What Fresh Hell Is This?

November 24, 2014

A Torture Update (Of Sorts)

I usually don't like Sunday evenings.  That's time of the week when I have to begin to push back at the weekend momentum in order to get return to a more boring weekday schedule.

Monday mornings are worse.

Last night (which was, if you aren't reading this on Monday, a Sunday) I caught a very interesting episode of "Madam Secretary" 

Spoiler Alert in the event you haven't seen the episode.

Tea Leoni plays Bess McCord, the new Secretary of State.  She's an apolitical appointment made after the previous Secretary of State died in a plane crash.  She's also former CIA.

Turns out that as a CIA field agent, she was involved in some shady interrogations in Iraq a decade or so ago.  Some of those interrogations involved torture (though she was never present during).  The episode last night dealt with some of the the "collateral damage" caused by the decision to allow such actions and the effects it's had on some of the characters in the drama.  Very interesting stuff for a mellow Sunday evening.

Which triggered my interest in following up on this:
Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are still at odds with the CIA and the White House over the so-called "CIA torture report," even after a meeting on Capitol Hill between Democratic senators and White House chief of staff Denis McDonough.

According to a source with knowledge of the Thursday meeting, the CIA report came up after Senate Select Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-California, read a statement that lasted for about five minutes. About five other Democratic senators spoke in support of Feinstein, who is ready to publicly release the report. There is one main sticking point remaining: The Obama administration and the CIA want to black out all CIA pseudonym references in the report, citing concerns that revealing the pseudonyms could endanger lives. This meeting did not resolve that issue.
I wrote about the report last August.

Last August we were "days" away from the White House declassifying the report.  Who would have guessed that would be 118 days and counting?

All for some CIA pseudonyms?

Meanwhile The Intercept had this a month or so ago:
Months after President Obama frankly admitted that the United States had “tortured some folks” as part of the War on Terror, a new report submitted to the United Nations Committee Against Torture has been released that excoriates his administration for shielding the officials responsible from prosecution.

The report describes the post-9/11 torture program as “breathtaking in scope”, and indicts both the Bush and Obama administrations for complicity in it – the former through design and implementation, and the latter through its ongoing attempts to obstruct justice. Noting that the program caused grievous harm to countless individuals and in many cases went as far as murder, the report calls for the United States to “promptly and impartially prosecute senior military and civilian officials responsible for authorizing, acquiescing, or consenting in any way to acts of torture.”

In specifically naming former President George W. Bush, Department of Justice lawyer John Yoo and former CIA contractor James Mitchell, among many others, as individuals who sanctioned torture at the highest levels, the report highlights a gaping hole in President Obama’s promise to reassert America’s moral standing during his administration. Not only have the cited individuals not been charged with any crime for their role in the torture program, Obama has repeatedly reiterated his mantra of “looking forward, not backwards” to protect them from accountability.
Remember, this is still relevant (heck it's showing up as a plot device on Network TV!) as the crimes were committed in our name.

Prosecute the torture, Mr President.  The prosecution (or lack there of) will also be part of your legacy.

My disappointment continues.


Nine-El said...

Like Col Jessup said, " You need me on that wall..." We need people who do "dreadful " acts on our collective behalf.
Madam Secretary was correct (paraphrasing) when she said ..." Life becomes more complex ... It's called growing up..

Nine-El said...

Better yet, from your post:
"Finally, Bess gets home, where Stevie is very upset, saying she feels her mom’s whole life was a lie. Bess offers her daughter some advice: “If you never listen to anything else I say again for the rest of your life, please hear this: Everything is more complicated than you think it is right now, and the only way to come to know that is through experience. And that’s what this whole process of growing up is all (about)