The ICRC Torture Report

A few weeks ago, Mark Danner at the New York Review of Books published an article about a classified International Committee of the Red Cross report written for the CIA’s eyes only. It described in detail the tortures committed against those held in the CIA’s “Ghost Prison” “Black Sites,” including pretty much everything the Soviet GPU would have done.

In my interview with Danner on February 18th, he explained that the U.S. government granted full access to the ICRC in the understanding that the report would be kept between them.

Well, on April, 2, Danner published a second article: “The Red Cross Torture Report: What it Means,” and published also the entire text of the ICRC report.

We here at just wanted to make sure you all had a chance to read it [.pdf]. Please do.

Author: Scott Horton

Scott Horton is editorial director of, director of the Libertarian Institute, host of Antiwar Radio on Pacifica, 90.7 FM KPFK in Los Angeles, California and podcasts the Scott Horton Show from He’s the author of the 2017 book, Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan and editor of The Great Ron Paul: The Scott Horton Show Interviews 2004–2019. He’s conducted more than 5,000 interviews since 2003. Scott lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, investigative reporter Larisa Alexandrovna Horton. He is a fan of, but no relation to the lawyer from Harper’s. Scott’s Twitter, YouTube, Patreon.

15 thoughts on “The ICRC Torture Report”

  1. “the U.S. government granted full access to the ICRC in the understanding that the report would be kept between them.”

    And what this grant of full access provide to the poor vicitims who happen to be in these gulags?

  2. My question is, why? Why do US governments want to torture? George Washington, for example, did not need to torture prisoners, although his situation was actually far shakier than Bush’s. Of course, US governments have been torturing people for a long time in Viet Nam, Latin America, etc. Torture is not too rare in US police stations. By now they have surely proven time and again that it is not useful. Yet clearly it keeps going on, and with sizeable amounts of popular support. Why?

    Lester Ness

    1. Lester Ness asks “My question is, why? Why do US governments want to torture?”

      George Orwell knew the answer and laid it all out clearly in his brilliant novel “1984”:

      “The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power.”


      “We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”

  3. Answer:
    “We Do not Do torture”!Only those other countris ruled by dictators like Iraq under Sadam,Iran,China, and the Soviet Union,Or Russia.

    official position of the Pentagon, President Bush, and President Obama has been from 2001 through the present: “We don’t torture.” …

    At the risk of asking some dumb questions, if the Pentagon is telling the truth when it claims that “we don’t torture,” why is it going to such great lengths to keep its prisoners from disclosing how they’ve been tortured? And why is it doing its best to punish lawyers who are simply trying to advise the commander in chief of how the Pentagon is torturing people? Aren’t these the type of things the authorities in China do? Or that they do in Bizarro World?

  4. The report of the International Committee of the Red Cross is a colossal stain on America’s honor. What’s President obama The Divine doing about it? Well, nothing, actually.

    The morally bankrupt U.S. Government has no right to lecture ANYBODY about ANYTHING.

    1. I expected that no future president would give up the autocratic powers Bush amassed. We have passed from the Imperial Presidency to the Autocratic Presidency.

      Lester Ness

  5. Some of you might be interested that U. of Virginia Press has just published the first English translation of Friedrich von Spee’s _Cautio Criminalis_, the first (1601) book in modern times to demonstrate the worthlessness of torture for trials or investigations. Check it out on Amazon or Google Books!

    Lester Ness

  6. I have a question: How about the torture inflicted on Nick Berg and Daniel Pearl while they were beggin for their life waiting for the Islamo terrorsts to chop their heads off? How about the torture of the thousands who were burned alive on 9/ 11 or had to make a decision to jump a hundred floors to their death? How about the innocent commuters in London in 2005? How about their rights? How about the almost 200 CHILDREN in Beslan Russia who were killed by these bastards? How come you are only concerned about the rights of the Islamic fanatics? How about the right of decent human beings to live in a world and go to work and go to school and not be butchered by these religious fanatics?

    1. Tim R,
      Are you really so emotional and juvenile that you can’t see that revenge against possibly innocent bystanders on the scene isn’t justice?

    2. How the hell do you know what I’m concerned about? I agree that those people are evil–why should we imitate them?

  7. Tim,
    Here you again like a broken record!

    To you, history begins only at the moment that you choose. In addition, as always in your typical fashion, you try hard to confuse the issue. Instaed of discussing the merits of, the justice of, the constitutionality of, or worthiness of the particular action taken by the US government which the topic of the discussion at hand you choose to bring so many topics or events into the mix. In addition, Once again you conviently choose to ignore the contexts and history of these different incidents you mention.

    To you violence, killing, invading other countries and destroying their people and cities, put theses people in prisons and torturing them because they resisted the occupation, humalting them, starving them, destroying their history and hiratges, turnning them into refugees, and one can go on and on. All of these are acceptable to you, and you approve as long as the side you support did them. The other side might as us own argument to support its actions.

    Maybe you should read more about how people lost their freedom and liberty in many countries because they were told it was in order to fight terrorists and evil ones as the case was with Nazi Germany.

    Many of the people the US have been holding are guilty of no crimes at all as a matter of facts events have proven, but many people will not face up to the truth. They rather see more hostilities and enmities created in order for the cycle of violence to continue which serves their agenda very well. That for the US relationship with Muslim countries and people should go from bad to worse which serves the interests of a certain entity in the middle east very well.

    The other side might counter your points by just few of these points:

    The stealing of Palestine .The ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.
    The Wars against Iraq.
    The Sanctions that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi children.
    Missiles and drones attacks that killed many innocent by-standers in order to kill one alleged terrorists.
    The invasion and occupation of Iraq which all were based on outright lies,
    The destruction the city of Grozny and occupation of Chechnya.
    The invasion, destruction of, and occupation of Afghanistan.
    The rounding of hundred and thousands of innocent people and throwing them into gulag like prispons, torturing, and denying them the rights to contest their indefinite detention when there is not any solid evidence for holding them just to make people of the US believe in the so called ‘war –on-terror’
    Abu Ghraib, Brgham, Guantnamo, rendition, out-sourced torture etc,Lebnanon,Gaza.

    Iraq air raids hit mostly women and children

    “Air strikes and artillery barrages have taken a heavy toll among the most vulnerable of the Iraqi people, with children and women forming a disproportionate number of the dead.

    Analysis carried out for the research group Iraq Body Count (IBC) found that 39 per cent of those killed in air raids by the US-led coalition were children and 46 per cent were women. Fatalities caused by mortars, used by American and Iraqi government forces as well as insurgents, were 42 per cent children and 44 per cent women.
    Twelve per cent of those killed by suicide bombings, mainly the tool of militant Sunni groups, were children and 16 per cent were females. One in five (21 per cent) of those killed by car bombs, used by both Shia and Sunni fighters, was a child; one in four (28 per cent) was a woman.
    …From 2004 to 2007, the overall tonnage of munition dropped from planes in the Afghan conflict rose from 163 tonnes a year to 1,956 tonnes, an increase of 1,100 per cent. Since 2001 the US air force has dropped 14,049 tonnes of bombs in Afghanistan and 18,858 in Iraq”

    Killing by some is war,killing by others is terrorism

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