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 »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Apr 10

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

dick-cheney-false-flag

- 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 »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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 »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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 »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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 »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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 »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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 »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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 »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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 »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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 »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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 »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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 »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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 »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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”:

cia

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 »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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 »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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 »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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 »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Feb 10

Must-read.


Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

paul-craig-roberts
Paul Craig Roberts

Americans have been losing the protection of law for years. In the 21st century the loss of legal protections accelerated with the Bush administration’s “war on terror,” which continues under the Obama administration and is essentially a war on the Constitution and U.S. civil liberties.

The Bush regime was determined to vitiate habeas corpus in order to hold people indefinitely without bringing charges. The regime had acquired hundreds of prisoners by paying a bounty for “terrorists.” Afghan warlords and thugs responded to the financial incentive by grabbing unprotected people and selling them to the Americans.

The Bush regime needed to hold the prisoners without charges because it had no evidence against the people and did not want to admit that the U.S. government had stupidly paid warlords and thugs to kidnap innocent people. In addition, the Bush regime needed “terrorists” prisoners in order to prove that there was a terrorist threat.

As there was no evidence against the “detainees” (most have been released without charges after years of detention and abuse), the U.S. government needed a way around U.S. and international laws against torture in order that the government could produce evidence via self-incrimination. The Bush regime found inhumane and totalitarian-minded lawyers and put them to work at the U.S. Department of Justice (sic) to invent arguments that the Bush regime did not need to obey the law.

The Bush regime created a new classification for its detainees that it used to justify denying legal protection and due process to the detainees. As the detainees were not U.S. citizens and were demonized by the regime as “the 760 most dangerous men on earth,” there was little public outcry over the regime’s unconstitutional and inhumane actions.

As our Founding Fathers and a long list of scholars warned, once civil liberties are breached, they are breached for all. Soon U.S. citizens were being held indefinitely in violation of their habeas corpus rights. Dr. Aafia Siddiqui an American citizen of Pakistani origin might have been the first. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jan 19

Related information:

- 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’


Satellite photograph from Terraserver. (Click on image to enlarge.)
guantanamo-map-lores


the-guantanamo-suicides-a-camp-delta-sergeant-blows-the-whistle
This is the full text of an exclusive advance feature by Scott Horton that will appear in the March 2010 Harper’s Magazine. The issue will be available on newsstands the week of February 15.

1. “Asymmetrical Warfare”

When President Barack Obama took office last year, he promised to “restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great.” Toward that end, the president issued an executive order declaring that the extra-constitutional prison camp at Guantánamo “shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than one year from the date of this order.” Obama has failed to fulfill his promise. Some prisoners are being charged with crimes, others released, but the date for closing the camp seems to recede steadily into the future. Furthermore, new evidence now emerging may entangle Obama’s young administration with crimes that occurred during the Bush presidency, evidence that suggests the current administration failed to investigate seriously—and may even have continued—a cover-up of the possible homicides of three prisoners at Guantánamo in 2006.

Late in the evening on June 9 that year, three prisoners at Guantánamo died suddenly and violently. Salah Ahmed Al-Salami, from Yemen, was thirty-seven. Mani Shaman Al-Utaybi, from Saudi Arabia, was thirty. Yasser Talal Al-Zahrani, also from Saudi Arabia, was twenty-two, and had been imprisoned at Guantánamo since he was captured at the age of seventeen. None of the men had been charged with a crime, though all three had been engaged in hunger strikes to protest the conditions of their imprisonment. They were being held in a cell block, known as Alpha Block, reserved for particularly troublesome or high-value prisoners.

As news of the deaths emerged the following day, the camp quickly went into lockdown. The authorities ordered nearly all the reporters at Guantánamo to leave and those en route to turn back. The commander at Guantánamo, Rear Admiral Harry Harris, then declared the deaths “suicides.” In an unusual move, he also used the announcement to attack the dead men. “I believe this was not an act of desperation,” he said, “but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.” Reporters accepted the official account, and even lawyers for the prisoners appeared to believe that they had killed themselves. Only the prisoners’ families in Saudi Arabia and Yemen rejected the notion.

Two years later, the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which has primary investigative jurisdiction within the naval base, issued a report supporting the account originally advanced by Harris, now a vice-admiral in command of the Sixth Fleet. The Pentagon declined to make the NCIS report public, and only when pressed with Freedom of Information Act demands did it disclose parts of the report, some 1,700 pages of documents so heavily redacted as to be nearly incomprehensible. The NCIS report was carefully cross-referenced and deciphered by students and faculty at the law school of Seton Hall University in New Jersey, and their findings, released in November 2009, made clear why the Pentagon had been unwilling to make its conclusions public. The official story of the prisoners’ deaths was full of unacknowledged contradictions, and the centerpiece of the report—a reconstruction of the events—was simply unbelievable.

According to the NCIS, each prisoner had fashioned a noose from torn sheets and T-shirts and tied it to the top of his cell’s eight-foot-high steel-mesh wall. Each prisoner was able somehow to bind his own hands, and, in at least one case, his own feet, then stuff more rags deep down into his own throat. We are then asked to believe that each prisoner, even as he was choking on those rags, climbed up on his washbasin, slipped his head through the noose, tightened it, and leapt from the washbasin to hang until he asphyxiated. The NCIS report also proposes that the three prisoners, who were held in non-adjoining cells, carried out each of these actions almost simultaneously.

Al-Zahrani, according to the report, was discovered first, at 12:39 a.m., and taken by several Alpha Block guards to the camp’s detention medical clinic. No doctors could be found there, nor the phone number for one, so a clinic staffer dialed 911. During this time, other guards discovered Al-Utaybi. Still others discovered Al-Salami a few minutes later. Although rigor mortis had already set in—indicating that the men had been dead for at least two hours—the NCIS report claims that an unnamed medical officer attempted to resuscitate one of the men, and, in attempting to pry open his jaw, broke his teeth.

The fact that at least two of the prisoners also had cloth masks affixed to their faces, presumably to prevent the expulsion of the rags from their mouths, went unremarked by the NCIS, as did the fact that standard operating procedure at Camp Delta required the Navy guards on duty after midnight to “conduct a visual search” of each cell and detainee every ten minutes. The report claimed that the prisoners had hung sheets or blankets to hide their activities and shaped more sheets and pillows to look like bodies sleeping in their beds, but it did not explain where they were able to acquire so much fabric beyond their tightly controlled allotment, or why the Navy guards would allow such an obvious and immediately observable deviation from permitted behavior. Nor did the report explain how the dead men managed to hang undetected for more than two hours or why the Navy guards on duty, having for whatever reason so grievously failed in their duties, were never disciplined.

A separate report, the result of an “informal investigation” initiated by Admiral Harris, found that standard operating procedures were violated that night but concluded that disciplinary action was not warranted because of the “generally permissive environment” of the cell block and the numerous “concessions” that had been made with regard to the prisoners’ comfort, which “concessions” had resulted in a “general confusion by the guard and the JDG staff over many of the rules that applied to the guard force’s handling of the detainees.” According to Harris, even had standard operating procedures been followed, “it is possible that the detainees could have successfully committed suicide anyway.”

This is the official story, adopted by NCIS and Guantánamo command and reiterated by the Justice Department in formal pleadings, by the Defense Department in briefings and press releases, and by the State Department. Now four members of the Military Intelligence unit assigned to guard Camp Delta, including a decorated non-commissioned Army officer who was on duty as sergeant of the guard the night of June 9–10, have furnished an account dramatically at odds with the NCIS report—a report for which they were neither interviewed nor approached.

All four soldiers say they were ordered by their commanding officer not to speak out, and all four soldiers provide evidence that authorities initiated a cover-up within hours of the prisoners’ deaths. Army Staff Sergeant Joseph Hickman and men under his supervision have disclosed evidence in interviews with Harper’s Magazine that strongly suggests that the three prisoners who died on June 9 had been transported to another location prior to their deaths. The guards’ accounts also reveal the existence of a previously unreported black site at Guantánamo where the deaths, or at least the events that led directly to the deaths, most likely occurred.

2. “Camp No”

The soldiers of the Maryland-based 629th Military Intelligence Battalion arrived at Guantánamo Naval Base in March 2006, assigned to provide security to Camp America, the sector of the base containing the five individual prison compounds that house the prisoners. Camp Delta was at the time the largest of these compounds, and within its walls were four smaller camps, numbered 1 through 4, which in turn were divided into cell blocks. Life at Camp America, as at all prisons, was and remains rigorously routinized for both prisoners and their jailers. Navy guards patrol the cell blocks and Army personnel control the exterior areas of the camp. All observed incidents must be logged. For the Army guards who man the towers and “sally ports” (access points), knowing who enters and leaves the camp, and exactly when, is the essence of their mission.

One of the new guards who arrived that March was Joe Hickman, then a sergeant. Hickman grew up in Baltimore and joined the Marines in 1983, at the age of nineteen. When I interviewed him in January at his home in Wisconsin, he told me he had been inspired to enlist by Ronald Reagan, “the greatest president we’ve ever had.” He worked in a military intelligence unit and was eventually tapped for Reagan’s Presidential Guard detail, an assignment reserved for model soldiers. When his four years were up, Hickman returned home, where he worked a series of security jobs-prison transport, executive protection, and eventually private investigations. After September 11 he decided to re-enlist, at thirty-seven, this time in the Army National Guard.

Hickman deployed to Guantánamo with his friend Specialist Tony Davila, who grew up outside Washington, D.C., and who had himself been a private investigator. When they arrived at Camp Delta, Davila told me, soldiers from the California National Guard unit they were relieving introduced him to some of the curiosities of the base. The most noteworthy of these was an unnamed and officially unacknowledged compound nestled out of sight between two plateaus about a mile north of Camp Delta, just outside Camp America’s perimeter. One day, while on foot patrol, Hickman and Davila came across the compound. It looked like other camps within Camp America, Davila said, only it had no guard towers and it was surrounded with concertina wire. They saw no activity, but Hickman guessed the place could house as many as eighty prisoners. One part of the compound, he said, had the same appearance as the interrogation centers at other prison camps.

The compound was not visible from the main road, and the access road was chained off. The Guardsman who told Davila about the compound had said, “This place does not exist,” and Hickman, who was frequently put in charge of security for all of Camp America, was not briefed about the site. Nevertheless, Davila said, other soldiers-many of whom were required to patrol the outside perimeter of Camp America-had seen the compound, and many speculated about its purpose. One theory was that it was being used by some of the non-uniformed government personnel who frequently showed up in the camps and were widely thought to be CIA agents.

A friend of Hickman’s had nicknamed the compound “Camp No,” the idea being that anyone who asked if it existed would be told, “No, it doesn’t.” He and Davila made a point of stopping by whenever they had the chance; once, Hickman said, he heard a “series of screams” from within the compound. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jan 17

Related information:

- CIA Secret ‘Torture’ Prison Found at Fancy Horseback Riding Academy Outside Vilnius, Lithuania

- 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’


cia

A January 8 release of documents in the ACLU FOIA lawsuit seeking materials related to the CIA’s destruction of videotapes of interrogators using “enhanced interrogation techniques” has revealed the first evidence of a precise instruction for the destruction of those tapes.

According to Rachel Myers at the ACLU, while there was previous evidence of requests from the “field” that the videotapes be destroyed, this is our first verification of the exact date CIA headquarters gave its approval.

The approval came in the form of “a two-page cable discussing a proposal and granting permission to destroy the videotapes.” (emphasis added) The cable was sent from “HQ” to the “Field” on November 8, 2005, the same day an earlier request was made from the “Field”. Confirmation of the destruction of the tapes was already revealed in a cable “from the field to CIA headquarters, confirming the destruction of the videotapes.” (11/20/2009 Vaughn Index 4).

Requests for destruction of interrogation videotapes, and discussions around such an action are documented as far back as September 2002 (11/20/2009 Vaughn Index 55). It’s presumed that these requests came from the Thailand CIA black site where Abu Zubaydah had been an experimental victim of the new so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, which were based on stress inoculation torture survival schools for the military, known as SERE. Psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, formerly of SERE and its parent agency, Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA)[, have been identified as being key figures in implementing the program.]

The new cable has been withheld, citing numerous FOIA “exemptions,” as have hundreds of other such pieces of evidence, including emails and draft memoranda, by the CIA. Its existence is revealed as part of a Vaughn index of withheld documents, wherein some description of the document is given, in addition to the reasons for withholding the document.

The “permission” cable is Document 154 in Part 6 of the latest Vaughn release/dump. It’s on pg. 13 out of 35 (all doc links are PDF). A full timeline on the CIA videotape destruction actions, which has not however been updated for the latest crop of documents, has been put together by the ACLU. All the documents released thus far can be accessed here. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Jan 03

“Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death.”
- Adolf Hitler

Problem, Reaction, Solution:

- Former homeland security chief Michael Chertoff puts his mouth where his money is and argues for whole-body imaging (Washington Post):

What he has made little mention of is that the Chertoff Group, his security consulting agency, includes a client that manufactures the machines. The relationship drew attention after Chertoff disclosed it on a CNN program Wednesday, in response to a question.

An airport passengers’ rights group on Thursday criticized Chertoff, who left office less than a year ago, for using his former government credentials to advocate for a product that benefits his clients.

“Mr. Chertoff should not be allowed to abuse the trust the public has placed in him as a former public servant to privately gain from the sale of full-body scanners under the pretense that the scanners would have detected this particular type of explosive,” said Kate Hanni, founder of FlyersRights.org, which opposes the use of the scanners.


I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but David Brooks actually had an excellent column in yesterday’s New York Times that makes several insightful and important points.  Brooks documents how “childish, contemptuous and hysterical” the national reaction has been to this latest terrorist episode, egged on — as usual — by the always-hysterical American media.  The citizenry has been trained to expect that our Powerful Daddies and Mommies in government will — in that most cringe-inducing, child-like formulation — Keep Us Safe.  Whenever the Government fails to do so, the reaction — just as we saw this week — is an ugly combination of petulant, adolescent rage and increasingly unhinged cries that More Be Done to ensure that nothing bad in the world ever happens.  Demands that genuinely inept government officials be held accountable are necessary and wise, but demands that political leaders ensure that we can live in womb-like Absolute Safety are delusional and destructive.  Yet this is what the citizenry screams out every time something threatening happens:  please, take more of our privacy away; monitor more of our communications; ban more of us from flying; engage in rituals to create the illusion of Strength; imprison more people without charges; take more and more control and power so you can Keep Us Safe.

This is what inevitably happens to a citizenry that is fed a steady diet of fear and terror for years.  It regresses into pure childhood.  The 5-year-old laying awake in bed, frightened by monsters in the closet, who then crawls into his parents’ bed to feel Protected and Safe, is the same as a citizenry planted in front of the television, petrified by endless imagery of scary Muslim monsters, who then collectively crawl to Government and demand that they take more power and control in order to keep them Protected and Safe.  A citizenry drowning in fear and fixated on Safety to the exclusion of other competing values can only be degraded and depraved.  John Adams, in his 1776 Thoughts on Government, put it this way:

Fear is the foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it.

As Adams noted, political leaders possess an inherent interest in maximizing fear levels, as that is what maximizes their power.  For a variety of reasons, nobody aids this process more than our establishment media, motivated by their own interests in ratcheting up fear and Terrorism melodrama as high as possible.  The result is a citizenry far more terrorized by our own institutions than foreign Terrorists could ever dream of achieving on their own.  For that reason, a risk that is completely dwarfed by numerous others — the risk of death from Islamic Terrorism — dominates our discourse, paralyzes us with fear, leads us to destroy our economic security and eradicate countless lives in more and more foreign wars, and causes us to beg and plead and demand that our political leaders invade more of our privacy, seize more of our freedom, and radically alter the system of government we were supposed to have.  The one thing we don’t do is ask whether we ourselves are doing anything to fuel this problem and whether we should stop doing it.  As Adams said:  fear ”renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable.”

What makes all of this most ironic is that the American Founding was predicated on exactly the opposite mindset.  The Constitution is grounded in the premise that there are other values and priorities more important than mere Safety.  Even though they knew that doing so would help murderers and other dangerous and vile criminals evade capture, the Framers banned the Government from searching homes without probable cause, prohibited compelled self-incrimination, double jeopardy and convictions based on hearsay, and outlawed cruel and unusual punishment.  That’s because certain values — privacy, due process, limiting the potential for abuse of government power — were more important than mere survival and safety.  A central calculation of the Constitution was that we insist upon privacy, liberty and restraints on government power even when doing so means we live with less safety and a heightened risk of danger and death.  And, of course, the Revolutionary War against the then-greatest empire on earth was waged by people who risked their lives and their fortunes in pursuit of liberty, precisely because there are other values that outweigh mere survival and safety.

These are the calculations that are now virtually impossible to find in our political discourse.  It is fear, and only fear, that predominates.  No other competing values are recognized.  We have Chris Matthews running around shrieking that he’s scared of kung-fu-wielding Terrorists.  Michael Chertoff is demanding that we stop listening to “privacy ideologues” — i.e., that there should be no limits on Government’s power to invade and monitor and scrutinize.  Republican leaders have spent the decade preaching that only Government-provided Safety, not the Constitution, matters.  All in response to this week’s single failed terrorist attack, there are — as always — hysterical calls that we start more wars, initiate racial profiling, imprison innocent people indefinitely, and torture even more indiscriminately.  These are the by-products of the weakness and panic and paralyzing fear that Americans have been fed in the name of Terrorism, continuously for a full decade now. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Dec 20

gulag

“If you don’t have enough evidence to charge someone criminally but you think he’s illegal, we can make him disappear.”

Those chilling words were spoken by James Pendergraph, then executive director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of State and Local Coordination, at a conference of police and sheriffs in August 2008.

Also present was Amnesty International’s Sarnata Reynolds, who wrote about the incident in the 2009 report “Jailed Without Justice” and said in an interview, “It was almost surreal being there, particularly being someone from an organization that has worked on disappearances for decades in other countries. I couldn’t believe he would say it so boldly, as though it weren’t anything wrong.”

ICE agents regularly impersonate civilians–OSHA inspectors, insurance agents, religious workers–in order to arrest longtime US residents who have no criminal history. Jacqueline Stevens has reported a web-exclusive companion piece on ICE agents’ ruse operations.

Pendergraph knew that ICE could disappear people, because he knew that in addition to the publicly listed field offices and detention sites, ICE is also confining people in 186 unlisted and unmarked subfield offices, many in suburban office parks or commercial spaces revealing no information about their ICE tenants–nary a sign, a marked car or even a US flag. (Presumably there is a flag at the Veterans Affairs Complex in Castle Point, New York, but no one would associate it with the Criminal Alien Program ICE is running out of Building 7.) Designed for confining individuals in transit, with no beds or showers, subfield offices are not subject to ICE Detention Standards. The subfield office network was mentioned in an October report by Dora Schriro, then special adviser to Janet Napolitano, secretary of Homeland Security, but no locations were provided.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nov 20

Related information:

- CIA Director Reveals Spec Ops Report: US Needs Hit Squads, ‘Manhunting Agency’

- Italy convicts 23 CIA agents in rendition trial

- 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’

- US Spy Agencies Buy Stake in Firm That Monitors Blogs, Twitter and Even Amazon Book Reviews


The CIA built one of its secret European prisons inside an exclusive riding academy outside Vilnius, Lithuania, a current Lithuanian government official and a former U.S. intelligence official told ABC News this week.


Outside Lithuania the CIA used a former barn to interrogate al Qaeda members.

Where affluent Lithuanians once rode show horses and sipped coffee at a café, the CIA installed a concrete structure where it could use harsh tactics to interrogate up to eight suspected al-Qaeda terrorists at a time.

“The activities in that prison were illegal,” said human rights researcher John Sifton. “They included various forms of torture, including sleep deprivation, forced standing, painful stress positions.”

Lithuanian officials provided ABC News with the documents of what they called a CIA front company, Elite, LLC, which purchased the property and built the “black site” in 2004.

Lithuania agreed to allow the CIA prison after President George W. Bush visited the country in 2002 and pledged support for Lithuania’s efforts to join NATO.

“The new members of NATO were so grateful for the U.S. role in getting them into that organization that they would do anything the U.S. asked for during that period,” said former White House counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, now an ABC News consultant. “They were eager to please and eager to be cooperative on security and on intelligence matters.”

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nov 05

This is a MUST-READ.

This is “winning the hearts and minds of people” in action. This is how the US creates real terrorists.

Soldiers wake up! You die for nothing in Afghanistan except corporate profit benefiting only the elite.


The following videos were posted to YouTube by the Real News Network on Oct. 26 and Nov. 4, 2009.

The CIA relied on intelligence based on torture in prisons in Uzbekistan, a place where widespread torture practices include raping suspects with broken bottles and boiling them alive, says a former British ambassador to the central Asian country.

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.”

former-uk-ambassador-craig-murray
Former UK ambassador Craig Murray

Human rights groups have long been raising the alarm about the legal system in Uzbekistan. In 2007, Human Rights Watch declared that torture is “endemic” to the country’s justice system.

Murray said he only realized after his stint as ambassador that the CIA was sending people to be tortured in Uzbekistan, country he describes as a “totalitarian” state that has never moved on from its communist era, when it was a part of the Soviet Union.

Suspects in Uzbekistan’s gulags “were being told to confess to membership in Al Qaeda. They were told to confess they’d been in training camps in Afghanistan. They were told to confess they had met Osama bin Laden in person. And the CIA intelligence constantly echoed these themes.”

“I was absolutely stunned — it changed my whole world view in an instant — to be told that London knew [the intelligence] coming from torture, that it was not illegal because our legal advisers had decided that under the United Nations convention against torture, it is not illegal to obtain or use intelligence gained from torture as long as we didn’t do the torture ourselves,” Murray said.

IT’S THE PIPELINE, STUPID

Murray asserts that the primary motivation for US and British military involvement in central Asia has to do with large natural gas deposits in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. As evidence, he points to the plans to build a natural gas pipeline through Afghanistan that would allow Western oil companies to avoid Russia and Iran when transporting natural gas out of the region.

Murray alleged that in the late 1990s the Uzbek ambassador to the US met with then-Texas Governor George W. Bush to discuss a pipeline for the region, and out of that meeting came agreements that would see Texas-based Enron gain the rights to Uzbekistan’s natural gas deposits, while oil company Unocal worked on developing the Trans-Afghanistan pipeline.

“The consultant who was organizing this for Unocal was a certain Mr. Karzai, who is now president of Afghanistan,” Murray noted.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Oct 30

torture-electrode

President Barack Obama received a great deal of media attention on Wednesday for signing a historic hate-crimes bill into law. But, on the same day, the US president also signed a Homeland Security spending bill that received far less attention, even though it effectively blocks efforts by activists to reveal photos of detainee abuse in US custody.

“We are disappointed that the president has signed a law giving the Defense Department the authority to hide evidence of its own misconduct, and we hope the defense secretary will not take advantage of that authority by suppressing photos related to the abuse of prisoners,” Jameel Jaffer, national security director for the ACLU, said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the House and Senate inserted language into the Homeland Security appropriations bill that would shield photos of detainees in the US’s war on terror from the Freedom of Information Act. The language, which was added at the prodding of Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), effectively blocks an ACLU lawsuit currently before the courts that would have forced the government to release the photos under Freedom of Information statutes.

As Daphne Eviatar noted at the Washington Independent, “President Obama initially agreed to release the photos, but changed his mind after consulting with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and others at the Pentagon, who warned the photos would endanger US servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

At issue are 21 photos of detainees in US custody that the Department of Defense has been fighting tooth and nail from releasing. As Raw Story reported earlier this year, those photos may show acts of sexual abuse being carried out against detainees.

Major General Antonio Taguba, the author of a report on allegations of detainee abuse in U.S. prisons in Iraq, said that photos exist depicting the following:

–An American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner.
–A male translator apparently raping a male detainee.
–A female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts.

Other photographs depict sexual assaults on prisoners with a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube, according to Taguba. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Oct 26

Continuing change!


dennis_blair_official_director_of_national_intelligence_portrait
Dennis Cutler Blair (born 1947), is the third and current Director of National Intelligence and a retired United States Navy four-star admiral.

Speaking at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club September 15, Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis C. Blair, disclosed that the current annual budget for the 16 agency U.S. “Intelligence Community” (IC) clocks-in at $75 billion and employs some 200,000 operatives world-wide, including private contractors.

In unveiling an unclassified version of the National Intelligence Strategy (NIS), Blair asserts he is seeking to break down “this old distinction between military and nonmilitary intelligence,” stating that the “traditional fault line” separating secretive military programs from overall intelligence activities “is no longer relevant.”

As if to emphasize the sweeping nature of Blair’s remarks, Federal Computer Week reported September 17 that “some non-federal officials with the necessary clearances who work at intelligence fusion centers around the country will soon have limited access to classified terrorism-related information that resides in the Defense Department’s classified network.” According to the publication: Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sep 03

Related article: CIA refuses order to release torture documents


Medical ethics group says physicians monitored ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ and studied their effectiveness

camp-delta-in-guantanamo-bay
A US flag at Camp Delta in Guantánamo Bay. Photograph: Paul J Richards/AFP/Getty Images

Doctors and psychologists the CIA employed to monitor its “enhanced interrogation” of terror suspects came close to, and may even have committed, unlawful human experimentation, a medical ethics watchdog has alleged.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), a not-for-profit group that has investigated the role of medical personnel in alleged incidents of torture at Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram and other US detention sites, accuses doctors of being far more involved than hitherto understood.

PHR says health professionals participated at every stage in the development, implementation and legal justification of what it calls the CIA’s secret “torture programme”.

The American Medical Association, the largest body of physicians in the US, said it was in open dialogue with the Obama administration and other government agencies over the role of doctors. “The participation of physicians in torture and interrogation is a violation of core ethical values,” it said.

The most incendiary accusation of PHR’s latest report, Aiding Torture, is that doctors actively monitored the CIA’s interrogation techniques with a view to determining their effectiveness, using detainees as human subjects without their consent. The report concludes that such data gathering was “a practice that approaches unlawful experimentation”.

Human experimentation without consent has been prohibited in any setting since 1947, when the Nuremberg Code, which resulted from the prosecution of Nazi doctors, set down 10 sacrosanct principles. The code states that voluntary consent of subjects is essential and that all unnecessary physical and mental suffering should be avoided.

The Geneva conventions also ban medical experiments on prisoners and prisoners of war, which they describe as “grave breaches”. Under CIA guidelines, doctors and psychologists were required to be present during the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques on detainees.

In April, a leaked report from the International Committee of the Red Cross found that medical staff employed by the CIA had been present during waterboarding, and had even used what appeared to be a pulse oxymeter, placed on the prisoner’s finger to monitor his oxygen saturation during the procedure. The Red Cross condemned such activities as a “gross breach of medical ethics”. PHR has based its accusation of possible experimentation on the 2004 report of the CIA’s own inspector general into the agency’s interrogation methods, which was finally published two weeks ago after pressure from the courts.

An appendix to the report, marked “top secret”, provides guidelines to employees of the CIA’s internal Office of Medical Services “supporting the detention of terrorists turned over to the CIA for interrogation”.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Sep 02

cia

The Central Intelligence Agency has refused to turn over documents they were ordered to produce to a civil rights group under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

A federal judge ordered the agency to produce the documents — relating to the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program and secret prisons — by Monday, or provide a justification for withholding them. The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Obama’s Justice Department has refused to provide more documents. The Department had been instructed to release a presidential directive authorizing CIA “black sites” as well as CIA inspector general (IG) records and documents from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel regarding the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

In a filing Monday, the CIA said they wouldn’t turn over the documents, claiming their publication would threaten national security.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,