‘The government stands accused of seeking to conceal Britain’s role in extraordinary rendition, ahead of the release of a declassified intelligence report that exposes the use of torture at US secret prisons around the world.
The Senate report on the CIA‘s interrogation programme, due to be released in days, will confirm that the US tortured terrorist suspects after 9/11. In advance of the release, Barack Obama admitted on Friday: “We tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values.”
Now, in a letter to the human rights group Reprieve, former foreign secretary William Hague has confirmed that the UK government has held discussions with the US about what it intends to reveal in the report which, according to al-Jazeera, acknowledges that the British territory of Diego Garcia was used for extraordinary rendition.’
‘President Obama said Friday that some CIA officials who interrogated suspects after the 9/11 attacks “crossed a line” into torture. “We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks,” Obama said while discussing a forthcoming Senate report on enhanced interrogation techniques. “We did some things that were contrary to our values.”‘
- Citing redactions, Feinstein delays release of CIA torture report
- CIA Torture Was Unnecessary, Senate Report To Conclude
- CIA Employees Think They May Be Thrown Under The Bus After The ‘Torture Report’ Comes Out
- CIA spied on Senate staff: Interview with Coleen Rowley
- John Brennan Faces Calls to Resign After CIA Admits to Spying on Senate Torture Probe
- Rand Paul calls for CIA chief Brennan to be fired
- Nancy Pelosi Hesitates To Criticize CIA: ‘They Really Come After You’
- CIA Admits It Spied on Senate Intel Panel
- Senators: CIA ‘Misleading’ Public Over Secret Torture Report
- Time to scrap the CIA
- 2012: Obama’s justice department grants final immunity to Bush’s CIA torturers
- 2011: Torture crimes officially, permanently shielded
‘As Abdel Hakim Belhaj appeals the ruling that barred him from suing MI6 for its role in his rendition and torture in 2004, his lawyer told a British court that UK government officials are trying to evade responsibility and prevent the case from continuing.
Richard Hermer QC, who represents Belhaj, told the judges of UK’s high court on Monday that government officials want “immunity from accountability… irrespective of the illegality of the act.”
Belhaj is suing MI6, MI5, the Home Office, the Foreign Office, and other UK intelligence agencies and officials for their collusion in his and his wife’s abduction and rendition to Libya, where they were tortured by security forces of Muammar Gaddafi. Belhaj’s wife, Fatima Boudchar, was pregnant at the time. Belhaj, a prominent Libyan dissident, was a leader of the anti-Gaddafi Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and the Libyan al-Watan party.’
- Police investigate evidence that six CIA torture flights landed in Scotland
- Lost US extraordinary rendition files have ‘dried out’, Foreign Office says
- Senate report points to UK ‘complicity’ in US extraordinary rendition
- Emails shed new light on UK link to CIA ‘torture flights’
- Secret British files on CIA rendition flights ‘accidentally destroyed’
- Investigation into UK gov’t complicity is ‘expedient on grounds of national security’
- UK urged to admit that CIA used island as secret ‘black site’ prison
‘[...] The fear of Communist expansion into the Western Hemisphere after Fidel Castro’s 1959 victory in the Cuban Revolution was the geo-political background for the 1963 KUBARK manual. Castro’s victory not only encouraged the 1964 U.S.-supported overthrow of democratically elected Brazilian President Joao Goulart; it also encouraged the CIA to spread KUBARK across the continent to help prop up pro-U.S. governments. After the Brazilian coup, right-wing military leaders across Latin America began seizing control from democratically elected governments with US encouragement, School of the Americas degrees, and a copy of the KUBARK manual.
The Secret, 127-page KUBARK manual, first declassified (with redactions) in 1997 thanks to a Baltimore Sun FOIA request, is a comprehensive guide for training interrogators in obtaining intelligence from “resistant sources.” According to the National Security Archive’s 2004 posting, Prisoner Abuse: Patterns from the Past, KUBARK –a CIA cryptonym for itself– “describes the qualifications of a successful interrogator, and reviews the theory of non-coercive and coercive techniques for breaking a prisoner.”’
- CIA: KUBARK’s very long shadow
- After 16 years, CIA declassifies new portions of “KUBARK” interrogation manual
- Newly Revealed Portions of CIA Torture Manual: Doctoring Tapes, Foreign Detentions & Interrogating ‘Defectors”
- National Archives Quietly Pulls School of the Americas Human Rights Evidence Citing Possible “Terrorist Activity”
- Torture was taught by CIA; Declassified manual details the methods used in Honduras; Agency denials refuted
- A Debate on Torture: Legal Architect of CIA Secret Prisons, Rendition vs. Human Rights Attorney
- CIA Admits It Spied on Senate Intel Panel
- Internal CIA Investigation Confirms CIA Hacked into Senate Computers Being Used for Torture Report
- Scahill: White House Censoring What US Public Can Know About Torture Program
- Pelosi Hesitates To Criticize CIA: ‘They Really Come After You’
- White House accidentally emails torture report document to AP
- CIA initially ‘kept Colin Powell in the dark’ about torture practices
- Senate’s CIA report could come out in August
- Senators consider obscure rule in CIA torture report declassification debate
- Dispute over ex-CIA officials’ access to Senate ‘torture report’ highlights feud
- New Torture Report Blames Obama and the Media for Not Confronting the Truth
- The CIA spying scandal and the disintegration of American democracy
- Security fears loom over CIA report
- Torture, the Senate, and the CIA
- What Happened to CIA Torture Report? Senate in the Dark Too
- Generals Want CIA Torture Report Declassified
- CIA torture architect breaks silence to defend ‘enhanced interrogation’
- CIA’s Declassified Torture Handbook: How to Create a “World of Fear, Terror, Anxiety, Dread”
- Don’t Let the Torturer Play Censor
‘On Tuesday, Clint Williamson — an American diplomat appointed EU prosecutor in 2011 to investigate crimes against humanity in Kosovo — released a scathing statement that accused the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) of murdering a handful of people and then trafficking their kidneys, livers, and other body parts. KLA leaders now run the tiny Balkan country’s government…. The KLA also murdered, kidnapped, and detained people illegally, and in general oversaw a reign of terror against its non-Albanian and Albanian opponents after the group won Kosovo’s independence from Serbia in 1999.
The important thing for Americans to recall here is that the KLA achieved victory with the help of United States and NATO bombers attacking Serbian forces. At the time, President Bill Clinton portrayed the KLA as freedom fighters challenging Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic — a genocidal monster who died in a Hague prison cell in 2006. A few years ago, grateful Kosovars erected a bronze statue of Clinton in downtown Pristina, their capital. But now, it turns out, members of the KLA were probably monsters, too.’
Spinwatch director talks to VICE about British PR companies “reputation laundering” for dictatorships
‘The UK PR industry generates roughly £7.5 billion per year. If you work in media, it might feel like a good chunk of that comes via companies blasting your inbox with products that literally no one could ever want. But let’s be rational about this: there’s a lot more to be made by working for heavy hitters than trying to flog iridescent bean bags to a music reviews website.
Helped by a lack of interference from the government, and with no regulation standing in their way, British PR firms are doing their bit to suppress the evils of foreign dictatorships, and making a decent sum in the process. This isn’t a new phenomenon, of course – regimes have been employing spin doctors for decades whenever they need a dodgy human rights violation smoothed over. But thanks to the internet, there are increasingly more ways in which they can soften whatever blow it is that needs softening.’
‘The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Poland had violated the United Nations Convention Against Torture when it allowed the CIA to torture and abuse prisoners on its territory. It also ruled that the country had violated the Convention by allowing the CIA to transfer prisoners, even though they would likely be subject to undisclosed detention. And the court ruled that Poland had violated the Convention by transferring prisoners to a country where they had a real risk of facing a “flagrant denial of justice.”
The complaints of violations of the torture convention came from Abu Zubaydah [PDF] and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri [PDF]. Poland was ordered to pay 130,000 euros to Zubaydah and $100,000 to Nashiri for “enabling US authorities” to subject the two men to torture and ill-treatment. ECHR also sought to hold the country accountable for its “failure to carry out an effective investigation,” a violation of the torture convention as well. The Polish government has not decided whether it would like to appeal. Throughout the ECHR proceedings, the government consistently refused to constructively participate and provide information that would help the court make a fair ruling.’
‘A doctor who was part of an FDA advisory panel on electric shock therapy says the Judge Rotenberg Center is not reporting device malfunctions that randomly shock students to the government as required.
“We have no data on how often this device is malfunctioning,” said Dr. Steven Miles, a physician who served on a panel advising the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the devices used to deliver the shocks. “Any time that you have a medical device failure, in this case administering random shocks, you cause trauma to people. And in this case you traumatize people with learning disabilities.”
The Canton-based Rotenberg Center, the only place in the country using the devices, disagrees, saying the misfires don’t meet the FDA reporting standard of causing death or serious injury. The FDA, however, is not so sure.’
‘As the world focuses on the World Cup, which opens in Brazil in less than a fortnight, many Brazilians are wrestling with painful discoveries about the military dictatorship that ruled the country from 1964 to 1985. The BBC has found evidence that the UK actively collaborated with the generals – and trained them in sophisticated interrogation techniques.
Brazil’s 21-year dictatorship is less well known abroad than that of Argentina or Chile, but it was still brutal. Hundreds died and thousands were imprisoned and tortured. One of those tortured was a left-wing guerrilla who is now the country’s president, Dilma Rousseff. She set up a Truth Commission to unearth long-buried facts about the past.
As former victims and a few military players come forward to give evidence, Britain’s secret role has emerged. By the early 1970s Brazil’s rulers were engaged in a bitter struggle against left-wing guerrillas. Swept up in the oppression were union leaders, students, journalists and almost anyone who voiced opposition.’
‘Torture methods used during internment of Irish nationalists at the height of the Northern Irish Troubles were sanctioned by the British government minister, an Irish television documentary claimed Wednesday.
In 1971, as violence intensified in the sectarian conflict, internment â or imprisonment without trial â was introduced by the British state as they tried to bring order to the province.
Hundreds of Catholic nationalists were brought to detention camps at army bases. Twelve men, who became known as the Hooded Men, were selected for ‘deep interrogation’.’
‘Worldwide, a global survey conducted by Amnesty International reveals that tens of thousands of citizens from twenty-one different countries believe if they were “taken into custody” by their government they would probably be tortured. From December 2013 to April 2014, Amnesty International interviewed 21,221 citizens from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Citizens were asked if they agreed or disagreed with the following statements: (1) If I were taken into custody by the authorities in my country, I am confident that I would be safe; (2) Clear rules against torture are crucial because any use of torture is immoral and will weaken international human rights; (3) Torture is sometimes necessary and acceptable to gain information that may protect the public. On average, “more than four in ten people” indicated they would not “feel safe from torture if taken into custody.” The highest rates of fear were found in Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, Pakistan and Kenya. Thirty-two percent of Americans surveyed feared they would be tortured.’
‘Up to one in three Britons think torture can be justified – because of what they have seen in fictional TV shows, Amnesty International has revealed. The British public is more likely to condone torture practices than people in Russia and almost half are against an outright ban. The civil rights organisation was surprised by the results of its poll and blamed programmes such as 24, Homeland and Spooks for their glorification of ill-treatment of terror suspects and criminals. Some 29 per cent of Britons said practices such as beatings, scalding and needles rammed under fingernails could be justified if it is to protect the public – compared to 25 per cent in Russia.’
‘Three decades after the U.N. Convention Against Torture imposed measures to eradicate the practice, torture still happens in 141 countries — many of which are signatories to that convention — according to Amnesty International’s annual report on torture released Tuesday.
According to the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” That agreement, as well as the various Geneva Conventions and the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights, have all dictated an absolute ban on torture for any purpose — even in times of war.
And yet, in police headquarters, secret prisons and CIA black sites, detainees across the globe report being subjected to torture as a means of extracting information or confessions, silencing dissent or simply as punishment. The Amnesty report details 27 categories of torture reported in the past year, including electric shocks, mock executions, water torture, rape and sexual violence and the pulling of teeth.’
- House members denied look at CIA report
- On CIA abuses, denial does Americans no favors
- Senators Urge Partial Declassification of CIA Torture Report, Keep Vast Majority Secret
- 5 Explosive Revelations Leaked from Senate Report Exposing CIA Torture
- Why the CIA Doesn’t Want You to See the Senate Torture Report (Video)
- UK urged to admit that CIA used island as secret ‘black site’ prison
- Timeline: The Tortured History of the Senate’s Torture Report
- Leaked Report: CIA Lied, Lied, Lied to Conceal ‘Brutal’ Torture
- Senate report contains new details on CIA black sites
- Using the ‘Top Secret’ Stamp to Hide Lies and War Crimes
- Hayden suggests Feinstein too ‘emotional’ about CIA interrogation techniques
- Confidential State Department cable released by WikiLeaks “detainees were RAPED”
- Rep. Mike Rodgers: “Russian intelligence services are cutting people’s ears off” (Video)
- Pelosi: Blame Cheney for CIA’s ‘Attitude’
- Tony Blair ‘knew all about CIA secret kidnap programme’
- Senate Intel panel approves CIA report
- John McCain: Classified Senate Report on Torture ‘Chilling’
- A tale of two torture reports
- A Debate on Torture: Legal Architect of CIA Secret Prisons, Rendition vs. Human Rights Attorney (Video)
- Nancy Pelosi Admits That Congress Is Scared Of The CIA
- Marcy Wheeler: The White House Has Been Covering Up the Presidency’s Role in Torture for Years
- John Glaser: The Outrageous and Criminal Cover-Up By Obama and the CIA
- Report: White House shielding CIA from Senate torture investigation
- ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Leaks: Pentagon Says Employee Was Prohibited From Providing Report to Congress
- The hidden history of the CIA’s prison in Poland
- Obama and GOPers Worked Together to Kill Bush Torture Probe
Speaking Saturday at the National Rifle Association’s “Stand And Fight” rally at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate accused the Obama administration of instating counterterrorism policies that “coddle adversaries.”
“Come on. Enemies, who would utterly annihilate America, they who’d obviously have information on plots, to carry out Jihad. Oh, but you can’t offend them, can’t make them feel uncomfortable, not even a smidgen,” she said. “Well, if I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we’d baptize terrorists.”
While President Obama told the country to “look forward, not backward” when it came to Bush’s torture program, the United Nations has taken a different route. Recently, the UN Human Rights Committee issued a report excoriating the United States for its human rights violations. It focuses on violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the country is party. The report mentions 25 human rights issues where the United States is failing. This piece will focus on a few of those issues – Guantanamo, NSA surveillance, accountability for Bush-era human rights violations, drone strikes, racism in the prison system, racial profiling, police violence, and criminalization of the homeless.
The UN has delivered a withering verdict on the US’s human rights record, raising concerns on a series of issues including torture, drone strikes, the failure to close Guantánamo Bay and the NSA‘s bulk collection of personal data.
The report was delivered by the UN’s human rights committee in an assessment of how the US is complying with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [ICCPR], which has been in force since the mid 1970s.
The committee, which is chaired by the British law professor Sir Nigel Rodley, catalogued a string of human rights concerns, notably on the mass surveillance exposed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.
In the summer of 1971, on the campus of one of the nation’s top universities and under the supervision of a faculty member, 11 students tortured 10 others over a six-day period, all in the interest of “science.”
Intended to last two weeks, according to the study’s author, Professor Phil Zimbardo, the original focus of the experiment was to see “how individuals adapt to being in a relatively powerless situation.”
The scenario chosen was a simulated prison, built in the basement of the psychology building on Stanford’s campus. Since the research was to involve people, it had to and was approved by the Stanford Human Subjects Committee. The study was set to begin on August 17, 1971.
Anti-arms trade campaigners have launched an unprecedented private prosecution against two defence companies for allegedly marketing torture equipment at the world’s largest weaponry fair in London. Lawyers said that the rare private proceedings were being mounted because state bodies had failed to act on allegations that laws banning the export of illegal weaponry were broken at the biennial Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition in London’s Docklands last year.
French company Magforce International and a Chinese exhibitor, Tianjin Myway International, were ejected from the event after brochures, seen by The Independent, were found to contain products including leg restraints and electronic stun batons. Despite details on the companies being passed to investigators at HM Revenue & Customs six months ago, no charges were brought prior to the expiry of a prosecution deadline earlier this month.
After seven years, the American Psychological Association recently decided to close an ethics case against a Guantanamo psychologist without taking disciplinary action. This is not merely an isolated story about a single individual’s reprieve from accountability. Rather, the case of Dr. John Leso illuminates in full measure the APA’s disturbing post-9/11 decision to embrace the burgeoning US “war on terror” national security agenda at the expense of our profession’s do-no-harm ethical principles.
Shortly after the terrorists hit their targets on the morning of September 11, 2001, the American Psychological Association took action. Within hours, it mobilized a broad network of expert practitioners to offer psychological support to the families of victims and to rescue workers. But the APA also worked quickly to ensure that the Bush Administration viewed the world’s largest organization of psychologists as a valued partner in the rapid expansion of military and intelligence operations. High-level efforts were devoted to nurturing relationships with the Department of Defense, the CIA, and other government agencies. The APA aimed to position psychology and behavioral scientists as key players in US counterterrorism and counterintelligence activities.
Federal court to hear challenge to Gitmo force-feeding: Interview with detainee lawyer, Jon Eisenberg
‘The Guantanamo Bay Detention Center in Cuba is saying goodbye to one detainee while defending its practice of force-feeding prisoners on hunger strikes. Ahmed Belbacha, a 44-year-old man held without trial for 12 years, was transferred to the Algerian government. Belbacha was cleared for transfer several years ago, and is the first detainee to be transferred out of Gitmo this year. In the meantime, the military is defending itself in court against charges it is using a form of torture called “water cure” to force feed at least one of the Gitmo detainees participating in a hunger strike since summer of 2013. Lawyers for Emad Abdullah Hassan, a Yemeni who has been on hunger strike in the detention camp intermittently since 2005 and continuously since 2007, filed the first legal challenge to force-feeding at the military base brought before a US federal court. RT’s Ameera David discusses the case with one of Hassan’s lawyers, Jon Eisenberg.’ (RT America)
Officials at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility have come up with an ingeniously misleading new term to describe hunger strikes at the prison: “long-term non-religious fasts.” The rebranding appears in a 24-page document with the equally ingeniously misleading title, “Medical Management of Detainees With Weight Loss.” The standard operating procedure (SOP) document was exclusively obtained by VICE News Monday afternoon in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
“Preventing [redacted] is important to maintaining good order and discipline in the detention environment, and in protecting detainee health,” the document says. “The procedures outlined in this SOP will be protected from release to detainees and other personnel, including [Joint Task Force (JTF)] staff and visitors without a need to know.”
The document advises Guantanamo’s Joint Medical Group (JMG) on how to treat prisoners who engage in hunger strikes (a.k.a. long-term non-religious fasts). The SOP was implemented this past December, which was also when Gitmo public-affairs officers stopped providing the media with daily statistics on the number of prisoners who were engaged in hunger strikes and being subjected to force-feedings.
Who knows, soon we might see headlines and cable TV shows asking: “Is Dianne Feinstein a whistleblower or a traitor?” A truthful answer to that question could not possibly be “whistleblower.” It may already be a historic fact that Senator Feinstein’s speech on March 11, 2014 blew a whistle on CIA surveillance of the Senate intelligence committee, which she chairs. But if that makes her a whistleblower, then Colonel Sanders is a vegetarian evangelist.
In her blockbuster Tuesday speech on the Senate floor, Feinstein charged that the CIA’s intrusions on her committee’s computers quite possibly “violated the Fourth Amendment.” You know, that’s the precious amendment that Feinstein — more than any other senator — has powerfully treated like dirt, worthy only of sweeping under the congressional rug. A tidy defender of the NSA’s Orwellian programs, Feinstein went on the attack against Edward Snowden from the outset of his revelations last June. Within days, she denounced his brave whistleblowing as “an act of treason” — a position she has maintained.
Snowden and other genuine whistleblowers actually take risks to defend the civil liberties and human rights of others, including the most vulnerable among us. Real whistleblowers choose to expose serious wrongdoing. And, if applicable, they renounce their own past complicity in doing those wrongs. Dianne Feinstein remains in a very different place. She’s 180 degrees from a whistleblower orientation; her moral compass is magnetized with solipsism as a leading guardian of the surveillance state.
- Senator Feinstein Takes CIA Spying Accusation to Senate Floor: Interview with William Binney
- Why Won’t Senator Feinstein Call Torture Torture?
- Surveillance-Defending Senator Slams Surveillance of Senate
- Snowden accuses Senate intelligence chair of hypocrisy over CIA disclosures
- CIA steals the limelight from the NSA – and finds itself in full-blown crisis
- Jesse Ventura Interviewed on CIA vs. Senate Scandal
- Did the CIA Chief Just Dare Obama to Fire Him?
- Graham: ‘The Legislative Branch Should Declare War On The CIA’
In 1995, Conrad Harper, the Clinton administration’s top State Department lawyer, appeared before a United Nations panel in Geneva to discuss American compliance with a global Bill of Rights-style treaty the Senate had recently ratified, and he was asked a pointed question: Did the United States believe it applied outside its borders?
Mr. Harper returned two days later and delivered an answer: American officials, he said, had no obligations under the rights accord when operating abroad. The Bush administration would amplify that claim after the Sept. 11 attacks — and extend it to another United Nations convention that bans the use of torture — to justify its treatment of terrorism suspects in overseas prisons operated by the military and the C.I.A.
The United Nations panel in Geneva that monitors compliance with the rights treaty disagrees with the American interpretation, and human rights advocates have urged the United States to reverse its position when it sends a delegation to answer the panel’s questions next week. But the Obama administration is unlikely to do that, according to interviews, rejecting a strong push by two high-ranking State Department officials from President Obama’s first term.
The Central Intelligence Agency is under investigation for allegedly spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee, panel Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein confirmed Wednesday. The CIA is prohibited from spying on Americans, and spying on members of Congress and their staff would raise particular concerns about the separation of powers. Congress created the House and Senate Intelligence committees in the 1970s to oversee the CIA, the National Security Agency, and other spy agencies after uncovering a slew of spying abuses.
The CIA’s internal watchdog, its inspector general, is reviewing whether CIA agents hacked into the computers of Senate staffers who were involved in producing a report critical of the agency’s now-defunct detention and interrogation program, The New York Times reported Wednesday. According to McClatchy, the inspector general’s office has asked the Justice Department to investigate the case. The committee worked on the 6,300-page interrogation report for years. The report, which remains classified, concluded that brutal interrogation techniques produced little valuable intelligence. Last June, the CIA responded with its own 122-page report challenging particular facts and the conclusion of the Senate’s document. Ending the interrogation program was one of President Obama’s first acts in office.
Sen. Mark Udall, a Colorado Democrat and member of the Intelligence panel, wrote a letter to Obama on Tuesday, urging him to support declassification of the full report. Udall referred vaguely to the CIA’s alleged spying on the committee. “As you are aware, the CIA has recently taken unprecedented action against the Committee in relation to the internal CIAreview, and I find these actions to be incredibly troubling for the Committee’s oversight responsibilities and for our democracy,” Udall wrote. “It is essential that the Committee be able to do its oversight work—consistent with our constitutional principle of the separation of powers—without the CIA posing impediments or obstacles as it is today.”