A report of recent CIA torture techniques and practices has been published, with some redactions. Nothing contained therein should be surprising. The CIA has, since its creation, existed as a remotely-managed mob of thieves, liars, fraudsters, gun-runners, drug-pedlars, murderers, kidnappers, thugs and torturers that ignores all national boundaries, all international laws and any proximity to morality and humanity. It has always had a single motivation: Protect the financial interests of the US corporate machine using whatever means it is able to. Nothing the CIA has ever done has been in the interests of the American people.
Presentation of motivation for use of torture
The aforesaid report details activities that occurred during the most recent Republican presidential tenure following the plane attacks on New York and on Washington. Those attacks were a presented as a welcome (though spurious) excuse for the thieves, otherwise known as imperialists, to use CIA capability for the purpose of obtaining information relating to military activity against the US and to the identity and whereabouts of likely combatants and military leaders. This was a false presentation because any such information would be obtained via local sources, satellite photography, bribery and standard military operations. There has never been evidence that the torture has led to useful information being acquired.
Reasons for CIA torture
Fear is an important tool of the gangster who wishes to subdue rather than destroy. A soldier can fear death and/or serious injury but torture can induce a greater fear, and a key component of the fear is that anyone can be taken and tortured; the victim would not need to be a member of an army or a political leader. Frightening the general public as a means to affecting the activities of the combatants has always been a tactic of war: Hiroshima, Dresden, World Trade Centre, etc.
Torture is a business. The CIA is funded by federal taxes but works alongside private contractors, and nothing attracts a corrupt business more than access to the fiscal gravy train. The steady stream of cash continues provided work is done, and so the torture continues, accompanied with frequent fraudulent assertions of its effectiveness to aid justification.
Reactions to torture revelations
For the conservative right in the US, the torture report allows them to restate their unequivocal support for whatever methods the US military uses and they justify their support by wallowing in anti-Islam bigotry. Repeated false statements of the positive results of torture are being vomited copiously by criminals such as CIA director at the time of the torture Michael Hayden.
The remainder of the political elite are offering the usual incoherent rambling, hand-wringing and blame-seeking. An immiscible concoction of hollow criticism of some of the torture and defence of interrogation to acquire information, alongside finger-pointing at others and self-imposed absolution. Additionally, the lies that the torture has stopped and that its use wasn’t sanctioned by senior personnel are burped out randomly.
Critics of US imperialism have rightly attacked the torture vigorously including its existence, its depravity, its volume, its illegality and its pointlessness.
Two different ensuing debates
Two debates have started after the torture report’s publication, one a false debate and the other the real debate.
The false debate is merely a nuance of support for extreme actions by the military. Should any and all actions be permitted to achieve a military goal, or should there be war “rules” and at least a pretence of morality? There is a slither of ephemeral paper between the two invented sides of this debate and it exists merely to distract from what should really be debated.
The real debate is about the dying hegemony of US imperialism in the post-USSR international framework. Torture is one tactic used by the decrepit remains of US control, a particularly and deliberately brutal and demonstrably evil tactic, and the torture has no positive consequences whatsoever. What needs to be tackled is the removal of the detritus of US imperialism and ram it back up the backside of corporate gangsterism.