Disturbing New Photos of CIA Torture

New Torture Photos Release Delayed (indefinitely)

One former CIA official, Dr. Mark M. Lowenthal, speaking to ABC, describes the photos’ release as “prurient” and “reprehensible.” Lowenthal then goes on to lament what he sees as an unnecessary and egregious effort to throw the CIA under the bus.

“These photographs provide visual proof that prisoner abuse by U.S. personnel was not aberrational but widespread, reaching far beyond the walls of Abu Ghraib,” said Amrit Singh, staff attorney with the ACLU. “Their disclosure is critical for helping the public understand the scope and scale of prisoner abuse as well as for holding senior officials accountable for authorizing or permitting such abuse.” Lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. Continue reading: HuffPost

Human Rights Watch report detailing unusually cruel torture techniques used by the CIA in Libya, including prolonged diapering, insects and water boarding.

Wired News did a report detailing some of the alleged Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) torture techniques used in Libya (see article: U.S. Used This Torture Box to Interrogate Gadhafi’s Enemies) Continue reading: WashingtonIndependent

Former Vice President Dick Cheney made an appearance on Meet the Press and declared he would “do it again in a minute” and had no problem with enhanced interrogation “as long as we achieve our objective.” Did forcing a detainee to wear a diaper lead to the capture of Osama bin Laden? Cheney seems to think so.

However, 20 different case studies based on the CIA’s internal records found that enhanced interrogations did not help to disrupt terror plots or capture terror leaders.

Few, if any, CIA officers or contractors were held accountable even after being caught with significant events of wrongdoing. One detainee, suffering from insomnia, paranoia, and severe hallucinations caused by the extreme interrogation methods, attempted to chew his arm off at the elbow. When a detainee died of hypothermia after being chained to a concrete floor partially nude, the CIA decided not to take any punitive action against the officer in charge. The report states, “The director strongly believes that mistakes should be expected in a business filled with uncertainty.”

CIA torture program earned two men millions

The names James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen don’t show up at all in the 500-page Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA torture program, but they’re definitely mentioned throughout it, according to multiple reports.

Even though their names and alleged involvement in the “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITs) program have been known for some time, the CIA contractors appear in the report (respectively) under the names “Dr. Grayson Swigert” and “Dr. Hammond Dunbar.” A. U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed their identities to The Associated Press.

Although they had no first-hand experience with interrogation or no “specialized knowledge” of al-Qaeda or terrorism, as the Senate Intelligence Committee report indicated, the men had plenty of experience with “coercive interrogation techniques.”

But by the time their involvement with the CIA’s interrogation program wrapped up in 2009, they had earned millions of dollars off of the torture of detainees.

Mitchell and Jessen formed a private company in 2005, specifically for the purpose of conducting their work with the CIA. Mitchell, Jessen and Associates have ultimately earned $81 million from the CIA.

CIA “Tortured and Sodomized” Wrongly Detained German Citizen

CIA agents tortured a German citizen, sodomizing, shackling, and beating him, as Macedonian state police looked on, the European Court of Human rights said in a historic judgment.

In a unanimous ruling, it also found Macedonia guilty of torturing, abusing, and secretly imprisoning Khaled el-Masri, a German of Lebanese origin allegedly linked to terrorist organizations.

Masri was seized in Macedonia in December 2003 and handed over to a CIA “rendition team” at Skopje airport and secretly flown to Afghanistan.

It is the first time the court has described CIA treatment meted out to terror suspects as torture.

“Despite this clear repudiation of the unlawful actions carried out by the Bush-era CIA, many of the facts remain classified, and no public official has so far been brought to justice in the United States,” Emmerson said in a report to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Emmerson, an international lawyer from Britain, has served since August 2011 in the independent post set up by the U.N. Human Rights Council in 2005 to probe human rights violations committed during counter-terrorism operations worldwide.

The “war on terror” waged by Bush after al Qaeda attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001 led to “gross or systematic” violations involving secret prisons for Islamic militant suspects, clandestine transfers and torture Ben Emmerson, U.N. special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights, said.

How many Children held at Guantanamo Bay? Guardian

The United Nations high commissioner for human rights said there should be no impunity or statute of limitations for torture.

The Convention against Torture prohibits torture and allows for “no exceptional circumstances whatsoever”, not even a state of war, as justification, Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein said in a statement issued in Geneva on the annual human rights day.

“The Convention lets no one off the hook – neither the torturers themselves, nor the policy-makers, nor the public officials who define the policy or give the orders,” he said.

The pact has been ratified by 156 countries.

Romania and Lithuania also have cases pending for hosting secret CIA prisons. Continue reading: FBI

Poland’s former president has publicly acknowledged for the first time that his country hosted a secret CIA prison where a US Senate report says torture was used against Al Qaeda suspects.

Former British Ambassador to Tashkent Craig Murray lost his job and has endured severe vituperation at the hands of his government because he objected to Britain’s collaboration in CIA-sponsored torture conducted in Uzbekistan.

Murray recalls, Uzbeks made use of a torture method specifically endorsed by the execrable John Yoo: Torturing children in order to compel the parents to submit.

Yoo, the impenitent war criminal who wrote many of the key torture memos for the Bush regime, claims that the president has the authority to order the sexual mutilation of a child if he considers such action necessary.

Ninety percent of all “rendition” flights that visited the former KGB prison in Poland used as a CIA torture facility “went straight on to Tashkent,” Murray observes. “There was an overwhelming body of evidence that … people from all over the world were being taken by the CIA to Uzbekistan specifically in order to be tortured.

Let’s assume that every individual who was tortured was in fact a member of a terrorist group; have we officially discarded the bothersome notion that basic human rights are “inalienable”? Forgive the rhetorical question – we know the answer.

Former CIA Deputy Director for Operations Jose Rodriguez has written a book with the assistance of former Agency press officer Bill Harlow. Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives is largely a defense of Rodriguez’s role in the CIA’s use of torture on suspected terrorists in the aftermath of 9/11. Rodriguez argues that what he describes as “enhanced interrogation techniques” were necessary to obtain information on terrorist activities. His employment of the euphemism underscores his argument that these procedures were found to be legal by Bush administration lawyers and that they do not constitute torture, which is a war crime.

In November 2005, Rodriguez, ordered on his own authority and contrary to Agency general counsel advice the destruction of 92 videotapes that recorded interrogation sessions in a secret prison in Thailand. This was done, he says, to protect the identities of CIA interrogators from possible reprisals by terrorists, not to cover-up waterboarding being used to obtain information, a procedure he claims was both an acceptable interrogation technique and one that was subject to congressional oversight before it was employed. He does not explain exactly how terrorists could obtain the tapes or be able to make identifications from them; perhaps the idea is that someday the recordings might leak to the public. Whatever its plausibility, or lack thereof, his argument might just as well be a deliberate deception if the primary purpose of his actions was to eliminate evidence of what many would consider a war crime. I leave it up to the reader to decide what explanation is most likely. For what it’s worth, Amazon reviews are running about five to one in praise of the book rather than condemning what it describes.

What is most disturbing to me about the book and the interviews is that Rodriguez is apparently seen by some in the media as the “new normal” and even some kind of hero. CIA officers overseas are indeed operating on the “dark side,” in that spying overseas is illegal in the countries where one is operationally engaged. But that does not mean all gloves are off in terms of international and U.S. law, especially in the case of war crimes. It is worth noting that Japanese Army officers were executed in 1946 for waterboarding Allied prisoners, while the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution explicitly forbids “cruel and unusual punishment.” The United States is also a signatory to the International Convention on Torture and to the Geneva Conventions. And then there is the War Crimes Act of 1996, which requires the United States Justice Department to prosecute anyone involved in torture, no exceptions.  President Obama has refused to permit justice to be served, making him as complicit in war crimes as his predecessor was.

To promote Hard Measures, Rodriguez has been appearing on a number of television programs. I have seen him on “60 Minutes” with Lesley Stahl and on Bill O’Reilly’s program. He has also appeared with Sean Hannity. Stahl failed to push Rodriguez on the illegality of torture and frequently allowed him to drift into the kind of mumbo-jumbo tradecraft language that former spies use when they don’t want to answer a question. Rodriguez stated that the (CIA) are part of the “dark side — that’s what we do.”  That was the end of the story for “60 Minutes.”

White House Asks Court to Block Torture Photos’ Release(PHOTO DELETED)

Doctors and nurses tasked with monitoring the health of terror suspects were complicit in abuses committed at prisons run by the Pentagon and the CIA, AFP reports.

The CIA wrongfully held at least 22 percent due to bad intelligence. Throughout the program, the CIA repeatedly underreported the number of people it detained. It claimed it had detained “fewer than 100 people.” But why would the CIA need 50 black sites to torture only 100 detainees?  One of the wrongfully held was an “intellectually challenged” man, Nazir Ali. His taped interrogation was used as leverage to get a family member to provide information.

Secret prisons, renditions, and enhanced interrogations are characteristic of police states, not constitutional republics.

Such methods might gain wider approval, the lawyers figured, if they were proved to have saved lives.

“A policy decision must be made with regard to US use of torture,” CIA lawyers wrote in November 2001, in a previously undisclosed memo titled “Hostile Interrogations: Legal Considerations for CIA Officers.”

The lawyers argued that “states may be very unwilling to call the US to task for torture when it resulted in saving thousands of lives.”

Former military interrogator Matthew Alexander refutes Dick Cheney’s claim that torture saved American (see video below.)

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