Posts Tagged ‘CIA’

UN demands prosecution of Bush-era CIA crimes

March 5, 2013
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RT,  March 04, 2013
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AFP Photo / Paul J. Richards

AFP Photo / Paul J. Richards

A United Nations investigator has demanded that the US publish classified documents regarding the CIA’s human rights violations under former President George W. Bush, with hopes that the documents will lead to the prosecution of public officials.

Documents about the CIA’s program of rendition and secret detention of suspected terrorists have remained classified, even though President Obama’s administration has publicly condemned the use of these “enhanced interrogation techniques”. The US has not prosecuted any of its agents for human rights violations.

UN investigator Ben Emmerson, the UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, said that the classified documents protect the names of individuals who are responsible for serious human rights violations.

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Barack Obama Worked For The CIA – John Pilger

January 15, 2012

  Some hard facts about  Barack Obama

Please Mr. President! Some Truth About Afghanistan

December 23, 2010

Eric Margolis, The Huffington Post, Dec 20, 2010

After nine years of war in Afghanistan, costing over $100 billion in taxpayer money and 700 American lives, the full truth about this murky conflict remains elusive.

The government and media have colluded to paint the picture of a noble, heroic, flag-waving American enterprise in Afghanistan that is, alas, very far from reality. As the cynic Ambrose Bierce pointedly observed of patriots — “the dupe of statesmen; the tool of conquerors.”

Three interesting reports about Afghanistan emerged in Washington last week.

First, a political whitewash issued by the Obama White House claiming the war was going well and some US troops might be withdrawn next year. This ‘don’t worry be happy’ summary was trumpeted by the pro-war New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other members of the government-friendly US media.

US generals spoke of “progress” in Afghanistan, whatever that means, as US forces conducted a brutal campaign around Kandahar to crush resistance to the occupation and punish communities that supported Taliban.

Second, the Red Cross issued a grim report showing that Afghans were suffering widespread malnutrition and serious health problems after nearly a decade of Western occupation. So much for US-led nation-building.

Third, there were leaks about a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), the combined findings of all 16 US intelligence agencies. This key intelligence report is explosive and may not be fully revealed.

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P.C. Roberts: The Stench of American Hypocrisy

November 19, 2010

By Paul Criag Roberts, Foreign Policy Journal, Nov 18, 2010

Ten years of rule by the Bush and Obama regimes have seen the collapse of the rule of law in the United States. Is the American media covering this ominous and extraordinary story?  No, the American media is preoccupied with the rule of law in Burma (Myanmar).

The military regime that rules Burma just released from house arrest the pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. The American media used the occasion of her release to get on Burma’s case for the absence of the rule of law. I’m all for the brave lady, but if truth be known, “freedom and democracy” America needs her far worse than does Burma.

I’m not an expert on Burma, but the way I see it, the objection to a military government is that the government is not accountable to law.  Instead, such a regime behaves as it sees fit and issues edicts that advance its agenda.  Burma’s government can be criticized for not having a rule of law, but it cannot be criticized for ignoring its own laws. We might not like what the Burmese government does, but, precisely speaking, it is not behaving illegally.

In contrast, the United States government claims to be a government of laws, not of men, but when the executive branch violates the laws that constrain it, those responsible are not held accountable for their criminal actions.  As accountability is the essence of the rule of law, the absence of accountability means the absence of the rule of law.

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Pentagon Author Exposes Zelikow’s Key Role in 9/11 Cover-Up

October 17, 2010

Maidhc Ó Cathail, Foreign Policy Journal, Oct 17, 2010

ln an interview on the Fox Business Network, a retired U.S. intelligence officer accused the official in charge of the 9/11 Commission of a cover-up of intelligence failures leading up to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Appearing on the political talk show Freedom Watch, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer and the author of Operation Dark Heart, a much-hyped new book on the war in Afghanistan, spoke about his mid-October 2003 encounter with Dr. Philip Zelikow, then executive director of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States.

During a fact-finding mission to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, Zelikow’s team was briefed by Shaffer on Able Danger, a DIA data mining project that had allegedly identified Mohammed Atta as a threat to the U.S. a year before 9/11.

Operation Dark HeartParenthetically, the “Mohammed Atta” identified by Able Danger may have been an imposter operating under a stolen identity, as occurred in the assassination of a senior Hamas official in Dubai. In an interview with a German newspaper, reported by the Guardian, Mohammed Atta’s father claimed that his son had nothing to do with the attacks and was still alive a year after 9/11.

Whichever Mohammed Atta was referred to by Shaffer in Bagram, Zelikow reportedly “fell silent with shock at the news.”

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America’s Covert Democracy

June 15, 2010

By Danny Schechter, Consortiumnews.com, June 11, 2010

Editor’s Note: A common denominator in the crises confronting the United States – from failing war policies abroad to the crumbling economy at home – is the ability of powerful interests to manage the debate by controlling the flow of information.

The American people are inundated with so much propaganda and misinformation that the idea of an informed electorate has become something of a lost cause, as the News Dissector Danny Schechter observes in this guest essay:

Defending America covertly has become an ongoing theme for one more TV series. Salute the flag and praise NBC (GE) for its latest effort to persuade the population to accept the kind of secret operations that now drive the war in Afghanistan.

The latest show is called “Covert Affairs” and airs on the patriotically named USA Network.

This fiction is based on glamorizing the work of our unaccountable CIA at home and at war abroad. Piper Perabo, a dancing barmaid in “Coyote Ugly,” has been promoted to a CIA trainee “who is suddenly thrust into the inner sanctum of the agency after being promoted to field operative.”

The dumbed-down formula is tried and true, showcasing what TV pros call  “the three S’s” — Sex, Spies, and Sensationalism.

It’s a “world of bureaucracy, excitement and intrigue,” the network tells us, on the frontlines of protecting our declining way of life. Doug Limon, who directed the first Bourne blockbuster, is exec producing this propaganda exercise.

And if that’s not bad enough, the series about covertly defending America is being overtly filmed in Canada. Toronto gets the jobs, one more reason, no doubt, why we have had a “jobless recovery” here at home.

So much of politics and economics today is a covert affair where public knowledge is blatantly manipulated.  For weeks, we were told that political incumbents were toast until they weren’t in the recent election, but few media outlets let the facts get in the way of their endless Tea Party narrative.

On another big story, 49 percent of the American public is said to have been convinced by one-sided pro-Israeli coverage of the Gaza Flotilla’s interception perhaps because it built on long embedded perceptions in which alternative information —make that factual information – is excluded.

Netanyahu’s publicity army got out its video version of the events first even as his military army screwed up, while keeping their victims from getting out theirs.

The U.S. media dutifully used it as a perception management exercise of demonizing Israel’s critics and boostering the heroism of  the IDF’s pirates at sea while keeping the humanitarian aid workers from the media and seizing/suppressing their videos – which are just getting out – a bit late, perhaps too late to change the media frame.

The outsourcing of jobs for actors on TV shows mirrors the wider outsourcing in the economy as a whole.  So many jobs are gone and not coming back.

There is a growing number of war jobs while civilian employment sinks. Pro-business propaganda has successfully convinced the Congress that deficit reductions must come before job creation. The National Employment Law Project (NELP) reports:

“The Department of Labor has reported that more than 300,000 workers will run out of benefits by June 12th, the end of the first week Congress returns from recess.”

Economist and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich attacks what he calls the “deficit hawks” by arguing that consumer spending is 70 percent of the American economy, so if consumers can’t or won’t spend we’re back in the soup.

He writes, “Yet the government just reported that consumer spending stalled in April – the first month consumers didn’t up their spending since last September. Instead, consumers boosted their savings, probably because they’re worried about the slow pace of job growth ….

“So what’s Congress doing to stoke the economy as consumers pull back? In a word, nothing.”

Congress may not be passing new job creation bills, but there is something insidious underway as these deficit hawks are said to be beginning to target Medicare and Social Security.

As for financial reform, many media outlets are not sure where that is going either. Example, an editorial in the Milwaukee Journal:

“As Congress works to put the finishing touches on a massive bill to reform the nation’s financial system, it’s a fair question to ask whether the proposed legislation will do what its sponsors claim: reduce the odds of another crisis, protect consumers and ensure that taxpayers won’t be on the hook for a future bailout.”

At the same time, Heather Booth of Citizens for Financial Reform is mildly optimistic, and chides my pessimism, writing:

“Do think you are not recognizing what was accomplished — while it is important to say that the struggle goes on and the nature of the crisis demands more.

“We achieved so much more than anyone thought we could at the start of this  fight.

“First time there was real fight back against Wall Street. And the bill has gotten stronger, not weaker. We probably will win: consumer protection — still need no carve outs in the  future fight to greater enforcement. …

“There is MUCH more to do: ban naked credit default swaps (the weapons of mass financial destruction), foreclosure (!!!) and community reinvestment, executive compensation, and more. But quite a start and should not be discounted.”

I hope she’s right but, even as no changes have yet been made, there has been a wave of unjustified media optimism as satirized by the Onion which asks, “Could the economy be on the rebound? Here are some other favorable indicators:

“Sufficient supplies of toilet paper in all rest stops between Tomah, WI and Gary, IN.

“Jim Cramer no longer wildly waving a gun around during his telecast.

“Phrase ‘Fucking Goldman Sachs’ has been dropped almost completely in favor of ‘Fucking BP’.”

Alas, this is nothing to joke about as an article on the Naked Capitalism Web site makes clear:

“It is not a sign of intelligence to repeat a course of action and expect different results. Yet our officialdom is doing pretty much just that on the economic front. Treasury and the Fed in particular seem quite pleased with their success in patching up the financial system with duct tape and baling wire and prodding it into a semblance of operation via massive support, most notably via super low interest rates…

“The failure to change the structure, operation, or leadership of major financial firms means they are just about certain to repeat the same behavior that led to mind-numbing bonuses in 2007 and 2009.”

In the meantime, even as an investigation of Goldman Sachs is being broadened, there is still no clamor in Congress or big media to go after financial crime, the story I tell in my film “Plunder: The Crime of Our Time.” (www.Plunderthecrimeofourtime.com)

The sad truth is that the banksters who have gotten away with the massive theft of the U.S. economy are still getting away with it – and profiting while so many of us continue to sink.

News Dissector Danny Schechter directed PLUNDER The Crime Of Our Time and wrote a companion book, The Crime Of Our Time. Comments to dissector@mediachannel.org.

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Blum: Bad guys and good guys

June 14, 2010
By William Blum, Foreign Policy Journal, June 12, 2010

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In Lahore, Pakistan, reported the Washington Post on May 29, “Militants staged coordinated attacks … on two mosques of a minority Muslim sect, taking hostages and killing at least 80 people. … At least seven men armed with grenades, high-powered rifles and suicide vests stormed the mosques as Friday prayers ended.”

Nice, really nice, very civilized. It’s no wonder that decent Americans think that this is what the United States is fighting against — Islamic fanatics, homicidal maniacs, who kill their own kind over some esoteric piece of religious dogma, who want to kill Americans over some other imagined holy sin, because we’re “infidels”. How can we reason with such people? Where is the common humanity the naive pacifists and anti-war activists would like us to honor?

And then we come to the very last paragraph of the story: “Elsewhere in Pakistan on Friday, a suspected U.S. drone-fired missile struck a Taliban compound in the South Waziristan tribal area, killing eight, according to two officials in the region.”

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Drone Wars, Without Any Rules

March 24, 2010

Dan Froomkin, The Huffington Post, March 24, 2010

The CIA’s extensive use of unmanned drones to kill alleged terrorists in Pakistan and elsewhere is arguably against international law and raises the possibility that top U.S. officials will someday be tried at the Hague for war crimes, a law professor told a congressional oversight panel on Tuesday.

Despite the rapidly increasing use of drones in warfare and anti-terrorism — and the legal and ethical issues their use raises — the U.S. government has never publicly advanced a legal justification for sending its drones on targeted killing runs overseas; up until Tuesday, Congress hadn’t even held a single hearing into the question.

Kenneth Anderson, an American University law professor, told the panel he believes there is legal justification for the U.S.’s use of drones, not just by the military but by the CIA, under the doctrine of self-defense.

But, he said, government lawyers “have not settled on what the rationales are, and I believe that at some point that ill serves an administration which is embracing this. Now, maybe the answer is: This is really terrible and illegal and anybody that does it should go off to the Hague. But if that’s the case, then we should not be having the president saying that this is the greatest thing since whatever. That seems like a bad idea.”

As HuffPost reported last week, the ACLU has filed a freedom of information lawsuit demanding that the government disclose the legal basis for its use of unmanned drones to conduct targeted killings overseas, as well as the ground rules regarding when, where and against whom drone strikes can be authorized, and the number of civilian casualties they have caused. The initial response from the government was that some public legal justification was, indeed, forthcoming.

But many questions about drones aren’t just unresolved, they’ve never even been asked. Rep. John F. Tierney (D-Mass.), chairman of the House oversight committee’s national security subcommittee, mentioned some of them in his opening statement:

[I]f the United States uses unmanned weapons systems, does that require an official declaration of war or an authorization for the use of force?Do the Geneva Conventions — written in 1949 — govern the prosecution of an unmanned war?

Who is considered a lawful combatant in unmanned war — the Air Force pilot flying a Predator from thousands of miles away in Nevada, or the civilian contractor servicing it in on an airstrip in Afghanistan?

Then there are questions about the civilian casualty rate; about how the U.S. maintains superiority in drone warfare; what happens when the bad guys get hold of them; and how do you defend against them.

Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.) raised the concern that drones might make some of the Pentagon’s big-ticket purchases look less wise.

“What I’m worried about is, we’re at some point going to be asked to defend Taiwan, you know, with a set of aircraft carriers, and all of sudden, 10,000 Chinese-manufactured mass-produced drones will be coming at us,” Foster said. “And it’ll be game over. ”

And just wait until they start thinking for themselves.

“If trends in computer science and robotics engineering continue, it is conceivable that autonomous systems could soon be developed that are capable of making life and death decisions without direct human intervention,” said John Edward Jackson, professor of unmanned systems at the U.S. Naval War College.

“Would a self-conscious and willful machine choose its own ends, and even be considered a person with rights?” asked Edward Barrett, director of research for the Stockdale Center, the U.S. Naval Academy’s ethics and military policy think tank.

The troubling questions and scenarios were coming from a panel that was, nevertheless, largely pro-drone — to the consternation of a handful of protesters in the audience.

The panel’s head cheerleader was Michael S. Fagan, who chairs the Advocacy Committee for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

Fagan said there is “much more” that drones can do to protect the nation. He urged the Federal Aviation Administration to allow drone-makers access to more airspace and spoke of “other useful applications of unmanned technology” such as “civil unrest”.

Peter W. Singer, director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution, noted the the U.S. government isn’t the only one using drones. American border vigilantes have used them, as did Hezbollah during Israel’s 2006 invasion of Lebanon, and, most recently, a gang of thieves in Taiwan.

Barrett, the ethicist, worried that drones make war too easy. “Favorable alterations to pre-war proportionality calculations,” he said, could “reduce the rigor with which non-violent alternatives are pursued, and thus encourage unnecessary — and therefore unjust — wars,” he said.

He also said the homeland could be at risk if, on the battlefield, there’s “no one for the enemy to shoot at.” He explained: “You don’t want to go just to unmanned, or they’re coming here.”

Several clear distinctions emerged between the military’s use of drones and the CIA’s. One of those distinctions is that we know almost nothing about what the CIA is really doing, and how. “We do know about the military’s use of these systems, and they’ve shown… exceptional respect for the laws of war,” said Singer. “My concern is with the CIA strikes.”

Instead of trained military strategists, it’s intelligence analysts planning air-war campaigns, and CIA lawyers deciding on when to launch;. Or maybe it’s not even the CIA itself, but its contractors. Who knows?

Are there any limits? How many civilian casualties have there been? Does what they’re doing even make sense?

“We may be sucking ourselves into a game of whack-a-mole,” Singer said. “Are we unwittingly aiding their recruiting?”

© 2010 Huffington Post

Dan Froomkin is Washington Bureau Chief for the Huffington Post. Previously, he wrote the White House Watch column for the Washington Post’s website.

Lendman: America’s Secret Prisons

March 18, 2010

by Stephen Lendman, Dissident Voice,  March 17, 2010

On January 28 in TomDispatch.com, Anand Gopal headlined, “Night Raids, Hidden Detention Centers, the ‘Black Jail,’ and the Dogs of War in Afghanistan,” recounting unreported US media stories about killings, abductions, detentions, interrogations, and torture in “a series of prisons on US military bases around the country.” Bagram prison, for example, is “a facility with a notorious reputation for abusive behavior,” including brutalizing torture and cold-blooded murder.

Even worse is the “Black Jail,” a facility consisting of individual windowless concrete cells with bright 24-hour lighting, described by one former detainee as “the most dangerous and fearful place” in which prisoners endure appalling treatment.

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America’s 30 Year War On Afghanistan

March 3, 2010

James A. Lucas, Information Clearing House,  March 02, 2010

Interference by the U.S. in the internal affairs of Afghanistan has been a tragic chapter in our nation’s history.

Over three decades ago, there were social movements in Afghanistan to improve the standard of living of its people, to provide greater equality for women, and there was a functioning, if imperfect, democracy. However the U.S., using subversion, weapons and money was able, as the leader of coalition of nations, to stop progress in these areas of human welfare.

In fact, the gains that had already been made were actually reversed. By 2010 the economic and social status of Afghans has been set back generations; women’s status has deteriorated to such an extent that the prevalence of self-immolation has increased among discouraged women, and there is no democracy now, with the U.S. making major decisions as an occupying power.

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