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11 December 2014

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oofda

Colonel,
All excellent ideas. Plus the one you proffered earlier about havaing an OSS-type organization take over many of the CIA's tasks.

DC

Bravo.

Walrus

Nothing less than Col. Langs proposal could even start to redeem Americas reputation.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

These are excellent practical steps that need to be taken.

The basic problem with the torture regime is that it did not work; the Iraq and Afghanistan wars continue unabated; at least, until after the 2016 election, or forever. As long as mankind exists and the Abu Ghraib images survive, the United States will be included with the Spanish Inquisition and The Third Reich.

"If there was no American prison in Iraq, there would be no ISIS"
http://www.vox.com/2014/12/11/7377165/isis-us-prison

huihiu

I disagree.

turcopolier

huihiu

Too bad. pl

AEL

Colonel:

I believe that CIA also has a large number of analysts who read open source information (eg. foreign magazines, web pages, etc) to gather information about our world.

I believe that the CIA Factbook is one output of this work. I also believe that much of the useful intelligence produced by the CIA comes from open sources.

Would you strip the CIA of this function since it is not clandestine labor, or allow it to continue?

Timothy B Horn

Cogent, concise review of the horrendous turn in American history. Unfortunately as the Obama/Holder administration refuses to prosecute a single banker for the greatest financial fraud in history, there doesn't seem to be much hope. Digby has a good Salon article on this:

http://www.salon.com/2014/12/11/torture_reports_hidden_fiasco_how_mark_udall_revealed_a_little_noticed_smoking_gun/

Medicine Man

Col. Lang:

I completely agree with all of your points. This is what needs to be done to ensure that these crimes aren't repeated the next time the US is under attack. To fail to act would almost ensure that the lawlessness of the US government intensifies in future generations.

I do fear the blowback though. In some circles, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al. are folks heroes; their prosecution would be spun as a black leader seeking retribution on the white populace and some portion of the public would believe it. What would the scale of the fallout be should the Obama DoJ follow your course of actions, Col.?

turcopolier

AEL

"The World fact Book?" it appears that Brennan is intent on doing away with the DI. Perhaps they would not want it? pl

William R. Cumming

I agree entirely with this Post by P.L.

I deeply regret the entirety of the trust placed by President Obama in John Brennan both before and after the President's election.

President Obama has destroyed his own Presidency! Tragedy of the first order.

I would argue that William Jefferson Clinton and George Walker Bush did the same.

WHERE DO WE GET SUCH MEN?

confusedponderer

While at it, the US could put an end to Dershowitz demented ramblings on how much he would like to see torture warrants in the US and tell him to shut up already.

Dershowitz' torture warrant, while enjoying the veneer of legality, would be every bit as irreconcileable with the CAT (and US federal law, thus being illegal) as were America's enhanced interrogations after 9/11.

The CAT does not allow any justification for torture whatsoever, and that includes warrants.

Dersh is not daft and a professional lawyer. He can hardly not understand that under the CAT torture cannot be justified under no "exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency".

That includes his theoretical ticking time bombs. And yet he implausibly asserts that a democracy would be strengthened (!) by making torture “visible and accountable,” instead of keeping it illegal??! I don't know what the man is smoking but it must be a harmful, prohibited substance.

The Dersh's motives are rather transparent here. It isn't about a terrorist ticking time bomb scenario. It's rather more simple:

Israel does use torture warrants. If Dershowitz could get the US to adopt the Israeli practice, he would gain two things: (a) insulate Israel against charges in that regard, and (b) ensure an automatic US veto whenever Israel is accused of torture (about every second week) because US practice then would be identical.

Amusingly, Israel is a member to the CAT. Which means that Israel's torture warrants are also every bit as irreconcileable with the CAT as were America's enhanced interrogations after 9/11.

Well, Israel ratified the treaty on October 3, 1991, with the following reservations:

"1. In accordance with article 28 of the Convention, the State of Israel hereby declares that it does not recognize the competence of the Committee provided for in article 20.

2. In accordance with paragraph 2 of article 30, the State of Israel hereby declares that it does not consider itself bound by paragraph 1 of that article."

What that means becomes clearer when one reats that Article 20:

1. If the Committee receives reliable information which appears to it to contain well-founded indications that torture is being systematically practised in the territory of a State Party, the Committee shall invite that State Party to co-operate in the examination of the information and to this end to submit observations with regard to the information concerned."

Nachtigall ick hör dir trapsen. Heaven forbid Israel would submit itself to verification of compliance ...

Below, the Dersh in his full splendour:

http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/09/17/torture-tool-fight-against-terrorist-groups-like-isis/1Tfqfk1Amck7Rh9kEra8IN/story.html

confusedponderer

"WHERE DO WE GET SUCH MEN?"

Probably, they simply breed like flies at US ivy league universities.

Dubhaltach

Good luck with this endeavour, I hope you succeed.

rjj

MM's question to PL about blowback ... fallout ...

increased likelihood of Bush III (45).


LeaNder

Could you elaborate on your disagreement? Ideally including a very slim in-a-nutshell profile, tellings were you come from ideologically?

alba etie

WRC
Public financing of campaigns should cure a bunch of this lack of good governance. And its not just POTUS being bought & sold .Why are the CongressCritters putting in the latest spending bill an anonymous 'rider' that will force us to bail out Wall Street again when the derivative ponzi scheme blows up in our collective faces -just like in 2007 /2008 . It seems to me that on both the torture criminality and Wall Street criminality the Right and Left could agree that we need to see perp walks.

Jack

WRC

I concur. First, Col. Lang is spot on regarding the CIA reform.

IMO, Bill Clinton & George Bush were the natural culmination of the moral slide and political cynicism. Obama continued that "tradition" and we should get the further slide with either the next Clinton or Bush presidency.

I am now convinced that we have lost our republic and now are in a totalitarian statist state. The power of the state grows inexorably and this power is being used to further the interests of governmental fiefdoms and the crony capitalists that feed at that trough.

Rule of law can only return with the collapse of the status quo or if the complacent American people reclaim their sovereignty.

LeaNder

Pat I appreciate this: renewal of "renewal of the Inquisition". (and its later equivalents)

I admittedly haven't looked much into this deeply, but vaguely some of the things you wrote were on my mind. My central question would be, who exactly led the HUMINT in this context, who cross-checked information, what exact percentage of people were reported on for purely pecuniary interests? ... Although the fast judgment of small minds is hardly better.

My highest compliments, amazing suggestions. Would be great if Americans acted on them.

Besides, what sent me here today was a Chris Matthews Interview with Joe Margulies, which again reminded me of your comments:

http://tinyurl.com/Margulies-CMatthew

http://tinyurl.com/Pat-on-Chris


LeaNder

I agree, unfortuately, but does that suggest one should not even try?

In other words, should there be the business-as-usual-scenario, the handling of the Abu Graib case? In matters of such importance? The usual lower suspects?

confusedponderer

Considering how the CIA sucked at running prisons, the US should establish a formal process with jails recourse for such security detainees, and develop an effective way of separating the grain from the chaff, ideally in a separate agency. The US were able to do such things after WW-II. Why not again.

Way too many innocents were caught in the dragnet, and it was clear to many that they were holding 'Mickey Mouse' detainees but nobody was willing to take responsibility to release them.

The reason was obviously that, in case they released by accident a real terrorist, they would be dead meat - career and political poison.

The CIA apparently viewed such concerns as a factor that would prevent agents from unleashing their full energies on the detainees - and that is probably why they shielded their interrogators, as was evident in a case where a detainee died during interogation: The agency held that in this uncertain torture business deaths should be expected, and that that doesn't reflect badly on the interrogator. Right, he is hardly to blame for the poor physical condition of the detainee (sarcasm alert).

That attitude went from the bottom of the chain right to the top, which is the most probable explanation for the US accumulating so many innocents in places like Gunatanamo: Better safe than sorry.

At least, people like Cheney could then say that they tried everything, really everything - from torture to, as my secret sources in the CIA have let me know, ritual sacrifice to Quetzalcoatl (god of knowledge!) and consulting Paul the Octopus (with the last two programs still highly classified) - to keep America safe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_the_Octopus

And better safe (in case of doubt, torture for certainty!) than sorry then manifested sich in the disgrace of what the US torture did to their prisoners, guilty or innocent alike: In the case of the German national Al Masri the CIA turned the innocent owner of a veggie store into a fruitcake, destroying his mind and his life in just 149 days. Oopsie.

William R. Cumming

There is a missing piece in both the Senate Report and the Brennan retort IMO! What? Clearly the greatest threat a Nation-State or Non-state actor could employ and utilize against the United States is either a stolen already assembled nuclear weapon or an IND/RDD [Improvised Nuclear Device/Radiological Dispersal Device]resulting in a NUDET [nuclear detonation] in a major U.S. metropolitan area.

What is missing is whether the use of torture [even if unjustified] was driven by this fear? Based on published remarks of former Vice-President Richard Cheney this was his greatest fear and continues to be so even today.

For some background on our nuclear world you might read comments of mine and others posted today on HLSWatch.com!

What we do know about the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA is that both organizations have consistently ignored the importance of nuclear weapons and IND/RDD [Improvised Nuclear Device/Radiological Dispersal Device] issues! Why?

Is it religion or capability that drives torture by the U.S. or some combination thereof?
and Nuclear Proliferation issues.

turcopolier

LeAnder
"who exactly led the HUMINT?" Following orders is not a defense. It has not been since Nuremberg. All those who participated in these violations of US and international law are guilty no matter how high or low their positions. The issue is torture, not how the information was analyzed, correlated and related to other bits of information. that process was quite separate in a large, complex group of organizations. With regard to the torture, whether at CIA sites or military sites in Iraq and Afghanistan, the highest levels of the Bush Administration encouraged and essentially directed such behavior. pl

confusedponderer

"The issue is torture, not how the information was analyzed"

And one can add, 'and also not whether it was found to be necessary or effective'.

I have a real problem with the people who keep asking whether torture works or is effective.

Utility or effectiveness are not the point. The practice in all its flavours is **prohibited** and **criminalised**.

Torture is a crime, and in war a war crime.

Sane people also don't ask whether murder, battery, assault or rape 'work' or whether they are 'effective'. So why ask such nonsense with regard to torture?

William R. Cumming

CP! Remind me to reread David Halberstam's BEST and the BRIGHTEST"

Certainly the seeds of destruction of the American "Century" were often planted in the Ivies or Small Ivies.

Perhaps a new course called "SEF-CONTROL-How to deal with the Egotism and Hubris Issued with Your Ivy League Degree!"

As some wit explained "You can always tell a Harvard Man But Not Much!"

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