The character-restrictions on topic titles are draconian, incidentally! I actually wanted this thread to be called “Bush torture policy was top-down, systematic and politically-motivated with false confessions as its goal”
Here’s why it was politically-motivated:
[quote]And what‘s fascinating here, if you run the timeline side by side, you see, really, for the first time from that report that the key thing being sent down in terms of the request by the policymakers, by the White House, is find a link between Saddam and al Qaeda so that we essentially can link Saddam to the 9/11 attacks and then march into Iraq with the anger of 9/11 behind us. That was the goal and that was being passed down as the directive.
It‘s, you know, it‘s often called the requirement inside the CIA for both agents with their sources and interrogators with their captives. “Here‘s what we‘re interested in, here‘s what we, the duly elected leaders, want to hear about. Tell us what you can find.”
[b]What‘s fascinating, in the Senate report, is finally clear confirmation that that specific thing was driving many of the activities, and mind you, the frustration inside of the White House that was actually driving action. The quote, in fact, inside of the Senate report from a major said that as frustration built inside of the White House, that there was no link that was established—because the CIA told the White House from the very start there is no Saddam/al Qaeda link. We checked it out. We did every which way. Sorry.
The White House simply wouldn‘t take no for an answer and it went with another method. Torture was the method. “Get me a confession, I don‘t care how you do it.” And that bled all the way through the government, both on the CIA side and the Army side. It‘s extraordinary.[/b][/quote]
So what the White House wanted with all this “gloves come off” methodology was not intel to prevent some further terrorist attack or catch more bad guys, but political cover for their non-9/11 related invasion of Iraq. But here’s the clincher:
[quote]Today‘s declassified congressional report confirms in detail that even before we had captured any high-value al Qaeda suspects after 9/11, geniuses at the upper echelons of the Bush administration decided that they would use SERE techniques to develop a new American interrogation program. From the report, quote, “Senior officials approved the use of interrogation techniques that were originally designed to simulate abusive tactics used by our enemies against our own soldiers, and that were modeled in part on tactics used by the communist Chinese to illicit false confessions from U.S. military personnel.”
In other words, the Bush administration developed an interrogation program from the techniques that were used on American prisoners of war to get false confessions out of them. Hmm. What could possibly go wrong?[/quote]
There’s a lot more on this aspect of the story - Rachel interview former military interrogator Colonel Steven Kleinman; please refer to the transcript or listen to the show, rather than letting me spoon-feed you the whole thing.
The thing is, it makes total sense. It always seemed ridiculous that the Bush administration would go in this clearly illegal and dis-credited direction when there were already sound, well-proven, pre-existing techniques for interrogation. The point was, information was simply NOT their objective! They didn’t want the detainees to give them actual intel; they wanted them to fabricate intel that matched their story regarding Al Qaeda vis-a-vis Iraq.
And here’s how we now know it was also systemic…
[quote]what we can now see—thanks to all this newly-declassified, on-the-record information—is that in these two different things run by two different agencies, we were doing the same things to people when it came to interrogations—things that we never did before. Sticking a prisoner in a cold cell, chain him to the ceiling, sleep deprivation, stress positions—we never did that stuff before. Then all of a sudden, it started happening everywhere—in the CIA prisons, in the military prisons—everywhere.
How does that happen? How do we end up with the same totally new techniques that Americans never would have been told to use before, being used on prisoners caught up in these two totally different systems?
There is a place where these two systems connect. And it‘s not at the bottom. It‘s not at the level of the bad apples. It‘s not at the operational level.
There wasn‘t a National Guard corporal from Ohio inventing the “menace them with dogs” technique at Abu Ghraib and then calling his friend at the CIA who worked at a secret prison in Poland and telling her to try that out. That is not the level at which these systems link.
These two things link not at the bottom but at the top. They link in Washington. From the newly-declassified Senate Armed Services Committee report, quote, “Senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees.”[/quote]