Break It Out Into the Open!
By Dennis Loo (3/3/14)
Update at the end 9 pm PDT
MSNBC reported yesterday:
A Senate intelligence committee investigation found that the Central Intelligence Agency employed brutal interrogation methods that turned out to be largely useless and then lied about their effectiveness, according to The Washington Post.
As described to the Post, the Senate report contradicts the main defenses of the Bush-era torture program: That harsh methods were needed to produce actionable results, and that the program itself helped save American lives by foiling terror attacks. Instead, the CIA overstated the effectiveness of the program and concealed the harshness of the methods they used. Intelligence breakthroughs credited to the “enhanced interrogation” program by the CIA were instead gleaned through other means, and then used by the agency to bolster defenses of the program. The intelligence committee is set to vote on submitting the report for declassification on Thursday.
I will update and comment further on the significance and background to this later today. Stay tuned. In the meantime, if you haven't already read them, here are some background articles: Sen. Feinstein to CIA: Don't Gore My Ox, "Justifiable" Torture and the "Ends Justify the Means," The Academy Awards: The CIA and the National Security State in Fact and Film, and Zero Dark Thirty: Journalism? Art? Propaganda?
The Guardian reported yesterday that:
The committee is not going to release the 6,300-page report. Its chairwoman, Dianne Feinstein of California, said on the Senate floor three weeks ago that only the “findings, conclusions and the executive summary of the report” were the subject of the committee’s declassification efforts. The vast majority of the Senate report – effectively, an alternative post-9/11 history detailing of years’ worth of CIA torture and cover-up – will remain shielded from public view.
Who will decide what will be released and in what language? Despite the fact that the CIA secretly hacked into the Senate intelligence committee's computers and has contradicted in its public statements its own internal report that the Senate Committee has seen (the "Panetta Report") which is what sparked Sen. Feinstein's public rebuke of the CIA in March, none other than the CIA itself will be involved in deciding, along with the White House, what will be made public.
I am reminded of the pseudo-drama that characterizes soap operas when observing the struggle going on between the Senate intelligence committee and the CIA. While Feinstein was finally pushed to the breaking point after years of CIA deception and strong-arm tactics against the Senate investigation and publicly defended the committee against the CIA, they will at this point nonetheless collude together in trying to keep the grotesque details of the CIA's torture and murder of detainees from being aired to the public. The reality of what has been done and still is being done to those being held by the US government is too atrocious to be revealed in its terrible graphic literal nature. This glimpse behind the scenes underscores how ugly the practices and policies of this government are in truth, something they dare not display before the public, particularly the American public who is more ill-informed about its own government than anyone else in the world. I will end with a picture that came out of Iraq and the Abu Ghraib scandal that Dr. Philip Zimbardo released:
This site aims to accomplish two related goals. First, it complements Dennis Loo's book Globalization and the Demolition of Society so that people reading the book can get more deeply into it. (See navigation bar above, labeled "GDS Book Annotations"). We believe that his book is a landmark, providing a solid foundation for politics of a new path. Taking such a path is critical to humanity and the planet's future. As his book's dust jacket states:
[F]ree market fundamentalism - also known as neoliberalism - makes us not more secure or prosperous: it tears the social fabric and undermines security, leading inevitably to disasters on the individual, regional, and global levels.
Neoliberalism is based on the mantra that market forces should run everything. It aims to eliminate job and income security, the social safety net (including welfare and other social guarantees), unions, pensions, public services, and the governmental regulation of corporations. It consequently undermines the basis for people to voluntarily cooperate with authority as almost everyone is increasingly left by themselves to face gargantuan private interests, with governmental and corporate authority ever more indifferent to the public’s welfare.
Those in charge of our collective fates in government and business personify a heartless system based on profit and plunder. They have been relentlessly instituting profoundly immoral and unjust policies even while they insist that they are doing the opposite. We, on the other hand, stand for and are fighting for a radically different system and set of values than this.
Second, in order to get at the truth and because the ways in which humanity's historic striving for understanding and its capacity to wonder and imagine are very rich and diverse, we seek to reflect that richness and diversity on our site. See "About Us" on navigation bar. We intend to be engaging and compelling, as the best investigative journalism and art are, and relentlessly scientific, rigorous, and direct, as those who cherish the truth are. We believe that we can be both accessible and sophisticated. As Loo lays out in his book,
Defeating the empire is not something that occurs only on the literal battlefield. It is also something that is determined throughout the continuum of battles over many issues, including: ideas; philosophy; forms of organization and leadership in economy, politics, and other realms; ways of arguing; ways of responding to and respecting empirical data; interest in truth as opposed to expedience; how people and the environment should be treated; the nature of relations among people (e.g., between women and men, different races and ethnicities, rich and poor countries, etc.); ways of responding to criticism and ideas that are not your own; ways of handling one’s own errors and those of others; and more, all the way up through how warfare is carried out. The contrast between the methods and goals of the neoliberals and those of us who seek an entirely different world is stark. (Globalization and the Demolition of Society, Pp. 326-7)