12/17/2014

Note to Cops: If You're Gonna Be So Thin-Skinned, You Should Stop Killing People


That's Andrew Hawkins, a wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns. He wore that shirt while warming up for his team's game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunay. As you can read, it calls for justice in the deaths of Tamir Rice, the 12 year-old who was shot to death by a Cleveland cop for holding a toy gun, and John Crawford, who was shot to death by a cop outside Dayton, Ohio, for the crime of holding a BB gun he had picked up while shopping in a Walmart. Both were killed within seconds of the arrival of the police, with no attempt to ascertain what was occurring. They are both awful situations that call for serious soul-searching by the police in Ohio, to hold the officers accountable in some way, to improve training so that such tragedies don't happen again, to perhaps confront the racism that seems to heighten the violence in these situations. That would all be meaningful and sensitive.

But it's so much easier to go batshit and attack Hawkins.

Yeah, like teenaged girls who just saw that bitch Tanya wearing that purple dress on Instagram when she knew perfectly well that Alicia was gonna wear the same one to the dance (god, Tanya, you don't even look good in purple), the Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association stomped its feet and demanded an apology: "It's pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law. They should stick to what they know best on the field. The Cleveland police protect and serve the Browns stadium and the Browns organization owes us an apology." You gotta love the implied threat there: "Mighty nice stadium you have here. Be a shame if we let your animal fans run wild."

The truth is a little more complicated. As the police union's president, John Fullmer, said, it's not just that cops patrol the area because, you know, it's their fucking job, but "many Cleveland police officers work security for the Browns games and are employed by Browns." So if those security officers who are paid by the Browns are so upset, they can quit and not get extra paychecks, which they probably need because of the shitty wages they made, possibly because the president of their union is spending his time attacking a football player instead of negotiating for a better fucking contract. (Note: Yeah, that's totally unfair. So's criticizing a guy upset because cops gunned down a kid.)

What is it with all the sensitive fucking cops? You had the St. Louis police group pissed off at the St. Louis Rams for some players for putting their hands up in unity with protesters over the shooting of Michael Brown. You have various NYPD groups pissed off that Mayor Bill de Blasio isn't on his knees, sucking off each and every officer in gratitude. All the cops here want apologies because their feelings are hurt or honor or what fucking ever. Jesus, for a bunch of tough motherfuckers, they're acting like thin-skinned wimps being bullied by the mean old liberals.

Howzabout a day or two of humility for the police, huh? Howzabout not acting like killing Brown or Eric Garner was some kind of triumph, like you took out Bonnie and Clyde? Howzabout shutting the fuck up over the killing of a kid and an obviously innocent man? Oh, wait, you'd rather try to force John Crawford's girlfriend to incriminate Crawford than admit to a crime or, perhaps, apologize.

Hawkins, though, stood fucking tall, man. He addressed the media Monday, saying, "My wearing of the T-shirt wasn't a stance against every police officer or every police department," Hawkins said. "My wearing of the T-shirt was a stance against wrong individuals doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason to innocent people...A call for justice shouldn't warrant an apology." That's being far, far more respectful of police officers than the police organizations and unions in all these situations. He's talking to them as grown-ups in a land that supposedly treasures free speech. The cops want to treat those who criticize them as children. They can't understand that to say some cops are shit doesn't mean all cops are shit. NFL players, about as much as anyone, understand how easy it is to be lumped in with your worst examples.

Yesterday, the Rude Pundit walked over to the spot where Eric Garner was killed on Staten Island. Unlike its portrayal in the media, it's not in some crime-ridden hellhole of a neighborhood. It's next to one of the busiest spots on the island, a short walk from the Borough Hall and NYPD headquarters, not to mention the ferry terminal. There's a great used bookstore right next to it where you can get vegan and gluten-free pastries.

A makeshift shrine has been erected there, with flowers and notes:


The Rude Pundit walked over to an evening protest led by Garner's daughter, Erica, who has vowed to lay down in the spot where her father died and lead protests several times a week. It was a drizzly, cold night. The numbers were a few dozen. The media attention was very little. Still, we chanted.

See, the police don't have to ask for an apology. They have to wait out the attention span of the American public. But hopefully people like Andrew Hawkins and Erica Garner will give discomfort to those who hide behind a motto of protection and service.

12/16/2014

Torture? Cosby Rapes? Almost Everyone Is Missing the Point of the Rolling Stone UVa Article

Bill Cosby's wife, Camille, long a character in her husband's stand-up, released a statement yesterday defending her husband against the rape and assault allegations made by around 20 women. Camille Cosby is standing by her husband of 50 years, and, as a way of saying that the allegations are not true, she draws a media parallel: "We all follow the story of the article in the Rolling Stone concerning allegations of rape at the University of Virginia. The story was heart-breaking, but ultimately appears to be proved untrue."

People who are defending the CIA and the Bush administration against the Senate's torture report routinely cite the UVa story as proof of the dishonesty and/or blind credulity of those who think torture is wrong. Erick "Erick" Erickson, in his gracious fellatio of Dick Cheney, writes, "The very same people embracing the Democrats’ report as some fountain of wisdom and salve to wash sins away were only two weeks ago claiming there’s a 'rape culture' on American college campuses and anyone who dismissed Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s Rolling Stone article was siding with rapists." On Fox "news," mumbling commentator Brit Hume said what's become a talking point about the torture report: they didn't talk to the CIA officials who approved or did the torturing, just like Erdely didn't talk to the students who were accused of rape by "Jackie," the victim who claimed she was gang-raped at a fraternity party.

Obviously, invoking Rolling Stone's "A Rape on Campus" has become the way to introduce doubt into any story. Because serious questions have arisen about Erdely's telling of Jackie's story, as well as the editors' failure to fact check and follow-up on such an explosive allegation, just a mention of the article suggests lying and incompetence and mistrust and myriad sins. Which would be a fine analogy except for one major problem: the Rolling Stone article isn't just about Jackie and her story.  It's not a nonfiction retelling of a single incident. It's about rape on college campuses, with the University of Virginia as a prime example of how the schools screw over the victims.

There's the 1984 case of Liz Seccuro, who was raped at the Phi Kappa Psi house and had to wait until 2006 before her rapist was brought to justice. There's Emily Renda, who was raped after a party in her first year at UVa. There's this: "UVA furnished Rolling Stone with some of its most recent tally: In the last academic year, 38 students went to Eramo about a sexual assault, up from about 20 students three years ago. However, of those 38, only nine resulted in 'complaints'; the other 29 students evaporated. Of those nine complaints, four resulted in Sexual Misconduct Board hearing." There are other statistics and facts from other cases at UVa and elsewhere.

The Jackie story is no doubt the central example of the article and the most sensational. But whatever happens with the veracity of Jackie's story does not take away from the parade of awful incidents and the use of various academic studies in the article. This is not to let Rolling Stone off the hook. But even if Jackie's story turns out to be an utter fabrication that was left unchecked by Erdely and her editors, the larger truth of the article remains: Young women are treated as prey by predatory men at universities, and the administrations are often more concerned with their school's image than fair treatment of victims. In fact, that stark, depressing conclusion has not been challenged.

So invoking the article to make some pathetic point about how credible this or that report may be is an insult to the very real survivors of sexual violence, not just to crazy liberals who dared to believe Rolling Stone. And the comparison is not only unfair, it's doesn't work when you deal in the reality of the article.

See, with that reality in mind, Camille Cosby is implying that one of the women might be lying about Bill Cosby raping her, but that her husband is indeed guilty of raping multiple victims. And the torture apologists are saying that while one of the tales of abusive interrogations is not true, the CIA did have a program of torturing detainees. The discredited example does not change the overall point.

As for everyone else just outright dismissing the Rolling Stone article, get over yourselves. Perhaps the main victim misled a gullible writer (and, remember, the investigation into Jackie's story was done by the Washington Post, not by some conservative stooge), but the rape epidemic continues. Are you going to do anything other than crow over the bruised and battered bodies? Or sigh in relief that you can use "Jackie" as a reason to dismiss them?

12/15/2014

Our National Shame: Dick Cheney Is Still a Free Man Today

Let us say, and why not, that American civilians were taken by another country like, say, oh, hell, howzabout Russia under the pretext that they might have information about Chechnyan terrorist attacks. Let us say, and, really, why not, that those Americans were treated like the CIA treated the prisoners it held at black sites around the world, that they were waterboarded, forced to be nude in cold temperatures, slammed around walls, forced to act like dogs, put inside coffin-sized containers, sometimes folded into ones even smaller, and were sodomized with tubes shooting food into their assholes. Let us say that at least some of those Americans were guilty of no crimes other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time and that they knew nothing of any help to Russian intelligence.

Let's say that some former leader of Russia, say, Vladislav Surkov, went on national television in Russia to declare that what the Americans suffered, even the completely innocent ones, wasn't torture and that they would waterboard and use tubes to anally rape the Americans again. And, say, Surkov, who could surely be seen as being Vladimir Putin's Cheney in some ways, continued that the people who did the torturing were heroes and should be treated as such.

Well, this is a stupid game, isn't it? Because we know that we in the United States would be outraged, we'd be threatening, some in Congress would want us to do all kinds of crazy shit to punish Russia. We'd call them "barbaric," we'd call them "subhuman," we'd call them "monsters," and we'd demand that the people behind it be punished. And, indeed, we'd be right to do so. Scratch that. Once upon a time, we would have at least been right to do so. Now, we'd just look like fucking hypocrites, even more than usual, because we know what it looks like to have an ex-leader say such callous, inhuman things without regret.

There is no reason to go back over everything the Rude Pundit said about former Vice President Dick Cheney and his savage response to Senate's report on CIA torture last week. But in the wake of Cheney's epically narcissistic and nationally embarrassing appearance on Meet the Press yesterday, it's worth noting a thing or two.

- Nothing is torture, Cheney said, unless it is equal to putting a man in a burning building and making him call his children before he dies. That's his bottom line. If you didn't die horribly, you weren't tortured. Or, in another part, Cheney brings up how the North Vietnamese treated prisoners, saying that if our actions don't sink to that level or to ISIS's, it ain't torture. No one would have blamed Chuck Todd if he had paused for a second and then said, "Why don't you fucking die already, you sucker of demon cock?"

- Cheney wasn't even asked a question about the president before he tossed George W. Bush onto the war crimes barbecue (again). Todd asked Cheney, "Do you feel as if they [the CIA] were telling you what you wanted to hear?" Cheney responded that the White House was well-informed and, apropos of nothing, added, "The suggestion, for example, that the president didn't approve it, wrong. That's a lie, that's not true." Cheney is evil embodied, so he can hold a long goddamn grudge against the man who didn't pardon one of his friends.

- Being Dick Cheney means having no regrets at all. None. Cheney just doesn't give a fuck about anything but the greatness and rightness of the interrogation program. He doesn't give a fuck if innocent people were tortured. He doesn't give a fuck if they were ass raped with food tubes. He doesn't give a fuck about anyone who questions its efficacy. He doesn't give a fuck if you think the Iraq war was a fuck-up. He doesn't give a fuck if he contradicted what he said about Iraq twenty years ago. Cheney doesn't give a fuck.

- And the second Cheney said that he would do it all again the exact same way is the moment that Chuck Todd should have, Chris Hansen style, brought in cops or FBI agents to arrest him. Or Todd could have at least slammed Cheney against a wall, ripped off his clothes, dragged him down a hall, put him into stress positions, shoved a hummus-filled tube up his ass, and slammed him on a slanted board to pour water on his Gorgon face.

Because, see, what Cheney is saying, and what every Cheney apologist is saying, and what President Obama is saying by not prosecuting the torturers is that we will do it again.  Maybe not now, but we're keeping it in our arsenal while we feign outrage. Why not? What's the penalty for officially sanctioned torture? Not a goddamn thing.

12/12/2014

Before the Torture Report Disappears

It's already happening, no? The Senate Intelligence committee's report on the CIA's post-9/11 interrogation techniques, known colloquially as "torture," is in the fast fade from our news cycle and from our outrage churner. It's become like that hot fuck one torrid night on a Mexican vacation, when the tequila and ecstasy flowed and you went back to your timeshare with one of the local dudes and balled your brains out, in the rush, the hurlyburly and hustle of the three hours left between leaving the bar and the cruel light of dawn. Ah, that was something you did, you can say later, and then go on with your life. If it left you with a case of herpes, well, shit, people live with that all the time, don't they? At least it ain't the HIV. Where's the beach?

So it seems it will be with the torture report, something that stays with us the rest of our days, incurable, occasionally surfacing, but tolerated. Already, the media have moved on, to the CRomnibus, the Sony email leak, the floods in California. There will be more Eric Garner and Michael Brown protests, so we're not so brain-damaged that we can't have memory of something for more than a week or two. The Tamir Rice shooting is coming into sharper focus, too. And there's all that Christmas shopping to be done.

The Rude Pundit has never had any illusions. He never thought that any prosecutions or even arrests would happen. He never thought there would be a reckoning of any sort. Oh, sure, he hoped we might spend more than a few days pointing fingers. But we are a nation that simply doesn't like to look in the mirror. And if no one is there to hold our heads and point them straight ahead, then we are happy to glance and then gaze away, into the unknown, always blindly optimistic about the future.

Before we move on, though, the Rude Pundit wants to deal with a couple last things and then we can go back to snarkily saying, "Rectal infusion" and giggling, ignoring the whole ass rape part of the act.

Conservatives and current and former members of the intelligence community promised, swore up and down, that the release of the torture report would cause violence and protests against the United States. The White House was even worried. Except, of course, it hasn't. As Joshua Keating says in Slate, it seems like the extremists in the Muslim world are more upset about degradation of their faith, like pissing on Korans or making a shitty film about Mohammed, than they are about the treatment of a few score individuals. Or maybe it's just the lack of photos this time or a sad shrug that this is all shit they knew about.

Either way, why the fuck would it matter what the reaction would be? When the people supporting the cops defend the officer who killed Eric Garner, they say that Garner should have just allowed himself to be arrested. It's his fault that violence happened. If he didn't want something bad to happen to him, he shouldn't have done something wrong in the first place. Well, fuck, doesn't that also go for torture? The time to worry about what the Muslim world - if not the entire rest of the globe - thought about us is before you start torturing. Once you've done it, aren't you kind of just asking for it? The Rude Pundit doesn't want there to be any violence against Americans, but, Jesus, stop behaving as if we're so fucking special that, even when we do evil shit, we should not be viewed as an enemy. When did we start giving a fuck about the possible damage we might be doing? The number of civilian deaths doesn't stop us from firing drone missiles.

We're Americans, goddamnit. We act without expecting there to be any consequences because fuck you. George W. Bush called the torturers "patriots." Who are you to argue?

The torture supporters defend themselves by saying that they had to do whatever it takes to protect the United States after 9/11. They say that Americans - and especially Congress and the President- wanted our intelligence agents to go brutal if they had to, especially in "the emergency and often-chaotic circumstances we confronted in the immediate aftermath of 9/11." It was a "ticking bomb" scenario, they say. But did it keep ticking for five years?

Others talk about how scared Americans were. The Rude Pundit was a thinking adult on September 11, 2001. He talked to lots of thinking adults. We were gung-ho for getting the fuckers who were behind the attacks. But mostly we were just sad about how fucked up the world had become, and he remembers specific conversations with people about how we hoped the United States wouldn't act like assholes. As soon as the invasion of Afghanistan occurred (and not a small force just to get bin Laden), along with the opening of the prison at Gitmo, the Rude Pundit knew we were gonna be total dicks.

We tortured because we're big enough to be bullies without fear of real recriminations. We also tortured because we're cowards who demonstrated quite plainly that all that shit about freedom is readily cast aside when we feel even a bit threatened. We're forgetting about it now because we're also really good at pretending, a family that sweeps it all under a rug so lumpy that you have to walk around it to get across the room.

12/11/2014

Thanks, Dick Cheney, for Incriminating George W. Bush (and Other Conservative Reactions)

Let us now praise infamous men. The desiccated husk of a demi-human that is named Dick Cheney, former Vice President of these here United States, dragged his decaying body and scent of rot into his home away from home, Fox "news" studios, to discuss the Senate's report on the CIA's program of torturing suspected terrorists. He was speaking with Bret Baier, who obviously must worship mad Lovecraftian gods in order to be in the presence of such a barren soul with such black eyes and a mouth torn to shreds by the speaking of endless lies without vomiting endlessly. How many sacrifices have to be made at an altar covered in the blood of Iraqi children to keep Cheney alive? How many virgins, fresh for fucking and devouring, did Baier have to provide Cheney in order to secure the interview?

However, oddly, Cheney ought to be thanked for what he told Baier. When asked about President George W. Bush's awareness of the CIA's interrogation methods, which the report says he was kept in the dark about, Cheney responded, "He was in fact an integral part of the program. He had to approve it before we went forward with it...I think he knew everything he needed to know and wanted to know about the program. There's no question... I think he knew certainly the techniques that we did discuss the techniques. There's nothing -- there was no effort on our part to keep him from that. He was just as with the terrorist surveillance program. On the terrorist surveillance program, he had to personally sign off on that every 30 to 45 days. So the notion that the committee's trying to peddle it, somehow the agency was operating on a rogue basis, and we weren't being told or the President wasn't being told is just a flat-out lie." Cheney totally and without hesitation said that Bush committed war crimes.

Now, one way to look at Cheney's remarks is to say, as several people have, that the former VP threw Bush under the bus, a kind of "Fuck you, I'm not taking the fall." But it's more than that. It's the beginning of a legal defense. Cheney may be an entity of concentrated malice, but he's not stupid. With United Nations officials saying that there need to be prosecutions for the crimes described in the report, with the potential for other nations to want torturers and torture architects arrested, even if the likelihood of anything happening along those lines is slim to "America is awesome," Cheney knows that he might need a legal defense. And the only defense for a vice president is to point the finger at the president and say, "That's where the buck stops."

While some on the right, like Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and, really, The American Conservative magazine (seriously), have honorably stood up and said that the torture program was an unmitigated wrong, most conservatives have gone nutzoid in defense of the CIA. For instance:

MSNBC's host with the inbred eyes, Joe Scarborough, tweeted, "Senate Intel Report investigators refused to interview the accused. Sounds like Rolling Stone's journalistic approach on their UVA story." And that'd be totally true if Rolling Stone had had access to a treasure trove of documents from the students accused of rape at the University of Virginia. But the magazine didn't review six million pages of emails, memos, and internal reports from the alleged rapists, things that in a court of law are often seen as more legitimate than the recollections of someone years after the fact. There's 6000 pages more we haven't seen of the torture report, with, it's reported, tens of thousands of footnotes. You can bet that many of them are not just interviews with the victims - they include internal interviews with the people involved, including by the CIA's inspector general.

The whole charge is bogus because, as Dianne Feinstein noted, while the report was being put together, the CIA was being investigated by the Justice Department for destroying evidence of torture. The agency couldn't compel anyone to testify to the committee because "CIA employees and contractors who would otherwise have been interviewed by the Committee staff were under potential legal jeopardy." And Joe Scarborough can go fuck himself with Starbucks travel mug.

The rest of the conservative arguments against the report are equally bullshit filled. There's the "Who the fuck cares?" camp, who say things like, "Without a nation we have no values. And without torture, regardless of the latest politically correct views, we have no nation." (That's from Daily Caller tough guy David Lawrence.) There's the "It worked" argument, best exemplified by the desperate ass-covering of things like the website CIA Saved Lives, the Wall Street Journal editorial by former CIA directors, and torture-approver John Yoo.

Yoo is an especially skeevy cockknob about the report, which he calls "the Feinstein Report" (which will no doubt become the talking point). He wants to know what else would have worked to get information he claims stopped terrorist plots: "The Feinstein Report claims that the CIA would have captured all of these operatives anyway...Feinstein provides no reason to conclude, counter-factually, that the U.S. would have killed or captured these al Qaeda leaders without the high-quality intelligence from interrogations. The United States and its allies certainly had not done so before the interrogations started—it did not even know about many of them before 9/11. But we do know that armed with the intelligence from interrogations, the U.S. succeeded."

So his argument boils down to saying that burning down the house was the only way to get rid of the mice because we don't know if traps would have worked. In fact (and by "fact," the Rude Pundit means, "What happened"), we got all the intelligence we needed out of people like Abu Zubaydah before they were tortured, which proves the traps work, put the fucking gas can down.

There's two more arguments that the Rude Pundit will deal with tomorrow.

12/10/2014

The Torture Report: The Game and How We Played It

The Rude Pundit wants to return to the story he told yesterday of Janat Gul, one of 26 men who were completely and utterly innocent, but were tortured by the CIA in order to squeeze out some "information" on some "threat." Others have discussed Gul now, about how he was grabbed in Afghanistan or Pakistan based on a single source saying, "That fucker, Janat Gul, he's into some shit," how some in the CIA thought he was a worthless target, how he was renditioned to a black site in Romania, how Condoleezza Rice her very own self signed off on his "enhanced interrogation," about how he was so interrogated until his interrogators were convinced he knew nothing, and how they were told to interrogate him some more.

The one thing that ought to be emphasized in Gul's story is that, when the CIA finally realized that Gul was "a very simple man" and not a big bad, the spooks decided to say that the interrogation had been worthwhile because it proved that their source was a liar. Once again: it was cool to torture the shit out of Janat Gul because it made them know not to trust another guy. That is some monstrous fuckery right there.

But there's something else afoot in the Gul story, indeed, in the entire report, indeed, in nearly the entire operation of our alleged counterterrorism industrial complex. Some in the CIA believed that there were terror attacks likely before the 2004 election and that Gul was the facilitator. Then-CIA Director George Tenet informed Rice, so the information went right to the White House. We know from then-Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge that there was pressure from Bush advisers to raise the national threat level before the election, perhaps to panic people into clinging to the failed president. Hmmm.

One of the things we see again and again is that torture is for shit when you want new information, but it's excellent at getting people to say things you need them to say. The torture program was a failure at stopping any supposed "plots," but it was great to give our leaders something to talk about. We know that men were tortured into saying that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. We know we tortured men into saying other things to keep policies in place. We've known that for a few years now. And now we know that the CIA knew the information was bogus and that the method they were using to extract it was fucked-up (see the "Shh, Don't Tell Colin Powell" part of the report).

Sometimes you just want a reason to justify your existence to others. The CIA tortured one poor bastard into saying he made anthrax and then reported that they had discovered a guy who said he made anthrax. Except, of course, the true story, on page 82, is a bit different: "On August 1, 2003, Abu Bakr al-Filistini, also known as Samr al-Barq, told CIA interrogators that 'we never made anthrax.' At the time, he was being subjected to the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques and was told that the harsh treatment would not stop until he 'told the truth.' According to cables, crying, al-Barq then said, 'I made the anthrax.' Asked if he was lying, al-Barq said that he was. After CIA interrogators 'demonstrated the penalty for lying,'al-Barq again stated that 'I made the anthrax' and then immediately recanted, and then again stated that he made anthrax." Now, either al-Barq was fucking with the people torturing him, which makes him admirably ballsy, or he couldn't figure out what the hell they wanted and would tell them anything.

Either way, the CIA reported on "Al-Qa'ida's Anthrax Program," so mission accomplished.

The Rude Pundit is no conspiracy theorist. But how are we supposed to take all this? Between the threat level manipulation, the bullshit FBI-created terror cells, and the use of the statements of torture victims to justify policy, what can we think but that this entire system exists to keep us paranoid and beholden to those in power in ways that make the supposed tyranny of the Affordable Care Act look like a laissez-faire carnival? What can we think but that this all existed and, in other ways, exists to keep people in power and, indeed, make some people very rich (someone's gotta make those drones)?

Someone's gotta pay. Someone's gotta go to jail. Someone's gotta be held accountable. It ain't enough to say that shit happened. Because then all you're saying is that "Shit happened." The torture report is worthless without at least some symbolic scapegoat - Rumsfeld, please?

There is a reason that you sacrifice people to keep the volcano gods happy. You don't do it because the volcano gives a shit. You do it because the villagers need to know that at least you tried something.

12/09/2014

Working Through the Torture Report, Part 2: More Fuckery Than You Can Imagine

From page 110:
"After approximately a month of detention and the extensive use of the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques on Arsala Khan, the CIA concluded that the 'detainee Arsala Khan does not appear to be the subject involved in...current plans or activities against U.S. personnel or facilities,' and recommended that he be released to his village with a cash payment. CIA interrogators at DETENTION SITE COBALT instead transferred him to U.S. military custody, where he was held for an additional four years despite the development of significant intelligence indicating that the source who reported that Arsala Khan had aided Usama bin Laden had a vendetta against Arsala Khan's family."

From page 129 - No one is held accountable for mistakes that cause an innocent man from Germany to be tortured:
"The CIA director nonetheless decided that no further action was warranted against [the CIA agent], then the deputy chief of ALEC Station, who advocated for [Khalid] al-Masri's rendition, because '[t]he Director strongly believes that mistakes should be expected in a business filled with uncertainty and that, when they result from performance that meets reasonable standards, CIA leadership must stand behind the officers who make them.' The notification also stated that 'with regard to counterterrorism operations in general and the al-Masri matter in particular, the Director believes the scale tips decisively in favor of accepting mistakes that over connect the dots against those that under connect them.'"

You got that? It's better to just accept mistakes than hold anyone responsible for them. There is no indication that the agent was even demoted or reassigned. It was just easier to forget about it and move on.

Now, a quick catalog of lies from the CIA on the effectiveness of the torture:

From page 255:
"Contrary to CIA representations, the use of the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques against KSM did not result in the 'discovery' of KSM's 'Second Wave' plotting."

From page 256:
"Contrary to CIA representations, the use of the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques against Hambali did not result in the 'discovery' of 'the Guraba Cell' that was 'tasked with executing the "Second Wave"' plotting."

From page 264:
"A review of CIA operational cables and other documents found that the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques did not result in the unique intelligence that the CIA represented led to the arrest of Dhiren Barot or the thwarting of his plotting."

From page 290:
"Contrary to CIA representations, a review of CIA operational cables and other documents found that the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques did not result in otherwise unavailable intelligence leading to the discovery, identification, capture, or arrest of Sajid Badat."

From page 327:
"Contrary to CIA representations, there are no CIA records to support the assertion that Abu Zubaydah, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, or any other CIA detainee played any role in the 'the planning and execution of the operation that captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.'"

From page 378 - They didn't just lie. They lied on a massive scale:
"Shortly after the raid on the Usama bin Ladin (UBL) compound on May 1, 2011, which resulted in UBL's death, CIA officials described the role of reporting from the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program in the operation—and in some cases connected the reporting to the use of the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques. The vast majority of the documents, statements, and testimony highlighting information obtained from the use of the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques, or from CIA detainees more generally, was inaccurate and incongruent with CIA records."

And now it's time for the late afternoon/early evening six-pack.

Working Though the Torture Report, Part 1: Janat Gul Tortured for Nothing

Page 11 of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's report, "Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency's Detention and Interrogation Program":

"Conditions at CIA detention sites were poor, and were especially bleak early in the program. CIA detainees at the COBALT detention facility were kept in complete darkness and constantly shackled in isolated cells with loud noise or music and only a bucket to use for human waste. Lack of heat at the facility likely contributed to the death of a detainee. The chief of interrogations described COBALT as a 'dungeon.' Another senior CIA officer stated that COBALT was itself an enhanced interrogation technique.

"At times, the detainees at COBALT were walked around naked or were shackled with their hands above their heads for extended periods of time. Other times, the detainees at COBALT were subjected to what was described as a 'rough takedown,' in which approximately five CIA officers would scream at a detainee, drag him outside of his cell, cut his clothes off, and secure him with Mylar tape. The detainee would then be hooded and dragged up and down a long corridor while being slapped and punched."

Also on page 11:

"CIA officers also threatened at least three detainees with harm to their families — to include threats to harm the children of a detainee, threats to sexually abuse the mother of a detainee, and a threat to 'cut [a detainee's] mother's throat.'"

Starting on page 164:
"After being rendered to CIA custody on July [redacted] 2004, Janat Gul was subjected to the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques, including continuous sleep deprivation, facial holds, attention grasps, facial slaps, stress positions, and walling, until he experienced auditory and visual hallucinations. According to a cable, Janat Gul was 'not oriented to time or place' and told CIA officers that he saw 'his wife and children in the mirror and had heard their voices in the white noise.' The questioning of Janat Gul continued, although the CIA ceased using the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques for several days. According to a CIA cable, '[Gul] asked to die, or just be killed.' After continued interrogation sessions with Gul, on August 19, 2004, CIA detention site personnel wrote that the interrogation 'team does not believe [Gul] is withholding imminent threat information.' On August 21, 2004, a cable from CIA Headquarters stated that Janat Gul 'is believed' to possess threat information, and that the 'use of enhanced techniques is appropriate in order to obtain that information.' On that day, August 21, 2004, CIA interrogators resumed using the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques against Gul."

You got that? At the CIA's detention site, where they were torturing Janat Gul, the torturers said that he had no information. CIA Headquarters demanded that he be tortured some more. Someone in a position of authority above the torturers said to continue the torture. And they did get something out of him eventually. See, Gul was accused of being a terrorist by a single source. Even though Gul gave no information on any plots, the CIA saw his torture as successful. Why? Because his inability to provide information under torture proved that the source who gave him up was a liar.

"[T]he CIA began representing that its enhanced interrogation techniques were required for Gul to deny the existence of the threat, thereby disproving the credibility of the CIA source."

That's right. He knew nothing. But he was forced to stand for 47 hours straight, wearing a diaper, with no sleep, just to prove he knew nothing. And the CIA decided to say that the glass was half-full.

Fuck us. Truly. Fuck us.

More later. The Rude Pundit needs a mid-afternoon six-pack.

(Note: The New York Times today features an editorial from an ACLU official calling for President Obama to pardon all the torturers and their enablers, thus implicitly indicting and convicting them. That's a great idea, one that the Rude Pundit suggested back in 2009.)