Irish anti-torture flight protesters arrested


This video from Ireland says about itself:

Protest against the use of Shannon Airport by the CIA and US military 10-7-2011

Organised by the human rights activist group Shannonwatch, today’s protest at Shannon Airport was notable for the excessive numbers of Garda and Special Branch operatives oppressively policing and harrassing the peaceful attendees — a ratio of more than two to one counting the guards on the side road and buzzing police cars and the Special Branch unmarked car. Shortly before the start of the protest Gardai set up a checkpoint close to the roundabout where the protest is always held and in the space of thirty minutes the only vehicle pulled to the side of the road for inspection was John Lannon’s, coordinator of Shannonwatch.

Directly after the protest, Fred Johnston, a Shannonwatch activist from Galway was similarly pulled to the side of the road in his car where his valid vehicle insurance documentation and accompanying pet dog; Tristan, were spuriously taken exception to – as John Lannon remarked; “There has been a more determined effort to impede peaceful opposition to Shannon Airport’s role in U.S. military and CIA operations since the present government and Minister for Justice took office”. Shannonwatch object to the continued misuse of a civilian airport, under the blind eye of a complicit government, as a transit stop for CIA torture flights and US troops transiting to America’s imperial wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Ireland: US military flights protesters arrested at Shannon airport

Thursday 26th May 2016

TWO Irish peace campaigners were arrested yesterday morning after protesting on the main runway at Shannon airport against US military flights from there.

Dave Donnellan and Colm Roddy walked into the airside zone at dawn, carrying the Irish flag and a banner, before painting red crosses on the runway in remembrance of US-led wars in the Middle East.

They were not detected until they approached a US government-owned Learjet and a Boeing 757 parked by the disused runway 11, half a mile away.

As they walked past the two planes, soldiers in an Irish army vehicle spotted them and alerted nearby Garda officers in a patrol car, who in turn called the airport police to arrest the pair.

The BBC’s Newsnight programme, the New York Times and Amnesty International alleged in 2005 that Shannon airport had been used for dozens of “rendition” flights of prisoners to third countries.

Britain trains soldiers of over sixteen torture regimes


This video from India says about itself:

3 Kerala men trapped in Saudi Arabia, tortured by employer

23 December 2015

A horrifying video of three Indians being beaten brutally by their Saudi employer has evoked strong reactions in Kerala. The men, were who are from Haripad, a town in north Kerala, had forwarded the video to their family members, with an appeal for help.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Britain trains soldiers for many regimes on its own human rights abuse watchlist

Sixteen nations on the Foreign Office watchlist for use of torture and sexual violence benefit from military and security support

Jon Stone

Britain is providing military training and support to the majority of the countries named on its own human rights abusers watchlist, The Independent can reveal.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) designated 30 nations as “human rights priority” countries last year, warning of their conduct on a range of issues from internal repression to the use of sexual violence in armed conflict.

But information released by ministers shows that British armed forces trained “either security or armed forces personnel” in 16 of the listed countries since 2014.

According to the Ministry of Defence, British soldiers have trained the armed forces of Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burma, Burundi, China, Colombia, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Zimbabwe – despite the human rights records of those countries.

The revelation comes days after the Government announced it would step up the level of military training it provided for the armed forces of Oman. Though Oman is not among those nations named on the FCO’s watchlist, human rights observers working for Amnesty International say they have identified widespread use of torture and detention in the country.

Methods in use in Oman include mock execution, beating, hooding, solitary confinement, subjection to extremes of temperature and to constant noise, abuse and humiliation,” the organisation said in its 2014 report. “These practices are allowed to flourish within a culture of arbitrary arrest and detention in secret institutions.”

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon stated that Oman “is our friend” and that the UK was “working more closely than ever with them across military, counter-terrorism and intelligence fields to tackle shared threats to stability.”

The UK could also build a permanent military training facility in the country, Mr Fallon added.

In March, The Independent reported that British commandos are training Bahraini soldiers in using sniper rifles – despite the alleged use of such specialist troops to target protesters during a pro-democracy uprising in 2011.

Soldiers from the Gulf monarchy were again hosted at the Infantry Battle School in Wales last week, according to Ministry of Defence publicity.

They visited alongside troops from Nigeria, whose top military generals Amnesty say should be on trial for war crimes. The human rights group produced a 133-page dossier alleging Nigerian forces caused the deaths of 8,000 people through murder, starvation, suffocation and torture during security operations against Islamist militants Boko Haram.

A senior military official told Amnesty that Nigerian solders respond to Boko Haram attacks by going “to the nearest place and kill[ing] all the youths” whether they were armed or not.

Andrew Smith, of Campaign Against Arms Trade, said Britain should not be “colluding” with countries it was well aware were led by authoritarian regimes. “The UK army has provided training to some of the most authoritarian states in the world,” he said.

“The fact that many of them are included on the government’s own ‘human rights priority’ list is a sign of how oppressive they are. The UK military should not be colluding with or legitimising human rights abusers.”

The Government has faced criticism from campaigners in recent months for continuing to rubber stamp arms sales to repressive regimes, including Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has been accused of committing war crimes during its military campaign in Yemen, something the country denies. The aid organisation Medecins Sans Frontiers states that Saudi war-planes have bombed multiple hospitals in which it operates in the area. Other reports include the bombing of schools and weddings.

The British government has however ignored calls for an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia from both the European Parliament and the House of Commons International Development Committee.

Defence minister Philip Dunne confirmed last month that British liaison officers had trained Saudi Arabian troops in using weapons systems supplied by Britain and that they were present in the country’s operations centre.

 

CIA destroys torture evidence


This video from the USA says about itself:

CIA “Mistakenly” Destroys Detailed Evidence Of Torture

19 May 2016

The CIA inspector general’s office — the spy agency’s internal watchdog — has acknowledged it “mistakenly” destroyed its only copy of a mammoth Senate torture report at the same time lawyers for the Justice Department were assuring a federal judge that copies of the document were being preserved, Yahoo News has learned.

Read more here.

Trump-advising general advocates banning Muslims, torture


This video from the USA says about itself:

Explosive Story About Trump’s Racism In The Eighties

7 September 2015

“Black employees at the Trump Casino in Atlantic City were routinely kept out of sight whenever the real estate mogul entered the building, says one former employee.

A New Yorker magazine article about Atlantic City contained the story of a former Trump Casino worker about the way he and other employees of color were treated on the job when “the boss” was around…

Brown said, “When Donald and Ivana came to the casino, the bosses would order all the black people off the floor. It was the eighties, I was a teen-ager, but I remember it: they put us all in the back.””

Read more here.

By Daniel Marans in the USA:

Trump-Advising General Defends Muslim Ban

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn is also open to waterboarding and killing suspected terrorists’ families.

05/19/2016 01:15 pm ET

Former Defense Intelligence Agency director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn expressed his support for Donald Trump’s extreme national security positions in an interview released Thursday — including a ban on Muslim entry.

But the informal advisor to Trump’s campaign, who headed the Pentagon intelligence agency under the Obama administration until 2014, strained to define those proposals more liberally than the presumptive GOP presidential candidate ever has.

Asked by Mehdi Hasan, host of Al Jazeera English’s “UpFront,”  if he supports the Muslim entry ban, Flynn responded, “Yes.”

He then went on, however, to describe a far narrower policy than the blanket prohibition Trump has proposed.

“I support the vetting of individuals and the proper screening of individuals who are coming from certain parts of the world like Syria,” Flynn told Hasan.

He did not mention that the U.S. refugee resettlement program, the way many Syrians now arrive in the United States, is already among the strictest and most intensive parts of the immigration system.

Flynn also declined to rule out reviving waterboarding, an illegal torture technique Trump has promised to bring back.

“I am a believer in leaving as many options on the table right up until the last possible minute,” Flynn said.

Nor would Flynn categorically reject the notion of deliberately killing the families of accused terrorists, a practice that constitutes a war crime. Former CIA director Michael Hayden has said that U.S. troops could legally “refuse to act” on such an order.

“I would have to see the circumstances of that situation,” Flynn said of the practice.

His blessing for Trump’s most controversial national security proposals is notable because it lends credibility to some of the statements that even many foreign policy hawks regard as beyond the pale.

Yet it is not altogether surprising that Flynn is backing Trump. The general, now retired from active duty, has a reputation for his controversial views about Islam and U.S. anti-terrorism efforts.

Flynn was forced out as DIA chief for vocally opposing the Obama administration’s more optimistic assessments of progress against militant groups including Al Qaeda.

He has argued that “political correctness” is limiting the U.S. in the fight against ISIS, according to the Daily Beast.

Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL,” he tweeted in February, linking to a video with the same name that lists dozens of terror attacks committed by Muslims in the past decades.

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.

United States ‘liberal hawk’ Samantha Power praises Sri Lankan human rights violators


This video from the USA says about itself:

Code Pink: ‘We see Samantha Power as a war hawk’

19 November 2014

A group of activists belonging to the anti-war group Code Pink interrupted the panel between Jorge Ramos and U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power at Fusion’s RiseUp event in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday …

Ramos caught up backstage with the activists after their intervention.

We see no future in war. “We are appalled that Samantha Power, who’s our diplomat, is now saying that military actions are the solution.”

By Kumaran Ira, exile from Sri Lanka:

UN Ambassador Samantha Power hails Sri Lanka as human rights champion

10 May 2016

At the recent US-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council Meeting in Washington, Samantha Power, the US permanent representative to the UN, took the time to promote the US “pivot to Asia” aimed to isolate and prepare war against China. She hailed Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s government, which was installed by Washington in January 2015 as part of the “pivot to Asia,” for its human rights record.

Power said Sirisena’s regime has made “extraordinary progress,” claiming, “Sri Lanka has, since January 2015, emerged as a global champion of human rights and democratic accountability.”

Power is lying through her teeth. The Sirisena government is no such thing. In fact, its violations of democratic rights and its flagrant contempt for the workers and toiling masses of Sri Lanka make fairly clear what kind of local allies Washington is relying on to carry out its “pivot to Asia,” behind a veil of empty and hypocritical “democratic” rhetoric.

The Sirisena government are burying the war crimes committed by the previous Rajapakse regime. Thousands are still missing after the civil war ended with the massacre of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009, killing tens of thousands. Many top Sirisena officials are deeply implicated in these crimes, with Sirisena himself having served as Rajapakse’s acting defence minister at the end of the civil war.

War victims’ families have protested, demanding the government release their relatives disappeared during the war. The Tamil minority in the North and East of Sri Lanka are still under military occupation since the end of civil war, and thousands are still living in makeshift camps in deplorable conditions. Hundreds of political prisoners of all ethnicities have been held without trial in prisons for years.

All these demands have been brushed aside by Sirisena, as well as his Tamil nationalist allies in the Tamil National Alliance. Even after Tamil political prisoners staged a hunger strike demanding their release, the Sirisena government brazenly insisted that there are no political prisoners in Sri Lanka.

The Sirisena government has cracked down on opposition to its austerity agenda from workers, students, and farmers. It resorted to legal frame-ups against tea estate workers protesting poor working conditions and obtained injunctions to prevent bank employees’ protests. When it faced large-scale protests by farmers against subsidy cuts and low prices for their products, and by students against education cuts, it ordered security forces to brutally attack the protesters.

Though Power and other top US diplomatic officials have repeatedly visited Colombo and are excellently informed of Sirisena’s attacks on democratic rights, Power claimed Washington’s regime in Colombo is overseeing an unprecedented flowering of democracy.

Power stated, “When I visited in November, the change since my last visit in 2010 was palpable. People told me that it felt as though a repressive climate of fear had been lifted and that they could breathe again. Activists felt safe to work openly and, of course, to criticize the Government with new fervor. Journalists reported freely; political prisoners were being released; land was being returned to the people; and the internally displaced were beginning to go home in new numbers. As part of its determination to deal with the abuses of the past, moreover, the Government had committed to justice and reconciliation processes to try to serve all Sri Lankans.”

Who does Power think she is kidding? A broad and growing body of public evidence points to a surge in human rights violations after Sirisena’s election, including abductions, torture, and rape, in an unsuccessful effort to silence broad popular opposition through state terror.

Recently, the International Truth and Justice Project-Sri Lanka published a report based on interviews with 20 Tamils abducted last year.

Their testimony was confirmed by physical evidence of torture including scarring, and by psychological or psychiatric symptoms of torture and sexual abuse. Torture methods included “beating, whipping, burning with cigarettes, branding with heated metal rods, water torture, asphyxiation in a plastic bag soaked in petrol or chilli and tied around their necks, hanging upside down, beating on the soles of the feet and the use of electric currents through their body”.

One torture victim, originally from a village in Sri Lanka’s east and now living in London, said he had signed a false confession to being a Tamil Tiger fighter after members of the security forces burned him repeatedly. “I don’t think there has been change, I don’t think there has been any change under the new government,” he said.

As she sings the praises of the Sirisena government with its torture chambers and detention camps as an exemplar of democracy, Power is engaging in what she has made her particular specialty: the justification of US foreign policy under the fraudulent banner of “human rights.” As the Director of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of the National Security Council in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2013, she was a leading advocate of the so-called R2P (responsibility to protect civilians) policy. It served as the justification for Obama’s “humanitarian” wars.

Power was a leading architect of the US-NATO war for regime-change in Libya, which ousted and murdered Muammar Gaddafi, killing tens of thousands and devastating the country, claiming this was necessary to protect Libyans’ human rights against Gaddafi.

At the UN in 2014, she backed the Israeli massacre of Palestinians in Gaza, blocking the UN Security Council’s passage of any binding resolution imposing a ceasefire. She warned that any attribution of blame on Israel is a “red line” for Washington.

It is fitting therefore that she should be chosen to give Sirisena’s reactionary policies a hypocritical “democratic” gloss, as Washington tries to ensure that Colombo will be a reliable partner for preparing war and suppressing opposition in the working class throughout Asia.

THE FUTURE OF THE ASIA PIVOT “As [President Barack] Obama’s time in office comes to an end, Asian nations are deeply skeptical about how much they can rely on Washington’s commitment and staying power in the region. They sense that for the first time in memory, Americans are questioning whether their economic and defense interests in Asia are really that vital.” [NYT]

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.