Poland will pay CIA torture victims


This video says about itself:

Poland admits to hosting CIA black site prisons on its soil after U.S. Senate torture report

10 December 2014

Poland has finally admitted it DID host an American black site prison after years of denying it just after a scathing report on CIA torture shed light on just how brutal the polices were. It’s the first acknowledgement by a foreign country of hosting such a site. A former Polish president says NATO was in a state of war at the time, and there was no question over allowing allies to use its territory.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Two win payout for CIA prison ordeal

Thursday 19th February 2015

POLAND’S Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna said yesterday that his government would pay €230,000 (£170,000) in compensation to two men who were held in a secret CIA prison in the country.

The payout was ordered by the European Court of Human Rights, which rejected a Polish appeal against its original ruling.

The court ruled last July that Poland violated the rights of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah by allowing the CIA to imprison them and by failing to stop “the torture and inhuman or degrading treatment” they suffered.

It was the first judgement by any court on the “extraordinary renditions” programme under which the US abducted individuals from across the world and held them without trial in secret locations.

Mr Nashiri and Mr Zubaydah are still held in the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp and Mr Schetyna queried whether the compensation could be paid to them directly.

On Tuesday, the Guardian revealed the existence of a secret interrogation facility operated by the Chicago Police Department, in what the newspaper called “the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site”: here.

13-year-old Yemeni boy dreamt about drones, killed by drone


This video says about itself:

‘My father was martyred by a drone

10 February 2015

‘My father was martyred by a drone‘: Yemeni teenager records life months before suffering a similar fate.

Mohammed Saleh Tauiman was 13 when the Guardian gave him a camera to record his family life in Marib province in northern Yemen in 2014. In this footage from the last months of 2014, Mohammed interviews his brothers and sisters about their father, killed in a US drone attack, as the unmanned CIA aircraft continued to fly sorties overhead. On 26 January Mohammed himself was killed by a US drone alongside his brother-in-law and another man.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

We dream about drones, said 13-year-old Yemeni before his death in a CIA strike

Mohammed Tuaiman becomes the third member of his family to be killed by what he called ‘death machines’ in the sky months after Guardian interview

Chavala Madlena, Hannah Patchett and Adel Shamsan in Sana’a

Tuesday 10 February 2015 07.01 GMT

A 13-year-old boy killed in Yemen last month by a CIA drone strike had told the Guardian just months earlier that he lived in constant fear of the “death machines” in the sky that had already killed his father and brother.

“I see them every day and we are scared of them,” said Mohammed Tuaiman, speaking from al-Zur village in Marib province, where he died two weeks ago.

“A lot of the kids in this area wake up from sleeping because of nightmares from them and some now have mental problems. They turned our area into hell and continuous horror, day and night, we even dream of them in our sleep.”

Much of Mohammed’s life was spent living in fear of drone strikes. In 2011 an unmanned combat drone killed his father and teenage brother as they were out herding the family’s camels.

The drone that would kill Mohammed struck on 26 January in Hareeb, about an hour from his home. The drone hit the car carrying the teenager, his brother-in-law Abdullah Khalid al-Zindani and a third man.

“I saw all the bodies completely burned, like charcoal,” Mohammed’s older brother Maqded said. “When we arrived we couldn’t do anything. We couldn’t move the bodies so we just buried them there, near the car.”

Several anonymous US government officials told Reuters that the strike had been carried out by the CIA and had killed “three men believed to be al-Qaida militants”. …

Marib province has become a flashpoint in the struggle between the Houthi rebels –who have ousted the president after overrunning the capital – and the local tribes who reject the Shia group’s attempts to bring Marib under their control. Like the other families around al-Zur and throughout Marib province, the Tuaiman men have been involved in pushing back against the Houthis.

In a secretive programme carried out by the CIA in rural, isolated parts of Yemen, it is easy for confusion to surround the particulars of those killed in a drone strike. Affiliations with al-Qaida and anti-government tribal sympathies mesh and merge depending on who is attacking whom.

Maqdad said the family had been wrongly associated with al-Qaida, and family members strongly deny that Mohammed was involved in any al-Qaida or anti-Houthi fighting. “He wasn’t a member of al-Qaida. He was a kid.”

Speaking from al-Zur the day after his brother’s death, Meqdad said: “After our father died, al-Qaida came to us to offer support. But we are not with them. Al-Qaida may have claimed Mohammed now but we will do anything – go to court, whatever – in order to prove that he was not with al-Qaida.”

When the Guardian interviewed Mohammed last September, he spoke of his anger towards the US government for killing his father. “They tell us that these drones come from bases in Saudi Arabia and also from bases in the Yemeni seas and America sends them to kill terrorists, but they always kill innocent people. But we don’t know why they are killing us.

“In their eyes, we don’t deserve to live like people in the rest of the world and we don’t have feelings or emotions or cry or feel pain like all the other humans around the world.”

Mohammed’s father, Saleh Tuaiman, was killed in 2011 in a drone strike that also killed Mohammed’s teenage brother, Jalil. Saleh Tuaiman left behind three wives and 27 children.

The CIA and Pentagon were both asked to comment on whether the teenager had been confirmed as an al-Qaida militant. Both declined to comment.

Mohammed’s 27 siblings have now lost three family members in US drone strikes and may grow up with the same sense of confusion and injustice Mohammed expressed shortly before his death.

“The elders told us that it’s criminal to kill the civilians without distinguishing between terrorists and innocents and they kill just on suspicion, without hesitation.”

For Meqdad, Mohammed’s death has reignited his determination to seek out justice for his family. “We live in injustice and we want the United States to recognise these crimes against my father and my brothers. They were innocent people, we are weak, poor people, and we don’t have anything to do with this.”

U.S. CLOSING EMBASSY IN YEMEN “The State Department confirmed late Tuesday that it has closed the U.S. Embassy in Yemen and evacuated its staff because of the political crisis and security concerns following the takeover of much of the country by Shiite rebels.” Britain and France also have closed their embassies. [AP]

CIA drone kills twelve-year-old Yemeni child


This video says about itself:

Drone attacks in Yemen mostly hit civilians

17 July 2013

US drones strikes in Yemen nearly tripled last year compared to the year before, from 18 to 53, according to the New America Foundation, a Washington-based think tank. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, there have been up to 154 strikes by US drones in Yemen since 2002, that has killed almost 800 people. But it is mostly civilians who are often injured or killed in these attacks. Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow reports from the village of Subul in Northern Yemen.

Twelve-year-old boys are not killed in Cleveland in the USA …

By Thomas Gaist:

Twelve-year-old boy among three people killed

27 January 2015

Just days after Houthi rebels in Yemen’s capital of Sanaa toppled the US-backed government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, Washington has resumed its drone war against the impoverished country, killing a 12-year-old boy and two alleged Al Qaeda militants in a missile strike against a car traveling in the eastern Marib province.

The strike was carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency, US officials told the Wall Street Journal. The CIA administers one of two US targeted killing programs directed against Yemen, with the other managed by the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).

New waves of drone strikes against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) are currently in preparation, President Barack Obama and US military officials said Sunday. The US has launched hundreds of drone strikes against alleged terrorist targets in Yemen in recent years.

Monday’s strike comes amid indications of preparations for expanded US and NATO military action in Yemen and a growing list of other countries. US Secretary of State John Kerry pointed to Nigeria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and the Central African Republic as candidates for new US military operations in remarks at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week.

President Obama announced Monday that he would cut short his visit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to travel to Riyadh for discussions with Saudi leaders focused on the situation in Yemen and the US-led war in Iraq and Syria.

Obama administration national security official Ben Rhodes told Reuters that the meetings would focus on “the leading issues where we cooperate very closely with Saudi Arabia,” so as to insure “good alignment” with regard to US-Saudi “overlapping interests.”

US efforts to train Syrian opposition fighters are being closely coordinated with the Saudi monarchy, Rhodes said.

In statements on CBS News’s “Face the Nation” program last Sunday, Senators John McCain, a Republican, and Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, highlighted the bipartisan support enjoyed by the Obama administration as it plans to unleash yet another surge of military violence across broad areas of the Middle East and Africa.

Warning that Iran is “on the move in Bahrain” and is “winning,” McCain called for new training missions, Special Forces deployments, and air and drone campaigns against Iran’s regional allies, including the Syrian government and Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). He also urged an escalation of the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“Iran is on the march throughout the region,” McCain said, adding, “The Iranians are now either dominant or extremely influential in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen. AQAP and the ISIS in both Iraq and Syria are doing quite well. There is no strategy to defeat them.”

“We need more boots on the ground,” McCain said. “Thousands of young people all over the world” are flocking to the banners of ISIS and similar groups, he warned.

Acknowledging that this was “a tough thing for Americans to swallow,” McCain called for deployment of “Special Forces” and “air controllers,” as well as “intelligence” and “other capabilities” to Yemen and areas along the Syrian and Iraqi borders.

“We can’t train young people in Syria and send them back into Syria to be barrel-bombed by Bashar Assad,” McCain said, making the case for a campaign to “neutralize” Assad’s air forces with the imposition of a “no-fly zone.”

Feinstein repeatedly noted her agreement with McCain during the talk show, warning of the threat posed by growing Iranian power and saying it was necessary to take “a good look at our policy with respect to Yemen.”

She said, “My concern is, where is Iran going? Is Iran trying to begin the development of an Iranian crescent?”

Asked whether she favored new ground troop deployments, Feinstein avoided a direct answer while clearly implying her support. The US must “relook” at its policy in relation to Syria, she said, expressing agreement with McCain that the US must not “tolerate Assad.”

Speaking on behalf of the Obama administration, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough told “Face the Nation” that the Obama administration is preparing to expand military operations aimed at “destroying… manifestations of Al Qaeda” in South Asia, East Africa and North Africa.

McDonough said that the White House has sought to negotiate a “political agreement” with the Houthi militants who have taken control of the Yemeni capital that would allow the US military and CIA to “keep on the offensive against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.”

The US embassy in Yemen is being closed to the public and is suspending all consular services for an indefinite period of time, US officials announced Monday. The US embassy is closing because it is now surrounded by “chaos,” an anonymous State Department official told Reuters. The US already carried out a partial evacuation of embassy staff last week.

Former Central Intelligence Agency officer Jeffrey Sterling was found guilty of violating the 1917 Espionage Act Monday for providing information to the New York Times regarding covert operations conducted by the CIA against Iran. Sterling was convicted of nine felonies including illegally possessing and transferring secret government information. He could receive up to 100 years in prison after sentencing in late April: here.

Operation ‘Merlin': Another self-serving CIA project. The CIA hoped the Jeffrey Sterling trial would make “Operation Merlin” look good, but CIA cables reveal a self-interest bureaucracy at work: here.

Will ex-CIA boss Petraeus be prosecuted?


This video from the USA says about itself:

Petraeus AffairClassified Information Leak?

13 November 2012

Paula Broadwell, whose reported relationship with former CIA director David Petraeus hastened the end of his career last week, has come under scrutiny for the unusual level of access she appears to have had in the process of writing a biography of the general.

In a speech this summer at the Aspen Institute, Broadwell noted that she regularly had access to classified information in the course of her work in Afghanistan, when she was embedded for about a year in 2010 and 2011.

“I was entrusted with this opportunity to sit in on high level meetings with General Petraeus. Sitting in on SCIF [sensitive compartmented information facility] meetings in the morning, listen to classified chatter of terrorist talk and so forth. And I had that background anyhow, so I knew a lot of that information for my writing, but I knew there was a clear line that I couldn’t cross when I was writing it out,” Broadwell said, according to remarks recounted by Politico.”*

Cenk Uygur breaks down the story. Is it possible Broadwell was privy to information she should have never had access to under normal circumstances? The alleged timing for the beginning and end to the affair seem a little too convenient.

*Read more from Joshua Hersh/ Huffington Post: here.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Justice Department considering felony charges against Petraeus

13 January 2015

US Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed Sunday that the Justice Department was considering bringing charges against retired General David Petraeus for sharing classified information with his girlfriend and biographer while he was director of the CIA.

Holder refused to answer any substantive questions about the investigation, which was made public Friday night in an article posted on the web site of the New York Times. The newspaper cited FBI and Justice Department prosecutors as the source of its report, noting that the investigation has dragged on since Petraeus resigned from the CIA three days after the November 2012 presidential election.

“The delay has frustrated some Justice Department and FBI officials and investigators who have questioned whether Mr. Petraeus has received special treatment at a time Mr. Holder has led a crackdown on government officials who reveal secrets to journalists,” the newspaper wrote.

One of those journalists is a New York Times reporter, James Risen, who last week was permitted to testify at the trial of former State Department official Jeffrey Sterling without revealing the source of his reporting on US cyberwarfare efforts against Iran.

The Times report is itself a shot fired in a murky struggle between factions within the military-intelligence apparatus, where there are deep divisions provoked by the long-term failure of US efforts to conquer and dominate the oil-rich territories of the Middle East and Central Asia.

Petraeus played a leading role in both areas, commanding all US military forces in Iraq in 2006-2007 during the Bush administration “surge” which temporarily consolidated the US-backed puppet regime in Baghdad, under Premier Nouri al-Maliki. That regime collapsed last summer after the offensive by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which overran Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, and took control of nearly all the Sunni-populated areas of the country. Maliki was forced out under US pressure, replaced by Haider al-Abadi.

In 2010, Petraeus was brought in to replace General Stanley McChrystal as US commander in Afghanistan, who had openly criticized White House policy in that country in an interview with the magazine Rolling Stone. A year later, Petraeus retired from the military upon his appointment as director of the CIA, a position he retained for barely a year.

According to the Times account, the FBI investigation into Petraeus for leaking classified information began when FBI agents found classified documents on the computer of Paula Broadwell, who was writing a biography of the general and had become his lover. The Times said that Petraeus had denied ever providing classified information to Broadwell and had rejected a plea deal.

The investigation has long been known in high-level political, military and media circles in official Washington. However, it went unreported while a subterranean struggle went on over whether to bring felony charges against the most highly publicized military officer of recent decades. Petraeus was hailed by Bush as the savior in Iraq and played a similar role for Obama in Afghanistan.

There was widespread discussion of Petraeus as a possible Republican challenger to Obama in 2012, and his appointment as CIA director in 2011 was at least in part an effort by the Obama White House to forestall such a possibility.

According to a report on Politico.com after the Times article, “Petraeus has retained his security clearance and even has served as an unofficial adviser to the White House on Iraq and Syria while the FBI’s investigation remained open.” The publication also noted that it was an everyday practice to share classified documents with authors selected for their willingness to write favorably of those in power.

“This arrangement is common in Washington for established authors,” Politico wrote. “Sources for Bob Woodward, whose books often disclose classified information that is provided to him through semi-official leaks, are not investigated for betraying state secrets.”

The Times report was followed by bitter ripostes from congressional leaders close to Petraeus. Senator John McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and his frequent ally Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, issued a joint statement denouncing the leaking of information about the inquiry into Petraeus. They stopped short of defending him against any charges, claiming they did not know what case might be brought against him.

“At this critical moment in our nation’s security,” they wrote, “Congress and the American people cannot afford to have his voice silenced or curtailed by the shadow of a long-running, unresolved investigation marked by leaks from anonymous sources.”

Senator Dianne Feinstein, former head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, opposed bringing any charges against Petraeus during an appearance on the CNN Sunday interview program “State of the Union.” She described Petraeus as “a very brilliant man” who was “the four-star general of our generation,” adding that after losing his position as CIA director “the man has suffered enough.”

Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, who has replaced Feinstein as chairman of the Intelligence Committee, told ABC News that there was no basis for prosecuting Petraeus, citing President Obama’s statement when Petraeus resigned in 2012 that the matter was purely personal and that no damage had been done to US national security.

“The statute of the law says it has to reach that for there to be a prosecution,” Burr claimed. Actually, the Obama administration has brought more prosecutions under the Espionage Act than all previous US administrations combined, without ever seeking to prove damage to national security.

On the contrary, individuals like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning are barred from raising that issue—as, for instance, by arguing that they exposed crimes by the US government, and therefore did a service to the American people. Prosecutions under the Espionage Act are narrowly focused on whether classified information was disclosed without authorization, regardless of the motive.

There are ample reasons to bring criminal charges against Petraeus, who is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as overseeing the CIA, America’s specialist in murder and provocation, for more than a year. But the current case hardly qualifies as a genuine investigation into his actions—especially as it is being conducted by the administration that commissioned many of his bloodiest crimes.

At the time of Petraeus’s abrupt departure from the CIA in an alleged sex scandal, the WSWS commented, “Petraeus is a deeply reactionary figure, but he has not been brought down because of war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere. Rather, he has been declared unfit because of perhaps the first reported act that indicates he is human.”

Subsequent commentaries took note of the deep-going conflicts within the security apparatus and the political establishment that had led to his purge, including a reported dispute between Petraeus and White House counterterrorism director John Brennan over control of the drone-missile assassination program. Soon after Petraeus left the CIA, Obama named Brennan to replace him.

The latest stirring of the pot in the Petraeus affair comes only one month after the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture, an investigation that Petraeus apparently cooperated with during his tenure at the agency (2011-2012), but which was vehemently opposed by Brennan.

READ SOME OF THE EMAILS THAT BROUGHT DOWN DAVID PETRAEUS “In late 2012, Jill Kelley’s talent as a Tampa hostess and her knack for charming men in uniform indirectly triggered one of the most embarrassing national security scandals of the past decade. Among other casualties, the fallout led to the forced resignation of CIA Director David H. Petraeus — a former four-star Army general — and the early retirement of Marine Gen. John Allen, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.” The Pentagon released a trove of heavily redacted emails between Kelly and top military brass. [WaPo]

A LIFE ON HOLD AS GENERAL PETRAEUS AWAITS TRIAL The former head of American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan has his own shop at KKR these days, but the impending decision of whether or not the General should be indicted for sharing classified information with his lover continues to hang over his day-to-day actions. [NYT]

The revenge of the CIA: Scapegoating whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling. ‘The CIA hierarchy continues to have no interest in accepting responsibility for its deceptions, no matter how horrific the results': here.

CIA torture report, new investigation


This video from the USA says about itself:

Should Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld & CIA Officials Be Tried for Torture? War Crimes Case Filed in Germany

19 December 2014

A human rights group in Berlin, Germany, has filed a criminal complaint against the architects of the George W. Bush administration’s torture program. The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights has accused former Bush administration officials, including CIA Director George Tenet and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, of war crimes, and called for an immediate investigation by a German prosecutor.

The move follows the release of a Senate report on CIA torture which includes the case of a German citizen, Khalid El-Masri, who was captured by CIA agents in 2004 due to mistaken identity and tortured at a secret prison in Afghanistan. So far, no one involved in the CIA torture program has been charged with a crime — except the whistleblower John Kiriakou, who exposed it. We speak to Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and chairman of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, and longtime defense attorney Martin Garbus.

From the site of the Freedom of the Press Foundation in the USA:

Support the Bureau of Investigative Journalism‘s new project investigating the CIA torture report

January 8, 2015

By Trevor Timm

Today, we’re launching our first crowd-funding campaign of 2015—in support of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s new reporting project on the Senate’s recently-released report on CIA torture.

The Bureau, which is partnering with the Rendition Project and long-time torture and secret prisons researchers Crofton Black and Steve Kostas, will be using the Senate’s report as a launching-off point to investigate many of the questions left unanswered due to heavy-handed censorship by the CIA and White House.

While the Senate released the executive summary of the torture report, there are still over 6,000 pages of the main report that remain classified. Even in the summary that was released, many names, dates, and places remain redacted. This project will seek to fill in many of these holes still left in the story.

For example, one of the immediate questions is what has happened to the 119 people who were put through the program? The Bureau has analyzed the list of names in the report and measured them against the people known to have been held in secret prison sites. There is a crossover of about 60 names, which means that about half of the people who went through the program are not known.

Who are they and what has happened to them? This is just one of the questions the CIA torture investigation project will attempt to answer.

We’ve partnered with the Bureau before on a previous crowd-funding project. In 2013 we raised over $25,000 to fund their “Naming the Dead” project, which aims to identify and catalog every single victim—militant or civilian—of American drone strikes in Pakistan.

Since then, the Bureau has become the go-to source on tracking covert drone strikes for media outlets around the world, and we hope this project will have similar success.

Rachel Oldroyd, managing editor of the Bureau said:

The use of black site prisons and the enhanced interrogation techniques were a dark period for the CIA. Years of research by journalists and NGOs brought some of the actions into the public light, but even those people who had dedicated years to investigating the secret program were shocked by what appeared in the summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report. The report has provided a much greater understanding of the program, but it has raised many unanswered questions. It is vital that the public are given a full view of what went on and as importantly what happened to those prisoners who were put through the program.

You can go here to donate.

CIA torture report: An interactive timeline of who’s who in government: here.

The new Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, sent a letter last week to the White House demanding the Obama administration return all copies of the full report on CIA torture whose executive summary was made public last month: here.

Petition initiated by two former UN Assistant Secretaries-General, UN Humanitarian Coordinators for Iraq: Hans von Sponeck and Denis Halliday. On 9 December 2014, the US Senate released its CIA torture report. The investigation confirmed what globally has been known for many years: the US Central Intelligence Agency and US-outsourced national authorities in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere have been involved in an extensive range of torture applications: here.

A federal judge is demanding that the government explain, photo-by-photo, why it can’t release hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of pictures showing detainee abuse by U.S. forces at military prison sites in Iraq and Afghanistan: here.

CIA torture report, a month later


This video says about itself:

CIA torture: Who knew what?

10 December 2014

The United Nations is heading rights groups calling for CIA and other U.S. government officials to be prosecuted for their role in the ‘enhanced interrogation’ of suspects at secret prisons around the world. A long awaited-report into CIA detention and interrogation tactics has painted a bleak picture of U.S. torture and abuse. It talks of brutalising scores of so-called terror suspects under President George W. Bush. The Senate Intelligence Committee spent five years analysing more than six million pages of CIA documents, detailing tactics used after the September 11 attacks in 2001.

A 525-page summary paints a picture of the CIA as an agency gone rogue. It accuses the CIA of subjecting suspects to beatings, simulated drowning, sleep deprivation, and threatening to harm, kill or sexually abuse their families. The report said the CIA misled the White House, Congress and other agencies to main[tain] a programme that had little oversight, and information obtained from suspects failed to provide any useful intelligence. So where does the buck stop? And who should be held responsible?

Presenter: Hazem Sika. Guests: Robert Grenier – former director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center. Moazzam Begg – outreach director of the rights group Cage Prisoners and a former Guantanamo detainee. Clare Algar – executuve director of the human rights NGO, Reprieve.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Washington buries the CIA torture report

8 January 2015

One month ago, the Senate Intelligence Committee released the 500-page summary of its voluminous report on the torture of prisoners in secret CIA facilities overseas, conducted between 2002 and 2007. In grisly detail, the report documented such practices as waterboarding, systematic beatings, and hitherto unknown tortures like “rectal feeding.” But in practice, the report has been buried, its evidence of government criminality ignored, the perpetrators and organizers of torture going scot-free.

As the World Socialist Web Site declared at the time, “Two irrefutable conclusions flow from the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture: 1) The United States, during the Bush administration, committed criminal acts of the most serious character, in violation of international and domestic law; and 2) None of those responsible for these crimes will be arrested, indicted or prosecuted for their actions.”

Far from being shamed or humiliated by the detailed exposure of their criminality, those most implicated in the establishment and operation of the torture chambers have brazenly defended their conduct. From former Vice President Dick Cheney to ex-CIA directors George Tenet, Michael Hayden and Porter Goss, to the operational head of the interrogation program, Jose Rodriguez, they have displayed a well-justified confidence that the Obama administration will protect them from any consequences.

The Obama administration has officially shut down the secret CIA prisons and adopted a policy of blowing up its enemies with drone-fired missiles rather than capturing them. The shift from interrogation to extermination has increased the number of innocent victims many-fold. Whereas dozens of those jailed in CIA prisons were found to have no connection to terrorism, the drone-missile strikes have killed thousands of civilians in Pakistan, Yemen and other countries.

Two recent incidents demonstrate the complicity of the Obama administration with the torturers. On December 30, the outgoing chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein, sent a nine-page letter to the president outlining proposed legislative and administrative actions to be taken on the basis of the torture report.

The changes were largely cosmetic, such as enacting into law the ban on waterboarding and other forms of torture imposed by executive order after Obama took office in 2009. Even these minimal legislative actions will go nowhere in the new Republican-controlled Congress, and the proposed administrative actions will be ignored by the military-intelligence apparatus. The White House has not bothered to respond to Feinstein’s letter.

In a statement issued January 5, the CIA announced that after four years in office, the agency’s inspector-general David Buckley was resigning, effective the end of the month, to “pursue an opportunity in the private sector.” Buckley ran afoul of the CIA top brass with a report last July acknowledging that five CIA operatives had penetrated the computers used by Senate Intelligence Committee staffers who prepared the torture report, in an effort to find out how the Senate panel had obtained certain CIA internal documents that the agency had decided to withhold from the committee that has legal oversight authority.

This electronic surveillance of the legislative branch was so brazenly criminal that Senator Feinstein felt compelled to deliver a one-hour address on the floor of the Senate last March denouncing the agency’s actions. She charged that the agency “may well have violated the separation-of-powers principle embodied in the United States Constitution,” and also “the Fourth Amendment, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as Executive Order 12333, which prohibits the CIA from conducting domestic searches or surveillance.”

CIA Director John Brennan denounced Feinstein’s charges, and the agency sought Justice Department prosecution of the Senate staffers for alleged “theft” of CIA documents—i.e., evidence that CIA officials had lied about the torture and withheld information from the Senate panel. After inspector-general Buckley’s investigation upheld Feinstein’s claim, Brennan had to publicly apologize to Feinstein, but he was not fired either for authorizing the surveillance of the Senate panel or for lying about it. Now Buckley has been pushed out.

This confirms the pattern that the only torture-related “crime” that the Obama administration punishes is the effort to expose it. Hundreds of CIA agents and contractors were involved in the illegal torture program over a six-year period, but only one has ever been prosecuted: John Kiriakou, who publicly described the waterboarding of suspects and was jailed for 30 months for violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. Only one high-ranking CIA official has been sacked over the torture program: the inspector-general who undercut the agency’s efforts to cover it up.

The American media is an essential partner in this ongoing cover-up of government criminality. The report was initially the subject of massive media publicity, and the New York Times went so far as to publish a strongly worded editorial headlined, “Prosecute the Torturers and Their Bosses,” urging that charges be brought against Cheney, Tenet, Rodriguez and other former top officials. As the WSWS said at the time: “In effect, the most influential newspaper in the United States has declared that the Bush administration was a criminal government.”

In the weeks that followed, however, the media has dropped the subject. There have been no followup reports on the biggest exposure of criminal actions by the military-intelligence apparatus since the revelations about CIA assassination plots in the early 1970s. The Times editorial urging prosecution of the torturers was evidently the last gasp of a guilty conscience. The leading US daily has not reported either Feinstein’s letter or Buckley’s resignation, a silence joined by the Washington Post and the television networks.

Behind the scenes, as Buckley’s ouster and Feinstein’s appeal demonstrate, a struggle is raging within the US ruling elite. The media silence is not merely to protect the criminals responsible for torture and murder. It is above all directed at disguising the ongoing political crisis, and excluding the vast majority of the American population, the working class, from any role in determining its outcome.

No section of the ruling elite will defend democratic rights. That task falls to the working class, which must take up the demand for the prosecution of all those responsible for the atrocities documented in the Senate report, and those responsible for the crimes of American imperialism that have continued and even escalated under the Obama administration.