CIA, torture, spying on Senate, and cover-up


This video from the USA is called CIA Confesses To Hacking Senate.

By Eric London in the USA:

A law unto themselves: the CIA and the torture cover-up

1 August 2014

A report by the Central Intelligence Agency’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) marks a significant escalation in the constitutional crisis over the systematic cover-up of the CIA’s widespread torture programs.

According to the Inspector General David Buckley, five CIA officials surreptitiously gained access to the computers used by Senate staff investigators while compiling a still-classified 6,300-page report on CIA torture. Two CIA attorneys and three CIA information technology employees created fake accounts in order to follow the movements of Senate staff as they worked.

The OIG weakly asserts that the employees were “acting in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding” brokered between the CIA and the Senate.

What is involved is not a breach of a “common understanding,” but a breach of laws and the Constitution. Not only did the spying violate the Fourth Amendment’s proscription of unreasonable searches and seizures and laws that prohibit domestic spying by the CIA, it also violated the basic constitutional principle of separation of powers—in this case, a clear intrusion by the executive branch on the investigatory powers of the legislature.

The gravity of the CIA’s actions is amplified by the fact that the Senate was investigating actions of the executive branch that already violated the Eighth Amendment’s proscription on cruel and unusual punishment.

The OIG report provides proof that the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, lied as part of the cover-up. When first faced with allegations of CIA spying, Brennan declared: “When the facts come out on this, I think a lot of people who are claiming that there has been this tremendous sort of spying and monitoring and hacking will be proved wrong.”

In fact, this is exactly what the CIA was doing, and there is every indication that it was done at the direction of Brennan himself.

Each individual layer of illegality implicates top officials in the “high crimes and misdemeanors” required for impeachment and criminal prosecution of high-ranking officials.

Then, just two weeks ago, the US Department of Justice announced that it would not launch a criminal investigation into the CIA spying—an act that was no doubt taken with foreknowledge of the conclusions of the inspector general report. On Thursday, the White House again jumped to defend Brennan, with press secretary Josh Earnest saying that the report proved that Brennan had “done what is necessary to get to the bottom of what exactly happened,” and that he showed the kind of “proactive leadership that the president would expect.”

As for Congress, after Senator Dianne Feinstein revealed the illegal spying in a speech on the floor of the Senate in March—accusing the CIA of illegal and unconstitutional activities—the issue was completely dropped. The prostration of the legislative branch before the intelligence apparatus was expressed in Feinstein’s statement that the OIG report “corrects the record.” She praised Brennan for taking “positive first steps.”

The whole affair reveals a political system in which the trappings of democracy are a thin cover for a state that is controlled by a gigantic military-intelligence apparatus (including the CIA, NSA, Defense Department and associated agencies) that operates as a law unto itself.

Consider what has happened. In the midst of a series of illegal wars, the CIA under the direction of the Bush administration established an international network of secret prisons and torture centers. This network operated effectively as a separate organization within the government to which the law—both domestic and international—did not apply. Conscious that what they were doing was illegal, high-ranking CIA officials destroyed evidence (including video tapes) of the torture.

Many of the victims of torture were held indefinitely with no semblance of due process and without ever being charged with committing a crime. In those cases where the victim could not stand the pain, the torturers became executioners. Leaks made by those who have read the Senate report have described the methods as “brutal” for inducing “excruciating” pain at “sprawling” black site prisons.

None of those who ordered these illegal actions or carried them out have been prosecuted. The Obama administration, while nominally ending the torture program, continues it in different forms while vastly expanding the illegal drone assassination and domestic spying programs.

Then, after all of this, Senate investigators into the torture program were spied on and threatened, their computers hacked.

The CIA torture cover-up reveals the collapse of democratic forms in the United States, the consequence of unending war abroad and extreme levels of social inequality at home.

Under the auspices of the “war on terror,” practically every democratic right has been effectively repealed by a collection of scoundrels and political criminals. The state is overseen by a spying apparatus that seeks to monitor all communications and a president that declares the right to assassinate without due process. The entire political establishment is complicit in torture and other illegal activities, and there is not a hint of opposition from the corporate media. Policy is dictated by a cabal that lives in constant fear of the social explosions that will arise inevitably out of the policies that it has pursued.

The breakdown of democracy is one expression of the protracted crisis of American capitalism and a ruling class that, in its determination to defend its interests at home and abroad, is dispensing with all legality.

Obama: “We tortured some folks” after 9/11: here.

Senators slam CIA spying as “worse than criminal”: here.

CIA ‘hid its torture from United States government’


This 1 April 2014 video from the USA is called CIA Lied About Torture To Justify Using It (Senate Report).

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

CIA hid prison brutality from State Department’

Thursday 31st July 2014

A LEAKED White House document concludes that the CIA kept the US secretary of state and some ambassadors in the dark about brutal interrogation techniques and secret prisons.

An internal briefing on an upcoming Senate report on the CIA interrogation programme was accidentally emailed to a reporter, the Associated Press news agency said.

According to the briefing, the still-classified full report maintains ambassadors who were informed about interrogations at black sites were instructed not to tell their State Department superiors.

The four-page White House document is significant because it reveals some of the report’s conclusions as well as State Department concerns over how it will be portrayed around the world.

Allegedly, the Senate report concludes the CIA used brutal techniques on detainees and then misled Congress and the Justice Department.

The briefing said the full report “leaves no doubt that the methods used to extract information from some terrorist suspects caused profound pain, suffering and humiliation.

“It also leaves no doubt the harm caused by the use of these techniques outweighed any potential benefit.”

Those methods included slapping, humiliation, exposure to cold, sleep deprivation and waterboarding.

The report may not draw the conclusion that the CIA actions legally constituted torture, but it makes clear that in some cases they amounted to torture by common definition.

According to the leaked document, the State Department wants to embrace the conclusions of the Senate report and blast past CIA practices.

“This report tells a story of which no American is proud,” it says.

CIA initially ‘kept Colin Powell in the dark’ about torture practices. It’s not entirely clear exactly which US officials knew about the practices at the time they began, a Senate report concludes: here.

The director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, issued an extraordinary apology to leaders of the US Senate intelligence committee on Thursday, conceding that the agency employees spied on committee staff and reversing months of furious and public denials: here.

‘Dutch secret service, stop cover-up about war criminal’


In this Dutch TV video, recorded in 1969, but never broadcast, former Captain Raymond Westerling confesses that his troops had committed war crimes three times in Sulawesi island, and once in the west of Java island in Indonesia in the late 1940s.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

GISS should look at its Sukarno archive again

Wednesday 30 Jul 2014, 13:16 (Update: 30-07-14, 15:28)

It is unlikely that the AIVD [GISS] Dutch intelligence service have only one document about the failed coup against Indonesian president Sukarno in 1950. The Council of State decided this in a lawsuit which historian Fredrik Willems had brought.

The Nijmegen scientist is working on a book about Raymond Westerling, who tried a coup against Sukarno. Westerling is one of the most controversial figures in Dutch military history.

Westerling was a self-styled war criminal, who had many civilian people, eg, on Sulawesi island in Indonesia, killed.

When Willems asked the interior minister for documents, he was told that one document was found at the AIVD that he could see. The document consists of eleven pages.

The Council of State says more documents should be in the archive. They may be stored under a title other than “the coup against Sukarno in 1950″. The ministry must now look at the archives again.

Pakistani, tortured in Iraq, sues British government


This rock music video from Brazil is called Torture Squad – Holiday in Abu Ghraib (Official Music Video HD). Lyrics are here.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

MoD and Foreign Office sued by Pakistani citizen in Iraq torture case

Yunus Rahmatullah accuses UK of complicity in torture and abuse after his capture by British special forces in Iraq in 2004

Richard Norton-Taylor

Tuesday 29 July 2014 09.56 BST

A Pakistani citizen is suing the Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office, accusing them of responsibility for his subjection to torture and severe abuse over 10 years.

Yunus Rahmatullah was captured by British special forces in Iraq in 2004 and handed over to US troops soon afterwards. The incident was initially kept secret from ministers and only disclosed to MPs five years later, in 2009. Rahmatullah, now 31, was released by the US without charge in May.

He is believed to have been first held at Camp Nama, a secret detention facility at Baghdad airport that British troops helped to run. He was later transferred to Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib jail before being rendered to the Bagram “black prison” in Afghanistan.

The court of appeal ruled in 2011 that Rahmatullah was unlawfully detained and ordered a writ of habeas corpus – the ancient British legal right to be charged or released from arbitrary detention – to be issued.

However, lawyers acting for the government later successfully argued in the supreme court that British ministers had no power “to direct the US” to release Rahmatullah from Bagram.

He describes in detail his torture and abuse in a 60-page document drawn up by his lawyers and seen by the Guardian. He says when he was captured by British special forces in Iraq in early 2004 he was beaten unconscious. Soldiers cut his clothes with a pair of scissors until, he says, he was “completely naked”.

His lawyers’ statement of claim describes how a soldier poured water on to Rahmatullah’s face after placing a cloth over his mouth and nose causing “a sensation of drowning”.

He was shackled and hooded, and lapsed in and out of consciousness as he was beaten and thrown against a wall. He was suspended upside down and “repeatedly dunked into a tank of water”, says the court document.

At one point, he was taken to a room “where he was horrified to see six or seven naked detainees piled on top of each other”, according to the court statement. He was thrown on top of the detainees and kept in the room for more than two days.

Despite an agreement signed by Britain and the US that specifically referred to the rights of prisoners of war and detained civilians enshrined in the Geneva conventions and international humanitarian law, Rahmatullah was handed over to US forces who secretly took him to Afghanistan. His entire body, including his eyes and mouth, were “taped tightly with duct tape”, the court document says. He was locked in a solitary cell with rats and cockroaches. With other Bagram detainees, he was exposed to daylight in 2006, for the first time in two and half years.

After going on hunger strike, he was subjected to force-feeding on six separate occasions. Apart from limited communication with International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) representatives, he had no contact with the outside world, including his family, until 2010.

British officials, their “servants and agents”, were “recklessly indifferent to the illegality of their actions”, Rahmatullah’s lawyers have told the high court.

Kat Craig, legal director at the human rights group Reprieve, who has recently visited Rahmatullah, said he had been “through 10 years of frankly unimaginable horror”.

She added: “Now that he has finally been able to speak freely to his lawyers, there is no longer any doubt that the British government bears responsibility for his torture and illegal rendition to Bagram.”

Craig continued: “Yunus was robbed of 10 years in the prime of his life; a time when he wanted to find a career, choose a partner and build a family.

“The government must now come clean about the full extent of British involvement in this disgraceful episode in our history – only then will Yunus be able to move on and try to rebuild his life.”

Reprieve legal directors says there is ‘no doubt’ of British responsibility for torture and rendition of Yunus Rahmatullah: here.

German neo-nazi terrorism trial continues


This video says about itself:

Neo-Nazi murder trial begins in Germany

6 May 2013

Members of an alleged neo-Nazi cell in Germany have gone on trial for the murder of 10 people, mostly immigrants. The main defendant is 38-year-old Beate Zschaepe. She is accused of helping establish the National Socialist Underground. The group is allegedly responsible for a decade-long string of racially motivated murders and bombings, as well as at least 15 armed bank raids. Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hull reports from Munich.

By Dietmar Henning in Germany:

German neo-Nazi trial: Why is Zschäpe silent?

28 July 2014

The judge in the trial of members of the National Socialist Underground (NSU) last week rejected a request by the main defendant, Beate Zschäpe, to dismiss her public defenders.

On July 16, Zschäpe told a police officer in the Munich Higher Regional Court that she had lost confidence in her three lawyers. She confirmed this with a nod when asked by the court’s presiding judge, Manfred Götzl.

Since the three, Wolfgang Heer, Wolfgang Stahl and Anja Sturm, are court-appointed public defenders, Zschäpe cannot fire them herself. That decision rests with the court.

Judge Götzl called on Zschäpe to give a written explanation of the circumstances pertaining to the loss of confidence, which Zschäpe then did with the help of a fourth lawyer. Last week, the judge denied her request and ordered the trial to continue.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that Zschäpe had especially criticised the fact her attorneys had not directed all the questions to witnesses that appeared to her to be important. “Her discontent had apparently been aroused by the questioning of the witness Tino Brandt the previous week,” the newspaper wrote.

As an undercover agent of the Thüringia state Office for Protection of the Constitution (the state Secret Service), Brandt established the Thüringia Homeland Security (THS), using money provided by the authorities. The THS was the precursor to the far-right NSU, which went on to kill nine people in racist-motivated crimes. It also killed a female police officer and carried out bomb attacks on immigrants.

The Leipziger Volkszeitung reported on Brandt’s testimony under the headline, “NSU Trio Received Money from the Secret Service.”

Brandt testified that as a result of a phone call from someone in the far-right milieu, he found out that the NSU trio of Beate Zschäpe, Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt had gone to ground. He began to raise money for the three, initially among neo-Nazi regulars in bars and at a concert. However, the donations dried up, and Brandt turned to the authorities. He said “the state of Saxony had donated—six, seven times.”

The Leipziger Volkszeitung made clear that Brandt was referring to payments given him by the Secret Service that were meant for the NSU. The newspaper reported that the presiding judge asked whether the money was expressly meant to be passed on to the trio, and Brandt replied, “As far as I can recall, it was directly meant to be handed on.”

The undercover agent testified that he could not remember clearly the exact amount that was disbursed or the identity of the contact person to whom he passed on the funds. However, he had earlier boasted that he had received some 200,000 German marks from the Secret Service and used it to build up right-wing organisations.

The trial has been ongoing for 130 days, but the main accused, Zschäpe, has refused to testify, on advice from her lawyers exercising her right to silence. It is significant that her petition to sack her lawyers was made directly after the questioning of Brandt.

It is quite possible that Zschäpe either would like to testify or wants her attorneys to press more aggressively on the question of Secret Service collaboration with the NSU and the far-right milieu more generally. On this issue, she likely would have much to say.

It is now a matter of record that the far-right element, including the THS and the NSU, would not have been able to develop in the way that it did without the support of various branches of the secret services. The findings of three judges of the Supreme Court more than 11 years ago, which led to the termination of proceedings to ban the neo-Nazi German National Party (NPD), apply no less to the THS, NSU and the entire far-right milieu. The three judges found that the influence of state bodies on the NPD was so great that that its actions had to be “spoken of as an affair of state.”

It is now well known that the federal and state organs of the Secret Service (BfV and LvF), the Military Counter-Intelligence Service (MAD), and the Berlin State Criminal Police (LKA) had infiltrated at least 24 people into the immediate periphery of the NSU.

In April 2006, when the 21-year-old Halit Yozgat was shot in an Internet café in Kassel, Andreas Temme was present, the leader of Hesse state’s Secret Service undercover operations. A few hours earlier, he had met with one of his undercover agents, who was in the city and in contact with Thüringia.

Temme himself is no stranger to far-right views. In his home town, he was called “Little Adolf.” In searches of his house, passages from Hitler’s Mein Kampf were found.

The two NSU members Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt were known to the police and the secret services since the mid-1990s. In 1995, the Military Counter-Intelligence Service spoke to Mundlos to win him as an employee and informer.

In November 1997, the Thüringia state Secret Service observed Mundlos and Böhnhardt purchasing possible bomb components. Two months later, the police searched a garage rented by Zschäpe and found a functioning bomb workshop. Böhnhardt was present and was able to drive away in his car unhindered.

Subsequently, the three terrorists allegedly went to ground. The same year, the Gera state prosecutor allowed telephone recordings that Böhnhardt had made in the four weeks following the search of the bomb-making garage to be erased.

The leader of the far-right music label “Blood & Honour” in Saxony, Jan Werner, was, as early as 1998, in close contact with the three fugitives. Carsten Szczepanski, an undercover agent of the Brandenburg state Secret Service, code-named “Piato,” was active in the NPD and had been sentenced for the murder of an asylum seeker. He reported that Werner had personal contact with Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe. Werner had the job of “supplying the three fugitives with weapons,” he said.

Werner, in turn, was in telephone contact with a mobile phone registered to the Saxony state Interior Ministry, according to the Thüringia investigation report. On August 25, 1998, about seven months after the trio had gone to ground, Werner sent his contact person in the Interior Ministry a text message asking, “Hallo, what’s happening with the bums?” He inquired whether the Secret Service had procured weapons for him.

In the underground, the three fugitive terrorists were helped by the neo-Nazis André Eminger and Holger Gerlach, who are presently in the dock alongside Zschäpe, as well as the former NPD functionary Ralf Wohlleben and Carsten S.

It is on record that countless clues pointing to the whereabouts of the three terrorists were never followed up.

It is unclear to what extent other Secret Service operatives and undercover agents were in contact with the NSU terrorists between 1998 and 2011. Important undercover agents were prevented from giving evidence, and many files were withheld, redacted or shredded.

On November 4, 2011, when Mundlos and Böhnhardt supposedly committed suicide, Zschäpe disappeared for four days. On November 8, she presented herself to the Jena police. Just two hours later, the leader of the “procurement” section in the department for right-wing extremism at the federal Secret Service, Lothar Lingen, began looking through the files. (The term “procurement” refers to the gathering of information—i.e., the recruitment of undercover operatives in the far right.)

The very next day, Lingen ordered the destruction of the first file. As of July 4, 2012, the federal Secret Service alone had destroyed a total of 310 files containing thousands of documents.

It is impossible to draw a line separating the actions of the right-wing radicals and neo-Nazis, on the one hand, and the role of the state on the other.

This in no way diminishes the crimes of Böhnhardt and Mundlos, who most probably committed the murders. Zschäpe is also culpable. But there is truth in what the father of Mundlos said in court, when he asserted that without the Secret Service and its informers, his son would not have “slid into the right-wing scene.”

The role and responsibility of the state and its intelligence agencies in the crimes of the NSU are clearly not to be addressed in the Munich proceedings. “No state secrets can be made known that would undermine government activities,” Klaus-Dieter Fritsche, deputy leader of the Secret Service from 1996 and later a state secretary at the Interior Ministry, told a parliamentary committee of inquiry in 2012. Fritsche has since been promoted to Secret Service adviser in the Chancellery.

Of what state secrets was he speaking? Which fascists worked and continue to work for the Secret Service? Possibly Beate Zschäpe?

In November 2011, the Leipziger Volkszeitung wrote that Zschäpe had worked for the Secret Service in Thüringia. The indication had come from the Thüringia state Criminal Police. She had supposedly obtained information for the authorities about the right-wing scene—i.e., she worked as an undercover informant.

For this reason, she was protected by the Thüringia state Secret Service. During this time, Zschäpe had used five different aliases.

The Thüringia state Secret Service, which had generously financed Tino Brandt, disputed this presentation. It claimed that although there had been contact with Zschäpe, and her recruitment as an informant had been considered, this had not been done because of her instability and drug use. (In April of this year, a witness before the Munich court who knew Zschäpe since 1992, and who had had an affair with her for a short time, testified that alcohol and drugs had been “a red rag” for the defendant).

The fact is that in several interrogations in the summer of 1996, Zschäpe had already passed on information to the authorities about the right-wing milieu. “I want to work with the police,” she told officials in Jena on August 5, 1996. Jena was where she turned herself in 15 years later.

It is also a fact that on November 4, 2011, just one-and-a-half hours after she had blown up the flat she shared with her two accomplices, Zschäpe received a call from a mobile phone belonging to the Saxony state Interior Ministry. The ministry evidently had her number on speed dial.

If Zschäpe was an undercover informant, she cannot break her silence without putting herself in mortal danger. She would not be the first person to die under mysterious circumstances since the beginning of the trial.

Margaret Thatcher ‘knew about child abuse accusations, did nothing’


This video from Britain says about itself:

Pretty Chilling: Jimmy Savile And His “Love” For Margaret Thatcher

29 December 2012

Jimmy Savile‘s hold over Downing Street in the 80s is revealed in a series of letters in which he declares his “love” for Margaret Thatcher, according to newly released records.

Very disturbing: Jimmy, UKs posthumous “worse than Jack the Ripper“, telling the Prime Minister about his jealous “girl patients”…

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Margaret Thatcher ‘was warned of Tory child sex party claims’

Thatcher’s personal bodyguard and former detective chief inspector said he warned PM about Peter Morrison

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith

Sunday 27 July 2014

Margaret Thatcher’s personal bodyguard Barry Strevens has told of how he warned the Prime Minister of allegations that one of her top aides was involved in sex parties with under-age boys.

Mr Strevens, a former detective chief inspector, told the Sun on Sunday that he passed on allegations about her loyal confidant Peter Morrison before he was promoted to the position of deputy chairman of the Conservative Party in the 1980s.

Mr Morrison, who died of a heart attack in 1995 aged 51, has since been linked to claims of sex abuse at children’s homes in north Wales.

At the time, Mr Strevens was informed of the allegations by a senior Cheshire police officer. Mr Strevens knew Mrs Thatcher was considering appointing Mr Morrison to the position of deputy chairman after Jeffrey Archer had stepped down over prostitution claims, and he requested an immediate meeting with Mrs Thatcher and her private secretary Archie Hamilton, who reportedly took notes of what was said.

“I wouldn’t say she was naïve but I would say she would not have thought people around her would be like that,” he said. “I am sure he would have given her assurances about the rumours, as otherwise she wouldn’t have given him the job.”

Explaining the nature of the rumours he had been told, Mr Strevens said: “A senior officer in Chester had told me there were rumours going around about underage boys – one aged 15 – attending sex parties at a house there belonging to Peter Morrison.

“After we returned to Number 10 I asked to go and see her immediately. It was unusual for me to do that so they would have known it was something serious. When I went in Archie Hamilton was there. I told them exactly what had been said about Peter. Archie took notes and they thanked me for coming.

“There was no proof but the officer I spoke to was certain and said local press knew a lot more. This was just after the Jeffrey Archer scandal and I knew she needed to know about it because they were deciding on the appointment of the next deputy chairman.

“I always told her things straight, as I saw them. She listened and thanked me. I assumed Archie Hamilton would have spoken to Peter Morrison following that.

“When he was appointed I assumed there had been nothing to the claims – as there was no way on Earth she would have given him the job otherwise,” he said.

Responding to the claims, Archie Hamilton told the paper that Mr Strevens had gone to Number 10 for a meeting but that he could not recall the mention of underage boys.

He said: “I remember Barry Strevens coming in and what he actually said at the time was that there were parties at Peter Morrison’s home in Cheshire and there were only men who were there.

“I don’t remember him saying they were underage. There may have been but the point he was making to her was that there were only men involved in the party.

“She listened to what he said and that was it. It was merely a party and men were there,” he said.

Home Secretary Theresa May has already announced a full-scale investigation into historical claims of child abuse at Westminster, and of an alleged paedophile ring.

Lord Tebbit has said he confronted Mr Morrison over rumours about him and young boys and that he received a flat denial, while former Tory MP Edwina Currie had previously called him a “notable pederast”.

Elite London school accused of failings over paedophile teacher William Vahey: here.