Hiding the Ugly Business of Torture

Exclusive: A grisly feature of the “war on terror” was America’s descent into torture, but the powers-that-be have decided that the common folk shouldn’t worry their little heads about this ugliness, reports ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

So, you did not believe in the power of the Deep State? Well, you may change your mind after reading a report in The New York Times that the powers-that-be in Washington are about to deep-six the 6,700-page Senate report based on original CIA cables and other documents that not only depict savage torture practices during the George W. Bush era, but also show that CIA officials consistently lied in claiming these heinous practices yielded information of any intelligence value.

Some of the original detainees jailed at the Guantanamo Bay prison, as put on display by the U.S. military.

In what amounts to a gross violation of the public trust – not to mention his oath to the Constitution – Senate Intelligence Committee chair, Sen. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, has recalled all copies and will put the report under lock and key for good – dismissing it as a “footnote in history.”

The only hope for those of us who want to see torturers held accountable is that some patriotic truthteller has – or will – put the report on a thumb drive and send it off to WikiLeaks or some other brave outlet that will publish it.

Small wonder that those agencies and individuals involved in the torture and those – like Burr – who are afraid of the torturers want to keep the report from public view. According to the Times, the full report describes interrogation sessions “in great detail.” It also “explains the origins of the program, identifies the officials involved, and offers details on the role of each agency in the secret prison program” in which detainees were tortured.

Is that why, when copies of the original report were sent to Executive Branch agencies, no one was allowed to read them? Katherine Hawkins, senior counsel at the Constitution Project, immediately called the return of the report to the Senate committee “extremely disturbing.” She labeled “absurd” that no one in the Executive Branch was permitted to read the Senate report, five years in the making.

What Burr’s subservience to the intelligence agencies that he is supposed to be overseeing tells me is that he will shy away from anything implicating former CIA Director John Brennan and his co-conspirators in other shocking activities.

These include implementing CIA’s “Marble” cyber-attack program, which lets it hack into servers and computers and “obfuscate” who the hacker was (as revealed in original CIA documents released on March 31 by WikiLeaks. (Don’t look for that revelation in the Times, however.)

Yes, you heard that right. Former National Security Agency Technical Director William Binney and I are persuaded that the “hack” into the Democratic National Committee was not done by Russia, but rather by a very sophisticated and expensive program allowing the CIA to hack into computers like those of the DNC and leave little “telltale signs” – like Cyrillic letters, for example – in order to “obfuscate” who did the hacking.

This could also explain why former FBI Director James Comey, who seems to be a charter member of the CIA/NSA/FBI Deep State cabal, refused to let his own technicians get physical access to the DNC computers, out of fear they might discover more than they were cleared for.

What are the chances that Sen. Burr or other “overseers” will ask questions about that?

‘Six Ways from Sunday’

Someone just made the innocent suggestion to me that we ought to complain directly to the Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York – a well meaning, but totally naïve idea. Schumer has been outspoken in expressing his fear of “crossing” the Intelligence Community.

American military police pose with naked detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

On Jan. 3, 2017, Schumer worried aloud to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow about Trump taunting U.S. intelligence agencies and its assessments about Russia’s cyber activities.

“He’s being really dumb to do this,” Schumer told Maddow. “Let me tell you, you take on the Intelligence Community; they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you. So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.” (Maddow, who has eagerly pushed the Russia-gate conspiracy theories, didn’t object to this concept that elected politicians should cower before the mighty I.C.)

With Barack Obama, this fear can be traced back nine years to the first sign I saw indicating that Brennan had inordinate influence over the candidate he signed up to work for in the spring of 2008.

In June 2008, when I heard that then-Sen. Barack Obama had flip-flopped on the key question of whether to hold the giant telecom companies accountable for violating our Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures and had decided to vote for protecting the telecoms from legal liability, that seemed to me a watershed.

On July 3, 2008 I wrote candidate Obama an open letter titled: “It’s a Deal Breaker for This Intelligence Officer: I speak from 30 years of experience in intelligence work. I don’t know who actually briefed you on the eavesdropping legislation, but the bill is unnecessary for intelligence collection and POISON for our civil liberties — not even to mention the unconscionable retroactive immunity provision.”

Years later, reflecting on the hold that Brennan seemed to have on President Obama, I thought back to Obama’s surrender on the giant telecom companies and reasoned that it was probably Brennan who explained Deep State realities to the candidate in late spring 2008.

Six years later, the blatantly intrusive way in which Obama pulled out all the stops to help CIA Director Brennan prevent publication of a declassified Executive Summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture scandalized the committee’s lead investigator, Daniel Jones. He gave The Guardian’s Spencer Ackerman an extensive interview in September 2016.

Jones and Ackerman reported that then-Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein was hell-bent on getting the CIA torture report published. In a March 11, 2014 speech, she argued that a public version would ensure torture “will never again be considered or permitted,” and that CIA interference and foot-dragging meant the Senate faced a “defining moment” testing whether the committee could effectively perform its oversight, “or whether our work can be thwarted by those we oversee.”

On April 3, the committee voted 11-3 to authorize a declassified version of the torture report. Senate Republicans who had long rejected the report’s findings joined Democrats who embraced them.

Yet the CIA had an ally whom Feinstein may not have appreciated: President Obama. The White House announced that same day that the CIA itself would lead the declassification review. The Intelligence Community would effectively choose which of its embarrassments to spare the public from learning.

‘Tortured Some Folks’

Obama’s Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough, acting for Obama, played a central role, backing the CIA’s position at every turn. The fact that the White House chief of staff would personally oversee the negotiations between the committee and the CIA spoke to the gravity of the issue.

Military Police officer Charles Graner poses over Manadel al-Jamadi’s corpse, after he was tortured to death by U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison.

On August 1, 2014, Obama entered the White House briefing room: “We tortured some folks,” he memorably said. But he added: “It’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job those folks [at the CIA] had.”

And so the timid President who, to great fanfare, announced the end of torture (and the closing of Guantanamo, which never happened) ended up making excuses for “those folks” at the CIA, and doing all he could to prevent the American people from learning the particulars of what they had done.

In the end, Sen. Feinstein, with strong help from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, prevailed over Brennan and his lawyerly team of McDonough/ Obama. The sanitized Executive Summary of the report was released on Dec. 9, 2014 just before Congress went home for Christmas.

I suspect that, in the end, Feinstein and Reid confronted Obama with a kind of “nuclear option”: Release the Executive Summary or Sen. Mark Udall (who had just lost his Senate seat and had little to lose) would read it from the Senate floor.

That may be the last time anyone in Washington prevailed over the Deep State.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  He was a CIA analyst for 27 years.  In early March 2006 he returned the Intelligence Commendation Medallion given him at retirement, in order to dissociate himself from an agency engaged in torture.

75 comments for “Hiding the Ugly Business of Torture

  1. Tom
    June 12, 2017 at 16:20

    I am a torture survivor. There is no cure for PTSD. You will do ANYTHING to make torture stop.

  2. Joe Average
    June 8, 2017 at 17:34

    To some degree this comment will be OT.

    Concerning the incident at 92nd Street Y I would like to give you some advice. Back then you were wondering why you had been targeted and that inquiries had shown that you hadn’t been black listed. Let me ask a rhetorical question first: “Are politicians honest?” (Aside from a few exceptions an honest politician seems to be an oxymoron – with the pronunciation more stressing moron than oxy.) Irrespective of the fact that statements of state institutions can hardly be trusted nowadays, the recipient of your mail (the Catholic Worker Movement) could’ve been target of wiretapping as well.

    Maybe a year ago I had discovered you’re operating your own web site. You’re using a gmail account for exchanging e-mails. Thanks to Mr. Binney people are aware that several three letter agencies intercept in and outgoing traffic of google servers. According to investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed the seed funding for google came through an alleged CIA front company, called In-Q-Tel (https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/how-the-cia-made-google-e836451a959e).

    Next time when you’re visiting Germany again make sure to get in touch with the guys of CCC. Let them teach you some basic steps to protect your privacy. A first step towards privacy and secure mail exchange would be to look for a different mail provider. Use encryption and some OS running from a live CD/DVD. Whenever you reboot the system it’s “reset” to the settings of the CD/DVD). Most important: spread the word and teach the people you’re in contact with the same techniques. The spooks would’ve to upgrade big time or to capitulate if everyone would switch to encrypted mail exchange. Probably they will attempt to upgrade, because the police state seems to be here to stay. John Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute has created several excellent videos on this topic (for example: “Is the U.S. Military Planning to Take Over America?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2JBCX1Na7k)

    Joe Average

    P.S.: People use to call me last name first.

  3. Bob Van Noy
    June 8, 2017 at 09:39

    Thank you Torture=Fuel4War for that excellent comment, especially about Operation PHOENIX. If America were ever to peacefully discuss and own-up to its War crimes publicly; it might be possible to establish a real and active Democracy.

  4. Torture=Fuel4War
    June 7, 2017 at 00:05

    This cover-up of our torture attempts to stifle those seeking answers and accountability about the 9/11 attacks and the Bush administration’s conflation of them with Iraq that were and are used to justify the perpetual war we’ve fought the past 16 years.
    Torture of prisoners was one of the primary sources for the section detailing the planning of the attacks by the 9/11 Commission:

    An analysis by NBC News reveals that more than a quarter of all footnotes in the 9/11 Commission Report refer to controversial interrogation techniques. Yet, Commission staffers did not question the CIA about its techniques. They even ordered a second round of interrogations in early 2004 to get more information from the detainees

    Remember al-libi, the Egyptian fellow locked up in a coffin and beaten for a day straight?
    He told his torturers the lies they wanted to hear and falsely confessed that Saddam trained al-qaeda in chemical and biological weapons.
    Cheney and Powell parroted this lie to motivate the invasion of Iraq that killed over a million, made refugees of millions and spawned ISIS.
    Plus, Alberto Mora, chief Navy counsel, fingered the torture at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib as the primary and secondary motivators of terrorists.

    Bill Bodden’s wish to have pics and videos of torture to better expose it is sound, many pics are here:
    Though Jose Rodriguez, former CIA Operations Director, thought of that too and had the torture videos destroyed:

    The New York Times ran a Mark Mazetti story titled “C.I.A. Destroyed Two Tapes Showing Interrogations.” Mazetti reported that Jose Rodriguez, Jr., who at the time directed the CIA’s clandestine services, had ordered the tapes’ destruction. Follow-up reporting by Mazetti and Scott Shane over the next three weeks established that Rodriguez had received legal advice from CIA attorneys Steven Hermes and Robert Eatinger sanctioning the action and that conversations about the tapes’ fate over the years had included the top lawyers in the White House.

    Bury the torture and you can perpetuate the lie that ‘they hate us for our freedoms’ or Trump’s nonsensical campaign talk that we have to ban Muslims from entering our country until we can figure out why there are terrorists.

    What’s tragi-comic is the flak Kathy Griffin has received over an image of torture while those who murdered innocents using the cruelest methods walk scot-free with fat pensions and rich book contracts.

    At least 108 people have died in American custody in Iraq and Afghanistan, most of them violently, according to government data provided to The Associated Press. Roughly a quarter of those deaths have been investigated as possible abuse by U.S. personnel.
    as of 2005.

    Great comment on Operation Phoenix. Vietnam was not long after the Korean War where downed American pilots were tortured by the Koreans and Chinese with Soviet help to make false confessions about their missions to stir up pro-war sentiment in their countries.

    Did America ever have a moral compass? Given our genocide of the American Indians it seems not.
    Whatever shred of morality we had evaporated with the Bush torture program that was based on the same techniques described by SERE trainers as those of an “totalitarian evil nation with complete disregard for human rights or the Geneva Convention.”

  5. backwardsevolution
    June 4, 2017 at 20:32

    Ray McGovern – that was an excellent article. Thank you.

    If I saw anyone getting tortured, I’d probably take out the torturer. How can people treat others this way? Evil, evil, evil.

  6. Bob Van Noy
    June 4, 2017 at 12:38

    Writing the day after ConsortiumNews published this brilliant article by Ray McGovern: Many thanks to All for the opportunity to address this absolutely vital subject which speaks to the very essence of what The American Democratic Experiment has become. We have the rare opportunity to try to own up to our failures and become something much better, but first we must recognize the problems before deciding what to do about them, and that is clearly what Ray McGovern and Robert Parry recognize.

  7. Andrew
    June 4, 2017 at 10:44

    Thank you Ray for keeping us informed

  8. Lorry
    June 3, 2017 at 23:39

    Do you know where you find sympathy in the dictionary? It’s between shit and syphilis. War is an ugly business, yet nobody gives a damn when Allied soldiers are tortured and executed by these middle eastern scum. Is it any wonder the USA cannot win any conflict it has embarked on since the Second World War. Politicians would sooner give terrorists a slap on the wrist than give them a hard lesson, you screw with us and we will blow you to hell and gone. That is the only lesson they understand. The middle east perceives the west as weak and not to be feared. So far they are right.

    • F. G. Sanford
      June 4, 2017 at 06:20

      When your daddy taught you that ‘pearl of wisdom’, did he mention any other manly advice? For instance, did he teach you about the word between mastoid and matador? Somewhere between aardvark and zymosan, there is probably an explanation for just about everything!

    • Sam F
      June 4, 2017 at 08:38

      You are misled by being too close to the action to see the causes; please think about these things:

      1. We generally don’t know who the terrorists are, and cannot rationalize attacking people on resemblance;
      2. Torture of innocents does not find out who the terrorists are;
      3. Punishing the unknown who resembles the wrongdoer creates more wrongdoers;
      4. Terrorism is a military method, not an ideology, and is used equally by the West, so what side is a terrorist on?
      5. The reason the US fights wars in the Mideast is not some prior wrongdoing of others;
      6. The US has been a primary cause of wrongdoing in the Mideast due to zionist bribes to politicians;
      7. The US does nothing benevolent in the Mideast, a not even fixing the damage it causes;
      8. When you are too close to the action, you will sympathize with the victims you see, and blame the war on the other side. You must step back, and look at all causes and injuries. Avoid merely choosing sides on the assumption that one side is good or has the truth.

    • Bill Bodden
      June 4, 2017 at 12:29

      War is an ugly business, yet nobody gives a damn when Allied soldiers are tortured and executed by these middle eastern scum. Is it any wonder the USA cannot win any conflict it has embarked on since the Second World War. Politicians would sooner give terrorists a slap on the wrist than give them a hard lesson, you screw with us and we will blow you to hell and gone. That is the only lesson they understand. The middle east perceives the west as weak and not to be feared. So far they are right.

      Lorry: When I was much younger (perhaps around your current age) I was guilty of spouting simplistic nonsense similar to your contribution, but some friends did me a favor that I didn’t appreciate at the time. They told me I was full of shit before they got to sympathy. Now, let me explain where you clearly don’t know what you are talking about:

      yet nobody gives a damn when Allied soldiers are tortured and executed by these middle eastern scum

      After World War Two trials in Nuremberg and Tokyo punished torturers who abused Allied personnel. Same in other wars since. It is a good bet some Allied soldiers engaged in some torture. “Our” side clearly was guilty and (for the most part) unpunished in Vietnam.

      Is it any wonder the USA cannot win any conflict it has embarked on since the Second World War.

      The USA “won” three wars after WW2 in Grenada, Panama, and a turkey shoot along the Kuwait-Iraq border, but they are nothing to be proud of. The turkey shoot had all the earmarks of a war crime. According to several scholars two of the reasons America has lost the wars in which it was engaged were stupidity of politicians and incompetence in our war (aka defense) department.

      Politicians would sooner give terrorists a slap on the wrist than give them a hard lesson, you screw with us and we will blow you to hell and gone.

      There is abundant evidence that “giving them a hard lesson” comes before the terrorism. Many of the events referred to as terrorism might more correctly be referred to as resistance or revenge. – http://www.businessinsider.com/abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-declassified-iraq-prison-file-2015-2. Check the colonial histories of Britain and France – and the USA.

      That is the only lesson they understand.

      To the contrary, your screed may very well reveal the only lesson you can understand. Too bad. That is the sort of thing that keeps the cycle of violence in perpetual motion.

    • Joe Average
      June 4, 2017 at 15:42

      “… yet nobody gives a damn when Allied soldiers are tortured and executed by these middle eastern scum.”

      Who told the Allied soldiers to invade the Middle East in the first place? Did you ever consider the “kill ratio” (killed US soldiers/citizens vs ME soldiers/citizens)? More than a million Middle Easterners have been killed as a result of US actions and you dare to call people living there scum?

      “Politicians would sooner give terrorists a slap on the wrist than give them a hard lesson, you screw with us and we will blow you to hell and gone.”

      That cowboy mentality got the US in the place where she’s now. The “hunt for Osama Bin Laden” quickly turned into a democracy spreading mission in Afghanistan. Where had been the voice of US citizens back then? (According to some reports the Taliban would’ve handed over Bin Laden instantly.) Many US citizens were so ignorant not to question the lie that had been spread before invading Iraq. Patriotic radio stations and and flag waving citizens punished the Dixie Chicks for speaking out against the invasion of Iraq.

      “The middle east perceives the west as weak and not to be feared.”

      That’s nonsense. Most people in the world views the US as the biggest threat.

    • Cal
      June 4, 2017 at 20:10

      ” you screw with us and we will blow you to hell and gone. That is the only lesson they understand.”

      We have been ‘blowing them to hell and gone’ for 16 years now in the ME
      The US populace hasn’t learned the lesson yet…Screw with other people and their countries—-and they screw you back.

      You also find STUPID between shit and syphilis in the dictionary….a condition many like are you are suffering from.

    • June 7, 2017 at 14:17


      Hmmmmmmm 2million dead. 8 million displaced. 8 countries bombed back to the stone age. Wedding parties wiped out. And thats just since 2001 , 140 slaughtered by US air attack, many of them children, and that in just one corner of the world. SLAP ON THE WRIST. REALLY? And no doubt you pass yourself off as a human being.

  9. June 3, 2017 at 16:11

    The USA committing torture is an abomination…The USA will be held accountable one day…We have become the banana republic…

    • Bill Bodden
      June 3, 2017 at 16:18

      The USA will be held accountable one day

      I wouldn’t bet on that. Slave owners were among the so-called founding fathers who proceeded to activate a policy of ethnic cleansing of the indigenous peoples. Their successors have been committing crimes against humanity ever since, and the U.S. remains the biggest threat to the rest of the world and probably the planet.

  10. Bill Bodden
    June 3, 2017 at 12:21

    I received an email from Senator Ron Wyden this morning that indicates he wants the torture report made available to the public. The question now is will he get the needed support from others in Congress?

    • incontinent reader
      June 3, 2017 at 13:48

      Will Wyden have the courage to read the report into the Congressional Record?

      • Bill Bodden
        June 3, 2017 at 16:12

        Will Wyden have the courage to read the report into the Congressional Record?

        I greatly doubt it and am incapable of contemplating anyone who would. Ray McGovern’s hope of a leaker with a flash drive is the only option with a chance – but a very slim chance.

    • terriertribe
      June 5, 2017 at 11:23

      Will he have a copy to read? The article says that Burr has recalled all copies.

  11. June 3, 2017 at 12:13

    There is a saying in the Arab World. “Dogs bark , the caravan moves on.”

    It used to amaze me at how the facts, no matter how clearly stated, no matter how obvious, mean nothing in the Western World. Sometimes a few items like the Pentagon Papers create a small ripple in the corridors of power, but by and large the facts are just ignored or mostly just replaced by spin that is then paraded as the new facts.

    I am afraid that in the end publications like Consortium News are the equivalent of the dogs barking in the night, as the proverbial caravan passes. i read it every day, along with a dozen or so other news sources that reveal the actions of the Deep State. But nothing ever happens. No one ever loses their job. No one is ever held accountable.

    Have the western populations lost control over their governments? Have the western governments lost control over their civil services? Is it a fact that a few people such as those that belong to a goup like the Builderberg Group in fact run the Western World. If they are what is to be done about it? What is already apparent is that publications such as this one are not having any effect whatsoever on this deplorable situation. In the end is the only solution armed rebellion? Obviously telling the truth about what is happening has no effect what at all..

    The law is what the Deep State says it is. I am certain that right after being sworn in Obama was ushered into a side office in the White House basement where the facts of life were clearly spelled out to him.Where he was told who really runs the country and it was not him. No doubt there were not so suttle references to JFK and his brother, and how that turned out, when they they bucked the establishment. Trump? Well it looks like he at first tried to ignore this breifing and now he is suffering political death by a thousand cuts. Everyone is enlisted to bring this guy down. From comedians, to late night hosts, to movie stars, to ex civil servants to the MSM. Everyone is on side to get this guy out of office. Obama just bent over and took the big one right up his keister. Trump did not and look at how he is getting screwed over every day from every where.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 3, 2017 at 13:21

      Dan I agree with you so much I wish I had written what you did. What is sad, is that what we talk about here, is only the mere fact that if we the people are going to have leaders, is that these leaders lead us to a safe, and somewhat better place, and there in lies the failure of our society. You are right, what we have is produced with one lie laid upon another lie, and this brick house isn’t really made of bricks at all, but made of fabricated air which is based in no real reality. Like kidding yourself over, and over, and over again. Then comes that moment where truth will be the only answer, and then the lies crumble to dust. I think we are almost there.

    • mike k
      June 3, 2017 at 14:12

      It’s easy to feel that the truth telling here is futile, and I sometimes do think that way, but we can’t really know what effects may be generated by our thoughts expressed here. There is the butterfly effect to consider. Sensitive dependence on initial conditions. A spark can trigger a conflagration. Or maybe nothing much will result, who knows? But what else can take the place of discerning and attempting to distribute truth? If this reasoned inquiry is for naught, then perhaps we are screwed. If folks choose not to listen, not to think, not to be moral agents – then maybe we will just have to eat that karma. I hope not, because that karma is going to be very bitter.

  12. mike k
    June 3, 2017 at 11:40

    The insanity of the modern world is captured in the idea that WE NEED MORE POWER! Less power is a heresy that is laughed out of court.

  13. mike k
    June 3, 2017 at 11:37

    The Lord of the Rings reminds us of the quest to unleash the atomic power to rule the world, and have the power to destroy whole cities and their inhabitants. And even now we refuse to let go of that power, which will eventually destroy us. This is the epitome of the power addicted madness.

  14. F. G. Sanford
    June 3, 2017 at 10:33

    Sung to “Puff the Magic Dragon”, by Peter, Paul and Mary

    Big Boy Pants Rodriguez lived in DC,
    He frolicked at the CIA with torture policy-
    Enhanced interrogation wasn’t rough enough,
    Electric cords and water boards were not effective stuff!

    Oh, Ashcroft and Alito crafted secret laws.
    They referred to Carl Schmitt to draft a torture clause-
    Schumer and John Brennan, even Richard Burr,
    Defer to Nazi practices they all seem to concur-

    Together they’d keep secrets about atrocities,
    Even Mad Dog Mattis now apparently agrees!
    Better to suppress the truth and disavow the shame,
    Miscreants like Big Boy Pants and Mad Dog think the same!

    Oh, Mad Dog Jimmy Mattis, lives in DC,
    He works at the Pentagon and claims to keep us free-
    Black sites and renditions, killing just for sport,
    All that fun could be undone if we read that report!

    Enhanced interrogation requires lots of toys:
    Rectal plugs, illicit drugs and other fiendish joys!
    One gray day it happened, the Queen of Torture came,
    Alfreda flew to Poland and the world found out her name!

    Genital incentives and body cavities-
    Nothing sacred could escape from their depravities,
    Their victims never talk – but merely verbalize-
    Anything to stop the pain, they all confess to lies!

    Oh, Big Boy Pants Rodriguez lived in DC,
    He frolicked at the CIA with torture policy-
    Enhanced interrogation wasn’t rough enough
    Electric cords and water boards were just the gentle stuff!

    • mike k
      June 3, 2017 at 11:28

      And people pretend that evil is just a quaint outmoded fallacy. If these folks are not evil who do these things, what does it take to qualify as evil?? The powerful have always been drawn to do evil. Power corrupts: it makes men (and women) become monsters.

    • Bob Van Noy
      June 3, 2017 at 11:40

      Again, perfect F. G. Sanford.

    • June 3, 2017 at 12:18


    • evelync
      June 3, 2017 at 12:45

      Great! F.G.!

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 3, 2017 at 13:11

      I’d love to take you to a recording studio, and cut an album. Why we would be richer than US Steel if we only cut a CD of your greatest hits, and put you on ITunes. I can see us now, you’d be driving the best Mercedes that your money could buy, while I your manager would be chauffeured in my Rolls…hey it’s America the manager’s suppose to be richer than the worker, I mean artist.

      Seriously you are good at writing lyric. Joe

  15. john wilson
    June 3, 2017 at 10:05

    We rightly get upset about calculated torture which is what we are discussing here. However, what about the hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq, Syria, Libya the Yemen etc who are suffering horrific daily torture due to terrible injuries sustained by American, British and European bombs? Whilst the calculated torture of people in dark rooms and hidden away place is disgusting and horrible, we should not forget that indiscriminate bombing and starvation should be regarded as a crime against humanity as well.

    • mike k
      June 3, 2017 at 11:23

      Yes. Our willingness to inflict the horrors of war on others gives the lie to our pretensions of honoring human rights. The powerful have been inflicting injury, starvation and death on millions since history has been recorded.

  16. dfnslblty
    June 3, 2017 at 09:29

    Thank you for presenting the un-presentable, the dark side of usa commerce.

  17. Herman
    June 3, 2017 at 08:20

    Ray McGovern puts the issue out there for all to see. But who has the courage and power to do anything about it. The vetting process our politicians must go through and the things they must do to survive or prosper produce the kind of government that “protects” the people from the ugly side of governance. It makes people like Obama refer to public disclosure as a sanctimonious act .

    The present system of classification where perpetrators get to choose what we can see is corrupt beyond description. More than anything, it helps to explain what we have become, the we being our ruling bureaucrats and politicians.

  18. Skip Scott
    June 3, 2017 at 08:03

    Our eyes are the windows of our souls. Anyone who looks into the eyes of people like John Brennan or Dick Cheney, or the numberless others who are guilty of these sins, sees pure evil. I am constantly amazed that these evil beings can rise to positions of such power. Thank God we have others like Ray McGovern, and many of the commenters here, speaking truth to power. Someday our message will be heard, and the evil ones will face an accounting. We must always remember that we are many, and they are few. Thank you Ray McGovern.

    • Bob Van Noy
      June 3, 2017 at 11:36

      Or Richard Perle…

      • evelync
        June 3, 2017 at 12:43

        for sure, skip!
        too bad some of ‘em have a”tell” when they’re lying

      • Bob Van Noy
        June 4, 2017 at 11:29

        Or,… W, Condi,… Or Donald,

    • Bill Bodden
      June 3, 2017 at 16:08

      I am constantly amazed that these evil beings can rise to positions of such power.

      It has been that way from the beginning of human history.

  19. Joe Tedesky
    June 3, 2017 at 00:00

    Once again I am feeling fortunate that I discovered consortiumnews, and I feel especially blessed to be able to be informed by Ray McGovern. So, thank you Ray for sharing your knowledge with us.

    I must admit that I never had much hope that the torture report would get very far, but is it any wonder that here we are in June only six more days until the 50th anniversary of the attack on the USS Liberty, and no where in our national media is anyone talking about recognizing the crew of that ship with any honors. The USS Liberty attack is like the torture episode a forgotten whisper, and never to be brought up in mixed company, or any kind of company for that matter, because it was suppose to have never happened.

    I’ve said this before, that until the U.S. comes to have it’s moment, it’s come to Jesus moment if you will, where we will admit our wrongs and correct our nations ways, we are continually fighting a up hill battle to make all of this any better. Although with people such as Ray McGovern and many who comment here the fight lives on, and that’s a good thing. Only truth will bring about change.

    Thanks again Ray McGovern you are an oasis. Joe

    • mike k
      June 3, 2017 at 06:44

      The truth will make us free. Free of what? Free of the lies of our culture, and of the even deeper lies we hold in our own hearts. Unless we are as searching and fearless in exposing our own hidden lies and faults as we are those of others, and our culture – we cannot be cleansed and truly honest.

      I recommend Scott Peck’s book People of the Lie. Peck was the chief government investigator of the Mai Lai massacre. He gives a psychological analysis of how people can commit the most horrendous crimes, and feel no remorse. This is what we have in those who ordered and participated in torture. They hold themselves blameless for what they did, and offer only the most flimsy and invalid excuses for their crimes against humanity. They are in this sense sociopaths, and lack any feeling of sympathy for their victims.

      The leaders and members of the American Psychological Society are especially culpable in allowing their members to take part in scientific studies designed to “improve” the methods of torture at Guantanamo and black sites around the world. Thankfully APA members who had a conscience objected, and began changing these evil policies.

      • Anon
        June 3, 2017 at 08:46

        The leaders of the American Psych Assoc were nearly all zionists, when I last checked. They use their “credentials” to denounce their political opponents. So they would be glad to get involved in torturing anti-zionists from the Mideast, and were doubtless contacted the give the money to insiders.

      • Joe Tedesky
        June 3, 2017 at 12:44

        mike K

        Speaking to the truth as to the example you use the Mai Lai Massacre is a great example of starting with the truth. Back when Seymour Hersch broke that story the truth about such crimes of war were never revealed. Although as you mentioned mike K what good is the truth, if something corrective isn’t done about what we have learned with the truth? Now we are talking management, and culture, and a whole host of other particles of our society’s make up that say who we are.

        The U.S. as a nation must one day come to grips with itself. Other older nations, and cultures, have done this kind of dealing with their darker sides many times over. The U.S. has yet to ever come to this moment where confession is the beginning of healing itself, to be better at what it does as a nation. Basically it’s like applying the AA 12 Step Program to a country who is lying to itself about almost everything. The day of reckoning is upon us, so what do we do about it.

        The Pens play in Nashville tonight and the Pens are 2 & 0. That’s the truth that’s being talked about today in Pittsburgh, and I’m sure at least that’s the gabe in Nashville too. Forgive us while we fight for the Stanley Cup. This isn’t right of me to pick on others who love sports, because people should be allowed to have escapes, but would someone please at least speak to what matters most….don’t watch cable news to find the answer to that one.

        • Skip Scott
          June 4, 2017 at 06:24

          Bread and Circuses= Doritos and Penguins

          • Joe Tedesky
            June 4, 2017 at 16:54

            The funny thing about the Penguins and the playoffs, the other day I was standing in line at the bank and some guy behind me asked me, ‘did you watch the (Penquin) game last night’, I didn’t and this guy looked at me like I was an alien of somekind. To be honest I do like sports, but I’m not a fanatic over it, like some. To each his own.

            I used the distraction of sports and tv, as an example of how many avoid learning what’s going on in the news. Although you probably knew that, but bread and circus reference says it all.

            Take care Skip Joe

        • Peter Loeb
          June 4, 2017 at 06:51

          Joe Tedesky…

          I have no TV at all. Cost primarily and secondly I don’t want my
          life invaded by TV ads. I am used to the ridiculous ads on
          baseball games. However, I will not buy either a Mercedes
          or a Lexus in the near future. Maybe some kind of tank. They
          say it is cheaper than last year!!!

          After my “work”—reading heavy books during the day– I need
          some nonthink. Someone will win. My prediction.

          After all, they play soccer in Gaza if possible.

          —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

          • Joe Tedesky
            June 4, 2017 at 16:58

            Peter I admire your dedication to learning. More would do themselves a favor to be more like you. I think there are many who can’t handle the news. Their frustration over not being able to change anything drives them away from even knowing more about what effects us. That’s not good, but that is just a fact of life. Then there are us here, who sleep, eat, and drink, our current and past events. We all serve somekind of purpose, I hope, but it is what it is…I guess

            Peter take care, and rest your eyes Joe

      • Frank
        June 4, 2017 at 00:00

        mike k: “Peck was the chief government investigator of the Mai Lai massacre…”

        Not true, Mike.

        Mr Peck was trained as a psychiatrist and wrote several best-selling books of pop psychology with a religious (Christian) bent, He had absolutely nothing to do with any investigation of the My Lai atrocities.

        The official Army investigation into the activities of Task Force Barker in the village of Son My in March, 1968, was led by Lt Gen(ret) William S Peers and was published as the Peers Commission Report. The Peers Commission colluded in the cover-up of an even more extensive atrocity in the region, on the same day, by another infantry company of Task Force Barker. Then Major Colin Powell also colluded in the immediate cover-up of the My Lai atrocities and others committed by the 20th Infantry unit of the Americal Division, of which Major Powell became the Chief of Operations in late 1968.

        Perhaps you have confused Lt General Peers with the pop-psychiatrist, Dr Peck, who indeed published his opinions on the events but had nothing to do with any government investigations.

    • evelync
      June 3, 2017 at 11:50

      thanks, Bob, for saying this far better than I could…..

      • evelync
        June 3, 2017 at 12:24

        sorry, Joe, I was writing you a comment to thank you for yours.
        too bad I had not clicked “post comment” on my earlier comment to Bob – so his got posted here.

        but thank you and Bob. Ray is a treasure and an oasis.

        and I think I understand the deep state concept a bit better – it’s two sets of books.
        The first set is for TPTB to keep up with some agenda that serves what mike k, chris hedges, and nietzsche refer to as the “molten pit of humanity” (in present day America it’s the Cold War ideology that serves the MIC)

        The second set is the shit they shovel on us.

        Too bad, the molten pit keeps seeping out through crevices.
        So, as leonard cohen says “everybody knows”…..
        but, out of fear or indifference or priorities, people learn to self censor and become complicit in the denials.

        bottom line, the torture regime that was unleashed under Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld on human beings should be tried as a high crime and misdemeanor. It undermined the foundation of this country. Unleashed a deep seated anger around the world. And even damaged for life the very young people who were asked/allowed to perpetrate it.

        • Joe Tedesky
          June 3, 2017 at 13:02

          Back a few months ago when the Washington Post separated out 200 websites as being ‘fake news’ outlets, WaPo’s claim sounded hard to believe. In fact, WaPo may have given some free advertising to these 200 websites, and be none the better for doing it. Although, what WaPo did accomplish, was giving America and the world a new catch phrase, ‘Fake News’. Now here we are, as a society of readers who doesn’t know what to believe, because every news outlet or group of outlets, is calling the other one fake. How great is this?

          Our corporate news media hired all of Eddie Haskell’s children, and grand children to market our news. So the talk on the street is officially the corporate news version, while all alternative news is minimized down to niche readerships, and the public as a whole have a flawed bench mark with the corporate news version when trying to analyze what’s true and what’s not true. This that I described is paramount to what must change. How too is mind racking.

        • Bob Van Noy
          June 3, 2017 at 13:21

          Yes to all, evelync. You break it down well. I’ve thought about this Torture issue through the years, and I think that the only answer is an extra-government, public truth and reconciliation process, publicly broadcast, with severe penalties for perjury and some sophisticated rewards for truth and revelations to wrongdoing. Mandella had the time and fairly well worked it out…

          • Joe Tedesky
            June 3, 2017 at 13:29

            If the U.S. were to ever have that American Nuremberg internal trail, it would be wise to first suspend the Presidential Pardon rule. At least for starters. Although your on to something Bob, and I agree justice must come to the front.

          • Bob Van Noy
            June 3, 2017 at 13:42

            Joe,I’m thinking that the entire formal government would be “on the side-lines”…

          • Joe Tedesky
            June 3, 2017 at 15:43

            Yes Bob real estate around the D.C. Beltway would go down due to the abundance of vacancies.

  20. Bill Bodden
    June 2, 2017 at 23:20

    (Maddow, who has eagerly pushed the Russia-gate conspiracy theories, didn’t object to this concept that elected politicians should cower before the mighty I.C.)

    In other words, the United States is no longer a democracy.

    • Realist
      June 3, 2017 at 01:27

      Either the United States is becoming ever more despotic, or the ever-entrenched despots just don’t care who knows what any more. In either case, they feel untouchable, especially with enablers like Maddow on their side.

  21. Bill Bodden
    June 2, 2017 at 23:17

    What Burr’s subservience to the intelligence agencies that he is supposed to be overseeing tells me is that he will shy away from anything implicating former CIA Director John Brennan and his co-conspirators in other shocking activities.

    Oversight committees appear to be, for the most part, nothing but rubber stamps composed of incompetents. Probably the only oversight committee in Congress that does its job is the one that checks on the rest rooms and the kitchens preparing food for elected officials and their staff.

  22. Bill Bodden
    June 2, 2017 at 23:11

    Many civilized people were deeply offended by the photograph of the so-called comedian, Kathy Griffin, holding a model of a blood-drenched severed head resembling Donald Trump’s. Beheading a human being is a disgustingly barbaric act no matter how vile the victim may have been. What the American public now needs are pictures, preferably videos, of our own and hired torturers at work. That should provoke greater revulsion than Ms. Griffin’s tasteless photo.

    • susan sunflower
      June 2, 2017 at 23:20


      The Violence Is the Victory
      On trophy skulls and American brutality

      Prepare to be dismayed ….

      What also needs to be exposed is the immunity contractually guaranteed to “outside contractors” who were chosen for the mission of Enhanced Interrogation and which has, apparently, thus far been upheld (their immunity) … deliberate premeditation is thereby demonstrated …

      • Bill Bodden
        June 3, 2017 at 20:05

        Susan: Thank you for that very interesting link.

      • June 4, 2017 at 12:25

        It´s funny how when explaining away American Torture in Iraq as a one off, that the American people forget the ” Pheonix Operation ” in South Vietnam where estimates range up to 50,000 people who were interrogated by this CIA developed program and not one person survived the interrogation.

        • Nancy
          June 5, 2017 at 11:56

          More tragic and heartbreaking than funny.

    • Joe Average
      June 4, 2017 at 14:56

      “Beheading a human being is a disgustingly barbaric act no matter how vile the victim may have been.”

      So are electrocution, hanging, poison gas and lethal injections (especially if they’re botched like those in some of the most recent cases).

      • Bill Bodden
        June 4, 2017 at 20:14

        So are electrocution, hanging, etc.

        Agreed completely

  23. mike k
    June 2, 2017 at 21:57

    ‘Friedrich Nietzsche in ‘Beyond Good and Evil’ holds that only a few people have the fortitude to look in times of distress into what he calls the molten pit of human reality. Most, studiously, ignore the pit. Artists and philosophers, for Nietzsche, are consumed however by an insatiable curiosity, a quest for truth and a desire for meaning. They venture down into the bowels of the molten pit. They get as close as they can before the flames and heat drive them back. This intellectual and moral honesty, Nietzsche wrote, comes with a cost. Those singed by the fire of reality become ‘burnt children’ he wrote, eternal orphans in empires of illusion’. Chris Hedges.

    I am one of those burnt children: but I would not have it any other way.

    • Bob Van Noy
      June 3, 2017 at 11:28

      Really, Really, Great comment mike k. Thanks… And Ray McGovern, you are a National Treasure. Thank You…

  24. mike k
    June 2, 2017 at 20:53

    Thanks Ray for telling us what most Americans don’t want to know. As long a there are a few who will tell the real truth about our society, and some last chance to tell it publicly, we are not finished. When the last truth teller is silenced, then it will all be over, and the end will be near.

  25. Sleepless In Mars
    June 2, 2017 at 20:14

    Laughter is the best med…
    “Everybody knows by now, all businessmen are completely full of shit; just the worst kind of low-life, criminal” Carlin

    You have the streets full of junkies, the stores closing and now they own Iraq. Get the oil to build another Venezuela style petro-state with the riots and empty grocers. Start fake universities to churn out worthless diplomas. Get the dope state to run security for your corporate rackets and soak the public. The spy agencies are all peasants, so have a revolt. The newspapers are all spies. It’s dangerous, the pay is poor and everybody wants you dead. Throw in torture and you have people being burned on stoves to talk so they don’t need to read. Torture gets you the biggest lie the fastest. A whores more honest. If you want screwed find a courthouse. Get justice at a cathouse.

  26. Sam F
    June 2, 2017 at 20:13

    Thank you, Ray, for pressing the torture issue.

    The boundary between acts of war and acts requiring judicial process is not always clear, but a nation that suppresses dissent and both causes and exploits terrorizing insurgencies and dictatorships worldwide, has planned to be on the wrong side and must be held accountable.

    Even as acts of war, these tortures do not make sense, as the suspects are held on little evidence, and the torture yields nothing but false confessions.

    The public should be fully informed about these acts, as well as the massive promiscuous surveillance, when in fact not even the causes and locations of US secret wars are debated.

    The US has ruined its reputation, its security, and its prospects for a better future with these tyrannical acts. The secret war and secret surveillance machines must all be destroyed forever. The tyrants who have instigated these breaches of public trust and of the Constitution should be prosecuted under martial law to circumvent any immunities. If that doesn’t work, they should be rounded up by another secret agency and rendered to nations they have subverted or destroyed, for prosecution.

    • Peter Loeb
      June 3, 2017 at 13:38


      About a decade ago Professor Alfred W. McCoy wrote a definitive work on
      COLD WAR TO THE WAR ON TERROR (Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt
      and Company, 2006).

      Here a very few excerpts of this brief book (paperback ed, pp12-14):

      “Among the practices of the modern state, torture is the least understood,
      one that lures its practitioners, high and low, with fantasies of power and

      First, torture plumbs the recesses of human consciousness, unleashing an
      unfathomable capacity for cruelty as well as seductive illusions of omnipotence…

      Second, states that sanction torture often allow it to spread beyond a few selected
      targets to countless enemies…

      Third, torture offers such a persuasive appearance of efficient information
      extraction that its perpetrators remain wedded to its use, refusing .to
      acknowledge evidence of its limited utility and high political cost…

      Fourth, even when exposed to public scrutiny, torturers arouse such
      fear and fascination, attraction and revulsion, that they are rarely
      prosecuted for their crimes…”

      Ray McGovern’s excellent and eloquent essay “Hiding the Ugly Business of
      Torture” adds to Professor McCoy’s work the tragic fact that there
      will, in all probability, never be any public scrutiny at all.

      (It should be mentioned that McCoy’s book was not written under the
      current administration.)

      Many thanks to Ray McGovern. I hope many commenters and others
      read Alfred McCoy’s welldocumented work.

      —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

      • Bill Bodden
        June 3, 2017 at 16:05

        “Among the practices of the modern state, torture is the least understood,
        one that lures its practitioners, high and low, with fantasies of power and

        It is nice to know, as mercifully former president Obama assured us, that these are not our values and no one is above the law. Despite all the political turmoil I remain equally confident that Santa Claus will still include the United States in his rounds on Christmas morning.

        Thank you, Peter and Ray, for your contributions to this discussion

    • Joe Average
      June 4, 2017 at 14:49

      “Even as acts of war, these tortures do not make sense, as the suspects are held on little evidence, and the torture yields nothing but false confessions.”

      It depends on your point of view if torture makes sense. For TPTB torture is a tool that may scare off organizers of dissent and dissenters themselves. Another aspect is that torture satisfies the needs of sadists. If you check the internet for reports on US prisons you’ll realize there are lot of sadists amongst prison guards and police (for example Homan Square).

      “The US has ruined its reputation, its security, and its prospects for a better future with these tyrannical acts.”

      Correct, thanks to the latest revelations on torture and the drone program all the positive PR of the past is down the drain. But don’t fall into the trap thinking that the US had been any better in the past. Previously the School of the Americas (SOA) – now re-branded as Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation – taught aspiring South American torturers their dirty trade. Is using humans as guinea pigs any different from torture? Abby Martin had produced a great documentary on that topic (Used & Betrayed – 100 Years of US Troops as Lab Rats). It’s not just US Troops who had been used as Lab Rats. J. Marion Sims used slaves for gynecological experiments. Twice the US engaged in syphilis experiments on humans (the Tuskegee syphilis experiment and the Guatemala syphilis experiment). Even before Nazi Germany perfected the way of getting rid of undesired folks, the idea for doing so had been worked out in the US (http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/Eugenics-and-the-Nazis-the-California-2549771.php).

      With regard to tyrannical acts, the US isn’t innocent at all. It started with the elimination of the Native Americans (Indians), went on with the Slaves and continues until today. Firebombing Dresden, Hamburg (a city full of mainly civilians) and Tokyo could be considered as tyrannical. The same applies to wiping out large parts of humans (civilians) by atomic bombs (Japan), Napalm (Vietnam), Agent Orange (Vietnam), White Phosphorous (Iraq) and using depleted Uranium ammunition (former Yugoslavia and Iraq).

      Writing about all the wrongdoings of the US doesn’t in any way excuse the wrongdoings of other countries. It serves the goal of showing people that a “democratic” and “just” US always had been a myth peddled by PR.

      • Sam F
        June 5, 2017 at 07:22

        Yes, but torture does not serve public needs even in time of war, although it may serve tyrants and sadists.

        Regarding these many past tortures and war crimes of the US, I would add the murder of millions in N Korea and SE Asia by fire-bombing villages, and biological weapons (disease carrying rodents) attacks on China and others. Much of this has occurred since WWII, when the US became a predominant power. Very few such actions could be called acts of defense; they were secret operations based entirely upon the cold war hatred and flimsy rationales promoted by right wing tyrants. This secret war and secret surveillance machinery is a strong incentive and tool for domestic tyranny, lethal to democracy, and must be eliminated.

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