Ray McGovern

The moral bankruptcy of the torture apologists


Ray McGovern, former senior analyst at the CIA, discusses the emotional aversion CIA agents developed for their own torture tactics, the moral bankruptcy of torture apologists, the barriers to an effective Senate Intelligence Committee torture investigation and the reemergence of long time cover-up artist Warren Rudman.

MP3 here. (23:14)

Ray McGovern was a CIA analyst for 27 years, from the John F. Kennedy administration to that of George H. W. Bush. His articles appear on Consortium News and Antiwar.com.

10 thoughts on “Ray McGovern”

  1. Torture is a normal part of U.S. society. See Legacy of
    Ashes for the CIA record, and why did McGovern, a former CIAQ analysts, not mention this? And a pre-CIA example is the U.S. counterinsugency in Philippines, as told in Overthrow. Bamboo tubes down prisoners’s throats, dirty water down tubes until stomachs swell, then jump on stomachs. So, unlike what McGovern sez, the U.S. is in fact a nation of torturers.

    Oh, I am so tired of the BS that W was something different. W (Cheney) was straigt out of central casting. If they are punished your may slap me silly. There has never been an anti-torture sentiment in the U.S. and any CIA guy who hankers for the old days should be taken out and shot (trial first).

  2. In reply to eCAHNomics, please read:


    “Back then, they and their commanders wrestled with the morality of bugging prisoners’ cells with listening devices. They felt bad about censoring letters. They took prisoners out for steak dinners to soften them up. They played games with them. ”

    “‘We got more information out of a German general with a game of chess or Ping-Pong than they do today, with their torture,’ said Henry Kolm, 90, an MIT physicist who had been assigned to play chess in Germany with Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess.”

  3. O brother, Brother Ray! I love what you say, and the authority of experience with which you speak. One of your phrases prompts me to write this comment. American disdain for law, of course, did not begin with the Bush family crime syndicate.

    I must dissent from your assertion: that we were once a nation that respected the rule of law. Ask the thousands of innocents on death rows all across the land. We have been executing innocents, by the scores and hundreds, in our prison systems, for god knows how long now; prison rape, an intrinsic evil, is a matter of public record and the butt of common jokes.

    How much justice has their been for the unknown victims of Jim Crow Laws? Slavery was lawful. Etc.

    Brother Ray, do you remember Vine Deloria Jr., the American Indian attorney and activist? He used to say, Indians laugh themselves sick when they hear people talk of our respect for the rule of law.

    I conclude that we use law as a tool of dominance. If I may retort: what we need is simply to form our more perfect Union, not attempt to turn back the hands of time to a time that never was.

  4. That guy on Olbermann the other night sd something people usually don’t, ” this goes right to the heart of the “conservative” world view..they believe america is definitionally pure so anything it does must be pure..” That’s it…And to the guy at Church today with the USMC bumper sticker, “MY SON FIGHTS FOR OUR FREEDOM..”

  5. Continued: That’s bullshit…His son is killing innocent arabs for Israel. Making $$$ for the military-industrial-security complex and occupying Afghan to box in Iran and make $$ off Opium while dreaming of future pipelines…

  6. The..Legendary….Bill…is..sayin..what..I..think,,2B..true…


    Did..you..know..Brother,,Ray..is..a..TRUTHER….too..like..me..~~ And YOU..???



    into..a..future..we..can..afford~~Both MORALLY and FINANCIALLY…….

  7. Re. knowbuddhau’s comment above:

    Yes, and so it has been from day one. 1776 saw a rebellion by a group of powerful British colonial land owners unwilling to pay taxes to their king on their ill-begotten wealth. The term “people” in their declaration of independence was in practice strictly limited to the very well-to-do and influential (who, of course, were not slaves), in a crude twist to the concept from ancient Greece, where “people” (demos) in “democracy” extended only to the free citizens. BTW, George Washington himself was and continued to be a slave owner while on his new throne. And there was that unspeakable horror of genocide of American Indians, prior to and since that time, on which this violent political entity ultimately rests.

    And you are right, many Americans still do not know their own history. Among contemporary serious attempts to remedy this, one may mention Professor Howard Zinn’s “Peoples’ History of The United States, 1492 – Present”, a thoroughly informative and absorbing reading, containing much food for thought.

  8. Always left out is this: the Tea Tax was the only tax left…There were a handful of others but every time the colonists petitioned them the King and the Parliament rescinded them…Mostly, it was the King’s granting of the Quebec Act granting catholics the right to practice their religion there..( perhaps also the banning of Colonial scrip-but any mother country is going to expect her colony to use her currency..what hypocrisy: the americans thought Saddam was obliged to trade his country’s oil for dollars, instead of Euros, or else! )..
    But the Quebec Act: So there we had a monarch, attached to a national Church, showing sympathy to Catholics ( his descendants having been crowned after Catholic Masses in catholic coronation ceremonies )..That’s what drove the Founding Freemasons over the edge!

  9. Maybe the idea shouldn’t be that we go back to a time when we didn’t do such horrible things, maybe the idea is that we should move toward a time when we live up to the ideals that our country seems to set for itself.
    We used to have slavery, (not so much anymore unless you count indentured servitude with sweatshops and share-cropping).
    We used to have Jim Crowe laws, (now we just have parts of the countrry where hate crimes are tolerated as boys will be boys).
    We are beginning to respect Native American culture (only after it has been reduced in numbers to where it’s quaint now).
    Old hatreds and bigotry do not end overnight with the passing of laws or the ruling of courts, it takes a new generation of people to abandon the behaviors of the past. Each generation seems to improve if only at a snails pace.
    There has alway been a part of our society that lives in the dark side (that we tried to ignore). It took the Bush administration to give the dark dwellers confidence that someone in an important position in the government agreed with them and for those cockroaches to climb out from under their rocks and trumpet their ugliness. Now that it’s out in the open we can talk about it and deal with it, instead of hoping it’ll just go away.

  10. McGovern “I don’t rule out Eric Holder living up to his responsibilities”

    Wonder what McGovern could tell us about the torture “contractors” that Karpinski and a few others have talked about.

    Not much being reported about this

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