A Senate report on the CIA's interrogation and detention practices after the 9/11 attacks concludes that the agency initially kept the secretary of state and some U.S. ambassadors in the dark about harsh techniques and secret prisons, according to a document circulating among White House staff. The still-classified report also says some ambassadors who were informed about interrogations of al-Qaida detainees at so-called black sites in their countries were instructed not to tell their superiors at the State Department, says the document, which the White House accidentally emailed to an Associated Press reporter.
Sunni militants from the Islamic State have ordered all girls and women aged 11 to 46 in and around the city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation, the UN reported. The potential number of victims is estimated at 4 million. The shocking news, adding to an already long list of crimes reportedly committed by the militants since the takeover of northern Iraq last month, was broken by UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, Jacqueline Badcock. "
This is something very new for Iraq, particularly in this area, and is of grave concern and does need to be addressed," she told reporters in Geneva by videolink from Arbil on Thursday. "
This is not the will of Iraqi people, or the women of Iraq in these vulnerable areas covered by the terrorists," she added.
The members of US Congress during a Wednesday Rules Committee hearing considered arguments from legal experts explaining the reasons and grounds to follow through on a lawsuit against President Barack Obama. ● Elizabeth Price Foley, Professor of Law at Florida International University College of Law, told members of the Committee “the House has standing” to sue the President for “institutional injury,” making the case that the lawsuit against Obama, initiated by House Speaker John A. Boehner, could succeed. Foley believes that even if the current President does not fully abuse executive authority, his unilateral decision-taking will set a precedent of executive overreach that could become dangerous in the hands of a future president. ● Drawing on the subject of violating constitutional provisions, Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor, stated that the President has no authority “to go it alone, ordering changes to the law as a majority of one.” He continued in his opening statements, that the President's “executive prerogative” is a “sirens call,” which should be heeded.
Eric Zuesse: America Is Guilty if We Don’t Prosecute Obama
If there’s one person who has absolutely zero business criticizing anyone for how they’re running the country, it’s Dick Cheney. This should be obvious to pretty everyone by now, but apparently the Wall Street Journal didn’t get the message. Today, the paper published an editorial by Cheney and his daughter Liz in which the former Vice President blasts the “collapsing Obama doctrine” of foreign policy.” Taking the rapid advance of ISIS radicals through northern Iraq as his cue, Cheney accuses President Obama of “emboldening” America‘s enemies. He writes: "
Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many. Too many times to count, Mr. Obama has told us he is ‘ending’ the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – as though wishing made it so. His rhetoric has now come crashing into reality…America‘s enemies are not ‘decimated.’ They are emboldened and on the march."
Chelsea Manning: The Fog Machine of War
Paul Waldman: Dick Cheney's amazing chutzpah on Iraq
RT.com: You've been lied to all the time: Chelsea Manning issues dire warning about Iraq
RINF: Why Bush and Blair Should Be Prosecuted for War Crimes
AWIP: Wes Clark - America's Foreign Policy "Coup" - Video
Craig Murray: Deadly Fiasco
Paul Craig Roberts: Professor Francis Boyle on Impeachment of Bush and Obama
The Israeli prime minister is pushing for the approval of a bill that will allow doctors to force-feed up to 120 Palestinian prisoners. Inmates are hunger striking in protest of their indefinite detention and say they are ready to die for their cause. ● Although the bill is opposed by the Israeli Medical Association on the grounds it is a violation of medical ethics, the Knesset voted for the legislation to be sent to a committee. The measure would allow a judge to enact force-feeding if he or she thinks the detainee’s life might be in danger. Between 100 and 120 inmates are currently participating in the hunger strike to protest their indefinite detention without any charges.
In a brief appearance in the White House Rose Garden Tuesday, President Barack Obama announced that the US would maintain nearly 10,000 troops in Afghanistan next year despite an official declaration of an end to combat operations. Obama said his plan to keep thousands of US military forces in the country for the next two years was dependent on the reaching of a military cooperation agreement with the incoming president of Afghanistan.
Stephen Lendman: Obama in Afghanistan
John LaForge ■ The Weapons Oligarchy With the Pentagon having secured its annual 47 percent of the April 15 federal tax haul ($1,335 billion out of a total of $2,890 billion) it’s a good time to consider the mountains of money being wasted on useless weapons or just plain stolen. Without a public uproar, U.S. could spend more than $600 billion on nuclear weapons over the next 10 years, according to Alicia Godsberg of Peace Action and others. President Obama has famously mouthed support for “a world without nuclear weapons,” and “a world where these weapons will never again threaten our children,” but his nuclear weapons budget says bombs, bombs and more bombs. For 2014, the President plans a nuclear weapons spending increase over the current level of $7.227 billion. Where’s the money to come from? Taking a page from the Reagan/Thatcher play book, Obama plans to get it from the nuclear non-proliferation budget. According to a report by Jeffery Smith and Douglas Birch in Foreign Policy April 9, the president has proposed a $460 million cut from the nuclear non-proliferation program — so it can boost nuclear weapons building programs by exactly $500 million. Since 2011, Obama has been pushing a plan to spend $85 billion over 10 years to rebuild thousands of H-bombs — bombs that should be retired and abolished. The president has also proposed pouring $125 billion over 10 years into a new fleet of nuclear-armed submarines, new nuclear bombers and new land-based ICBMs.
Carl Herman ■ There is evil, and then there’s organized evil. This is a memorial outside the village where my brother lives in the south of France. It is a typical village, quite small, perhaps a few hundred residents. The memorial commemorates three young French civilians who were taken out and shot by Nazi soldiers, either for “crimes” of resistance or perhaps as a “lesson” to the restive civilian populace. The German soldiers who pulled the triggers were of course “just following orders.” [...] But to be part of large-scale organized evil, people need to surrender their autonomy under threat, and be ordered by a central authority.
Paul Craig Roberts ■ Lincoln forever destroyed states’ rights, but the suspension of habeas corpus and free speech that went hand in hand with America’s three largest wars was lifted at war’s end. However, President George W. Bush’s repeal of the Constitution has been expanded by President Obama and codified by Congress and executive orders into law. Far from defending our liberties, our soldiers who died in “the war on terror” died so that the president can indefinitely detain US citizens without due process of law and murder US citizens on suspicion alone without any accountability to law or the Constitution. As Alexander Solzhenitsyn said, “A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.” - The conclusion is unavoidable that America’s wars have not protected our liberty but, instead, destroyed liberty.
For some reason, the power to disappear people without a trial is really, really important to America's ruling class. ● One thing we know for sure, the indefinite detention provisions which shipped in the 2012, 2013, and now the 2014 versions of the NDAA didn't slip in by accident. It was bad enough that Congress pushed the law through in the face of widespread uproar, and that Obama signed it each time when he could have easily vetoed it with a single stroke of his pen, but yesterday when they voted down an amendment proposed by Adam Smith (D-Washington), which would have done nothing but eliminate indefinite detention in the U.S. and its territories, that demonstrates that America's ruling class really, really wants this power. Now of course, those who support the elimination of habeas corpus will tell you that this law is only for "terrorists", but that's precisely where the issue lies. Who determines if someone is a terrorist? Under the NDAA, faceless bureaucrats can make someone disappear based on a mere accusation.
Americans Are More Afraid of Being Tortured By Our Government than British, Australians, Canadians – Or Even Chinese – Are Afraid of Torture By Their Governments. ● And Most People – Including Most Americans – Know that Torture Is NEVER Necessary Or Acceptable “To Gain Information That May Protect The Public”. Amnesty International conducted a global survey to find out how afraid people were of being tortured by their own governments if they are taken into custody. The survey shows that the British, Australian, Canadian – and even Chinese people – are less afraid of being tortured than Americans. Specifically, Amnesty asked whether people agreed with the following statement: If I were taken into custody by the authorities in my country, I am confident that I would be safe from torture - Here are some of the results.
Nick Barrickman ■ A federal judge last week ordered a temporary halt to US authorities’ practice of force-feeding a detainee at the Guantanamo military base in Cuba. The order comes on the heels of a large-scale hunger strike by the base’s detainees in 2013, protesting the conditions of their ongoing detainment. According to an injunction ordered by judge Gladys Kessler of the Federal District Court of the District of Columbia, the “force-feedings and forcible cell extractions” of Guantanamo prisoner Mohammed Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a Syrian, must stop until the US government meets with the court on Wednesday for a status conference on the treatment of the detainee. The judge also called for the preservation of all video evidence of Dhiab’s forced feeding from April 2013 until February 2014, which authorities will be asked to present to the court at a later date.
Popular TV shows such as 24, Homeland and Spooks blamed for one in three Britons condoning use of torture. ● 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.
Please distribute this video as widely as possible. It is one of the few chances that the Un-chosen People have of fighting back. But be careful who you ask for advice. If I were a Friend of Israel (perish the thought) I would try to infiltrate as many anti-Israel organisations that I could, including websites that purported to be pro-Palestinian.
A prisoner in the US state of Oklahoma died of a heart attack following a botched execution on Tuesday, triggering claims of torture by attorneys for the death row inmate. ● Clayton Lockett, 38, died around 40 minutes after his execution was halted due to a botched lethal injection. He was convicted of murder, rape, kidnapping and robbery for a 1999 crime spree. Lockett was administered a new and untested three-drug combination. Following the injection of the three lethal drugs, Lockett writhed on the gurney, clenched his teeth, and strained to lift his head off the pillow before he died, according to witnesses. Lockett's lawyers say he was tortured to death and have called for an independent investigation and autopsy to learn what really went wrong. "It was a horrible thing to witness. This was totally botched," said Lockett's attorney, David Autry.
Kate Randall: Oklahoma: Botched lethal injection forces postponement of second planned execution
Katie Fretland: State-Sanctioned Murder: Clayton Lockett death witness speaks - Audio
UPI.com: Oklahoma inmate suffers fatal heart attack in botched execution
A US police deputy choked a student into unconsciousness in Fort Sanders, Knox County, Tennessee on Saturday night. ● Photos obtained by the Daily Mail show that Frank Phillips, 47, places his hands on the throat of a Jarod Dotson, 22, a University of Tennessee college student, until he is unconscious. Dotson was led to a policy van at the university, before the officer unnecessarily used the excessive force against him, while he had been already handcuffed. The photos show as two officers are twisting his arms behind his back, another deputy walks in front of the young man and puts his hands around his neck. As it can be seen from the sequence of shots, the student appears to lose consciousness, his knees start buckling as he sinks to the ground, while the officer continues to choke him or activate a pressure point that sends him unconscious.
The mastermind of the US Central Intelligence Agency’s torture program has hit the headlines after seven years to defend the spy agency’s torture techniques. In an interview with the Guardian published on Friday, James Elmer Mitchell has described the CIA's “enhanced interrogation” program as a “success”. Mitchell was hired by the CIA back in 2002 to develop the so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques". Mitchell also said that he is "skeptical" about a Senate Intelligence Committee report on the controversial program. The 6,300-page report prepared by the committee provides details of torture techniques, including water-boarding, sleep deprivations for several days, confining the suspects in a box and hitting them against walls, used by the CIA under the administration of George W. Bush. The report says the “enhanced interrogation” methods, which were devised by Mitchell, were far more brutal than what was previously known.
What's already public is a clear and systematic abuse of power and human rights. ● The controversy over a Senate investigation documenting the Central Intelligence Agency’s post-9/11 regime of global torture continues to generate headlines—even though the report has yet to be released. The Senate report has sparked a bitter war between the CIA and senators like Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who accused the CIA of spying on those looking at CIA documents on torture. But while the official inquiry has not been published, dogged journalists have published key—and disturbing—details of what is contained in it. Based on CIA documents, senators on the powerful committee conducted a four-year long, $40 million inquiry into the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, which included torture tactics like the waterboarding of terrorism suspects, beatings and the smashing of suspects’ heads into walls. While the public may be aware of some of these practices due to past revelations, the information carries heavy weight because it is the Senate confirming many of those claims, which has oversight power over the agency.
On Monday, the military trial of five 9/11 suspects was put on hold as allegations surfaced that the FBI had enlisted a member of the defense team as a secret informant. This brazen violation of basic democratic norms is a further exposure of an extra-judicial process that has been illegal from the start. Defense attorneys filed a motion late Sunday night calling for a halt to the proceedings, a review of the FBI’s involvement and the appointing of new independent attorneys for the defendants. James Harrington, a civilian attorney for Ramzi bin al-Shibh, one of the five accused, told the judge, “
We have an impossible situation in terms of representing our client… on any issue.” Harrington added, “To say this is a chilling experience for all of us is a gross understatement.” Harrington explained that the defense security officer serving bin al-Shibh’s defense team had an “ongoing” arrangement with the FBI.
From a British diplomatic source I learn that Britain has lobbied the United States against the publication of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture and extraordinary rendition. The lobbying has been carried out “at all levels” – White House, State Department and CIA. The British have argued that at the very least the report must be emasculated before publication. The British argument is that in a number of court cases including the Belhadj case, the British government has successfully blocked legal action by victims on the grounds that this would weaken the US/UK intelligence relationship and thus vitally damage national security, by revealing facts the American intelligence service wish hidden.
US secret services are actively 'hunting' and jailing Russians in revenge for the annexation of Crimea – or so a warning by the Russian Foreign Ministry says. ● Russia's Foreign Ministry is warning that Russians should refrain from traveling abroad because they could be entrapped by US secret services who are actively "hunting" for Russians to persecute in punishment for Moscow's recent annexation of Crimea, according to an official notice published on the Ministry's website. The message seems directed at the approximately 15 million Russians, most of them middle-class, who leave the country each year for tourism. It says the US, which "unreasonably" refuses to accept the reunification of Russia and Crimea, is seeking revenge by "trying to make a routine practice of 'hunting' for Russian citizens in third countries with the goal of extraditing them to the US, where they will be convicted [and jailed] on what are usually doubtful charges." And it adds that "justice in America" is biased against Russians, who can be "kidnapped" and taken to the US without even notifying Russian consular officials about what is happening. The two cases cited as examples are old bones of contention between Russia and the US: those of convicted arms trader Viktor Bout and convicted cocaine smuggler Konstantin Yaroshenko, both of whom were arrested in third countries and extradited to the US for trial.
Tony Blair knew in detail about the CIA’s secret kidnap and interrogation programme after the September 11 attacks and was kept informed “every step of the way” by MI6, a security source has told The Telegraph. ● Mr Blair, the then prime minister, and Jack Straw, his foreign secretary, were fully briefed on CIA activities and were shown now infamous Bush administration legal opinions that declared “enhanced interrogation” techniques such as waterboarding and stress positions to be legal, the source said. “The politicians took a very active interest indeed. They wanted to know everything. The Americans passed over the legal opinions saying that this was now 'legal’, and our politicians were aware of what was going on at the highest possible level. “The politicians knew in detail about everything – the torture and the rendition. They could have said [to M16] 'stop it, do not get involved’, but at no time did they,” said the source, who has direct and detailed knowledge of the transatlantic relations during that period.
The US Senate Intelligence Committee votes to declassify parts of a report into the CIA's use of
brutal interrogation techniques torture. ● A US Senate panel has approved the declassification of a secret report that criticises the CIA's treatment of terror suspects after 9/11. The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 11-3 to release key parts of the 6,300-page report that concluded waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation methods" were excessively cruel and ineffective. White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Barack Obama would instruct intelligence agencies to finalise the declassification quickly. CIA spokesman Dean Boyd said his agency would "carry out the review expeditiously", but suggested the process may be difficult. He said: "We owe it to the men and women directed to carry out this programme to try and ensure that any historical account of it is accurate."
● The Senate Intelligence Committee's report on interrogation techniques employed by the CIA in the wake of the [Mossad's] Sept. 11 attacks includes a number of "chilling" stories of the use of torture by American officials that have not yet been released to the public, Sen. John McCain said Tuesday. ● The existence of the report and some of its contents, including that coercive techniques such as waterboarding did not lead to the capture of Osama bin Laden, were first reported by The Washington Post on Monday. ● Asked about the report, McCain said it offers further evidence of the inefficiencies of using torture on American enemies. "When you torture someone they will say anything you want to hear to make the pain stop. So I never, ever believed this bologna that, well, because of waterboarding they got information," he said. ● The 6,300-page report is classified, but the Intelligence Committee, headed by Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, will push Thursday for the Obama administration to declassify a 400-page executive summary, The Post reported.
Eric London: CIA scandal: Leaks reveal brutal torture methods and government lies ■ The government torture methods revealed by the The Washington Post, based on information from anonymous administration officials, include sadistic forms of inflicting pain that are associated with the most brutal police state and fascistic regimes. According to the Post, the Senate report “
concludes that the CIA misled the government and the public about aspects of its brutal interrogation program for years—concealing details about the severity of its methods, overstating the significance of plots and prisoners, and taking credit for critical pieces of intelligence that detainees had in fact surrendered before they were subjected to harsh techniques.”
A Senate report found that CIA officials lied to the government and public about its post-9/11 torture program, most notably by distorting intelligence gleaned from traditional interrogations as that attained by far more brutal methods. ● The Washington Post reported Monday that the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report outlines a long list of “unsubstantiated claims” from CIA officials in the agency’s pursuit of a global torture regime that resulted in little, if any, substantive intelligence, according to US officials who have reviewed the document. “
The CIA described [its program]
repeatedly both to the Department of Justice and eventually to Congress as getting unique, otherwise unobtainable intelligence that helped disrupt terrorist plots and save thousands of lives,” said one US official briefed on the report. “Was that actually true? The answer is ‘no’.”
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