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Ron Paul’s thought-provoking speech on the House floor from February 2009 seems as appropriate now as it did then…
“Madam Speaker, I have a few questions for my colleagues.
What if our foreign policy of the past century is deeply flawed and has not served our national security interest?
United Kingdom — Three Royal Marines have been jailed for their roles in a twisted initiation ceremony that left a colleague suicidal and forced him to endure “40 minutes of depravity and naked humiliation.” A fourth was sentenced to unpaid community work for battery and disgraceful conduct during the ‘joining run’ initiation event in May 2014.
Three men, Marine Ian Tennet, Lance Corporal Scott Sim, and Lance Corporal James Taylor were all charged with ill-treatment of a subordinate. Tennet was sentenced to 11 months while Simm and Taylor both received eight-month sentences. The fourth defendant, Marine Ryan Logan, was ordered to serve 220 hours of unpaid community work after being convicted for his role in a water-boarding incident.
“I worked at The CIA. I wrote the Emergency Destruction Plan for Geneva. When CIA destroys something, it’s never a mistake…“
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A new Reuters/Ipsos poll poll shows that 63% of Americans – 82% of Republicans and 53% of Democrats – believe torture of suspected terrorists is “often” or “sometimes” justified to gather information.
While it would be nice to beat the crap out of some bad guys to get them spill the beans – and prevent more terrorism – the truth is that torture DECREASES the amount of information we’ll get and actually INCREASES terrorism.
Shaker Aamer, who was released from Guantanamo Bay prison in October, gave his first television interview to the British news outlet, ITV News.
Aamer, a British resident born in Saudi Arabia, was detained for nearly fourteen years. He endured routine abuse and torture, especially because he engaged in hunger strikes and was willing to stand up for the rights of fellow prisoners.
He wrote a number of letters from Guantanamo which offered a window into the brutal tactics used by the U.S. military. The letters also showed the pain caused by not being able to be with his wife and children
ITV, unfortunately, posted Aamer’s interview today in many thirty to forty-five second chunks rather than in one segment or two longer parts for the world to watch. Those chunks of the interview do not necessarily represent the more significant parts of the interview.
I’ve mentioned John Kiriakou several times before on these pages. In case you forgot, he was the only person jailed for the CIA’s torture program. Unsurprisingly, he was the guy who blew the whistle on it.
Fortunately, John has served his time and, rather than riding off into the sunset, he continues to courageously speak out against the ever expanding injustices perpetrated on the American people by their own government.
Here are some excerpts from his powerful piece at Truth Dig, The Sad Fate of America’s Whistleblowers:
This is interesting.
From the Guardian:
Survivors of CIA torture have sued the contractor psychologists who designed one of the most infamous programs of the post-9/11 era.
In an extraordinary step, psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen now face a federal lawsuit for their role in convincing the CIA to subject terror suspects to mock drowning, painful bodily contortions, sleep and dietary deprivation and other methods long rejected by much of the world as torture.
For more on Mitchell and Jessen, I suggest reading: Revelations from the Torture Report – CIA Lies, Nazi Methods and the $81 Million No-Bid Torture Contract.
In practice, CIA torture meant disappearances, mock executions, anal penetration performed under cover of “rehydration” and at least one man who froze to death, according to a landmark Senate report last year. Versions of the techniques migrated from the CIA’s undocumented prisons, known as black sites, to US military usage at Guantánamo Bay, Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan and Abu Ghraib in Iraq.
– Torture broke CIA’s own ‘human experimentation’ rules – report (RT, June 15, 2015):
The CIA’s torture program had explicit guidelines on human experimentation from 1987, according to a report. But their regular practices, including participation of medical staff in torture sessions, may have violated those guidelines.
A document obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and published on Monday by the Guardian reveals the Central Intelligence Agency was prohibited from conducting or sponsoring research on human subjects without their consent. The “Law and policy governing the conduct of intelligence activities” was originally enacted in 1987, and was last updated in 2013.
– DC Court Rules US Can Keep Torture Docs Secret (Antiwar, May 20, 2015):
Judge Says Decision Made by President, Congress
A DC district court judge today ruled that the Obama Administration can keep the Senate’s CIA torture report as well as CIA documents regarding torture secret as long as they want.
Judge James Boasberg insists that the question of whether the documents can be public was already decided “by the other two branches of government” and that the courts shouldn’t get involved.
The ACLU has been pushing for the documents, particularly the 6,900-page Senate report, under the Freedom of Information Act. Only a carefully redacted shorter summary of the report was ever released.
Judge Boasberg sought to reassure the public by saying that ultimately it was entirely possible that some administration would release the documents, but insisted it was not a decision to be made by a court
– UN torture investigator calls for access to US prisons, Gitmo detainees (RT, March 11, 2015):
The United Nations special rapporteur on torture lambasted the United States for continually obstructing his requests to visit prisons where 80,000 people sit in solitary confinement and to freely speak with inmates at Guantanamo Bay.
Juan E. Méndez said Wednesday that he has attempted for more than two years to visit and check conditions at American prisons, including some of the nation’s most notorious maximum security facilities. He added that UN human rights officials have asked for access to Guantanamo prisoners since 2004.
“On the federal level, I want to go to ADX in Florence, Colorado and to the Manhattan Correctional Center,” Méndez said during a news briefing, Reuters reported.
“Those are where people accused of terrorism are taken or where they serve their term.”
– A Secret “Black Site” Revealed In Chicago: “When You Go In, You Just Disappear” (ZeroHedge, Feb 24, 2015):
Located in a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side is where, according to the Guardian, one can find the domestic equivalent of a CIA “black site” – an illegal, off-the-books interrogation compound used by Chicago special police units, one which renders “Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside”; a place whose former occupants say is where you end up when you are “disappeared”; a place which confirms that when it comes to the eternal “who is better – us or them” debate, there really is no difference: “It brings to mind the interrogation facilities they use in the Middle East. The CIA calls them black sites. It’s a domestic black site. When you go in, no one knows what’s happened to you.” It’s a Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib rolled into one. In short: it is a place where the US constitution and basic human rights have absolutely no access.
And it may be located in a building just down your street.
According to an exclusive piece by the Guardian that is sure to send not only shivers down the spine of those who are still paying attention, but ripples across the “land of the free”, not least because if there is one dark site on US soil, there are countless more – places where every single constitutional right of US citizens is trampled on – the secretive warehouse known as Homan Square is the latest example of Chicago police practices that echo the much-criticized detention abuses of the US war on terrorism. However, there is one huge difference: while those abuses impacted people overseas, Homan Square – said to house military-style vehicles, interrogation cells and even a cage – trains its focus on Americans, most often poor, black and brown.
Every former communist block country had them: hidden, dark places where the secret police could have their way with you, and even kill you if it so desired, and nobody would have any clue or recourse of action; something for which the “evil empire” was mocked by the “free western world.” As it turns out, the “evil empire” can now be found in at least one of the most populated American cities:
– ‘No one went to jail but me’: CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou speaks out (RT, Feb 10, 2015):
Former CIA analyst John Kiriakou blew the whistle on the agency’s use of waterboarding and was subsequently locked up. Fresh out of prison and on the heels of the CIA torture report, he feels vindicated – and says he wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.
RT:You’ve described your time in detention as “terrible years that ruined you personally,” yet you’ve also said it’s all been worth it. Can you expand on that?
John Kiriakou: You know, I really do believe that it was worth it. I’m proud to have played a role, however small, in the outline of torture in the United States. And to me, the past now is water under the bridge. I’m proud to have played that role and it’s time to move on and continue this fight for human rights and civil liberties.
– UK territory was used for CIA interrogation, torture – Bush-era whistleblower (RT, Jan 31, 2015):
The CIA carried out interrogations on British territory, according to a senior Bush administration official. The claims, if true, contradict the official line of the British government that it was not complicit in torture in the years after 9/11.
Speaking to Vice News, Lawrence Wilkerson, who was Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, said the British territory of Diego Garcia was used as a “transit location” for the CIA to carry out interrogations and other “nefarious activities” when other bases were unavailable.
H/t reader M.G.:
“A short preview of the torture being endured at Gitmo……this is a small part of a diary that became a book. No wonder the US is crashing and burning, this is stuff the Nazis would have loved…..evil only breeds more.
This is appalling.
– Guantánamo Diary (The Guardian):
– Even CIA Admits Torture Doesn’t Work (Washington’s Blog, Dec 31, 2014):
Even the Agency Which DID the Torture Says It Doesn’t Work
Seton Hall Law School Professor Jonathan Hafetz made an important point today :
CIA director, John O Brennan, admitted that the agency “has not concluded that it was the use of EITs [“Enhanced Interrogation Techniques aka torture] that allowed us to obtain useful information from detainees”.
The [CIA] – unlike its loudest defenders – is not endorsing torture as a means of gaining intelligence or keeping the country safe.
The flurry of media appearances by Cheney and other torture defenders has created a false sense that there is a genuine divide over whether torture “works”. But neither the CIA nor professional interrogators actually say that.
Indeed, the CIA has consistently said for many decades that torture doesn’t work:
– Outgoing senator urged to release full CIA torture report (RT, Dec 29/30, 2014):
Calls for Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colorado) to reveal the entire, unredacted CIA torture report have increased, with a group of former intelligence analysts issuing a memo that urges the outgoing legislator to read the report on the Senate floor.
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) released the letter, asking Udall to use his constitutional protection as a still-sitting member of Congress to introduce the full 6,000-plus-page report by the Senate Intelligence Committee into the congressional record by reading it on the Senate floor. The current versionis heavily redacted.
“We, the undersigned are veteran intelligence officers with a combined total of over 300 years of experience in intelligence work,” the letter begins. “We send you this open letter at what seems to be the last minute simply because we had been hoping we would not have to.”
“You seem on the verge of leaving the Senate without letting your fellow Americans know all they need to know about CIA torture,” the memo continues. “In the eight weeks since you lost your Senate seat you gave off signs that, during your last days in office, you would provide us with a fuller account of this sordid chapter in our country’s history, exercising your right to immunity under the “Speech or Debate” clause in Article 1 of the Constitution.”
– Germany Files War Crimes Against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld And Other CIA Officials (Addicting Info, Dec 21, 2014):
If President Obama won’t do it, someone else will. Thankfully, a human rights group in Berlin, The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, has begun the process of indicting members of the Bush Administration by filing criminal complaints against the architects of the Admin’s torture program.
Calls for an immediate investigation by the German human rights group was started after outrage ensued on the case of a German citizen, Khalid El-Masri, who had been captured by CIA agents in 2004 because of a mistaken identity mix-up and was tortured at a secret prison in Afghanistan.
Wolfgang Kaleck, the general secretary of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, said: