Report: U.S. Government Ran Torture Program After 9-11

220px-AbuGhraibAbuse-standing-on-boxAn independent report by the Constitution Project, a non-partisan Washington think tank, is the latest to confirm what is already known to the world — we ran a torture program approved by the highest levels of our government in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks. The report is an indictment not only of President Bush who is responsible for the torture program but President Obama who promised CIA officials that they would not be investigated or prosecuted for torture.

The report concluded that the Bush Administration embraced torture in an unprecedented way. While there is brutality in our history, the report determines, “there is no evidence there had ever before been the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after September 11, directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.”

Of course, the same extreme voices from the Bush Administration were quick to condemn the report like former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, John Bolton, who called the report “completely divorced from reality.” Bolton insisted that the procedures were “lawyered, and lawyered again, and lawyered again.” That is three lawyers and would include John Yoo, Steven G. Bradbury, and Jay Bybee — three discredited lawyers who many felt should have been criminally charged or subject to disbarment. Instead, while the Justice Department rejected their legal findings as fundamentally flawed and substandard, they were not personally disciplined. Bush officials continue to cite the facially illegitimate analysis of these hand-picked lawyers as excusing them of torture.

Since the Obama Administration has shielded these officials of prosecution (prosecutions that would have been politically costly to President Obama), these officials can continue to claim that they were not responsible for torture or that torture never occurred. Indeed, Yoo is back teaching law students while Bybee is passing judgment on others as a federal judge.

We are obligated to investigate and prosecute torture under treaty and international law. President Obama simply did what countless of other leaders have done in history: rather than make the difficult decision to comply with our obligations and the rule of law, Obama insisted that such enforcement would be too costly or divisive for the nation. It is a position that will be played back over and over to this country as we call for officials in other countries to be prosecuted for torture.

Source: Washington Post

65 thoughts on “Report: U.S. Government Ran Torture Program After 9-11

  1. This report only makes accusations. There is no reference, facts to check, or even examples of said “torture.” Consider the source with this one as without the above its nothing more than school yard hearsay or rumored truth.

  2. I think the torturers should have been prosecuted. We’re a nation of laws. And we should behave as one. No matter what.

  3. Jane, You’re right. We are a nation of laws that apply only to those without money or powerful connections.

  4. “…we ran a torture program approved by the highest levels of our government in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks.”

    Correction:

    We run a torture program… “approved by the highest levels of our government in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks.”

  5. “This report only makes accusations. There is no reference, facts to check, or even examples of said “torture.””

    I think that gets it wrong. The techniques are widely acknowledged and in some cases defended.

    I have just begun to look at the report:
    http://detaineetaskforce.org/.

    But I think the contribution of the report is to put these acknowledged practices in the context of international law rather than the bogus interpretations of Yoo, Bybee and others.

    Whether some choose to remember it or not, from the end of WWII till 9/11 there was no controversy or doubt that techniques like these constitute torture.

    And after 9/11 there were many who were incredulous that these techniques were official government policy.

    One indication of the serious legal problems these techniques have is the battle the Bush administration waged to prevent tracing the origin of these techniques to the highest political levels.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but I am sure there are many who were at Nuremberg who would love to have had Yoo and Bybee as there attorney.

  6. Hannah, Bolton: “Bolton insisted that the procedures were “lawyered, and lawyered again, and lawyered again.”” That’s an admission, ‘we did it and the lawyers said we could’. Also, the are plenty of photos including the one that is in the upper left corner of the Professor’s posting. Just Google ” Abu Ghraib photos uncensored” or go here:

    http://www.antiwar.com/news/?articleid=2444
    ***********
    Also:

    More evidence of torture
    United States soldier Spc. Graner punching, or pretending to punch, handcuffed Iraqi prisonersAccording to Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, many more pictures and videotapes of the abuse at Abu Ghraib exist. Photos and videos were revealed by the Pentagon to lawmakers in a private viewing on May 12, 2004. Lawmakers disagreed over whether the additional photos were worse than those already released. Senator Ron Wyden said the new photos were “significantly worse than anything that I had anticipated […] Take the worst case and multiply it several times over.” Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher said the pictures were “not dramatically different”.[20] A Department of Defense official said that most of the additional photos were pornography involving only US soldiers, and that most did not show abuse of prisoners.[21]

    The New York Times, on January 12, 2005, reported testimony suggesting that the following actions had taken place at Abu Ghraib:

    Urinating on detainees
    Jumping on detainee’s leg (a limb already wounded by gunfire) with such force that it could not heal properly afterward
    Continuing by pounding detainee’s wounded leg with collapsible metal baton
    Pouring phosphoric acid on detainees
    Sodomization of detainees with a baton
    Tying ropes to the detainees’ legs or penises and dragging them across the floor

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Ghraib_torture_and_prisoner_abuse#Hersh.2C_New_Yorker_article
    ************

    Srsly, a torture denier? Lol, it won’t play here, troll it somewhere else.

  7. We have former top officials that have to cancel visits to other countries, for fear of being arrested for war crimes. Obama may not want to prosecute them, but some of the rest of the world does.

    We have the Government denying, then refusing to identify children at Gitmo.

    And we have cases like Army specialist Alyssa Peterson, with headlines: Soldier Killed Herself After Objecting to Interrogation Techniques
    http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/1102-05.htm

    Then we have Bush leaking info about a CIA agent to punish her husband, because he didn’t go along with the lie to start the Iraq War.

    We have Bush telling Rice to tell other countries he does not support torture, while he’s telling Congress that if they pass anti-torture laws, he veto them.
    So when they pass them with a veto proof majority, he uses ‘signing statements’ to nullify the laws, which prompts Congress to sue Bush!!

    And THEN when photos surface showing torture, he sends OUR TROOPS to prison for HIS POLICIES!!!!

    If EVER anyone deserves to be tried for war crimes it’s Bush & his crew!!

  8. If you have trouble clicking to access this report, try coping and pasting the url into your browser:

    http://detaineetaskforce.org/

    I found that clicking on the Url works sometimes. But copying and pasting is pretty reliable.

    And you ought to read as least some of the report rather than rely on what anyone says about it.

  9. We may have reached a turning point of sorts finally. Even the reporters on Nice Polite Republican radio called it ‘torture’ the other day. No BS euphemisms like ‘enhanced interrogation’, none of the soft-sell lie-by-obfuscating words that were the hallmark of the government and the media since 2001.

    Its too much I know to expect day of reckoning for the bastards that did this in our name but I still hope their reputations will finally receive the stain they deserve and maybe next time the citizens will demand better

  10. This mess MUST be cleaned up. I have thought all along that no President will ever allow one a predecessor to be prosecuted, or even investigated. Too much risk of creating a precedent by which he (or she) might be investigated at some subsequent date.

    This dodging is not new. After WW-II, there were no charges ever brought against Goering or any of the Luftwaffe high command for bombing civilian targets. If they had, then it would have been glaringly obvious that General Curtis LeMay and Sir Arthur “Bomber” Harris should have been similarly charged. You can bet the world would have noticed the hypocrisy.

    It will be a task equal to that of Hercules having to clean all that $hiit out of the Augean Stables, but it could–and should–be done.

  11. Bush administration officials should be prosecuted. Their actions were war crimes. We prosecuted many high level officials of the German Government after WWII. We also prosecuted Japanese military leaders for water boarding. There is no excuse for failing to prosecute war crimes.

    Bolton is really a piece of work. When you tell a really unethical lawyer to write you a memo that will allow you to commit a war crime and he does that doesn’t absolve you from guilt. That kind if “lawyering” is a “crime”.
    The fact that the author of the “torture is ok” memo is teaching in a law school is offensive.

  12. We are obligated to investigate and prosecute torture under treaty and international law. President Obama simply did what countless of other leaders have done in history: rather than make the difficult decision to comply with our obligations and the rule of law, Obama insisted that such enforcement would be too costly or divisive for the nation. It is a position that will be played back over and over to this country as we call for officials in other countries to be prosecuted for torture.”

    Indeed.

    The absurdity of Obama’s policy to throw away the treaties by acting as if they do not exist was recently highlighted when Secreatary of State Kerry criticized Russians for human rights violations.

    It rings hollow when we publicly act as if we are above the laws against torture by ignoring official U.S. torture while criticizing unofficial torture in other nations.

  13. Hannah 1, April 17, 2013 at 12:44 am

    This report only makes accusations. There is no reference, facts to check, or even examples of said “torture.” Consider the source with this one as without the above its nothing more than school yard hearsay or rumored truth.
    ====================================================
    That is not correct.

    The report can be downloaded for free.

    It is very comprehensive, bi-partisan, and done by a distinguished professional group of individuals (On The Recent Condemnation of Torture).

  14. Here is a quote from my downloaded copy:

    Perhaps the most important or notable finding of this panel is that it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture.

    The second notable conclusion of the Task Force is that the nation’s highest officials bear some responsibility for allowing and contributing to the spread of torture.

    (link in comment above, bold in original)

  15. This should not be a surprise to anyone who was awake the last 10 years. Both Bush and Cheney told us on TV that they authorized waterboarding and we have prosecuted Japanese soldiers for waterboarding and our own soldiers for waterboarding. We consider it torture domestically and internationally.

  16. Hannah:

    My, but you are a speed reader. I started reviewing the report yesterday. It is about 570 pages long. The members of the task force that prepared it have impeccable credentials. As for your references to “school yard hearsay,” I suggest that there is a huge, and growing, body of evidence readily available for those who have any serious interest in learning the truth about torture. Therefore, I do not expect to find any new revelations in the new report. But there are far too many Americans so caught up in the myth of American “exceptionalism” that they cannot bring themselves to imagine that we have not always honored the law or our ideals.

    Intentional self-delusion is a form of bad faith. Those who refuse to take a hard look at themselves are no different from those who insist upon revising history in order to present slavery in more pleasant terms or to create a false image of the Founding Fathers as fundamentalist Christians.

  17. rafflaw,

    “This should not be a surprise to anyone who was awake the last 10 years.”

    It shouldn’t even be a surprise to someone who has been semi-conscious!

  18. OT OT but it’s got my blood in a roil, not on the same scale as government sanctioned/ordered torture, but still……

    http://www.politicususa.com/congress-acts-quickly-kill-bill-aim-shady-insider-trading.html

    What could make the House pass something in 30 seconds that the Senate also passed? What would motivate them to put aside their alleged “differences” and act in the best interest of the people? The answer is when they are not acting in the best interest of the people, but rather, in their own best interests.

    To that end, late last week, your congress quickly approved a measure that modified (aka, killed) a part of the STOCK Act (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act ), which was only enacted a year ago. The STOCK Act was supposed to address shady stock trades based on insider information.

    Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) is taking credit for sponsoring the measure, but clearly he got no pushback from either side of the aisle. Check out the fast movement of this bill, and tell me if you’ve seen anything fly through like this in recent years, sans committee referrals and Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) deep debate over what he can even allow for a debate about a vote:

    4/11/2013 Introduced in Senate
    4/11/2013 Passed/agreed to in Senate: Introduced in the Senate, read twice, considered, read the third time, and passed without amendment by Unanimous Consent.
    4/12/2013 Passed/agreed to in House: On passage Passed without objection.
    4/12/2013 Presented to President.

    On Tuesday the 15th, the President signed the legislation.

    The Sunlight Foundation notes that the amendment passed with unanimous consent, though many members had gone home already. Huh. This doesn’t seem to work for measures that protect the security of the American people, like say, jobs. The Sunlight Foundation also pointed out what might be seen as a precursor of times to come, “The bill was not available to the public on the Library of Congress website until after the vote.” NPR noted that it took the House all of 30 seconds. “NPR’s Tamara Keith tells us the House procedure took exactly 30 seconds.”

    The STOCK Act took aim at insider trading and insider information, and also required some 28,000 federal employees from the congressional and executive branches post their conflict of interest disclosures online. It followed “a ’60 Minutes’ report on how many members of Congress are making money on stock trades that are illegal for everyone else, correspondent Nancy Cordes reports a bill to ban lawmakers from insider trading is now on the fast track.”

    So, while you were paying attention, they passed The STOCK Act, and now, a year later on a Friday, when you’re not paying attention, they quietly killed the parts they don’t like by unanimous consent (the coward’s way, so you can’t hold them individually accountable on the record).

    Yes, senior officials will still have to fill out disclosure forms, but news agencies and anyone else who’s interested will have to dig deeply in order to get access to the information. Your congress claims it’s a security measure (apparently, when you hear “security”, you’re supposed to automatically bend over and initiate invasion, paying off too big to fail, etc.). However, the Sunlight Foundation pointed out that they did not merely address the alleged security issues, but found a way to deeply obscure and bury any path to the transparency:

    The sweeping exemption goes even farther than critics of the disclosure requirements requested. For those to whom online disclosure would still apply (the president, vice president, members of Congress, congressional candidates and individuals subject to Senate confirmation) the Senate bill made electronic filing of the information optional and struck the requirement that online information be searchable, sortable and downloadable, making even the disclosures that remain in the bill tepid and relatively unusable.

    Not only does the change undermine the intent of the original bill to ensure government insiders are not profiting from non-public information (if anyone thinks high level congressional staffers don’t have as much or more insider information than their bosses, they should spend some time on Capitol Hill) but it sets an extraordinarily dangerous precedent suggesting that any risks stem not from information being public but from public information being online.

    Are we going to return to the days when the public can use the Internet to research everything except what their government is doing? Will Congress, in its twisted wisdom, decide that information is public if journalists, academics, advocates and citizens are forced to dig through file cabinets in basements in Washington, DC to find it? And does anyone think that makes us safer?

    This is heartening, indeed. Your congress can act and does act quickly, in a bipartsian manner, to address their privacy and security. No concerns about who’s read the bill and how it might destroy democracy or cover up crimes against citizens. No debate needed.

    Your government can and does at times function much better than conservatives would like you to believe, but this is not one of them. If there’s ever a time when both sides should come together, it’s when elected officials betray the trust of the people in this manner. Not only is it apparent that these bodies can act quickly when their interests are at issue, but the haste with which they’ve agreed to bury transparency without debate should trouble citizens from both sides of the aisle.

  19. Is there any doubt that Bush and the Puppet Master Cheney are War Criminals and should be held accountable?

  20. The U.S. committed war crimes decreed by Bush and Cheney, et. al.. President Obama validated these crimes by refusing to prosecute those responsible. It was an exercise in cowardice on his part, or alternatively another example of the Corporate Military Industrial Complex actually running this country.

  21. Bush and Cheney’s continued liberty makes war criminals of all Americans. Add Obama to that list barring some epiphany. Add all future Presidents doomed with awful powers granted by a terrified Congress, the exact state of terror called for by those we would call “enemies.”

    It is not too late to seat grand juries.

  22. I will be more impressed with those who slam Obama for not prosecuting when the lawyers in that group start disbarrment procedings against the three crooked lawyers. You do NOT have to wait for Obama. File charges against them and show your guts and legal expertise.

  23. Mr. Obama is only working with the hand he was dealt by Mr. Bush. He is recycling a lot of Bush’s shadow-warriors like John O. Brennan (present director of CIA). John was responsible for the MQ-1 Predator drone equipped with Hellfire missiles and the collateral damage that came along with it. John also entertained the Saudis (one of our other true down-low enemies posing as our friends). He did this as a CIA case officer under DCI Casey (Bush man). The real EIT (torture) lady is now under consideration for director of National Clandestine Service or NCS (spooks). She was the composite character in the movie Zero Dark Thirty.

    She is now the acting director NCS but her name is being withheld by the MSM (main stream media). They know here name. She too is a Bush Man. She even has a man’s name. Mr. Obama is stuck with these cretins because they produce actionable intelligence. The last few guys (Joe Camel aka Leon Panneta and David Patreaus) were all embarrassments. Why? Because Leon was just a hatchet-man reducing the shadows via burn notices. One even predicted the Bengazi incident in his unauthorized unvetted book.

    And then there is Patreaus another Bush Man that turned out to be a total joke. He got played by an embedded book writer a/k/a agent of a foreign so-called friendly country. He also screwed up the Bengazi incident and is still answerable for it as is Mrs. Clinton.

    Does torture work? No. But it works on others watching from the shadows hoping they don’t get a free trip to Camp X-Ray (et al) to join in on the fun.

    Source: http://www.waynemadsenreport.com

  24. Torturers are not punished. Lawyers are not disciplined. Our own “democratically elected” government gets away with lying, cheating and stealing. Cover-up is the biggest activity of the state and federal agencies. (Yawn)

  25. Arthur Randolph Erb:

    You have on several occasions insisted that lawyers who criticize Pres. Obama ought to start disbarment proceedings against the lawyers who prepared the torture memos. I suspect that you do not understand how bar disciplinary proceedings are initiated and prosecuted.

  26. Did I read a new blog correctly….. now Obama has been sent ricin as well as a Sen from MISSISSIPPI….

  27. 54 nations involved in systematic torture program lead by the USA
    20 prisoners that were tortured are missing or not accounted for
    1 whistleblower behind bars for revealing the torture program
    0 political leaders held accountable for instigating acts of torture

  28. We need a faux organization to begin Nuremburg War Trials and try the Americans in abstentia. Amsterdam might put up with such a thing. It could be televised and sent round the world by internet. A good primer on the subject would be the book by Whitney Harris, a Nuremberg prosecutor. The book is called Tyanny On Trial. That was back in the days after WWII when America was Exceptional. Now AmeriKa is Exceptional from a contrary point of view. It is Exceptional to bomb a village and kill kids in Afghanistan with some “drone”. Had the Marathon Bomber used a drone, it would have brought things into perspective.

  29. For Hannah……research before you refute. You can start by going to the original source “Washington Post”. Use the google for Pete’s sake…and by the way…This is old news.

  30. Boston Police Radio: Additional Explosive Devices Found

    Prison Planet.com | The official story is now in chaos.
    No Comments
    Navy SEALs Spotted at Boston Marathon Wearing Suspicious Backpacks?

    Prison Planet.com | Savvy Internet sleuths find images that appear to identify members of the crowd as Navy SEALs.

    **
    Looks like some evil ahole group/groups inside govt may have been trying to use Boston to cover up the release of this report on GW Bush/Obama War Crimes/Crimes Against Humanity?

    Keep your eyes open people & post it to others/internet “Before” you report anything odd.

    We may have those Wallst/London Bank azzes cornered that are behind most this typeOperation Gladio, American Stlye crap.

    We’ll all see as things unfold. **

    **Dr. Steve Pieczenik calls for Obama to step down. Obama and Bush must stand trial for “crimes against humanity.” He calls for a new election, today.

    On the Boston Marathon bombing Dr. Steve Pieczenik, comes to the same conclusion. He predicted false fag. A theatre of terror.
    This to cover the recent indictment of Bush and Obama for torture. “THE SPECIFIC INDICTMENT of Bush Jr/Obama/CIA/US Military “Torture of 9/11 Prisoners”at GITMO—FINALLY CONFIRMED as a “WAR CRIME”– Equivalent to Prosecuted Nazi War Crimes and the Torture/ Internship Of Japanese Americans During WWII.” Dr. Steve Pieczenik
    from Dr. Steve Pieczenik Blog:**

    http://austinfront.blogspot.com/

    “We’re in deep doo doo,”(Dick) Cheney told lawmakers, according to CNN, which first reported the talk.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/04/11/1200777/-Congressional-Republicans-look-to-Dick-Cheney-for-North-Korea-advice

  31. James,

    “Bush and Cheney’s continued liberty makes war criminals of all Americans”

    What? No. They only made war criminals of themselves, anyone who was involved in the torture program,. and anyone with any power to investigate and where appropriate (meaning, where there’s proof that it happened) prosecute those first two.

    I don’t fit in to any of those three categories. I refuse to be lumped in with people who are actually responsible for torture, or covering torture up.

  32. Obama issued an executive order banning torture. Did he also rescind Bush’s executive order or whatever it was that redefined various tortures as enhanced interrogation, therefore keeping intact the ok for enhanced interrogation versions?

  33. woody voinche 1, April 17, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    How many cases of the torture of Amerikan citizens are there beside
    Vance-Ertel v. Rumsfeld who were tortured by the military in Iraq after
    reporting on corruption and gun running…and why isnt the hypocritical
    media giving coverage to this important case????

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2011/08/08/fed-court-clears-another-torture-lawsuit-against-donald-rumsfeld
    ==================================================
    The panel decision was vacated by the en banc court 7-4, which held citizens can’t sue military members.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2012/11/new_ruling_donald_rumsfeld_can_t_be_sued_for_torture.html

  34. **Dredd 1, April 17, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    woody voinche 1, April 17, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    How many cases of the torture of Amerikan citizens are there beside
    Vance-Ertel v. Rumsfeld who were tortured by the military in Iraq after
    reporting on corruption and gun running…and why isnt the hypocritical
    media giving coverage to this important case???? **

    It’s odd to me how I sometimes remember things. Your comments ring a bell.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=Jesse+Tridadue#q=Jesse+Trentadue&spell=1&sa=X&ei=Ti9vUcWYAaWC2gXqj4GwCA&ved=0CC4QBSgA&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.45368065,d.b2I&fp=847a2b4a23100ea2&biw=1280&bih=881

  35. I recall a story, perhaps pure fiction, that Eisenhower had started out with the notion of “the military-industrial-congressional complex,” but chose to omit “congressional for political purposes.

    I have a strange sense that the proper term now is, “the military-industrial-financial-congressional-executive-judicial-citizenry complex.”

    Anyone else recall reading Walt Kelly,Pogo, “We have met the enemy…”?

  36. @BetterKath QUOTE “they quietly killed the parts they don’t like by unanimous consent (the coward’s way, so you can’t hold them individually accountable on the record).”

    Don’t know if you realized it or not, but they can also hold a SECRET VOTE!!

    Yes, that is right, they can vote on a bill in a way so that you CAN NOT find out HOW individual Rep’s voted on it.
    (I know I tried on the “Student Teacher Safety Act”)

    They tried to pass it in 2006, and then Mark Kirk changed ONE WORD, and tried to pass it again in 2007!!

  37. BarkinDog that Walt Kelly guy in Pogo was talking about The Enemy, you lamebrain. You Vietnam era guys are not radical enough. Ya used to be. What happened?

  38. Hannah: ‘There is no reference, facts to check, or even examples of said “torture.”

    Look at the PICTURE, Hannah. If that’s NOT torture, what IS?

  39. J. Brian Harris:

    I still miss Walt Kelly. He was one of the finest satirists this country ever produced.

  40. bettykath,

    One of the oldest tools in argumentation is to control the definitions. This is one reason I insist on standardized and recognized common definitions instead of allowing others to create their own. You should not be surprised that Obama, as an aider and abettor after the fact of high crimes against the Constitution, would engage in such dishonest sophistry.

  41. Mark Udall to Obama: You Can Force John Brennan to “Excise the Demons”

    Posted on May 1, 2013 by emptywheel

    http://www.emptywheel.net/2013/05/01/mark-udall-to-obama-you-can-force-john-brennan-to-excise-the-demons/

    Udall’s letter to Obama:

  42. Little ap,

    I’ll believe its a suicide when I see it myself…. Other than that….. I’m going with it might be a homicide……. Caused by someone inside the government…. They are trained, very well…. You think Vince Foster committed suicide?

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