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A report by a multidisciplinary task force, made up largely of medical professionals, ethicists and legal experts, has called on President Obama to issue an executive order outlawing torture and other abusive techniques currently in use in the military's Army Field Manual on interrogations. The Task Force, which wrote the report for The Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) and the Open Society Foundations (OSF), has also called on the Department of Defense to rewrite the Army Field Manual in accordance with such an executive order.

The recommendation for action on the Army Field Manual (AFM) was the second finding and recommendation in the report (PDF):

The president has issued an executive order prohibiting the use of torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, and has repudiated Justice Department legal memoranda authorizing its use. However, the Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations, which binds both military and CIA interrogators, permits methods of interrogation that are recognized under international law as forms of torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. Such methods include sleep deprivation, isolation, and exploitation of fear.

Besides recommending that the Department of Defense (DoD) revise the AFM itself, the Task Force report calls for the United States to "accede to the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, which requires the creation of an independent domestic monitoring body for the purpose of preventing torture against individuals in custody."

The recommendation to issue a new executive order on current forms of torture and abuse, and to rewrite the Army Field Manual is one of eight findings and numerous recommendations in the report. The first recommendation was for President Obama to "order a comprehensive investigation of U.S. practices in connection with the detention of suspected terrorists following 9/11 and report the results to Congress and the American people."

The report continued, "The investigation should include inquiry into the circumstances, roles, and conduct of health professionals in designing, participating in, and enabling torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of detainees in interrogation and confinement settings and why there were few if any known reports by health professionals." In the body of the report, the Task Force indicated the investigation should include an examination of the "highly questionable" and "unexplained" use of the drug mefloquine on all the Guantanamo detainees, something I will examine in more depth in a future article.

Entitled Ethics Abandoned: Medical Professionalism and Detainee Abuse in the “War on Terror”, the IMAP/OSF report was written by the Task Force on Preserving Medical Professionalism in National Security Detention Centers. The TF roster included a former president of the American Psychiatric Association; the President of IMAP; the Chair of the Department of Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights at the Boston University School of Public Health; a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross; a former Army general; and, controversially, the former Chief Surgeon and head of the Naval Hospital at Guantanamo, among other distinguished members.

Transforming Physicians into "Agents of the Military"

The bulk of the report concerns the ways in which the CIA and the Department of Defense, with the connivance of the Department of Justice, changed the rules and procedures surrounding the use of health care professionals in interrogations and national security detention centers such that doctors and psychologists were enlisted in the design, participation and enabling of torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of detainees.

The task force moreover found that health care professionals caused grave harm to those who otherwise should have been in their care, or to those whom they were otherwise under an ethical and professional obligation not to harm. Task Force member Dr. Gerald Thomson, Professor of Medicine Emeritus at Columbia University, said in a press release, "It’s clear that in the name of national security the military trumped that covenant, and physicians were transformed into agents of the military and performed acts that were contrary to medical ethics and practice. We have a responsibility to make sure this never happens again.”

According to the Task Force, DoD and the CIA accomplished the subornation of doctors and psychologists to torture by three mechanisms: the government's labeling of prisoners as “'unlawful combatants' who did not qualify as prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions," along with the Department of Justice approval of "interrogation methods recognized domestically and internationally as constituting torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment"; "undermining health professionals’ allegiances to established principles of professional ethics and conduct through reinterpretation of those principles; and pervasive secrecy. (See Kevin Gosztola's story at The Dissenter.)

This is the second report in a little over six months to document the activity of medical professionals in the torture and abuse of detainees. Published last April, The Constitution Project's report on detainee abuse also noted that the Army Field Manual allowed for abuse and called for DoD "to eliminate [the AFM's] Appendix M, which permits the use of abusive tactics.... Language prohibiting the use of stress positions and abnormal sleep manipulation that was removed [from the AFM] in 2006 should be restored." (For the full report, see PDF.)

The AFM's Covert Actualization of Torture

I have followed the story of the new Army Field Manual since it was released in September 2006. In a January 2009 article at AlterNet I noted that rather than an alternative to torture, the Army Field Manual eliminated some of the worst of the CIA's "enhanced interrogation techniques," like waterboarding, only to take the standard operating procedure of Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay and expand it all over the world.

In its Appendix M, meant only for detainees who did not qualify for the Geneva Conventions' Prisoner of War protections, under a deceptive omnibus "technique" called "Separation," the new AFM allowed for ongoing isolation and sleep deprivation of prisoners, for dietary and environmental manipulations, so long as they were not "extreme", and for forms of sensory deprivation (under the description "field expedient separation").

The President of the National Lawyers Guild Marjorie Cohn has stated that portions of the AFM protocol, especially the use of isolation and prolonged sleep deprivation, constitutes cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and is illegal under the Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, the U.N. Convention Against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Hina Shamsi, an attorney with the ACLU's National Security Project, has stated that portions of the AFM are "deeply problematic" and "would likely violate the War Crimes Act and Geneva," and at the very least "leave the door open for legal liability." Physicians for Human Rights and the Constitution Project have publicly called for the removal of problematic and abusive techniques from the AFM.

Yet, the interrogation manual is still praised by politicians, including then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, who in December 2007 said he would "have the Army Field Manual govern interrogation techniques for all United States Government personnel and contractors."

The authors of the 2006 Army Field Manual presented their work as reform, and at first that's what many believed. Even today, Appendix M is represented as a single "technique." Some misunderstand the idea of "separation" and think it has something to do with isolating prisoners for safety or security reasons. But the Manual itself (PDF) calls such separation for security reasons "segregation," and specifically says the "Separation" discussed in Appendix M is not the same as security segregation but is meant for interrogation purposes, its techniques to be applied with others in the Army Field Manual, including Fear Up and Ego Down techniques, i.e., with use of fear and humiliation.

Yet all of this was presented with prettified words of adherence to Geneva, and forbidding of torture and abusive techniques like waterboarding and hooding, or use of dogs, types of torture and abuse allowed by the CIA and DoD during the Bush years.

The Torture Memo That Obama Never Rescinded

Obama was a man of his word, and he eliminated the CIA "enhanced interrogation" program, and withdrew the torture memos that had justified it. Or at least that was the impression. In fact, as I revealed in an article at The Dissenter on May 1 this year, Obama never rescinded all the Yoo/Bybee/Bradbury Office of Legal Council memos on interrogation, but had passed them on to his Attorney General for final disposition. Bradbury's April 16, 2006 memo on the Army Field Manual and Appendix M was never rescinded, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Defense. (DoJ has refused substantive comment on the issue.)

Bradbury's memo was deeply dishonest. It made assertions about the legality of techniques that were never documented (though they were presented in a verbal report to Congress). He approved the constitutionality of the bulk of the AFM (everything except Appendix M) in one sentence, hiding the fact that the manual had changed in substantive ways from earlier versions, besides the addition of Appendix M. This included an expansion of the "Fear Up" technique to include the exploitation of "new" phobias in prisoners, the elimination of the prohibition against stress positions and sleep deprivation, and a widening of the latitude in using drugs on prisoners.

The truth about how the Army Field Manual has been used to hide abuse of prisoners has been largely hidden from the public. Although both the IMAP/OSF and Constitution Project reports have gotten a lot of press coverage, very little of the coverage has noted the calls for a revision of the Army Field Manual, or the fact the AFM even has techniques that amount to torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

To the calls for an executive order and rewriting the field manual must be added the revocation of the Bradbury Army Field Manual/Appendix M memo.

Obama, the Army Field Manual, and Torture

A lot has been made in recent years about how the New York Times is reticent to use the word "torture" to describe what is under any common sense or legal definition torture. That is certainly a disgraceful adaptation to the U.S. government's policies on interrogation, which include Bush and Cheney's outright advocacy of torture to the Obama administration's refusal to investigate or hold accountable those who tortured.

Even more egregious has been the characterization by the Times of the Army Field Manual as "nonabusive." Charlie Savage characterized the Army Field Manual as "nonabusive" in a widely-distributed article, "Election to Decide Future Interrogation Methods in Terrorism Cases" (Sept. 27, 2012). Savage's contention that Obama has stuck to a "strict no-torture policy" is belied by the evidence. Such misinformation, whether intentional or not, does real harm, the more so as it comes from an authoritative source.

As difficult as it is for many people to accept, we know from all that is described above that the Obama administration is itself involved in torture, from its approval of extraordinary rendition to the documented operation of detention centers, ostensibly under the administration of allied forces, where torture takes place. (See this 2011 report in The Nation by Jeremy Scahill about CIA torture sites in Somalia.) Other accusations of torture by agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation exist as well.

Yet it is the covert actualization of torture in the Army Field Manual that is the most pervasive application of torture at this date, as the AFM is the primary standard for interrogations used by both DoD and the CIA.

The IMAP/OSF report notes that the U.S. torture program was predicated on the production of "debility, dependency and dread" in those who are interrogated (see pgs. xiv and 18). The origin of this "DDD"-style torture was the research done under the CIA's MKULTRA and associated programs, which included DoD behavioral research on SERE-style training to withstand torture even as early as the 1950s. (For more on this aspect of the story, see "Beware Misdirection on Torture (the 'DDD' Story)" and "Top U.S. Behavioral Scientists Studied Survival Schools to Create Torture Program Over 50 Years Ago.")

The Army Field Manual utilizes precisely this program: isolation and sleep deprivation to produce both debility and dependency, use of "Fear Up" and sensory deprivation to cause "dread." Sometimes drugs are used to enhance these effects. The IMAP/OSF report notes the research I did with Jason Leopold, which culminated in the FOIA release of the DoD's Inspector General report on drugging, which admitted to both involuntary drugging of prisoners, and the fact that at least one prisoner (Jose Padilla) was made to think he had been given hallucinogenic drugs, in order to cause fear and disorientation.

The reason serious problems with the Army Field Manual issue do not command more interest among the American people is political. The issue usually goes unreported. The significance of the fact the nation's primary interrogation manual utilizes torture and abuse is not recognized, though this is primarily because the press does not push it. Even the human rights organizations who have publicly taken the AFM to task, or publicly called for change, do not put the issue on the front burner. Indeed, even IMAP left their recommendation to rewrite the Army Field Manual out of its press release.

But the fact remains that more and more sections of the Establishment are able to see through the propaganda and ignorance surrounding the nation's interrogation protocols. While the IMAP/OSF and Constitution Project reports represent important steps forward in the battle to end torture, it will take a political battle with major elements within the Democratic Party who still support the Army Field Manual and other aspects of the militarist program that is the "war on terror" to make the changes in interrogation policy something concrete and not only aspirational.

Also posted at The Dissenter/FDL

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (26+ / 0-)

    I suspect my charges of the Obama administration allowing the continuance of torture via the Army Field Manual, and especially its Appendix M, will be an "inconvenient truth" for many here, and cause no end of cognitive dissonance.

    But one must be true to the sufferings of the victims and bear witness for suffering, no matter the consequences.

    For those who are upset, remember that facts do not rely on diaries. They either exist in the world or they do not. And if these facts are true, then the society that countenances such things is in for one hell of a ride, because crimes do have consequences in this world, whether we will like it, or even will it, or not.

    War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

    by Valtin on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 10:08:05 AM PST

    •  I suspect your charges will be dismissed by many (0+ / 0-)

      here because you offer no evidence for them.

      I also suspect that people use the term "cognitive dissonance" in place of evidence to make it seem somehow inappropriate to notice factual and logical falsehoods.

      Your language could not make it clearer that you have nothing but the Obot Wars in mind. You project more than an IMAX Theater.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 11:01:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would hope you could be more specfic (13+ / 0-)

        I welcome criticisms of my analysis, and that of scholars and doctors and ethicists, on the issue of torture in Army Field Manual. Instead, you wish to criticize my use of the term "cognitive dissonance."

        I am not interested in the Obot Wars. I am only interested in ending torture. But if that means the Obama Administration must come in for criticism, just as the administration before it, or other countries as well, from the UK to Saudi Arabia to Israel to Russia, and more... well, I am an equal opportunity critic.

        I don't think you actually looked at the evidence in the brief time it took you to comment. You can prove me wrong by posting something substantive here.

        War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

        by Valtin on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 11:29:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think this is why your diaries tend to... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Valtin, dharmafarmer

          stay somewhat placid. You offer far too much documentation and quotation to make for very good conversation with folks like joe. You're bringing forward a very similar case to the one you've made against the Bush Administration, with similar credibility. You've exhaustively covered each angle.

          Meaning a tantrum like joe's necessarily burns out after the first comment or two because there isn't much beyond "nuh uh" to say. You place us so far beyond a debate about what the record shows to be fact that there's little to actually flame about

          "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

          by 2020adam on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 04:27:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, my model when it comes to argument (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            corvo, dharmafarmer, 2020adam

            is Charles Darwin. (I did original research on his life for my dissertation, reading tons of his letters.) He assembled an overwhelming amount of evidence because he knew his critics were motivated and ready to pounce. He felt that one convinced one's opponents slowly, and that leaving a documentary record of your facts and arguments was something of a legacy.

            I'm hoping that sooner or later, what I write about will get heard. In fact, I already know it has... behind the scenes. Even sometimes not behind the scenes. If you download the IMAP/OSF report, you'll see my work footnoted a few times, particularly the work I did with Jason Leopold on mefloquine and use of other drugs on detainees at Guantanamo. As a result of that work, and even though the former head of the Naval Hospital at Guantanamo was on their panel, IMAP/OSF became the first major task force to publicly call for investigation of the mefloquine use at Guantanamo.

            Sometimes things do pay off.

            War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

            by Valtin on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 06:51:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  What documentation? (0+ / 0-)

            The diarist provides not a single word of documentation to backup his charge of torture by the Obama administration.

            You people seem to have adopted the pretense of being evidence-based in place of actually doing the work of providing evidence.

            Art is the handmaid of human good.

            by joe from Lowell on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 07:23:55 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Still here, champ. Not burned out. (0+ / 0-)

            Still pointing out the complete lack of evidence for the claim of torture under the Obama administration.

            Art is the handmaid of human good.

            by joe from Lowell on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 07:26:28 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  It's not the Army Field Manual that's the problem. (0+ / 0-)

          It's your baseless assertions of torture happening under Obama.

          The bit about the AFM language was actually quite good. Too bad you just couldn't stop yourself from pushing bullshit. This could have been a good diary about the AFM and the report.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 07:23:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Nothing like fanning "wars" flames, is there? (10+ / 0-)

        You even jump the tip jar to do it?

        If you don't want "O wars," then don't fan the flames. Your accusatory language is just on the line of HR-able. Attacking the diarist's honesty and motivations under the tip jar is certainly a case of DBAD.

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 12:46:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Check out Rolling Stone article on same (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dharmafarmer

        Maybe some younger readers here, not knowing what's behind all this, will feel more trusting of the fact-checkers at Rolling Stone than they do from "joe from Lowell". The article there covers the same report I do, and makes some of the same general points.

        http://www.rollingstone.com/...

        War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

        by Valtin on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 08:25:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Once again, that's not the baseless part. (0+ / 0-)

          I'm not taking exception to anything in the report, but to the wholly evidence-free assertion of torture by the Obama administration that you felt the need to cram into the diary.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 07:25:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you, Valtin (14+ / 0-)

    Your efforts are appreciated (if also dreaded by my gut since reading about it is so unpleasant).

    "This is the best bad idea we have by far..." ~Argo

    by MsGrin on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 10:12:32 AM PST

    •  Understand the dread (13+ / 0-)

      I can't go at pace of past in reporting on these things, because frankly just so awful. I understand, though am frustrated, when the truth about these matters can't penetrate the public consciousness.

      Such squeamishness and the natural tendency to turn away is in fact the ally of those who torture. I can't change that. I can only go forward and hope enough momentum takes place to truly end torture in this society. The take-out of torture in the AFM would have profound repercussions around the world, where torture, too, and often in more brutal manifestations, still takes place.

      War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

      by Valtin on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 10:15:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm so happy this story is from early 2009 (7+ / 0-)

    because everyone knows We Don't Torture™.

    </snark>

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 10:31:34 AM PST

  •  Actually, I am less concerned about the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Valtin

    effects of torture on the victims.  The process of being taken captive and transported to strange lands is likely already so disorienting that the torture doesn't even register. Which, of course, suggests the whole thing is useless from start to finish.
    On the other hand, the people ordered to engage in the sadistic behavior can't but be psychologically injured as a result of being coerced to carry out torture on pain of being stripped of their livelihood.
    We are slowly learning the consequences of troops being forced to exterminate their own kind for no good reason.
    Perhaps this report will give some the courage to resist what are clearly orders to deprive people of their human rights.

    Will the President supervise the catharsis or will he be an après moi le déluge man?

    At some point the evil that was Iraq will have to be revealed.

  •  The medical personnel who abandoned their oath (9+ / 0-)

    to "do noi harm" should be prosecuted for torture along with the persons who ordered it, allowed it and authorized its use.


    "Information is power. But like all power there are those who want to keep it for themselves" Aaron Swartz, 1986 - 2013
    TheStarsHollowGazette.com

    by TheMomCat on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 10:37:38 AM PST

    •  You are correct & I agree (5+ / 0-)

      At Nuremberg it was determined that "I was only following orders" is NOT a just defense for committing war crimes.

      Under Dumbya and Obama both, they excused the torturers because "they were following orders" and they use that justification for not charging them with war crimes.  They are let off scot-free.  They didn't label the justification as the Nuremberg Defense, but those who study history know about it.  Google has some reputable sites about it, and even Wikipedia has a page on the Nuremberg Defense and discusses other episodes throughout history regarding torture.

      After Nuremberg, the US Uniform Code of Military Justice indicates that a soldier has the right to refuse to carry out an illegal or immoral order.  It's what Lt. Ehren Watada used when he was brought up for court martial proceedings for refusing to participate in the war crimes of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.  Watada is not against a defensive war (i.e., he's not a conscientious objector), but absent a declaration of war by Congress and given the known practice of torturing prisoners and the fact that the US invasion of Iraq broke the Geneva Conventions and US Law, as well as the US Constitution, Watada refused to participate in war crimes in Iraq.  He was correct in his actions.

      Charges were later dismissed on some kind of pretzel logic over technicalities; charges should never have been brought in the first place since his refusal to participate in war crimes is covered under UCMJ.  It's just too bad more soldiers didn't follow Watada's example and refuse to participate in war crimes.  That would have stopped Dumbya's and Dickie's war in short order..., and might even have made some of our Cretinous Congress Critters (dare one hope even Moronic Media?) think twice about continuing to deny us our constitutional rights and habeas corpus.

      If the doctors had only staunchly abided by their own Hippocratic Oath on the grounds of their ethics and personal morality, they had more than ample right to refuse to participate in war crimes (I don't think any of them were even enlisted, right?).  Yet another wasted opportunity to turn ugly circumstances around and make our Congress Critters (and maybe even Moronic Media) think twice about glorifying war (see #4).

      The dull sheeple conformist actions by people/voters, Cretinous Congress Critters, and Moronic Media has confounded me beyond endurance for the last 13 years.  I do NOT understand why so many went into a state of torpor, shrugged their shoulders and let Dumbya and Dickie and their evil minions lead us into accepting their lies, war crimes, torture, plus illegal, unconstitutional, unethical, immoral, and dishonorable wars, leaving Gitmo open, and accept the illegal and unconstitutional AUMF, Patriot Acts, MCA '06, FISA fiasco '08, and MCA '09 [the latter passed under Obama].

      Does.not.compute.

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 12:32:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just so everyone reading this diary knows: (0+ / 0-)

    the report that is the basis contains not a single word about any torture taking place under the Obama administration.

    That is purely the invention, and agenda, of the diarist. The blue-ribbon commission in question found nothing, reported nothing, to back up the charge that the diarist felt the need to assert, and pre-emptively defend with dull "Obot" language, in his first comment.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 11:06:38 AM PST

    •  This is totally untrue (9+ / 0-)

      Sad you have to do the inventing yourself. My diary is thoroughly well documented. I challenge you to name one falsehood.

      War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

      by Valtin on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 11:55:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Classic dodge. Watch how this works: (0+ / 0-)
        the report that is the basis contains not a single word about any torture taking place under the Obama administration.
        OK? Everyone see the charge? The diary doesn't contain evidence to support a claim. The response?
        I challenge you to name one falsehood.
        Notice how the reply kinda sorta sounds like it is a response to the charge, but actually isn't.

        Classis misinformation tactic.

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 07:18:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's untrue that the report contains nothing... (0+ / 0-)

        about torture under Obama?

        ORLY?

        OK, then kindly quote the instances of torture under Obama cited in the report.

        Thanks.

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 07:21:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Found nothing or reported nothing, those are (7+ / 0-)

      two different things.  Was the commission tasked with verifying that torture hasn't occurred under Obama?  Did it look?

      "It is easier to pass through the eye of a needle then it is to be an honest politician."

      by BigAlinWashSt on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 12:11:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Establish your case. (8+ / 0-)

      Simply provide a quote from the diary, then provide the documentation showing it is false.  

      Making baseless assertions is exactly what you are doing (and known for doing on a repeated basis).  

      If you wish to be credible, establish your case.  We'll all watch and see if you do.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 12:43:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I do believe (6+ / 0-)

        this kind of stance is due to cognitive dissonance, a real phenomena we are all vulnerable to.

        For those who aren't familiar with it, it is the psychological pressure felt when one's beliefs are challenged, and one feels that either the old beliefs or the new information must cancel the other out. Since this is such an uncomfortable state, the tendency is to ignore (or repress) the new information.

        This is certainly the case with Obama. There is much about Obama that is a welcome relief from the conservative dinosaurs of the GOP of Bush/Cheney. However, on national security and defense issues, Obama either totally agrees or is a near-total captive of the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies. As a result, his administration has now become identified and responsible for those policies, including the policy of including some types of torture, and also policies like rendition, indefinite detention, etc.

        That makes it very hard for me and other to get their message heard. It just does not compute, or I must be lying, a "hater," etc.

        Torture is a universal acid that dissolves civil society. If people here care at all about the progressive causes they advocate (and I believe most here do), then they should be very concerned, because it is all endangered by continuing the policy of torture, which drags behind it all that is sick, regressive, and reactionary. It also is creating new enemies who will seek vengeance and wreak havoc for generations. It is the opposite of progressive. It is indeed the devil him or herself.

        Zawahiri has openly stated he embraced AQ, and 9/11, b/c of his torture by the Egyptians (backed by the U.S.).

        Who will be the next Zawahiri? What terrible nemesis is being created, first by Bush, Jr., and now by Obama and, likely, his successors?

        The destiny of this country now lies in the hands of progressives who hopefully can wake up from their cognitive dissonance-induced trance and end this before the need to protect and extend torture takes the national security state away totally, and us with it.

        War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

        by Valtin on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 02:48:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Did you bother to read my comment? Here, try again (0+ / 0-)
        the report that is the basis contains not a single word about any torture taking place under the Obama administration.
        The blue-ribbon commission in question found nothing, reported nothing, to back up the charge that the diarist felt the need to assert
        How am I supposed to provide a quote that demonstrates an absence?

        Nice dodge.

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 07:19:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I think it's going to take alot more than a (7+ / 0-)

    political battle within the democratic party to end torture, Executive assassinations, spying, indefinite detention, and the War OF Terror in general.  None of this can be supported without the War OF Terror AUMF and the theme of fighting a war against terror, which ironically is a War OF Terror by the U.S. and it's allies.  Barbara Lee has tried to get it rescinded, very few will join her.  Outraged citizens who are fed up with the global military empire and the illegal and inhuman practices our own government uses around the world will have to rise up and end it.  

    "It is easier to pass through the eye of a needle then it is to be an honest politician."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 12:09:30 PM PST

  •  Oddly enough, I found this article... (6+ / 0-)

    ... just two days ago:

    CIA made doctors torture suspected terrorists after 9/11, taskforce finds | World news | The Guardian
    Doctors were asked to torture detainees for intelligence gathering, and unethical practices continue, review concludes
    Sarah Boseley, health editor   The Guardian, Sunday 3 November 2013
    Cognitive dissonance set big bells clanging in my brain over the wording of the title:  CIA made doctors torture....

    MADE?!?  How the f does one MAKE a rational and presumably intelligent adult with a college education do something against his/her will since the doctors have already taken a moral oath to "First, do no harm"...?

    Does.not.compute.

    Excellent post Valtin!

    I've been embarrassed and ashamed of having to call myself an American ever since the fucked up 2000 $COTU$ decision which led to the zombie and meek actions of Congress, the US military, and the easy acceptance by voters to having our rights taken away (and still not reinstated) for the last 13 years, and shame on our government and citizens who meekly accepted torture.  [Torture!  I never thought I'd live to see such a moral failing on the part of our political "leaders."  It horrified me then, and still horrifies me today and will continue into the future until our political and military "leaders" finally and absolutely quit being such bellicose morons.]  I'm tired of their wasting our money on illegal, unconstitutional, and pointless wars around the world.

    When will more than enough be enough, already?

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 12:49:23 PM PST

    •  The Guardian (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, Emmy, NonnyO, dharmafarmer

      is of course referring to the same IMAP/OSF report I am.

      You're right to call them out on supposedly "making" doctors collaborate with torture. In fact, the doctors too often were more than willing to collaborate, as long as they felt legally covered, or ethically protected by allowances and changes made to ethics protocols.

      An example given in the report, and one which I've written about before, was how in 2001 the American Psychological Assn. changed its ethics code to allow psychologists to adhere to an organization's or government rules or law, even if the latter were in conflict with the ethics code.

      Opponents called the Nuremberg exception. After protesting it for a decade, APA changed that aspect of the ethics code last year.

      War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

      by Valtin on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 03:40:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  IMHO... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo, dharmafarmer

        ... APA should have left it alone and not changed it to conform to more recent (and wrong!) military and/or CIA standards.  Torture by any other name is still torture, and as such it is illegal, unconstitutional, violates US law, violates treaties, and the Geneva Conventions..., and every time media or We The People remain silent about the topic, it signals approval and how meekly we will go along with any old illegal crap our government dishes out.  And we still need our rights and habeas corpus back.

        After protesting it for a decade, APA changed that aspect of the ethics code last year.

        I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

        by NonnyO on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 12:05:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Perhaps the saddest thing (8+ / 0-)

    is how this diary would've provoked dozens of comments, and torrents of outrage -- directed against the government -- if it had been posted before January 20. 2009.

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 01:10:32 PM PST

  •  In my Truthout news feed: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, Valtin, dharmafarmer
    Amid Lingering Hunger Strike, Guantanamo Abuses Press On
    Saturday, 09 November 2013 00:55
    It's a long-ish article, but worth the read.  Yes, the conundrum of why/how Obama can keep Gitmo open and follow Dumbya's policies is talked about as well as force feeding those on hunger strikes.

    Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh.

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 02:56:12 PM PST

    •  Especially after making that pretty speech (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Valtin, Emmy, NonnyO, dharmafarmer

      about how that's not who we are as a country and all.

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 03:05:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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