Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Torture: theory and practice.


            The Senate torture report actually tells us nothing that most of us did not already know.  As did the Wilileaks disclosures about Iraq, it only provides documentation and facts to substantiate what we had already know and, if many cases, stated here. 

            This also gives us the opportunity to point out a few things about the American Psychological Association.  Doctors and Psychiatrists are prohibited by their associations from participating in such practices.  Our own practice indicates that such activities are frowned upon by many, if not most, Psychologists.  Other than in the very general sense of the words, the exact manner in wich Nietzsche used it in his chapter called "We Psychologists," we lay no claim, in fact deny, being Psychologists.  However, it is listed as a "helping profession," and as such disgraces itself by allowing such people to participate in these practices. 

            One of the few positive contributions the APA has made is their style sheet which greatly simplifies documentation.  The DSM-V, now the current manual for diagnosis, helps a great deal in communication between Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists or Counselors and Doctors in regard to modifying prescriptions as the symptoms are listed, sometimes more than 5, and can be communicated with a simple combination of letters and numbers.  Otherwise, it is suspect in many ways, but this is not the place for that sort of discussion.  However, another positive contribution the APA could make is to suspend the licenses of any and all practitioners who take part in such practices as torture.

            Below are two interviews on this subject and then one additional one. Mike Gravel, the Alaska Senator who read into the CONGRESSIONAL REPORT all of the Pentagon Papers of Daniel Ellsberg has suggested that Mark Udall, big money defeated Colorado Democratic Senator, do the same for the Senate Torture report.  Not just the small summary, but all of it.  After all, we paid for it, such a reading is perfectly legal, and one could argue needed.  This would make all of the report available to the American people.

            For those who have not kept up with this issue, here are a couple of interviews that put the entire thing in perspective:


After Duo Created CIA Torture Methods, Did World’s Largest Group of Psychologists Enable Abuses?

As a psychologist identified as the "architect" of the CIA’s torture program admits he personally waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, we look at allegations that the American Psychological Association — the largest association of psychologists in the world — secretly colluded with U.S. abuses. Speaking to Vice News, retired Air Force psychologist James Mitchell confirmed for the first time he personally waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Mitchell was hired to help create the interrogation program along with his partner, Dr. Bruce Jessen. The Senate report says Mitchell and Jessen were paid $81 million to help design the CIA’s torture methods, including some of the most abusive tactics. The Senate’s findings come as the American Psychological Association has launched a review to determine whether its leadership also played a role in CIA torture. The APA’s probe was prompted by revelations from Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times investigative reporter James Risen. In his new book, "Pay Any Price," Risen reveals how after the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, the APA formed a task force that enabled the continued role of psychologists in the torture program. There has been a deep division within the APA’s policy on interrogations for years. Unlike the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association, the APA never prohibited its members from being involved in interrogations.
We are joined by two guests: Steven Reisner, a founding member of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology and psychological ethics adviser to Physicians for Human Rights; and Alfred McCoy, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of "A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror," as well as "Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation."


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AARON MATÉ: A retired Air Force psychologist identified as the "architect" of the CIA’s torture program has confirmed for the first time he personally waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. James Mitchell told Vice News, quote, "Yes, I waterboarded KSM. I was part of a larger team that waterboarded a small number of detainees." Mitchell also reportedly waterboarded Abu Zubaydah at a secret CIA black site in Thailand. Mitchell was hired to help create the interrogation program along with his partner, Bruce Jessen, another psychologist. The Senate report says Mitchell and Jessen were paid $81 million to help design the CIA’s torture methods, including some of the most abusive tactics. The pair had no prior experience in interrogation.
AMY GOODMAN: Defending his role last week, James Mitchell said the abuse of prisoners is preferable to the Obama administration’s ongoing drone war that claims civilian lives. He was speaking to Vice News.
JAMES MITCHELL: To me, it seems completely insensible that slapping KSM is bad, but sending a Hellfire missile into a family’s picnic and killing all the children and, you know, killing Granny and killing everyone is OK, for a lot of reasons. One of the reasons is: What about that collateral loss of life? And the other is, is that if you kill them, you can’t question them.
AARON MATÉ: As Mitchell defends his part in the torture program, the American Psychological Association has launched a review to determine whether its leadership played a role. The APA’s probe was prompted by revelations in the new book, Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War, by Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Timesjournalist James Risen. The book reveals how after the Abu Ghraib torture scandal the APA formed a task force that enabled the continued role of psychologists in the torture program. One APA official wrote an email expressing gratitude to an intelligence official for influencing the decision, saying, quote, "Your views were well represented by the very carefully selected task force members."
AMY GOODMAN: There has been a deep division within the American Psychological Association’s policy on interrogations for years. Unlike the American Medical Association and the smaller APA, the American Psychiatric Association, theAPA, the American Psychological Association, which is the largest association of psychologists in the world, never prohibited its members from being involved in interrogations.
We’re joined right now by two guests. We’re going first to Steven Reisner, founding member of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology and psychological ethics adviser to Physicians for Human Rights. His latest piece for Slate is called "CIA on the Couch: Why there would have been no torture without the psychologists."
Well, Steven Reisner, it’s great to have you back on Democracy Now! You also, years ago, ran for president of the APA, and your major plank was to stop involvement with torture. Your campaign, along with many hundreds of psychologists within the APA, has been going on for years. You now say that the torture could not have gone on without your colleagues, the psychologists?
STEVEN REISNER: Unfortunately, yes, that is true. The Bush administration’s Justice Department created a legal rationale for torture that required the presence of psychologists and medical professionals. And so, on one hand, for legal cover, there had to be psychologists present. On the other hand—and even more horrifying for members of my profession—the torture regime itself was created at the CIA by these two psychologists, Mitchell and Jessen, and in the Department of Defense psychologists were involved in creating the torture program and in overseeing it from the beginning to the end.
AARON MATÉ: Talk about the role of Mitchell and Jessen, these two contractors paid $81 million to come up with these tactics that were used—basically created the program.
STEVEN REISNER: Well, these two psychologists were sought out by the CIAbecause the CIA had been—had found this manual, which they called a resistance manual, an al-Qaeda resistance manual. And in it, the al-Qaeda operatives are taught how to handle their imprisonment to not give up too much information. So someone had the idea that our own resistance trainers, psychologists, might have something to say about that manual. This seems to have been an opportunity for Mitchell and Jessen. They were resistance trainers who had been part of a program to basically torture our own soldiers to try to teach them to resist. So, the two of them got the manual, they wrote about it, and they claimed that they had special expertise, because of their resistance training, to break the resistance of al-Qaeda members.
AMY GOODMAN: And talk about how significant they were and the response by the American Psychological Association to what they were doing. It wasn’t also just the two of them. They started the program. They got tens of millions of dollars for it.
STEVEN REISNER: Well, they created this torture program and justified it. They did the assessment of the prisoners, they did the torture itself, and then they did the evaluation of how well the torture worked. The level of conflict of interest and their self-promotion is horrendous. And it started a kind of virus of putting psychologists in these roles of overseeing and directing enhanced interrogations. And what happened very early on is that the professional—the American Psychological Association decided that it was going to do its part by bringing researchers together with operatives to make those interrogations more effective, on the one hand, and to find a way to permit psychologists to be present, according to—by changing its ethical policy, on the other hand.
AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go to Vice News, go back to the Vice News interview with one of the two psychologists who helped create the CIA’s program. James Mitchell was asked if the so-called EITs, enhanced interrogation techniques, were designed to get actionable intelligence. This was what he said.
JAMES MITCHELL: It was to facilitate getting actionable intelligence by making a bad cop, that was bad enough that the person would engage with a good cop. I would be stunned if they found any kind of evidence to suggest that EITs, as they were being applied, yielded actionable intelligence.
AARON MATÉ: That’s James Mitchell, architect of the tactics used in the CIAtorture program, speaking to Vice News. We’re going to be joined now by Alfred McCoy, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He’s the author of A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror and Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation. Professor McCoy, can you talk about the role of Mitchell and Jessen in this torture program?
ALFRED McCOY: Well, they were the latest in a long history of American and Canadian psychologists helping the CIA design its interrogation protocols. This is an extraordinarily long history that goes back to 1951, when the CIA, in alliance with British and Canadian psychologists, set out to crack the code of human consciousness. And they worked with a very famous Canadian psychologist named Donald O. Hebb. And he conducted a series of experiments from 1951 to '54 that discovered the basic concept of sensory deprivation or sensory disorientation, which, when you read the Senate report, that is the core of the CIA's tactics.
These were originally developed for offensive uses, for us to break down captured Soviet spies. Then, in 1955, some 30 pilots returned as prisoners of war from North Korea, and they had been tortured. They gave statements, some of them, on Radio Beijing, alleging falsely that the United States had engaged in germ warfare. One of the pilots, a Marine Corps aviator, was put on trial. He was court-martialed. And at the end of this very sad saga, President Eisenhower ordered that all American military personnel at risk of capture by the enemy should be conditioned to resist torture. And this was the origin in the U.S. Air Force of the survival, evasion, escape, resistance doctrine, OK, which was using these psychological torture techniques, flipping them and using them defensively to train our personnel to resist enemy interrogation.
During the long years of the Cold War, the CIA propagated the offensive techniques among our allies worldwide. We trained SAVAK in Iran. We ran the Phoenix Program in South Vietnam. We trained Latin American militaries in the doctrine of torture. And as the Cold War wound up in the 1980s, the CIA did a review, repudiated the doctrine, developed a policy of not using coercive techniques. The Defense Department recalled the training manuals from Latin American militaries, under Defense Secretary Dick Cheney. These manuals were destroyed, and it was all over.
Now, when 9/11 struck, the only place where these techniques resided within the bowels of the U.S. bureaucracy was in the SERE doctrine. And so, it’s quite logical that the CIA turned to two former U.S. Air Force SERE trainers and got them to, again, reverse-engineer the defensive doctrine into an offensive doctrine, using these psychological torture techniques against al-Qaeda and terrorist suspects.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you tell us what KUBARK is?
ALFRED McCOY: Sure. KUBARK was the distillation of the CIA’s decade of research into these psychological torture techniques. All that work, that first of all developed sensory deprivation or sensory disorientation, and then parallel work done by two researchers at Cornell University Medical School—they found that the KGB’s most effective torture technique was not brutal beating, but self-inflicted pain. And these two basic doctrines of sensory disorientation and self-inflicted pain were encoded in something called the KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation Manual in 1963. KUBARK was then the CIA’s cryptonym for itself. So, the real title of the manual was the CIA’s Counterintelligence Interrogation Manual. And that manual and those techniques were propagated worldwide for the next 30 years among U.S. allies in Latin America, the Middle East, North Africa, Iran, and particularly South Vietnam.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break and then come back to this discussion. In our last segment, we’re going to be talking with former Senator Mike Gravel. He’s calling on Colorado outgoing Senator Mark Udall to read into the Congressional Record the full Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA’s involvement with torture. But before we do that, we’ve got lots to cover with Professor Alfred McCoy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Dr. Steven Reisner. Stay with us.
AMY GOODMAN: Our guests are Professor Al McCoy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Steven Reisner, who formerly ran for president of the American Psychological Association. He’s a founding member of the Coalition for Ethical Psychology. I want to turn to a part of a [ 2007 ] Democracy Now! broadcastfrom San Francisco on a vote by the American Psychological Association’s Council of Representatives to reject a proposal to ban psychologists from participating in interrogations at Guantánamo Bay and elsewhere. This meeting in San Francisco at this time was incredibly contentious. Many APA members wanted to reject the resolution, even though it was about to be approved. Democracy Now! was filming. One by one, these psychologists took to the stage to voice their outrage.
DAN AALBERS: My name is Dan Aalbers, and I am just another psychologist who thinks that the moral issue of our time has landed at our doorstep. ... We have made an enormous mistake, and I think it’s not only did we do the wrong thing morally, we did not act in our best interests. We are now standing against the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, the British Psychological Society, numerous human rights organizations, the U.N., the Council of Europe. And this detention and interrogation policy is going to go down. And once it does go down, we will find that we have secured the best cabin on the Titanic. Thank you.
NANCY WECKER: Hi, my name is Nancy Wecker. I’m in private practice in San Francisco. I just want to propose a conflict that we have. It’s like we’re embedded in the military, you know, like the journalists who are embedded in the war. That’s our problem.
AMY GOODMAN: Not long after the town hall meeting had begun, the APA’s public affairs officer approached Democracy Now! and told us to stop filming. She said we could only tape 10 minutes and that we had passed our time limit. I got on the microphone and told the people gathered at the meeting what was happening.
AMY GOODMAN: Excuse me, just [inaudible] a point of procedure. We’re told that reporters are only allowed to record for 10 minutes, and Pamela Willenz of the APA said that she will call security on us now, because we’re going to be recording for more than 10 minutes. So I was wondering if there could be any sense of the meeting, or a rationale, since this is a town hall meeting, for not being allowed to record for more than 10 minutes.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We want to vote.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: Can we vote to allow recording at the town hall meeting? Can we all vote to allow recording?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: Can we vote to allow recording?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: We want the press to witness this.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: Can everyone who approves of allowing the reporters to record please raise your hand?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: OK, folks, the recording will continue through the session.
AMY GOODMAN: And with that, we continued taping the town hall meeting. APA members were outspoken about their concerns. Retired Bay Area psychologist Carter Mehl criticized the APA leadership for not bringing the issue of interrogations to the forefront.
DR. CARTER MEHL: Why are we being secretive? I understand why the CIA needs to be secretive. We are a public organization. And I would like someone from APAleadership to explain their rationale, why they thought a town meeting like this should be cut off, that the press should be excluded after 10 minutes. I would really like to know. I’m trying to understand. That is my problem, is what is the leadership coming from? Thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: This was a meeting of the American Psychological Association. It was in 2007. Now, before this kind of speak-out, at the formal meeting, psychologistJean Maria Arrigo stood on the dais before this standing-room crowd at the annualAPA meeting. This came two years after she participated in an APA panel known as the PENS Task Force that concluded psychologists working in interrogations play a, quote, "valuable and ethical role." Arrigo criticized the findings and make-up of the panel.
JEAN MARIA ARRIGO: Six of the 10 members were highly placed in the Department of Defense, as contractors and military officers. For example, one was the commander of all military psychologists. Their positions on two key items of controversy in the PENS report were predetermined by their DOD employment, in spite of the apparent ambivalence of some. These key items were: (a) the permissive definition of torture in U.S. law versus the strict definition in international law, and, second, participation of military psychologists in interrogation settings versus nonparticipation. Those are the two principal issues. And because of their employment, they have to decide the way they do.
AMY GOODMAN: That was the psychologist Jean Maria Arrigo. She was part of this PENS Task Force—and PENS stands for Psychological Ethics and National Security—the original whistleblower on this report that’s on this committee, that’s now being cited with James Risen reporting on the emails that came out around this. Steven Reisner, if you could talk more about her role and what has now been revealed about this critical PENS meeting. Speaking of secrecy around this meeting, Jean Maria Arrigo talked about, in the meeting, her natural tendency was to begin taking notes. She was invited to be on this panel. And another member of the panel turned to her and said, "You will put your notes down now."
STEVEN REISNER: Right. It’s probably the only task force in APA history where the members were forbidden from taking notes. So, Jean Maria was a part of this task force because she’s an oral historian in military and national security intelligence. But she suspected, rather quickly, that the task force had been brought together for some purpose that wasn’t communicated to all the members, but had only been understood by the military-connected members. But she was sworn to secrecy. And she kept that secrecy pretty much until she had a conversation with myself and a few other of us who were questioning the task force. And I mentioned to her that I had just learned that the head of the APA Practice Directorate, Russ Newman, was married to a BSCTin Guantánamo and that that was not—
AMY GOODMAN: Explain what "BSCT" is.
STEVEN REISNER: A BSCT is a behavioral science consultant. The BSCTs at Guantánamo oversaw the interrogations. That was the part of the role, the essential role, that psychologists played in this whole process. And I had mentioned that because General Kiley was a guest at that convention, and he had mentioned that to a group of us. And Jean Maria kind of turned white, and she said, "One of the secrets that I was asked to keep was that Russ Newman was a guiding force at that task force. And we didn’t know that his wife was a BSCT at Guantánamo." So she said that now that this is revealed, "that I was basically duped. I’m going to reveal all that took place at that meeting, because I think that that meeting had some—that it was a duplicitous meeting, that the APA was colluding with the CIA and the Pentagon." It turns out that she was very prescient, because Jim Risen’s book gives us the smoking gun to validate what Jean Maria suspected at the time.
AARON MATÉ: So the APA is now probing this, probing this task force that worked with the CIA. Why do you think they would have done this in the first place?
STEVEN REISNER: Would have done which? Probe or agree?
AARON MATÉ: Why they would have colluded with the CIA to enable the program?
STEVEN REISNER: Well, we’ve all been wondering about that. The American Psychological Association has deep, long-standing connections with the Department of Defense and the intelligence agencies. In fact, the Department of Defense was the first government agency to really recognize the important roles that psychologists play. A huge number of psychologists work for the Department of Defense at the VAs and in the military itself, so—but also, some very key members of the American Psychological Association governance have always had ties to military contracts. There are members of the governance who run an organization called HumRRO, which is a—which has itself tens of millions of dollars of Pentagon contracts to supply psychological expertise to the Pentagon. So there’s all kinds of unfortunate overlap and conflicts of interest that seem to press the APA to support military policy uncritically and sometimes, perhaps, behind the scenes.

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"Psychological Torture is Enshrined in U.S. Law": Complicity in Abuses Began Long Before Bush

As President Obama continues to reject a criminal probe of torture in the George W. Bush administration, former Vice President Dick Cheney has said he has no regrets about the torture of foreign prisoners, including innocent people. Speaking to NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, Cheney said, "I’d do it again in a minute." Cheney’s claim highlights a key question: Are top officials above the law — and will the impunity of today lead to more abuses in the future? We discuss the issue of impunity and the history of U.S. torture with Alfred McCoy, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of the books, "A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror," as well as "Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation." We are also joined by Steven Reisner, founding member of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology and psychological ethics adviser to Physicians for Human Rights.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: Colonel Larry James, at that meeting, who is now dean at Wayne State in Detroit [sic], of the U.S. Army, chief psychologist at Guantánamo and a member of the APA governing board, said at the meeting, defending military psychologists, said they help make interrogations safe, ethical and legal, and cited instances where psychologists allegedly intervened to stop abuse. He said, "If we remove psychologists from these facilities, people are going to die." But then Dr. Laurie Wagner got up, a Dallas psychologist and the past president of the APADivision of Psychoanalysis, "Why are people dying, if the U.S. military is in charge?" Let me put that question to Professor Al McCoy. This whole debate within the APAand the role of psychologists, as you see it?
ALFRED McCOY: Yeah, Amy, we can put this in a wider context. The psychologists are critical, but they’re critical because psychological torture is, in effect, enshrined within U.S. law. When the United States finally ratified the U.N. Convention Against Torture in 1994, we did so subject to certain qualifications, known in diplomatic parlance as "reservations." And basically, the four reservations that we introduced modified our approval, our ratification of that convention, everything in it except: We redefined the U.N. definition of what torture was—extreme pain—and we called it "prolonged mental harm," that for an act to rise to the level of torture, it had to become, in U.S. parlance, in those reservations, prolonged mental harm.
Now, those three words are critical. First of all, "mental." That meant that the United States was effectively splitting the U.N. convention down the middle. The convention barred both physical and psychological torture. We were saying, "We accept the ban on physical torture, but we’re exempting the ban on psychological torture. And we are qualifying that ban because in order for an act to rise to the level of torture, of psychological torture, it has to inflict prolonged mental harm upon the victim."
Now, what is "prolonged"? How long is "prolonged"? That’s not defined. It’s a huge loophole. And what constitutes "harm"? That’s another huge loophole. And that, of course, opened the door for that notorious memo by the Office of Legal Counsel, its leader then Jay Bybee, to say that for something to rise to the level of harm, the pain must be sufficient or equivalent to organ failure. In other words, torture, psychological torture up to but not including death, is legally acceptable in U.S. law.
Those words in the reservations have been replicated verbatim in the U.S. War Crimes Act of 1996, the Military Commissions Act 2006, verbatim. Those paragraphs recur in U.S. law, and it’s that which creates the opening for psychologists like Mitchell and Jessen to participate in these programs. And that, in effect, means that these acts, which are outrageous and which we now consider to be torture, are in fact—can be, if you will—can be exempted from the rubric of law. So, it’s a problem that the United States has been so reliant on psychological torture for so long that it’s become embedded not only in bureaucracy, in professional practice, like the military psychologists that work for the Defense Department, but also in U.S. law. It’s deeply embedded in our society.
AMY GOODMAN: I just wanted to make a slight correction. I was talking about Dr. Larry James. He’s at Wright State in Dayton, Ohio. Aaron?
AARON MATÉ: Well, yeah, just back to this history, Professor McCoy, that you’re talking about, this raises an important point. A common narrative is that it’s the Bush administration that imposed torture, but you’re saying that this has been enshrined in policy for a long time.
ALFRED McCOY: Yes. I mean, again, going back to the start of this whole process, right, the United States responded to the idea that the Soviets had cracked the code of human consciousness, that they had somehow had the capacity to produce, to borrow the parlance, a Manchurian candidate—they could program an assassin. So, we reacted to this by using psychologists to develop our own offensive doctrine of psychological torture. And again, the CIA disseminated this among our allies worldwide for 30 years throughout the Cold War. This became encoded within the U.S. military through the SERE training.
And then, when that was all over and it was time for serious structural reforms, those reforms took place. The CIA abjured torture in 1989, said they wouldn’t do it anymore. They said it was completely counterproductive. The Defense Department recalled the manuals. The manuals were actually published in the U.S. press in 1997. It seemed to be all over—except that the inclination, the reliance, the belief and the faith in the efficacy of psychological torture was at this point so deeply embedded in the U.S. national security bureaucracy that our reflex, upon ratification of the U.N. convention—which, by the way, took us an extraordinarily long time, took us six or seven years after the rest of the world had ratified that convention—by the time we did it, we did it in a way that protected, that reserved our right to engage in these psychological torture practices.
And indeed, since then, we’ve conducted ourselves in activities that are a clear violation of the U.N. convention. So, in other words, the reflex to torture, the sense of empowerment, the idea that we can defy international law, defy our own law for reasons of national security, that arises from this long and troubled history of our relationship to psychological torture.
AMY GOODMAN: On Sunday, former Vice President Dick Cheney said he would do it all again. Cheney was speaking on NBC’s Meet the Press.
DICK CHENEY: With respect to trying to define that as torture, I come back to the proposition torture was what the al-Qaeda terrorists did to 3,000 Americans on 9/11. There is no comparison between that and what we did with respect to enhanced interrogation. ... It worked. It worked now. For 13 years we’ve avoided another mass casualty attack against the United States. We did capture bin Laden. We did capture an awful lot of the senior guys of al-Qaeda who were responsible for that attack on 9/11. I’d do it again in a minute.
AMY GOODMAN: That is Vice President Dick Cheney. Now, the Senate Intelligence Committee report that came out last week, at least the summary—the full thousands of pages has not—detailed the list of torture methods they used on prisoners, including waterboarding; sexual threats with broomsticks; medically unnecessary rectal feeding; people who had died as a result, for example, of being kept in the cold; people being kept up for something like 180 hours; buzzing power drills put against their heads; dunked repeatedly in tanks of ice water; at least 26 innocent people subjected to torture, including one who froze to death. Your response, Professor McCoy, to Vice President Cheney saying he’d do it again?
ALFRED McCOY: Dick Cheney has been a forceful advocate for the enhanced interrogation techniques. He’s been unapologetic. He’s been vociferous. He’s given dozens of interviews over the years. In effect, Dick Cheney is the leading voice for those in the intelligence community that are determined to win impunity for their violations of law and international conventions.
And we’re now—as a result of the Senate report, we’re now in what I call the fifth and final stage of a decade-long struggle over the torture issue, a decade-long struggle for impunity. And the United States, just like other nations that have emerged from these sad practices at the end of the Cold War, has been going really through a five-stage process of impunity.
When the Abu Ghraib photographs were released back in April 2004, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld blamed it on the so-called "bad apples." That’s the first reflex—blame the bad apples. Then Dick Cheney and others, right away, began saying that it was an imperative for national security: We had to do it for reasons of safety. That’s the second stage in impunity. Then, when President Obama came into office in April 2009, he visited CIA headquarters, and he brought us to the third stage of impunity by saying that the past was indeed unfortunate, but it was time to move forward together. In other words, national unity means we can’t investigate this troubled past.
Then we hit stage four, which is essentially exoneration for the perpetrators and the powerful that ordered them to commit these acts. That occurred, ironically, after the death of Osama bin Laden in May of 2011, when an a cappella chorus of Republican neoconservatives arose on the media and said that these enhanced interrogation techniques led us to Osama bin Laden, they kept us safe. To use to Dick Cheney’s words, they saved thousands of lives, tens of thousands of lives. At that point, the U.S. Justice Department terminated its investigation of nearly a hundred CIA excesses that were potentially crimes, and the perpetrators had won exoneration.
Now what they’re fighting for is not just exoneration, they want vindication before the bar of history. And that’s critical on a couple of levels. First of all, policy level, if they achieve that, if they win the fight and say that these techniques were, first of all, not torture, and, second of all, they kept us safe, they will then, first of all, be exempt from civil litigation by the victims, second of all, to possibly U.S. criminal investigations, to international arrests should they travel abroad. More importantly, in terms of policy, that means that this doctrine will remain in the presidential toolkit so that a future president can set aside President Obama’s restrictions on these methods and torture again.
And so, that’s why this is a desperate and very serious battle over impunity. And that’s why the Senate committee’s report is so important, because up to this point the perpetrators and their powerful were winning the debate. Now, in fact, the debate has shifted its tone, and it’s looking to me like it’s a much more neutral, much more positive outcome.
AMY GOODMAN: And in the 30 seconds we have left, Steven Reisner, in the APA, an investigation is being done within the APA. What will make it different from thePENS committee years ago, that was made up, majority, of the people who were involved with the interrogations?
STEVEN REISNER: Well, what makes this different is that the Risen book exposed the collusion, apparent collusion, between the APA and the CIA and perhaps theDOD. An independent investigator has been hired to take a look at all documents at the APA, to look at all of the questions that we dissidents at the APA have raised, and will do a full and thorough independent investigation. And I agree with Dr. McCoy that we have to enshrine into law that torture has to be made illegal, but we also have to close that one place that has permitted torture, which has to do with health professionals and doctors and psychologists. And I’m hoping the results of this investigation will force, will press the APA to, once and for all, prohibit psychologists from being involved in any coercive interrogations from here on in.
AMY GOODMAN: We have to leave it there. I thank you, Steve Reisner, founding member of the Coalition for Ethical Psychology and psychological ethics adviser to Physicians for Human Rights. And thanks so much to Professor Alfred McCoy, professor of history at University of Wisconsin-Madison, author of A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror, as well asTorture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation.
When we come back, former Senator Mike Gravel is calling on another senator, a current senator, Mark Udall, to read the Senate Intelligence Committee full report into the Congressional Record. Stay with us.

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Mike Gravel to Senator Mark Udall: Make Full Torture Probe Public Like I Did with Pentagon Papers

On the Senate floor last week, outgoing Democratic Sen. Mark Udall called for a purge of top CIA officials implicated in the torture program and cover-up, including current Director John Brennan. But as he enters the final days of his Senate term, Udall is facing calls to take action of his own. The Senate findings released last week amount to only a fraction of the full report — 480 heavily redacted pages out of more than 6,000 pages total. The White House has blocked the report’s full release in deference to the CIA’s wishes. That’s sparked demands that Udall invoke a rarely used congressional privilege and make the report public. There is precedent for him to follow: In 1971, then-Alaska Senator Mike Gravel entered more than 4,000 pages of the 7,000-page Pentagon Papers into the Senate record, insisting the public had a right to know the truth behind the Vietnam War. More than four decades later, Gravel joins us to talk about his historic action and why he is now calling on Udall to follow in his footsteps with the full Senate report on CIA torture.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AARON MATÉ: On the Senate floor last week, outgoing Democratic Senator Mark Udall called for a purge of top CIA officials implicated in the torture program and cover-up, including current director John Brennan. In stark language, Udall accused the CIA of lying.
SEN. MARK UDALL: The CIA has lied to its overseers in the public, destroyed and tried to hold back evidence, spied on the Senate, made false charges against our staff, and lied about torture and the results of torture. And no one has been held to account. ... There are right now people serving in high-level positions at the agency who approved, directed or committed acts related to the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. It’s bad enough not to prosecute these officials, but to reward or promote them and risk the integrity of the U.S. government to protect them is incomprehensible. The president needs to purge his administration of high-level officials who were instrumental to the development and running of this program.
AARON MATÉ: As Senator Udall urges President Obama to fire John Brennan, Udall himself faces calls to take action of his own. The Senate findings released last week amount to only a fraction of the full report—480 heavily redacted pages out of more than 6,000 pages total. The White House has blocked release of the full report so far, backing the CIA’s wishes. That’s sparked demands that Udall invoke a rarely used congressional privilege and make the report public. Using the absolute free speech rights for members of Congress, Udall could read the torture report into the Congressional Record. And with his term about to expire after losing re-election, Udall has not ruled that out, saying he will, quote, "keep all options on the table."
AMY GOODMAN: There is a precedent for Senator Udall to enter the torture report into the public record. In 1971, after The New York Times published portions of the Pentagon Papers, the Nixon administration tried to block the release of further details. But a junior senator from Alaska named Mike Gravel insisted the public had a right to know the truth behind the war. He then read more than 4,000 pages of the 7,000-page document into the Senate record—well, not exactly read. He did, though, put them into the Congressional Record. Senator Gravel spoke to the media about his decision.
SEN. MIKE GRAVEL: When I came into possession of these papers, I looked around, and nobody in government had done anything. The only thing that was being done in government was an effort to stifle and hide this stuff. And it just dawned on me that somebody—if we’re going to have any faith at all in our institutions, somebody from government’s got to be—got to have the same resolve, the same feelings for stopping the killing as Ellsberg did, as the Post did, as The New York Times did, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, as all these...
Not only myself, because the people who released this were bureaucrats. They’re all bureaucrats, the people that we disparage so often. They weren’t elected officials, they were bureaucrats. And they had much less risk than I have. The risk that I have is being expulsed from the Senate. ...
Tonight, right now, we have these documents. We have them under the most stringent circumstances imaginable. Mr. President, Mr. Congressman, there is no ... the people must know the full story of what has occurred over the past 20 years within their government. The story is a terrible one. It is replete with duplicity, connivance against the public and public officials. I know of nothing in our history to equal it for extent of failure and extent of loss, in all aspects of the term.
AMY GOODMAN: That’s Senator Mike Gravel in 1971 taking advantage of congressional privilege to disclose the contents of the Pentagon Papers that were then kept secret. Well, today, four decades later, former Senator Gravel is among those calling on Senator Mark Udall to follow in his footsteps and enter the full Senate report on CIA torture into the Congressional Record. Former Senator Gravel joins us now from San Francisco. He’s the former senator from Alaska, serving from 1969 to 1981.
Welcome to Democracy Now!, Senator Gravel. You putting this into the record meant, for the first time, though the Times had reported on it and The Washington Post had reported on the Pentagon Papers, that the full Pentagon Papers were now available to the public. Can you talk about what you’re asking Senator Udall to do now, as he leaves the Senate, having been defeated in Colorado?
MIKE GRAVEL: Well, he may have the opportunity getting his hands on the full report. He doesn’t have to read it into the Senate record. It’s already in the Senate record, because it’s the record of a committee. So you don’t have to duplicate that. What he has to do is exercise the speech and debate clause, take this record of 6,000 pages, put a press release describing why he’s doing it, and release it to the public. It’s that simple.
Most members of Congress, unfortunately, don’t fully understand that there’s three functions that representatives have to perform. One is to inform the public. Two is to legislate. And three is to have oversight. And so, what we have with the release of this document, or the summary, was an oversight. This is—they conducted oversight, and they released it to the public. Madison, Jefferson, James Wilson, George Washington all felt—all felt the most important function of representation was to inform the people as to what their government is doing. And so, this is all that the Feinstein committee has done thus far, but we need to see the entire record so that it could be probed.
I’ll give you an example. I’m very concerned about the egregious corruption that has brought about the incarceration of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. Now, does her name show up in the 150 names that are in the summary? Or in the several thousand names? Because she has been put in jail because—when she’s not a terrorist. And she suffered five years of rendition at the hands of the American government and the Pakistani government, who was paid off with bonuses for that.
Amy, let me touch upon the arguments that are made with respect to the report that’s already been released, and that is very simply that this is partisan. Well, it’s not partisan. The study began in the committee with both the Democrats and Republicans. But when the Republican leadership began to see what was unfolding, well, they withdrew. They withdrew their staff people working on the documents. Now, what are the documents? And this goes to the issue, "Well, they didn’t interview us." Well, you’re going to interview these people? Do you think they’re going to tell you the truth? These documents are internal emails, communications, that really indict themselves in the wrongdoing. And that’s what the documents show. So, now, when we talk about the partisanship, it’s not the partisanship. This is not a Democratic deal. This is a very simple, straightforward, under the Constitution, reporting to the American people what their government has done.
And the dialogue that just took place before I came on just shows the level of debasement—debasement—of the American morality that’s taken place over the years with—we’re not talking about people off the street doing this, we’re talking about elites that are deeply involved with the military debasing our morality. And then the comment is, "Well, there’s no reaction from the American people." There’s no way for the people to react until Election Day. And by that time, it’s too confused.
AARON MATÉ: Well, Senator Gravel—
MIKE GRAVEL: So, all I can say is—
AARON MATÉ: —going back to your decision in 1971 to speak out, I imagine that you were under pressure to not take the action that you did. What factored into your decision, and how did you prepare?
MIKE GRAVEL: Well, I didn’t have to prepare. When I was 23 years old, I was a top-secret control officer in the Communications Intelligence Service. Now, back then, we wiretapped and opened people’s mail wantonly. This was in Europe. Now, move forward, I’m now 42 years old, and I’m in the United States Senate. Nixon sends over the Pentagon Papers to the Senate and to the House.
AMY GOODMAN: We have 15 seconds, Senator Gravel.
MIKE GRAVEL: It’s put in a room, under armed guard. And a senator—no staff members allowed, but a senator can’t go in—and even taking notes. Now, at 42 and a United States senator, I can’t do that, but when I was 23, I could do that wantonly. I mean, it just shows you how silly we are trapped in this unbelievable culture of secrecy that is in the military and has permeated through the rest of our culture.
AMY GOODMAN: Mike Gravel—
MIKE GRAVEL: Example, what’s been talked about recently.
AMY GOODMAN: We have to wrap here, but we’re going to do part two with you, and we’re going to post it online at Mike Gravel is the former U.S. senator from Alaska, best known for his release of the Pentagon Papers. He’s calling on Mark Udall to do something similar, the senator from Colorado, the outgoing senator, is to get the Senate Intelligence Committee full thousands of pages into the Congressional Record.

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