by James Glaser
December 9, 2014
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The Democrats just released their report on how the CIA tortures people. They released it now, because come January, the Republicans will be in charge of the Senate and then that report would be buried so no American citizen would ever see it. Remember the photos from Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq? Well, there were other photos that only Congressmen and women got to see, and they said after looking at them it was like looking at hell. We will never see them. The same with the CIA videos of their torture sessions, the CIA destroyed those videos. This report used thousands and thousands of CIA reports and emails to figure out what the CIA was really doing, not what they say they were doing.

Here is how US law defines torture:

(1) "torture" means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;

(2) "severe mental pain or suffering" means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from—

(A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;

(B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;

(C) the threat of imminent death; or

(D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality; and

(3) "United States" means the several States of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the commonwealths, territories, and possessions of the United States.

If you just think about it for a minute you will realize we use torture all the time to punish Americans convicted of crimes. Solitary confinement is a very cruel form of torture that can go on for years, with at least one American prisoner in solitary for over 40 years. This is how it is explained by The Center for Constitutional Rights:

The devastating psychological and physical effects of prolonged solitary confinement are well documented by social scientists:

prolonged solitary confinement causes prisoners significant mental harm and places them at grave risk of even more devastating future psychological harm.

Researchers have demonstrated that prolonged solitary confinement causes a persistent and heightened state of anxiety and nervousness, headaches, insomnia, lethargy or chronic tiredness, nightmares, heart palpitations, and fear of impending nervous breakdowns. Other documented effects include obsessive ruminations, confused thought processes, an oversensitivity to stimuli, irrational anger, social withdrawal, hallucinations, violent fantasies, emotional flatness, mood swings, chronic depression, feelings of overall deterioration, as well as suicidal ideation.

Exposure to such life-shattering conditions clearly constitute cruel and unusual punishment — in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Further, the brutal use of solitary has been condemned as torture by the international community.

Many combat veterans learn of our use of torture first hand when prisoners are first interrogated after capture. Others see it in the "rear" when prisoners are turned over to the professionals from the CIA.

Today, the Senate Intelligence Committee allowed Americans to read 600 pages, some redacted, of their 6,700 page report on America's use of torture. Here is some of what our government will let us know they are doing

WASHINGTON — The United States brutalized scores of terror suspects with interrogation tactics that turned secret CIA prisons into chambers of suffering and did nothing to make America safer after the 9/11 attacks, Senate investigators concluded Tuesday.

The Senate Intelligence Committee's torture report, years in the making, accused the CIA of misleading its political masters about what it was doing with its "black site" captives and deceiving the nation about the effectiveness of its techniques. The report was the first public accounting of tactics employed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and it described far harsher actions than had been widely known.

Tactics included confinement to small boxes, weeks of sleep deprivation, simulated drowning, slapping and slamming, and threats to kill, harm or sexually abuse families of the captives.

Of course the tactics listed are only what our government will allow us to know. If you think back to the photos from Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq, you will know they left a lot out. Things like those were used elsewhere, too.

A December 21, 2004 report in the Washington Post says, "Detainees at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were shackled to the floor in fetal positions for more than 24 hours at a time. Left without food and water, and allowed to defecate on themselves, an FBI agent who said he witnessed such abuse reported in a memo to supervisors, according to documents released yesterday." The memos released cover a two-year period and were obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union, which sued the Federal Government to get them.

In one case reported, an FBI Agent said, "The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his own hair out throughout the night."

So, the fact is, we, the United States of America, the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave use torture, and we have for a very, very long time. Yes, it is against our law, against many treaties we as a nation have signed on to, but still we do it, and much of what we do we must keep secret from our own citizens. With only 600 pages of a 6,700 page report given to the public, who knows what other horrible things we have done.

Torture, it is evil.

"Torture is such a slippery slope; as soon as you allow a society or any legal system to do that, almost instantly you get a situation where people are being tortured for very trivial reasons."

Iain Banks

Written by Matthew Alexander, leader of an interrogations team assigned to a Special Operations task force in Iraq in 2006:

"Torture and abuse cost American lives...I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Our policy of torture was directly and swiftly recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq...How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me — unless you don't count American soldiers as Americans."

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