In Which Bluewombat Engages in Colloquy With Former CIA General Counsel John Rizzo

By: Friday January 17, 2014 11:25 am

Rizzo comes across as pleasant, mild-mannered and self-effacing. He must have a very good barber, as he has this elegant, curvy sort of beard. But, as another member of the audience said to me after the presentation, he’s emblematic of the banality of evil.


FDL Book Salon Welcomes Larissa Tracy, Torture and Brutality in Medieval Literature Negotiations of National Identity

By: Saturday April 14, 2012 1:59 pm

In her exhaustively researched new book, Larissa Tracy, an associate professor of medieval literature at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, says linking “medieval” with acts of torture is a fallacy.

“Torture was not a pervasive means of medieval judicial control, despite accounts of public brutality and secular punishment …,” Tracy wrote in the introduction to “Torture and Brutality in Medieval Literature,” which cites the “Getting Medieval” scene from “Pulp Fiction” as a way of explaining how our understanding of the medieval era has been misguided.

Dissenting Torture Memo Bush Administration Tried to Destroy Is Released

By: Wednesday April 4, 2012 9:20 am

A State Department internal memo opposing the Justice Department’s arguments for CIA “enhanced interrogation techniques”—torture—has been released. The memo from February 2006 was written by Philip Zelikow, then counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. It was believed that all copies of the memo had been destroyed, but on April 3, the National Security Archive, obtained a copy through a FOIA request and posted it online.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Andrew Kolin, State Power and Democracy: Before and During the Presidency of George W. Bush

By: Sunday May 15, 2011 1:59 pm

This compelling book traces the history of the assault on democracy and the rise of a police state that reached its zenith in the George W. Bush administration. From the war on communism, to the war on labor, to the war terrorism, our government has used surveillance, preventive detention, torture, and a climate of fear to consolidate its power and neutralize dissent. Under the guise of nurturing democracy at home and abroad, the U.S. government has actually undermined it.

UK Guardian Releases British Torture Tape

By: Thursday November 11, 2010 12:45 pm

The UK Guardian yesterday released a videotape of a 2007 interrogation of a suspected Iraqi insurgent, one of 1,253 tapes made by interrogators at a secret British military center near Basra, run by the Joint Forces Interrogation Team (JFIT). The release came only days before the U.S. Justice Department investigation into the CIA’s destruction of videotapes of the torture of three high-value detainees at secret black site prisons was closed, with no charges brought.

NYT Editorial Calls for Investigations on Illegal Torture Experiments

By: Tuesday June 8, 2010 6:00 am

The New York Times’ editorial board has called for the White House and Congress to investigate charges of illegal human experimentation by the CIA and possibly other agencies. Such illegal research is a war crime, and insofar as undertaken by medical professionals, represent a grave breach of medical ethics.

PHR Report: Bush Administration Engaged in Illegal Human Experimentation on Torture

By: Sunday June 6, 2010 9:01 pm

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) released today the results of a landmark investigation that, according to the organization’s press release, “uncovered evidence that indicates the Bush administration apparently conducted illegal and unethical human experimentation and research on detainees in CIA custody.” PHR is asking President Obama to “order the attorney general to undertake an immediate criminal investigation of alleged illegal human experimentation and research on detainees conducted by the CIA and other government agencies following the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.” They are also seeking other investigations by Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Justice.

Sen. Bob Graham: Majority on Senate Intel Committee Supported Interrogation Oversight in 2002

By: Monday March 8, 2010 3:20 pm

According to former Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee Senator Bob Graham, a majority of Committee members in November 2002–including a few Republicans–supported conducting oversight of the program. And it seems that CIA mischaracterized to Roberts what Graham had planned, perhaps in an effort to dissuade Roberts from conducting that oversight.

Will Military Torture Be Transferred to the United States?

By: Tuesday January 5, 2010 4:00 pm

The Center for Constitutional Rights wrote last year:

Appendix M of the Army Field Manual… allows the use of techniques such as prolonged isolation, sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, and inducing fear and humiliation of prisoners. These techniques, especially when used in combination as permitted by the AFM, constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and in some cases, torture. These techniques have caused documented, long-lasting psychological and physical harm and were condemned by a bipartisan congressional report released last month, as well as by the Bush-appointed head of the military commissions at Guantanamo.

Ali Soufan Claims He Had Success with Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Too

By: Monday November 2, 2009 3:24 pm

If Soufan’s claims are correct, then it shows that the FBI repeatedly got intelligence the CIA was unable to get–and that the CIA, on at least two occasions, shut down the FBI access when they were succeeding.

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