Shocking US torture report released

By admin
10 December 2014

Movies like the political thriller Zero Dark Thirty allude to the brutal torture tactics used by American operatives, but a recently released US Senate report claims that not only were the Central Intelligence Agency’s torture tactics more ruthless than initially thought, but that it didn’t produce useful intelligence and was so poorly managed that it lost track of detainees.

Movies like the political thriller Zero Dark Thirty allude to the brutal torture tactics used by American operatives, but a recently released US Senate report claims that not only were the Central Intelligence Agency’s torture tactics more ruthless than initially thought, but that it didn’t produce useful intelligence and was so poorly managed that it lost track of detainees.

The CIA also misled the White House and Congress with inaccurate claims about the program's usefulness in thwarting attacks, the Senate Intelligence Committee said in its graphic report that revived the debate over interrogation techniques such as waterboarding.

President Barack Obama admitted some of the tactics detailed in the explosive report's 500-page declassified summary were “brutal”.

"There are a lot of folks who worked very hard after 9/11 to keep us safe, during a very hazardous situation and a time when people were unsure of what was taking place," he said in an interview with Telemundo. "But what was also true is that we took some steps that were contrary to who we are, contrary to our values."

Among the findings: a CIA operative used "Russian Roulette" to intimidate a prisoner and another -- untrained in interrogation techniques -- threatened to use a power drill.

Detainees were humiliated through the painful use of medically unnecessary "rectal feeding" and “rectal rehydration”. One died of hypothermia while shackled, some suffered broken limbs.

CIA director John Brennan defended his agency's adoption of tough tactics under President George W. Bush in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 Al-Qaeda attacks on US cities.

He insisted that, while mistakes were made, brutal techniques “did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists and save lives”.

While heavily redacted, the report is damning. "The interrogations of CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than the CIA represented to policymakers and others," it said.

Conditions were particularly ghastly at a so-called black site nicknamed Cobalt, in an undisclosed country, where “at times detainees there were walked around naked and shackled with their hands above their head”, the report said.

Management of the program deteriorated so poorly in one country “that the CIA remains unable to determine the number and identity of the individuals it detained”.

The review of 6.3 million pages of documents concluded that use of the techniques “was not an effective means of obtaining accurate information or gaining detainee cooperation”.

The report was a years-long project of the committee's Democratic members and staff. Republicans boycotted it, and on Tuesday they blasted it as a "political" assault on the CIA.

But Republican Senator John McCain, a former prisoner of war who was tortured in Vietnam, praised the report's release and said harsh interrogations did little to make Americans safer. "I know from personal experience that the abuse of prisoners will produce more bad than good intelligence," he said. "This question isn't about our enemies, it's about us. It's about who we were, who we are and who we aspire to be.”

- SAPA/AFP

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