Convention Against Torture, the IG Report presented another problem for Bradbury. Based on the citations that appear in this memo, the IG Report appears to have been very ambivalent about the value of the enhanced interrogation program. For example, the IG Report notes it is difficult to measure the efficacy of the interrogations.

As the IG Report notes, it is difficult to determine conclusively whether interrogations have provided information critical to interdicting specific imminent attacks. See id. at 88. And, because the CIA has used enhanced techniques sparingly, "there is limited data on which to assess their individual effectiveness." Id at 89.

(There’s a third reference to the IG Report just below these two, but it appears to be a somewhat gratuitous reference on Bradbury’s part so he could pretend he had addressed all the IG Report’s concerns.)

In addition, the IG Report notes that the value of the program cannot be measured by individual pieces of information.

According to the CIA Inspector General:

CTC frequently uses the information from one detainee, as well as other sources, to vet the information from another detainee. Although lower-level detainees provide less information than the high value detainees, information from these detainees has, on many occasions, supplied the information needed to probe the high value detainees further. … [T]he triangulation of intelligence provides a fuller knowledge of Al-Qa’ida activities than would be possible from a single detainee.

IG Report at 86. As illustrated below, we understand that even interrogations of lower-tier high value detainees supply information that the CIA uses to validate and assess information elicited in other interrogations and through other methods.

Now, I can’t be sure without the full context of the IG Report, but Bradbury appears to be pulling a rhetorical switch here. The IG Report passage appears to say that CIA should not focus exclusively on these high value individuals, because without the information from "lower level detainees" (note, not "lower-tier high value detainees," which Bradbury uses but which in this memo has no real meaning), interrogators can’t really get information from high value detainees anyway. This "triangulation" approach actually would seem to support the FBI method of interrogation more than the CIA method. But, in a discussion about the efficacy of enhanced techniques purportedly used only with high value detainees, Bradbury promptly elides the difference between interrogation of other detainees with that of high value detainees, and in so doing ascribes some of the value of more mundane interrogation to the enhanced interrogation program.  

Now, Bradbury calls his discussion of these two points "caveats," suggesting that he reluctantly cedes the IG Report’s doubts about the enhanced interrogation methods. 

He only makes one reference to the IG Report in a manner that appears to be positive–but Bradbury claims it supports a point it doesn’t appear to. Here’s the context:

In particular, the CIA believes that it would have been unable to obtain critical information from numerous detainees, including KSM and Abu Zubaydah, without these enhanced techniques. Both KSM and Zubaydah had "expressed their belief that the general US population was ‘weak,’ lacked resilience, and would be unable to ‘do what was necessary’ to prevent the terrorists from succeeding in their goals." [Effectiveness Memo] at 1. Indeed, before the CIA used enhanced techniques in its interrogations of KSM, KSM resisted giving any answers to questions about future attacks, simply noting, "Soon, you will know."  Id. We understand that the use of enhanced techniques in the interrogation of KSM, Zubaydah, and others, by contrast, has yielded critical information. See IG Report at 86, 90-91 (describing increase in intelligence reports attributable to use of enhanced techniques). 

Note what he’s doing here. In support of his claim that "enhanced techniques … yielded critical information" he provides citations that prove enhanced techniques yielded a larger number of reports. Bradbury here is conflating quality–"critical"–with sheer number in a bid to pretend the IG Report said something that–at least from his citations of it–it didn’t say.

In other words, faced with the need to use efficacy as a way to claim the interrogation program didn’t violate CAT, Bradbury was also faced with the IG Report’s assessments which–at best, at least according to his citations–only accepts that the enhanced interrogation methods led to an increase in the number of intelligence reports. 

CIA Produced Two Documents in Preparation for this Memo

So Bradbury got the CIA to create two documents for him that argue for the efficacy of the program.

Bradbury primarily cites two documents to make his claim that the interrogation program was effective (along with some older intelligence reports):

  • Memorandum for Steven G. Bradbury, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, from [redacted], DCI Counterterrorist Center, Re: Effectiveness of the CIA Counterintelligence Interrogation Techniques (March 2, 2005) ["Effectiveness Memo"]
  • Fax from [redacted], DCI Counterterrorist Center, Briefing Notes on the Value of Detainee Reporting (April 15, 2005) ["Briefing Notes"]

The descriptions make clear that both these documents were created for him. And, both these documents were created in the months leading up to this memo. In other words, these documents appear to have been created precisely to give Bradbury what he needed–the ability to argue the program was effective.

And largely based on these two documents, Bradbury provides a page and a half of specific intelligence derived from enhanced interrogation of KSM and Abu Zubaydah. Even in that page and a half, there are factual problems with Bradbury’s description. There’s information included that we know was available prior to their detention; there’s information included that was reportedly collected through persuasive rather than coercive interrogation; much of it relates to and came from lower level detainees; it includes the Padilla dirty bomber claim.

In addition, for both KSM and AZ, Bradbury includes a footnote saying "we discuss only a small fraction of the intelligence CIA interrogators have obtained" from them. Perhaps there is more important intelligence they got. Perhaps Bradbury has simply left out the inaccurate information. But we don’t know because he doesn’t give it to us.

And to be fair, there’s a better part of a page listing the intelligence gained from AZ that is entirely redacted.

(Also note, I can’t be sure, because of the huge redaction that appears in this section, but Bradbury doesn’t appear to deal with intelligence gotten from Rahim al-Nashiri, which I find a notable omission since waterboarding was supposed to have been immediately successful with him.)

From a qualitative standpoint, what Bradbury has given us does not make a convincing case for the importance of the intelligence gathered through torture. More importantly, Bradbury stops far short of providing an assessment of all the intelligence gained through torture, to weigh what was valid and important against the intelligence that turned out to be useless. So while Bradbury’s qualitative argument that enhanced interrogation is unconvincing, he doesn’t even try to address the claim that torture produces a lot of worthless intelligence.

The "Half the Intelligence" Claim Refers Only to Number of Reports

Which brings us, finally, to the claim the torture apologists are relying on–that half the intelligence they’ve gotten, or "half of what we know" comes from enhanced interrogation.

That claim comes–at least partly–from the Briefing Notes created for Bradbury so he’d have some way to make a claim that the torture program was effective. After all his list of specific intelligence gleaned through the program, Bradbury includes this:

More generally, the CIA has informed us that, since March 2002, the intelligence derived from CIA detainees has resulted in more than 6,000 intelligence reports and, in 2004, accounted for approximately half of CTC’s reporting on al Qaeda. See Briefing Notes at 1; see also IG Report at 86 (noting that from September 11, 2001, through April 2003, the CIA "produced over 3,000 intelligence reports from" a few high value detainees). You have informed us that the substantial majority of this intelligence has come from detainees subject to enhanced interrogation techniques. 

So this is how (or at least one possible way how) torture apologists get to half of "what we know." In a document created for this purpose, the CIA says that CIA detainees account for half of CTC’s reporting on al Qaeda. Which, I assume, doesn’t count what FBI knows about al Qaeda, for example. And that’s not all from torture–though "the substantial majority" is.

Or, you can use a different measure and realize that if a few high value detainees led to the production of 3,000 intelligence reports and two years later half of what CTC knew amounted to 6,000 reports, then those 3,000 reports from eighteen months of torture is awfully impressive!

But you’d still be talking only about the sheer number of reports!! 

Golly. The CIA is very impressed with itself that–after waterboarding KSM and AZ a combined 266 times, they spat up 3,000 intelligence reports, many of them utterly useless.

And that’s what–at least from the evidence in this OLC memo–the torture apologists’ claim appears to amount to. Self-congratulation that they’ve crafted a system designed to churn out as many intelligence reports as they can possibly churn out.

But even the torture apologists are not making a claim for the quality of that intelligence. 

123 replies
  1. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    But even the torture apologists are not making a claim for the quality of that intelligence.

    And since the quality of the information would presumably be the most critical factor, this is quite discouraging.

    Other data points: Goss became CIA Director Sept 22, 2004; resigned May 5, 2006 (Wikipedia). So Goss and the Goslings were presumably in charge when Bybee and Bradbury were writing key memos… or did I get that wrong?

    Question — not rhetorical, and I don’t actually expect an answer, but just kind of musing…. Wasn’t it easier for Cheney and the neocons to control CIA contractors via black ops and contractors — as opposed to say, civil servants like the FBI?

    It’s too easy to say one group is legit and the other not so much; I realize that there are far too many complexities in all of this for me to grasp or understand.

    But looking at this with a fairly blurry view, it sure does appear that Cheney and the Iran-Contra-Redux gang exploited the CIA’s black budgets, black ops, and used that to undermine traditional laws — with the blessings of OLC enablers (supervised, no doubt by Chertoff and then Fisher).

    It’s just that looking at this CIA mess next to the fact that on May 3, 2005 Larry Franklin was charged with espionage in sealed complaint, and then three months later in August 2005, Feith left DOD, it really does seem very strange.

    The FBI said torture is counter-productive and doesn’t produce quality info.
    Meanwhile, the FBI must have been investigating some of the people involved with creating and implementing torture policies — certainly Cheney and Libby (and Wurmser and Hannah)! — as well as Franklin and Feith (and others) inside DOD for espionage. So the FBI was having to investigate the people advocating torture…?

    This is just weird…

    Jeebuz. Even Neal Stephenson would be hard-pressed to come up with a sequence of events this convoluted. This is beyond bizarre.

  2. Mary says:

    Perhaps Bradbury has simply left out the inaccurate information.
    That gets my vote. Anything that he could throw and hope it would stick he tried. If there were more that was beneficial, he’d have used it.

  3. behindthefall says:

    Late night thoughts: Bush had to be shown a video of the effects of Katrina by his staff; otherwise, he wasn’t interested in listening to verbal or written reports. (I read that somewhere …) The first 3-graf quote from the last thread shows that the CIA was ordered by the WH to get lots of practice in extracting information out of detainees by any means that could be shown to work. Somebody in government thinks that big numbers means big success; look at the rate at which names are added to the ‘watch lists’ consulted at airports and the size of the resulting list(s), so large that they will shortly become meaningless, if they aren’t already. Put in the point in this post about flaunting the _number_ of “intelligence reports”: why, look; _thousands_ of reports come out when we torture, so it must be working. Yeah, says the WH, you’re doin’ a heckuva job, an’ I know because your numbers are outtasight, but show me a picture.

    • emptywheel says:

      To be fair, the CIA has LONG put a value on number of reports–it shows up in some critique of the agency elsewhere. It serves as a measure of how good an ops person is, sort of a Tayloresque assessment of productivity.

      Of course, that doesn’t tell you whether you’re getting quality information.

      • Minnesotachuck says:

        Your mention of the number of reports as a “progress” evaluation criterion brought to mind two things. First, Westmoreland’s use of body counts in Vietnam. And second, Tim Weiner’s anecdote in Legacy of Ashes about how Allen Dulles demonstrated his utter disrespect and disregard for the agency’s Intelligence Division’s work by ostentatiously “evaluating” its reports by weighing them in front of its authors and their managers.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    His memo may also have been necessary to cover the use of torture on many more prisoners than simply the “high value” detainees. Once you cross the threshold and accept torture as permissible, it is used on more prisoners, all of whom are recalcitrant owing to their mistreatment and, in most cases, innocence.

    The flip side is that the maneuvering to create the fiction that torture is legal ends up denigrating the limp-wristed use of traditional, legal interrogation methods, leaving torture as the last man standing.

    Torture produces, therefore, more reports – “half or more” of the total. Anyone tortured long enough spills everything they’ve done since the age of three. Useful information, or more useful than information that could have been obtained through traditional, legal methods? Not so much.

    As torture becomes routinely and more widely used, and the inevitability of passing the political reins to another administration becomes more patent, the need to justify its use increases. The justifications become more polished, or lengthy, if not more credible.

  5. Hmmm says:

    Been mulling the limits of the pass Obama has articulated for CIA interro-torturers, vs. all these reports and records of what was actually done inside all the many Room 101’s. Obviously we know many of the interrogation sessions failed to remain within the envelope that the OLC memos authorized. Do we even know, or have strong reason to believe, whether -any- of the interrogation sessions where ‘enhanced techniques’ were deployed -ever- stayed inside the OLC memos’ boundaries? Because is that set is empty, then -all- the interro-torturers qualify for a trip to court, and if they go to court, they’re going to jail just like Lynndie England because I doubt any jury or judge is really going to either buy that CIA necessity story or take Nürnberg for an answer. Interestingly, Obama still has his cover since he gave the Bush Admin excuse– the OLC memos were our permission slips and covered everything we needed to do — full faith and credit all the while, prosecuting only where actors exceeded that cover.

    These interro-torture teams have me thinking too. CIA regulars absolutely would have known the limits, cold. Is it that somebody talked or extorted those people into doing this, or did Team Dick insert its own people? I’m thinking if it wasn’t mainly career CIA folks, then maybe this whole memo-release move might be an attempt to clean out Dick’s stay-behinds.

    • Hmmm says:

      This last might relate to Nell’s @21 on the previous thread, in re. remember the CIA folks would be from the volatile (for want of a better word) Operations half, not the staid Analysis half.

  6. anatomist says:

    Note that:
    “You have informed us that the substantial majority of this intelligence has come from detainees subject to enhanced interrogation techniques.”
    doesn’t separate out how much of the intelligence could have been obtained without torture. Or even how much was a direct result of torture. By definition you get disproportionately more information from “high value” detainees.

  7. radiofreewill says:

    EW, bmaz and Mary – I’m conceding that you were right on Hayden all along!

    Fmr. Gen. Hayden appears to have a problem with accurately and forthrightly relating the meaningful numerical facts of any given situation – reflecting, imvho, a lack of Moral Judgment.

    First, it was “we only used the Water-Board three times.” Now, it’s “half of what we know about Al Qaeda came from the enhanced techniques.”

    Anyone who can sift 266 real Water-Boardings between AZ and KSM down to 3, isn’t going to have a problem latching-on to the mis-leading construction: Quality of Intelligence = Number of Reports = Success.

    He’s a Magical Thinker lacking a Moral Compass who was only too willing to please Bush.

    I was giving Hayden credit for “protecting the troops” when he sat on Helgerson’s IG Report, but now it seems more likely that he sat on the IG Report in order to buy time for Bradbury to paper over Helgerson’s findings with the bullshit 2005 Torture Re-Enablement Memos instead.

    The Hayden I’m seeing now wouldn’t have had any problem with Spying on US without Warrants, either – he’s appears to be wired/pledged for Un-Checked Loyalty to Bush the Authoritarian Leader.

    And, a True Believer can – and will – ‘twist’ the facts to fit his Beliefs, don’t We know…

    So, I’m tossing Hayden in to my Henchpeople Pile!

    And thanking you for your patience with me as I (slowly) overcame my doubts!

  8. alabama says:

    A thought on Bradbury’s “efficacy” fetish.

    “Efficacy” for what? For the attaining, by torture, of hard, reliable, pertinent information, not to be otherwise attained?

    Surely no one could seriously believe this, or argue it as a credible point–not by May 30, 2005, anyway, and least of all in the light of the FBI’s objections.

    But “efficacy” for training interrogators to do what they hadn’t done before, perhaps had never thought of doing, and had not been hired to do in the first place–namely to practice torture as demanded by Bush and his sidekicks?

    As a training program, torturing AZ must have been very “effective” in producing at least a few hardened torturers, folks who never expected to acquire this particular set of skills when they signed up with the Agency.

    Such training may have been a mission for the military as well–whence Abu Graib and Guantanamo. And I don’t believe that this work would be left to outside contractors: it has too much prestige, too much “turf” value. And of coure it would serve as a learning process for ‘”teachers” as well as “students”–a laboratory for developing skills in the training of torturers. “SERE 101″ with a research component included.

    If so, then torture has become “institutionalized” as never before. We need to know this. We need to know the people involved. The alumni have to be accounted for and purged by any possible means. Public trials of Bradbury, Yoo and the rest would serve as a feasible preliminary.

  9. BayStateLibrul says:

    Thanks for keeping this issue on fire.

    I called Leahy, Kennedy and my congressman and tried to articulate
    my outrage… Not much satisfaction, except they are working on it.

    I view this whole sordid affair emotionally.

    When I read this compelling Oxdown story, I became deeply saddened
    and ashamed…

  10. plunger says:

    Step back and view this and other issues with a much broader view. Who sets the agenda? How? Terror is the tool being used to manipulate all of us, so the real question must be asked and answered, what is terror and who are the real terrorists?

    According to the US State Department, the definition of TERRORISM is not confined to the physical act of killing. Terrorism occurs when a state utilizes fear tactics against its own people to accomplish political objectives. The mere act or announcing a falsely construed terror alert – or overplaying the significance of a plot known not to be viable – is itself terrorism.

    Tom Ridge admitted that many of the Terror Alerts announced under his command were in fact phony. Remember the run on duct tape? That was a clear case of state sponsored terrorism by the Government of the United States under the direction of Karl Rove against the people of the United States to achieve a political objective.

    The Patriot Act is pure evil, and it originated with dual-citizen Michael Chertoff, prior to 9/11, upon orders from Israel – as part of a much broader long-term strategy articulated by their agents, Pearl, Wolfowitz, Zelikow, and other signatories to the PNAC. As you watch this video, when you reach the discussion of Internet Censorship as a strategy to combat terror, pay particular attention to who the speakers are, and whose interest they really represent.

    Note particularly that the efforts related to tracking and silencing the words of you and I – in effect, criminalizing the truth, specifically mentions 9/11 as being blamed on the government or Jews (note they fail to use the words Israel or Mossad). Note also what organization is hosting the entire discussion on censoring the Internet and arresting those who engage in truth telling. These are Israeli funded initiatives – and Jane Harman and Joe Lieberman are agents for Israel:


    They and literally hundreds of others are traitors to America, serving a foreign power.

    Joe Lieberman’s perpetual desire is to strip Americans of their right to free speech, right to assembly, and right to reveal the truth on blogs such as these. He is a foreign agent. It is in Israel’s interest, not the United States’ interests, to destroy the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. They work on it all day, every day, in ways great and small.

    The enemies of the United States are within the United States – to be sure. They reside in the halls of power (thanks to AIPAC and the completely controlled media), and serve a foreign power. They are the ones in violation of the USA Patriot Act. Use it against them.

    The Department of Defense’s definition of terrorism is:

    “The calculated use of violence or the threat of violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or try to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious or ideological.”

    “All acts of terrorism are politically motivated.”

  11. plunger says:

    Lieberman’s loyal agent, Lindsey Graham, had this to say about our right to discuss these matters on these very pages:

    NAT PARRY, CONSORTIUM NEWS – Sen. Lindsey Graham suggested to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales a new target for the administration’s domestic operations — Fifth Columnists, supposedly disloyal Americans who sympathize and collaborate with the enemy. “The administration has not only the right, but the duty, in my opinion, to pursue Fifth Column movements,” Graham, R-S.C., told Gonzales during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Feb. 6.

    “I stand by this President’s ability, inherent to being Commander in Chief, to find out about Fifth Column movements, and I don’t think you need a warrant to do that,” Graham added, volunteering to work with the administration to draft guidelines for how best to neutralize this alleged threat. “Senator,” a smiling Gonzales responded, “the President already said we’d be happy to listen to your ideas.”

    In the eyes of Harman, Lieberman, Lindsey and others, TRUTH is the enemy, and those who dare reveal the Conspiracy To Commit Treason are “terrorists.”

    • cinnamonape says:

      Maybe the Republican’s in the “Tea Bagging Movement” will finally realize that this could apply to them…and thank Lindsey Graham for it!

  12. plunger says:

    Say hello to big brother – right here. Immediately after I posted the comments above, this appeared on my screen – claiming this site to be a threat to my computer – and advising me to steer clear of it:…../AnZWkp5aU

    It’s not the first time I’ve seen it either.

    Be sure to thank Lindsey Graham and Jane Harmon and other Representatives (of a foreign power) for these fear tactics. These initiatives are run by the United States Air Force under their Internet Security mandate. Wherever the truth is spoken online, your tax dollars are being used to scare your fellow citizens away from those sites. This is your Air Force at work.

    If this isn’t evidence that they are monitoring every word, I don’t know what is. If TRUTH is the enemy, then who does the Air Force work for?

    • perris says:

      that’s not big brother that’s your hosts file or possibly one of the advertisers has an infection, something is redirecting you to that link, I would do a spyware scan, get spybot and then do the link protection thingy

      I forget where to report links like that but that one needs to be reported

      I want to ask the administrator to break that link too, not good to click

      for those of you who have clicked it, best to get out of it through task manager if you know how to do that

      internet explorer and all browsers needs to make the “x” button a final close and dis-allow the scripts that redirect on close

  13. Loo Hoo. says:

    Headline at Huffpo:


    Links to you, Marcy! People were worried about NYT getting this news.

  14. WilliamOckham says:

    I don’t usually respond to plunger because our views of the world are so different that there’s not much room for productive discussion, but his reference to the antivirus ad that appears on this site occassionally reminded me that I’ve been meaning to complain about it.

    I assume most of you have seen it. It takes over the whole window and throws up a screen that looks like a Windows (not Internet) Explorer window. The techniques of this ad are exactly the same as the malicious programs it purports to combat. I don’t know if there is anyway to ban this advertiser from the site, but if there is, I heartily recommend it. It violates the norms of civilized behavior.

    • JimWhite says:

      Continuing the OT: I killed my browser when that screen came up on me this morning. I previously had been caught up in malware very similar to that one. I was only able to remove it by buying a piece of software (Malwarbytes) aimed at removing these fake antivirus hijackers.

      • acquarius74 says:

        My computer was attached yesterday while at Oxdown and I received an alert this morning at Oxdown that a malware program was trying to gain access and called Oxdown an “attacker site”. Yesterday I had to shut down and re-boot to get rid of that malware.

        Same thing happened about a year ago. Whatever you do, do not buy SpyDoctor to cure/prevent it. That program installs a TrojanHorse instead of shilding against it. Worse, it uses a colored shield like Windows and lodges itself in the Security section of the Control Panel.

        This morning I sent an e-mail to FDL administrator about this .

    • BoxTurtle says:

      I have not seen it, but then I use the hosts file to block connections to evil sites and I use IE security zones for the sites like doubleclick that webhosts require to respond before showing a page. I’ve taken no hostle action against any advertising I’ve seen here, so that fellow I must have caught from somewhere else.

      My hosts file: localhost

      # apparently, is required for get fuzzy
      # too many folks depend on doubleclick responding before they display the page.
      ::1 localhost

      I have doubleclick in my restricted zone.

      Boxturtle (HTH!)

    • dmac says:

      i’ve gotten the ‘your pc has a virus’ ad takeover thing three times.

      each time i had tabs open for research and twice had to shut down and dump the whole load to get rid of it.

      oughtta be illegal to take over my computer.

      it was coming from this site.

      i’m on a mac.

      • bobschacht says:

        I have not experienced this attack. I use Firefox, and have its pop-up blocker turned on. Running on Home Vista, which I would not recommend to anyone who uses any legacy software.

        Bob in HI

  15. skdadl says:

    Superb dissection of banality, EW. Sorry to use the predictable word, but these guys keep failing to be original in their misdeeds.

    Nice graphic, too.

  16. perris says:

    I wish progressives started talking about the legions of information lost because of our policies of torture, the incidents created, the sympathizers turned into enemies

    this is an exponent nobody has mentioned accept Jon Stuart, a comedian

  17. Prairie Sunshine says:

    Golly. The CIA is very impressed with itself that–after waterboarding KSM and AZ a combined 266 times (that we know of), they spat up 3,000 intelligence reports, many of them utterly useless.

    Just a thought….

    • perris says:

      and imagine all the useFULL information they would have gathered otherwise

      depraved is the only word that comes to mind

  18. PapaZita says:

    Hm. I’m using Firefox with AdBlocker Plus and haven’t ever seen that ad. Good thing, too, I had to clean a friend’s computer with malware that did exactly what is described.

    • perris says:

      I’m using internet explorer, always do, (can’t stand firefox) and have never seen the add here either, I’ve seen it referanced but I haven’t been directed there

  19. frandor55 says:

    Some of the characters stand out more than others as far as being a part of a deep, shadow government cabal. Certainly Cheney then in no particular order, Mukasey,( his judicial history in quite interesting) Hayden, Libby, Addington, Rumsfeld probably Bolton and others.
    One doesn’t have to throw around lots tinfoil to make a reasonable, rational possiblility of what was going on..

  20. drational says:

    This concept is ridiculous. There is no exception in international or US law permitting torture when it is effective. This is a self-indulgent exercise to try to mitigate the rage by later readers of these documents.

    And coming back to waterboarding: By 2005 they required the presence of a physician who could perform a tracheotomy to avoid death. I presume this is because someone being waterboarded died or suffered a brain injury from suffocation.

    This scenario speaks directly to the real risk of serious injury or death. They were killing or near-killing people and using technology to resuscitate or keep them alive. The required presence of a physician IMHO defines a method of torture.

    • perris says:

      And coming back to waterboarding: By 2005 they required the presence of a physician who could perform a tracheotomy to avoid death.

      let’s be clear here because when we cut and paste their “description” of what waterboarding does we are helping them, I am not talking about you or your post I am making a general statement

      when they say “to create the sensation of drowing”

      what they mean is;

      “to bring on the throws of death, to create convulsions of bile, to bring about death and then rivive, only to repeat the process”

      there, that describes the “technique” a little more accurately then how they want us to believe

  21. billybugs says:

    Boy does this shit make me sick , we do not torture
    All those involved in this disgrace , should be punished to the full extent of the law.
    Write letters, make phone calls, send e-mails to your Reps in DC and to your Senators ,we cannot let this issue die out or get swept under the rug ,make noise lots and lots of noise

  22. dilbertgeg says:

    efficacy and necessity

    The old “24″ justification, a bomb is going off within minutes.

    A search for nazi bush torture necessity finds a few articles.

    the political theory of Carl Schmitt, the German constitutional thinker who developed an argument about the need for extra-constitutional executive power in times of existential crisis for the Weimar Republic

    In passages which remind one of the legal defenses of “necessity” and “self-defense” posed by John Ashcroft’s Justice Department (DOJ) today, Schmitt wrote: “All law is derived from the people’s right to existence. Every state law, every judgment of the courts, contains only so much justice, as it derives from this source. The content and the scope of his action, is determined only by the Leader himself.”

    THAT IS SOOOOO Bushian!!

    Another article showed the comparison between Rendition and the Night And Fog Decrees (Nacht- und Nebelerlass). I had to look up Night And Fog on Wikipedia.

    Numerous articles but I liked the one entitled:
    If You Think Bush Isn’t Doing Exactly What Hitler Did, Read This
    What was done and the Rationale is nearly identical.

    Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel issued a letter stating: “Efficient and enduring intimidation can only be achieved either by capital punishment or by measures by which the relatives of the criminals do not know the fate of the criminal. The prisoners are, in future, to be transported to Germany secretly, and further treatment of the offenders will take place here; these measures will have a deterrent effect because – A. The prisoners will vanish without a trace. B. No information may be given as to their whereabouts or their fate.”

    Since Prescott Bush worked directly with Nazis, and Poppy Bush apparently associated with the Operation Paperclip crowd as he moved into politics, the connection is not that surprising. But it’s wrong to make one person, George W. Bush, the scapegoat, because that minimizes the problem. Heck, people named Woo and Gonzales wrote the legal briefs for these things.

    Basically, the Nazis referred to various European citizens who might have been critics of the Nazi regime as “enemy combatants”.

    Those from The Committee on the Present Danger and similar/related types have always used FEAR and IMMEDIATE THREAT as a formula to evoke the right and need to act immediately, violently.

    Eerie parallels between CPD on imaginary Soviet WMDs and the new CPD on imaginary Iraqi WMDs.

    With the USSR, the thing that worked was years and years of pounding propaganda, plus the fact that the USSR did have an odious and ominous human rights record. But that was overlapped with various interesting religious paranoia. “Evil Empire” was not a euphemism, the Christian Right literally believed that, and some Christian Patriots seriously believed that Hitler was a political SAVIOR for America and Christianity.

    Of course, Hitler actually hated Christianity almost as much as Bolshevism, but his regime suggested something called Positive Christianity, Christ the Warrior instead of loving, forgiving pacifist. Guess who Jesus Christ made war against? Yep, the Jews.

    But the glue that holds this nonsense together is Sept 11. September 11 gives war enthusiasts the upper hand.

    As a matter of fact, many National Security types KNEW IN ADVANCE that an event like Sept 11 — or Pearl Harbor — would provide this glue, this energy, this impetus.

    Two dozen or more high-level foreign policy experts RECOMMENDED in 99 – 00 a BLOODBATH on US soil (maybe up to 150 depending on how you count).

    PNAC & other groups, Brookings, CFR, TLC, AEI are prestigious institutions. Members (w classfd access inside the Pgon, more than most Congress) wrote that GLOBAL WAR for American HEGEMONY is VITAL for the future of security and power and the New American Century, but such a new war NEEDS a new Pearl Harbor event, major catastrophe, security threat, if it is to begin quickly and be sustainable.

    In 07, Fox pundits & Rumsfeld promo’d need for repeat 9-11, to revive patriotism.

    The OTHER REAL QUESTION is this: The Mainstream Media — both Fox and CNN and possibly MSNBC too — fawn over these people, treat them like wise experts, hawk their books. Bush made Ledeen national security consult, after Ledeen described a such a bloodbath as “lucky” and “providential”, which Ron Paul (not my hero) read into the Congressional Record as “Neo-Conned”.

    Most of these statements were made via Public Relations firms or institutions, for influencing public opinion, albeit mostly Inside the Beltway dissemination.

    That the media has NEVER risen to confront these people, this is a HUGE red flag. It would be *NORMAL* for a reporter to say,

    “Hey, Mr. 9-11 Terrorism Expert, why did you recommend terrorism as something good for America, even before it happened? Were you prescient? Why shouldn’t FBI and DHS start a probe on you?”

    The fact that they don’t and won’t is one of the strongest hints TO ME that these are the A-holes who planned and orchestrated 9-11. The physics amd engineering, Richard Gage with 600+ Architects and Engineers, Steven Jones the physicist, all that is interesting and relevant. Gage does a good job arguing very convincingly that 9-11 could NOT have happened as we were told.

    But I say that knowing these people, these players, their backgrounds, their history, their ruthless activities, their power-madness, their casual willingness to kill 3000 Americans if that’s what it takes, I think that’s where the rubber meets the road.

    For example, at least ONE of them, Ledeen again, was involved deeply enough with Operation Gladio — the intentional periodic terror bombing of civilians in Europe, and including the murder of a retired President Aldo Moro, ongoing for 40 years, partly admitted in Congress hearings of CIA during Watergate — that Mr. Ledeen appears on BBC Timewatch DENYING US involvement, against much more evidence and admissions.

    As Gladio agent Vincenzo Vinciguerra stated in sworn testimony,
    “You had to attack civilians, the people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game. The reason was quite simple: to force…the public to turn to the state [to the RIGHT WING, against the Left] to ask for greater security.”

    How much does THAT sound like September 11??

    I swear, 9-11 was a TEXTBOOK operation at it’s core, the difficult part had to have been media message control, coordination, a certain seamlessness to that Shock and Awe event. But for that to succeed also depended on our own failure to acknowledge and understand how Operation Mockingbird worked in the 50s and 60s, with CIA jiggering *ALL* the media, and our failure to talk about all the previous state-sponsored terror operations.

    September 11 was NOT a secret conspiracy. It was POLICY, written by policy experts, albeit the public representation was in the language of a “hoped for” event, less than a “planned event”, but the planning existed ni the rest of the Rebuilding America’s Defenses paper and other papers pushing to invade Iraq, the Benador Group whose sole purpose was to demonize Saddam, the cultivation of Chalabi, and in the act of moving battleships to the area near Afghanistan on Sept 10 to get ready for a PRE-PLANNED invasion.

    It is also quite reasonable that irate Muslims led by Binladen wanted to attack America, and some might have even tried. This is not to be so naïve to suggest that SOME Muslims do “hate our freedom” as well as hate our imperialism. But that is not what really happened.

    For the VITAL NECESSITY of the success of this operation, I would only trust remote controlled aircraft. Suicide bombers might flake out.

    The sooner the Left finds the Chutzpah and the words to state this, to describe this incredulity, to throw off the “soft on terror” mantle, the sooner the Right will be disarmed at bashing and belittling on security matters.

    I like to hit them (not out of meanness, but psych shock) in their own patriotic arrogance.

    I like to ask Wingnuts: Is THAT patriotic, to want your own country bombed? Or is it treason? Your guys have openly supported terror attacks in America, not me.

    Your guys even made Osama and his crew HEROES, Ronnie dedicated the Shuttle launch to them. Heritage and Christian Coalition supported them too.

    I have a few other choice approaches for Web Comments or in person. I don’t know why the Left is too afraid to state the obvious in these matters, lack of historical understanding, fear of ridicule, something.

    • plunger says:


      I believe that the most poignant answer to your final question is embodied in the following:

      “Most people prefer to believe that their leaders are just and fair, even in the face of evidence to the contrary, because once a citizen acknowledges that the government under which he lives is lying and corrupt, the citizen has to choose what he or she will do about it. To take action in the face of corrupt government entails risks of harm to life and loved ones. To choose to do nothing is to surrender one’s self-image of standing for principles. Most people do not have the courage to face that choice. Hence, most propaganda is not designed to fool the critical thinker but only to give moral cowards an excuse not to think at all.”

      Michael Rivero

      • Bluetoe2 says:

        A link that ties into the Michael Rivero quote. The thought that the U.S. can be “reformed” merely by electing the right people is problematic at best. Before there is really meaningful change things might have to get far worse for a majority with their backs against the wall. The interview on Moyer’s of David Simon shed’s insight.…

    • tjbs says:

      Simply because if they murder 3000 people in broad daylight they’ll have no problem offing or disappearing you.

  23. masaccio says:

    Efficacy is an after the fact justification. The defendants admit they tortured, they admit to the crime. Then they argue as a defense that it was effective so they shouldn’t be convicted. This argument cannot be used to authorize the commission of the crime in advance.

    • perris says:

      well done masaccio, that’s a perspective I had not considered yet brutally clear once spoken

      hats off

  24. perris says:

    if the outrage continues please expect some kind of shiny object to disolve our resolve

    I am certain it will happen however they’ll wait to see if the outrage mounts

    it probably will not be a pretty shiny object, probably shiny and ugly at the same time

    it’s comming

  25. rett says:

    It’s clear that we have become another thug nation, like the British and others throughout history who have bullied and abused people they want to exploit. We need to get the thugs out of power, and start with the new president. He’s an empty suit. It starts with the “no prosecution” for the Bush criminals and continues with the bankrupt bailout and stimulous package. We all know the politicians are in the pockets of the rich…that’s on both sides folks. Chris Dodd…he just got $1M in campaign contributions from the financial industry. Pick your politician/K Street criminal and they are pretty much all the same. Didn’t the British have to be thrown out of the country after the “tea party”?

    • behindthefall says:

      We need to get the thugs out of power

      We need to get the power out of the thugs, I think. “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Which implies that anyone with (too much) power will become a thug. For a practical application of this concept, consult “Constitution, U.S.A. (disambiguation) — some piece of paper somewhere”.

  26. behindthefall says:

    At the moment, the 183-times-in-a-month thread here is the biggest headline on Raw Story.

  27. Blub says:

    I can totally accept Haynes and Mukasey’s contention that “half of what we know” about AQ comes from torture. We know next to nothing about AQ and much of what we do know is almost certainly wrong or at least distorted. So this claim says nothing positive about our intelligence agencies. Instead of relying on human intelligence (through infiltrators and reliable informants) we rely on smashing, crushing, pounding and beating highly questionable info out of whomever we can grab off the street.

  28. wigwam says:

    OT: Obama has not stopped the use of torture by the United States. He has merely suspended it and gone out of his way to keep the option open to his successors.

  29. AZ Matt says:

    Marcy, you are the current front page on Huffington Post, links to the 183 waterboarding post. It is going to get around even faster now.

  30. cbl2 says:

    everyone remember when Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan of the United States Military Academy travelled to California to meet producers of the show ‘24′, broadcast on the Fox channel. He told them that promoting illegal behaviour in the series – apparently hugely popular among the US military – was having a damaging effect on young troops.…

    • PJEvans says:

      Has that stopped them yet?
      They’re still filming the #$%^& show. (I know this for a fact: they’re right across the street from me.

  31. tryggth says:

    Seems that if anything of significant use came from the torture phase Bush would have alluded to it in his 2006 speech. Especially since he claims (falsely?):

    Abu Zubaydah also provided information that helped stop a terrorist attack being planned for inside the United States — an attack about which we had no previous information. Zubaydah told us that al Qaeda operatives were planning to launch an attack in the U.S., and provided physical descriptions of the operatives and information on their general location. Based on the information he provided, the operatives were detained – one while traveling to the United States.

    “Detained”. Have to love that. Probably stuck for a long time in a TSA line at an airport.

    • behindthefall says:

      Tucked in with the phony yellowcake story in that famous SOTU speech of his, he claimed that Iraq was developing a drone aircraft capable of attacking the continental U.S., one assumes from bases in Iraq, since the Iraqi navy was nowhere to be seen. Iraq did in fact have a drone in the air, but it was a converted smallish plane trying to fly racetrack patterns in the desert: no range and little control. I had just read the relevant article in Aviation Week that day.

      So, I would love to know whether his claim from the 2006 speech is a similar stretch. (When DIDN’T that man lie? Probably only when his lips were shut.)

    • cinnamonape says:

      Zubaydah told us that al Qaeda operatives were planning to launch an attack in the U.S., and provided physical descriptions of the operatives and information on their general location. Based on the information he provided, the operatives were detained – one while traveling to the United States.

      Rmember at the 9-11 hearings when Condi said that they couldn’t act when they had reports of Al Qaida planning to attack US buildings using commercial airplanes as “bombs” in the summer of 2001 because the reports were “unspecific”. Now they are talking about even more unspecific information and some claim that some “Arab looking man with dark hair” was identified.

      It makes you wonder if Zubaydah, after torture, was given a photo book and asked if he recognized any of the people within it. Of course he would say yes. I believe that he was shown such a book to identify Al-Harameh and embellished his role. And Al Harameh also “confessed” after torture, that al Zubaydeh was more involved than simply running a training camp for anti-Northern Alliance fighters.

      We tortured and got the “information” that was imposed on them because Bush wanted actionable intelligence to justify his giving the okay to torture.

    • frankly0 says:

      I think you’re on to the most basic point about the supposed efficacy of torture.

      When it comes to the issue of efficacy, it is most crucial to pay attention to the dog that didn’t bark.

      The speech from Bush you quote represents a clear attempt to give the most convincing sort of example that might pass muster for genuinely useful intelligence that might be attributed to the use of torture — and it is a completely weak claim, never further elaborated into something that demonstrated a significant finding. It’s worth remembering, the Bush crowd is the same one who could make up the Niger yellowcake scare out of essentially nothing. If they had any kind of real, important intelligence attributable to the use of torture, how might it be possible they wouldn’t find a way to communicate that fact with enough detail as to be convincing to the public?

      Consider the high stakes involved for them, including some possibility of prosecution for torture. In that context, how is it imaginable they wouldn’t have found a way to talk about a critical item of intelligence — the thing that, say, helped prevent a well developed and dangerous plot — if they gained it from the use of torture?

      But we are not hearing such stories from their mouths, are we?

      These are all the dogs that aren’t barking now, and have never barked. And their silence tells the true and accurate story of the efficacy of torture.

      • tryggth says:

        That’s what I’m thinking. And the news stories from the end of last month where the congressional committees asked for those concrete examples and just heard crickets really makes me wonder.

        Bushes speech was just so damn typical of what we have learned about him… carefully chosen language to allow him to go back and claim “well, I never said that.” Its a form of dishonesty that really grates on me. Misleading but executed in a way that allows the person to claim they didn’t overtly lie. As if that excuses anything. And the odd mix of specifics and the “I don’t want to scare you children with the details” is pretty convincing to me that he had nothing. Well, nothing beyond what someone told him that CIA report said about intelligence gained from this CIA program without a finding. What someone told him. That is the source of this weeks faux outrage.

  32. BoxTurtle says:

    Ya know, if everybody wasn’t trying to cover each others butts, this would be simple to deal with.

    1) The Dr’s involved lose their licenses. Some may face criminal charges.
    2) The Psych’s involved lose their licenses. Some may face criminal charges.
    3) The lawyers involved lose their licenses. Most may face criminal charges.
    4) From those who committed the torture all the way up the chain of command to those who ordered the torture face criminal charges. Let a jury decide.

    Boxturtle (Yes, yes I know. The above IS overly simplistic)

  33. AZ Matt says:

    From this morning NYT’s Editorial:

    At least Mr. Obama is not following Mr. Bush’s example of showy trials for the small fry — like Lynndie England of Abu Ghraib notoriety. But he has an obligation to pursue what is clear evidence of a government policy sanctioning the torture and abuse of prisoners — in violation of international law and the Constitution.

    That investigation should start with the lawyers who wrote these sickening memos, including John Yoo, who now teaches law in California; Steven Bradbury, who was job-hunting when we last heard; and Mr. Bybee, who holds the lifetime seat on the federal appeals court that Mr. Bush rewarded him with.

    These memos make it clear that Mr. Bybee is unfit for a job that requires legal judgment and a respect for the Constitution. Congress should impeach him. And if the administration will not conduct a thorough investigation of these issues, then Congress has a constitutional duty to hold the executive branch accountable. If that means putting Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales on the stand, even Dick Cheney, we are sure Americans can handle it.

    After eight years without transparency or accountability, Mr. Obama promised the American people both. His decision to release these memos was another sign of his commitment to transparency. We are waiting to see an equal commitment to accountability.

    We can’t change what happened but we can make sure people pay for it.

  34. rett says:

    ….and another thing on the thug concept. Just this last week, a student (who had been drinking at a campus party at Colby) was sleeping it off on a bench in one of their buildings. The campus cops attacked and beat him. It’s recorded on video and thankfully was reported in local TV news. A friend of mine’s daughter was on the TV news report commenting on it…that’s how I know about it. Just be aware of the “overagressive” police state country we now live in. Witness almost any interaction with the “boys in blue” and you’ll probably see something pretty ugly. The questions is how to pull back from this encroaching fascism/police/military state? Any ideas? (please don’t say to write your congressman). LOL

  35. earlofhuntingdon says:

    For those who fear an overaggressive police state, the Sunday Times reports on the aggressively expanding DNA databases at state and federal level. Unlike Europe, we have no privacy regime that effectively limits what the government or private businesses, like medical or life insurers, do with that information.

  36. radiofreewill says:

    Obama has stepped-up on Torture, but Where are the rest of the ‘Leaders’ in Our Country?

    What the Fuck?

    Never have We been confronted with So Clear A Case of Moral Depravity as Bush’s Torture!

    All of US are Shocked at what has been done in Our Name!

    What is there to quibble about here? Abominable Wrong has been Perpetrated on Other Human Beings under Bush’s Total Control, in fucking secret, as Policy – as Policy dammit!

    Where are the People who were elected by US to Preserve and Protect Our Principled Freedom from Abject and Craven Debasement?

    What’s the ‘difficult call’ for Any Leader here?

    We should All be Shocked, but Our Leaders should recover quickly and clearly discern The Right Thing to Do, and then *lead* US through the Peril.

    Our ‘Leaders’ are instead waiting to be ‘pushed’ to the front and made to Act Rightly.

    What the Fuck?

    This is a No-Brainer for Every Decent American – for any human with love in their heart – regardless of Party. If Our Leaders will Lead, then We can All Come Together on Rejecting Bush and Torture!

    It’s time for Clear-Sighted Leadership to Manifest – even if Our Elected Leaders don’t have it in them!

  37. Redshift says:

    I’m reminded also of the Abu Ghraib reports, where they talked about the great pressure from the Pentagon to produce more intelligence. Not better intelligence, or more useful intelligence, just more.

  38. Rayne says:

    It just boggles my mind Bradbury actually wrote this:

    “…It follows that use of these techniques will not shock the conscience in at least some circumstances…”

    He knows as he writes this that in all other circumstances beyond “some” the techniques used will shock the conscience.

    As for the claim of “half the intelligence”: I suspect this is based not only on numbers, but on corroboration. They may not have obtained anything useful new material, they need only claim that the tortured detainee provided corroboration they did not have from other second or third sources.

    “Is the sky blue?”
    “Thank you, that was useful…”

    Ugh. Repulsive. But they need only continue to redact that portion of any report, claim national security secrets, and we’ll not find out whether it was real and actionable intelligence or merely corroboration of useful/useless nature, and they’ll continue to claim that torture worked in at least some of the cases.

  39. Niall says:

    183 times in one month?

    No wonder KSM confessed to involvement in over thirty plots, including the previously undisclosed assassination attempts on Presidents Carter, Clinton and Pope John Paul II!!!…..ickedness-

    The question thats bugging me is: what kind of mind can soberly erect a fictitious legal and moral framework to justify all this?

    I mean, are these guys psychopaths or something?…..rom-Others

  40. CasualObserver says:

    These last three posts have been just superb, EW. Thank you very much for what you do.

    I have signed the petition some time ago, but fear it will be ineffective. I hope there will be/are ways to bring effective pressure on Holder.

  41. Loo Hoo. says:


    “God no it is not the end of it,” he said. “If you look at the letters that director Panetta and director Blair put out to the intelligence community workforce, they make it very clear; literally, explicitly say, this is not the end of it. in fact They suggest it’s just the beginning. There will be more revelations. There will be more commissions. There will be more investigations. And this to an agency, again, I’ll repeat, that is at war and is on the front lines defending America.”

    I hope he’s right. I hope there will be more revelations until we know the full truth.

    • skdadl says:

      See as well Hayden’s absurd claim that from now on, CIA agents won’t follow orders unless they’re assured that the orders have also been run past the ACLU and the NYT editorial board.

      Talk about minimizing and trivializing horror. That bit of cheap sarcasm distresses me for exactly the same reason that the memos and the torture do in the first place: what kind of moral idiot needs to check with anyone, anyone, to know that these things are wrong, absolutely wrong, ‘way beyond the pale in all civilized societies? That people felt they needed a piece of paper from the OLC to wave about in the first place, but then were perfectly willing to act on it, is the bleeding problem.

      • Loo Hoo. says:

        I couldn’t, in my wildest imagination, do these things to a rabbit, much less to another human being.

        • behindthefall says:

          The ethical standards committee in the hospital wouldn’t let you do it for “research”, no matter what you said.

  42. radiofreewill says:

    He Tortured other Human Beings.

    Now, consider…

    Would he Spy on US without a Warrant?

    Would he Lie US into a War falsely?

    Would he Fire USAs for Dis-Loyalty?

    Would he Out a Spy to Dis-credit a Critic?

    Would he Rig Elections?

    Would he Let his ‘allies’ Steal from US?

    Torture Negates Trust and Moots Good Faith.

    Let’s face it – Bush was a Monster, who Lorded it – his way – over US, too.

    It’s the Occam’s Razor Answer to Our situation, and the age-old conundrum – if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…it’s a duck.

    The Memos ‘look like’ Torture…The ICRC says the Enhanced Procedures ‘quack’ like Torture…

    Only Monsters Torture…but what else wouldn’t they also do To Have Their Way and Not Get Caught?

  43. Mary says:

    10/19 – here’s a way to evaluate the quality of what we got. How quickly were we able to capture Bin Laden using the info?

    I realize we managed to kidnap Germans (as a matter of fact, Kurnaz is a nice little example of how you generate a nifty quantity of intel report, 200 pp or so, with the only problem being that they all say he’s innocent of any terrorist affiliation – I guess the figured if you keep generating reports, eventually one will say what you want) and we managed to set up “overseas re-education” opportunities in Syria for stray Canadians, but just how did that “capture Osama Bin Laden” thing work, afert all that time.

    And oh, one thing the memos rather glaringly omit.

    What do you do with your torture victims after you’ve tortured all you can or want?

    What do you do?

  44. Cheryl says:

    22 & 24 – I too have seen the dreaded screen and I also had to get out through task manager. I did a complete virus check and found nothing on my computer.

    • freepatriot says:

      I seen it TWICE

      it was awful

      actually, since I read all my fdl links in the same window, I just closed the window, and opened another

      had to log in again though …

      I’m on a pc that runs vista (that probably splains a lot for those in the know)

  45. TheraP says:

    How many of the torturers were “consultants” – contracted to do this FOR the CIA? Naturally, consultants would want to keep working. So they’d keep waterboarding and keep getting more detailed “info” – maybe akin to the way finance worked, where you take worthless documents and cut them up and repackage them and call them worth something!

    If consultants…. I’m guessing there’s no “free pass” – and they could easily end up in jail!

  46. Cheryl says:

    When I watched a clip of Hayden this morning I noticed that his eyes were blinking so fast and furious it looked almost like a tic. Isn’t that a thing people do when they are lying? Just sayin….

  47. eagleye says:

    The underlying problem with Bradbury’s rationale is that torture is wrong and illegal, period. Even if it produced effective intelligence in some instances, it’s morally wrong and against the law. It’s amazing how the supposed “law and order” types see the law as mushy and pliable when it suits their purposes.

  48. Loo Hoo. says:

    I wonder if Laura Bush knew about all of this. If not, I wonder how their marriage is doing right about now. I’m guessing Lynn Cheney helped dream it up.

  49. freepatriot says:

    off topic question from the deep end of the peanut gallery:

    did my troll get banned, or just die from neglect ???

    I’m gettin tired of scanning old threads looking for him

    • emptywheel says:

      You missed him in my lawn burning thread.

      Sure sign of a bad troll though. THe price of entry to that thread was a YouTube link to a song about fire (I made Loo Hoo pay twice cause I couldn’t see her link through the smoke the first time). And all he wanted to talk about was that we should drop any discussion of torture memos.

      • freepatriot says:

        hey, dontch remember, I gave a live preformance in the “lawn burning” thread

        we don need no stinkin youtube

        I guess I ain’t no Susan Boyle, huh (an people been tellin me they see the resemblance, go figure)

        but that was a long time ago in innertoobz years

        has he been back since ???

        ya gotta be a pretty depraved person, who was birthed by a disgusting scab of a mother, to defend torture, especially if ya claim to be a christian (ain’t it funny how quickly christian morals slip away from some people when they’re scared)

        so I figured my troll would prolly be here at some point, and I get a kick out of his delusions

        I been reduced to readin people slapping george will with a clue stick (I don’t read george, just the people trying to straighten that crooked fucker out)

        I’m gittin desperate here (I got a wingnut jones, what can I say)

        but I did learn that if you wear more than one denim clothing item at a time, you’re wearin a “Canadian Tuxedo”, so laughing at george will isn’t a complete waste of time

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Here’s the web address on for the figure of Prometheus. The summary of the myth of Prometheus from :

          “He was a champion of human-kind known for his wily intelligence, who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to mortals.[2] Zeus then punished him for his crime by having him bound to a rock while a great eagle ate his liver every day only to have it grow back to be eaten again the next day. His myth has been treated by a number of ancient sources, in which Prometheus is credited with – or blamed for, but credited nonetheless – playing a pivotal role in the early history of humankind.”

  50. Mary says:

    [22 et seq – thanks for the discussion on that, I’m tech illiterate and hadn’t realized what was going on with that]

    And by 2005, when all the detainees had been held far beyond the 30 day torture periods that Yoo had originally authorized, how is it that disappearing them for years still doesn’t get even a mention in the “reliance” memos? Look at the quote in 51 re: “enduring intimidation” via disappearing people. Until Abu Ghraib broke that was our affirmative tactic in Iraq as well, with no one able to determine whether their missing family members where kidnapped/disappeared by Americans or opposing sectarian groups or al-Qaeda affiliates etc. I still remember the foreign coverage of the women and children outside places like Abu Ghraib with pictures of their missing – the US playing Pinochet.

    60 – or redefined it. We don’t really know, do we? And Panetta made sure that his not reassured not only those who HAD done things in reliance on DOJ advice, but also those who would be doing things in reliance on such advice.

    68 – He’s talking about Padilla and Binyam Mohamed – the bucket brigade.

    78 – I wonder about waterboarding on people who were either not “technically” in our control or who were handed over to others after we finished with them. The very crepy Saud Memon comes to mind – he was in pretty bad shape when he showed up, dumped off. Memory gone and in a physical condition such that he died a few days later. He had been in US hands, but apparently got turned back over to Pakistan when we were done. Kind of makes you wonder about memos for a host of others that we managed to get rid of, one way or another, before the shipment of the 14 to GITMO.

  51. Valtin says:

    OT, but Rahm just announced on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos”, the White House would not support the prosecution of “those who devised the [interrogations/torture] policy.” This is clearest statement yet from the Obama White House of their (non-)intentions, and it’s an outrage. — Here’s the link to the video, and H/T to Ateo.

    Now we find out how much the liberal blogosphere really cares about prosecutions of torturers from the Bush administration? Because the gauntlet is now thrown down (not by me, by Obama).

    • Rayne says:

      It may be out of the hands of the White House, if we are up to the task. I don’t want this to go to Congress, wish we still had independent counsels and would be quite happy if Holder simply appointed a special prosecutor, but to Congress we may need to go.

  52. Mary says:

    96 – once upon a time, in connection with the telecom/amnesty issue I think, I looked at some of the info on the OLC memos and IIRC, they can be issued as the Dept’s general interpretation of statutes, but if they are being issued as “advice” their scope had to be limited to members of gov. I may be misrembering that, I but I think there is something to that effect (which also made me question telecom *good faith reliance* that much more).

    I don’t see any way Obama insulates the CIA and yet lets contractors like the psychologists get investigated. You can’t really sever the interests and the destruction of some of the evidence goes to protecting the contractors as much as the CIA participants, doesn’t it? He’s also hanging every whistleblower out to dry by adopting the position that everything done was a policy matter, not a crime.

    That’s a hateful, meanspirited, petty and self-centered handling of the real heroes.

  53. freepatriot says:

    and from my own solid moral grounding, I got a response ready for bradbury and the rest of these criminal fuckers in regard to this”

    In the May 30, 2005 Memo, Steven Bradbury spends four pages recording the effectiveness of enhanced interrogation. He does this, at least partially, to make sure he can claim that the techniques at issue don’t “shock the conscience” and therefore don’t violate the Fifth Amendment

    you asshat scum sucking depraved fucks can “claim whatever you want about what “don’t shock the conscience”

    claims are one thing

    deciding what actually “SHOCKS THE CONCIOUS”


    and if a jury decides against you, well, I think you qualify for the death penalty if your claim is wrong on this particular topic

    that’s why you should be very careful about what you think might “Shock The Conscious” of an average American when you’re dealing with a topic that spans the breath of crimes against humanity

    maybe mr bradbury’s mother raised him different. but my mother, and millions of other mothers in america, took her children to church on sundays, to make sure that stuff like this SHOCKED OUR CONCIOUS

    the repuglitards got a BIG FUCKING PROBLEM HERE, FOLKS

    torture and christianity are mutually exclusive

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Nice correction. I find it useful to remember he was but one of thousands.

        Lurking moderator, I suggest that freep has earned another timeout in the penalty box. Its diction remains awful – not itself a disqualifier by any means – and abusive, and its attacks are personal and often grossly factually wrong.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            As was said in a Rumpole of the Bailey, only if you exclude the Christian churches from the definition of Christianity.

            Jesus was tortured to death by Roman occupiers. The image of his torture has been used for several purposes, principally the teaching that he intentionally sacrificed himself, like the sacrificial lamb, to rid us of our sins. It’s also been described as unique, which might shock the tens of thousands of other victims crucified in imperial Rome’s efforts to “pacify” Palestine.

            That’s a lesson that says his death meant more than his life and his teachings. It’s a lesson that ignores the Christian churches’ propensity to make others sacrificial lambs in order to enforce uniformity of views and to maintain earthly power.

            But you’re right in that I misread freep’s point about the Bushies’ position, adopted de facto by deniers like Rahm Emanuel, that what these torturers did could not shock the conscious. Of course it does, which is why they went to such lengths to pretend it didn’t.

  54. Valtin says:

    112 – Rayne, this is a huge admission. On the record now. It is a defeat for the anti-torture, pro-prosecutions crowd. There’s no prettifying it. If we had to work hard before, we’ll have to battle Obama’s popularity directly now.

    Obama has committed his first crime against humanity, i.e., protecting torturers.

    Nice face. Nice family. But unless he reverses immediately, he will end up in the dock, too.

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