Saturday, August 2, 2014

State Department acknowledges widespread torture in leaked memo

By Eric London 

2 August 2014
In an internal State Department memo inadvertently leaked to the press, the United States government acknowledges that it orchestrated an international program of torture, the limits of which extend far beyond what is already known to the public.
Referring to a 6,300-page Senate report that is still classified, the State Department “talking points” state that “the report leaves no doubt that the methods used to extract information from some terrorist subjects caused profound pain, suffering and humiliation. It also leaves no doubt that the harm caused by the use of these techniques outweighed any potential benefit.”
The leak of the State Department memo came only a few hours before the Central Intelligence Agency’s Office of the Inspector General announcement that the agency spied on Senate staffers involved in investigations as part of preparing the report. (See: “A law unto themselves: the CIA and the torture cover-up”)
Both the State Department talking points and the CIA OIG announcement are part of an effort at damage control. Each was prepared in anticipation of the forthcoming publication of a declassified version of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 600-page executive summary of its investigation into Bush-era CIA torture. They come only two weeks after the Obama administration announced that it would not pursue charges against the CIA for spying on the Senate.
The State Department memo begins with a series of “talking points” that the State Department hopes will help officials respond to media questions with the appropriate lies and obfuscations. In this section, the memo states: “[t]his report tells a story of which no American is proud. But it is also part of another story of which we can be proud. America’s democratic system worked just as it was designed to work in bringing an end to actions inconsistent with our democratic values.”

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