CIA, FBI not good alternatives to Trump


This 24 March 2016 video says about itself:

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

“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 Barry Grey in the USA:

“Meet the Press” anchor Chuck Todd grills senator: “You don’t trust the FBI and CIA?”

8 October 2019

An exchange on Sunday between NBC News’ “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd and Senator Ron Johnson (Republican from Wisconsin) sums up the right-wing basis on which the Democratic Party and its media allies are conducting their impeachment drive against President Trump.

In the interview, Johnson refused to condemn Trump for withholding military aid in order to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the role of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in his son Hunter’s business dealings with a Ukrainian oligarch, the central issue in the impeachment inquiry.

The senator, who cosponsored a bipartisan bill to send arms to the right-wing anti-Russian regime, also sought to defend Trump’s demand that Kiev investigate collaboration between the 2016 Clinton election campaign and Ukraine in depicting Trump as a stooge of Russian President Vladimir Putin and charging Moscow with hacking Democratic Party emails.

At the beginning of 2017, in advance of Trump’s inauguration, the CIA and the rest of the US intelligence agencies officially adopted the fabricated narrative of Russian “meddling” in the 2016 election and Trump campaign collusion. This became the basis for a secret FBI counterintelligence investigation into the Trump White House, which then morphed into the nearly two-year investigation by Special Council Robert Mueller. The current impeachment drive is an extension of this CIA-driven campaign.

When Johnson evaded Todd’s questions concerning Trump’s bullying of Ukraine to advance his personal electoral chances, and instead repeatedly raised the Clinton campaign’s collaboration with Ukrainian officials against Trump, Todd exclaimed as though in exasperated disbelief:

“Do you not trust the FBI? You don’t trust the CIA?” …

Nothing could more clearly reveal the role of the Democratic Party and its media allies in fronting for the intelligence agencies than this exchange between the “liberal” news analyst and the right-wing Republican defender of Trump. The Democrats’ alternative to Trump’s efforts to establish a form of presidential dictatorship and create a fascist movement based on anti-immigrant racism and extreme nationalism is to install a government directly run by the CIA and the Pentagon. …

They evidently believe that the public is infinitely gullible and suffering from collective memory loss.

These, after all, are the organizations that justified the war in Iraq on the basis of the Big Lie of “weapons of mass destruction”. They created the fraudulent narrative of the “war on terror” to justify aggressive wars in Afghanistan, the Middle East and North Africa that killed millions and destroyed entire societies. Meanwhile, in Libya and Syria, they funded and collaborated with Al Qaeda-linked terrorist militias in wars for regime-change.

The CIA has engineered coups and installed military dictatorships and far-right regimes all over the world. It would take many volumes to detail all of the lies and crimes of these pillars of the “deep state” against the people of the United States and the entire world. …

It is crucial that working people not allow their opposition to Trump to be channeled behind the CIA-Democratic impeachment drive. The working class must conduct the struggle against Trump independently of all sections of the ruling class and both capitalist parties. Its methods are those not of palace coup, but class struggle, which must be expanded to embrace all sections of workers and youth both in the US and internationally in the fight against the capitalist system, the source of inequality, war and dictatorship.

As Donald Trump responds to the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry by seeking to whip up far-right and fascistic forces, the Democrats and their allies in the media are promoting dissident elements in the military command that are publicly denouncing the White House’s decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria. The extraordinary intervention of high-ranking retired generals is a breach of the core constitutional principle of the subordination of the military to civilian authority. It highlights the right-wing and anti-democratic character of both factions in the political conflict in Washington and the immense dangers facing the working class if the resolution of the crisis is left in the hands of the warring factions of the ruling class: here.

CIA killing people with drones


This 10 March 2019 video says about itself:

Civilian deaths by US drone strikes will no longer be reported

President Donald Trump has reversed a 2016 policy that requires US intelligence to report the number of civilians killed in US drone strikes.

Knack weekly in Belgium reported on 7 June 2017 on the long-distance killing of people thousands of miles away by drones piloted from the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia in the USA. The Trump administration made these drone killings even worse.

Translated from the report, interviewing an ex-CIA employee:

A colleague killed a man and spared his child. But then he saw how the child walked back, and put his father’s body parts back into the form of a human body.

CIA drones killing civilians OK, Trump decides


This 2 July 2016 video says about itself:

US downplays civilian drone fatalities in new report

The White House has released its report on the number of civilians killed by drone strikes during its two terms in office. The report says they conducted 473 strikes killing as many as 2,500 people labeled as combatants and also taking the lives of up to 116 civilians.

It only applies to areas the US does not consider itself in active combat, so excludes Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane reports from Washington, DC.

From the BBC today, about the USA:

Trump revokes Obama rule on reporting drone strike deaths

President Donald Trump has revoked a policy set by his predecessor requiring US intelligence officials to publish the number of civilians killed in drone strikes outside of war zones.

As the video says, these official numbers of civilians killed were probably just the tip of the iceberg.

The 2016 executive order was brought in by then-President Barack Obama, who was under pressure to be more transparent.

The Trump administration said the rule was “superfluous” and distracting.

The order applied to the CIA, which has carried out drone strikes in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia. …

What was the rule?

It required the head of the CIA to release annual summaries of US drone strikes and assess how many died as a result.

Mr Trump’s executive order does not overturn reporting requirements on civilian deaths set for the military by Congress.

There have been 2,243 drone strikes in the first two years of the Trump presidency, compared with 1,878 in Mr Obama’s eight years in office, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a UK-based think tank.

What is the reaction?

Lawmakers and rights groups have criticised Mr Trump’s decision, saying it could allow the CIA to conduct drone strikes without accountability.

“The Trump administration’s action is an unnecessary and dangerous step backwards on transparency and accountability for the use of lethal force, and the civilian casualties they cause,” Rita Siemion of Human Rights First told AFP news agency.

Trump’s torturing CIA boss Haspel, new documents


This 17 May 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Doctor who treated a Gina Haspel torture victim speaks out

While I was uploading this video, Gina Haspel was confirmed as CIA director.

The details of how victims were tortured under her watch at a CIA black site in Thailand are horrifying.

By E.P. Milligan in the USA:

Cables document CIA Director Haspel’s direct role in torture at black site in Thailand

15 August 2018

Declassified cables released last Friday provide irrefutable evidence that the current CIA director, Gina Haspel, played a direct role in the torture of detainees at a CIA black site in Thailand in 2002. The National Security Archive obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Haspel was chief of base at “Detention Site Green” (also known as “Cat’s Eye”) and either wrote or authorized the cables.

The publication of the damning cables was given short shrift by the corporate media. The New York Times and the Washington Post each published only one article on the story in their August 10 editions. Both newspapers placed the story on their inside pages and buried it thereafter.

Haspel, tapped by Trump earlier this year to succeed Mike Pompeo, who was promoted to secretary of state, served as acting director beginning last April 26 and became director on May 26. The Democrats supplied the necessary votes to assure her confirmation by the Senate following hearings in May. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearings on Haspel’s nomination provided a revealing exposure of the criminality of the US intelligence apparatus as well as the disintegration of bourgeois democratic processes in the United States.

The hearing was characterized by gushing tributes by both Democrats and Republicans for the work of an agency long ago dubbed “Murder, Inc.” for its crimes around the world, including the organization of political assassinations, the creation of terrorist armies and the orchestration of fascist-military coups.

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who after the hearing became the first Democrat to announce his support for the nomination, went so far as to tell Haspel that when speaking to constituents, “I brag about what you people do in the Clandestine Services.”

The CIA has redacted Haspel’s name from the released cables, as well as those of CIA contract psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen. The three were identified in a Senate Intelligence Committee torture report declassified and released in 2014, which documented the grisly and illegal torture methods sanctioned by the George W. Bush administration following the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington DC.

President Obama and his CIA chief, John Brennan, blocked the release of the report for months, and Brennan had his agents hack into the computers of Senate Intelligence Committee staff who were drafting the report. Obama blocked any prosecution of Bush officials, including Brennan himself, a high-ranking CIA official during the Republican administration, who were involved in the torture program.

The 16 cables from Haspel published by the National Security Archive document scenes fit for a medieval dungeon. The CIA’s victims endured waterboarding, a technique in which water is poured through a cloth placed over the victim’s mouth and nose, inducing drowning; walling, i.e., having one’s back and head slammed repeatedly into a wall; forced nudity, hooding and shackling, confinement in a small box, sleep deprivation and other forms of physical and psychological torture.

Haspel was also involved in the 2005 destruction of CIA tapes of torture sessions sought by the courts.

The documents identify the victim as Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri, a Saudi national and member of Al Qaeda, who endured at least 16 days of unabated torture before he was moved to another facility. Sixteen years later, Al-Nashiri is a detainee at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba. A psychological expert has described him as “one of the most damaged victims of torture” she has ever examined.

The first torture session of Al-Nashiri took place on November 15, 2002. “At 0415 hours, HVT [high-value target] interrogators, security team members and linguist entered the cell”, the first cable states. “The rolled towel/neck support was placed around his neck, and subject was moved to the walling board.”

When it was deemed that Al-Nashiri had not divulged a sufficient amount of information, the interrogators “immediately used the attention grab with the rolled towel/neck support to move subject off the wall and down on to the floor of the cell. Subject’s clothes were ripped off of him by security team members while the interrogator told subject we knew he was lying…”

The interrogators threatened Al-Nashiri, stating that “if he refused to cooperate he would suffer in ways he never thought possible.” The security team then forcibly shaved his head while he “moaned and wailed.” Finally, the security team locked him in a box roughly the size of a coffin.

Another document reveals that at a subsequent torture session, interrogators locked al-Nashiri in an even smaller box, requiring that he curl up in order to fit inside.

The cables describe as many as three torture sessions a day. The victim spent the majority of this time nude and shackled in a containment box, allowed only liquid food. When he gave information that interrogators believed to be true, he was “given solid food and allowed to sleep on the floor of his cell with a mat and a towel to cover himself.” On day 12 of his confinement, his interrogators began routinely waterboarding him.

One particular cable from December 1 describes a torture session in lurid detail. The author, who may have been Haspel herself, gloats:

“Security team backed the hooded and shackled subject against the walling panel with the towel/neck restraint over his shoulders. [High-value target interrogator] [redacted] and linguist [redacted] strode, catlike, into the well-lit confines of the cell at 0902 hrs [redacted], deftly removed the subject’s black hood with a swipe, paused, and in a deep, measured voice said that subject—having ‘calmed down’ after his (staged) run-in with his hulking, heavily muscled guards the previous day—should reveal what subject had done to vex his guards to the point of rage.”

Haspel, 61, joined the CIA in 1985. Among the positions she has held in the agency are chief of station in several world capitals, senior manager of the Counterterrorism Center and, under the Obama administration, acting deputy director of the National Clandestine Service (NCS), which carries out covert operations around the globe.