Connecting the Dots to Donald Rumsfeld

"What sets us apart from our enemies in this fight ... is how we behave. In everything we do, we must observe the standards and values that dictate that we treat noncombatants and detainees with dignity and respect. While we are warriors, we are also all human beings. "- General David Petraeus, May 10, 2007

It runs 263 pages and it makes for chilling if mystifying reading on a hotter than hell San Francisco night. Formally its title is An Inquiry Into The Treatment of Detainees in US Custody (pdf.) and it is the result of an 18-month inquiry by Senate Armed Services Committee chaired by Carl Levin of Michigan.

The Levin Report documents how some of the techniques -- stripping detainees, placing them in "stress positions" or depriving them of sleep - used by the American military at prisons in Afghanistan, in Iraq and at the naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba originated in a series of high-level meetings in 2002, without a single dissent from Cabinet members or lawmakers even though several branches of the US military cited "serious concerns regarding the legality of many of the proposed techniques" and stated that "techniques described may be subject to challenge as failing to meet the requirements outlined in the military order to treat detainees humanely..."

The Levin Report shows that largely at the request of then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that the United States for the first time officially embraced the brutal methods of interrogation it had always condemned and had long felt to hold no intelligence value.

From the New York Times:

According to several former top officials involved in the discussions seven years ago, they did not know that the military training program, called SERE, for Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, had been created decades earlier to give American pilots and soldiers a sample of the torture methods used by Communists in the Korean War, methods that had wrung false confessions from Americans.

Even George J. Tenet, the C.I.A. director who insisted that the agency had thoroughly researched its proposal and pressed it on other officials, did not examine the history of the most shocking method, the near-drowning technique known as waterboarding.

The top officials he briefed did not learn that waterboarding had been prosecuted by the United States in war-crimes trials after World War II and was a well-documented favorite of despotic governments since the Spanish Inquisition; one waterboard used under Pol Pot was even on display at the genocide museum in Cambodia.

They did not know that some veteran trainers from the SERE program itself had warned in internal memorandums that, morality aside, the methods were ineffective. Nor were most of the officials aware that the former military psychologist who played a central role in persuading C.I.A. officials to use the harsh methods had never conducted a real interrogation, or that the Justice Department lawyer most responsible for declaring the methods legal had idiosyncratic ideas that even the Bush Justice Department would later renounce.

The process was "a perfect storm of ignorance and enthusiasm," a former C.I.A. official said.

In short, the decision to torture was a political decision, not a military one. Secretary Rumsfeld approved 15 interrogation techniques. Moreover, Secretary Rumsfeld authorized the techniques without apparently providing any written guidance as to how they should be administered. "The paper trail on abuse leads to top civilian leaders, and our report connects the dots," Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said on Tuesday in a conference call with reporters. "This report, in great detail, shows a paper trail going from that authorization" by Secretary Rumsfeld "to Guantánamo to Afghanistan and to Iraq," Mr. Levin said.

Now this weekend's ruminations on Fox News with Sean Hannity by former Vice President Dick Cheney make more sense, he is in a panic to protect his old chum Donald Rumsfeld. The right-wing is crying foul suggesting that this marks a "politicization" of intelligence. I regret to inform them that already took place the moment Donald Rumsfeld chose to make torture an instrument of state policy.

Tags: bush administration, Donald Rumsfeld, The Levin Report, torture (all tags)

Comments

8 Comments

Re: Connecting the Dots to Donald Rumsfeld

So this is where the groupthink was.

by Endymion 2009-04-21 10:36PM | 0 recs
No , this isn't groupthink

This is a work in progress and like all good WIP on the hill, the lobbyists are out to kill it. Rest assured certain editorial interests will be notified within the week if corporate advertising isn't going to vote for the move to bring the men to Justice that turned the word America into a synonym for Torture and attacks upon innocent countries.

Can we step back for a minute and just feel the sheer scope of this?  America invaded an innocent country. As bad as Iraq was, they didn't have anything to do with the attack upon us sept. 11th.  Our leader openly and purposefully lied to us.  

Should we forget that part of that lie, was to torture people to make them admit they were part of a scheme that didn't exist?

John McCain opposed torture because it was used upon him. And that makes great campaigning. But McCain was a soldier - if torture worked, he would have supported it. Truth is, McCain realized torture doesn't really work - the information is too unreliable.

The problem now is, given that the news cycle has become reality TV ...  how will this play against a woman who kills her own daughter?

The whole model of advertising needs to turn around towards a micropayment model. Americans need to be paid to watch advertising. And advertisers need to stop trying to pressure newspapers and magazine editors to dictate the content of their rags. Ten bucks says that all those lame dating services out there are behind the current craigslist killer news cycler - because Craigslist is FREE and this quarter
will be a banner quarter for their profitability so they are pushing their own little version of the news.

The dots connect - and unfortunately where this is going , is heading up against a wall of lobbyism and behind the scenes "intervention" that will end up quashing the story if nobody figures out that the entire unitary executive push by cheney and rumsfeld was tied into this -

Or.. dare I say...? If we all don't stop and realize , simply - what is truly wrong - we are misinformed, and we are being consistently misinformed - we have been misled, and there should be consequences.

For my money public outrage only gets you so far. Failed entertainers masquerading as talk show hosts or talking heads on 24 hour news cycle TV are proof of that.

For Cheney and Rumsfelds punishment, I want them to kneel over Abraham Lincoln's knee and have someone dress up as Betty Page and spank them.

by Trey Rentz 2009-04-22 12:52AM | 0 recs
Re: No , this isn't groupthink

One is so overwhelmed at the scope and breadth of their malfeasance that one simply cannot remember it all.

by Charles Lemos 2009-04-22 03:49PM | 0 recs
Didn't McCain confess under torture?

Everybody does. They say whatever they think they want you to say.

People make things up.

That is why information extracted under torture is usually worthless.

The Communists used a different technique, a very sophisticated one, called thought reform, that requires a lot more work.

Its not unlike the cult-like internal discipline of other absolutist political organizations.

Robert J. Lifton wrote an interesting book about it.

All cults behave similarly.

by architek 2009-04-22 03:37AM | 0 recs
The Art of Torture





why did they do it?
by architek 2009-04-22 04:06AM | 0 recs
Donald Rumsfeld

My Dad told me he met Rumsfeld when Rumsfeld was working with the grocers association in Chicago many decades ago.  It was before Rumsfeld got deeply involved in politics.  Dad only met him once, but he carried a strong impression of that meeting away with him.  He said Rumsfeld was a bully who made it his job to embarrass and cower all of his subordinates.  Dad said he was probably the most unpleasant man he had ever met.  The word sadist comes to mind.

by candideinnc 2009-04-22 05:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Connecting the Dots to Donald Rumsfeld

It looks like torture was used to get false confessions which connected Al Qaida with Iraq.

In a McClatchy article:

A former U.S. Army psychiatrist, Maj. Charles Burney, told Army investigators in 2006 that interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility were under "pressure" to produce evidence of ties between al Qaida and Iraq.

"While we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq," Burney told staff of the Army Inspector General. "The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link . . . there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results."

We know now that connections between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaida did not exist.

McClatchy continues:

Former Vice President Dick Cheney and others who advocated the use of sleep deprivation, isolation and stress positions and waterboarding, which simulates drowning, insist that they were legal.

A former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that intelligence agencies and interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration.

And more information is coming out from other sources.

According to the NY Times there was no investigation into the past use of torture techniques:

According to several former top officials involved in the discussions seven years ago, they did not know that the military training program, called SERE, for Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, had been created decades earlier to give American pilots and soldiers a sample of the torture methods used by Communists in the Korean War, methods that had wrung false confessions from Americans.

Even George J. Tenet, the C.I.A. director who insisted that the agency had thoroughly researched its proposal and pressed it on other officials, did not examine the history of the most shocking method, the near-drowning technique known as waterboarding.

Perhaps, if this had been looked into, we would have known that waterboarding leads to false confessions.

Under The LobsterScope

by btchakir 2009-04-22 05:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Connecting the Dots to Donald Rumsfeld

This is all CYA because at the top level they had to know the Chinese procedures which were developed during the Korean war and were morphed at that time into the SERE training were specifically created to illicit FALSE confessions.

I posted on this quite some time ago based on the following from a 2008 NYT article

The 1957 article from which the chart was copied was entitled "Communist Attempts to Elicit False Confessions From Air Force Prisoners of War" and written by Albert D. Biderman, a sociologist then working for the Air Force, who died in 2003. Mr. Biderman had interviewed American prisoners returning from North Korea, some of whom had been filmed by their Chinese interrogators confessing to germ warfare and other atrocities.

The only change made in the chart presented at Guantánamo was to drop its original title: "Communist Coercive Methods for Eliciting Individual Compliance."

The question now is who removed the name and when was it removed. Was it still on the document when Bush, Rice, Tenant, and Rummy gave approval? Was it still on the document when the "Gang of Four" looked the other way for Congress?

by kimhanson 2009-04-22 07:25AM | 0 recs

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