Tuesday, May 19, 2015
PBS Frontline" "Secrets, Politics and Torture": The CIA gets away with "Extreme Rendition" and needs to
Tonight’s PBS Frontline report, “Secrets, Politics and Torture”, finally tells us “Why you never saw the CIA’s interrogation tapes”, with the main link here.
Indeed, with a Republican controlled Congress and with Diane Feinstein’s loss of the head of the intelligence committee chair to a GOP-er, the report has been hidden.
But right after 9/11, the CIA was tasked with a level of field work that it had apparently not done since the fall of the Soviet Union. It needed to “capture, detain, interrogate, and learn.” It tried to reverse engineer the SERE program that the US had used with POW’s in the Korean and Vietnam wars. The CIA began to use methods rather like that of the movie “Extreme Rendition” (let alone "Zero Dark Thirty", also exaggerated). Abu Zubadayah was subject to interrogation but the CIA did not learn of any big second 9/11 plot. The CIA set up black sites in Romania, Poland, Lithuania. (In my own novel, I got Poland right, but added Finland and the Basque area of Spain.) Curiously, the CIA apparently set up something like my “Academy” in Montana (in my novel, it’s set up with private interests – like Cheney’s Halliburton – in West Texas, but there is another property on the Montana plains, so I rather got some of that right.)
In 2006, the Supreme Court ruled that the Geneva Convention (which they teach us about in Army Basic) applies to interrogation, and those who violated it could go to jail for life for committing war crimes. CIA attorney John Rizzo, who had tried to justify waterboarding and “boxing Helena”, worried that he could wind up in jail. In the Bush administration, after the Abu Graib scandal, Rice wanted to tone down the program, as did Obama, but under a GOP Congress, the CIA’s deeds are safe.
The film shows a lot of the CIA’s computers and graphics, the seventh floor, and the basement stairs of the building, as well as a glimpse of a report on dirty bombs and Jose Padilla (and that was a domestic arrest).
Jane Mayer, whose book is “The Dark Side”, appears.
The film shows some fibbies bringing the materials on the interrogation tapes across Memorial Bridge in the middle of the night to take them to Senate intelligence, where they would be locked in another vault.