Archive for torture is wrong

What I will not write about today



Sometimes I get so frustrated and/or disheartened and/or annoyed by some of the news stories of the day that I can’t bring myself to write about them. Here are a few recent reports that made my blood pressure hit the roof. I am avoiding delving into them at length out of concern for my physical and mental health.

  • Boy Scouts Propose Allowing Gay Scouts, But Not Gay Scout Leaders -- "The resolution includes the claim that screening adult leaders is important for 'protecting Scouts.'”  Forget about protecting equal rights. Forget about protecting everyone from discrimination and prejudice. Just protect the Scouts from every single gay man who ever lived, because clearly they are all icky pedophiles who are into bestiality and incest.

See what I mean? So who’s up for a couple of Margs or a trough of wine?

drunk ab workout


Candidate to lead CIA Clandestine Service ran secret 'black site' prison, later approved destruction of torture videos



Oh goody! Just what we need! Go Brennan!

L.A. Times:

The acting chief of the CIA's operations wing ran a secret "black site" prison overseas after the 2001 terrorist attacks and later signed off on the decision to destroy videotapes of brutal interrogations, according to current and former U.S. officials. The woman, who remains undercover, now is one of several candidates that CIA chief John Brennan is considering to head the National Clandestine Service, which conducts espionage overseas and runs the agency's paramilitary operations. [...]

The CIA is preparing to dispute the report's conclusions, sources said.

Via Salon:

[From] Brennan’s December 5, 2005 appearance on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, in which he vehemently defended the Bush administration’s use of rendition — one of the key tools to subject detainees to torture:

JOHN BRENNAN: I think it’s an absolutely vital tool. I have been intimately familiar now over the past decade with the cases of rendition that the U.S. Government has been involved in. And I can say without a doubt that it has been very successful as far as producing intelligence that has saved lives.


In November, 2007, Brennan — in an interview with CBS News’ Harry Smith — issued a ringing endorsement for so-called “enhanced interrogation tactics” short of waterboarding:

Mr. BRENNAN: There have been a lot of information that has come out from these interrogation procedures that the agency has in fact used against the real hard-core terrorists. It has saved lives. And let’s not forget, these are hardened terrorists who have been responsible for 9/11, who have shown no remorse at all for the deaths of 3,000 innocents.

When in doubt, revive and aggravate existing anger over egregious actions (the now-discredited CIA detention and torture programs) by sticking by and promoting those who were a part of them. That's the way to move forward, everyone knows that.

wtf moments 2013


"We seem to have reached the point where we are discussing the value of torture rather than its morality."



Today's L.A. Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "Bin Laden movie heats up CIA torture debate," Dec. 14

With the arrival of "Zero Dark Thirty," a dramatization of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, we seem to have reached the point where we are discussing the value of torture rather than its morality.

We have moved from being a country that thrilled to James Cagney resisting Nazi torture to protect the secrets of D-day ("13 Rue Madeleine") to one that seemingly will embrace torture if it works. We were a country that condemned Hitler for the heinous invasion of Poland; just recently, we invaded Iraq on the pretext that we have a unilateral right to preemptive war.

And those who promote these new values claim the mantle of being the real Americans.

Robert Silver

Los Angeles


Questions: Does anyone dispute the fact the CIA has systematically tortured captives? Is there any reason to believe that members of the Senate Intelligence Committee had no knowledge of it? Hasn't torture long been a crime under both U.S. and international law? Why aren't those who authorized torture and the committee members who failed to stop it being prosecuted? And what's to prevent future cases of torture if today's perpetrators aren't prosecuted?

Jon K. Williams

Goleta, Calif.


I am deeply troubled that anyone would suggest there's a debate on the efficacy of torture.

In 1941, my father was waterboarded by the Japanese in Shanghai. He confessed that he was a British agent. It wasn't true, but at that moment, he would have signed anything to end his ordeal. Irrespective of whether the information garnered by torture turns out to be true, torture is a crime.

In 1948, the Japanese officer responsible for waterboarding my father was tried and convicted at a war crimes trials in Hong Kong. That same standard should be applied to the Americans who ordered or took part in waterboarding.

Ernest A. Canning

Thousand Oaks


The Bush administration "torture memos" will be 10 years old this week


It doesn't take a genius to understand that people were tortured during the Bush administration. They can use as many euphemisms as they want-- "enhanced interrogation techniques," the third degree, or even hopscotch for all I care-- but what they did to human beings was clearly torture. BushCo justified it in any number of ways, including writing law that they claimed made it all okay, but it wasn't okay. It was cruel, it was criminal, and it didn't work.

Retired Air Force Col. Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and now on the faculty of the Howard University School of Law, wrote an op-ed for the L.A. Times that he titled "Consign Bush's 'torture memos' to history."

If only those who were responsible would or could be prosecuted:

The Bush administration "torture memos" will be 10 years old this week. As the administration developed its interrogation policies, it concealed various forms of torture under the moniker "enhanced interrogation techniques." It consulted with the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice on the legality of these techniques, including waterboarding, walling (slamming detainees against walls), forcing detainees into stress positions and subjecting them to sleep deprivation. Ultimately, the OLC provided legal cover for the use of most of these techniques. [...]

[T]he Bush administration embraced it by renaming it enhanced interrogation techniques and claiming that it was necessary for our national security. Upon taking office, President Obama issued an executive order halting the use of torture.

Torture is counterproductive. Professional interrogators — Ali Soufan of the FBI, Matthew Alexander of the Air Force and Glenn Carle of the CIA — have said this clearly. Torture is always illegal [and] is also a moral abomination.  [...]

The Senate Intelligence Committee has undertaken an investigation into the CIA's use of enhanced interrogation techniques allowed by the memos. It is essential that its findings be released to the public so that the American people can know the truth about what was done in their name.


here; That link includes one specific to only *Fayiz al-Kandari’s story here.

Here are audio and video interviews with Lt. Col. Wingard, one by David Shuster, one by Ana Marie Cox, and more. My guest commentary at BuzzFlash is here.

Lt. Col. Barry Wingard is a military attorney who represents Fayiz Al-Kandari in the Military Commission process and in no way represents the opinions of his home state. When not on active duty, Colonel Wingard is a public defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

If you are inclined to help rectify these injustices: Twitterers, use the hashtag #FreeFayiz. We have organized a team to get these stories out. If you are interested in helping Fayiz out, e-mail me at The Political Carnival, address in sidebar to the right; or tweet me at @GottaLaff.

If you’d like to see other ways you can take action, go here and scroll down to the end of the article.

Then read Jane Mayer’s book The Dark Side. You’ll have a much greater understanding of why I post endlessly about this, and why I’m all over the CIA deception issues, too.

More of Fayiz’s story here, at