The American political system is once again tossed into turmoil after the US Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday issued a report on CIA (Central Intelligence Agency)’s harsh and inhuman interrogation techniques on the terrorism suspects in the years after the September 11 attacks.
The Senate Committee headed by Dianne Feinstein revealed the much awaited report on the torture techniques that the CIA used to question and imprison the suspects and says that agency routinely misled the White House and the Congress about the information it obtained. It also failed to provide details of the secret prisons it established around the world. The investigation was conducted by the committee’s Democratic majority and their staff. The brutal treatments included confinement to small boxes, weeks of sleep deprivation, simulated drowning, slapping and slamming, and threats to kill, harm or sexually abuse the families of the captives. Other severe torture techniques like ‘waterboarding’, ‘rectal feeding’ and ‘rectal dehydration’ were also used. The long delayed report is one of the most controversial releases revealing the true face of the most powerful nation of the world and one that many fears would throw America into further trouble.
The CIA had conducted an extensive investigation with the consent of the then US President George W Bush, hunting down the suspects and imprisoning them. The alleged video footages were destroyed by the agency itself due to which the responsibility of the investigation was transferred to Feinstein, who became the Senate Select Committee in March 2009. The 6700 pages report has been composed after analyzing more than sixty lakhs of CIA documents between 2001 and 2009 and found that the methods were brutal and far from effective. But only a heavily edited 480 pages of the report about the treatment of around 119 suspects were released fearing the consequences. Feinstein, the Chairwoman of the Senate, called the CIA interrogation program an “ugly truth” that was a stain on the American values and their history.
The same kinds of human rights violation have been continuing in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. Obama in a written statement had praised the CIA as ‘patriots’ who deserved a ‘great debt of gratitude’ for protecting the country. But he later admitted that the techniques were brutal and a betrayal of American values. Obama has neither come forward demanding an immediate action against the accused officials nor has he guaranteed to adopt precautionary measures to put an end to such cruelties.