Anyone who has ever had the dubious pleasure of reading Advocate columnist Michelle Stirling-Anosh’s recent rationale for torture knows how difficult her articles are to digest.
Re. Stirling-Anosh’s Sept. 1 column, headlined So what if the CIA tortured suspects?: Ray McGovern a retired army officer and CIA analyst for almost 30 years, writes in Counterpunch.org. regarding the CIA Inspector General’s Special Review of Counterterrorism Detention and Interrogation Activities 2001-03. His words are in quotation marks.
“The report although sanitized, is still nauseating. Some of the lurid accounts of the abuse of detainees held by the CIA offshore have sickened Attorney General Eric Holder. It cries out for reinforced efforts toward accountability.”
McGovern goes on to say: “Bush/Cheney thoroughly corrupted both the substance and the operations of the CIA and enlisted creeps and charlatans to do their bidding.”
This was not the work of rogue agents on a midnight shift or a few bad apples. The rot was at the very top of the Bush/Cheney administration.
Interrogations using torture were reported in minute details up the chain of command by the CIA.
“What Americans need to know is that only a miniscule percentage of CIA officers approve of torture. The vast majority oppose it — whether for utilitarian reason (as we have seen, it does not work, unless you are after unreliable information); or for moral reasons.”
It needs to be clear that the interrogation policy during this dark period was set by the Bush administration, not by the CIA.
As a veteran CIA operative, Bob Baer told an interviewer recently: “There is no reason why the CIA should be considered above the law. Indeed, the agency does its best work when operating within the law.”
So hats off to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama for not dodging the issue.
Andy Worthington, British author and researcher, details in his book The Guantanamo Files that 779 Muslim men went through Guantanamo.
Most were turned in at random by bounty hunters in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Seven years later, three have been convicted of material support to terrorism:
• David Hicks, repatriated to Australia, served seven months and then released.
• Salim Handan, served four months in Guantánamo, one month in Yemen, then released.
• Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, sentenced to life in Guantanamo after he refused to mount a defence. His sentence is being appealed.
In all, 553 prisoners have been released and 224 are still held, of which 59 have been cleared for release once host countries are found.
Ray McGovern, retired CIA analyst, closes by saying; “People were tortured on the basis of presumptions. Nice!”