While the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was preparing its torture report, the CIA spied on their computers and launched a spurious criminal inquiry against their staff (previously). The CIA and its director, John Brennan, with the support of the White House, have taken a brazen public stance, denying any wrongdoing in directly spying on their nominal overseer. But documents obtained by Jason Leopold and VICE News show that the CIA had prepared a written apology for the spying, which they ultimately decided not to issue (was the White House involved in this decision?). [more inside]
An American Psychological Association report highlights how it allowed torture clinicians to operate in its ranks. The 542-page report raises questions about collaboration between A.P.A. psychologists and both the C.I.A. and the Pentagon. According to the report, leaders of the American Psychological Association weakened the association’s ethical guidelines to allow psychologists to take part in coercive interrogation programs after September 11, 2001.
The New Yorker has a profile of Sen. Diane Feinstein and her role in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence "torture report" -- including her conflict with CIA Director John Brennan over his spying on the committee's staff.
I asked [Feinstein] whether she was disappointed in Obama’s lack of support for the torture report. She paused, and replied, “Well, let me say that there are people who don’t want to look at the whole truth. And I don’t know whether the President read our report or not. I certainly haven’t heard from him since.”
“Mr. Obama has said multiple times that 'we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards,' as though the two were incompatible. They are not. The nation cannot move forward in any meaningful way without coming to terms, legally and morally, with the abhorrent acts that were authorized, given a false patina of legality, and committed by American men and women from the highest levels of government on down.” The New York Times Editorial Board calls for a criminal investigation into the Bush administration's architects of torture. (SLNYT)
"She dropped the ball when the C.I.A. was given information that might very well have prevented the 9/11 attacks; she gleefully participated in torture sessions afterward; she misinterpreted intelligence in such a way that it sent the C.I.A. on an absurd chase for Al Qaeda sleeper cells in Montana. And then she falsely told congressional overseers that the torture worked." "But instead of being sanctioned, she was promoted."
Former CIA officer John Kiriakou (previously) is serving a 30 month sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania, and has sent a letter describing his experiences there. [more inside]
Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty has been named the best film of 2012 by the National Board of Review, the New York Film Critics Circle, and the National Board of Review. Does it endorse torture? [more inside]
An ex-CIA officer John Kiriakou has been indicted under the Espionage Act for disclosing classified information to journalists. [more inside]
In 2007 former CIA Agent John Kiriakou went public with his involvement with waterbording Al-Quaeda Detainees. At the time he felt that it worked. And, he only belived it had happened once with Abu Zubaydah. By 2010 he'd learned that Zubaydah had been waterboared 83 times, and that information was not good. Now, he's being prosecuted under the espionage act, for allegedly helping to identify CIA operatives that Guantánamo defense lawyers who might be able to testify about abusive treatment. [more inside]
A description of the CIA's waterboarding techniques and the practical applications of other physical interrogation practices to enhance its effectiveness.
PHR (Physicians for Human Rights) have released a new report (pdf) that details the extent to which doctors were involved in monitoring and recording data on detainees subjected to waterboarding and other techniques [via] [more inside]
Big Newsfilter: US Attorney General Holder appoints a prosecutor to investigate abusive CIA interrogations in the War on Terror. [more inside]
Torture Memos Released
As we explained in the Section 2340A Memorandum, "pain and suffering" as used in Section 2340 is best understood as a single concept, not distinct concepts of "pain" as distinguished from "suffering"... The waterboard, which inflicts no pain or actual harm whatsoever, does not, in our view inflict "severe pain or suffering". Even if one were to parse the statute more finely to treat "suffering" as a distinct concept, the waterboard could not be said to inflict severe sufering. The waterboard is simply a controlled acute episode, lacking the connotation of a protracted period of time generally given to suffering.Ambinder breaks it down, Greenwald rants.
Interrogation techniques used by the CIA on al-Qaeda suspects "constituted torture", according to a report by the International Red Cross.
The CIA's Odd Man Out: CIA station chief Bob Lady coordinated the secret kidnapping of Islamic militant Abu Omar in Milan and Omar's "extreme rendition" to Egypt where he was tortured. Italy indicted various CIA agents; Lady is on the run in Central America, abandoned by the agency. The twist: Lady opposed the mission all along. And Abu Omar will probably end up with Lady's home in the foothills of the Alps. [more inside]
The Black Sites. "A rare look inside the C.I.A.’s secret interrogation program."
Rorschach and Awe. "America's coercive interrogation methods were reverse-engineered by two C.I.A. psychologists who had spent their careers training U.S. soldiers to endure Communist-style torture techniques. The spread of these tactics was fueled by a myth about a critical 'black site' operation."
Trevor Paglen is a scholar and artist who investigates the California prison-industrial complex and secret military bases in his work as an "experimental geographer." In his new book, Tracking the Torture Taxi, Paglen uses the methods of "21st century participatory journalism" (including a Google Earth image of a CIA interrogation facility) to uncover the network of private planes (such as Aero Contractors of Smithfield, NC) that whisk people off to secret prisons without oversight.
CIA Staff Worried Following on this previous (archived) post, it appears that some CIA staff are concerned the Justice Department might not defend them from charges of torture or human rights violations. " . . . some CIA officers have worried privately that they may have violated international law or domestic criminal statutes."
Criticizing the food is OK, just don't mention the water: the blog implied a specific knowledge of interrogations and . . . worried "the seventh floor" at CIA
At last, someone is going to take the legal route. Italian authorities have issued arrest warrants for 22 CIA Agents suspected of involvement in the US kidnap/torture policy. "The new warrants allow for the suspects' detention anywhere in the 25-nation EU, a prosecutor said." That's more lost clients for the European tourist industry.
The US has admitted for the first time that it has not given the Red Cross access to all detainees in its custody. Meanwhile, the German citizen picked up by the CIA and tortured in one of the secret prisons, based solely on having the same name as a suspected terrorist, would really, really like an apology from someone. If you think things are getting out of hand, why not join the Amnesty International Write-a-thon? You can get the message across to the people in charge and let them know that you don't support prisoner abuse or rendition to secret prisons.
Has the C.I.A. legally killed prisoners? Two years ago, Manadel al-Jamadi, a suspected Iraqi insurgent, walked into a Baghdad interrogation room. He was dead in 45 minutes, his head covered with a plastic bag, shackled in a crucifixion-like pose that led to his asphyxiation. U.S. authorities classified his death a homicide. His CIA interrogator has not been charged with a crime and continues to work for the agency. President Bush says "We do not torture." But if that’s true, then why is Vice President Cheney fighting to exempt CIA interrogators from a torture ban? And al-Jamadi? His case is stalled in the Alberto Gonzalez Justice Department, two years after soldiers posed for thumbs-up pictures next to his corpse.
Outsourcing Torture The secret history of America’s “extraordinary rendition” program.
They Have Ways of Making Al-Qaida Talk Interrogations must be pretty damn crucial these days. Given advances in science during the past twenty years, how much more sophisticated can CIA methods have become since the 80's?
according to andy borowitz, the cia is using mariah carey's movie "glitter" in the interrogations of al qaeda operatives. apparently, "the film usually induces prisoners to talk after 10 or 12 minutes." yow. the US is fighting dirty! this has got to be one of the most humorous things i've read in a while. (via newsweek)