Would We Have Had a Torture Program if the ‘28 Pages’ Were Never Classified?

‘Even if one were to set aside all of the moral arguments, our review was a meticulous and detailed examination of records. It finds that coercive interrogation techniques did not produce the vital, otherwise unavailable intelligence the CIA has claimed.’
Senator Diane FeinsteinOn the release of the Senate torture report · December 9, 2014

The release of the Senate torture report on Tuesday confirms what many have known for years: the torture program promoted by Dick Cheney et al. was not designed to produce real intelligence — since every professional interrogator knows that such methods do not yield accurate intelligence — but were intended to come up with false claims which could be used to justify an attack on Saddam Hussein and Iraq. In other words, the Bush Administration was claiming to put an end to terrorism, by using a form of terrorism.

In a 45 minute speech on the floor of the Senate, the day the report was released, Senator Feinstein crushed the argument that ‘enhanced interrogation’ methods were necessary to get critical intelligence from detainees:

“The committee found that the CIA’s coercive interrogation techniques were not an effective means of acquiring accurate intelligence or gaining detainee cooperation.”The CIA and other defenders of the program have repeatedly claimed that the use of so-called interrogation techniques was necessary to get detainees to provide critical information, and to bring detainees to a ‘state of compliance’ in which they would cooperate and provide information.

“The study concludes that both claims are inaccurate.

“The report is very specific in how it evaluates the CIA’s claims on the effectiveness and necessity of its enhanced interrogation techniques. Specifically, we used the CIA’s own definition of effectiveness as ratified and approved by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel. (Source: DOJ Office of Legal Counsel memos)

“The CIA’s claims that EITs were necessary to obtain ‘otherwise unavailable’ information, that could not be obtained from any other source, to stop terrorist attacks and save American lives — that’s a claim we conclude is inaccurate.

“We took 20 examples that the CIA, itself, claimed to show the success of these interrogations. These include cases of terrorist plots stopped or terrorists captured.

“The CIA used these examples in presentations to the White House, in testimony to Congress, in submissions to the Department of Justice, and ultimately to the American people.

“Some of the claims are well-known: the capture of Khalid Shaykh Mohammad, the prevention of attacks against the Library Tower in Los Angeles, and the take-down of Osama bin Laden.

“Other claims were made only in classified settings, to the White House, Congress, and Department of Justice.

“In each case, the CIA claimed that critical and unique information came from one or more detainees in its custody after they were subjected to the CIA’s coercive techniques, and that information led to a specific counterterrorism success.

“Our staff reviewed every one of the 20 cases, and not a single case holds up.”

– Senator Feinstein, Senate Floor · December 9, 2014

What EIR wrote years ago about the “Spoonbenders” and the SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) program, is confirmed in great deal by the Senate report. The report documents that the CIA’s interrogation program was developed and run by two private contractors, based on the Air Force’s SERE Cold War training program, which was developed to help captured US airmen resist torture and the making of false confessions during the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

‘What we have found is that a surprisingly few people were responsible for designing, carrying out, and managing this program. Two contractors developed and led the interrogations. There was little effective oversight. Analysts — analysts — on occasion, gave operational orders about interrogations and CIA management of the program was weak and diffuse.’

The two contractors, James Mitchell and Bruce Jesson, “reverse engineered” the SERE program to produce what they considered sufficient pain and disorientation to make their victims “compliant.” Neither Mitchell nor Jesson had ever conducted an actual interrogation. On the other hand, the CIA’s chief of interrogations, and many of its field interrogators, protested the use of these methods, but were overridden by CIA headquarters. Those assigned to the Al Qaeda interrogations often had histories of abuse and instability, or in some cases no background at all in interrogation — which Dianne Feinstein highlighted in her presentation on the Senate floor Tuesday. Mitchell and Jessen, who were paid at least $81 million, not only oversaw the interrogations, but then evaluated their own work, of course claiming great success in eliciting high-value, “actionable intelligence.”

The program bears the hallmarks of Cheney and the Straussians who, from inside the Bush and Obama presidencies, have been working to overturn traditional military/intelligence methods and come up with pretexts for endless wars.

The real question that needs to be answered is: would we have even had torture program if the 28 pages which detail the foreign sponsors of the September 11, 2001 attacks were made public when the Congressional Joint Inquiry report that they are a part of was published?

In a December 9th article, “The CIA’s real failure? It pursued the wrong targets,” in The Independent, Patrick Cockburn writes:

“It was obvious within days of 9/11 that citizens of Saudi Arabia were heavily implicated, with 15 out of the 19 hijackers Saudi nationals. Bin Laden himself came from the Saudi elite and the US inquiry into the attack found that financing from al-Qaeda had come primarily from private donors in the Saudi Kingdom.””But President George W. Bush and his administration were not only careful not to point the finger at Saudi Arabia, but had 28 pages of the official report on its role censored despite the pleas of the victims of 9/11. President Obama promised as a candidate to allow these pages to be published but has never done so.”

While the publishing of Feinstein’s torture report indicates that there is a significant faction within the U.S. federal government that is serious about waging an effective “war on terror,” and knows that this kind of garbage, and the neo-con faction who have been protected by the Obama Administration for the last six years, has to be cleaned out of Washington, the real bombshell, if you want to rid the U.S. of the Bush legacy, is the declassification of the 28 pages.

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