Up until 4am reading the Senate Armed Services Committee with everyone over at Marcy’s place. Here’s what I’m left with:
• Serial sadists Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell, the psychologists who were the first to rationalize and implement torture, were not members of the CIA and are not covered under Obama’s immunity blanket. They violated their ethics as health professionals, and should lose their licenses and face criminal prosecution.
• Jessen and Mitchell modeled their torture program on methods used by the North Koreans to extract false confessions.
• Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney "demanded that intelligence agencies and interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration," despite the fact that the CIA told them repeatedly that no such collaboration existed. So, extracting false confessions was the goal.
• The Bybee Memo justified the use of waterboarding on enemy combatants because it had been deemed safe for use by US military in a program (SERE) to train soldiers at high risk of capture about what they might expect to encounter. It’s sort of like saying it’s okay to throw someone out of a plane because you pushed them off the porch and they were fine.
• The doctor whose memo Yoo/Bybee relied upon for assurances that waterboarding was safe, Dr. Jerald Ogrisseg, said that "he was surprised when he found out later that Lt Col Baumgartner had forwarded his memo to the General Counsel’s office." Dr. Ogrisseg testified that when Lt Col Baungartner asked about waterboarding in the real world, he told him that "aside from being illegal, it was a completely different arena that we in the Survival School didn’t know anything about." (h/t Valtin)
• So, Yoo/Bybee based their legal justification for waterboarding on assurances of safety they got from a memo that was talking about something else entirely, and which the author of the memo had expressly said did not apply in the situation.
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