Of the 119 known detainees, the CIA wrongfully held at least 26 people (22 percent) due to bad intelligence. Throughout the program, the CIA repeatedly underreported the number of people it detained. It claimed it had detained “fewer than 100 people,” while records indicate the agency detained 119. One of the wrongfully held was an “intellectually challenged” man, Nazir Ali. His taped interrogation was used as leverage to get a family member to provide information.
Secret prisons, renditions, and enhanced interrogations are characteristic of police states, not constitutional republics.
Such methods might gain wider approval, the lawyers figured, if they were proved to have saved lives.
“A policy decision must be made with regard to US use of torture,” CIA lawyers wrote in November 2001, in a previously undisclosed memo titled “Hostile Interrogations: Legal Considerations for CIA Officers.”
The lawyers argued that “states may be very unwilling to call the US to task for torture when it resulted in saving thousands of lives.”[READ: Here Is the CIA Torture Report]
|CIA removed detainees skin with wire brush|
The Intelligence Committee report describes repeated efforts by the CIA to make that case, even when the facts did not support it. For example, the CIA helped edit a speech by Bush in 2006 to make it seem as if key intelligence was obtained through the most brutal interrogation tactics, even when CIA records suggested otherwise.
In 2002, the CIA took custody of Abu Zubaydah, who was brought to Thailand. There, two CIA contractors named James E. Mitchell and Bruce Jessen were in charge of the interrogation sessions, using methods that had been authorized by Justice Department lawyers. The two contractors, both psychologists, are identified in the Senate report under the pseudonyms Grayson Swigert and Hammond Dunbar.
The program expanded, with dozens of detainees taken to secret prisons in Poland, Romania, Lithuania and other countries. In September 2006, Bush ordered all of the detainees in CIA custody to be transferred to the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and after that the CIA held a small number of detainees in secret at a different facility for several months at a time – before they were also moved to Guantanamo Bay.
Former CIA Deputy Director for Operations Jose Rodriguez has written a book with the assistance of former Agency press officer Bill Harlow. Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives is largely a defense of Rodriguez’s role in the CIA’s use of torture on suspected terrorists in the aftermath of 9/11. Rodriguez argues that what he describes as “enhanced interrogation techniques” were necessary to obtain information on terrorist activities. His employment of the euphemism underscores his argument that these procedures were found to be legal by Bush administration lawyers and that they do not constitute torture, which is a war crime.
In November 2005, Rodriguez, ordered on his own authority and contrary to Agency general counsel advice the destruction of 92 videotapes that recorded interrogation sessions in a secret prison in Thailand. This was done, he says, to protect the identities of CIA interrogators from possible reprisals by terrorists, not to cover-up waterboarding being used to obtain information, a procedure he claims was both an acceptable interrogation technique and one that was subject to congressional oversight before it was employed. He does not explain exactly how terrorists could obtain the tapes or be able to make identifications from them; perhaps the idea is that someday the recordings might leak to the public. Whatever its plausibility, or lack thereof, his argument might just as well be a deliberate deception if the primary purpose of his actions was to eliminate evidence of what many would consider a war crime. I leave it up to the reader to decide what explanation is most likely. For what it’s worth, Amazon reviews are running about five to one in praise of the book rather than condemning what it describes.
What is most disturbing to me about the book and the interviews is that Rodriguez is apparently seen by some in the media as the “new normal” and even some kind of hero. CIA officers overseas are indeed operating on the “dark side,” in that spying overseas is illegal in the countries where one is operationally engaged. But that does not mean all gloves are off in terms of international and U.S. law, especially in the case of war crimes. It is worth noting that Japanese Army officers were executed in 1946 for waterboarding Allied prisoners, while the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution explicitly forbids “cruel and unusual punishment.” The United States is also a signatory to the International Convention on Torture and to the Geneva Conventions. And then there is the War Crimes Act of 1996, which requires the United States Justice Department to prosecute anyone involved in torture, no exceptions. President Obama has refused to permit justice to be served, making him as complicit in war crimes as his predecessor was.
|A detainee arrested by U.S. Marines sits at a military camp in Afghanistan in 2011.|
To promote Hard Measures, Rodriguez has been appearing on a number of television programs. I have seen him on “60 Minutes”with Lesley Stahl and on Bill O’Reilly’s program. He has also appeared with Sean Hannity. Stahl failed to push Rodriguez on the illegality of torture and frequently allowed him to drift into the kind of mumbo-jumbo tradecraft language that former spies use when they don’t want to answer a question. Rodriguez stated that the (CIA) are part of the “dark side — that’s what we do.” That was the end of the story for “60 Minutes.”
Poland’s former president has publicly acknowledged for the first time that his country hosted a secret CIA prison where a US Senate report says torture was used against Al Qaeda suspects.
Former British Ambassador to Tashkent Craig Murray lost his job and has endured severe vituperation at the hands of his government because he objected to Britain’s collaboration in CIA-sponsored torture conducted in Uzbekistan.
Murray recalls, Uzbeks made use of a torture method specifically endorsed by the execrable John Yoo: Torturing children in order to compel the parents to submit.
Yoo, the impenitent war criminal who wrote many of the key torture memos for the Bush regime, claims that the president has the authority to order the sexual mutilation of a child if he considers such action necessary.
Ninety percent of all “rendition” flights that visited the former KGB prison in Poland used as a CIA torture facility “went straight on to Tashkent,” Murray observes. “There was an overwhelming body of evidence that … people from all over the world were being taken by the CIA to Uzbekistan specifically in order to be tortured.
The CIA’s Uzbek subcontractors occasionally grew tired of commonplace abuse and occasionally boiled a victim alive. Murray recalls the case of Muzafar Avazov, who was submerged in a boiling liquid after his fingernails had been pulled from his hands.
This case was neither unique nor uncommon. Murray had no trouble compiling a large and detailed dossier on the routine, systematic torture being carried out with the blessing of his government and the Washington-based empire that holds its leash.
|CIA detainee tortured to death Libya|
UN says there should be no impunity
The United Nations high commissioner for human rights said there should be no impunity or statute of limitations for torture.
The Convention against Torture prohibits torture and allows for “no exceptional circumstances whatsoever”, not even a state of war, as justification, Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein said in a statement issued in Geneva on the annual human rights day.
“The Convention lets no one off the hook – neither the torturers themselves, nor the policy-makers, nor the public officials who define the policy or give the orders,” he said.
The pact has been ratified by 156 countries.
Romania and Lithuania also have cases pending for hosting secret CIA prisons.
Ben Emmerson, U.N. special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, voiced concern that while President Barack Obama’s administration has rejected Central Intelligence Agency practices conducted under his predecessor George W. Bush, there have been no prosecutions.
“Despite this clear repudiation of the unlawful actions carried out by the Bush-era CIA, many of the facts remain classified, and no public official has so far been brought to justice in the United States,” Emmerson said in a report to the U.N. Human Rights Council, which he will address on Tuesday.
Emmerson, an international lawyer from Britain, has served since August 2011 in the independent post set up by the U.N. Human Rights Council in 2005 to probe human rights violations committed during counter-terrorism operations worldwide.
The “war on terror” waged by Bush after al Qaeda attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001 led to “gross or systematic” violations involving secret prisons for Islamic militant suspects, clandestine transfers and torture, Emmerson said.
A cell at Camp Echo where detainees are held after they have been formally charged. The camp is located in Guantanamo Bay. The report reveals that 10 targets were secretly held and questioned at the site
CIA “Tortured and Sodomized” Wrongly Detained German Citizen
TheGuardian: CIA agents tortured a German citizen, sodomizing, shackling, and beating him, as Macedonian state police looked on, the European Court of Human rights said in a historic judgment released on Thursday.
In a unanimous ruling, it also found Macedonia guilty of torturing, abusing, and secretly imprisoning Khaled el-Masri, a German of Lebanese origin allegedly linked to terrorist organizations.
Masri was seized in Macedonia in December 2003 and handed over to a CIA “rendition team” at Skopje airport and secretly flown to Afghanistan.
It is the first time the court has described CIA treatment meted out to terror suspects as torture.
CIA torture program earned 2 men millions
The names James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen don’t show up at all in the 500-page Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA torture program, but they’re definitely mentioned throughout it, according to multiple reports.
Even though their names and alleged involvement in the “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITs) program have been known for some time, the CIA contractors appear in the report (respectively) under the names “Dr. Grayson Swigert” and “Dr. Hammond Dunbar.” A. U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed their identities to The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Although they had no first-hand experience with interrogation or no “specialized knowledge” of al-Qaeda or terrorism, as the Senate Intelligence Committee report indicated, the men had plenty of experience with “coercive interrogation techniques.”
But by the time their involvement with the CIA’s interrogation program wrapped up in 2009, they had earned millions of dollars off of the torture of detainees.
Mitchell and Jessen formed a private company in 2005, specifically for the purpose of conducting their work with the CIA. Mitchell, Jessen and Associates have ultimately earned $81 million from the CIA.
Few, if any, CIA officers or contractors were held accountable even after being caught with significant events of wrongdoing. One detainee, suffering from insomnia, paranoia, and severe hallucinations caused by the extreme interrogation methods, attempted to chew his arm off at the elbow. When a detainee died of hypothermia after being chained to a concrete floor partially nude, the CIA decided not to take any punitive action against the officer in charge. The report states, “The director strongly believes that mistakes should be expected in a business filled with uncertainty.”