December 9, 2014 archive

Obama Justice Department Plans No Prosecutions

They’re not even going to fire anybody.

Stop believing the lies: America tortured more than ‘some folks’ – and covered it up

Trevor Timm, The Guardian

Tuesday 9 December 2014 13.43 EST

But beyond all the the depravity, perhaps the most shocking part of this exposed history is the action of US officials who knew these horrors were unfolding – and covered them up.

For years, as the 480-page executive summary of the report documents in meticulous detail, these officials lied to the Senate, the Justice Department, the White House, to the American public and to the world. They prevented CIA officers involved from being disciplined. They investigated and marginalized those who were investigating them. They happily leaked classified information to journalists – much of it false – without worry of consequence.

For the past few days, we have seen many of the same resentful politicians and former CIA leaders in charge of the torture-denial regime being handed virtual royalty status by the American media to respond to pre-emptively respond to the report without much of any pushback. Dick Cheney basically got to write his own interview in the New York Times, while Michael Hayden, the former NSA and CIA director in charge of lying to the Senate for years, was handed softball after softball by Bob Schieffer of CBS News to make his case. It is borderline propaganda.

As Schieffer innocently asked Hayden a few days ago: “Do you know of anybody from the CIA, in your view, who lied to Congress about what was going on there?” Hayden’s name appears in the torture report more than 200 times, and most of the references document the various times he knowingly misled one government body or another. As media organizations continue turning to Hayden for comment time and again, they should understand the Senate report indicates that basically every time he’s opened his mouth about “enhanced interrogation” over the past decade, he’s has been lying.

Senate report on CIA torture claims spy agency lied about ‘ineffective’ program

Spencer Ackerman and Dominic Rushe, The Guardian

Tuesday 9 December 2014 15.17 EST

The methods of torture carried out by the CIA were even more extreme than what it portrayed to the George W Bush administration and went beyond techniques already made public through a decade of leaks and lawsuits, which had revealed that agency interrogators subjected detainees to the quasi-drowning known as waterboarding, staged mock executions and revved power drills near their heads.



After examining 20 case studies, the investigators found that torture “regularly resulted in fabricated information”, said committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, in a statement summarizing the findings. She called the torture program “a stain on our values and on our history”.



At least 17 detainees were tortured without the approval from CIA headquarters that ex-director George Tenet assured the DOJ would occur. And at least 26 of the CIA’s estimated 119 detainees, the committee found, were “wrongfully held.”

Contractor psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen played a critical role in establishing the torture program in 2002. A company they formed to contract their services to the CIA was worth more than $180m, and by the time of the contract’s 2009 cancellation, they had received $81m in payouts.



go here International condemnation was swift. Ben Emmerson, the United Nations rapporteur for counterterrorism, commended the White House for resisting pressure not to publish the report but said action must now be taken.

“The individuals responsible for the criminal conspiracy revealed in today’s report must be brought to justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes. The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorised at a high level within the US government provides no excuse whatsoever. Indeed, it reinforces the need for criminal accountability,” he said.

Senate Torture Report Shows C.I.A. Infighting Over Interrogation Program

By SCOTT SHANE, The New York Times

DEC. 9, 2014

In January 2003, 10 months into the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret prison program, the agency’s chief of interrogations sent an email to colleagues saying that the relentlessly brutal treatment of prisoners was a train wreck “waiting to happen and I intend to get the hell off the train before it happens.” He said he had told his bosses he had “serious reservations” about the program and no longer wanted to be associated with it “in any way.”

The bitter infighting in the C.I.A. interrogation program was only one symptom of the dysfunction, disorganization, incompetence, greed and deception described in a summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report. In more than 500 pages, the summary, released on Tuesday, paints a devastating picture of an agency that was ill equipped to take on the task of questioning Al Qaeda suspects, bungled the job and then misrepresented the results.



The outburst from the chief of interrogations came amid weeks of torture of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a leading suspect in the bombing of two American embassies and a Navy ship. C.I.A. personnel working on the secret program had split into two camps. On one side were the chief of interrogations and nearly all of the on-the-ground personnel who had been questioning Mr. Nashiri. After two months of harsh questioning, the chief wrote, they believed that the prisoner had “been mainly truthful and is not withholding significant information.”

On the other side were James E. Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, two former military psychologists who had advised the agency to use waterboarding and other coercive methods. With the support of C.I.A. headquarters, they repeatedly insisted that Mr. Nashiri and other prisoners were still withholding crucial information, and that the application of sufficient pain and disorientation would eventually force them to disclose it. They thought the other faction was “running a ‘sissified’ interrogation program,” the report says.



The report spends little time condemning torture on moral or legal grounds. Instead, it addresses mainly a practical question: Did torture accomplish anything of value? Looking at case after case, the report answers with an unqualified no.

In fact, it says, “C.I.A. officers regularly called into question whether the C.I.A.’s enhanced interrogation techniques were effective, assessing that the use of the techniques failed to elicit detainee cooperation or produce accurate intelligence.” Nonetheless, higher-ups ordered that the methods be continued and told Congress, the White House and journalists that they were having great success.

Just as striking as that central finding is the detailed account of C.I.A. mismanagement. Both factions in the fight over interrogations, for instance, were led by people with histories that might have been expected to disqualify them.

The chief of interrogations, who is not named in the report, was given the job in the fall of 2002 even though the agency’s inspector general had recommended that he be “orally admonished for inappropriate use of interrogation techniques” in a training program in Latin America in the 1980s.

And Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Jessen, identified by pseudonyms in the report, had not conducted a single real interrogation. They had helped run a Cold War-era training program for the Air Force in which personnel were given a taste of the harsh treatment they might face if captured by Communist enemies. The program – called SERE, for Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape – had never been intended for use in American interrogations, and involved methods that had produced false confessions when used on American airmen held by the Chinese in the Korean War.

Yet the program allowed the psychologists to assess their own work – they gave it excellent grades – and to charge a daily rate of $1,800 each, four times the pay of other interrogators, to waterboard detainees. Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Jessen later started a company that took over and ran the C.I.A. program from 2005 until it was closed in 2009. The C.I.A. paid it $81 million, plus $1 million to protect the company and its employees from legal liability.

Early in the program, the report says, “a junior officer on his first overseas assignment,” who had no experience with prisons or interrogations, was placed in charge of a C.I.A. detention site in Afghanistan known as the Salt Pit. Other C.I.A. officers had previously proposed that he be stripped of access to classified information because of a “lack of honesty, judgment and maturity.”

At the Salt Pit, the junior officer ordered a prisoner named Gul Rahman shackled to the wall of his cell and stripped of most of his clothing. Mr. Rahman was found dead of hypothermia the next morning, lying on the bare concrete floor. Four months later, however, the junior officer was recommended for a cash award of $2,500 for his “consistently superior work.”



The agency even had trouble keeping track of the people it was holding. In a December 2003 cable to C.I.A. headquarters from one of the countries with a secret prison, the C.I.A. station chief wrote, “We have made the unsettling discovery that we are holding a number of detainees about whom we know very little.” Most of the prisoners had not been questioned for months and seemed to have little intelligence value, the cable said.

But little of this kind of disarray came to the attention of the C.I.A.’s congressional oversight agencies, the White House or the public, which were repeatedly assured by a succession of C.I.A. directors that the program was highly professional and very successful.

During the program’s later years, after a damning report in 2004 by the C.I.A.’s inspector general, much of the agency’s effort appears to have gone into public relations to counter a rising tide of dismal news coverage. In 2007, for instance, Michael V. Hayden, then the C.I.A. director, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that “all of those involved in the questioning of detainees are carefully chosen and screened for demonstrated professional judgment and maturity.”

In fact, the Senate report concludes, no such vetting took place. The interrogation teams included people with “notable derogatory information” in their records, including one with “workplace anger management issues” and another who “had reportedly admitted to sexual assault.”

Senate Report Disputes C.I.A. Claims on Hunt for Osama bin Laden

By CHARLIE SAVAGE and JAMES RISEN, The New York Times

DEC. 9, 2014

Months before the operation that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, the Central Intelligence Agency secretly prepared a public relations plan that would stress that information gathered from its disputed interrogation program had played a critical role in the hunt. Starting the day after the raid, agency officials in classified briefings made the same point to Congress.

But in page after page of previously classified evidence, the Senate Intelligence Committee report on C.I.A. torture, released on Tuesday, rejects the notion that the agency would not have found Bin Laden if it had not tortured detainees.

“The vast majority of the intelligence” about the Qaeda courier who led the agency to Bin Laden “was originally acquired from sources unrelated to the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation program, and the most accurate information acquired from a C.I.A. detainee was provided prior to the C.I.A. subjecting the detainee to the C.I.A.’s enhanced interrogation techniques,” the Senate report said.

It added that most of “the documents, statements and testimony” from the C.I.A. regarding a connection between the torture of detainees and the Bin Laden hunt were “inaccurate and incongruent with C.I.A. records.”



It was in 2004 that the C.I.A. came to realize that it should focus on finding Mr. Kuwaiti as part of the hunt for Bin Laden, after it interrogated a Qaeda operative, Hassan Ghul, who had been captured in Iraqi Kurdistan. The report concludes that Mr. Ghul provided “the most accurate” intelligence that the agency produced about Mr. Kuwaiti’s role and ties to Bin Laden.

But the report emphasizes that Mr. Ghul provided all the important information about the courier before he was subjected to any torture techniques and spoke freely to his interrogators. During that two-day period in January 2004, it said, the C.I.A. produced 21 intelligence reports from Mr. Ghul, who one officer said “sang like a Tweety Bird.”

“He opened up right away and was cooperative from the outset,” the officer added.

In those initial interrogations, Mr. Ghul portrayed Mr. Kuwaiti as Bin Laden’s “closest assistant” and said he was always with him, identifying him as a likely courier who ran messages between Bin Laden and other leaders of Al Qaeda. He listed him as one of three people most likely to be with Bin Laden, who he speculated was living in a house in Pakistan, with Mr. Kuwaiti handling his needs.

Nevertheless, the C.I.A. then decided to torture Mr. Ghul to see if he would say more. He was transferred to a “black site” prison, where he was shaved, placed in a “hanging” stress position, and subjected to 59 hours of sleep deprivation, after which he began hallucinating; his back and abdomen began spasming; his arms, legs and feet began experiencing “mild paralysis”; and he began having “premature” heart beats. During and after that treatment, he provided “no actionable threat information” that resulted in the capture of any leaders of Al Qaeda, the report said.

When they talk about the “statute of limitations” they are flat out lying to you.

There source link is no “statute of limitations” on torture, murder, and war crimes.

There is only “accessory after the fact.”

Cartnoon

Live Stream: Torture Report Summary Released

Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has released the 500 page torture report. She is now speaking on the Senate floor. Her presentation is expected to take about an hour. She will be followed by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

The report was just released, and is online here (pdf), or here (pdf).

H/T Glenn Greenwald, watch The Intercept

The Breakfast Club (The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Britain’s Prince Charles and Princess Diana announce they are separating; The Charge of the Light Brigade – is published in Britain; Solidarity union leader Lech Walesa is elected president in Poland; Actor Kirk Douglas is born.

Breakfast Tunes

On This Day In History December 9

This is your morning best price for generic levitra Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past prednisone 20mg 5 http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=comprare-viagra-generico-25-mg “On This Day in History” here.

December 9 is the 343rd day of the year (344th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 22 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1861, The Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War is established by the U.S. Congress.

The Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War was a United States Congressional investigating committee created to handle issues surrounding the American Civil War. It was established on December 9, 1861, following the embarrassing Union defeat at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, at the instigation of Senator Zachariah T. Chandler of Michigan, and continued until May 1865. Its purpose was to investigate such matters as illicit trade with the Confederate states, medical treatment of wounded soldiers, military contracts, and the causes of Union battle losses. The Committee was also involved in supporting the war effort through various means, including endorsing emancipation, the use of black soldiers, and the appointment of generals who were known to be aggressive fighters. It was chaired throughout by Senator Benjamin Wade of Ohio, and became identified with the Radical Republicans who wanted more aggressive war policies than those of Abraham Lincoln.

History

Union officers often found themselves in an uncomfortable position before the Committee. Since this was a civil war, pitting neighbor against neighbor (and sometimes brother against brother), the loyalty of a soldier to the Union was simple to question. And since Union forces had very poor luck against their Confederate counterparts early in the war, particularly in the Eastern Theater battles that held the attention of the newspapers and Washington politicians, it was easy to accuse an officer of being a traitor after he lost a battle or was slow to engage or pursue the enemy. This politically charged atmosphere was very difficult and distracting for career military officers. Officers who were not known Republicans felt the most pressure before the Committee.

During the committee’s existence, it held 272 meetings and received testimony in Washington and at other locations, often from military officers. Though the committee met and held hearings in secrecy, the testimony and related exhibits were published at irregular intervals in the numerous committee reports of its investigations. The records include the original manuscripts of certain postwar reports that the committee received from general officers. There are also transcripts of testimony and accounting records regarding the military administration of Alexandria, Virginia.

One of the most colorful series of committee hearings followed the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, where Union Maj. Gen. Daniel Sickles, a former congressman, accused Maj. Gen. George G. Meade of mismanaging the battle, planning to retreat from Gettysburg prior to his victory there, and failing to pursue and defeat Robert E. Lee‘s army as it retreated. This was mostly a self-serving effort on Sickles’s part because he was trying to deflect criticism from his own disastrous role in the battle. Bill Hyde notes that the committee’s report on Gettysburg was edited by Wade in ways that were unfavorable to Meade, even when that required distorting the evidence. The report was “a powerful propaganda weapon” (p. 381), but the committee’s power had waned by the time the final testimony was taken of William T. Sherman on May 22, 1865.

The war it was investigating completed, the committee ceased to exist after this last testimony, and the final reports were published shortly thereafter. The later Joint Committee on Reconstruction represented a similar attempt to check executive power by the Radical Republicans.

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The go here real news and most of this week’s guests below.

The United Police States of America

follow Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

If you don’t think you aren’t living in one, you aren’t paying attention.

Shot in the chest by Cleveland police – then handcuffed and fined $100

John Swaine, The Guardian

Last year, Gregory Love was shot by a police officer through the window of his Range Rover. The only person prosecuted was Love himself – but now he’s suing a Cleveland force ordered by the government to change its ways

When a man pointing a Glock pistol approached Gregory Love’s car in downtown Cleveland late one night, Love did the only sensible thing possible, he says: he put up his hands and decided to let the man have what he wanted.

But Vincent Montague shot him in the chest anyway, according to Love, before having the 29-year-old forcibly removed from his silver Range Rover and his hands fastened together behind his back.

Blood from the bullet wound seeped through Love’s white T-shirt. He grew colder, despite the warm June air. “I actually thought I was going to die,” Love told the Guardian. “I felt faint. I saw blood coming from my chest. I thought he was just going to kill me right there.”

Eighteen months later, Love recalls his alleged assailant clearly: he was wearing the uniform of the Cleveland Division of Police. The only person prosecuted following the altercation was Love, who was fined $100 for a traffic violation. Montague was suspended from work for a day.

‘Chaotic and dangerous’ Cleveland police shamed in withering government report

Paul Lewis, The Guardian

Cleveland force accused of using excessive and unreasonable force in hundreds of cases as DoJ appoint independent monitor to oversee reforms

The Cleveland police department under fire over the recent fatal shooting of a 12-year-old boy has engaged in “excessive and unreasonable force” in hundreds of other cases, according to a withering report by the Justice Department that lists examples of officers firing at people who pose no threat and striking them on the head with their weapons.

The cases documented in the report include that of a semi-naked hostage victim who was twice fired at by a police sergeant as he tried to escape his captors, and a 13-year-old who was repeatedly punched in the face while handcuffed in the back of a police car.

Another incident involved a man shot with a Taser while he was was strapped to an ambulance gurney after suffering from seizures. [..]

The report reviewed almost 600 incidents of use of force by Cleveland division of police over three years up to 2013. It detailed incidents of Cleveland police “firing their guns at people who do not pose an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury” and “hitting people on the head with their guns in circumstances where deadly force is not justified”.

The Justice Department said there were several incidents in which Cleveland police fired at suspects fleeing on foot or in vehicles when they who posed no danger to the officers or anyone else.

No Charges For Cop Who Broke Face Of Handcuffed Woman In Patrol Car

Ahiza Garcia, TPM Livewire

A local prosecutor announced on Friday he would not seek criminal charges against a Seattle police officer who was shown on video throwing a bone-breaking punch at a woman who was handcuffed in the back of a patrol car.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg (pictured above), whose office handles felony cases in the area, said he would not seek a felony charge against officer Adley Shepherd, 38, according to the Seattle Times newspaper. [..]

Despite the prosecutor’s decision on Friday, the case is set to be reviewed by the U.S. Justice Department for any possible civil rights violations, according to the Times.

St. Louis Police Pursue Assault Charge Against Youngest Member Of Ferguson Commission

Ryan J. Reilly, Huffington Post

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department this week convinced the local prosecutor’s office to charge a prominent young Ferguson protester with misdemeanor assault because he allegedly made fleeting physical contact with a law enforcement official blocking access to St. Louis City Hall during a demonstration last month.

Rasheen Aldridge, a 20-year-old community activist, has been protesting in and around the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson on a regular basis ever since then-police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9. Last month, Gov. Jay Nixon (D) named him to the Ferguson Commission, a task force intended to address problems in the St. Louis region that were highlighted in the wake of Brown’s death. On Dec. 1, Aldridge was at the White House to meet with President Barack Obama to discuss the relationship between law enforcement and local communities. (He later said he left the meeting “disappointed” with Obama, whom he used to consider his “idol.”) [..]

One video of the alleged misdemeanor assault appears to show Aldridge, in a gray cap, attempting to gain access to St. Louis City Hall along with a number of other demonstrators on Nov. 26, less than 48 hours after the grand jury decision was announced. At the time, the public building was on lockdown because authorities thought someone in the crowd may have had spray paint.

Aldridge — who is just 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 110 pounds, according to court documents — seems to be trying to open a City Hall door as a much larger city marshal stands guard. The marshal then appears to shove Aldridge, and the protester’s hand touches and perhaps pushes the official.

Soon after the incident, police in riot gear wielding pepper spray would break up the demonstration around City Hall, claiming that the entire daytime assembly was unlawful because a few demonstrators “made contact” with law enforcement.

And if you think the the special task force created by President Barack Obama is anything but another farce, take a look at the history of Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey who Obama has selected to co-chair the committee

Obama Appoints Notoriously Corrupt Police Commissioner To Improve Cops’ Credibility

By Carey Wedler, AntiMedia

The task force has 90 days to prepare a report and recommendations for the “21st century” problems of policing. But if Obama’s appointment to the task force cannot curb corruption and excessive violence within his own department, it is unlikely he will inspire change at the national level.

This week, President Barack Obama unveiled his plan to deal with police brutality and militarization (which he helped to enable over the course of his presidency). He has ordered $263 million for 50,000 body cameras and called for restrictions and oversight on military equipment.

Though on its face the plan has good intentions, it has already been criticized by activists and the media.

One of the most disingenuous elements of Obama’s master plan is his appointment of Philadelphia Police Commissioner, Charles Ramsey, to chair the “Task Force on 21st Cenutry Policing.” Ramsey is co-chairing the task force with Laurie Robinson, a former assistant attorney general and professor at George Mason University. The force is allegedly responsible for restoring trust and good relations between police officers and communities. [//]

While body cameras and restrictions on military equipment are easy to spin as positive (though the practice of militarization will not be stopped, only “curbed”), it is not as easy to fake credibility for Ramsey. The officer, who is also the president of the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, runs one of the most corrupt police departments in the nation.

He was once the police chief of Washington, D.C. and has presided over Philadelphia’s department since 2008. Ramsey worked for the Chicago police department for thirty years and is currently a member of the “United States Homeland Security Advisory Council.”

On his watch, a federal investigation into corruption was launched over conspiracy, robbery, extortion, kidnapping and drug dealing. The Philadelphia police were caught ignoring thousands of rape cases to keep their crime numbers low. Before marijuana was decriminalized, Philly police arrested African-Americans for marijuana at an even higher rate than the rest of the country (which is already grossly high). Even after a decriminalization bill was passed this June, Ramsey vowed to continue arrests pursuant to Pennsylvania law. Other cops stole half a million dollars of drug money from suspects.

Philadelphia police are also no strangers to harassment and murder on the job, which is what Obama allegedly seeks to diminish in appointing Ramsey. Ramsey’s cops threaten to beat teenagers. They actually beat all kinds of people – over and over and over. They also indulge in shootings, which occur all too often and shirk accountability.

Most telling, during the initial waves of protest in Ferguson this summer, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar sought frequent advice from Ramsey on how to handle the situation.

Could Obama have found anyone worse?