Torture in United Arab Emirates


This video is called CIA is destroying evidence of their torture tape recordings.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Brother of Dubai police torture victim calls for his release

Tuesday 15th April 2014

Hasnain Ali beaten and threatened with rape after arrest for ‘trumped-up’ drugs charges

The brother of a British man tortured at gunpoint and threatened with rape by Dubai police spoke out for the first time yesterday about the case.

Hasnain Ali, a former bodyguard to members of the Abu Dhabi royal family, will be sentenced today on allegedly trumped-up charges of possessing and selling drugs.

He was on holiday in Dubai in May 2013 when he was arrested, beaten and threatened with Tasers, firearms and rape by police.

Following the ordeal he was made to sign a “confession” in Arabic, which he did not understand, relating to the charges.

This “confession” is being used against him at trial.

“There has been no proper investigation into his torture and we have felt that the authorities have shown more interest in saving face than ensuring that any kind of justice is done,” his brother Jed said.

Legal charity Reprieve is fighting for Hasnain to be acquitted and returned home to Britain to his family.

Breaking news from Reprieve:

A British man arrested and tortured by Dubai police has today been acquitted.

Hasnain Ali (32), from London, was on holiday in Dubai in May 2013 when he was arrested and held for three days without access to a lawyer or his family. While detained he was beaten and threatened with tasers, firearms, and the prospect of sexual assault. Following his torture he was forced to sign a ‘confession’ in Arabic, a language he doesn’t understand, and charged with drugs offences for which he could have been given a death sentence.

See also here.

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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.

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Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer disgusted about CIA torture abuse of his music


This video from the USA is called Red Hot Chili Peppers Drummer — I’m Disgusted The CIA Used Our Music … TO TORTURE A MAN!

From TMZ in the USA:

Red Hot Chili Peppers Drummer — I’m Disgusted the CIA Allegedly Used Our Music … TO TORTURE A MAN!

4/12/2014 2:05 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith almost threw up in a Malibu parking lot Saturday … after learning the CIA allegedly used his band’s music during a suspected terrorist interrogation.

Chad was leaving Coogies when our photog asked for his opinion on a recent news report saying RHCP music was used during a CIA interrogation in 2002.

According to Al Jazeera … the report says Abu Zubaydah was shackled by his wrists to the ceiling of a secret prison site and forced to listen to one of their songs on a loop — among other torture methods. No word on which song.

The 52-year old rocker is pissed at the feds — and he’s not shy about it.

Someone’s gonna get audited this year.

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CIA torture island Diego Garcia and the British government


This video says about itself:

Stealing A Nation‘ (2004) is an extraordinary film about the plight of the Chagos Islands, whose indigenous population was secretly and brutally expelled by British Governments in the late 1960s and early 1970s to make way for an American military base. The tragedy, which falls within the remit of the International Criminal Court as “a crime against humanity”, is told by Islanders who were dumped in the slums of Mauritius and by British officials who left behind a damning trail of Foreign Office documents.

Before the Americans came, more than 2,000 people lived on the islands in the Indian Ocean, many with roots back to the late 18th century. There were thriving villages, a school, a hospital, a church, a railway and an undisturbed way of life. The islands were, and still are, a British crown colony. In the 1960s, the government of Harold Wilson struck a secret deal with the United States to hand over the main island of Diego Garcia. The Americans demanded that the surrounding islands be “swept” and “sanitized”. Unknown to Parliament and to the US Congress and in breach of the United Nations Charter, the British Government plotted with Washington to expel the entire population.

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

Come clean on US torture complicity, lawyers tell William Hague

Saturday 12th April 2014

Reprieve writes to foreign secretary following allegations that Britain let the CIA set up an interrogation ‘black site

Lawyers told Britain to come clean yesterday on whether it let the US run a secret torture site on an overseas territory.

Legal action charity Reprieve has written to Foreign Secretary William Hague following reports that the CIA set up a “black site” on Diego Garcia.

Al-Jazeera said this week that a secret US Senate intelligence committee report found “that the CIA detained some high-value suspects on Diego Garcia, an Indian Ocean island controlled by the United Kingdom and leased to the United States.”

And classified CIA documents showed it was run with Britain’s “full co-operation.”

After repeated denials the government finally admitted in 2008 that two rendition flights carrying detainees refuelled on Diego Garcia in 2002.

But it continues to deny that any prisoners were held that or that that a secret CIA prison existed.

Reprieve said that in 2004 anti-Gaddafi militant Abdulhakim Belhadj and his wife were rendered back to Libya in a joint CIA-MI6 operation and, according to a CIA flight plan found following the toppling of Gaddafi, were scheduled to be flown via Diego Garcia.

But in December 2011 Foreign Minister David Lidington told Parliament: “No flights with a detainee on board landed on Diego Garcia in March 2004.”

He added that, apart from the two cases in 2002, the US government had confirmed no other US intelligence flights had landed “in the UK, our overseas territories or the crown dependencies with a detainee on board since September 11 2001.”

Reprieve director Cori Crider said: “We need to know immediately whether ministers misled Parliament over CIA torture on British soil.

“If the CIA operated a black site on Diego Garcia then a string of official statements — from both this and the last government — were totally false.

“Were ministers asleep at the wheel or, as the report suggests, have we been lied to for years?”

When asked for comment, a Foreign Office spokeswoman referred the Star to the department’s previous statements.

See also here.

UK urged to admit that CIA used island as secret ‘black site’ prison: here.

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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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CIA lied to United States government and people about its torture


This video from the USA says about itself:

“Giving Hypocrisy a Bad Name”: NSA-Backing Senate Intel Chair Blasts CIA for Spying on Torture Probe

12 March 2014

http://www.democracynow.org The spat between the CIA and its Congressional overseers has intensified after Senator Dianne Feinstein took to the Senate floor to directly accuse the CIA of spying in an effort to undermine a probe of the agency’s torture and rendition program. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report has yet to be released but reportedly documents extensive abuses and a cover-up by CIA officials. Feinstein says the CIA broke the law in secretly removing more than 900 documents from computers used by panel investigators. She also accused the CIA of intimidation in requesting an FBI inquiry of the panel’s conduct. CIA Director John Brennan has rejected Feinstein’s allegations.

Meanwhile, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has weighed in by accusing Feinstein of hypocrisy for criticizing alleged CIA spying on U.S. senators while condoning government surveillance of private citizens. We host a roundtable discussion with three guests: former FBI agent Mike German, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, and Pulitzer-winning journalist Julia Angwin, author of the new book, “Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance.”

From the Washington Post in the USA:

CIA misled on interrogation program, Senate report says

By Greg Miller, Adam Goldman and Ellen Nakashima, Tuesday, April 1, 1:37 AM

A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that the CIA misled the government and the public about aspects of its brutal interrogation program for years — concealing details about the severity of its methods, overstating the significance of plots and prisoners, and taking credit for critical pieces of intelligence that detainees had in fact surrendered before they were subjected to harsh techniques.

The report, built around detailed chronologies of dozens of CIA detainees, documents a long-standing pattern of unsubstantiated claims as agency officials sought permission to use — and later tried to defend — excruciating interrogation methods that yielded little, if any, significant intelligence, according to U.S. officials who have reviewed the document.

“The CIA described [its program] repeatedly both to the Department of Justice and eventually to Congress as getting unique, otherwise unobtainable intelligence that helped disrupt terrorist plots and save thousands of lives,” said one U.S. official briefed on the report. “Was that actually true? The answer is no.”

Current and former U.S. officials who described the report spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue and because the document remains classified. The 6,300-page report includes what officials described as damning new disclosures about a sprawling network of secret detention facilities, or “black sites,” that was dismantled by President Obama in 2009.

Classified files reviewed by committee investigators reveal internal divisions over the interrogation program, officials said, including one case in which CIA employees left the agency’s secret prison in Thailand after becoming disturbed by the brutal measures being employed there. The report also cites cases in which officials at CIA headquarters demanded the continued use of harsh interrogation techniques even after analysts were convinced that prisoners had no more information to give.

The report describes previously undisclosed cases of abuse, including the alleged repeated dunking of a terrorism suspect in tanks of ice water at a detention site in Afghanistan — a method that bore similarities to waterboarding but never appeared on any Justice Department-approved list of techniques.

U.S. officials said the committee refrained from assigning motives to CIA officials whose actions or statements were scrutinized. The report also does not recommend new administrative punishment or further criminal inquiry into a program that the Justice Department has investigated repeatedly. Still, the document is almost certain to reignite an unresolved public debate over a period that many regard as the most controversial in CIA history.

A spokesman for the CIA said the agency had not yet seen a final version of the report and was, therefore, unable to comment.

Current and former agency officials, however, have privately described the study as marred by factual errors and misguided conclusions. Last month, in an indication of the level of tension between the CIA and the committee, each side accused the other of possible criminal violations in accessing each other’s computer systems during the course of the probe.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to vote Thursday to send an executive summary of the report to Obama for declassification. U.S. officials said it could be months before that section, which contains roughly 20 conclusions and spans about 400 pages, is released to the public.

The report’s release also could resurrect a long-standing feud between the CIA and the FBI, where many officials were dismayed by the agency’s use of methods that Obama and others later labeled torture.

CIA veterans have expressed concern that the report reflects FBI biases. One of its principal authors is a former FBI analyst, and the panel relied in part on bureau documents as well as notes from former FBI agent Ali Soufan. Soufan was the first to interrogate Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein, the suspected al-Qaeda operative better known as Abu Zubaida, after his capture in Pakistan in 2002 and has condemned the CIA for water­boarding a prisoner he considered cooperative.

The Senate report is by far the most comprehensive account to date of a highly classified program that was established within months of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, a time of widespread concern that an additional wave of terrorist plots had already been set in motion.

‘Damaging’ misstatements

Several officials who have read the document said some of its most troubling sections deal not with detainee abuse but with discrepancies between the statements of senior CIA officials in Washington and the details revealed in the written communications of lower-level employees directly involved.

Officials said millions of records make clear that the CIA’s ability to obtain the most valuable intelligence against al-Qaeda — including tips that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011 — had little, if anything, to do with “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

The report is divided into three volumes — one that traces the chronology of interrogation operations, another that assesses intelligence officials’ claims and a third that contains case studies on virtually every prisoner held in CIA custody since the program began in 2001. Officials said the report was stripped of certain details, including the locations of CIA prisons and the names of agency employees who did not hold ­supervisor-level positions.

One official said that almost all of the critical threat-related information from Abu Zubaida was obtained during the period when he was questioned by Soufan at a hospital in Pakistan, well before he was interrogated by the CIA and waterboarded 83 times.

Information obtained by Soufan, however, was passed up through the ranks of the U.S. intelligence community, the Justice Department and Congress as though it were part of what CIA interrogators had obtained, according to the committee report.

“The CIA conflated what was gotten when, which led them to misrepresent the effectiveness of the program,” said a second U.S. official who has reviewed the report. The official described the persistence of such misstatements as among “the most damaging” of the committee’s conclusions.

Detainees’ credentials also were exaggerated, officials said. Agency officials described Abu Zubaida as a senior al-Qaeda operative — and, therefore, someone who warranted coercive techniques — although experts later determined that he was essentially a facilitator who helped guide recruits to al-Qaeda training camps.

The CIA also oversold the role of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen, which killed 17 U.S. sailors. CIA officials claimed he was the “mastermind.”

The committee described a similar sequence in the interrogation of Hassan Ghul, an al-Qaeda operative who provided a critical lead in the search for bin Laden: the fact that the al-Qaeda leader’s most trusted courier used the moniker “al-Kuwaiti.”

But Ghul disclosed that detail while being interrogated by Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq who posed questions scripted by CIA analysts. The information from that period was subsequently conflated with lesser intelligence gathered from Ghul at a secret CIA prison in Romania, officials said. Ghul was later turned over to authorities in Pakistan, where he was subsequently released. He was killed by a CIA drone strike in 2012.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has previously indicated that harsh CIA interrogation measures were of little value in the bin Laden hunt.

“The CIA detainee who provided the most significant information about the courier provided the information prior to being subjected to coercive interrogation techniques,” Feinstein said in a 2013 statement, responding in part to scenes in the movie “Zero Dark Thirty” that depict a detainee’s slip under duress as a breakthrough moment.

Harsh detainee treatment

If declassified, the report could reveal new information on the treatment of a high-value detainee named Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, the nephew of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks. Pakistan captured Ali, known more commonly as Ammar al-Baluchi, on April, 30, 2003, in Karachi and turned him over to the CIA about a week later. He was taken to a CIA black site called “Salt Pit” near Kabul.

At the secret prison, Baluchi endured a regime that included being dunked in a tub filled with ice water. CIA interrogators forcibly kept his head under the water while he struggled to breathe and beat him repeatedly, hitting him with a truncheon-like object and smashing his head against a wall, officials said.

As with Abu Zubaida and even Nashiri, officials said, CIA interrogators continued the harsh treatment even after it appeared that Baluchi was cooperating. On Sept. 22, 2003, he was flown from Kabul to a CIA black site in Romania. In 2006, he was taken to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. His attorneys contend that he suffered head trauma while in CIA custody.

Last year, the Senate Intelligence Committee asked Baluchi’s attorneys for information about his medical condition, but military prosecutors opposed the request. A U.S. official said the request was not based solely on the committee’s investigation of the CIA program.

Two other terrorism suspects, from Libya — Mohammed al-Shoroeiya and Khalid al-Sharif — endured similar treatment at Salt Pit, according to Human Rights Watch. One of the men said CIA interrogators “would pour buckets of very cold water over his nose and mouth to the point that he felt he would suffocate. Icy cold water was also poured over his body. He said it happened over and over again,” the report says. CIA doctors monitored the prisoners’ body temperatures so they wouldn’t suffer hypothermia.

The CIA denies waterboarding them and says it used the technique on only three prisoners.

The two men were held at Salt Pit at the same time as Baluchi, according to former U.S. intelligence officials.

Officials said a former CIA interrogator named Charlie Wise was forced to retire in 2003 after being suspected of abusing Abu Zubaida using a broomstick as a ballast while he was forced to kneel in a stress position. Wise was also implicated in the abuse at Salt Pit. He died of a heart attack shortly after retiring from the CIA, former U.S. intelligence officials said.

Julie Tate contributed to this report.

CIA WATERBOARDED SUSPECT 83 TIMES: here.

Only one conclusion can be drawn from the report published in the Washington Post Tuesday giving grisly details of CIA torture of prisoners and systematic lying by government officials to cover it up: the US ruling elite as a whole is guilty of war crimes for which it must be held accountable: here.

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CIA violates United States constitution, Senator Feinstein says


This video from the USA is called Senator Dianne Feinstein: CIA Hacked Congress and Possibly ‘Violated’ Constitution.

By Barry Grey in the USA:

Senate Intelligence head accuses CIA of undermining US “constitutional framework”

12 March 2014

In an extraordinary speech delivered Tuesday on the floor of the US Senate, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, accused the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of spying on committee staff members conducting an investigation into the agency’s program of detention, interrogation and torture under President George W. Bush.

Feinstein directly accused the CIA of violating the US Constitution, specifically its core principle of the separation of powers between the various branches of government. She warned that the agency’s actions “may have undermined the constitutional framework essential to effective congressional oversight of intelligence activities or any other government function.” She added that the CIA likely also breached the Fourth Amendment’s ban on arbitrary searches and seizures, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and an executive order that prohibits the CIA from carrying out domestic searches or surveillance.

“I have asked for an apology and a recognition that this CIA search of computers used by its oversight committee was inappropriate,” she said. “I have received neither.”

There are few, if any, historical precedents for such a direct charge from the floor of the Senate of criminal behavior against the US spy agency. Moreover, such accusations against CIA Director John Brennan, one of President Obama’s closest associates, could have serious legal and political consequences for the White House. Tuesday’s remarks by Feinstein reflect a profound crisis within the American state.

Feinstein, a Democrat from California, spoke for an hour and reviewed in considerable detail the multi-year effort of the CIA to impede the committee’s investigation by withholding and removing access to documents, lying, and illegally penetrating and searching the computers of committee staffers working on the probe.

As Feinstein charged, these actions constitute grave violations of the US Constitution and existing law. She accused the CIA of attempting to intimidate the committee—and, by extension, Congress—and suggested that the US constitutional system of checks and balances was under dire threat, calling the present situation “a defining moment.”

Choosing her words carefully, Feinstein implied that the motive behind the CIA’s actions was a desire to cover up and block from public view the enormity of the crimes carried out during the Bush years in connection with secret CIA “black site” prisons and the abuse and torture of alleged terrorists detained in them. Brennan for a time headed up the CIA detention and interrogation program under Bush and was on record defending so-called “enhanced interrogation” techniques such as water-boarding.

Obama put off naming Brennan as head of the CIA during his first term because of concerns that his role in Bush torture programs would complicate his Senate confirmation. Instead, Obama made Brennan his chief counterterrorism adviser, at which post he oversaw the White House’s “kill lists” and drone assassination program. Obama nominated Brennan to take over the CIA after his reelection, and Brennan was handily confirmed, with lopsided Democratic Party support.

In her remarks Tuesday, Feinstein spoke of Intelligence Committee investigators “wading through the horrible details of a CIA program that never, never, never should have existed,” and “an un-American, brutal program of detention and interrogation.”

Feinstein’s speech was all the more remarkable since she is one of the most slavish defenders of the intelligence agencies and is herself, along with the congressional leadership of both parties and the Obama White House, complicit in the criminal and anti-democratic practices she claimed to be opposing. Feinstein has unreservedly defended mass spying by the National Security Agency and joined in the official witch-hunt against whistle-blowers such as Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Bradley Manning.

The fact that she felt obliged to go to the floor of the Senate and charge CIA leaders with impeachable offenses testifies to the increasingly naked manner in which the US security agencies are dispensing with even the trappings of democracy and asserting dictatorial control.

Feinstein said that she was compelled to go public, after seeking for years to conceal tensions and conflicts between her committee and the CIA, because Brennan was responding to committee protests over spying and obstruction by seeking to bring criminal charges against intelligence committee staffers and possibly committee members for allegedly stealing classified CIA documents.

“Let me say up front,” Feinstein declared, “that I come to the Senate floor reluctantly. Since January 15, 2014, when I was informed of the CIA search of this committee’s network, I’ve been trying to resolve this dispute in a discreet and respectful way.”

According to Feinstein’s account, Brennan personally informed her on January 15 that CIA personnel had conducted a search of committee computers, including the work and communications of staffers involved in reviewing CIA documents and drafting the committee’s oversight report. She said Brennan told her the CIA would continue to investigate the alleged unauthorized acquisition of classified documents by the committee.

But speaking before the Council on Foreign Relations Tuesday, Brennan flatly denied Feinstein’s charges. “As far as the allegation of CIA hacking into Senate computers,” he said, “nothing could be further from the truth. That’s just beyond the scope of reason.”

Then, in what appeared to be a thinly veiled threat, he said, “I would just encourage members of the Senate to take their time to make sure that they don’t overstate what they claim and what they probably believe to be the truth. These are some complicated matters.”

The White House leapt to Brennan’s defense. At a news briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama had “great confidence” in the CIA director. He added, “You saw the CIA director say today that if there was any inappropriate activity by CIA or by staff, he would, of course, want to get to the bottom of it and certainly the president would agree with that.”

The conflict between the Senate committee and the CIA centers on a 6,300-page report drafted by the committee on the agency’s detention and interrogation practices during the Bush years. Work on the mammoth report began in 2009 and was completed in December of 2012.

The document evidently contains damning information on the criminal practices of the CIA, and the agency has refused to provide clearance for the committee to release an unclassified version to the public. In June 2013, Brennan submitted a 122-page rebuttal denying many of the charges in the Senate report. Brennan’s rejoinder also remains classified.

In the course of the committee’s investigation, the CIA supplied committee staffers with millions of pages of documents, including parts of an internal review of the Bush-era practices commissioned by Brennan’s predecessor, Leon Panetta, known as the “Panetta review.” According to members of the Senate committee, the Panetta review documents confirm the findings in the committee’s report and expose Brennan’s denials as dishonest and false.

It appears that the CIA search of committee computers in January was aimed at determining how staffers obtained the Panetta documents, which the CIA claims are privileged and Feinstein insists were made available to committee investigators as part of the document “dump” provided by the agency.

In her Senate remarks Tuesday, Feinstein said that in late 2013 she requested in writing that the CIA provide the committee with a final and complete version of the internal Panetta review. In early 2014, the agency formally rejected the committee’s request, and shortly thereafter Brennan informed Feinstein and the Republican vice chairman of the committee, Saxby Chambliss, of the CIA search of committee computers.

Feinstein said that two days after the January 15 meeting with Brennan, she wrote a letter to the director objecting to any further CIA probe of the committee on constitutional grounds. She followed that up on January 23 with a letter asking 12 questions regarding the CIA spying on the committee. She has received no reply to either letter, she told the Senate.

Clearly, the CIA is determined to suppress the Panetta review documents and is using intimidation tactics against the Senate to do so.

In her remarks on the Senate floor, Feinstein charged that the CIA illegally removed documents from committee computers several times in the course of the investigation. In 2010, she reported, the White House counsel intervened and assured the committee that there would be no repetition of CIA obstruction of its investigation, a pledge that was quickly broken. Feinstein’s revelation of White House involvement in the disputes between her committee and the CIA strongly implies that Obama was personally aware of what was taking place.

This would be entirely consistent with the policies of the Obama administration, which has seamlessly continued and expanded the illegal and anti-democratic practices of the Bush administration. In her remarks, Feinstein noted that the CIA general counsel who referred alleged Senate theft of classified CIA documents to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution was the chief lawyer for the CIA detention and interrogation program under Bush. “His name is mentioned 1,600 times in our study,” she said.

The massive buildup of the powers of the US intelligence complex, which has reached the point where agencies such as the CIA and NSA operate with impunity and beyond even the nominal control of Congress, is the result of cover-up and complicity by Congress itself, both political parties, and the Obama White House. In her remarks, Feinstein pointed to the 2005 destruction by CIA officials of torture videotapes to explain why the committee felt it was “so important … to protect” its Panetta review documents (from the grasp of the CIA).

What Feinstein did not mention was the Obama administration’s exoneration in 2012 of CIA officials responsible for destroying the tapes. Nor did she note the suppression in 2004 of Abu Ghraib photos by the Pentagon, with the support of both parties in Congress; Obama’s reneging in 2009 on his pledge to release the suppressed photos; or her own refusal to pursue charges against Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for lying to her committee last March when he was asked if the NSA was collecting private data on millions of Americans.

The author also recommends:

CIA caught spying on US Senate
[10 March 2014]

Sen. Feinstein: The CIA Scandal Began Because the CIA Misled Congress About Torture: here.

The Senate Intelligence Committee voted Thursday to declassify the 480-page executive summary of its massive three-volume, 6,300-page report on the torture of prisoners held in secret CIA prisons between 2002 and 2006. The vote at a closed-door meeting was by a margin of 11-3, with one senator absent. According to media reports, the full report includes previously undisclosed information about brutal and illegal methods employed by the CIA, as well as systematic cover-up and lying by the spy agency: here.

Senator Feinstein: Report into interrogation techniques like waterboarding ‘exposes brutality that stands in sharp contrast to our values as a nation’: here.

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CIA covers up torture, US Senator Feinstein says


This video from the United States Senate says about itself:

Feinstein: CIA Spied on Senate Committee

11 March 2014

The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee is accusing the CIA of criminal activity in improperly searching a computer network set up for lawmakers investigating allegations that the agency used torture in terror investigations.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Dianne Feinstein launches scathing attack on CIA over alleged cover-up

Intelligence committee chair accuses CIA of intimidation

Feinstein alleges CIA broke law and violated constitution …

Dan Roberts and Spencer Ackerman in Washington

Tuesday 11 March 2014 14.46 GMT

The chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, Dianne Feinstein, on Tuesday accused the Central Intelligence Agency of a catalogue of cover-ups, intimidation and smears aimed at investigators probing its role in an “un-American and brutal” programme of post-9/11 detention and interrogation.

In a bombshell statement on the floor of the US Senate, Feinstein, normally an administration loyalist, accused the CIA of potentially violating the US constitution and of criminal activity in its attempts to obstruct her committee’s investigations into the agency’s use of torture. She described the crisis as a “defining moment” for political oversight of the US intelligence service.

Her unprecedented public assault on the CIA represented an intensification of the row between the committee and the agency over a still-secret report on the torture of terrorist suspects after 9/11. Resolution of the crisis, Feinstein suggested, may come this week at the White House.

Feinstein, who said she was making her statement “reluctantly”, confirmed recent reports that CIA officials had monitored computer networks used by Senate staff investigators. Going further than previously, she referred openly to recent attempts by the CIA to remove documents from the network detailing evidence of torture that would incriminate intelligence officers.

She also alleged that anonymous CIA officials were effectively conducting a smear campaign in the media to discredit and “intimidate” Senate staff by suggesting they had hacked into the agency’s computers to obtain a separate, critical internal report on the detention and interrogation programme.

Staff working on the Senate investigation have been reported to the Department of Justice for possible criminal charges by a lawyer at the CIA who himself features heavily in the alleged interrogation abuses. The CIA’s inspector general has another inquiry open into the issue.

Feinstein said this was a possible attempt at “intimidation” and revealed that CIA officials had also been reported to the Department of Justice for alleged violations of the fourth amendment and laws preventing them from domestic spying.

“This is a defining moment for the oversight role of our intelligence committee … and whether we can be thwarted by those we oversee,” said Feinstein in a special address on the floor of the the US Senate.

“There is no legitimate reason to allege to the Justice Department that Senate staff may have committed a crime… this is plainly an attempt to intimidate these staff and I am not taking it lightly.” …

The committee’s report is still classified, and several of its conclusions are sharply contested by the CIA.

Feinstein said that she would immediately appeal to the White House to declassify the report’s major findings. The White House, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment, is formally on record as supporting the declassification, which the president has the power to order. …

On the Senate floor earlier, Patrick Leahy, chairman of the judiciary committee and the longest serving US senator, described Feinstein’s speech at the most important he had witnessed in his time in Congress.

“I cannot think of any speech by any member of any party as important as the one the senator from California just gave,” Leahy said.

Senator Mark Udall of Colorado, an intelligence committee member, said in a statement he applauded Feinstein for “setting the record straight today on the Senate floor about the CIA’s actions to subvert congressional oversight”.

Udall said: “The actions the chairman outlined are the latest events that illustrate why I directly pushed CIA director Brennan to acknowledge the flaws in and misrepresentations about the CIA’s brutal and ineffective detention and interrogation program.

“Unfortunately, the CIA responded by trying to hide the truth from the American people about this program and undermine the Senate intelligence committee’s oversight role by illegally searching committee computers.”

In her speech, Feinstein described repeated attempts by the CIA to frustrate the work of Senate investigators, including providing the committee staff with a “document dump” of millions of non-indexed pages, requiring years of work to sort through – a necessity, Feinstein said, after former senior CIA official Jose Rodriguez destroyed nearly 100 videotapes showing brutal interrogations of detainees in CIA custody.

“We are not going to stop our investigation and have sent our report to the president in the hope it can be declassified and published for the American people to see,” Feinstein said on the Senate floor.

She said the goal of declassifying the report, exposing the “horrible details of a CIA programme that never, never should have existed,” was to prevent torture from ever again becoming American policy.

Zeke Johnson of Amnesty International called on the White House to publish the committee’s report. “President Obama, who has claimed to have the most transparent administration in history, should move immediately to declassify and release the report. Otherwise, the legacy of torture he inherited will become his own,” he said.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Dianne Feinstein statement on CIA torture report ‘cover-up’ – full text

Senate intelligence committee chair accuses CIA of intimidation in effort to block publication of controversial torture report

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CIA spying on United States senators ‘overseeing’ it


This video from the United States Senate, 29 January 2014, is called Udall Presses CIA to Address Crisis of Confidence Stemming from Obstruction on Detention Study.

From the New York Times in the USA:

C.I.A. Employees Face New Inquiry Amid Clashes on Detention Program

By MARK MAZZETTI

MARCH 4, 2014

WASHINGTON — The Central Intelligence Agency’s attempt to keep secret the details of a defunct detention and interrogation program has escalated a battle between the agency and members of Congress and led to an investigation by the C.I.A.’s internal watchdog into the conduct of agency employees.

The agency’s inspector general began the inquiry partly as a response to complaints from members of Congress that C.I.A. employees were improperly monitoring the work of staff members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to government officials with knowledge of the investigation.

The committee has spent several years working on a voluminous report about the detention and interrogation program, and according to one official interviewed in recent days, C.I.A. officers went as far as gaining access to computer networks used by the committee to carry out its investigation.

The events have elevated the protracted battle — which began as a fight over who writes the history of the program, perhaps the most controversial aspect of the American government’s response to the Sept. 11 attacks — into a bitter standoff that in essence is a dispute over the separation of powers and congressional oversight of spy agencies.

The specifics of the inspector general’s investigation are unclear. But several officials interviewed in recent days — all of whom insisted on anonymity, citing a continuing inquiry — said it began after the C.I.A. took what Senator Mark Udall, Democrat of Colorado, on Tuesday called an “unprecedented action” against the committee. …

The episode is a rare moment of public rancor between the intelligence agencies and Ms. Feinstein’s committee, which has been criticized in some quarters for its muscular defense of many controversial intelligence programs — from the surveillance operations exposed by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden to the Obama administration’s targeted killing program using armed drones.

The origins of the current dispute date back more than a year, when the committee completed its work on a 6,000-page report about the Bush administration’s detention and interrogation program. People who have read the study said it is a withering indictment of the program and details many instances when C.I.A. officials misled Congress, the White House and the public about the value of the agency’s brutal interrogation methods, including waterboarding. …

Then, in December, Mr. Udall revealed that the Intelligence Committee had become aware of an internal C.I.A. study that he said was “consistent with the Intelligence Committee’s report” and “conflicts with the official C.I.A. response to the committee’s report.”

It appears that Mr. Udall’s revelation is what set off the current fight, with C.I.A. officials accusing the Intelligence Committee of learning about the internal review by gaining unauthorized access to agency databases.

In a letter to President Obama on Tuesday, Mr. Udall made a vague reference to the dispute over the C.I.A.’s internal report.

The letter gave no details about the “unprecedented action,” but Mr. Udall said that it was important for the committee to “be able to do its oversight work — consistent with our constitutional principle of the separation of powers — without the C.I.A. posing impediments or obstacles as it is today.”

Mr. Obama ended the C.I.A.’s detention program in one of his first acts in the Oval Office, and he has denounced the interrogation methods as illegal torture. …

Mr. Brennan, who was a senior C.I.A. official at the beginning of the Bush administration when the interrogations were first begun, has found himself in an awkward position.

During his confirmation hearing last year to become C.I.A. director, he said that he had always been opposed to the techniques and that he had voiced his opposition to other agency officials. He did not say to whom he had expressed these misgivings, and former C.I.A. officials at the time said they could not recall Mr. Brennan’s having opposed the program.

In a statement last year, Mr. Brennan said that the interrogation methods once used by the C.I.A. “are not an appropriate method to obtain intelligence” and that “their use impairs our ability to play a leadership role in the world.” But he has sparred frequently behind closed doors with Senator Feinstein about the committee’s voluminous report.

The Senate’s investigation into the C.I.A. program took four years to complete and cost more than $40 million, in part because the C.I.A. insisted that committee staff members be allowed to review classified cables only at a secure facility in Northern Virginia. And only after a group of outside contractors had reviewed the documents first.

See also here.

Rachel Maddow: CIA spying on Congress ‘is death of the Republic stuff’: here.

CIA: [We] Only Spied On Senate Because They Took Documents Proving We Lied: here.

Over the past several days, it has emerged that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been illegally spying on the US Senate Intelligence Committee—the very legislative body that is charged with overseeing and regulating the agency—in flagrant violation of legality and the constitutional separation of powers: here.

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Yemen wedding guests killed by US drone


This video is called Drone strike kills 15 wedding-goers instead of Al-Qaeda convoy in Yemen.

From Associated Press:

U.S. Drone May Have Killed Dozen Civilians In Yemen: Report

by KIMBERLY DOZIER

02/20/2014 11:59 am EST

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. military drone strike in Yemen last December may have killed up to a dozen civilians on their way to a wedding and injured others, including the bride, a human rights group says. U.S. officials say only members of al-Qaida were killed, but they have refused to make public the details of two U.S. investigations into the incident.

Human Rights Watch released a report on the drone strike Thursday, citing interviews with eight witnesses and relatives of the dead as well as Yemeni officials. The report said four Hellfire missiles were fired at a wedding procession of 11 vehicles on Dec. 12, 2013, in Radda in southern Yemen, killing at least 12 men and wounding at least 15 others, six of them seriously.

The report said the procession “may have included members” of Yemen’s al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, “although it is not clear who they were or what was their fate.” Family members and survivors say all those hit were civilians; Yemeni officials told Human Rights Watch that most were militants.

“We asked both the Yemeni and the U.S. authorities to tell us which of the dead and wounded were members of militant groups and which if any were civilians,” report author Letta Tayler, a senior terrorism and counterterrorism researcher at Human Rights Watch, told The Associated Press. “They did not reply to this question.”

She added: “While we do not rule out the possibility that AQAP fighters were killed and wounded in this strike, we also do not rule out the possibility that all of those killed and wounded were civilians.”

The New York-based group called on the U.S. government to investigate and make the findings public.

A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, said he would not comment on specific operational details. …

The officials said the Pentagon can’t release details because both the U.S. military and the CIA fly drones over Yemen. By statute, the military strikes can be acknowledged, but the CIA operations cannot. The officials said that if they explain one strike but not another, they are revealing by default which ones are being carried out by the CIA.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the drone operations publicly.

The continued secrecy surrounding the drone program shows how the Obama administration has been slow to transfer the CIA drones over to the military’s Joint Special Operations Command nearly a year after Obama promised in a May 2013 speech to put the military largely in charge of lethal strikes and thereby make the program more transparent. Congress has objected to the transfer to the military, because the CIA can strike in countries where the military cannot — for instance, in countries that refuse to allow U.S. counterterrorist actions on its soil.

With the drone program in limbo, U.S. officials have simply continued to say nothing of the strikes, wherever they occur.

“The U.S. refusal to explain a deadly attack on a marriage procession raises critical questions about the administration’s compliance with its own targeted killing policy,” Tayler wrote in the report.

The local Yemeni governor and military commander called the strike a mistake and compensated the families of those killed and injured.

The Human Rights Watch report lists the names and ages of 12 men who witnesses said were killed in the attack, along with the names of six men who were seriously wounded.

According to the nonpartisan public policy institute New America Foundation, the U.S. has launched 99 drone strikes in Yemen since 2002.

A drone strike in Yemen in December may have killed civilians and violated Obama’s targeted killing policies: here.

US Drones: ‘Psychological torture’ from above and the resistance from below. Drone strikes in Yemen are ‘tearing apart the social fabric of some world’s poorest, most marginalized,’ says anti-drone organizer: here.

Yemen’s negotiated transition between the elite and the street: here.

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