Posts Tagged ‘CIA interrogators’

Cheney Exposes Torture Conspiracy

February 18, 2010

By Robert Parry, Consortiumnews.com, February 14, 2010

If the United States had a functioning criminal justice system for the powerful – not just for run-of-the-mill offenders – former Vice President Dick Cheney would have convicted himself and some of his Bush administration colleagues with his comments on ABC’s “This Week.”

On Sunday, Cheney pronounced himself “a big supporter of waterboarding,” a near-drowning technique that has been regarded as torture back to the Spanish Inquisition and that has long been treated by U.S. authorities as a serious war crime, such as when Japanese commanders were prosecuted for using it on American prisoners during World War II.

Continues >>

Advertisements

Ex-CIA official John Helgerson says agents lost control after torture go-ahead

August 26, 2009

Times Online/UK, August 26, 2009

Tim Reid in Washington

The author of a scathing report on CIA interrogations during the Bush era has claimed that certain operatives lost control once they had been authorised to use “enhanced” interrogation techniques such as waterboarding.

John Helgerson, the former inspector-general of the CIA, also told The Times that the Obama Administration had cut key passages of his report out of the released version, a decision he found “puzzling”.

Mr Helgerson told The Times that the CIA had given assurances to the Justice Department that although the techniques would be used more than once, repetition would “not be substantial”.

Continues >>

CIA hired Blackwater for assassin program

August 20, 2009
Middle East Online, First Published 2009-08-20


Blackwater changes its name to Xe after Iraq murders

Republicans ‘deeply concerned’ as US Attorney General poised to look into abuses by CIA interrogators.

WASHINGTON – The CIA hired the security firm Blackwater in 2004 as part of its secret program to find and kill suspected terrorists, US media said Thursday, citing current and former intelligence officials.

The program, on which the Central Intelligence Agency spent several million dollars, was cut before launching any missions and the hiring of an outside company was a major reason that CIA director Leon Panetta moved to cancel it, the New York Times said.

Shortly after learning about the effort in June, Panetta pulled the plug and briefed lawmakers on details of the program, of which they had not been informed since 2001.

Citing government officials, the Times said the CIA had separate agreements with top Blackwater executives for the outsourcing, as opposed to a formal contract with the whole firm.

The State Department cut ties with Blackwater following ongoing allegations of abuse in Iraq. The North Carolina-based company renamed itself Xe after the Iraq government banned it in January over killing civilians in Baghdad’s Nisur Square on September 16, 2007.

It had been given “operational responsibility” for the targeting program, according to the Washington Post, which noted the covert effort was canceled before any missions were conducted.

Before the program was cut, however, the private security firm had already been awarded “millions of dollars for training and weaponry,” according to the Post.

“Outsourcing gave the agency more protection in case something went wrong,” said an unnamed intelligence official close to program, quoted by daily.

Republicans denounce possible CIA interrogator probe

A group of Republican US senators sharply warned Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday against launching a formal probe into alleged abuses by CIA interrogators of suspected terrorists.

“Such an investigation could have a number of serious consequences, not just for the honorable members of the intelligence community, but also for the security of all Americans,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Holder.

Republican Senators Jon Kyl, the party’s number two in the Senate; Kit Bond, co-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee; and Jeff Sessions, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee were among the nine signers.

The lawmakers said they were “deeply concerned” by media reports that Holder was poised to name a special prosecutor to look into alleged abuses by CIA interrogators of suspected terrorists.

“There is little doubt that further investigations and potential prosecutions of CIA officials would chill future intelligence activities,” the senators warned.

“The intelligence community will be left to wonder whether actions taken today in the interest of national security will be subject to legal recriminations when the political winds shift,” the senators said.

Holder may be close to announcing a probe focused on whether interrogators went beyond torture – authorized by former president George W. Bush’s administration, according to news accounts.

Bush’s Republican allies and some Democrats have argued that rank-and-file interrogators acted in good faith and followed directives from higher ups in using techniques, like “waterboarding” suspects, and obtained valuable information.

Some former intelligence officials have challenged that claim, saying that harsh tactics elicited no better information than traditional approaches.

And human rights groups have called for formal investigations into charges of torture, which violates US law.

So far, US President Barack Obama has resisted calls from some congressional Democrats to establish a “truth and reconciliation” panel to look into alleged abuses.

Obama reprieve for CIA illegal-UN rapporteur

April 19, 2009

Antiwar.com

REUTERS

Reuters North American News Service, Apr 18, 2009 13:50 EST

VIENNA, April 18 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s decision not to prosecute CIA interrogators who used waterboarding on terrorism suspects amounts to a breach of international law, the U.N. rapporteur on torture said.

“The United States, like all other states that are part of the U.N. convention against torture, is committed to conducting criminal investigations of torture and to bringing all persons against whom there is sound evidence to court,” U.N. special rapporteur Manfred Nowak told the Austrian daily Der Standard.

Nowak did not think Obama would go as far as to seek an amnesty law for affected CIA personnel and therefore U.S. courts could still try torture suspects, he said on Saturday.

Obama has affirmed his unwillingness to prosecute under anti-torture laws CIA personnel who relied in good faith on Bush administration legal opinions issued after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Obama said he had ended harrowing techniques used against detainees by Bush-era CIA personnel, but that U.S. intelligence agents still operated in a dangerous world and had to be confident they could perform their jobs.

Nowak, an Austrian, suggested an investigation by an independent commission before suspects were tried and said it would be important for all victims to receive compensation.

Human rights advocates have attacked Obama’s decision, saying charges were necessary to prevent future abuses and hold people accountable. Some U.S. lawmakers have called for public investigations.

The four memos Obama released approved techniques including waterboarding, week-long sleep deprivation, forced nudity and putting insects in with a tightly confined prisoner.

His administration also said it would try to shield CIA employees from “any international or foreign tribunal” — an immediate challenge to Spain where a judge has threatened to investigate Bush administration officials. (Reporting by Mark Heinrich; Editing by Robert Woodward)

Source: Reuters North American News Service

Obama attacked from all sides over CIA memos

April 18, 2009

Former Bush aides condemn release of sensitive documents / Human rights groups criticise immunity given to interrogators

By David Usborne in New York | The Independent, UK, Apr 18, 2009

Mr Obama said no one who had used discredited techniques would be prosecuted

REUTERS

Mr Obama said no one who had used discredited techniques would be prosecuted

The White House was engulfed by a maelstrom of anger yesterday after its decision to release memos from the Bush era providing legal cover for “enhanced” interrogation techniques in secret CIA prisons. At the same time, it made promises to protect those who implemented them from prosecution.

The act of releasing the memos with almost no blacking out of sensitive sections was attacked by two senior former Bush aides. Michael Hayden and Michael Mukasey, who served respectively as CIA director and US attorney general, said their publication “was unnecessary as a legal matter, and is unsound as a matter of policy”.

Perhaps more controversial was the decision to couple their publication with assurances from Barack Obama and his Attorney General, Eric Holder, that no one who carried out interrogations using the now disavowed techniques, including forcing detainees to stand naked for hours and slamming them against walls, would face prosecution.

Some deemed the decision as fitting a pattern that Mr Obama has set, which involves honouring his campaign promises – in this case to lift the veil of secrecy on the way the “War on Terror” was waged by his predecessor – while rarely going as far as some of his supporters wanted or expected.

If Mr Obama had hoped to draw a line under the shame of how the CIA treated terror suspects at secret overseas prisons, he has failed. Even if he and Mr Holder can guarantee immunity for CIA interrogators, an inquiry is still likely to be opened by members of Congress. Nor is it clear they could be protected from prosecution under international laws.

Among those expressing their dismay at the legal immunity was a former Guantanamo detainee now living in Egypt. “All of us in Guantanamo never had hope or faith in the American government,” said Jomaa al-Dosari, a Saudi released last year. “We only ask God for our rights, and to demand justice for the wrongs we experience in this life.”

Human rights groups also deplored giving immunity to those who practised interrogation, which critics say amounted to illegal torture. “The release of CIA memos on interrogation methods by the US Department of Justice appears to have offered a get-out-of-jail-free card to people involved in torture,” Amnesty International said.

“It is one of the deepest disappointments of this administration that it appears unwilling to uphold the law where crimes have been committed by former officials,” said the Washington-based Centre for Constitutional Rights. The Centre argued that it was not just the interrogators who should face scrutiny, but those directing them.

“Whether or not CIA operatives who conducted water boarding are guaranteed immunity, it is the high-level officials who conceived, justified and ordered the torture programme who bear the most responsibility for breaking domestic and international law, and it is they who must be prosecuted,” it said.

The memos, written by senior Justice Department experts in 2002 and 2005, were designed to give the CIA reassurance that the so-called “enhanced” techniques would pass legal muster.

The decision to release them did not come easily to Mr Obama, who waited weeks as debate raged both within the White House and between the various agencies involved. While the Justice Department broadly backed their publication, the CIA did not, for fear their contents would aid terror organisations.

All the information in the memos, set out by the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department, was categorised as top secret and should have remained so, argued Mr Mukasey and Mr Hayden in a joint article published in The Wall Street Journal.


%d bloggers like this: