Dianne Feinstein’s foreword to the newly released Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s CIA Torture Report is a masterpiece of evasion, excuse-mongering and all-around Democratic Party political fuckery. In this essay we are going to attempt a point-by-point refutation of the lame alibis offered up by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein to justify the shredding of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights by herself and her co-conspirators in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. It’s unpleasant work – but it has to be attempted because her pathetic rationalizations in her foreword are apt to be swallowed whole, accepted uncritically and regurgitated in print and on air by most of the hack journalists of the bourgeois press ad nauseam. None of the excuses she retails in her foreword make any sense at all to anyone who isn’t a naked apologist for the crimes of US imperialism. Since the US working class has not one single representative in Congress we have no way to launch the campaign to release the full, uncensored Torture Report; the working class of the US – at least 175 million strong – can only make appeals from the sidelines like fans shouting disapproval of a bad call made by referees in a football game. It’s a shameful state of affairs for the workers of the US to have created for themselves by supporting the pro-capitalist Democrats instead of building revolutionary workers parties and electing real worker-representatives to Congress!
“The full Committee Study, which totals more than 6,700 pages, remains classified but is now an official Senate Report. The full report has been provided to the White House, the CIA, the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in the hopes that it will prevent future coercive interrogation practices and inform the management of other covert action programs.”
The Study “remains classified”? This is absolutely unacceptable. Everyone can read it except the workers of the United States and the world, apparently. We demand that the full, uncensored 6,700 page magnum opus of the Obama Administration, along with all the videos, audio recordings and documentary addenda be released in full to the world so we can see it with our own eyes and judge it for ourselves. We simply do not and can not trust the lying US Government to tell us the truth. Releasing only a 500-page heavily-censored summary of a 6,700-page report is an obvious attempt by the Senate Intelligence Committee to deceive the citizens of the US and the world.
“The full report has been provided…”. This is a ruse to make it appear as if “all the responsible people” in the government have access to the full report. In fact only the very top criminals in all the named organizations – many of whom were themselves deeply involved in approving and directing the CIA’s kidnapping and torture programs – are allowed to read it. Again, this is unacceptable. By authorizing the kidnapping, torture and murder of our working class brothers and sisters all over the world, the US Government gave official sanction to their criminal acts and carried them out in the name of each and every one of us who are citizens of the USA. By dragging the entire nation into their murderous conspiracy, the criminals in the US Government who sponsored the re-legalization of torture and, later, the assassination of US citizens have drawn every US citizen into their conspiracy. We demand full access to these documents and the uncensored report so that we can determine who must be held to account for these disgusting crimes carried out in our names!
“The full report has been provided [to the criminals leading the organizations that carried out the kidnapping, torture and murder conspiracy] in the hopes [sic] [!!] that it will prevent future coercive interrogation practices [still in denial, won’t say “torture”] and inform the management of other covert action programs.”
This is a prayer for the Lord’s forgiveness rather than what it should be: the prelude to a series of criminal indictments of and long prison terms for Bush and Obama Administration officials and their agents who ordered and carried out an illegal and immoral program under which men and women were seized, kidnapped, tortured and in several cases, murdered.
In the United States we witnessed Sen. Dianne Feinstein and her Democratic Party friends in California enacting the notorious “Three Strikes” laws under which people convicted of such heinous crimes as stealing $150 worth of videotapes from a KMart as their “third strike” were given multiple LIFE SENTENCES! Yet the working class is supposed to accept the proposal made by none other than Feinstein herself that top government officials who ordered people to be tortured and murdered be allowed to decide what the penalty should be for their own far more heinous crimes! This is a monstrous proposal made by the “lesser evil” Democrat Feinstein, who thinks nothing of sending a worker to jail for decades for stealing a bag of cookies, but who not only conspired to allow torture to be re-legalized but who conspires today to let the perpetrators of torture she worked hand-in-glove with to avoid even the slightest wrist-slap to be imposed upon them!
Feinstein treats us to a pathetic apologia in which she seeks to be absolved from responsibility for signing off on the CIA’s torture program because she was in shock from the carnage of 9/11/2001! Poor woman! But it is your JOB to NOT be driven to commit outrages against the rights of the citizens by a mere terrorist attack! You and your co-conspirators have the authority to launch the US’ massive nuclear arsenal, capable of turning Earth into an irradiated human-free zone – and you tell us that a mere handful of criminals seizing a few civilian airliners and smashing them into skyscrapers is enough to derange your professed commitment to the rule of law to the degree that you will shred the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? If this is the case, then you are confessing to the world that you are utterly unqualified to hold the position you have held at the top of the cesspool of corruption that is the US Government! When did you realize that you were so far out of your depth? And why didn’t you resign when that realization dawned on you, years ago?
We are supposed to believe that all the savagery unleashed by the US Government against the world in the wake of the 9/11 attacks was the result of the temporary derangement of the intellectual faculties of the entire top leadership of the US Government! Is there any better proof that these bought-and-paid-for cretins running the US Government should be thrown out of office immediately – and permanently replaced by a workers government?
“Reading [this Executive Summary and Findings and Conclusions of the report] it is easy to forget the context in which the program began – not that the context should serve as an excuse” [our emphasis – IWPCHI] But that is precisely why you bring up the context: to provide an excuse for why you personally and the entire leadership of the US Government, Republican and Democratic parties alike, authorized the dismemberment of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights!
“It is worth remembering the pervasive fear in late 2001 and how immediate the threat felt”.
WE remember feeling no such fear at all! We do, however, remember the overwhelming revulsion we felt knowing that a chain of events that had been initiated by Democratic President Jimmy Carter in 1979 (when he authorized the CIA’s provision of weapons and training to Al Qaeda’s precursors in the holy war against the USSR’s intervention in Afghanistan) had finally come full circle to visit pain and suffering on the citizens of the US. We remember not being the least bit afraid of the pathetic criminal gangs of Al Qaeda, who possessed not a single warplane, aircraft carrier, nuclear submarine, missile or other form of modern weaponry capable of launching serious attacks on the US. We remember being very aware that it was out of their complete incapacity to launch any serious military assault on the US that Al Qaeda chose to sacrifice its best-trained operatives in suicide attacks using civilian airliners; and that, having done so, and as the weeks and months passed and nothing more happened, we recall being acutely aware that Al Qaeda had already “blown their wad” on 9/11. But you, Sen. Feinstein, and your co-conspirators in Washington, you want us to believe that, in spite of all your deep knowledge of the vast military superiority of the US military in comparison with the puny, impotent (then and now) sub-military forces of Al Qaeda, were living in constant fear of another massive attack? Based on what, exactly? You are either a liar or a shameless incompetent – which is it, Sen. Feinstein? No one with an ounce of intelligence could consider Al Qaeda to be anything other than what they were and are: a gang of reactionary, woman-hating serial killers. The Wehrmacht, the Red Army they most decidedly are not! If this tiny cabal of killer cretins could derange the entire US Government into shredding the Bill of Rights, what would you do if the nation was at war with a full-fledged industrialized nation-state of the caliber of Germany or Russia? The US working class had damned well better do all it can to see to it that you and your co-conspirators never get the chance again to showcase your utter inability to keep your wits about you in such an eventuality!
“The major lesson of this report is that regardless of the pressures and the need to act, the Intelligence Community’s actions must always reflect who we are as a nation, and adhere to our laws and standards”. But, Sen. Feinstein: you have just explained to us how a mere series of terrorist attacks in which 0.000009% of the US population was murdered and a handful of buildings destroyed is enough to send the so-called “leadership” of that very poorly named “Intelligence Community” running around like a flock of chickens with their heads cut off! How can we expect you to perform better in the future, especially if actual military forces using modern weaponry were attacking the US?
“CIA personnel, aided by two outside contractors, decided to initiate a program of indefinite secret detention and the use of brutal interrogation techniques [still in denial, Sen. Feinstein, but you’re almost there! Say it: t-o-r-t-u-r-e!] Here the Democrats try to throw all the blame for the torture campaign on the CIA and two subcontractors when in fact the top leadership of the Democratic Party was kept appraised of all these developments as they happened – and did nothing to oppose them.
“The Committee Study documents the abuses and countless mistakes [our emphasis – IWPCHI] made between 2001 and early 2009.” Ah yes; there were not CRIMES committed but mere “abuses” and “mistakes”! You can’t prosecute people for making mistakes now, can you? The CIA, with the full knowledge of the Democratic and Republican leadership of the Senate Intelligence Committee made “countless” “mistakes” – like waterboarding a man over 180 times! Like beating and freezing prisoners to death! “Oops! Naughty boys! Don’t do that again!” says Sen. Feinstein!
“The full Committee Study… provides substantially more detail than what is included in the Executive Summary…” YET: “I chose”… [“I chose” she says!] “not to seek declassification of the full Committee Study at this time. I believe that the Executive Summary includes enough information to adequately describe the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program [ah, you’re backsliding again, Senator! Say it: t-o-r-t-u-r-e…]”
Well Sen. Feinstein, we are not impressed with your ability to judge these matters intelligently, as you have just described to the world your and your co-conspirators’ inability to keep your wits about you when you feel threatened. The release of the full report will undoubtedly provide far more proof that something more than a series of cynical hand-wringing apologies are in order to even begin to redress the horrendous crimes you and your co-conspirators committed in the name of “protecting the homeland”!
“Decisions will be made later on the declassification and release of the full 6,700 page study”. That is also quite unacceptable. We demand the release of the full, UNCENSORED text of the summary, the report and the immediate release of ALL the addenda, including audio and video recordings, photographs, documents and depositions – EVERYTHING! We’re not going to be made to wait 25 years for this festering boil to be lanced!
Sen. Feinstein, who should recuse herself from proposing what punishments she and her co-conspirators deserve (since she is a likely co-defendant in any war crimes or crimes-against-humanity trial), instead proposes to the world the following non-recommendations:
“It is my sincere and deep hope [hope?] that through the release of these Findings and Conclusions and Executive Summary [through their release alone!] that U.S. policy will never again allow for secret indefinite detention and the use of coercive interrogations [Still in denial! Say it: t-o-r-t-u-r-e…!]… we cannot again allow… grievous past mistakes [mistakes!] to be repeated.”
Executive Order 13491 prohibiting “the CIA from holding detainees other than on a ‘short-term, transitory basis’” as well as the limitation of interrogation techniques to those included in the Army Field Manual “should be enshrined in legislation”. But, dear Sen. Feinstein: the prohibitions against the use of torture are already “enshrined in legislation”, aren’t they? They are “enshrined” in both US legislation and international law! Of course, that never has and never will prevent the use of torture whenever the bloodthirsty US capitalist class feels that its class rule is seriously threatened by workers or governments anywhere oppose their endless quest for more and more money – especially if the opposition is led by the US working class.
“While the Committee did not make specific recommendations, several emerge from the Committee’s review. The CIA… has already made and begun to implement its own recommendations.” So, not only do the “lesser evil” Democrats cop out on making specific recommendations to “enshrine in legislation” prohibitions against torture and murder of prisoners (which were prohibited by legislation long ago); they are more than happy to let the criminals at the CIA responsible for initiating the campaign of systematic torture and murder of prisoners “correct” their own “mistakes”! What could be more outrageous?
“The Committee Study, including the now-declassified Executive Summary and Findings and Conclusions, as updated is now final… [t]his and future Administrations should use this Study to guide future programs, correct past mistakes [“mistakes” again!] increase oversight of CIA representations to policymakers [merely increase oversight of the CIA’s representations to policymakers!] and ensure coercive interrogation practices are not used by our government again”. This is all far beneath what needs to be done – it barely scratches the surface of what needs to be done! And mark the careful phrasing of the end of the last sentence: torture is not to be used “by our government” again! But we have seen how the CIA repeatedly “outsourced” torture to other nations – including those that were alleged to be “rogue nations” like Qaddafi’s Libya! Sen. Feinstein provides the US Government with a loophole large enough to fly a B-1 bomber through: the CIA mustn’t detain prisoners for anything more than a “short-term, transitory basis” at which time they remain as before free to turn over their victims to criminals in another country who can carry out the torture for them! Sen. Feinstein, this non-proposal proposal of your Committee’s will not stand.
Ms. Feinstein’s foreword says absolutely NOTHING on the subject of the imperialist President Obama’s declaration that he has the “right” to order the assassination of US citizens! Undoubtedly this tyrannical declaration of the nation’s top Democrat is not considered to be one of the “mistakes” made by Ms. Feinstein and her cabal of co-conspirators in their project to eviscerate the Constitution and Bill of Rights! She also makes no mention of the major Constitutional crisis that SHOULD have occurred when it was revealed that the CIA spied on members of the Senate Committee as it researched and deliberated during the production of the Torture Report! That the CIA spied on the very governmental body that is responsible for overseeing the CIA’s activities is just another innocent “mistake” in the eyes of Senator Feinstein! This pantomime CIA watchdog refuses to bark – or even to yelp when its tail is rudely stomped on!
The fact that the US capitalist class has become so deranged that it would give its bought-and-paid-for employees in Congress the green light to bring legalized torture back into existence from the dungeons of the Dark Ages proves to us beyond a doubt the need for the US working class to determinedly struggle to create the revolutionary socialist workers parties necessary to lead the nation forward to overthrow the capitalist system – a system which threatens to drag world civilization back in time to the days of the torture chambers of the Holy Inquisition. As we have repeatedly warned: time is not on our side, sister and brother workers! Leaving this savage US ruling class in power allows a standing threat to the workers of the entire world to remain at large, armed to the teeth and ready to unleash its massive military force against our fellow workers all over the world. If the workers of the United States fail to disarm the savage ruling class of the US, the carrying out of that historically necessary task will pass to the rest of the world’s workers, who make up over 95% of the world’s population. By abdicating our responsibility to overthrow the US capitalist class the US working class will force the rest of the world to organize armies to crush the US government in the same manner that Hitler’s Nazi regime was crushed by the Red Army in WWII. WWIII is avoidable only if the US working class acts in time to organize itself into revolutionary vanguard parties in order to overthrow its main enemy – the US capitalist class thereby launching the final revolutionary struggle to liberate the world’s workers from capitalist wage-slavery.
Workers of the World, Unite!
Independent Workers Party of Chicago