Tags: Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda, Al-Qaida, Children, CIA, Craig Murray, Crime, Gas, George Bush, Global News, Government, Hamid Karzai, Human Rights, Interrogation, Military, NATO, Oil, Osama Bin Laden, Politics, Rendition, Terrorism, Terrorists, Torture, U.K., U.S., Uzbekistan, War, War Crimes, War on Terror
Tags: Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda, Al-Qaida, Children, CIA, Craig Murray, Crime, Gas, George Bush, Global News, Government, Hamid Karzai, Human Rights, Interrogation, Military, NATO, Oil, Osama Bin Laden, Politics, Rendition, Terrorism, Terrorists, Torture, U.K., U.S., Uzbekistan, War, War Crimes, War on Terror
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.
- 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: Afghanistan, Department of Defense, Dictatorship, Fascism, Freedom of Information Act, Global News, Government, Guantánamo, Interrogation, Iraq, Military, Mind-Control, Politics, Terrorism, Terrorists, Torture, U.S., War, War Crimes
All to protect civilians, right?
- Bahrain Seeks Mercenaries From Indonesia, Malaysia And Pakistan (ABC Radio Australia)
- UK Training Saudi Forces Used To Crush Arab Spring (Guardian)
- 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: Bahrain, Big Brother, Civil liberties, Dictatorship, Fascism, Global News, Government, Human Rights, Interrogation, New World Order, Nice Systems, Nokia, Police State, Politics, Privacy, Siemens, Society, Surveillance, Technology, Torture, Trovicor, Verint Systems
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.
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.
Exclusive: Methods devised in secret in recent years
may breach international law
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.
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.”
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.
More transparency we can believe in!
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:
“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:
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 »
The CIA has admitted to having videotapes of interrogations in a secret Moroccan prison of 9/11 plotter Ramzi Binalshibh.
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 »
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.
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:
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.
- 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: Colin Powell, Defense Department, Dick Cheney, George Bush, Global News, Government, Guantánamo, Interrogation, Iraq, Military, Politics, Terrorism, Terrorists, Torture, U.S., War, War on Terror
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”:
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.
* * * * *
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:
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: ACLU, Afghanistan, Barack Obama, CIA, Corporations, France, Freedom of Information Act, Germany, Global News, Government, Holland, Iceland, Internet, Interrogation, Iraq, Military, Obama administration, Pentagon, Politics, propaganda, Surveillance, Terrorism, Torture, U.S., WIKILEAKS
MPs and peers brand government’s definition of complicity in torture as ‘worrying’ and call for urgent independent inquiry
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 »
Secret operation ‘reporting only to London’ deprived prisoners of sleep, documents show
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 »
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
Tags: Afghanistan, Barack Obama, Civil liberties, Condoleezza Rice, Constitution, Cynthia McKinney, Dick Cheney, Drones, George Bush, Government, Impeachment, Interrogation, Obama administration, Pakistan, Politics, Torture, U.S., War, War Crimes
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.
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: Abuse, Barack Obama, Bush administration, Civil liberties, Constitution, Dennis Blair, Department of Justice, George Bush, Government, Habeas Corpus, Human Rights, Interrogation, Law, Military, New World Order, Obama administration, Paul Craig Roberts, Police State, Politics, Terrorism, Terrorists, Torture, U.S., War, War on Terror
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: Al-Qaeda, Al-Qaida, Barack Obama, Bush administration, CIA, FBI, Government, Guantánamo, Interrogation, Military, Obama administration, Pentagon, Politics, Ronald Reagan, Society, Soldiers, Suicide, Taliban, Terrorism, Terrorists, Torture, War on Terror
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 »