CIA torture report, background


This video says about itself:

CIA ‘torture’: Inside the ‘blackout box’ – BBC News

3 August 2015

**VIDEO CONTAINS SOME DISTURBING IMAGES** BBC reporter Hilary Andersson finds out what it is like to be inside a “blackout box” used in so-called “enhanced interrogation“. The agency’s position has always been that the “enhanced interrogation” techniques it used under George W Bush did not amount to torture, because they were legally approved by the White House at the time. President Obama closed the CIA’s programme down when he came to power in 2009. BBC Panorama reporter Hilary Andersson experiences what it is like inside a “blackout box” as used by CIA interrogators.

From the Huffington Post in the USA:

This week, the Guardian‘s Spencer Ackerman published a threepart series detailing the backstory of the CIA’s battle with the Senate over torture. Ackerman’s stories focused on Daniel Jones, who was the lead investigator for the Senate report on CIA torture. On Saturday, we spoke to Ackerman about his work. An edited transcript of our conversation follows.

United States CIA torture report, mostly still secret


This video says about itself:

The Dark Prison: The Legacy of the CIA Torture Programme – Fault Lines

24 March 2016

“In the immediate aftermath of 9/11 we did some things that were wrong. We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks.”

It’s been more than a year since US President Barack Obama admitted that the CIA tortured prisoners at its interrogation centres.

While the CIA has long admitted the use of waterboarding, which simulates drowning by pouring water into a person’s nose and mouth, a truncated and heavily redacted report by the Senate Intelligence Committee in December 2015 detailed other abuses that went beyond previous disclosures.

Reading like a script from a horror film, some of the techniques involved prisoners being slapped and punched while being dragged naked up and down corridors, being kept in isolation in total darkness, subject to constant deafening music, rectal rehydration and being locked in coffin-shaped boxes.

Critical to the development of the CIA’s brutal interrogation programme was a legal memo that said the proposed methods of interrogation were not torture if they did not cause “organ failure, death or permanent damage”.

Despite failing to produce any useful information about imminent terrorist attacks, the CIA meted out these and other brutal treatments for years after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

And with dozens of people having since been released without charge, and at least a quarter of them officially declared to have been “wrongfully detained”, the effects of torture live on with the victims, burned into their minds.

In this episode of Fault Lines, we explore the plight of these men struggling to overcome their harrowing experiences of torture since leaving CIA-run black sites.

By Cristian Farias, Legal Affairs Reporter, The Huffington Post in the USA:

American Public Is Not Entitled To See Full Senate Torture Report, Court Rules

As a “congressional record,” the document is not subject to freedom-of-information laws.

05/13/2016 07:19 pm ET

An appeals court ruled on Friday that more than 6,000 pages of the so-called Senate torture report cannot be made public because they consist of congressional records that are not subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, which only covers federal agencies.

The unanimous ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Washington made clear that records that Congress shares with federal agencies can’t be disclosed if there’s a “clear intent” by lawmakers “to control the document.”

The decision dealt a major blow to the American Civil Liberties Union, which sued the CIA and other federal agencies that saw the full report ahead of the Senate’s release of a much shorter executive summary in 2014.

The ACLU had argued that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, then headed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), had “relinquished control” of the full report when it allowed President Barack Obama and other agencies to inspect it before the much briefer executive summary was released to the public.

But the appeals court rejected that argument, relying on a “critical” June 2009 letter Feinstein sent to the CIA that made “plain” that the Senate committee “intended to control any and all of its work product” — including the 6,963-page report that resulted from its investigation into widespread detainee abuse by the agency during the Bush administration.

The court said that the “mere transmission” of the full report to the executive branch didn’t mean the document was now discoverable under federal public-disclosure laws.

“The Committee effectively stamped its control over the Full Report when it wrote the terms of the Letter,” wrote U.S. Senior Circuit Judge Harry Edwards Friday, concluding that those terms governed the report’s lengthy process of revisions and approval by the two government branches in the years that followed.

Hina Shamsi, the ACLU lawyer who in March argued in favor of the disclosures, expressed disappointment about Friday’s ruling on Twitter and said her organization is weighing whether to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

Feinstein, through spokesman Tom Mentzer, sidestepped a question from The Huffington Post about whether she believes the full report remains in the Senate’s control and thus outside the public’s reach.

Instead, the senator suggested that only certain officials should be granted access to its contents.

“Now that this case is resolved, I again call on the administration to allow appropriate, cleared individuals to have full access to the study and for the National Archives to fulfill its obligation to preserve this document,” Feinstein said in a statement.

But in a December 2014 letter to the president — after the torture report’s executive summary was made public — Feinstein seemed to defer to the executive on what do to with the full report, counseling that it should allow “for use as broadly as appropriate” so that the abuse “is never repeated.”

“I hope you will encourage use of the full report in the future development of CIA training programs, as well as future guidelines and procedures for all Executive Branch employees, as you see fit,” Feinstein wrote at the time.

NEW REPORTS DETAIL CIA TORTURE The declassified transcripts contain testimony from prisoners. [NYT]

New CIA torture documents confirm chilling details of Khaled El-Masri’s ‘Kafka-esque’ ordeal: here.

Right after he took office, Barack Obama promised to do away with torture. But documents obtained by BuzzFeed News show for the first time how a harsh interrogation tactic thrived on his watch in Afghanistan. Human rights advocates said it could be inhumane and illegal: here.

 The CIA Didn’t Just Torture, It Experimented on Human Beings: here.

‘CIA helped apartheid regime arrest Nelson Mandela’, ex-CIA man admits


This video from the USA says about itself:

“One of Our Greatest Coups”: The CIA & the Capture of Nelson Mandela

13 December 2013

As South Africa prepares to hold a state funeral for Nelson Mandela, we look at how the CIA helped the South African track down and capture Nelson Mandela in 1962. In 1990, the Cox News Service quoted a former U.S. official saying that within hours after Mandela‘s arrest a senior CIA operative named Paul Eckel admitted the agency’s involvement.

Eckel was reported as having told the official, “We have turned Mandela over to the South African security branch. We gave them every detail, what he would be wearing, the time of day, just where he would be. They have picked him up. It is one of our greatest coups.”

Several news outlets have reported the actual source of the tip that led to the arrest of Mandela was a CIA official named Donald Rickard. On Thursday, Democracy Now! attempted to reach Rickard at his home in Colorado. On two occasions, a man who picked up the phone hung up when we asked to speak with Donald Rickard.

The activist group RootsAction has launched a campaign to urge the CIA to open its files on Mandela and South Africa and the media watchdog group Fairness in Accuracy in Reporting has questioned why corporate media outlets have largely ignored the story. We speak to journalist Andrew Cockburn who first reported on the CIA link to Mandela’s arrest in 1986 in the New York Times.

From Slate.com in the USA:

Former U.S. Spy Says CIA Played Key Role in Nelson Mandela’s Arrest

By Daniel Politi

May 15 2016 11:51 AM

A former CIA spy said he played a key role in getting Nelson Mandela arrested in 1962, which led to a 27-year imprisonment. Donald Rickard, who was working as the U.S. vice consul in Durban at the time, said he was the one who provided the tip about Mandela’s whereabouts on that fateful day, according to the Sunday Times.

So, Rupert Murdoch‘s far Right Sunday Times (for readers who only believe right-wing media).

Rickard gave the explosive declaration mere weeks before his March 30 death to British film director John Irvin. The former spy had no apparent qualms about what he did because Mandela was “the world’s most dangerous communist outside of the Soviet Union.”

Rickard claims he found out that Mandela would be traveling from Durban to Johannesburg and told police authorities so they could set up a roadblock. When Mandela’s car was stopped, agents immediately recognized the most wanted man in the country and took him into custody. “I found out when he was coming down and how he was coming … that’s where I was involved and that’s where Mandela was caught,” Rickard said. The former agent didn’t reveal how he received the information but said he firmly believed Mandela was “completely under the control of the Soviet Union, a toy of the communists.”

The interview appears to confirm suspicions that the CIA was tracking Mandela, according to the BBC. The report is likely to increase pressure on the U.S. intelligence agency to release documents that could help clarify its role in Mandela’s arrest.

Mandela’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party was quick to react to the news, saying it puts in evidence a pattern of Washington involvement in the country’s politics. “That revelation confirms what we have always known, that they are working against [us], even today,” ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said. “It’s not thumb sucked, it’s not a conspiracy [theory]. It is now confirmed that it did not only start now, there is a pattern in history.”

When the 88-year-old Rickard spoke to Irving two weeks before his death he contradicted statements he had made in the past when he vehemently denied any involvement in Mandela’s arrest. In 2012, the Wall Street Journal wrote about the “mystery” of Mandela’s detention and noted reports “about a junior U.S. diplomat at the Durban consulate who allegedly boasted at a party of steering the police to Mr. Mandela.” Rickard denied everything. “That story has been floating around for a while,” he told the paper over the phone. “It’s untrue. There’s no substance to it.”

CIA torture news update


This video from the USA says about itself:

After a Landmark Legal Ruling, Will CIA Torture Victims Finally Have Their Day in Court?

6 May 2016

A federal judge has allowed a landmark lawsuit to proceed against two psychologists who designed and implemented the CIA’s torture program. Psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen reaped more than $80 million for designing torture techniques used by the agency. The case was brought by Suleiman Abdullah Salim and Mohamed Ben Soud, two survivors of the program, along with the family of Gul Rahman, who froze to death at a CIA black site in Afghanistan. All three men were subjected to torture techniques that Mitchell and Jessen created and helped implement, including beatings, being held in coffin-sized boxes and being hung from metal rods.

We speak with ACLU lawyer Dror Ladin, who filed a lawsuit on behalf of torture victims, and with former intelligence officer Col. Steven Kleinman, who knew psychologists Mitchell and Jessen from his time at the SERE school in Spokane. SERE—Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape—is a secretive program which teaches soldiers to endure captivity in enemy hands. Mitchell and Jessen reverse-engineered the tactics taught in SERE training for use on prisoners held in the CIA’s secret prisons.

CIA torture update


This video says about itself:

Here the rain never finishes: exclusive CIA torture report from the ACLU | Guardian Docs

13 October 2015

Survivors of Central Intelligence Agency torture are sueing the contractor psychologists who designed one of the most infamous programs of the post-9/11 era. Salim, one of the three ex-detainees in the suit, is a Tanzanian fisherman who says that flashbacks from his ordeal in CIA custody are a permanent part of his life.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

US: Authorities allow torture and killing case against CIA

Friday 22nd April 2016

A CIVIL RIGHTS case against the CIA for the torture and killing of prisoners in a twisted experiment has received the tacit green light from authorities.

The Justice Department submitted a motion before todays’ hearing in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, asking for classified information to be kept under wraps.

But the ACLU’s lawyers were encouraged that the department did not immediately invoke state secrets privilege to block the proceedings.

“The government is actually going to show up at the hearing instead of trying to shut it down,” said attorney Dror Ladin. “It’s going to be suggesting procedures that might allow the case to go forward.”

The government invoked those privileges in the case of Khaled El-Masri, a German citizen who unsuccessfully sued after he was beaten and sodomised while held at a CIA-run prison in Afghanistan known as the “Salt Pit.”

Today’s hearing stems from a ACLU lawsuit against two CIA-employed psychologists, James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen, filed last October on behalf of three former prisoners of the agency.

The two devised an experimental CIA interrogations programme based on 1960s tests involving dogs and the theory of “learned helplessness.”

One of the victims, Gul Rahman, was interrogated at the Salt Pit and subjected to isolation, darkness and extreme cold water, and was later found dead from hypothermia.

The other two, Suleiman Abdullah Salim and Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, were held in CIA prisons but never charged. Both are now free.

Zubaydah’s later fate in the hands of the CIA was of a far grimmer nature. He had the dubious luck to be the subject of a number of CIA “firsts”: the first post-9/11 prisoner to be waterboarded; the first to be experimented on by psychologists working as CIA contractors; one of the first of the Agency’s “ghost prisoners” (detainees hidden from the world, including the International Committee of the Red Cross which, under the Geneva Conventions, must be allowed access to every prisoner of war); and one of the first prisoners to be cited in a memo written by Jay Bybee for the Bush administration on what the CIA could “legally” do to a detainee without supposedly violating U.S. federal laws against torture: here.