Waterboarding Whistleblower Released From Prison, Two Months After Torture Report's Release Vindicated His Actions

from the the-real-criminals-are-still-at-large dept

Guess who went to jail because of the CIA's long-running, illegal torture programs.

It wasn't former director Leon Panetta, who was ultimately responsible for the actions of his agency. It wasn't any number of agents, officials or supervisors who directly or indirectly participated in the ultimately useless torture of detainees. It wasn't the private contractors who profited from these horrendous acts committed in the name of "national security."

The single person to be put behind bars thanks to the CIA's torture programs was the man who blew the whistle on the agency's waterboarding: John Kiriakou. Now, he's finally free again (mostly), two months after the Torture Report that corroborates his allegations was released.

Kiriakou is serving out the remainder of his sentence for "revealing an undercover operative's identity" under house arrest. While still imprisoned, Kiriakou wondered aloud (in the Los Angeles Times) why Panetta wasn't facing similar charges, considering the former CIA head had disclosed far more sensitive information, including the names of SEAL operatives to a civilian -- the screenwriter for Zero Dark Thirty.

Now that he's out, he's still talking. Kiriakou gave his first post-release interview to Fusion's Daniel Rivero, and it opens up with a stark (but ultimately upbeat) statement about the damage this government can do to those who attempt to hold it accountable.

“It’s been a terrible three years, and it’s ruined me financially and personally, but in the greater picture it’s all been worth it,” John Kiriakou told Fusion over the phone from Arlington, Virginia, where he just began serving an 85-day house arrest sentence. It was his first interview since leaving a federal prison in Pennsylvania on Tuesday.

“I’m proud I had a role in seeing that torture is now banned in the United States,” he said.
The ultimate irony, he says, is that everything he was punished for saying has now been proven true. But this administration treats the unapproved dissemination of unflattering facts as criminal activity, rather than the check against government overreach it actually is. On the flipside, it allows officials like Panetta (and hundreds of unnamed ones granted anonymity by journalists) to "leak" classified information in order to push its preferred narrative.

Kiriakou's revelations should have prompted a deeper examination of the CIA, rather than a vindictive prosecution. Choosing this path -- one of the DOJ's favorites -- allowed the intelligence agency to expand and intensify its "enhanced interrogation" tactics.
[T]hat’s the problem with the torture program. Torture is a slippery slope, and once you start dehumanizing people, it’s almost a human tendency to do worse and worse and worse things to get the information you are supposed to be after,” Kiriakou said.
Imprisonment alone also dehumanizes people. Sometimes, the easiest way to throw someone's credibility into question is simply to press charges. Despite our justice system being advertised as "innocent until proven guilty," the perception among the general public tends to be that the accused is guilty until proven otherwise, or let off on a technicality. Prosecuting whistleblowers softens the impact of the exposed information, especially among those predisposed to granting the government more credibility than its citizens. The DOJ -- and the administration -- knows this, which is why this tactic has been pursued more often during the last seven years than in all the previous administrations combined.

CIA personnel -- and those overseeing them -- will see less time behind bars combined than John Kiriakou served on his own, because that's how supremely screwed up our government is at this point.

Filed Under: cia, john kiriakou, torture, torture report, waterboarding


Reader Comments

The First Word

Whereas people who claim that torture does work, or even defend it's practice, have shown clearly that they have lost what little humanity they may have had.

Before I get to the meat of your comment, let's get the most obvious part out of the way:

Even if torture was found to be 100% effective and accurate, it would still not be justified. Ever. Anyone claiming otherwise has shown themselves to be a pure sociopath and/or sadist at best, and absolutely no better, and barely different, than the ones they are fighting.

That's all very well, but you'll still need to use torture in situations like the one just after 9/11.

You mean like the situations where the torture report found that the information obtained was either useless, or had been found through other, perfectly legal and humane methods? Those 'situations'?

That's because torture works. It is indeed useless for extracting confessions (people will confess anything, that's true), but it has always worked quite well to extract informations.

For the life of me I cannot see how you typed this up and didn't spot the glaring error in it. If torture is useless for extracting confessions, because people will confess to anything, why in the world would you believe that it would be effective at gathering information? In both cases the person being tortured is going to say whatever they think will make the torture stop. They are going to say what they think the one torturing them wants to hear, true or not.

And not extracting informations when you have the chance means making it more likely that terrorists will be able to kill more of your civilians.

Here's a hypothetical situation for you: Say you torture someone, and thanks to the information you get from them(assuming, for the sake of the example, that you actually got useful intel), you manage to stop one attack. Good trade right, the basic humanity of the ones performing the torture, and the rights and life of the one being tortured, in exchange for innocent lives?

Right, well that was only half of the equation. Thanks to the intel you gathered, you managed to stop one attack. However, due to the way that you got it, you caused a dozen more attacks(and if you think 'Let's just torture more people and stop those attacks!' you haven't been paying attention). You stopped one attack, and caused even more. Still think that was a good trade?

I mean come on, if a group, or in this case military/government is known to torture prisoners, do you really think that's going to make people like them? Not even close, but what it will do is to increase the hatred of people that already don't like you, or are fighting you, and drive those that might have supported you before straight into the arms of the people who are already fighting you, causing more attacks, and more deaths. It will also significantly decreases the possibility that those fighting you will be willing to surrender, no matter how bad their situation is, as they know death in combat is preferable by far to what might happen to them if they surrender, which also increases the deaths on both sides.

People who say torture doesn't work think they have found a clever way to avoid the moral dilemma, but they haven't.

Not really. The people who put forward that argument do so primarily because they know the people who support torture are such sick bastards that appealing to emotion or basic humanity isn't likely to get them anywhere, so they instead appeal to the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of the actions. And as has been shown, and has been known for decades, if not longer, torture is a terrible way, both morally, and in terms of effectiveness, in gaining useful intel.
—That One Guy

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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 3:08am

    There's a known problem with torture: the person will admit to things he/she has not done or make up things to make it stop depending on how hard the torture method is. How many of the confessions obtained through waterboarding (and other methods) are really true?

    And what's even more striking is that there is an outrage and strong responses against ISIS killing a guy using such violence (to the point even known extremist personalities disagreed with them) and yet nothing nearly as strong is being directed towards these torture reports. Worse, torture is applied widespread in the "western world" and it's ok. Gottfrid got arrested in solitary confinement essentially for running TPB (though they used some hack charges) while some murderer or some even worse criminal has much better treatment. Dotcom is being harassed via official means. Manning, Snowden etc etc. Those are forms of torture. They just aren't official like the ones described in the report.

    What ISIS is doing is totally wrong and despicable. But the West isn't anything better than those morons.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 4:13am

      Re:

      Let's not cheapen the term even more than it already has been. What Dotcom and Snowden have gone through is bad, to be sure, but it's not 'torture'. Sadistic, vindictive, and cruel? Sure, but not torture.

      Now, throwing someone in solitary for several years, like what happened to Manning? Yeah, I can see the term 'torture' applied to something like that. Long-term isolation, even if it doesn't leave a single physical mark on you, can be incredibly damaging to a person, even if physically they are fine.

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      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 5:30am

        Re: Re:

        It's not physical but psychological. Just imagine how it is to live being persecuted by the Government. Imprisoned in an embassy. Exiled from your home. It's not about making some cheap use.

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      • identicon
        Costa Botes, 15 Feb 2015 @ 12:51pm

        Re:

        There is no honest comparison between Kim 'Dot Com' and Edward Snowden. History will judge Snowden. We already know Dot Com is a thief and a liar. Any misfortune he is suffering is entirely due to his own evil actions.

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        • icon
          nasch (profile), 15 Feb 2015 @ 2:26pm

          Re: Re:

          Any misfortune he is suffering is entirely due to his own evil actions.

          Entirely? Have you followed the stories about all the ways law enforcement and courts bent and twisted the law out of recognition in order to get him?

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  • icon
    cypherspace (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 4:07am

    Slight nitpick in this article

    By the time Leon Panetta was head of the agency, torture (supposedly) stopped. Which makes Tenet/Goss/Hayden responsible for the torture that occurred under their watch. That said, Panetta would have been fully responsible for completing an investigation (or - as we no know - possibly obstructing it) under his watch.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 4:21am

    I wonder...
    Can we, the people, press charges against the USG?

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    • icon
      GEMont (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 6:56pm

      Re:

      "Can we, the people, press charges against the USG?"

      You The People, would have to convince the USG that the USG had committed a crime and then convince the USG to take the USG to court over the matter.

      If you could pull of that part, then you would have to hope that the USG, being rather fond of the USG, would not just summarily dismiss the case against the USG, after losing all the evidence in a computer crash.

      You can probably see the flaw inherent in this process. :)

      ---

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 4:21am

    This case yielded the first IIPA successful prosecution in 27 years, and it marks an important victory for our Agency, for our Intelligence Community, and for our country.
    Then-director David Petraeus's official statement upon Kiriakou's conviction. The CIA is a playground for sociopaths. How'd they manage to screw up and hire someone with a conscience like Kiriakou? Polygraph machine's empathy lead not clipped on securely?

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 4:29am

      Re:

      This case yielded the first IIPA successful prosecution in 27 years, and it marks an important victory for our Agency, for our Intelligence Community, and for our country.

      To be fair, only one of those words is actually inaccurate, that being 'country', which should have been replaced by 'government'. The country is not best served by brushing torture under the rug, but the government that allowed, endorsed, and practiced it most certainly is.

      By convicting and punishing someone who dared to expose their actions, it was a victory for the agency, the Intelligence community, and the government, as it crushed one whistleblower, and provided an example for any other potential people who might have let their humanity and conscience get the better of them, instead of just following orders like good little drones. To those that support and practice torture, a case like that would indeed be a huge victory, so I'm not surprised they'd be crowing about it.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 3:48pm

        Re: Re:

        Good point. I was so annoyed by Petraeus's conflation of victory and justice that I got lazy and conflated government and country. Excellent comment that got first-worded, btw. That one goes in the permalink catalog of "don't reinvent the wheel" time-saving responses to "torture works."

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  • icon
    Goyo (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 4:28am

    Despite our justice system being advertised as "guilty until proven innocent,"

    Come on, things can't be that bad, or are they?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 4:35am

    Credibility

    And yet another story that makes the entire US less credible. Both domestic and as viewed by foreigners.

    Everything the US used to stand for is slowly but irreplacebly eroded and perverted. And little by little the mask slides off and the true face of US totalitarianism is revealed.

    And it is ugly.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 4:36am

    That's all very well, but you'll still need to use torture in situations like the one just after 9/11.
    That's because torture works. It is indeed useless for extracting confessions (people will confess anything, that's true), but it has always worked quite well to extract informations.
    And not extracting informations when you have the chance means making it more likely that terrorists will be able to kill more of your civilians.
    People who say torture doesn't work think they have found a clever way to avoid the moral dilemma, but they haven't.
    It's easy to decide whether to use torture when it is useless. What is difficult is to decide whether to use torture when it can actually help you save innocent people.
    It is a complicated matter. Simplistic moral posturing won't help.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 5:20am

      Re:

      Whereas people who claim that torture does work, or even defend it's practice, have shown clearly that they have lost what little humanity they may have had.

      Before I get to the meat of your comment, let's get the most obvious part out of the way:

      Even if torture was found to be 100% effective and accurate, it would still not be justified. Ever. Anyone claiming otherwise has shown themselves to be a pure sociopath and/or sadist at best, and absolutely no better, and barely different, than the ones they are fighting.

      That's all very well, but you'll still need to use torture in situations like the one just after 9/11.

      You mean like the situations where the torture report found that the information obtained was either useless, or had been found through other, perfectly legal and humane methods? Those 'situations'?

      That's because torture works. It is indeed useless for extracting confessions (people will confess anything, that's true), but it has always worked quite well to extract informations.

      For the life of me I cannot see how you typed this up and didn't spot the glaring error in it. If torture is useless for extracting confessions, because people will confess to anything, why in the world would you believe that it would be effective at gathering information? In both cases the person being tortured is going to say whatever they think will make the torture stop. They are going to say what they think the one torturing them wants to hear, true or not.

      And not extracting informations when you have the chance means making it more likely that terrorists will be able to kill more of your civilians.

      Here's a hypothetical situation for you: Say you torture someone, and thanks to the information you get from them(assuming, for the sake of the example, that you actually got useful intel), you manage to stop one attack. Good trade right, the basic humanity of the ones performing the torture, and the rights and life of the one being tortured, in exchange for innocent lives?

      Right, well that was only half of the equation. Thanks to the intel you gathered, you managed to stop one attack. However, due to the way that you got it, you caused a dozen more attacks(and if you think 'Let's just torture more people and stop those attacks!' you haven't been paying attention). You stopped one attack, and caused even more. Still think that was a good trade?

      I mean come on, if a group, or in this case military/government is known to torture prisoners, do you really think that's going to make people like them? Not even close, but what it will do is to increase the hatred of people that already don't like you, or are fighting you, and drive those that might have supported you before straight into the arms of the people who are already fighting you, causing more attacks, and more deaths. It will also significantly decreases the possibility that those fighting you will be willing to surrender, no matter how bad their situation is, as they know death in combat is preferable by far to what might happen to them if they surrender, which also increases the deaths on both sides.

      People who say torture doesn't work think they have found a clever way to avoid the moral dilemma, but they haven't.

      Not really. The people who put forward that argument do so primarily because they know the people who support torture are such sick bastards that appealing to emotion or basic humanity isn't likely to get them anywhere, so they instead appeal to the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of the actions. And as has been shown, and has been known for decades, if not longer, torture is a terrible way, both morally, and in terms of effectiveness, in gaining useful intel.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 5:33am

        Re: Re:

        What you said. The comment you are replying to is disgusting at best. It is unfortunate that there are quite a few people that think that way.

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      • icon
        nasch (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 7:19am

        Re: Re:

        Well said. A couple of additional points. How about when they capture someone who they think has "ticking time bomb" information, but it turns out they were wrong? Either there was no bomb, or it went off anyway because they had the wrong guy. In either case, they tortured someone for no reason.

        Not even close, but what it will do is to increase the hatred of people that already don't like you... It will also significantly decreases the possibility that those fighting you will be willing to surrender

        And it will encourage those groups to torture anyone from the west and particularly the US that they capture.

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 8:05am

          Re: Re: Re:

          And it will encourage those groups to torture anyone from the west and particularly the US that they capture.

          Indeed, and the USG will be faced with two options should that happen:

          1. Object to the torture, and expose it's hypocrisy.
          2. Stay silent.

          Politicians being what they are, option #2 is the more likely response should something like that happen, meaning the US is pretty much gagged any time the subject of torture comes up, and the victims/prisoners will be, as a results, in a much worse position than they would have been had the USG refrained from practicing torture in the first place.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 4:08pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Or 3. Point out that the other guy didn't get lawyers and doctors to sign a document declaring that their acts weren't officially torture.

            Torture isn't torture if it involves lots and lots of paperwork and "oversight." Bureaucracy is a magic hypocrisy eraser.

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      • icon
        Derek Kerton (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 11:02am

        Re: Re:

        Beautiful. Especially the closing paragraph.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 12:31pm

        Re: Re:

        which also increases the deaths on both sides.

        No offence but I think this point is negligible when one side loses 1 for every 10'000 or so on the other side, granted there is a huge rate of civilians in that 10'000. So it might be more to 1 to 1000 actual fighters. Heck, even the Bush senior Iraq war had ~100 US to ~150'000 Iraqy dead.

        For a true war where two armies are fighting each other you had a point but in the current situation you have people shooting AKs versus drone strkes from nowhere which boils down to bow and arrow trying to hit a high tech sniper 1+miles away.
        Otherwise well thought out post.

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      • identicon
        Pragmatic, 10 Feb 2015 @ 2:44am

        Re: Re:

        Don't forget that the people carrying out the torture have an ideological agenda that states that mere suspicion = guilt. This is WHY they can't get useful intel — nine times out of ten they've got the wrong person anyway.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 5:24am

      Re:

      The best Gernam Interogator of WW2, Hanns Scharf, would disagree with you. Indeed throughout history, the main use of torture has been to achievement the confession, or confirmation of information that the torturer believes that they have.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Dirkmaster (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 1:21pm

        Re: Re:

        If your goal is to get a confession that you can use as propaganda, sure it's effective.

        But that's not the stated goal here. It's to get actionable intelligence. In that case, it fails utterly.

        Please tell me that you don't think that the US's use to torture was for propaganda purposes. That would make a terrible situation EVEN WORSE!

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 5:52am

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 9th, 2015 @ 4:36am

      We got a dummy here

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      MadAsASnake (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 6:02am

      Re:

      You have it arse backwards. Torture is pretty useless at extracting accurate information (intel). It is effective at extracting confessions - they will confess to ANYTHING. You can get a hardened criminal to confess to being the father of Mickey Mouse if you want. If you want genuine intel, you don't torture people. If you want someone to say things you want them to say torturing them might work.

      Now, there were those in the bush administration that had an agenda - war in Iraq. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. They were never going to get intel for this attack - the actual intel operatives were pulled off and the torture began - and those tortured started saying things the torturers wanted them to say. Tell me now, how did 9/11 make this desirable or necessary?

      A lot of people died in Iraq. Torturing people instead of gathering intelligence costs lives.

      Moral posturing isn't even necessary to debunk your argument.

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      • icon
        Padpaw (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 10:26am

        Re: Re:

        bush and his cabal needed some way to publicly sever ties with their former ally saddam. Waging a fake war seemed to work rather well.

        Though I am betting any allies of the states are waiting for their turn once they stop being useful

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    • icon
      mcherm (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 6:21am

      Re: "Torture Works"

      You wrote:

      "you'll still need to use torture in situations like the one just after 9/11.
      That's because torture works. It is indeed useless for extracting confessions (people will confess anything, that's true), but it has always worked quite well to extract informations."

      I wonder if you can provide any evidence to back up this claim? Because I have seen evidence that contradicts it... that suggests that torture does not work and does not help in such situations.

      For my first piece of evidence, here is a popular science article referencing an actual neurobiology study showing torture is not effective: http://arstechnica.com/science/2009/09/science-behind-us-coercive-interrogations-missing-in-action/

      F or my second piece of evidence, I present the conclusions of the Senate panel looking into the actual torture performed after 9/11 and whether that torture was effective. They concluded that in *every single case* it did not actually produce new, useful information. Again, a popular press report that summarizes and links to the actual story: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/dec/09/senate-committee-cia-torture-does-not-work

      Do you have anything more than mere feelings to support your claim? Because it is my belief that NOT ONLY are there grave moral issues with the use of torture, BUT ALSO its use does not actually help achieve the goals it is intended for. And IN ADDITION it normalizes the behavior thus encouraging groups like the "Islamic State" (aka. ISIS or ISIL) to engage in torture. If I am correct, and all this cost is for absolutely no benefit, then it is truly a great tragedy.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 9:28am

        Re: Re:

        If you already know someone has information then torturing them can work.
        But even aside from Moral issues, it can be tricky business to sort out real information.
        The only thing it will reliably ptduce are confessions... including false confessions.

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        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 9:32am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "it can be tricky business to sort out real information"

          Which means it doesn't work. Or at least, it doesn't work any better than other methods which aren't evil.

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        • icon
          nasch (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 9:45am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If you already know someone has information then torturing them can work.

          And even if it worked, and even if torturing someone who actually has the information you want were ethical (it isn't), we can never know with certainty that they actually have the information, so it would still be unethical just because of the possibility of torturing someone who doesn't have information we need.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 4:33pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The only way to know someone has information is if you know what it is. Otherwise you can't know if it's relevant or not.

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    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 7:35am

      Re:

      "but you'll still need to use torture in situations like the one just after 9/11"

      Even if there were situations where torture is justifiable (and I don't think there is), 9/11 was certainly not one of those situations.

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    • icon
      JP Jones (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 8:44am

      Re:

      but it has always worked quite well to extract informations.

      [Citation Needed]

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 8:52am

      Re:

      You know, if you're still in favor of using torture, and (apparently) proud of the results it achieves, kindly answer one question....

      Why not just publish the entire report, say, "yes, the USA tortures people, as a matter of official policy" and accept the consequences?

      If it is such a justifiable thing to do, then by all means OWN IT!

      The secrecy surrounding it just doesn't appear to be justified, given your "logic" surrounding the "benefits." Why the fear of backlash, given such a wholesome "justification" you've presented there?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 12:16pm

      Re:

      Imho the only way torture works is against the one doing it. The US can't even release picture of detainees because they would be used against them*. Do you really think hearing about torture has a different impact? All it does in my opinion is give ISIS and other such groups a way to recruit more people which is kind of the thing you don't want. So even if you could gain information out the act of torture you shouldn't do it because it works against you in the long run.

      * "Both groups [ISIS, Al Qaede] could exploit the photos “to encourage supporters and followers to attack United States military and government personnel,” the government argued in the motion."
      https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/02/05/line-sand-fight-release-thousands-photos-priso ner-abuse/

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    • identicon
      DBM, 10 Feb 2015 @ 5:15pm

      Re:

      Your comments are spot on. Most of these people don't realize that people arent tortured for a meaningless reason like they do in Russia, China and many other parts of the world. They also don't realize that many questions asked we already know the answer because they want to see if the person is lying. And they don't realize only a very few people where tortured. These people also want to sit back in their safe little homes spouting off their moral superiority and how they would do things. Join the military and deploy to the ME, watch the Jordanian pilot burn, watch the people getting their throats cut, watch the acid being thrown into womens faces etc. These people really don't care about that because its over there and the people being butchered arent white.
      One more thing if you want to experience torture live with my mother in law or go to a dentist. Ask the hygienist to direct the compressed air towards the back of your throat. The result is the same as being water boarded.

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      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 11 Feb 2015 @ 8:34am

        Re: Re:

        "Most of these people don't realize that people arent tortured for a meaningless reason like they do in Russia, China and many other parts of the world. They also don't realize that many questions asked we already know the answer because they want to see if the person is lying. And they don't realize only a very few people where tortured."

        None of which actually matters in terms of whether or not torturing people is evil.

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    • icon
      GEMont (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 7:25pm

      Re:

      "That's because torture works."
      "... it has always worked quite well to extract informations.

      What the torturers have really discovered:

      When you torture someone, their life becomes the question, and to answer it means an end to their life, because they know that you're not going to let them live once you no longer need your questions answered.

      For the tortured, answering the questions correctly means committing suicide.

      When you torture someone, you create a mortal enemy - one who would willingly do to you, all the things you have done to him, and as many other things as his mind can manufacture.

      Helping you in any way at all is the farthest thing from his mind and screwing you over in the one way open to him is his primary goal in life at that point.

      Since the only way that a victim of torture can get revenge upon his torturer is through the torturer's need for answers to questions - informations - giving correct answers is out of the question, but giving false, misleading and "going to cost you dearly" answers somewhat appeases his need for revenge against his torturers.

      Torture does not work, outside of hollywood movies.

      The information you claim it gains is always tainted by the victim's need to cause his torturers as much grief as possible and is always mostly false and often expensive to follow up on, and sometimes, whenever possible, a trap.

      You - like the lady depicted in the movie about killing Bin Ladin who headed up the US torture program - simply like the idea of getting personal revenge or at least a sense of personal pay-back by torturing someone who is bound and helpless, who you mentally associate with those you feel did you, or your fellow countrymen harm.

      Revenge by proxy.

      You are beyond despicable.

      You are the enemy.

      ---

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        shanen (profile), 15 Feb 2015 @ 4:34pm

        Torture is stupid, too

        This is the only reference I could find for "trap", but I wish the system was smart enough to look for obvious synonyms, etc.

        However, just to make the point clear: If your enemy knows you use torture, then they can use that against you. Not just for recruitment and motivation of their fighters, which has frequently been mentioned, but more directly, as with the baiting of traps mentioned in this post, but indirectly by relying upon complicated techniques that a person is not able to recall or use under torture. The torture may seem to authenticate the revealed information, whereas all it has actually done is authenticate the trap.

        However, I think the strongest argument against torture is that if you become as EVIL as your enemy, then your enemy has won. You can't defeat evil by becoming the greater evil.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 5:21am

    Despite our justice system being advertised as "guilty until proven innocent,

    Isn't this backwards in the context the article is trying to make? It goes on stating that it's the opposite, yet it states the exact same thing

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 6:26am

    I guess this will open up the torture option for any U.S. POW or student/tourist/reporter/operative that happens to wander off the correct path. If the Great and Powerful US can torture, so can we so screw the geneva convention.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 7:29am

    Hooray for the US's new no-torture policy!

    ...until the next time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 7:48am

    Yes, torture is banned, but what about EITs?

    If I remember right, this all happened because DOJ lawyers decided to justfy these acts by simply creating a new category for them with a different name, and declaring it legal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 7:48am

    Make the Government look bad by showing the Government's illegal actions, that's prison sentence.

    Make the Government look good while breaking the law, you get more money and a better job and a gold star.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 8:13am

    Remember: Freedom, Liberty and Democracy! Because we said so! (dont question it or we will waterboard your entire family.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 10:33am

    CIA personnel -- and those overseeing them -- will see less time behind bars combined than John Kiriakou served on his own, because that's how supremely screwed up our government is at this point.

    This. A quadrillion time, this!

    As more time passes, the more I am convinced that the wrong people keep getting prosecuted and jailed when it comes to the "War on Terror".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 10:45am

    Update me please

    Maybe I missed something, but I didn't think any U. S. law respecting torture was changed in any significant way since the 2006 Military Commissions act.

    So what's the deal? Did his sentence require him to spout propaganda? Because he said, "I’m proud I had a role in seeing that torture is now banned in the United States." But if the law didn't change then how did he have a role in changing nothing?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 10:49am

      Re: Update me please

      The law didn't change as far as I'm aware, but what did change was the definition of "torture". It specifically excludes those kinds of torture that the government wants to engage in -- that's "enhanced interrogation techniques" now.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Coyne Tibbets (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 8:31pm

        Re: Re: Update me please

        Which means exactly nothing. Because the whole thing that lead to torture in the first place was a change in definition.

        The next administration changes it back, and we're off again!

        But I guess that would entitle him to claim he had a role in the definition change.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 10:57am

    from the b-b-but I got 'er done department

    "“I’m proud I had a role in seeing that torture is now banned in the United States,” he said."

    Right...and so are the use of dangerously high leverage by banks, flagrant brutality by police, and self-assuring statements of naivete.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 10:59am

    because that's how supremely screwed up our government is at this point.

    What makes you think it wasn't screwed up long before? Craps the punishment of people for exposing government wrong doing has probably been happening for a long time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 11:09am

      Re:

      It was. In fact, I argue that on the whole things are much better now than in most times in history in terms of government abuse -- largely, I think, because the internet makes it harder for shenanigans to go unnoticed.

      That's not to say things don't suck right now, of course, but a little perspective can help stave off that crippling sense of resignation. The general trend is in the right direction.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 4:35pm

        Re: Re:

        because the internet makes it harder for shenanigans to go unnoticed.
        I think that's actually why it's worse now. A lot more people know about government abuses, but nothing has changed. It's not the abuses, it's the fact that when they've been caught red-handed they've revealed themselves to give precisely zero fucks about it.

        Nixon insisted that he wasn't a crook, but left anyway. Now we've got the opposite: Obama admitted that we tortured some folks, but that any punishment would be too sanctimonious.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 11:10am

    "The ultimate irony, he says, is that everything he was punished for saying has now been proven true."

    Tim, I'm 100% pro John Kiriakou. He's a hero. His case is clear. He is saving the country from a massive blunder.

    But I need to point out that the test of whether a whistleblower is a hero or a traitor is not whether the information that is leaked is later "proven true."

    There is a lot of Top Secret stuff that is better kept secret. Some secrets are ethical, legal, and it is strategically significant that they remain secret. Leaking them would be "true", but still wrong.

    That's why the hero/traitor distinction is so fraught with disagreement and subjective evaluations. It's not a cut and dried question of truth - it's a nebulous question of "was this leak the right thing to do for the nation?"

    Techdirt tends to focus on whistleblowers which this community think (and I agree) are on the right side of ethics. John Kiriakou, Ed Snowden being prominent examples. But it's not because their leaks were true. It's because the public NEEDED TO KNOW.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 2:05pm

      Re:

      Well said. I agree that there are things that the government should keep secret.

      The real problem is that the government abuses this ability and keeps things secret for no legitimate reason. I think it's fair to speculate that the vast majority of classified information should not be classified at all. In that world, the benefit of the doubt goes to the whistleblowers, not the government.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Derek Kerton (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 3:00pm

        Re: Re:

        "the benefit of the doubt goes to the whistleblowers"

        Yeah.

        It's a David vs. Goliath fight, and a bold move for any whistleblower, who is always burning bridges. The least we could do is apply an innocent until proven guilty mentality, and a "public defender" level of legal support.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 11:26am

    It worned in Algiers, among other numerous examples. No one is saying it's a nice thing to do, but it does work. There wouldn't be any moral dilemma if it didn't.
    Insulting me won't make a lot of difference, you know.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 11:47am

      Re:

      It worned in Algiers, among other numerous examples.

      It has to work consistently, not just occasionally, for that argument to even be on the table. However to me it's irrelevant because even if it worked every single time torture would still be wrong. The eighth amendment, for example, doesn't prohibit cruel and unusual punishment "unless it works".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 6:14pm

      Re:

      Ordering the death penalty for anyone found guilty of a crime would drastically decrease crime rates.

      Cameras in every house would likely also drastically decrease crime rates.

      Forcing anyone who was homeless or poor enough into unpaid labor/slavery would allow for costs in many areas of industry to be drastically reduced, and provide a significant number of free or almost free labor for public works projects, greatly benefiting industry and the public, while at the same time all but eliminating the problem of homelessness and the poor 'draining' public taxpayer money.

      Killing everyone in a city that happens to have a terrorist group in it would, assuming it was done quick and thoroughly enough, almost certainly kill off that group, and make other groups much less likely to do anything that would draw attention to them.

      All of the above examples would be incredibly effective in dealing with the problems they are connected to, yet we don't do them. Why? Because some costs are too high, no matter the gains. Some acts too unthinkable, no matter the goal.

      Also, it's not an insult, it's a statement of fact. Those that practice or even support torture are sick individuals, who have demonstrated a complete and utter lack of empathy or even basic humanity, and they deserve to be called out as such.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        ltlw0lf (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 11:15am

        Re: Re:

        Ordering the death penalty for anyone found guilty of a crime would drastically decrease crime rates.

        Maybe, but it would also likely increase the severity of crime. While not everyone would resort to violence to escape being caught, I suspect that many, when faced with execution for being caught versus a chance to get away and live to fight another day, would do whatever they could to avoid being caught, including offing witnesses during the act. I certainly wouldn't want to live in that society.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 11:55am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I suspect that many, when faced with execution for being caught versus a chance to get away and live to fight another day, would do whatever they could to avoid being caught, including offing witnesses during the act.

          There's evidence that this has already happened with California's three strikes law. People committing their third felony killed all the witnesses or attacked responding police officers, because they would already get the maximum sentence anyway if they were caught so multiple murder counts wouldn't make a difference. They've since scaled back the law repeatedly.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 11:32pm

    those who enforce laws they make themselves immune to are looking at a collapse of society when people finally stop following laws.

    Why should I follow a law if the man making it gets to ignore it with no repurcussions

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Pragmatic, 10 Feb 2015 @ 2:48am

      Re:

      ^This. Actually, you don't need to worry too much about repercussions if you're either very rich or in law enforcement. /s

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Padpaw (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 10:28am

        Re: Re:

        It is kind of funny though that by stockpiling food over 7 days makes me a potential domestic terrorist in the eyes of DHS.

        By trying to prepare for what they are causing to happen I am already labeled an enemy of the state. Though I suspect just by posting on this site I already fall into that category. As dissent is not tolerated, and protesting is low lvl terrorism.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Res, 10 Feb 2015 @ 9:42am

    Torturing friends

    Don't forget that when you torture innocent people who may very well have been friends or who thought that America was a beacon of freedom - they will probably unfriend you or do something much worse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 5:47pm

    Its so much fun being the local Doomsayer!

    "...because that's how supremely screwed up our government is at this point."

    Haha - jokes on you!

    You don't really have a "government" any more.

    RANT WARNING!!
    ==============

    Sure they "govern" as in, ordering you to do their bidding or suffer the consequences, but that's about as far as it goes. Disaster hits and its the public to the rescue, not your "government". They're too busy cashing in on the calamity.

    What you've got now is a cabal - a gang of really, really, rich dudes, whose only dream in life, is to become even richer dudes and they could not give a rat's ass about you whining peasants, or your concerns or your fears and dreams.

    In five to ten years the "boys" will have all their ducks in a row and there won't be a damn thing any citizen of the Five Eyes, White, English Nations can do to stop them, as all the laws will have been changed to allow for a fully fascist "emergency" take-over of the "necessary commodities for survival", no matter where those particular commodities happen to be on earth, or who happens to own them currently, such as all those commodities currently in the hands of people in the black, brown, olive, and yellow-skin countries.

    And you American, British, Australian and Canadian peasants are gonna become the invading armies who take these commodities by force from their current non-white, non-english speaking owners - and you will believe your killing all those people to save your own people from certain doom, just like the soldiers in every other war ever fought on earth, for the rich men who stay at home.

    That's why all of your real jobs have gone overseas to slave-based nations, so your economy can be artificially lowered again to increase the desperation of the peasants trying to feed their families - to allow for only one possible employment option - soldier/sailor/airman - the army.

    Its World War 3, and its the rich VS the poor and the rich hope to see the war won before the poor and middle class even learn who the enemy is and can react in the right direction - behind them.

    But don't worry. The diversity of cultures around the globe shows us that peasant "customers" can get used to any kind of traditional "customs" their wealthy owners force upon them - and that they can adjust in very little time (and eventually even universally hold those very traditional customs to be their national cultural heritage) - so your children will all quickly get used to being poor feudal peasants again real quick, once the options are limited to "conform or starve".

    Of course a few hundred million of you who have no "value" to the rulers will have to be culled and executed and processed as fertilizer, and a few hundred million of you will have to be enslaved completely as a work-force to built the impregnable palatial fortresses of the soon-to-be Gods among men (probably in New Zealand), and a few hundred million of you might be placed in cryo-tanks to insure a goodly supply of body parts and organs for replacement in the gods-2b, as they age and need new parts, but hey its for the greater good of your soon to be living gods.

    A few hundred million might also need to be chemically lobotomized, to provide decent household slaves and field workers for the Gods-2b . But hey, a couple billion of you should survive as customers and workers for the new products and services the wealthy will want at their disposal.

    Good news for the peasants of the Five Eyes Nation though - most of those necessarily altered and killed peasants listed above will be from the colored nations, which will of course destroy our gene pool and lead to a genetic medical shit-storm unlike anything humanity has ever seen before, but hey, the wealthy weenies playing god, will have a ball until then.

    It always amazes me how we forget that 99% of human history, is the history of the wealthy overseeing the suffering of the vast poor majority through military/police control and religious/social propaganda/education, for fun and profit.

    Its amazing that people believe that just because we have a modern society with laws protecting the poor from the rich, that the rich will not try and become, once again - as they have done so often in the past - gods among men, using their wealth to control all that they see and covet, by force and guile.

    But what is really amazing is how the peasants who become wealthy and the members of the ancient wealthy families, keep doing this same "Gods among Men" bullshit scenario, and screwing up the whole world, for just a few decades at most, of partying hardy, before complete collapse of the entire social structure.

    Remember, it was you in the poor and middle classes who relinquished control of your futures to the wealthy politicians and lawmakers, somehow expecting that they would not become corrupt and self serving, because you dreamed daily of becoming wealthy and joining them in their decadence - fools you hey!

    When the wealthy brought about the last dark ages in order to rewrite selected pieces of, and remove the rest of human history to protect the guilty and to restart civilization in the Renaissance with themselves at the top of the food chain, the populations of the earth were given two choices:

    1. Join the army and torture, maim and kill peasants for the ruling local monarch, in return for a roof over your head and a job-income to feed your family with, or,

    2. Remain a peasant and try to hide.

    Welcome to the start of the new dark ages people.

    And for those who will automatically say "It can't happen here.", look around you fools, it is already happening here and in all the other Five Eyes Nations, as we speak.

    We have never yet managed to catch on before the wealthy turn the civilizations back into the kingdoms, and we are now smarter peasants than ever before in history, with the ability, for the very first time, of comparing notes around the globe through communication systems like the internet.

    Even language is no longer the fool-proof barrier against human communication and eventual solidarity and understanding that it once was.

    If we cannot catch them in the act this time and stop them, then we really don't deserve a future, and they apparently will always win this game.

    We now return you to your officially prescribed canola, corn-flour and powdered milk that looks like a hamburger diet.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 7:51pm

    My term here is ending apparently

    Looks like it has begun.

    That's the second post that has been lost because the "This Page Cannot be Shown" page loaded when I hit Submit.

    Took longer than I expected though. :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 9:48pm

      Re: My term here is ending apparently

      That's the second post that has been lost because the "This Page Cannot be Shown" page loaded when I hit Submit.

      Your rant showed up just fine, that's just your persecution complex acting up. ;-)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        GEMont (profile), 11 Feb 2015 @ 1:45pm

        Re: Re: My term here is ending apparently

        Good grief mun.

        Did ye think that I could load this page and NOT see the RANT post, before posting that last comment? Its freaking huge and right above the "My Term" post.

        Are ye really that desperate for a reason to scream "nutter". Where did your touted integrity go all of a sudden?

        But hell, be my guest. Being called a nutter by those who are too shallow or frightened to look outside the box is a compliment in my opinion.

        It took me two tries to get on the site today as well. Same dead page redirect.

        To clarify for people with an overblown sense of personal worth - two posts - AFTER THE RANT POST - were disappeared to the ether when the submit button sent me to a dead page.

        It was a rather short post and not particularly "nutter"ish - more of a simple attempt at humour. I tried to post it twice - both attempts sent me to the dead page and deleted the editor box contents.

        The "My Term" post was as much a test post as a comment.

        This redirection has been happening all month off and on, but yesterday was the first time the editor box dumped the text after hitting the "back" button.

        So now I have to copy the finished text before hitting Submit, so I can retry the post if redirection deletes it from the editor. I've had to do this before, so its just returning to an old habit.

        Today, to get here, I had to reclick the TD link twice because I was sent to the same "Cannot Display this page" page the first time.

        This is exactly what happened at the start of my exile from TruthDig, so I'm assuming the same pattern will be played out again.

        Believe what you need to believe nasch, if it makes you sleep better - I can do nothing about pink unicorns and spagetti gods but will defend your right to believe in either or both.

        However your obvious haste in posting that response shows that you really needed to get that off your shoulders, since it completely removed your ability to observe the obvious - that the RANT post was directly above the "My Term" post and could not possibly be misssed.

        BTW, since the dead page is an internet page, the problem is with my web connection, not with TD.

        ----

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dan G Difino, 16 Feb 2015 @ 8:24am

    Torture Works

    Torture is hit and miss. The ones it doesn't work on are the bastards we missed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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