Dec 17

First, of course I do not believe anything MSM or the government tells me.

Second, if this poll numbers were actually true, then everybody in support of torture should get waterboarded (our brave politicians and all of their family members who are in support of it first!!!), to make sure that they know what they are talking about. And then we’ll ask them again, if they are still in support of torture.

Third, let theAmerican people know what the CIA is doing …

- Former UK ambassador: CIA sent people to Uzbekistan for extreme torture, to be ‘raped with broken bottles,’ ‘boiled alive’ and ‘having their children tortured in front of them’:

Craig Murray, the rector of the University of Dundee in Scotland and until 2004 the UK’s ambassador to Uzbekistan, said the CIA not only relied on confessions gleaned through extreme torture, it sent terror war suspects to Uzbekistan as part of its extraordinary rendition program.

“I’m talking of people being raped with broken bottles,” he said at a lecture late last month that was re-broadcast by the Real News Network. “I’m talking of people having their children tortured in front of them until they sign a confession. I’m talking of people being boiled alive. And the intelligence from these torture sessions was being received by the CIA, and was being passed on.”

… and if they are really willing to support this.


Torture Made In USA

- New Poll Finds 59% Of Americans Support Post-9/11 Torture – Propaganda, Cultural Sickness, Or Both? (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Dec 17, 2014):

Ever since the torture report was released last week, U.S. television outlets have endlessly featured American torturers and torture proponents. But there was one group that was almost never heard from: the victims of their torture, not even the ones recognized by the U.S. Government itself as innocent, not even the family members of the ones they tortured to death. Whether by design (most likely) or effect, this inexcusable omission radically distorts coverage.

Whenever America is forced to confront its heinous acts, the central strategy is to disappear the victims, render them invisible. That’s what robs them of their humanity: it’s the process of dehumanization. That, in turns, is what enables American elites first to support atrocities, and then, when forced to reckon with them, tell themselves that – despite some isolated and well-intentioned bad acts – they are still really good, elevated, noble, admirable people. It’s hardly surprising, then, that a Washington Post/ABC News poll released this morning found that a large majority of Americans believe torture is justified even when you call it “torture.” Not having to think about actual human victims makes it easy to justify any sort of crime.

– From Glenn Greenwald’s latest piece: U.S. TV Provides Ample Platform for American Torturers, but None to Their Victims

After reading about a new poll that shows 59% of Americans support post 9/11 torture, I’ve spent the entire morning thinking about what it means. Does this confirm the total degeneration of American culture into a collective of chicken-hawk, unthinking, statist war-mongering automatons? Alternatively, does it merely reflect the effectiveness of corporate-government propaganda? Is it a combination of both? How does the poll spilt by age group?

These are all important questions to which I do not have definitive answers, but I have some thoughts I’d like to share. First, here are some of the observations from the Washington Post: Continue reading »

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Apr 10

Since waterboarding is not even considered to be torture by none other than Dick ‘Darth’ Cheney, I suggest that Liz Cheney be waterboarded about, hmmh, let’s say 50 times or until she admits that she is the granddaugther of Joseph Stalin.

Then we’ll ask her again if she is proud of torture and if her answer is still a ‘YES’ we will send her to Uzbekistan as terrorist suspect for interrogation …

- Former UK ambassador: CIA sent people to Uzbekistan for extreme torture, to be ‘raped with broken bottles,’ ‘boiled alive’ and ‘having their children tortured in front of them’

… so that she will finally know (maybe for the first time in her entire life) what she is talking about.


- Cheney’s daughter says Pelosi should be proud of torture (Intellihub, April 9, 2014):

Dick Cheney’s Daughter said that Nancy Pelosi’s “spine doesn’t reach her head”, if she is not proud of torture.

Speaking to Fox News on Tuesday, Dick Cheney’s daughter made some alarming comments in response to Nancy Pelosi’s public condemnation of the interrogation tactics that were used by the Bush administration.

It is important to mention that the Obama administration which Pelosi works for is guilty of the same torture, but the comments that her criticism provoked from members of Dick Cheney’s family were very revealing.

Continue reading »

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Apr 10

Senator Angus King Challenges Dick Cheney To Be Waterboarded And Then Say It’s Not Torture!

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- Waterboard Cheney! (rsn, April 7, 2014):

Dick Cheney has defended torture techniques so many times that a frustrated U.S. senator has finally offered to waterboard the former vice president.

“The accusations are not true,” Cheney told college television station ATV last week. “Some people called it torture. It wasn’t torture.”

Continue reading »

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Jun 05

- Former UK ambassador: CIA sent people to Uzbekistan for extreme torture, to be ‘raped with broken bottles,’ ‘boiled alive’ and ‘having their children tortured in front of them’ (Nov 4, 2009)

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Aug 03

From the article:

Their (AC/DC) songs were among the loud music played to detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison facility in preparation for interrogations, the Associated Press reported in October 20009, citing the National Security Archive in Washington.

Let’s just say the US or Israel is really behind this cyber attack.

What would happen if Iran would do the same to us or Israel?


- Iran Nuclear Plants Hit By Virus Playing AC/DC, Website Says (Bloomberg, July 25, 2012)

Iran’s nuclear facilities have suffered a cyber attack that shut down computers and played music from the rock band AC/DC, the F-Secure Security Labs website said.

A new worm targeted Iran’s nuclear program, closing down the “automation network” at the Natanz and Fordo facilities, the Internet security site reported, citing an e-mail it said was sent by a scientist inside Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization.

The virus also prompted several of the computers on site to play the song “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC at full volume in the middle of the night, according to the e-mail, part of which is published in English on the website.

Continue reading »

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Jul 13

- EXCLUSIVE: DoD Report Reveals Some Detainees Interrogated While Drugged, Others “Chemically Restrained” (truthout, July 11, 2012):

Detainees in custody of the US military were interrogated while drugged with powerful antipsychotic and other medications that “could impair an individual’s ability to provide accurate information,” according to a declassified Department of Defense (DoD) inspector general’s report that probed the alleged use of “mind altering drugs” during interrogations.

In addition, detainees were subjected to “chemical restraints,” hydrated with intravenous (IV) fluids while they were being interrogated and, in what appears to be a form of psychological manipulation, the inspector general’s probe confirmed at least one detainee – convicted “dirty bomb” plotter Jose Padilla – was the subject of a “deliberate ruse” in which his interrogator led him to believe he was given an injection of “truth serum.”

Truthout obtained a copy of the report – “Investigation of Allegations of the Use of Mind-Altering Drugs to Facilitate Interrogations of Detainees” – prepared by the DoD’s deputy inspector general for intelligence in September 2009, under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request we filed nearly two years ago.

Over the past decade, dozens of current and former detainees and their civilian and military attorneys have alleged in news reports and in court documents that prisoners held by the US government in Guantanamo, Iraq and Afghanistan were forcibly injected with unknown medications and pills during or immediately prior to marathon interrogation sessions in an attempt to compel them to confess to terrorist-related crimes of which they were accused.

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Aug 23

All to protect civilians, right?

- Pentagon’s Secret War: U.S. Special Operations Forces To Be Deployed in 120 Countries By The End Of This Year (Counterpunch)

- Bahrain Seeks Mercenaries From Indonesia, Malaysia And Pakistan (ABC Radio Australia)

- Bahrain Doctors Tortured Into Confessing, Say Families (BBC News)

- UK Training Saudi Forces Used To Crush Arab Spring (Guardian)

- Blackwater Hired To Set Up A 800-Member Mercenary Battalion For The United Arab Emirates (Reuters)

- Exposed: The US-Saudi Libya Deal: You Invade Bahrain. We Take Out Muammar Gaddafi In Libya (Asia Times)


- Torture in Bahrain Aided by Nokia Siemens (Bloomberg, Aug 23, 2011):

The interrogation of Abdul Ghani Al Khanjar followed a pattern.

First, Bahraini jailers armed with stiff rubber hoses beat the 39-year-old school administrator and human rights activist in a windowless room two stories below ground in the Persian Gulf kingdom’s National Security Apparatus building. Then, they dragged him upstairs for questioning by a uniformed officer armed with another kind of weapon: transcripts of his text messages and details from personal mobile phone conversations, he says.

If he refused to sufficiently explain his communications, he was sent back for more beatings, says Al Khanjar, who was detained from August 2010 to February.

“It was amazing,” he says of the messages they obtained. “How did they know about these?”

The answer: Computers loaded with Western-made surveillance software generated the transcripts wielded in the interrogations described by Al Khanjar and scores of other detainees whose similar treatment was tracked by rights activists, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its October issue.

The spy gear in Bahrain was sold by Siemens AG (SIE), and maintained by Nokia Siemens Networks and NSN’s divested unit, Trovicor GmbH, according to two people whose positions at the companies gave them direct knowledge of the installations. Both requested anonymity because they have signed nondisclosure agreements. The sale and maintenance contracts were also confirmed by Ben Roome, a Nokia Siemens spokesman based in Farnborough, England. Continue reading »

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Feb 10

Since 9/11, many whose errors left people wrongly imprisoned or dead have received only minor admonishments or no punishment at all


German national of Lebanese origin Khaled el-Masri sitting at the start of his trial at court in Memmingen, southern Germany, where he was accused of beating the mayor of Neu-Ulm, southern Germany in September 2009.

Feb. 09, 2011 WASHINGTON — In December 2003, security forces boarded a bus in Macedonia and snatched a German citizen named Khaled el-Masri. For the next five months, el-Masri was a ghost. Only a select group of CIA officers knew he had been whisked to a secret prison for interrogation in Afghanistan.

But he was the wrong guy.

A hard-charging CIA analyst had pushed the agency into one of the biggest diplomatic embarrassments of the U.S. war on terrorism. Yet despite recommendations by an internal review, the analyst was never punished. In fact, she has risen to one of the premier jobs in the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, helping lead President Barack Obama’s efforts to disrupt al-Qaida.

In the years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, officers who committed serious mistakes that left people wrongly imprisoned or even dead have received only minor admonishments or no punishment at all, an Associated Press investigation has revealed. The botched el-Masri case is but one example of a CIA accountability process that even some within the agency say is unpredictable and inconsistent.

Continue reading »

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Dec 18

The CIA agreed to cover at least $5 million in legal fees for two contractors who were the architects of the agency’s interrogation program and personally conducted dozens of waterboarding sessions on terror detainees, former U.S. officials said.

The secret agreement means taxpayers are paying to defend the men in a federal investigation over an interrogation tactic the U.S. now says is torture. The deal is even more generous than the protections the agency typically provides its own officers, giving the two men access to more money to finance their defense.

Continue reading »

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Oct 27

Exclusive: Methods devised in secret in recent years may breach international law


Manuals tell British interrogators the use of plastic handcuffs is essential to intimidate and disorientate prisoners. Photograph: Getty Images

The British military has been training interrogators in techniques that include threats, sensory deprivation and enforced nakedness in an apparent breach of the Geneva conventions, the Guardian has discovered.

Training materials drawn up secretly in recent years tell interrogators they should aim to provoke humiliation, insecurity, disorientation, exhaustion, anxiety and fear in the prisoners they are questioning, and suggest ways in which this can be achieved.

One PowerPoint training aid created in September 2005 tells trainee military interrogators that prisoners should be stripped before they are questioned. “Get them naked,” it says. “Keep them naked if they do not follow commands.” Another manual prepared around the same time advises the use of blindfolds to put prisoners under pressure.

A manual prepared in April 2008 suggests that “Cpers” – captured personnel – be kept in conditions of physical discomfort and intimidated. Sensory deprivation is lawful, it adds, if there are “valid operational reasons”. It also urges enforced nakedness.

More recent training material says blindfolds, earmuffs and plastic handcuffs are essential equipment for military interrogators, and says that while prisoners should be allowed to sleep or rest for eight hours in each 24, they need be permitted only four hours unbroken sleep. It also suggests that interrogators tell prisoners they will be held incommunicado unless they answer questions.

The 1949 Geneva conventions prohibit any “physical or moral coercion”, in particular any coercion employed to obtain information.

The revelations come after the Guardian published US military documents leaked to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks revealing details of torture, summary executions and war crimes in Iraq.

Continue reading »

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Oct 26

See also:

- Wikileaks ‘Iraq War Logs’: Every Death Mapped – 66,081 Were Civilians


- Iraq war logs: Frago 242 – a licence to torture (Video):

How the newly released US military files reveal an instruction to ignore detainee abuse by Iraqi authorities; what that meant on the ground; and just how far up the chain of command the order went


Fresh evidence that US soldiers handed over detainees to a notorious Iraqi torture squad has emerged in army logs published by WikiLeaks.

The 400,000 field reports published by the whistleblowing website at the weekend contain an official account of deliberate threats by a military interrogator to turn his captive over to the Iraqi “Wolf Brigade”.

The interrogator told the prisoner in explicit terms that: “He would be subject to all the pain and agony that the Wolf battalion is known to exact upon its detainees.”

The evidence emerged as the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, said the allegations of killings, torture and abuse in Iraq were “extremely serious” and “needed to be looked at”.

Clegg, speaking on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show, did not rule out an inquiry into the actions of British forces in Iraq, but said it was up to the US administration to answer for the actions of its forces. His comments contrasted with a statement from the Ministry of Defence today, which warned that the posting of classified US military logs on the WikiLeaks website could endanger the lives of British forces.

Clegg said: “We can bemoan how these leaks occurred, but I think the nature of the allegations made are extraordinarily serious. They are distressing to read about and they are very serious. I am assuming the US administration will want to provide its own answer. It’s not for us to tell them how to do that.”

Continue reading »

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Oct 08


Leaves fall on the grounds of the Supreme Court of Canada this week in Ottawa. The court ruled Friday that Canadians do not have the right to have a lawyer present during questioning as Americans do under the Miranda rule.

OTTAWA—The American Miranda rule that gives a suspect the right to have a lawyer present during questioning has no place here, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Friday.

In three related decisions, a sharply divided court fine-tuned the rules on suspects’ right to counsel.

In the main case, the justices ruled 5-4 that the Charter of Rights does not confer a right to have a lawyer present during interrogation.

Continue reading »

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Sep 09

More transparency we can believe in!


obama-puppet

In a 6-5 ruling issued this afternoon, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed the Obama administration a major victory in its efforts to shield Bush crimes from judicial review, when the court upheld the Obama DOJ’s argument that Bush’s rendition program, used to send victims to be tortured, are “state secrets” and its legality thus cannot be adjudicated by courts.

The Obama DOJ had appealed to the full 9th Circuit from last year’s ruling by a 3-judge panel which rejected the “state secrets” argument and held that it cannot be used as a weapon to shield the Executive Branch from allegations in this case that it broke the law.

I’ve written multiple times about this case, brought by torture/rendition victim Binyam Mohamed and several others against the Boeing subsidiary which, at the behest of the Bush administration, rendered them to be tortured.

Flu permitting, I’ll have much more to say about this decision tomorrow, but for the moment, I wanted to highlight the first paragraph from The New York Times article on this ruling, written by Charlie Savage.  Just marvel, in particular, at the last sentence:

obama-wins-the-right-to-invoke-state-secrets-to-protect-bush-crimes_01

“The ruling handed a major victory to the Obama administration in its effort to advance a sweeping view of executive secrecy power.”  That says it all.

The distorted, radical use of the state secret privilege — as a broad-based immunity weapon for compelling the dismissal of entire cases alleging Executive lawbreaking, rather than a narrow discovery tool for suppressing the use of specific classified documents — is exactly what the Bush administration did to such extreme controversy.  To see how true that is, just look at this article from Talking Points Memo, from April of last year, in which Zachary Roth consulted with numerous legal experts about my argument that Obama was abusing this weapon in exactly the same way Bush did.  His findings were encapsulated in the TPM headline:

obama-wins-the-right-to-invoke-state-secrets-to-protect-bush-crimes_02

Roth wrote:

Salon‘s Glenn Greenwald wrote that the move “demonstrates that the Obama DOJ plans to invoke the exact radical doctrines of executive secrecy which Bush used.” MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann called it “deja vu all over again”.

Not having Greenwald’s training in constitutional law (and perhaps lacking Olbermann’s all-conquering self-confidence), we wanted to get a sense from a few independent experts as to how to assess the administration’s position on the case. Does it represent a continuation of the Bushies’ obsession with putting secrecy and executive power above basic constitutional rights? Is it a sweeping power grab by the executive branch, that sets set a broad and dangerous precedent for future cases by asserting that the government has the right to get lawsuits dismissed merely by claiming that state secrets are at stake, without giving judges any discretion whatsoever?

In a word, yes.

Suffice to say — with great understatement — Obama’s doing this doesn’t trigger the same level of outrage and objection as when Bush did it, at least not in most circles.  And I do so fondly recall the days back in the Spring of last year when civil libertarians who were vigorously objecting to Obama’s Bush-replicating legal positions were told by vocal Obama supporters that Obama was only doing this in order to ensure that Bush’s extremist legal theories were rejected by courts and thus we were all generously showered with the Magnanimous Gift of Good Precedent.  Again with great understatement, Obama’s appealing the 9th Circuit’s rejection of the Bush/Obama “state secrets” argument to the full court — and thus securing one of the most harmful judicial endorsements ever of this radical secrecy doctrine — is not exactly consistent with that Obama-justifying rationale. Continue reading »

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Aug 18

The CIA has admitted to having videotapes of interrogations in a secret Moroccan prison of 9/11 plotter Ramzi Binalshibh.

twin_towers
An explosion rips through the South Tower of the World Trade Towers after the hijacked United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into it Photo: AP

Discovered in a box under a desk at the Central Intelligence Agency, the tapes could reveal how foreign governments aided the United States in holding and interrogating suspects. And they could complicate US efforts to prosecute Binalshibh, who has been described as one of the “key plot facilitators” in the 2001 attacks.

Apparently the tapes do not show harsh treatment – unlike videos the agency has destroyed of the questioning of other suspected terrorists.

The two videotapes and one audiotape are believed to be the only existing recordings made within the clandestine prison system and could offer a revealing glimpse into a four-year global odyssey that ranged from Pakistan to Romania to Guantanamo Bay.

The tapes depict Binalshibh’s interrogation sessions in 2002 at a Moroccan-run facility the CIA used near Rabat, according to several current and former US officials. Continue reading »

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Aug 14

omar-ahmad-khadr_a-child-in-guantanamo
Omar Ahmad Khadr, Guantanamo’s child


omar-ahmad-khadr
Omar Ahmad Khadr

In one of the first military commissions held under the Obama administration, a US military judge has ruled that confessions obtained by threatening the subject with rape are admissible in court.

The case involves Omar Ahmed Khadr, a citizen of Canada who was apprehended in Afghanistan when he was 15 years old for the last seven years awaiting trial for terrorism and war crimes. and has remained in Guantanamo Bay

As AFP reported on Monday,

Khadr, now 23, is accused of throwing a grenade in 2002 that killed a US soldier. He also is alleged to have been trained by Al-Qaeda and joined a network organized by Osama bin Laden to make bombs.

“It’s very clear that the government of the US and the government of Canada have decided not to intervene in this case and therefore we are going to see the first case of a child soldier in modern history,” said his military lawyer Jon Jackson.

“When President Obama was elected, I believed that we were going to close the book on Guantanamo and the military commissions. And instead President Obama has decided to write the next sad, pathetic chapter in the book of the military commissions,” he added.

In addition to being a child soldier, there is evidence that Khadr’s confession was obtained though the use of threats of violence and death.

Globe and Mail reports,

In May hearings, a man identified as Interrogator 1 said in testimony that he threatened Mr. Khadr with being gang-raped to death if he did not co-operate. That interrogator was later identified as former U.S. Army Sergeant Joshua Claus. He has also been convicted of abusing a different detainee and has left the military.

Mr. Khadr’s military-appointed lawyer, Lieutenant-Colonel Jon Jackson, argued this instance, as well as other alleged instances of torture and coercion, are enough to render any future confessions – even those in so-called “clean” interrogations – inadmissible in court.

Although Khadr’s confessions were obtained in this manner, the military judge presiding over the case ruled they are still admissible as evidence.

Another Guantanamo detainee, a former bodyguard of Osama bin Laden, has already entered a plea agreement, but information about his sentence has been sealed by a US military judge.

In response to the two tribunals, Jennifer Turner writes at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Blog of Rights:

Continue reading »

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Apr 10

In other news:

- Bush knew Guantánamo prisoners were innocent, former Colin Powell aide tells court (Daily Mail, April 10, 2010)

The Times has removed the following article.



Two detainees are escorted to interrogation by US military guards at Guantánamo Bay (Andres Leighton/AP)

- Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld ‘Knew Guantánamo Prisoners Were Innocent’ (Times, April 9, 2010):

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror, according to a new document obtained by The Times.

The accusations were made by Lawrence Wilkerson, a top aide to Colin Powell, the former Republican Secretary of State, in a signed declaration to support a lawsuit filed by a Guantánamo detainee. It is the first time that such allegations have been made by a senior member of the Bush Administration.

Colonel Wilkerson, who was General Powell’s chief of staff when he ran the State Department, was most critical of Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld. He claimed that the former Vice-President and Defence Secretary knew that the majority of the initial 742 detainees sent to Guantánamo in 2002 were innocent but believed that it was “politically impossible to release them”.

General Powell, who left the Bush Administration in 2005, angry about the misinformation that he unwittingly gave the world when he made the case for the invasion of Iraq at the UN, is understood to have backed Colonel Wilkerson’s declaration.

Colonel Wilkerson, a long-time critic of the Bush Administration’s approach to counter-terrorism and the war in Iraq, claimed that the majority of detainees – children as young as 12 and men as old as 93, he said – never saw a US soldier when they were captured. He said that many were turned over by Afghans and Pakistanis for up to $5,000. Little or no evidence was produced as to why they had been taken. Continue reading »

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Mar 27

julian-assange-editor-of-wikileaks
BBC’s “The Culture Show” – Julian Assange, editor of WikiLeaks.

A newly leaked CIA report prepared earlier this month (.pdf) analyzes how the U.S. Government can best manipulate public opinion in Germany and France — in order to ensure that those countries continue to fight in Afghanistan.

The Report celebrates the fact that the governments of those two nations continue to fight the war in defiance of overwhelming public opinion which opposes it — so much for all the recent veneration of “consent of the governed” — and it notes that this is possible due to lack of interest among their citizenry:   “Public Apathy Enables Leaders to Ignore Voters,” proclaims the title of one section.

But the Report also cites the “fall of the Dutch Government over its troop commitment to Afghanistan” and worries that — particularly if the “bloody summer in Afghanistan” that many predict takes place — what happened to the Dutch will spread as a result of the “fragility of European support” for the war.  As the truly creepy Report title puts it, the CIA’s concern is:  “Why Counting on Apathy May Not Be Enough”:

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The Report seeks to provide a back-up plan for “counting on apathy,” and provides ways that the U.S. Government can manipulate public opinion in these foreign countries.  It explains that French sympathy for Afghan refugees means that exploiting Afghan women as pro-war messengers would be effective, while Germans would be more vulnerable to a fear-mongering campaign (failure in Afghanistan means the Terrorists will get you).  The Report highlights the unique ability of Barack Obama to sell war to European populations (click on images to enlarge):

It’s both interesting and revealing that the CIA sees Obama as a valuable asset in putting a pretty face on our wars in the eyes of foreign populations. It is odious — though, of course, completely unsurprising — that the CIA plots ways to manipulate public opinion in foreign countries in order to sustain support for our wars.  Now that this is a Democratic administration doing this and a Democratic war at issue, I doubt many people will object to any of this.  But what is worth noting is how and why this classified Report was made publicly available:  because it was leaked to and then posted by WikiLeaks.org, the site run by the non-profit group Sunshine Press, that is devoted to exposing suppressed government and corporate corruption by publicizing many of their most closely guarded secrets.

* * * * *

wikileaks_002

I spoke this morning at length with Julian Assange, the Australian citizen who is WikiLeaks’ Editor, regarding the increasingly aggressive war being waged against WikiLeaks by numerous government agencies, including the Pentagon.  Over the past several years, WikiLeaks — which aptly calls itself “the intelligence agency of the people” — has obtained and then published a wide array of secret, incriminating documents (similar to this CIA Report) that expose the activities of numerous governments and corporations.  Among many others, they posted the Standard Operating Manual for Guantanamo, documents showing how corrupt offshore loans precipitated the economic collapse in Iceland, the notorious emails between climate scientists, documents showing toxic dumping off the coast of Africa, and many others.  They have recently come into possession of classified videos relating to civilian causalities under the command of Gen. David Petraeus, as well as documentation relating to civilian-slaughtering airstrikes in Afghanistan which the U.S. military had agreed to release, only to change their mind.

All of this has made WikiLeaks an increasingly hated target of numerous government and economic elites around the world, including the U.S. Government.  As The New York Times put it last week:  “To the list of the enemies threatening the security of the United States, the Pentagon has added WikiLeaks.org, a tiny online source of information and documents that governments and corporations around the world would prefer to keep secret.”  In 2008, the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Center prepared a secret report — obtained and posted by WikiLeaks — devoted to this website and detailing, in a section entitled “Is it Free Speech or Illegal Speech?”, ways it would seek to destroy the organization.  It discusses the possibility that, for some governments, not merely contributing to WikiLeaks, but “even accessing the website itself is a crime,” and outlines its proposal for WikiLeaks’ destruction as follows (click on images to enlarge):

As the Pentagon report put it:  “the governments of China, Israel, North Korea, Russia, Vietnam and Zimbabwe” have all sought to block access to or otherwise impede the operations of WikiLeaks, and the U.S. Government now joins that illustrious list of transparency-loving countries in targeting them.

It’s not difficult to understand why the Pentagon wants to destroy WikiLeaks.  Here’s how the Pentagon’s report describes some of the disclosures for which they are responsible:

pentagon1

The Pentagon report also claims that WikiLeaks has disclosed documents that could expose U.S. military plans in Afghanistan and Iraq and endanger the military mission, though its discussion is purely hypothetical and no specifics are provided. Instead, the bulk of the Pentagon report focuses on documents which embarrass the U.S. Government:  information which, as they put it, “could be manipulated to provide biased news reports or be used for conducting propaganda, disinformation, misinformation, perception management, or influence operations against the U.S. Army by a variety of domestic and foreign actors.”  In other words, the Pentagon is furious that this exposing of its secrets might enable others to engage in exactly the type of “perception management” which the aforementioned CIA Report proposes the U.S. do with regard to the citizenry of our allied countries.

All of this is based in the same rationale invoked by President Obama and the Democratic Congress when they re-wrote the Freedom of Information Act last year in order to suppress America’s torture photos.  It’s the same rationale used by all governments to conceal evidence of their wrongdoing:   we need to suppress our activities for your own good. WikiLeaks is devoted to subverting that mentality and, relatively speaking, has been quite successful in doing so. Continue reading »

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Mar 26

MPs and peers brand government’s definition of complicity in torture as ‘worrying’ and call for urgent independent inquiry

former-guantanamo-bay-detainee-binyam-mohamed
Former Guantánamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed, whose alleged abuse in captivity sparked an inquiry into UK government complicty in torture. (Reuters)

The government’s definition of what constitutes complicity in torture has no basis in law, parliament’s joint committee on human rights warns today in a hard-hitting attack on its attitude towards the abuse of terror suspects.

Its narrow definition of complicity is “significant and worrying” and in light of evidence, notably in the Binyam Mohammed hearings, the case for an urgent independent inquiry into claims of involvement in torture is irresistible, the committee says in a report.

It says ministers gave evasive replies when it asked them what would amount to complicity under international law. But in evidence to the committee and in public statements both the home and foreign secretaries, and the head of MI5, came “very close to saying that, at least in the wake of 9/11, the lesser of two evils was the receipt and use of intelligence which was known, or should have been known, to carry a risk that it might have been obtained under torture, in order to protect the UK public from possible terrorist attack”.

The report adds: “This is no defence to the charge of complicity in torture.” The government changed the question from “does or should the official receiving the information know that it has or is likely to have been obtained by torture?” to “does the official receiving the information know or believe that receipt of the information would encourage the intelligence services of other states to commit torture?”

Under international law complicity does not require active encouragement, the committee says. The formula used by the government “appears to us to be carefully designed to enable it to say that, although it knew or should have known some intelligence it received was or might have been obtained through torture, this did not amount to complicity because it did not know or believe such receipt would encourage … torture by other states”.

Lady Manningham-Buller, the former head of MI5, appeared to go further in a speech this month: “Nothing, even saving lives, justifies torture.”

What constitutes complicity in torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is a key issue behind Gordon Brown’s refusal to publish new guidance given to MI5, MI6, and military intelligence officers, operating abroad.

Brown has also declined to publish criticism of the guidance by the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), whose members are handpicked by the prime minister. Continue reading »

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Mar 23

Secret operation ‘reporting only to London’ deprived prisoners of sleep, documents show

torture
Iraqi prisoners were forced to stay in ‘stress positions’

Fresh evidence has emerged that British military intelligence ran a secret operation in Iraq which authorised degrading and unlawful treatment of prisoners. Documents reveal that prisoners were kept hooded for long periods in intense heat and deprived of sleep by defence intelligence officers. They also reveal that officers running the operation claimed to be answerable only “directly to London”.

The revelations will further embarrass the British government, which last month was forced to release documents showing it knew that UK resident and terror suspect Binyam Mohamed had been tortured in Pakistan.

The latest documents emerged during the inquiry into Baha Mousa, an Iraqi hotel worker beaten to death while in the custody of British troops in September 2003. The inquiry is looking into how interrogation techniques banned by the Government in 1972 and considered torture and degrading treatment were used again in Iraq.

Lawyers believe the new evidence supports suspicions that an intelligence unit – the Joint Forward Interrogation Team (JFIT) which operated in Iraq – used illegal “coercive techniques” and was not answerable to military commanders in Iraq, despite official denials it operated independently. Continue reading »

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Feb 12

Must-see!


Cynthia McKinney speaks at Munich Germany NATO Peace Rally during her visit to receive the ‘Peace through Conscience’ award from the Munich American Peace Committee.

“President Obama has drones killing innocent people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia. And Administration lawyers are trying to figure out how to legally kill U.S. citizens.”

“You even have U.S. assassination teams on German soil!”

“Sadly, President Obama is guilty of every item I cited in my Articles of Impeachment against President Bush.”


Added: 9. Februar 2010

Continue reading »

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