The CIA torture report may have been released in the United States, but its contents could be found in newspapers across the world Wednesday. Several international media outlets covered the extensive report of the five-year Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into the harsh techniques used to interrogate terrorists after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
In Europe, columnists were angry with the U.S. for broadcasting an image of fairness and freedom while conducting torture behind the scenes. Bild, Germany's leading tabloid, wrote that the torture report's verdict that the CIA torture techniques ultimately didn't work "cannot be beat for uniqueness." Austria's Kleine Zeitung ran a front-page photo with a superimposed headline reading "America's Shame."
In the United Kingdom, a headline in the Daily Mail summed up its reaction to the report: "A truly black day for the 'civilized' West." The opinion piece said the Senate committee's release, "demolished the boast of the world’s most powerful democracy that it inhabits a higher moral universe than the terrorists it condemns as barbarians."
France's Le Monde published an article about the torture report, but chose not to opine on it, instead publishing editorials about Nobel prize winner Malala Yousafzai and Rwanda. In Poland, where the CIA ran a secret prison, newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza featured a torture report story on the front page of its website. The headline loosely translated to "So the CIA tortured. Scary way to force the 'truth.'"
In Russia, neither the Moscow Times nor St. Petersburg Times mentioned the torture report on their websites' front pages. Kommersant linked to a short article about it under the world section.
Newspapers in the Spanish-speaking world were divided over the CIA report, with some offering harsh words for the CIA and Bush administration, and others opting not to give the torture report any coverage.
Spain’s prominent newspaper El País led its homepage with the CIA torture report Wednesday, with multiple stories chronicling what role the Bush administration played in allowing the enhanced interrogation tactics, as well as criticism of the report from former spies. Its main headline read in Spanish: “US uncovers the dirty war of the Bush era.”
Mexico’s Crónica newspaper also gave the story prominent placement at the top of its website Wednesday, with a headline that read: “The US Senate accuses the CIA of torture ‘for nothing and brutality.’” Its editorial page slammed Bush, noting “During his administration, the CIA conducted 'more brutal' practices than he had admitted in the years after the attacks of September 11, 2001, and also the results did little interrogation for nothing.'” But Mexico’s other top newspaper, El Norte, largely ignored the CIA report.
In Honduras, La Tribuna noted U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech on immigration Tuesday in Tennessee, but skipped the CIA report. In Costa Rica, La Nación gave the CIA report some play toward the bottom of its homepage with a wire story about the torture tactics.
Colombia’s El Tiempo published multiple stories about the CIA torture report, its top headline blasting “The 'unholy' methods of the CIA after September 11.” But its editorial page focused on the country’s own recent incidents of alleged human rights violations instead of the U.S. controversy.
Ecuador’s El Universo focused on how the CIA misled Congress. It’s top headline read, “The CIA acted ‘more brutal’ than what it told Congress, says report.” Cuba’s official Granma newspaper followed a similar path. It’s website carried the CIA story toward the bottom of its homepage with the headline: “CIA interrogations, more brutal than thought.”
Many Middle Eastern newspapers were notably silent about the CIA report. None of the major international Arabic-language newspapers featured the torture report on its front page. Al Sharq al Awsat, Al Quds al Arabi and Al Arab all led with the Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Doha. Al Ahram, the Egyptian daily read throughout the region, also led with the summit, but did publish wire reports about the CIA torture investigation that emphasized the steps taken to secure U.S. installations in the Middle East in response to its publication.
The privately owned Egyptian daily Al Masry Al Youm featured a report detailing the methods used by the CIA to torture prisoners, highlighting the use of diapers and anal feeding. The Israeli daily Haaretz focused its coverage on the CIA’s citation of an Israeli Supreme Court ruling to justify its legal case for torture.
Only Iran’s Fars News agency gave the torture report prominent coverage, featuring a commentary piece on its front page entitled “CIA Torture Report: They Must Be Kidding.” “At a time when former US president George W. Bush is chasing cows and having barbecue in his Texas ranch, and former UK prime minister Tony Blair is shining his Save the Children ‘Global Legacy Award’ and possibly preparing himself for a Noble Peace Prize, it is hard to take the release of a Senate report on torture seriously,” it said.
Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun, which reportedly has the biggest circulation in the world, barely mentioned the torture report at all. It put it as the fourth story under its international heading -- after an article about England's Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visiting New York.