Torturing The Truth: Why The CIA Report Won't Change Anything
Credit: Reuters
December 12, 2014

By Russ Baker

Did you see this analysis of the Senate report on the CIA and torture? It’s from CNN:

The CIA’s harsh interrogations of detainees during the Bush era didn’t work, were more brutal than previously revealed and delivered no “ticking time bomb” information that prevented a terrorist attack, according to a new Senate report.

The majority report issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee is a damning condemnation of the “enhanced interrogation techniques”—branded as torture by critics—that the George W. Bush administration deployed in the fear-laden days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States. The techniques, according to the report, were “deeply flawed” and often resulted in “fabricated” information.

Anyone routinely watching that network or consuming news from most other sources would have found this shocking. Because the media in this country perpetuates a fiction about how things really work, on a daily basis. And then, once in a blue moon, they toss out this kind of summary of other people’s findings. No wonder Americans routinely suffer from “cognitive dissonance.”

The White House certainly tried its best to divert attention from the harsh reality of the report, with a classic tactic: warning of looming danger. USA Today played right along, blaring the headline “Torture Report Raises Fears” across the front page.

As for the Senate report, key findings in the blistering document include:

  • Torture did not “deliver” as promised. Many of those tortured, hideously, in ways that made even the torturers choke up, knew little or nothing of real use. The brutality carried out by our representatives did not produce tangible results. But the bosses at CIA headquarters told them to keep it up, and demanded they use bureaucratic tricks to hide what was really going on.
  • The president and other top officials, busy promoting the rightness of the course, were largely kept out of the loop. President Bush was upset when he finally learned what was going on.

That second point, of course, means that our elected leaders gain the refuge of all rogues: deniability. But if, in truth, they do not know what is going on, then who is creating and implementing hideous policies and practices that make the world hate us and – far from protecting us—put us all in danger, physically and morally?

Don’t hold your breath expecting an answer to that key question. It is almost a certainty that this will all blow over in a matter of days, and that no real change will come.

Why not? Because the whole structure including, significantly, the media, is incapable of the substantive analysis and bold action required to actually fix things.

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