Who Hijacked Our Country

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Torture Insurance

The insurance industry is gonna love CIA agents. In addition to car insurance, homeowners’ insurance, life and health insurance, they might also be buying — Torture Insurance?!?!?

More and more CIA agents are taking out policies to cover their legal expenses in case they get sued or prosecuted for human rights violations. They’re worried about not being represented by the Justice Department in case they get hauled into court. Talk about being caught in the middle.

With all the conflicting orders they’ve been getting, they’re bound to end up violating a law somewhere. “Geneva Convention!” “War On Tur!” “You don’t get valid information from someone who’s being tortured.” “Crank up the voltage!!”

A former CIA general counsel said “I’m deeply troubled that CIA officers have to buy insurance…There should be clear rules about what the officers can and can’t do. The fault here is with more senior people who authorized interrogation techniques that amount to torture” and should now be liable, instead of “the officers who carried it out.”

Bush is trying to get legislation passed that would exempt CIA agents from being sued or prosecuted for human rights violations, but passage isn’t likely.

For about $300 a year, an insurance policy would pay up to $200,000 in legal expenses and up to $1 million in civil judgments.

Knowing the insurance industry, there’ll be constant battles over what’s covered and what isn’t. “You tortured Habib on a Wednesday. Coverage is specifically excluded under Section J24iii.”


Blogger Elizabeth said...

What scares me is thinking about the kind of people who are probably joining the CIA these days...I mean, the Cold War was about meeting KGB agents posing as diplomats at cocktail parties and selling them on the idea of being a defector, which wasn't hard, since who really wanted to live in the Soviet Union when you could get paid to be a traitor AND get to live in America instead? Now the job description includes having to interrogate people by being mean to them, but not crossing some invisible line? Who is going to want this job?

September 13, 2006 at 6:14 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Elizabeth: Interesting thought. There's probably less foreign intrigue for an agent today than there was during the Cold War, and more invisible lines that you could inadvertently step over. Even though James Bond was pure fiction, it's hard to picture what Ian Fleming would write nowadays. Oh look, there's Sean Connery flying an Iraqi prisoner into Uzbekistan to be tortured, and now see him buying an insurance policy to cover his legal bills when he gets prosecuted.

September 13, 2006 at 8:07 PM  
Blogger Mike V. said...

heck, just like the Constitution, them Geneva Conventions are just God damned pieces of paper anyway..

September 13, 2006 at 8:20 PM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...

I like your point about what would and wouldn't be covered. Can you imagine how obscene the policy would read?

"Waterboarding is covered but only if the subject is held under for 30 seconds or more at a time."

...and so on.

September 14, 2006 at 1:25 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Mike: Yup, the Constitution is just a Goddamn piece of paper. Fortunately the Shrub isn't able to dismiss international law so easily. (Not yet anyway.)

Prague Twin: This will probably be a whole new department of the insurance industry. They'll have jillions of new employees who do nothing but pore over torture claims. "Waterboarding and stress postures on the same day -- not covered."

September 14, 2006 at 2:03 AM  
Blogger dusty said...

When I read about this insurance earlier in the week I almost swallowed my tongue. If they "arent" doing it..then why get the insurance. Once again the Asshat-in-Chief is lying through his teeth isn't he? The insurance industy will have to hire lots of little bean-counters to process these types of claims won't they? At least you made me laugh this morning..no easy feat lately..thanks :)

September 14, 2006 at 9:42 AM  
Blogger frstlymil said...

So --- does this mean that "torture insurance" which I supposed is being compared to something like medical malpractice insurance - lemmee just figger this out - does this mean that those of us worried about being tortured can get insurance too? Like Renters insurance? Say, if I get waterboarded and have bamboo-shoots placed under my fingernails by - oh, whoever - can I file a claim for time off work or something?

Oh. MY. GOD. What the country has come to.

September 14, 2006 at 11:07 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Dusty: Yup, it's a pretty bizarre commentary on where we're headed. An torture insurance policy for CIA agents -- only in 2006 America. And no doubt there will be lots of bean counters poring over all the claims. "Hmmm, waterboarding followed by electric shocks, and it was on a Thursday. Do we cover this?"

Frstlymil: Yeah, I guess it's only fair that torture victims should also be insured. Lost time from work, physical and emotional scarring, etc. Yup, you definitely have to wonder what the country is coming to and what we can look forward to.

September 14, 2006 at 11:18 AM  
Blogger yellowdog granny said...

you know the shit out of the bush administration just keeps getting scarier and weirder...forest gump has taken over...vote vote vote

September 14, 2006 at 11:25 AM  
Blogger I.M. Dedd said...

I watched Bush on Monday night. That was torture. Should he take out insurance?

September 14, 2006 at 3:53 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Yellowdog Granny: I think Forrest Gump would do a better job than these wackos. Yup, we all need to vote vote vote.

I.M. Dedd: Watching and listening to Bush, yes that qualifies as torture. He'll probably need one of those policies.

September 14, 2006 at 6:34 PM  
Blogger PoliShifter said...

This is insane.

I think the problem is that The Bush administration is ordering operatives to do things they know are illegal. And we all know that if you don't play ball with Bush you get railroaded.

If there happens to be a shift in power then yes, these operatives could be left high and dry.

It's not like BushCo, Gonzales, Rummy, Negroponte, Poindexter, Cheney, et al are ever going to take responsibility for the orders they issued.

September 14, 2006 at 7:24 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

I think that they are defining torture as an activity which could cause the loss of a limb or organ, so I guess stuff like waterboarding, or driving bamboo shoots under a victim's nails doesn't constitute torture, but that sticking a glass pipette of sulfuric acid up one's penis and breaking it... MIGHT. But maybe not, because a guy could probably live through that. Well, maybe he could.

I have to believe that our administration's definition of torture would probably ultimately just kind of be "death", and that anything else goes. So re. insurance, it would be kind of hard to collect dismemberment benefits if you're dead. This would, of course, work to the insurance industry's advantage.

September 14, 2006 at 9:59 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

PoliShifter: Yeah, I'd sure hate to be a CIA agent and get caught in the middle between all these conflicting orders. You're right, Bush and Cheney would never have the cojones or integrity to admit they ordered torture. They'd just leave their henchmen to twist in the wind.

Snave: I remember Gonzales redefined torture to just about that narrow a definition. Easy for him to say -- he'd probably squeal like a pig if he got slapped on the hand or got stung by a bee. These "higher-ups" are all so removed from the real world, from the problems they create for other people -- it's just pathetic.

September 15, 2006 at 1:04 AM  

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