CIA Libyan torture scandal on Diego Garcia island


This video says about itself:

New website reveals extent of secret CIA flight network

29 May 2013

A team of academics have launched the world’s largest interactive database detailing suspected CIA rendition flights, many of which may have transported detainees to Guantanamo Bay.

Scotland is the only country so far which has raised any questions on the alleged rendition activity on home soil.

The Rendition Project is a product of a collaborative research between Dr. Ruth Blakely from the University of Kent and Dr. Sam Raphael from Kingston University, London.

Now anyone with an internet connection can understand, view, and track over 11,000 CIA flights detainees who may have been aboard between 2001 and 2006 under the US rendition program, a murky operation of secret detention and torture.

“Our purpose is to shed as much light as possible on this system,” Blakely told RT.

Blakely’s team has compiled a unique database sourced from freedom of information requests, testimonies from detainees, Red Cross reports, courtroom evidence, flight records, and invoices.

The data is categorized into four subcategories- flights which definitely had a detainee on board, those which are suspected of having suspected terrorists on board, and ‘dummy’ or test flights, and other circuit flights, all on 122 different US-registered civilian aircraft.

“Our main aim was to try and map the global rendition system to try and provide a comprehensive a picture as possible how rendition took place, which countries were involved,” Blakely told RT.

Most information was already in the public domain, but Blakely hopes by making it web-accessible, the project will assist human rights investigators and lawyers to defend the rights of detainees who have been victims to unfair torture or questionable tactics.

The site will help reveal “how the CIA managed to hide individuals in this system as it transported them around the world to hold them in prisons where they could be tortured and interrogated,” said Blakely.

By Rory MacKinnon in Britain:

CIA ‘held Gadaffi torture victim on British soil’

Monday 14th April 2014

Kidnapped Libyan politician Abdelhakim Belhadj held briefly in overseas territory Diego Garcia

Fresh evidence emerged yesterday that the CIA held a Libyan opposition leader on British soil before delivering him to Gadaffi torturers.

Kidnapped Libyan politician Abdelhakim Belhadj alleged that he was told by Gadaffi’s own spy chief that the plane which delivered him to Libya had stopped at the British overseas territory of Diego Garcia.

Mr Belhadj, who was kidnapped along with his pregnant wife as they boarded a flight in Malaysia in 2004, made the claim through his lawyers, provided by human rights charity Reprieve.

He said: “The first time I heard that I had gone through a place called Diego Garcia was when I was told by the head of the Libyan intelligence, Moussa Kousa, during my first interrogation session in a prison outside Tripoli.

“He was running the interrogation, and was angry that it had taken a long time for me to arrive in Libya.

“I told him that the plane had stopped somewhere on the way from Bangkok.
“He told me that he knew, and that the plane had landed on an island in the Indian Ocean called Diego Garcia.”

The claim is supported by a CIA flight plan discovered in 2011 at the offices of Gadaffi’s head of intelligence Moussa Kousa showing the joint CIA-MI6 operation had been scheduled to stop at Diego Garcia.

Reprieve deputy director Polly Rossdale said the revelations pile pressure on Tory Foreign Secretary William Hague to answer the allegations.

“The government must come clean about the UK’s role in this dirty affair,” she said.

MINISTERS must face up to the US’s use of Diego Garcia for torture and kidnapping flights, legal action charity Reprieve demanded yesterday: here.

Carl Bernstein – article about the CIA’s interaction with journalists since WW2: here.

Tony Blair in CIA torture flights scandal


This video from the USA is called Court Dismisses Lawsuit Against Boeing in CIA Torture Flight Program.

From the Daily Telegraph in England:

Tony Blair ‘knew all about CIA secret kidnap programme

Former British PM was ‘fully briefed’ on CIA’s interrogation programme after Sept 11 attacks

By Peter Foster, Washington

8:53PM BST 05 Apr 2014

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 claims come as Scotland Yard continues to investigate whether MI6 officers should face criminal charges for alleged complicity in the rendition of suspected terrorists, including two Libyan Islamists who were sent back in 2004 to Tripoli, where they were tortured.

The case was opened in January 2012 after documents recovered during the Libyan revolution appeared to show that Sir Mark Allen, the former head of counter-terrorism at MI6, and other agents had been complicit in the rendition of Abdel Hakim Belhadj, who was captured by the CIA with his pregnant wife and sent back to Libya.

Among the documents was a memo apparently signed by Sir Mark congratulating the then Libyan intelligence chief, Moussa Koussa, on the “safe arrival” of Mr Belhadj.

The Telegraph understands that MI6 has been forced to hand over top secret documents from that period to police and that senior officers who served at the time have been interviewed as part of the investigation. It is not known whether Mr Straw, who intelligence sources have indicated was fully briefed on the rendition, has also been interviewed by police.

The source’s claims echo those made publicly by Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of MI6 from 1999 to 2004, who said in a speech in 2012 that MI6’s cooperation with the CIA’s rendition programme was a “political” decision.

Tony Blair absolutely knew, Dearlove was briefing him all the time. He was meticulous about keeping the politicians informed. Whether there was anything in writing, well that is a different matter,” added the source, who said it was laughable to suggest that the approval for British security services to cooperate with the CIA programme had been authorised by Mr Straw alone.

“The understanding at SIS [Secret Intelligence Service] was it was acting in the ‘national interest’ and with clear political approval.

“SIS is not a rogue organisation. It would never do this kind of thing alone and without explicit authorisation; that is just not how it works.”

The British government has never formally admitted its role in rendition or officially apologised to victims, although it has paid out several multi-million pounds in “no fault” settlements to rendition victims and former Guantánamo Bay inmates who sued for damages.

The claims against Mr Blair come as the US Senate voted this week to declassify a summary of a 6,300-page report into the CIA’s rendition programme in a move that legal experts say will put added pressure on the British government to come clean about its role.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Democrat chairman of the committee that conducted the research, said the “shocking” report had “uncovered the facts” behind the secret programme and could be made public within 30 days following a security review by the White House and the CIA.

As well as the continuing criminal investigation, the British government, MI6 and Mr Straw are being sued by Mr Belhadj. In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph this week, Mr Belhadj said he was determined to pursue the British government through the courts for an apology and the truth about what happened to him – and what senior figures such as Mr Blair knew about it.

“When he was sitting in the tent with the dictator Gaddafi, I was facing torture at the hands of my own country’s [intelligence] services,” Mr Belhadj said by phone from Tripoli, referring to Mr Blair’s meeting with the Libyan leader in March 2004.

Mr Blair has never confirmed what he knew about the rendition programme, but has argued that Libya played a vital role in the “war on terror”. Mr Belhadj’s case was thrown out last December by a High Court judge who acknowledged that he had a “well-founded claim”, but declined to hear it, citing British government legal arguments that it would seriously damage US-UK relations.

It was decided that English courts had no jurisdiction over events that may have taken place in other countries.

However, legal experts said that the Obama administration decision to declassify its investigation into the torture programme seriously undermines the British government’s claim that all information relating to the case must still be kept secret or be heard in secret courts that were set up last year to hear such cases.

“The fact that President Obama himself has said that this report should be released only confirms that the UK now has no leg to stand on,” said Amrit Singh, a senior lawyer with the New York-based Open Society Justice Initiative.

Mr Belhadj said: “In light of the publication of this report it appears that the British legal argument that my case cannot be discussed for fear of upsetting the Americans is actually just a pretext.

“It’s going to make it clear that the British government’s attempt to cover up the abuse that my wife and I suffered are not to do with national security but are to do with avoiding national embarrassment.”

USA: While CIA torturers are protected, CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou is in prison. Help get him out: here.

Nancy Pelosi blames CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” on Dick Cheney: here.

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Libya news update


This video says about itself:

Tawergha: Libya‘s Ghost Town

8 Nov 2011

In October, Refugees International visited Tawergha, Libya from which all 35,000 inhabitants of the town were forced to flee after Misrata brigades ransacked the area.

By Aya Elbrqawi, 28 February 2014:

Libya: Slow Death of Derna

Benghazi — Derna residents live a life of fear. Al-Qaeda has transformed their eastern Libya port city into a new base for its global campaign and as the prime export centre for jihadists.

Known for its long history of fierce fighters and proud tribes, Derna has faced relentless violence. Now it will not have a say in national governance because it is too unsafe to vote.

The night before last week’s constituent assembly elections, six polling stations were struck by bombs. The High National Election Committee (HNEC) had rescheduled the ballot for Wednesday (February 26th), but the Derna Local Council said elections could not be held since no one was securing the polling centres.

Dozens of protesters have stormed Libya’s parliament building, shooting and injuring two lawmakers and wounding several others. The protesters were contesting the interim parliament’s decision to extend its mandate: here.

A French engineer has been shot dead in the Libyan city of Benghazi, hospital sources said Sunday. The man, so far unnamed, was shot as he was working on extension work at Benghazi Medical Centre: here.

Unidentified gunmen shot an Egyptian worker in Libya’s city of Benghazi on Sunday, leading to his injury, state-owned agency MENA reported: here.

Already buffeted by lawlessness and seemingly unending political turmoil Libya is now facing budgetary and energy crunches, say top officials: here.

With all the attention being paid to Ukraine, Venezuela and other geopolitical hot spots, energy investors may take their eye off Libya, whose oil production has derailed and may not come back anytime soon: here.

At the heart of the Libyan capital, the open-air Fish Market was once a place where residents went to buy everything from meat and seafood to clothes and pets. Now it’s Tripoli’s biggest arms market, with tables displaying pistols and assault rifles. Ask a vendor, and he can pull out bigger machine guns to sell for thousands of dollars: here.

Three years after Gaddafi, Libya is imploding into chaos and violence: here.

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Libya coup, chaos and CIA


This video is called LIBYA Analysis: The Racist Lie Of “Black African mercenaries” led To Brutality, Lynching, Death.

By Ramzy Baroud:

Coups and chaos in today’s Libya

Tuesday 18th February 2014

RAMZY BAROUD looks at the murky story of US ally Major General Khalifa Hifter and a bizarre claim to have taken power he made last week

On Friday February 14 92 prisoners escaped from their prison in the Libyan town of Zliten.

Nineteen of them were eventually recaptured, two of whom were wounded in clashes with the guards. It was just another daily episode highlighting the utter chaos which has engulfed Libya since the overthrow of Muammar Gadaffi in 2011.

Much of this is often reported with cliché explanations – references to the country’s “security vacuum” or Libya‘s lack of a true national identity.

Indeed, tribe and region seem to supersede any other affiliation, but it is hardly that simple.

On that same Friday Major General Khalifa Hifter announced a coup in Libya.

“The national command of the Libyan army is declaring a movement for a new road map” – to rescue the country, Hifter declared through a video post.

Oddly enough, little followed by way of a major military deployment in any part of the country. The country’s Prime Minister Ali Zeidan described the attempted coup as “ridiculous.” Others in the military called it a “lie.”

One of those who attended a meeting with Hifter prior to the announcement told Al Jazeera that they simply attempted to enforce the national agenda of establishing order, not staging a coup.

Hifter’s efforts were a farce. It generated nothing but more attention to Libya‘s fractious reality, following Nato’s war, which was branded a humanitarian intervention to prevent imminent massacres in Benghazi and elsewhere.

“Libya is stable,” Zeidan told Reuters. Parliament was “doing its work and so is the government.”

But Zeidan is not correct.

His assessment is a clear contradiction of reality. Hundreds of militias rule the country with an iron fist.

In fact, the prime minister was himself kidnapped by one militia last October. Hours later, he was released by another militia.

Although both, like the rest of the militias, are operating outside government confines, many are directly or loosely affiliated with government officials.

In Libya, to have sway over a militia is to have influence over local, regional or national agendas. Unfortunate as it may be, this is the “new Libya.”

Some will find most convenient ways to explain the chaos. “East Libya is inherently unruly,” some would say.

“It took a strong leader like Gadaffi to maintain the national cohesion of a country made of tribes, not citizens,” others would opine. But the truth is often inconvenient and requires more than mere platitudes.

Libya is in a state of chaos, but not because of some intrinsic tendency to shun order.

Libyans, like people all over the world, seek security and stability in their lives.

However, other parties, Arab and Western, are desperate to ensure that the “new Libya” is consistent with their own interests, even if such interests are obtained at the expense of millions of people.

The New York Times‘s David Kirkpatrick reported on the supposed coup from Cairo. In his report In Libya, a Coup. Or Perhaps Not, he drew similarities between Libya and Egypt – in the case of Egypt, the military succeeded in consolidating its powers starting on July 3, whereas in Libya a strong military institution never existed in the first place, even during Gadaffi’s rule.

In order for Hifter to stage a coup, he would need to rely on more than a weak and splintered military.

Nonetheless, it is quite interesting that the NYT chose to place Hifter’s “ridiculous” coup within an Egyptian context, while there is a more immediate and far more relevant context at hand, one of which the newspaper and its veteran correspondents should know very well.

It is no secret that Hifter has had strong backing from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for nearly three decades.

The man has been branded and rebranded throughout his colourful and sometimes mysterious history more times than one can summarise in a single article.

He fought as an officer in the Chadian-Libyan conflict and was captured alongside his entire unit of 600 men.

During his time in prison, Chad experienced a regime change – both regimes were backed by French and US intelligence – and Hifter and his men were released on the US’s request to another African country, then a third.

While some chose to return home, others knew well what would await them in Libya, for reasons explained by the Times on May 17 1991.

“For two years, United States officials have been shopping around for a home for about 350 Libyan soldiers who cannot return to their country because US intelligence officials had mobilised them into a commando force to overthrow Colonel Muammar al-Gadaffi, the Libyan leader,” it reported.

“Now the administration has given up trying to find another country that will accept the Libyans and has decided to bring them to the United States.”

Hifter was then relocated to a Virginia suburb in the early 1990s and settled there. The news is murky about his exact activities living near Washington DC, except for his ties to Libyan opposition forces, which of course, operated within a US agenda.

In his thorough report published in the Business Insider, Russ Baker traced much of Hifter’s activities since his split from Gadaffi and adoption by the CIA.

“A congressional research service report of December 1996 named Hifter as the head of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya’s (NFSL’s) military wing, the Libyan National Army.”

After he joined the exile group, the CRS report added, Hifter began “preparing an army to march on Libya.”

The NFSL, it said, is in exile “with many of its members in the United States.”

It took nearly 15 years for Hifter to march on Libya.

It also took a massive war that was purported to support a popular uprising.

Hifter, as Baker described, is the Libyan equivalent of Iraq’s Ahmed Chalabi, a discredited figure with strong allies in Washington DC. Chalabi was sent to post-Saddam Iraq to lead the “democratisation” process. Instead, he helped set the stage for the calamity under way in that Arab country.

It is no wonder that Hifter’s return was a major source of controversy.

Since the news of his CIA affiliation was no big secret, his return to Libya to join the rebels in March caused much confusion.

Almost immediately, he was announced by a military spokesman as the rebels’ new commander, only for the announcement to be dismissed by the National Transitional Council as false.

The NTC was largely a composition of mysterious characters that had little presence within Libya’s national consciousness. Hifter found himself as the third man in the military ladder, which he accepted, though apparently grudgingly so.

Despite the coup’s failure, Libya will subsist on uncertainty.

Arab and Western media speak of illegal shipments of weapons arriving into various Libyan airports. The militias are growing in size.

The central government is growing irrelevant. Jail breaks are reported regularly.

And Libyans find safety in holding on tighter to their tribal and clan affiliations.

What future awaits Libya is hard to predict, but with Western and Arab intelligence fingerprints found all over the Libyan bedlam, the future is uninviting.

Libyan military commander calls for Egyptian-style military junta: here.

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Egyptian diplomats kidnapped in ‘new’ Libya


This video says about itself:

‘British Women In Aid Convoy Raped In Libya

29 March 2013

A number of women are in “very bad shape” after allegedly being attacked by pro-government militiamen and a taxi driver.

From Reuters news agency:

Four Egyptian Embassy staff kidnapped in Libya: Government

Saturday 25 Jan 2014

Four Egyptian Embassy staff have been kidnapped in the Libyan capital Tripoli, including a cultural attaché, the Libyan Foreign Ministry said on Saturday, after an Egyptian administrative attache was abducted on Friday by unknown gunmen.

No further details about the latest kidnappings were immediately available.

More to follow.

One should hope that these Egyptians will not share the horrible fate of other Egyptians murdered in Libya for being Christians; or of the United States ambassador to the ‘new’ Libya, made by NATO bombs.

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