CIA Romanian torture prison discovered, 2011


This video says about itself:

AP Exclusive: Inside Romania’s Secret CIA Prison

7 December 2011

For years, the CIA used a government building in Bucharest, Romania as a makeshift prison for its most valuable detainees.

From Associated Press, 8 December 2011:

Inside Romania’s secret CIA prison

WASHINGTON: In northern Bucharest, in a busy residential neighbourhood minutes from the heart of the capital city, is a secret the Romanian government has long tried to protect.

For years, the CIA used a government building — codenamed “Bright Light” — as a makeshift prison for its most valuable detainees. There it held Al-Qaeda operatives Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, and others in a basement prison before they were ultimately transferred to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2006, according to former US intelligence officials familiar with the location and inner workings of the prison.

The existence of a CIA prison in Romania has been widely reported, but its location has never been made public. The Associated Press and German public television ARD located the former prison and learned details of the facility where harsh interrogation tactics were used. ARD’s program on the CIA prison is set to air Thursday.

The Romanian prison was part of a network of so-called black sites that the CIA operated and controlled overseas in Thailand, Lithuania and Poland. …

Unlike the CIA’s facility in Lithuania’s countryside or the one hidden in a Polish military installation, the CIA’s prison in Romania was not in a remote location. It was hidden in plain sight, a couple blocks off a major boulevard on a street lined with trees and homes, along busy train tracks.

The building is used as the National Registry Office for Classified Information, which is also known as ORNISS. Classified information from Nato and the European Union is stored there. Former intelligence officials both described the location of the prison and identified pictures of the building.

In an interview at the building in November, senior ORNISS official Adrian Camarasan said the basement is one of the most secure rooms in all of Romania. But he said Americans never ran a prison there.

“No, no. Impossible, impossible,” he said in an ARD interview for its “Panorama” news broadcast, as a security official monitored the interview.

The CIA prison opened for business in the fall of 2003, after the CIA decided to empty the black site in Poland, according to former US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the detention program with reporters.

Shuttling detainees into the facility without being seen was relatively easy. After flying into Bucharest, the detainees were brought to the site in vans. CIA operatives then drove down a side road and entered the compound through a rear gate that led to the actual prison.

The detainees could then be unloaded and whisked into the ground floor of the prison and into the basement.

The basement consisted of six prefabricated cells, each with a clock and arrow pointing to Makkah, the officials said. The cells were on springs, keeping them slightly off balance and causing disorientation among some detainees.

The CIA declined to comment on the prison.

During the first month of their detention, the detainees endured sleep deprivation and were doused with water, slapped or forced to stand in painful positions, several former officials said. Waterboarding, the notorious interrogation technique that simulates drowning, was not performed in Romania, they said.

Former US officials said that because the building was a government installation, it provided excellent cover. The prison didn’t need heavy security because area residents knew it was owned by the government. People wouldn’t be inclined to snoop in post-communist Romania, with its extensive security apparatus known for spying on the country’s own citizens.

Human rights activists have urged the Eastern European countries to investigate the roles their governments played in hosting the prisons in which interrogation techniques such as waterboarding were used. Officials from these countries continue to deny these prisons ever existed.

“We know of the criticism, but we have no knowledge of this subject,” Romanian President Traian Basescu said in a September interview with AP.

The CIA has tried to close the book on the detention program, which President Barack Obama ended shortly after taking office.

“That controversy has largely subsided,” the CIA’s top lawyer, Stephen Preston, said at a conference this month.

But details of the prison network continue to trickle out through investigations by international bodies, reporters and human rights groups. “There have been years of official denials,” said Dick Marty, a Swiss lawmaker who led an investigation into the CIA secret prisons for the Council of Europe. “We are at last beginning to learn what really happened in Bucharest.”

During the Council of Europe’s investigation, Romania’s foreign affairs minister assured investigators in a written report that, “No public official or other person acting in an official capacity has been involved in the unacknowledged deprivation of any individual, or transport of any individual while so deprived of their liberty.” That report also described several other government investigations into reports of a secret CIA prison in Romania and said: “No such activities took place on Romanian territory.”

Reporters and human rights investigators have previously used flight records to tie Romania to the secret prison program. Flight records for a Boeing 737 known to be used by the CIA showed a flight from Poland to Bucharest in September 2003. …

Later, other detainees — Ramzi Binalshibh, Abd al-Nashiri and Abu Faraj al-Libi — were also moved to Romania. …

Court documents recently discovered in a lawsuit have also added to the body of evidence pointing to a CIA prison in Romania. The files show CIA contractor Richmor Aviation Inc., a New York-based charter company, operated flights to and from Romania along with other locations including Morocco and the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

For the CIA officers working at the secret prison, the assignment wasn’t glamorous. The officers served 90-day tours, slept on the compound and ate their meals there, too. Officers were prevented from the leaving the base after their presence in the neighbourhood stoked suspicion. One former officer complained that the CIA spent most of its time baby-sitting detainees like Binalshibh and Mohammed whose intelligence value diminished as the years passed.

The Romanian and Lithuanian sites were eventually closed in the first half of 2006 before CIA Director Porter Goss left the job. Some of the detainees were taken to Kabul, where the CIA could legally hold them before they were sent to Guantanamo. Others were sent back to their native countries.

The detailed and engrossing 2008 book, The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America, by Hugh Wilford investigates the CIA’s ideological struggle from 1947 to 1967 to win “hearts and minds” for US capitalism and to prosecute the Cold War: here.

Saudi Arabian repression in 2011


This video says about itself:

Torture by Saudi Arabian authorities

30 October 2014

Unfortunately, these acts almost happen every day in Saudi Arabia’s prisons and police stations.

5 December 2011: A report by human rights organization Amnesty International records the wave of repression unleashed by Saudi authorities in response to the “Arab Spring” uprisings: here.

Bahraini women tortured in 2011


Bahraini women demonstrating for democracy

On the International Day to End Violence against Women, women of Bahrain are constantly subjected to torture, arrests and violence: here.

Bahrain repression continues: here.

Bahraini security forces scatter protest in Wadian village: video here.

Pinochet dictatorship in Chile and the USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

Uncovering Pinochet‘s Secret Death Camps

7 April 2014

Facing the Past: Revealing the truth about Chile’s dirty war.

For more information visit here.

In Chile, the murderous past under dictator general Augusto Pinochet is slowly coming under scrutiny. With new evidence of extermination camps, the families of the disappeared are yearning for justice.

“I started to testify and began to get rid of those pangs of guilt”, confesses Jorgelino Vergara. Aged only 15, Jorgelino worked as waiter at the secret Simon Bolivar extermination centre witnessing horrific torture and murder. More than 3000 people were kidnapped and killed after the army general seized power in 1973. After a long investigation, charges are being laid against more than seventy people accused of involvement in the brutality at Simon Bolivar.

One of them is a member of the much feared Lautaro Brigade, Adriana Rivas. From the safety of her Australian exile, she denies charges but her views on torture remain chilling: “Everyone knew they had to do that in order to break them because Communists would not talk. It was necessary”. The secrets and brutality of the Pinochet regime are laid bare at Santiago’s memory museum. The daughter of one of Rivas’ victims, who was beaten to a pulp and then injected with a lethal poison, is now a curator there. As she fights for remembrance and justice, she wonders: “How can a human being be part of this machinery of exterminating people?”

By John Green:

The conflicted alliance which brutally devastated Chile

Monday 29th June 2015

Reagan and Pinochet: The Struggle Over US Policy Towards Chile by M Morley and C McGillon (Cambridge University Press, £22.99)

IT IS one of the real tragedies of history that unpalatable truths invariably only come out many years after the events when we can do little about them.

This is certainly true of the criminal and blatant involvement of the US in the affairs of Chile that was instrumental in ousting a democratically elected socialist president and for the loss of the lives of many wonderful people.

In this book, the first comprehensive study of the Reagan administration’s policy towards Chile, the authors state: “During the first three decades of the 20th century, the United States transformed itself from a dominant regional into a competitive global power, all the while projecting its power abroad driven less by a desire ‘to make the world a safer place for democracy’ than to put down nationalist threats to an expanding US capital and commerce.” Chile came into that category.

Returning from leave a few days after president Allende’s 1970 election victory, a US official said that the White House “had gone ape. They were frantic, beside themselves.”

President Nixon immediately instructed the CIA to prevent Allende taking power and, although they were unsuccessful they did, with Henry Kissinger’s help, destroy his government in a brutal military coup led by their puppet General Pinochet.

The authors demonstrate how over the years — even for the US — the brutality and vehemence, with which Pinochet used to stamp on democracy in Chile, was damaging its image as an upholder of democracy and human rights.

The Chilean example was replicated throughout Latin America with terrible and long-lasting repercussions. Under Ronald Reagan the US made efforts to bring Pinochet to heel and put pressure on him to moderate the malevolence of his dictatorship, while at the same time being happy to have a right-wing authoritarian regime in control in Chile.

Reagan is shown by the authors to be an effete and ignorant individual, certainly in terms of world affairs. He was happy to let his presidential team do all the detailed negotiations and footwork for him. He was the ideal front man for a cabal of right-wing ideologues — the jovial and avuncular movie screen president behind whom the ruthless conspirators could hide.

The book is dense, and of course only covers the Reagan years, after much of the dirty work had been done. It also largely ignores what the US was doing in the other Latin American countries at the time but, even so, its meticulous and illuminating research makes it a highly useful reference work.

United States Senate against some, not all, torture


This video from the USA says about itself:

Horrific Depths Of CIA Torture Exposed

3 June 2015

Newly cleared documents reveal that the CIA’s torture techniques have been more sadistic, more brutal than the 2014 Senate report revealed. Today we’re going to be talking about one particular detainee Majid Khan, a man who was originally arrested by Pakistani police in Karachi back in 2003.

Cenk Uygur (The Young Turks) and John Iadarola (Think Tank) break it down. Are techniques like this ever justifiable? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Read more here.

The CIA’s use of torture was far more “brutal and sadistic” than was disclosed in last year’s controversial US Senate report into the agency’s interrogation techniques, according to new information from a Guantanamo Bay detainee.

The newly declassified accounts of the torture of Majid Khan, a so-called “high value detainee”, describe in graphic detail how he was sexually assaulted, hung from a beam for several days without a break and half-drowned in tubs of freezing water.

The descriptions are contained in 27 pages of notes from interviews between Mr Khan and his legal team that were cleared for release by the US government on Tuesday.”

By James Tweedie:

United States: Senators vote for partial ban on torture

Thursday 18th June 2015

‘Cruel’ interrogation methods still authorised

THE US Senate voted on Tuesday to ban some forms of torture including waterboarding, rectal feeding, mock executions, hooding prisoners and sexual humiliation.

An amendment to a defence Bill was introduced by Republican Senator John McCain and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein and passed by 78 votes to 21.

It makes the US Army Field Manual on Interrogations the standard for all branches of the US government and grants the International Committee of the Red Cross access to detainees.

However, the army manual allows interrogation methods such as stress positions and sleep deprivation, which a group of doctors called “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment” in a 2013 letter to the government.

Ms Feinstein said the amendment was needed in case the current presidential executive order banning torture was lifted by a future president.

“Whatever one may think of the CIA’s former detention and interrogation programme, we should all agree that there should be no turning back to the era of torture,” she said.

Torture methods “corrode our moral standing, and ultimately they undermine any counterterrorism policies they are intended to support,” she added.

Mr McCain claims to have been tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, though this is denied by his captors and those who treated his injuries.

“I know from personal experience that abuse of prisoners does not provide good, reliable intelligence,” he said.

“I firmly believe that all people, even captured enemies, are protected by basic human rights.

“Our enemies act without conscience. We must not.

“We must continue to insist that the methods we employ in this fight for peace and freedom must always, always, be as right and honourable as the goals and ideals we fight for.”

Since the beginning of the “war on terror” in 2001, US military forces and intelligence agencies have allegedly tortured both prisoners of war and civilian terrorism suspects at numerous extra–judicial prisons and “black sites,” including Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Bagram air base in Afghanistan.

The amended defence authorisation Bill must now be approved by the House of Representatives, the lower house of Congress.

CIA experiments on human beings, new information


This video about nazi Germany says about itself:

Mengele’s Human Experimentation | Nazi Hunters

7 January 2014

Joseph Mengele performed unthinkable experiments on his human subjects.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

CIA torture appears to have broken spy agency rule on human experimentation

Exclusive: Watchdogs shocked at ‘disconnect’ between doctors who oversaw interrogation and guidelines that gave CIA director power over medical ethics

Read the document: ‘Human experimentation’ and the CIA

Spencer Ackerman

Monday 15 June 2015 12.33 BST

The Central Intelligence Agency had explicit guidelines for “human experimentation” – before, during and after its post-9/11 torture of terrorism detainees – that raise new questions about the limits on the agency’s in-house and contracted medical research.

Sections of a previously classified CIA document, made public by the Guardian on Monday, empower the agency’s director to “approve, modify, or disapprove all proposals pertaining to human subject research”. The leeway provides the director, who has never in the agency’s history been a medical doctor, with significant influence over limitations the US government sets to preserve safe, humane and ethical procedures on people.

CIA director George Tenet approved abusive interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, designed by CIA contractor psychologists. He further instructed the agency’s health personnel to oversee the brutal interrogations – the beginning of years of controversy, still ongoing, about US torture as a violation of medical ethics.

But the revelation of the guidelines has prompted critics of CIA torture to question how the agency could have ever implemented what it calls “enhanced interrogation techniques” – despite apparently having rules against “research on human subjects” without their informed consent.

Indeed, despite the lurid name, doctors, human-rights workers and intelligence experts consulted by the Guardian said the agency’s human-experimentation rules were consistent with responsible medical practices. The CIA, however, redacted one of the four subsections on human experimentation.

“The more words you have, the more you can twist them, but it’s not a bad definition,” said Scott Allen, an internist and medical adviser to Physicians for Human Rights.

The agency confirmed to the Guardian that the document was still in effect during the lifespan of the controversial rendition, detention and interrogation program.

After reviewing the document, one watchdog said the timeline suggested the CIA manipulated basic definitions of human experimentation to ensure the torture program proceeded.

“Crime one was torture. The second crime was research without consent in order to say it wasn’t torture,” said Nathaniel Raymond, a former war-crimes investigator with Physicians for Human Rights and now a researcher with Harvard University’s Humanitarian Initiative.

Informed consent, the director and his ‘human subject research’ panel

The document containing the guidelines, dated 1987 but updated over the years and still in effect at the CIA, was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the ACLU and shared with the Guardian, which is publishing it for the first time.

The relevant section of the CIA document, “Law and Policy Governing the Conduct of Intelligence Agencies”, instructs that the agency “shall not sponsor, contract for, or conduct research on human subjects” outside of instructions on responsible and humane medical practices set for the entire US government by its Department of Health and Human Services.

A keystone of those instructions, the document notes, is the “subject’s informed consent”.

That language echoes the public, if obscure, language of Executive Order 12333 – the seminal, Reagan-era document spelling out the powers and limitations of the intelligence agencies, including rules governing surveillance by the National Security Agency. But the discretion given to the CIA director to “approve, modify, or disapprove all proposals pertaining to human subject research” has not previously been public.

The entire 41-page CIA document exists to instruct the agency on what Executive Order 12333 permits and prohibits, after legislative action in the 1970s curbed intelligence powers in response to perceived abuses – including the CIA’s old practice of experimenting on human beings through programs like the infamous MK-Ultra project, which, among other things, dosed unwitting participants with LSD as an experiment.

The previously unknown section of the guidelines empower the CIA director and an advisory board on “human subject research” to “evaluate all documentation and certifications pertaining to human research sponsored by, contracted for, or conducted by the CIA”.

CIA doctors, waterboarding and blurred lines of policy

Experts assessing the document for the Guardian said the human-experimentation guidelines were critical to understanding the CIA’s baseline view of the limits of its medical research – limits they said the agency and its medical personnel violated during its interrogations, detentions and renditions program after 9/11.

The presence of medical personnel during brutal interrogations of men like Abu Zubaydah, they said, was difficult to reconcile with both the CIA’s internal requirement of “informed consent” on human experimentation subjects and responsible medical practices.

When Zubaydah, the first detainee known to be waterboarded in CIA custody, “became completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth”, he was revived by CIA medical personnel – known as the Office of Medical Services (OMS) – according to a CIA account in the Senate intelligence committee’s landmark torture report.

The OMS doctors were heavily involved in the torture of detainees in CIA custody. They advised interrogators on the physical and psychological administration of what the agency called “enhanced interrogation techniques”. After observation, the doctors offered perspectives on calibrating them to specific detainees’ resilience.

OMS staff assigned to the agency’s black sites wrote emails with subject lines like: “Re: acceptable lower ambient temperatures”.

The CIA, which does not formally concede that it tortured people, insists that the presence of medical personnel ensured its torture techniques were conducted according to medical rigor. Several instances in the Senate torture report, partially declassified six months ago, record unease among OMS staff with their role in interrogations.

Doctors take oaths to guarantee they inflict no harm on their patients.

Zubaydah “seems very resistant to the water board”, an OMS official emailed in August 2002. “No useful information so far … He did vomit a couple of times during the water board with some beans and rice. It’s been 10 hours since he ate so this is surprising and disturbing. We plan to only feed Ensure for a while now. I’m head[ing] back for another water board session.”

Doctors and intelligence experts said they could imagine legitimate, non-abusive CIA uses for human experimentation.

Steven Aftergood, a scholar of the intelligence agencies with the Federation of American Scientists, suggested that the agency might need to study polygraph effects on its agents; evaluate their performance under conditions of stress; or study physiological indicators of deception.

But all said that such examples of human experimentation would require something that the CIA never had during the interrogation program: the informed consent of its subjects.

“There is a disconnect between the requirement of this regulation and the conduct of the interrogation program,” said Aftergood. “They do not represent consistent policy.”

A director’s decision, oversight and an evolving rulebook

Months after Zubaydah’s interrogation, Tenet issued formal guidance approving brutal interrogation techniques, including waterboarding. Tenet explicitly ordered medical staff to be present – a decision carrying the effect of having them extensively document and evaluate the torture sessions.

“[A]ppropriate medical or psychological personnel must be on site during all detainee interrogations employing Enhanced Techniques,” Tenet wrote in January 2003. “In each case, the medical and psychological staff shall suspend the interrogation if they determine that significant and prolonged physical or mental injury, pain or suffering is likely to result if the interrogation is not suspended.”

Ironically, the only part of the CIA’s torture program in which agency officials claimed they were hamstrung by prohibitions on human experimentation is when they were asked by John Helgerson, their internal inspector general, if torture was effective.

Their response was framed as an example of the agency respecting its own prohibition on human experimentation. In more recent days, the CIA has used it as a cudgel against the Senate report’s extensive conclusions that the torture was ultimately worthless.

“[S]ystematic study over time of the effectiveness of the techniques would have been encumbered by a number of factors,” reads a CIA response given to Helgerson in June 2003, a point the agency reiterated in its formal response to the Senate intelligence committee. Among them: “Federal policy on the protection of human subjects.”

Harvard’s Raymond, using the agency’s acronym for its “enhanced interrogation technique” euphemism, said the CIA must have known its guidelines on human experimentation ruled out its psychologist-designed brutal interrogations.

“If they were abiding by this policy when EIT came up, they wouldn’t have been allowed to do it,” Raymond said. “Anyone in good faith would have known that was human subject research.”

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) internal regulations empower the agency’s director to override US and international laws restricting experimentation on human beings, a classified CIA document published by the Guardian on Monday, “AR 2-2, Law and Policy Governing the Conduct of Intelligence Activities,” shows: here.

Psychologists met in secret with Bush officials to help justify torture – report. Newly disclosed emails reveal American Psychological Association coordinated with officials in CIA and White House to help ethically justify detainee program: here.

British government plans to deport torture victim


Janahan Sivanathan

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Fears for victim of torture spark rally

Friday 12th June 2015

CAMPAIGNERS in Yorkshire will protest outside Home Office buildings in Sheffield today over the threatened deportation of a 22-year-old torture victim from Sri Lanka.

Supporters say Janahan Sivanathan, a Tamil living in Doncaster, was “horrendously tortured” in captivity in 2009, during Sri Lanka’s civil war, when he was a school student.

They are demanding he be allowed to stay in Britain.

Protest organiser Alistair Tice said: “There was a genocide against Tamils in Sri Lanka in 2009, with 100,000 killed or missing.

“The Foreign Office’s latest report on Sri Lanka found that there were continued allegations of police involvement in torture and custodial deaths, as well as in extrajudicial killings throughout 2014.”

Mr Sivanathan is to report to the Home Office today. The last time he did so, he was detained. The protest is at 1.30pm.

22 year old man detained regardless of UK rules forbidding detention of torture survivors: here.

A GLASGOW student was feared dead yesterday after he disappeared in Pakistan following his deportation by the Home Office: here.