May 15, 2009

Senate testimony sheds light on alleged torture

Posted: 12:55 AM ET

Carolyn Lochhead, Chronicle Washington Bureau

Washington – - Senate testimony painted a stunning picture Wednesday of panicked Bush administration officials resorting to harsh interrogation techniques, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remained mum about what she knew when about torture.


Yet amid the political brawl, testimony Wednesday from a former FBI interrogator, Ali Soufan, and a Bush State Department deputy, Philip Zelikow, revealed a sobering portrait of fear-struck officials resorting to simulated drowning – or waterboarding – extreme sleep deprivation, prolonged confinement in small spaces, humiliation and other interrogation methods without examining their history, their efficacy or their larger consequences in the battle against extremism.

Soufan, testifying behind a screen to shield his identity, painted a picture of incompetence by outside contractors hastily flown in from Washington using "amateurish, Hollywood-style interrogation methods." He also accused Bush administration officials of making false claims about their success.

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Filed under: al Qaeda • Larry King Live • Politics

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Terry Johnson   May 15th, 2009 1:08 am ET


I really enjoy your show. You address the tough topics and try to get to the bottom of many issues. Keep up the good work.

Terry Johnson

Ted   May 15th, 2009 7:30 am ET

Who says we do not live in a banana republic! Torture, lies, cheating at the highest level.
Fellow americans, it is time we demand a total investigation into these terrible crimes and those who are responsible should be tried and put in jail regardless of who or what they are.

Dave of Detroit   May 15th, 2009 9:24 am ET

I am glad that the investigation has finally turned to the real problem-It is not whether there was torture or who approved it but who committed manslaughter, inhuman and sadistic acts, and abused any semblance of any interrogation techniques, extended or otherwise. The Bush Administration had a very unpleasant hallmark-He appointed people to oversee and administer programs that were either incompetent or misplaced from their area of expertise and people either suffered severe hardship as in the Horse Breeder and Judge FEMA head during Katrina, and now, a backlash from importing psychologists at $1000 per hour to interrogate POWS in our custody. The other problem President Bush had was any Constitutional or any other Law that limited his power to appoint these incompetents, his refusal to listen to anyone but Cheney and Rumsfeld who had their own agendas that had nothing to do with protecting the USA, and anyone that dared to question them either had to resign or one of their staff appointments would fire them or use their power to remove the threat–Plame, Don Seigelmann, Colin Powell, Prosecuting Attorneys-8 years makes for a long list of abuses!

SLM   May 15th, 2009 10:57 am ET

You are going to get a difference of opinion on whether or not these methods were effective. I support any and all methods necessary to gain valuable information from terrorists and keep Americans safe. I would believe that they are effective. You aren't going to get information by offering them tea. What is with all this phony uproar from all the Bush haters. Hard to imagine that people are so concerned about this after 9/11.

Pelosi is a real piece of work. Lie, Lie until caught in it and then change the story. California, we are a state of disaster and we keep on voting for more of the same.

Pietro Sirianni   May 15th, 2009 11:52 am ET

The United States of America does not condone torture. We are above that practice. Mr. Soufan knew how to elicit valuable information with his education as a tool, not torture. Its clear that the Bush administration sanctioned the use of torture and that our military will suffer for it. The "so-called" results they claim to have achieved do not mitigate the breaking of the law. It is a well known fact that under extreme physical and mental duress a person will say anything to make it stop. So any information they did obtain while torturing these combatants was worth nothing,
By using torture The Bush administration broke the law, put our military in great jeopardy, and gathered no substantial information.

Michael C. McHugh   May 15th, 2009 12:21 pm ET

What people are going to start learning is that all kinds of torture has taken place in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places, including victims being tortured to death or summarily executed after torture. There are more things than just water that can be poured up someone's nose, such as Pepsi for example–and much worse than that. There are cases of victims being dragged behind jeeps and then having gasoline poured all over them and being burned alive. You could go on and on–and it was hardly just Americans doing all this, but various allies as well.

I'm not sure if people realized just what a big can of worms was going to be opened when they started selectively declassifying various memos, but it looks like it's all going to start to come out now.

Maybe it's for the best, even if it's not going to be very pretty.

Dave of Detroit   May 15th, 2009 1:53 pm ET

I couldn't get the media to respond to my question as to whether or not Dick Cheney's Company Halliburton had any connection with the prison facility at Gitmo so I checked on it myself-took 15 minutes. It turns out-according to an article in the Houston Chronicle by David Ivanovitch dated June 17,2005 that Halliburton's sister Company KBR built a $30 million dollar 2 story prison facility as part of a 5 year $500 million dollar contract that Halliburton was awarded in competetive bidding with the Pentagon. There were some interesting other tidbits like the fact that U.S. Taxpayers were shelling out 50 to 55 million annually to operate the facility-Does this help Dick Cheney's claim to being converned about the safety of the U.S.? I think not!

Great Patriot   May 15th, 2009 2:06 pm ET

Tell Mr Ventura to go suck an egg! I guess none of my friends who DIED while burning alive on the top floors of the towers were tortured. Waterboarding is NOTHING in comparison to being roasted by fire and jet fuel.
Jesse Ventura has the IQ of a gnat with a personality to match.
It just so happens that MANY, MANY attacks on OUR SOIL were prevented by torturing EXTREMISTS WHO DO NOT FIGHT UNDER ANY FLAG.....therefore- they are NOT ENTITLED TO ANY RULES UNDER The Geneva convention.

Christine   May 15th, 2009 2:58 pm ET

Thank you 'Great Patriot" for saying something and I agree with you. Has anyone read then latest on "Obama revives tribunals for Gitmo detainees"? The first sentence reads President Barack Obama on Friday restarted a Bush-era military trial system for a small number of Guantanamo detainees, reviving a method of prosecution he once assailed as flawed but with new legal protections for terror suspects"

Michael C. McHugh   May 15th, 2009 3:04 pm ET

It's probably a good way to get rid of a big political headahe for the Democrtas. If the courts or commissions sentence some of the worst of the bunch to hang, then Obama could take credit for it, and say Bush Junior wasn't able to get that much done. As for some of the smaller fry, they will probably be released.

Christine   May 15th, 2009 3:16 pm ET

I agree Michael McHugh to your all your comments.

Pietro Sirianni   May 15th, 2009 4:15 pm ET

Why am I not surprised by further Haliburton involvement?
The real question is when will the Bush administration finally go to trial for the crimes they committed against America? and will we ever get any of our stolen tax dollars back from Haliburton?

Dave of Detroit   May 15th, 2009 6:46 pm ET

Pietro-The best we can hope for is a real investigation of Halliburton and KBR that have moved everything but Corporate Offices to the United Arab Emerates that have no extradition. A real crackdown on conflict of interests-Cheney should never have gotten to keep his Halliburton Stock as Vice-President plus his company was being investigated by the Justice Department for working on Iran's Oil fields contrary to U.S. Laws that forbade U.S. Firms from working for Terrorist regimes. Halliburton had a phony phone hookup in the Caymans that sent the call back to Corporate in Texas as a way of getting around being an American firm. I can't get over the Republican Party being so adamant in their support of the Bush Administration-It has cost them control of the Whitehouse, Congress, any Conservative title they may have had but they just won't let it go as a lesson learned!

Dave of Detroit   May 15th, 2009 6:50 pm ET

P.S. Great Patriot-watch the original Predator movie and go tell Jesse Ventura to suck an egg. There are things that look good in print but are really bad news close up. Plus, Jesse was a Navy Seal that put his life on the line more than once and would personally die to protect te U.S. from this kind of an attack-he deserves more respect than your off hand comment!

Adeolu Aremu   May 16th, 2009 10:50 pm ET

Hi Larry,
I just listened to your discussion with a group of 4 on Larry King Live on the suject of reincarnation, love,karma etc.This I have to say.
KARMA:There are Laws that govern creation one of which is the Law of Sowing and reaping (or Reciprocal Action or Reciprocity).Simply put it states that Whatever a man sows,he must reap.This is the main pivot on which Karma stands.This is what weaves the tapestry of our Karma.Good or Bad.
REINCARNATION:A full understanding of this necesitates our understanding of the purpose of life on earth (and in material creation in general).Our purpose here is to mature and develop the spritual strength which we lack in our spiritual home-Paradise). In the Wisdom of The Creator, He granted us the possibility of many earth lives because one earth life is not enough to learn all necesarry lessons.However this does not continue ad infinitum as there is a limit to the life of the earth itself.
LOVE: The Almighty Creator Himself is Love. For He Alone is Life.Others are simply a consequence of Life.However, His Love cannot be seperated from His Justice for both are one.Both are the expression of His Attributes. So one may not speak of Love without speaking about Justice.This is however not human justice.There can be no love without justice.

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