Here was the first thing I noticed.
Several months earlier, in late 2001, CIA had tasked an independent contractor psychologist who had [redacted] experience in the U.S. Air Force's Survival, Evastion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) training program, to research and write a paper on Al-Qa'ida resistence to interrogation techniques.
Now honestly I might just be uninformed about this issue but I, personally, didn't know until now that the CIA had set out to try to figure out ways to overcome Al Qa'ida's resistance to
The problem, of course, is that even on the face of it this doesn't add up. It goes to a point I made a few months back and that is that the whole justification for supposed "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" was that they were supposed to be used when traditional methods of interrogation failed. But that clearly couldn't have been the case with Khalid Sheik Muhammed because he was waterboarded 183 times in the first month of us having him in custody. It didn't appear to be the case with Abu Zubaydah either who was supposedly the first high value target to be waterboarded. And in this passage in the IG report it would seem that the third man who was waterboarded, Al Nashiri,also wasn't given the opportunity to cooperate before EITs or torture take your pick, were employed.
The interrogation of Al-Nashiri proceeded after [redacted] the necessary Headquarters authorization [redacted] psychologist/interrogators began Al-Nashiri's interrogation using EITs immediately upon his arrival.
Now everyone knows that there is something seriously fishy that is connected to Al-Nahsiri because you hardly ever hear the current administration or the previous administration even mention this guy as one of the people who were waterboarded. Instead they just focus on Abu Zubaydah and KSM. Hopefully one day we will get to the bottom of what actually happened to him. I suspect that he might not have been who they thought was which would be terribly embarrassing if it got out that they waterboarded an innocent man.
The second thing I found was this passage about waterboarding and why the interrogators were not going strictly by the OLC memo guidelines as to how it would be administered. (thanks for the transcription Attackerman)
OIG’s [Office of the Inspector General's] review of the videotapes revealed that the waterboard technique employed at [REDACTED] was different from the technique as described in the DoJ opinion and used in the SERE training. The difference was in the manner in which the detainee’s breathing was obstructed. At the SERE School and in the DoJ opinion, the subject’s airflow is disrupted by the firm application of a damp cloth over the air passages; the interrogator applies a small amount of water to the cloth in a controlled manner. By contest, the Agency interrogator [REDACTED] continuously applied large volumes of water to a cloth that covered the detainee’s mouth and nose. One of the psychologists/interrogators acknowledged that the Agency’s use of the technique differed from that used in SERE training and explained that the Agency’s technique is different because it is “for real” and is more poignant and convincing.
Now this is vital information for two different reasons.
The first reason its important is a legal one. When asked about the difference between what the OLC and DOJ memos outlined as being acceptable as waterboarding and what the psychologists and interrogators were doing in practice, at least one of those psychologists/interrogators acknowledged that not only was there a difference, but that it was also entirely intentional. Im no legal scholar but that sounds pretty much like an admission of guilty to a layman. Especially when this unnamed person invoked the words "for real" to describe the difference. I don't see a way that someone can explain away these psychologists/interrogators disregarding the already flawed OLC memos in order to intentionally treat the detainees in an even more harsh manner than was laid out for them. So it would appear that the Special Prosecutor whom Attorney General Eric Holder just chose to investigate torture will have some pretty nice targets right off the bat.
The second reason this is important is purely political and I make no apologies for that. For months torture apologists like Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and Liz Cheney, just to name a few, hid behind our troops to try to make a bogus argument that waterboarding was not torture. Their meme which got repeated time and time again on FoxNews and in the wingnut blogosphere is that "it couldn't be torture because we do it to our own members of the military". Many of them took it further and tried to paint anyone who rightly labeled waterboarding as torture, as it has been prosecuted as such for decades, to be claiming that we also tortured our men and women in the military. Even for the GOP this was a particularly disgusting attack in their attempt to excuse the rancid bullshit that was perpetrated by the Bush administration, supposedly in the name of national security.
Well no longer can they make such a claim when it comes to what we did with these detainees. Not only did the CIA Inspector General observe for himself that they were not following the guidelines to waterboard a detainee as was proscribed in the OLC memos which were cribbed from SERE school teachings, at least one of the persons participating in the waterboarding acknowledged that it wasn't the same thing because with the detainees it was "for real".
Now the next step is that when liberals or progressives of Democratic members of Congress go on any cable news shows or Sunday talk shows to talk about demanding accountability for torture, they need to familiarize themselves with the information in this document. No longer should they allow Republicans and Conservatives to try to frame this issue as being not a big deal. I understand that we have our plates full with health care reform but if there was ever a time to demand accountability from the Bush administration I think its now. We have to try to strike when the iron is hot in my honest opinion. And we have to be armed with the facts not as we see them but as they are spelled out in this CIA IG report.
I will be posting more on the report as I comb through it.