While Rep. Jan Schakowsky is lobbying to hold public hearings investigating the torture of detainees by American CIA officials, her House colleague Rep. John Shimkus is busy toting the Dick Cheney line
by asking the Obama administration to declassify documents detailing
While Rep. Jan Schakowsky is lobbying to hold public hearings investigating the torture of detainees by American CIA officials, her House colleague Rep. John Shimkus is busy toting the Dick Cheney line by asking the Obama administration to declassify documents detailing the "success" of the controversial techniques. Here are the downstate Republican's comments during an interview for WSIL TV:
"Now the cats out of the bag, now we ought to see if this was helpful and again protecting us from further attack or with what people are talking about a second wave." [...]
"I'm concerned, I think we're going to learn both the good and bad from this, but I think if you're going to go down that route, everything should be released."
What exactly was the "good" that came from our interrogation practices, Mr. Shimkus? According to Ali Soufan, an F.B.I. supervisory special agent from 1997 to 2005 who questioned Abu Zubaydah before the enhanced techniques were introduced, "there was no actionable intelligence gained from using enhanced interrogation techniques on Abu Zubaydah that wasn’t, or couldn't have been, gained from regular tactics." In fact, the alternative methods "backfired" multiple times and provided fodder for would-be terrorists to join organizations like Al-Qaeda.
That's not to suggest no legitimate information was secured using these methods. It's just that the actual benefits aren't quantifiable. Take the case of Mohammed Jawad, for example. After being captured at the scene of a grenade attack in Afghanistan that injured two U.S. soldier, Afhgan officials threatened to kill the then teenager and his family if he didn’t confess to throwing the grenade. He did, was sent to Guantanamo Bay, and was scheduled to be tried by a military commission before the military judge decided his “confession” was unreliable because it had been obtaine using torture. As the Washington Independent's Daphner Evitar writes, "was it successful, because he confessed to the attack, or not, because he later recanted? And how many other people at Guantanamo are there only because others fingered them as terrorists simply to satisfy their abusers?" (Jawad, by the way, is still at Gitmo -- five years later -- awaiting an appeals court decision.)
More importantly, whether or not the information obtained is accurate is beside the point. The techniques employed, according to a Senate Armed Services Committee report, were only justified on legal opinions that “distorted the meaning and intent of anti-torture laws, rationalized the abuse of detainees in U.S. custody, and influenced Department of Defense determinations as to what interrogation techniques were legal for use during interrogations conducted by U.S. military personnel.”
In other words, the abuse was illegal, regardless of the evidence extracted. There was no "good" that came from them, no matter what Republican representatives like Shimkus allege. And the practices have cost the country its reputation for being a beacon of human rights nationwide.
(H/T Philosophe Forum)