Tag Archives: Enhanced Interrogation

ACLU, Human Rights Watch Call for Criminal Investigation into CIA Torture Tactics

After the US Senate Intelligence Committee released its exhaustive report on the torture tactics used by the Central Intelligence Agency under its post-9/11 enhanced interrogation program, Americans were shocked to discover that intelligence agents entrusted with protecting the nation brutalized detainees through harsh measures like rectal feeding, forced sleep deprivation, and death threats. Detainees suffered sexual abuse, and one died of hypothermia. Suspects were waterboarded repeatedly. After reading the long list of stomach-churning tactics, many Americans were left feeling like, in attempting to defeat the terrorists after 9/11, the nation lost its way and misplaced its rights-respecting, constitutional traditions.

In light of these and other revelations, Reuters is reporting that two civil rights groups, Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union, are calling for the United States Department of Justice to appoint a special prosecutor to launch a criminal probe into the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program. The civil rights advocates issued a letter to the DOJ, warning that failing to press criminal charges could set a dangerous precedent, which said, “We believe the failure to conduct a comprehensive criminal investigation would contribute to the notion that torture remains a permissible policy option for future administrations; undermine the ability of the United States to advocate for human rights abroad; and compromise Americans’ faith in the rule of law at home.” Both groups believe that the new revelations exposed in the torture report justify a fresh look at the CIA’s tactics.

A BenSwann.com report by Rachel Blevins noted that the group Physicians for Human Rights said that medical professionals who assisted CIA agents with tactics like rectal feeding and hydration might have committed war crimes. Reuters notes that United Nations special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Ben Emmerson said that US authorities responsible for the program should face criminal charges. “The US Attorney General is under a legal duty to bring criminal charges against those responsible,” said Emmerson in a statement on the issue. He continued, “It is now time to take action. The individuals responsible for the criminal conspiracy revealed in today’s report must be brought to justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes.”

Officials with the Obama administration say that they have no intention of conducting further investigations into whether crimes were committed under the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program. Marc Raimondi, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice, said that government officials have already carried out two criminal investigations but have failed to find sufficient evidence justifying charges against any specific individuals. Raimondi claims that investigators already knew about the information from the Senate torture report when they conducted the prior investigations and that the revelation of those details to the public does not itself warrant reopening the criminal probe.

Senate Torture Report Bombshell: CIA Lied to Lawmakers, Used Techniques More Brutal Than Claimed

The US Senate Intelligence Committee just released a report, five years in the making, on post-911 torture techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency, which examines the contents of six million internal CIA documents. According to The New York Times, the report noted that the CIA often misled congressional and White House officials about the effectiveness of the techniques that were being used, the level of brutality of those techniques, and what information the techniques actually produced. Based on twenty case studies examined in the report, investigators concluded that enhanced interrogation techniques were not as effective as less brutal methods when it came to providing useful information that could be used to stop a terror plot.

The CIA is responding to the 6000-page report, released to the public in a 500-word executive summary, by digging its heels in, claiming that its techniques are effective and that the report is flawed and a poor representation of the techniques that have been used. The New York Times quoted a CIA statement on the matter, which said “There are too many flaws for it to stand as the official record of the program.”

According to the report, detainees were subjected to a stomach-churning onslaught of torture methods. CIA agents used the harshest techniques possible without first trying to obtain information through less-aggressive means. Some detainees were deprived of sleep in uncomfortable positions for up to 180 hours. Waterboarding was used more frequently than the CIA originally admitted, with some detainees being subjected to the technique over and over again for “days or weeks at a time.” One detainee died of hypothermia. Five detainees were forced to undergo rectal feeding and rectal hydration, absent any medical need, as a form of torture. Detainees were threatened with death, sexually abused, and told that their families would be killed and/or sexually abused. According to The Daily Beast, an interrogator told a detainee that he would not get a trial because “we can never let the world know what I have done to you.”

Twitter user Andrew Blake posted a series of screenshots from the report, seen below, which highlight some of the more extreme methods that were used by interrogators.

Richard Walker, an anchor for DW, also published a tweet which compiled the 20 findings of the Senate torture report in one screenshot, seen below.

In a speech about the report cited by CNN, Senator Diane Feinstein said, “The release of this 500-page summary cannot remove that stain, but it can and does say to our people and the world that America is big enough to admit when it’s wrong and confident enough to learn from its mistakes.”