CIA Torture Report Reveals Agency Gone Mad

The man whom CIA used to justify its torture program, Abu Zubaydah, was waterboarded 83 times, and otherwise repeatedly, utterly illegally, brutalized by the United States government and its paid agents. In the end, like crazed priests of the Spanish Inquisition, CIA announced the torture was a "success" because it had proven Zubaydah didn't know anything worth torturing him for. To this date, the USA has never charged Abu Zubaydah with a crime. Nor has George W. Bush, who tortured Abu Zubaydah and numerous others, been charged with a crime.
In order to understand the depth of the moral and strategic degradation of the CIA that took place under the Bush regime's torture program, one has only to examine the CIA Torture Report's analysis of the Agency's processing of Abu Zubaydah.

In fact, Zubaydah, and what US intelligence operatives claimed he knew, formed the basis for the White House conspiring with the CIA to break US law and proceed to employ torture as a tool of interrogation. These torture methods (including waterboarding), eventually called EITs, "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques", included torturing people to death—if not as an object, then as an acceptable risk the CIA was willing to apply to their victims.

The eventual program of torture that was chosen was crafted after the SERE program, which had been used to prepare US military personnel for the experience of surviving being captured and tortured by enemy forces that "did not adhere to the Geneva Convention". The SERE program itself was based upon North Vietnamese torture and interrogation techniques, which were noted by the CIA to have never been intended to produce "actionable intelligence" from captured American personnel (who usually possessed little of it), but only "confessions for propaganda purposes."

We should understand that the primary argument the CIA used to justify breaking the law, and which was used to obtain the White House's OK for doing so, was the claim that Zubaydah possessed information, which if it was not tortured out of him as quickly as possible, would threaten the lives of "innumerable innocent men, women and children within the United States and abroad."

The CIA was well aware that its interrogators would be violating the law. And they initially considered asking the US Attorney General for:
"a formal declination of prosecution, in advance, for any employees of the United States, as well as any other personnel acting on behalf of the United States, who may employ methods in the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah that otherwise might subject those individuals to prosecution."
The CIA Torture Report says "there are no records to indicate [a letter making this case to AG John Ashcroft] was provided to the attorney general", though it was "was circulated internally at the CIA."

Eventually, after Bush's war lawyers, including John Yoo, argued that CIA personnel would not be breaking the torture laws so long as they didn't intend to seriously harm their victims, AG Ashcroft signed off on the EITs. The tortures began on Zubaydah.

By the time the CIA had completed its initial round of torture sessions, Zubaydah was a broken man, one who not surprisingly would have happily confessed to pretty much anything.

And what did the CIA conclude about Zubaydah? That, in spite of what they had claimed about him being an inportant, in-the-know, Qaeda guy, who had to be tortured to get actionable intelligence that would save countless American lives:
"CIA records indicate that Abu Zubaydah never provided the information for which the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques were justified and approved: information on the next terrorist attack and operatives in the United States. Furthermore, as compared to the period prior to August 2002, the quantity and type of intelligence produced by Abu Zubaydah remained largely unchanged during and after the August 2002 use of the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques. Nonetheless,CIA Headquarters informed the National Security Council that the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques used against Abu Zubaydah were effective and were 'producing meaningful results.' "
What "meaningful results"?

Oh, this:
"The [CIA] interrogation team later deemed the use of the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques a success, not because it resulted in critical threat information, but because it provided further evidence that Abu Zubaydah had not been withholding...information from the interrogators."
Yes, that's right. In the CIA's estimation, torturing Zubaydah, almost to death, was the right thing to do because it proved he was not actually in possession of any critical, actionable intelligence.

Nevertheless, in 2003, George W. Bush's team would claim that Zubaydah had provided smoking gun confirmation that al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's Iraq had some kind of working relationship, that helped to make Bush's case that invading Iraq was necessary. Of course, the alleged link Zubaydah had provided turned out to have been false. In fact, eventually the US Government would confess that it had tortured a man, Zubaydah, that was not even in al-Qaeda.

And thousands of people would die or be horribly maimed as a consequence of the massive CIA, Bush White House conspiracy to torture actionable propaganda—not intelligence—out of its victims.

As the NY Times noted today, most of the charges that could have been brought against perpetrators of the Bush torture regime, will never be brought now, because Obama decided not to pursue them, and the statute of limitations has expired on most of them. And, on the ones still potentially chargeable, nobody believes Obama will risk any political damage by pursuing justice in this matter. 

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