Friday, December 12, 2014

CIA Torture Report: The Global Response

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released the CIA's Torture Report last Tuesday, in which many of the CIA's post-9/11 torture practices were brought to light. Though the full, much longer report (read here) is still classified, the release of the 525-page executive summary is extensive enough to garner international disapproval and question the policies and ethics behind the CIA's interrogation and detention program.

The horrifying details of the report show that the CIA exhibited brutal and shocking behavior in their interrogation techniques. Some of the specifics mentioned:

  • Feeding prisoners a puree of hummus, pasta with sauce, raisins, and nuts through the rectum,
  • Keeping detainees awake for 180 hours - over a week - causing disturbing hallucinations,
  • Misleading members of Congress and the White House about the effectiveness and extent of its brutal interrogation techniques 
  • Waterboarding a prisoner 183 times
The international response has been overwhelming and consistent: condemnation. Ben Emmerson, a UN special rapporteur on counter-terrorism, has stated that the individuals behind the torture techniques need to be brought to justice and face penalties that match the crimes they have committed. Iran's leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, had deemed the US's report on torture "shameful." and that "they claim #humanrights &trample its basics in their prisons." China's news agency Xinhua advised the US to clean up its own backyard and respect the rights of other countries without intervening. This is just a sample of the input from various countries with more responses from France, Russia, North Korea, and Poland.

Obviously the details outlined in the report are egregious and sometimes hard to stomach. However, the US has to tread lightly when it comes to future interactions with other countries. Releasing sensitive information regarding the torture and violence implemented on people of other countries is enraging, and rightfully so. Instead of being the traditional powerhouse United States, the best move PR-wise would be to be humbled by the release of the document and really reflect on our policies and interrogation techniques as a country. Everyone is born with basic, fundamental human rights and some of these rights have been violated. Hopefully, the US will change its ways to provide the fairness, freedom, and humanitarianism we profoundly speak about.