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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

by Christie Thompson, ProPublica

Among the news that ended up being buried in the events of last week: A nonpartisan think tank, the Constitution Project, released a scathing, 577-page report on the U.S.’s treatment — and torture — of detainees in the aftermath of 9/11. The investigation began in 2009, after President Obama opposed creating a “truth commission.”

With a Senate investigation of detainee treatment still classified, the report from the bipartisan task force is the most comprehensive public review to date. The 11-member panel interviewed more than 100 former military officials, detainees and policymakers.

Among their findings: There is no compelling security reason to keep classified details about the CIA’s now-shuttered black prisons. The task force hopes its report will spur more government transparency on the treatment of detainees, starting with the release of the Senate investigation.

Here’s a rundown of previous claims skewered by the report:

Claim No. 1: The U.S. didn’t use torture.

“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 report concludes. The task force says that despite overwhelming evidence of torture, both government officials and many in the media have continued to present the issue as a two-sided debate.

The task force measured confirmed reports on detainee treatment against several international and domestic legal definitions of torture. The U.S.’s tactics unequivocally amount to torture, they found, under definitions the U.S. itself has used to accuse other countries of the same crime.

Former UN ambassador John Bolton rejected the task force’s findings, telling the Associated Press that the report is “completely divorced from reality.” Bolton said a team of lawyers scrutinized the policies to ensure interrogation never crossed the line.

Claim No. 2: When torture happened, it was because of a few low-level “bad apples.”

The report details how the decisions to use “enhanced interrogation” techniques were not rogue entry-level soldiers, but rather came from decisions made at the top of the administration. As a former Marine general told the task force, “Any degree of ‘flexibility’ about torture at the top drops down the chain of command like a stone– the rare exception fast becoming the rule.”

Claim No. 3: Only three terror suspects were waterboarded by the CIA.

The task force’s findings support and elaborate on a Human Rights Watch report, which detailed how the CIA tortured at least two Libyans with water and abused several others to “win favor with el-Gaddafi’s regime,” the task force found.

The testimonies of the two Libyans undermine the Bush administration’s repeated claims that the CIA only waterboarded three people.

  • SO…the bleeding hearts don’t want people whose sole intention in life is to kill US to be forced to devuldge information they have on WHO wants to kill US.
    Too bad isn’t it. Peel their skin off, cut off their head & throw it in their face.
    In Jesus name of course.

    • johninPCFL

      Actually, post election his decision was to move the Gitmo detainees to a new, unused prison in Illinois, but Congress passed an amendment to the military appropriations bill that denied funding to any movement of detainees to the US. Obama could either de-fund the military (with all its attendent complaints) or accept that the Congress had other reasons for keeping Gitmo open.

      “A senior administration official tells ABC News that on Tuesday the administration will announce that President Obama “has directed that the federal government proceed with the acquisition of the Thomson Correctional Center in Thomson, Illinois to house federal inmates and a limited number of detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.”
      Thomson Correctional Center is a maximum security prison that opened in 2001 but has never been fully utilized because of state budget issues.
      By Dschabner
      Dec 14, 2009 11:02pm”

    • docb

      Not so, He signed an EO to close Gitmo..The Congress blocked both funding and the moving of the detainees.!

      • I don’t really care now, I did once but not any more, not after they attacked Boston the center of rights & Causes for everyone and just because they were a soft target. No military purose or purpose really but just because they could..
        I’m glad we have places like GitMo now; it’s purpose is very specific & the ‘bad guys’ need to know we can play by the same Rules as they use…there AREN’T any Rules!
        They want to kill US just for the sake of killing US. They can’t convert US infidels to Islam so we must die. That’s the creedo.
        I don’t think these folks deserve to have any benefit of anything.
        Peel ’em like an onion. If it makes some feel better Mirandize him then peel him.