[THS] !!!!! Nat Hentoff: What is the CIA Still Hiding about Interrogations?
vignes at wanadoo.fr
Sat Sep 5 12:35:27 CEST 2009
What is the CIA Still Hiding about Interrogations?
By Nat Hentoff:
September 04, 2009 "Billings Gazette" -- A fierce debate will long continue to swirl
around former CIA Inspector General John Helgerson's long-delayed 2004 report
(sprung by an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit) about at least some of the
"enhanced" CIA interrogations. He now says some were apparently designed "solely
because they were degrading" (his statement printed in the Aug. 24 Washington
The Helgerson report was released despite strenuous objections by CIA Director Leon
We now know (The New York Times, August 26) that the CIA's "secret interrogation
program operated under strict rules ... managers, doctors and lawyers not only set
the program's parameters but dictated every facet of a detainee's daily routine,
monitoring interrogations on an hour-by-hour basis."
Bush-Cheney torture policy
If we are to believe this proud declaration by the CIA, it reveals how fastidiously the
Bush-Cheney administration executed its policy of "cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment" forbidden by the international Convention Against Torture, the Geneva
Conventions (both of which we signed), our own torture laws and the Supreme
Court's 2006 Hamdan v. Rumsfeld decision.
Should you doubt our torture policy existed, see actual official government
documents (including autopsy reports of suspects killed during interrogation) in
"Administration of Torture": A Documentary Record from Washington to Abu Ghraib
and Beyond" (Columbia University Press, 2007) by the ACLU's Jameel Jaffer and Amrit
What is the CIA hiding? Keep in mind that of the 109 pages on the widely discussed
CIA inspector general report, 36 pages were completely blacked out, and 30 more
were largely blacked out (ABC News, Aug. 25). Moreover, ABC's Brian Ross and
Matthew Cole alarmingly disclose:
"The CIA and the Obama Administration continue to keep secret some of the most
shocking allegations involving the spy agency's interrogation program: three deaths
and several other detainees whose whereabouts could not be determined, according
to a former senior intelligence official who has read the full, unredacted version."
Beyond the inflammatory Helgerson report, there will be much more to come if we
ever get a full-scale, bipartisan criminal investigation with subpoena powers, not only
of "the black sites" but all the way up the chain of command to the highest-level
officials and their lawyers, who have yet to be held at all accountable for the war
crimes - and that's what they are in U.S. and international law - committed in our
As for the continuing secrecy of the far from self-declared "transparent" Obama
administration, little attention has been paid to the former CIA inspector general's
recent statement in the Aug. 24 Washington Post in which he said:
"I am disappointed that the Government did not release even a redacted version of
the Recommendations (I made), which described a number of corrective actions that
needed to be taken."
Why do Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama hide these
recommendations by the former inspector general? Because they don't want to act
At the smoldering core of what will inevitably, blazingly erupt is the statement by a
then much-respected national veteran of public service in the
January/February/March 2008 Washington Monthly:
"We have made clear that there are certain lines Americans will not cross because we
respect the dignity of every human being ... We are sworn to govern by the rule of
law, not by brute force ... We cannot simply suspend these beliefs in the name of
"Those who support torture may believe that we can abuse captives in certain select
circumstances and still be true to our values. But that is a false compromise. We
either believe in the dignity of the individual, the rule of law, and the prohibition of
cruel and unusual punishment, or we don't. There is no middle ground."
Startlingly, the definer of these battered American values was Leon Panetta,
President Barack Obama's choice to be present director of the CIA!
But Panetta now intensely opposes even Holder's very narrow preliminary
investigation of the CIA's "enhanced interrogations." Like the president, Panetta
prefers to look forward, as the nonpareil baseball legend Satchel Paige advised:
"Don't look back, something might be gaining on you."
It's too late, Mr. President and Mr. CIA Director.
NAT HENTOFF for Newspaper Enterprise Association
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