Obama Accepts Decision Not to Prosecute CIA Officers: White House

 

 

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President Barack Obama

CIA Torture Report (47)
 

White House spokesperson Josh Earnest announced that US President Barack Obama shares the US Department of Justice decision that no prosecutable crime had been committed by the CIA officers.

WASHINGTON, December 11 (Sputnik) — US President Barack Obama agrees with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) finding that CIA officers involved in enhanced interrogation should not be prosecuted, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said.

“The president [Obama] has confidence both in this [US] justice system and in the way it was deployed in this particular situation [CIA officers investigation],” Earnest said Wednesday, when asked if Obama accepts DOJ conclusion that there are no prosecutable crimes committed by the CIA.

The US Department of Justice did their own investigation that concluded that no prosecutable crime had been committed by the CIA officers.

“There is a process in place that is administered by career professionals [DOJ prosecutors] that did what they were supposed to do. The president [Obama] believes firmly in their confidence and the system,” Earnest said.

On Tuesday, the US Senate Intelligence Committee released the so-called CIA “torture report,” a summary of the detailed investigation into the CIA Detention and Interrogation program that in some cases included torture practices.

Following the release of the report, US President Barack Obama vowed not to use the methods of torture, outlined in the report during the time of his presidency.

But according to the United Nations, the United States is obliged by international law to investigate its citizens suspected of engaging in torture, but even if it does not, Americans who ordered or carried out torture can be prosecuted abroad, by legal bodies including the International Criminal Court, legal experts say.

Whether they will be is another question. That’s largely a political determination. But calls for international prosecution, legal experts say, are likely to grow so long as the United States chooses not to prosecute its own.

“If I am someone implicated in the torture report, I am thinking twice about traveling to Europe anytime soon,” said Steve Vladeck, a law professor at American University in Washington. “It puts those governments in a sticky position if someone who is accused of torture presents themselves on that country’s soil.”

From Rose Garden Obama Endorses Nazi Shock-Troop Terrorism

President Barack Obama gives German Chancellor Angela Merkel a kiss on the cheek on arrival for the G8 Summit Friday, May 18, 2012, at Camp David, Md. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

President Barack Obama gives German Chancellor Angela Merkel a kiss on arrival for the G8 Summit Friday, May 18, 2012, at Camp David, Md.
(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

By Open Salon

During her visit to the White House, Barack Obama held a press conference in the Rose Garden with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during which the U.S. President expressed full support for a harsh crackdown against “pro-federalism”, pro-Russian, anti-coup Kiev government protesters in eastern Ukraine at the same time threatening Russia.

Bill Van Auken in “Appearing with Germany’s Merkel, Obama backs Ukraine crackdown” quotes Obama:

“As Ukrainian forces move “to restore order in eastern Ukraine”, it is obvious to the world that these Russian-backed groups are not peaceful protesters.” 

snip

“The Ukrainian government has the right and responsibility to uphold law and order within its territory.” [with indiscriminate bombs and shelling, right?]

snip

[The onus falls on Moscow, of course] “to use its influence with these paramilitary groups [I call them freedom fighters] so that they disarm and stop provoking violence.”

snip

… Obama praised Kiev for its “remarkable restraint” and placed the full blame for the violence wracking the country on Russia [of course!]. He made no call for the Ukrainian regime to disarm the fascist paramilitary groups such as the Right Sector that brought it to power and now comprise its shock troops for the assault on the east. [ Kiev loves Nazis]

snip

As Obama spoke, a fascist mob led by the neo-Nazi Right Sector was carrying out a massacre of pro-Russian demonstrators in Odessa, killing dozens. In the east of the country, fully armed troops and Right Sector thugs, backed by armor, artillery and helicopter gunships, attacked centers of the anti-Kiev protests in Slovyansk and other cities, setting the stage for a bloodbath.

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Eric Sommer in “The Day US-Supported Fascists began Murdering Civilians A Day that will Live in Infamy”:

In reality and on the ground, the U.S. government — with no mandate from the American people — is supporting a fascist/oligarch unelected Ukrainian ‘government’ installed in a coup spear-headed by two openly fascist parties, Svoboda and Right sector.

Now, in actions highly reminiscent to Hilter and his brown shirts, right-sector oriented hooligans aided by military forces have just beaten with chains and baseball bats, and burned to death in the Trade Unions building of Odessa 31 civilians who were engaged in a peaceful occupation in their own city — civilians who are opposed to and do not recognize, the new oligarch/fascist ‘government’.

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On May 5th Alex Lantier in “US puppet regime in Kiev escalates violence after fascist massacre in Odessa” updated reporting of this nightmare:

Some 1,000 well-armed football hooligans from Kharkiv and fascist thugs from the Right Sector militia attacked pro-Russian protesters, forced them into the city’s trade union hall, then besieged the building, shooting at it with small arms and torching it with Molotov cocktails. In all, 42 people died and 170 were wounded, making it Kiev’s single bloodiest act of repression against the protests. Odessa police allowed the assault to proceed, then jailed pro-Russian protesters who managed to survive both the flames and Right Sector thugs who attacked anyone they saw jumping from the building.

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Amos Howard of the Guardian via Jon Queally in “Dozens Reported Dead in Odessa as Ukraine Chaos Spreads” offers more details:

The Guardian’s Amos Howard was in Odessa, and sent this report from city:

Odessa’s large Soviet-era trade union building was set alight as pro-Ukrainian activists mounted an assault as dusk fell. Police said at least 38 people choked to death on smoke or were killed when jumping out of windows after the trade union building was set on fire.

Bodies lay in pools of blood outside the main entrance as explosions from improvised grenades and Molotov cocktails filled the air. Black smoke from the building and a burning pro-Russian protest camp wreathed the nearby square.

Pro-Russian fighters mounted a last-ditch defence of the burning building, tossing masonry and Molotov cocktails from the roof on to the crowd below.

Medics at the scene said that the pro-Russian fighters were also shooting from the roof. At least five bodies with bullet wounds lay on the ground covered by Ukrainian flags as fire engines and ambulances arrived at the scene.

Some people fell from the burning building as they hung on to windowsills in an attempt to avoid the fire that had taken hold inside. Pro-Ukrainian protesters made desperate efforts to reach people with ropes and improvised scaffolding.

“At first we broke through the side, and then we came through the main entrance,” said one pro-Ukrainian fighter, 20, who said he was a member of the extreme nationalist group Right Sector.

“They had guns and they were shooting … Some people jumped from the roof, they died obviously,” he said.

Riot police arrived on the scene as hand-to-hand fighting was already underway inside, but did not enter the building and stood formed up in ranks outside.

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Russia Today 5-4-14 in “Odessa Slaughter: How a Odessa slaughter: How vicious mob burnt anti-govt activists alive (GRAPHIC IMAGES)”:

What triggered the tragedy were violent clashes, which erupted on Friday afternoon between two rival rallies in Ukraine’s port-city of Odessa.

Around 1,500 supporters of the Kiev authorities, accompanied by aggressive fans of the local football club, Chernomorets, tried to march through the center of the city chanting “Glory to Ukraine,” “Death to enemies,” “Knife the Moskals [derogatory for Russians].” Some of the people in the group were wearing ultra-nationalist Right Sector movement insignia, were armed with chains and bats and carried shields.

Several hundred anti-government activists eventually confronted the procession. Fighting broke out as a result, with members of the rival groups throwing stones, Molotov cocktails and smoke grenades at each other and at police. The pavements were spattered with blood.

The police failed to draw the rival groups apart. As a result, 4 people were killed and 37 wounded in the violence. Police were among the injured.

Street clashes appeared to be only the beginning of the Odessa Friday nightmare, as radicals started to drive anti-government activists back to their tent camp in front of the local House of Trade Unions. Many anti-Kiev protesters eventually hid inside the building.

“Women and children were hiding in the Trade Union’s building,” an eye-witness told RT. “First the armed men set fire to tents, then they started throwing Molotov cocktails and grenades at the building. We heard shots fired and saw smoke,” she added.

The first floor of the Trade Unions building was soon engulfed in flames. The people inside appeared to be trapped.

Dozens eventually burnt alive or suffocated to death. To escape the fire and smoke, people were hanging out of windows and sitting on windowsills. In sheer desperation, some of them eventually jumped to the ground.

Many of those who managed to escape the fire were then brutally beaten by armed men, believed to be from the ultra-nationalist Right Sector group, who had the building under siege.

As people were dying in the burning building, some of the pro-Kiev activists jeered on Twitter that “Colorado beetles are being roasted up in Odessa,” using a derogatory term for pro-Russian activists wearing St. George’s ribbons.

About 50 people got to the roof of the burning building and waited for help there. RT managed to speak to one of them, after they were later rescued by police.

“We were hiding there [on the roof] from this angry mob, which forced us inside this building and threw Molotov cocktails and stones at us,” he said. “People were burned alive inside the building, they couldn’t get out. We couldn’t go down, we were seeing people from other floors being brought down and then those rioters down there attacked them like a pack of wolves. We were escorted from the roof and from the building. We had to step over dead bodies when we were descending the stairs.”

A total of 46 people died in Odessa’s violence on Friday and almost 200 others sustained injuries, Odessa Region prosecutor Igor Borshulyak told journalists on Saturday.

39 of the dead lost their lives in the fire at the Odessa Trade Unions House, according to the Ukrainian emergencies agency, which released a statement saying that “31 of the dead were found inside the building, eight more were found outside by law enforcement officers.”

Odessa announced on Saturday a three-day mourning for the victims of the tragedy.

Later, Ukraine’s acting President Aleksandr Turchinov signed a decree signaling two days of national mourning for those who died in the special military operation in eastern Ukraine and in mass clashes in Odessa.

Residents of Odessa have since Saturday morning been laying flowers outside the burnt out Trade Union building.

Russians have been bringing candles to the Ukrainian embassy in Moscow to commemorate the dead in Odessa.

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Barry Grey in “New York Times covers up fascist atrocity in Odessa”:

The anti-Kiev regime protesters had retreated into the building after the Ukrainian nationalist mob set fire to their nearby tent encampment. Authorities say 30 people died from smoke inhalation and another eight were killed when they jumped from windows and balconies in an attempt to escape the blaze.

According to eyewitness accounts, those who dropped from the building and survived were surrounded and beaten by Right Sector fascists. Video footage shows bloodied survivors being attacked.

This massacre occurred on the same day that government military forces, including armored personnel vehicles and helicopter gunships, attacked towns in the southeast of the country under the control of pro-Russian opponents of the regime, which was illegally installed last February in a coup led by Right Sector paramilitaries and backed by Washington and the EU.

snip

Even as Ukrainian military forces were attacking protesters in the east and fascist mobs allied to the government were burning and killing in Odessa, President Barack Obama was giving his unconditional support to the actions of the regime at a joint White House press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “The Ukrainian government has the right and responsibility to uphold law and order within its territory,” he declared, and went on to praise Kiev for its “remarkable restraint.”

At a meeting Friday of the United Nations Security Council, US Ambassador Samantha Power put the entire blame for the violence on Moscow and called the military crackdown in the east “proportionate and reasonable.”

snip

The United States has worked closely with the neo-fascist Svoboda party as well as the Right Sector, and signed off on their incorporation into the government it installed in Kiev after the February 22 putsch that overthrew the elected, pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych. Initially, the head of Right Sector, Dmytro Yarosh, was offered the post of deputy head of internal security, but he turned it down in order to operate more freely while providing the regime with a pretense of separation from the fascist militia.

Nevertheless, the Kiev government set up a new National Guard, recruited largely from the Right Sector and other ultra-nationalists and fascists, and has thrown it, as well as the Right Sector directly, against pro-Russian oppositionists in the east to supplement the operations of the Ukrainian military.

In an interview last month with the German publication Spiegel Online, Yarosh boasted of state support for his forces, saying, “Our battalions are part of the new territorial defense. We have close contact with the intelligence services and the general staff.”

The handprints of Washington are all over the fascist massacre in Odessa, and the New York Times, along with the rest of the “mainstream” media, is exposed as an accomplice.

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Robert Parry in “Will Ukraine Be NYT’s Waterloo?” quotes a passage from a New York Times article by C.J. Chivers and Noah Sneider on the Odessa atrocity and notes the “spin”.

“Violence also erupted Friday in the previously calmer port city of Odessa, on the Black Sea, where dozens of people died in a fire related to clashes that broke out between protesters holding a march for Ukrainian unity and pro-Russian activists. The fighting itself left four dead and 12 wounded, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said. Ukrainian and Russian news media showed images of buildings and debris burning, fire bombs being thrown and men armed with pistols.”

Note how the Times evades placing any responsibility on the pro-coup mob for trying to burn the “pro-Russian activists” out of a building, an act that resulted in the highest single-day death toll since the actual coup which left more than 80 people dead from Feb. 20-22. From reading the Times, you wouldn’t know who had died in the building and who had set the fire.

Normally, I would simply attribute this deficient story to some reporters and editors having a bad day and not bothering to assemble relevant facts. However, when put in the context of the Times’ unrelenting bias in its coverage of the Ukraine crisis – how the Times hypes every fact (and even non-facts) that reflect negatively on the anti-coup side – you have to think that the Times is spinning its readers, again.

Parry’s take on the horror:

The criminal character of the US-European Union intervention in Ukraine was tragically exposed for all to see Friday ….

snip

The Obama administration, along with the governments of Germany, France, Britain and the other European imperialist powers, bears political responsibility for Friday’s atrocity. They have sponsored the Right Sector, as well as the neo-fascist Svoboda party, and seen to it that they were integrated into the new anti-Russian regime in Kiev.

snip

Along with almost the entire U.S. mainstream media, the Times cheered on the violent overthrow of Yanukovych on Feb. 22 and downplayed the crucial role played by well-organized neo-Nazi militias that surged to the front of the Maidan protests in the final violent days. Then, with Yanukovych out and a new coup regime in, led by U.S. hand-picked Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the IMF austerity plan was promptly approved.

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Alex Lantier in “Ukraine reinstates military draft as NATO threatens Russia” reveals that conscription now is being mandated for all able-bodied males between 18 and 25 in Ukraine “to boost the crackdown in predominantly Russian-speaking areas.” Lantier speculates this agenda was arrived at by the coup-government after discussions with US officials such as CIA Director John Brennan, who visited there recently under an assumed name, and Vice President Joe Biden.

Some Ukrainian army and police units reports Lantier are refusing to shoot protesters. He adds that the Kiev junta government is relying on the private militias of business oligarchs or fascist paramilitaries from the Right Sector to attack anti-government protesters.

This is the “freedom-loving” new government of legitimacy and integrity Obama is championing?

Lantier:

The conscription order is a desperate attempt to bolster the tottering Kiev regime amid deepening political crisis and rising popular opposition. If obeyed in parts of the country still under Kiev’s control, it would provide back-up to the fascist forces spearheading the repression of the protests.

And then, of course, you have all the military person-power and sophisticated weaponry of the US and NATO behind the curtain to support this illegitimate new fascist government in its attempts to repress all righteous protests in Ukraine. Pretty much a David vs. Goliath situation. Though Obama lies easily about who’s the David and who’s the Goliath.

One final note. If you think the bloodbaths in Odessa and elsewhere in Ukraine and the inevitable ones to come (that were and are predictable to those not lost to the fog of US-NATO propaganda) will be considered tragic and “unintended” consequences by this anti-humanitarian Obama administration, think again.

Obama in his rose garden is not distressed, say, by pro-Russians being burned alive or some clubbed to death after miraculously escaping the burning, or of any who miraculously managed to survive both burning and clubbing then being arrested. Amoral Obama and his strategists want to subordinate not just contain Russia in their “new world order” gamesmanship. They hope the savagery against the pro-Russian citizens of Ukraine by the new regime of fascist thugs will draw Russian involvement — the Russian people demanding Putin help fellow ethnic Russians in Ukraine. Then this violent and repressive new junta government and the war-mongering Obama administration and its NATO cohorts can accuse Russia of MORE AGGRESSION and an attempt at occupation. Intimidation and manipulation of Russia is their goal. Even war with Russia is on the table. Obama and neocon and neolib war-mongerers want nothing less than “full spectrum dominance”. Global world insecurity with them in control.

Remember, ends-justify-the-means! Craven ends justify craven means!!

One more sea of lies and blood. Are we Americans going to seriously go with the flow of it one more time?

President Obama Defends His ‘Lockstep With Europe’ Approach to Sanctions on Russia

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U.S. President Barack Obama

 

Addressing a meeting of the President’s Export Council, Obama asked the US business community to support his course on keeping Europe in lockstep with Washington “as there may be some movement out of Congress for us to get ahead of Europe further.”

WASHINGTON, December 11 (Sputnik) — US President Barack Obama expressed caution on Thursday about unilaterally ratcheting up sanctions against Russia over Ukraine as the move that could split the United States and Europe.

Addressing a meeting of the President’s Export Council, Obama asked the US business community to support his course on keeping Europe in lockstep with Washington “as there may be some movement out of Congress for us to get ahead of Europe further.”

“The notion that we can simply ratchet up sanctions further and further and further and then ultimately Putin changes his mind, I think is a miscalculation,” Obama said.

“Where Putin will succeed is if it creates a rift in the Trans-Atlantic relationship. If he starts seeing Europe divided from the United States that would be his strategic victory,” Obama stressed calling for “strategic patience.”

“What will ultimately lead to Russia making a strategic decision is if they recognize that Europe is standing with us and we will be in it for the long haul and we are in fact patient,” he said.

“We have been successful with sanctions precisely because we’ve been systematic about it and made sure there wasn’t a lot of daylight between us and the Europeans,” the president emphasized.

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Anti-Russia Sanctions, Counter-Measures Hurting EU Members Economies: UN

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs published the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2015 report, which reads that the sanctions against Russia have had a negative impact on the economies of a number of European countries.

 

UNITED NATIONS, December 11 (Sputnik) — Sanctions, imposed on Russia by the West and Moscow’s counter-measures have had a negative impact on the economies of a number of European countries, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) said in a report.

“Weaker Russian import demand has already affected a number of EU economies, as the Russian market absorbs almost 5 per cent of the euro area’s exports,” DESA’s World Economic Situation and Prospects 2015 report, published Wednesday, read.

According to DESA, the “slowdown in the German economy in the second quarter is partially explained by lower exports of automotive components to the Russian Federation. Moreover, the restriction on supplying deep-water drilling equipment to sanctioned Russian companies affected Germany’s producers.”

Countries such as the Baltic States and Finland will lose transit revenue due to the sanctions regime, the report read, while globally, “the tourism industry will suffer from the depreciation of the Russian currency.”

Addressing Russia’s one-year food import restrictions, DESA noted that for “some East European countries (especially the Baltic States and Poland) and also for Finland and Norway, the Russian Federation absorbs a significant share of their food exports.”

Total EU food exports to the Russian market amount to approximately $11 billion annually, the report read, and “the forgone food exports would impact the entire logistics sector.”

The need to compensate farmers” losses will put pressure on national budgets, DESA stated, and while the EU member states could file a compensation claim with the union, “full coverage of losses is not likely.”

The European Union, alongside the United States, has introduced several rounds of sanctions against Russia over its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis, a claim Moscow has repeatedly denied. In August, Russia responded with a one-year ban on the import of certain food products from the countries that had imposed sanctions against it.

Moscow responded to Western sanctions with a one-year import ban on certain food products in August.

The current sanctions regime has already backfired on a number of European economies. Germany has seen an economic slowdown partially related to the export ban on deep-water drilling equipment to Russia, while countries such as the Baltic states, Poland, Finland and Norway have suffered due to Russia’s food import ban, according to a recent UN report.

 

 

Torture report reveals how Poland objected to CIA’s secret jail on its soil – but became ‘flexible’ after being bought off with large cash payment

Admission: Former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski (pictured right, alongside former Afghan leader Hamid Karzai) today confirmed that Poland granted permission for a secret CIA prison in the country Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2867879/CIA-paid-Poland-ease-qualms-secret-prison-Senate-report.html#ixzz3Ld1XSsqq Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Admission: Former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski (pictured right, alongside former Afghan leader Hamid Karzai) today confirmed that Poland granted permission for a secret CIA prison in the country  

U.S. President Barack Obama last night discussed the CIA torture report’s publication during a telephone call with current Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz.

The heavily redacted report did not mention Poland by name, but documents relating to the site match other reports that identify them as originating in the Eastern European nation. Among these documents is European Court of Human Rights ruling relating to a CIA-run ‘black site’ in Poland.

By John Hall

The U.S. Senate Committee’s torture report has claimed Poland initially objected to the CIA’s secret prison on its soil but became ‘flexible’ after being bought off with a large sum of money.

After denying the fact for years, former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski today admitted that Poland had granted the CIA permission to run the secret prison, but insisted his officials had not authorized illegal treatment or torture of its inmates.

Human rights groups believe at least eight terror suspects were held at a Polish prison codenamed ‘Blue’, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

This morning former Polish president Kwasniewski admitted that the prison existed, but insisted that the secret operation was halted amid pressure from the country’s leaders.

‘Poland took steps to end the activity at this site and the activity was stopped at some point,’ he told Warsaw based Radio TOK FM this morning.

The prison is thought to have operated from December 2002 until autumn 2003. Kwasniewski was in power from 1995 until 2005, but has always denied the site’s existence until now.

Detainee: Human rights groups believe at least eight terror suspects were held at a Polish prison codenamed 'Blue', including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (pictured) - the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2867879/CIA-paid-Poland-ease-qualms-secret-prison-Senate-report.html#ixzz3Ld2NvmiF Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Detainee: Human rights groups believe at least eight terror suspects were held at a Polish prison codenamed ‘Blue’, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (pictured) – the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks

Global: At its height, the CIA program included secret prisons in countries including Poland, Afghanistan, Thailand, Romania and Lithuania - locations that are referred to only by color-themed codes in the report

Global: At its height, the CIA program included secret prisons in countries including Poland, Afghanistan, Thailand, Romania and Lithuania – locations that are referred to only by color-themed codes in the report

According to a ruling by the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights  the CIA operated a facility near the village of Stare Kiejkuty in north east Poland.

It is one of a network of sites around the world where Al Qaeda suspects were held and subjected to interrogation techniques that human rights groups say amounted to torture.

The CIA torture report, which was published yesterday by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, described how seriously the rendition programme strained relations with Poland – a North Atlantic Treaty Organization member and one of Washington’s staunchest European allies.

People close to the Polish authorities at the time say Poland felt an obligation to protect its relationship with Washington, even as it knew hosting the facility was open to legal challenge.

‘The agreement to host a CIA detention facility in Country created multiple, ongoing difficulties between Country and the CIA,’ the report said. All direct mentions of the name of the country were blacked out, but other details matched those already known to relate to the East European country.

Divisions: Polish officials were also said to be disappointed not to have been given more warning of the 2006 acknowledgement of the detention programme by then U.S. President George W Bush (left)

Divisions: Polish officials were also said to be disappointed not to have been given more warning of the 2006 acknowledgement of the detention programme by then U.S. President George W Bush (left)

The CIA torture report said the Poland proposed drawing up a written memorandum of understanding defining the CIA’s roles and responsibilities at the facility, but the agency refused.

Poland’s government allegedly then refused to accept the planned transfer of new detainees, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

The torture report claims that decision was only reversed after the U.S. ambassador to Poland intervened on the CIA’s behalf. The following month, the CIA allegedly provided several million dollars to the country. The exact figure was deliberately blacked out on the document.

The report did not name the representative who intervened, although the American ambassador to Poland at the time was Christopher Hill. A woman who answered the telephone in his office at the University of Denver, where he now works, said he was not immediately reachable.

After the money changed hands, officials speaking for the country’s political leadership indicated Poland ‘was now flexible with regard to the number of CIA detainees at the facility and when the facility would eventually be closed,’according to the report.

Years later, Polish officials became ‘extremely upset’ when details of the detention programme began to emerge from U.S. government sources, the report claimed. The officials were also said to be disappointed not to have been warned of George Bush’s admission of the programme in 2006.

Controversy: Chained detainees are seen arriving at Camp X-Ray on Guantanamo Bay ahead of interrogation about their suspected involvement with terrorist groups including Al Qaeda or the Taliban

Controversy: Chained detainees are seen arriving at Camp X-Ray on Guantanamo Bay ahead of interrogation about their suspected involvement with terrorist groups including Al Qaeda or the Taliban

Adam Bodnar, vice-president of the Warsaw-based Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, said of the Polish authorities at the time: ‘They betrayed the Polish constitution for money, to a great extent, and all the values that are associated with the Polish constitution.’

The Polish constitution states that no one can be subjected to torture, or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment.

Bodnar said the diplomatic tensions outlined in the report explains why Obama telephoned the Polish Prime Minister on the eve of the report’s publication.

The two leaders ‘expressed hope that the publication of this report will not have a negative effect on Polish-U.S. relations,’ according to a statement from the Polish prime minister’s office.

Senior U.S. administration officials confirmed the subject of the Senate report came up during Obama’s call with Kopacz.

 

More Details: Rectal rehydration and waterboarding: the CIA torture report’s grisliest findings

Parts of the CIA interrogation programme were known, but the catalogue of abuse is nightmarish, especially knowing much more will never be revealed     CIA’s brutal and ineffective use of torture revealed in landmark report     Trevor Timm: America tortured more than ‘some folks’ – and covered it up

Parts of the CIA interrogation programme were known, but the catalogue of abuse is nightmarish, especially knowing much more will never be revealed
CIA’s brutal and ineffective use of torture revealed in landmark report
Trevor Timm: America tortured more than ‘some folks’ – and covered it up

Detainees were forced to stand on broken limbs for hours, kept in complete darkness, deprived of sleep for up to 180 hours, sometimes standing. Photograph: Bob Strong/Reuters

The full horror of the CIA interrogation and detention programmes launched in the wake of the September 11 terror attack was laid bare in the long-awaited Senate report released on Tuesday.

While parts of the programme had been known – and much more will never be revealed – the catalogue of abuse is nightmarish and reads like something invented by the Marquis de Sade or Hieronymous Bosch.

Detainees were forced to stand on broken limbs for hours, kept in complete darkness, deprived of sleep for up to 180 hours, sometimes standing, sometimes with their arms shackled above their heads.

Prisoners were subjected to “rectal feeding” without medical necessity. Rectal exams were conducted with “excessive force”. The report highlights one prisoner later diagnosed with anal fissures, chronic hemorrhoids and “symptomatic rectal prolapse”.

The report mentions mock executions, Russian roulette. US agents threatened to slit the throat of a detainee’s mother, sexually abuse another and threatened prisoners’ children. One prisoner died of hypothermia brought on in part by being forced to sit on a bare concrete floor without pants.

The dungeon

The CIA began the establishment of a specialised detention centre, codenamed DETENTION SITE COBALT, in April 2002. Although its location is not identified in the report it has been widely identified as being in Afghanistan. Conditions at the site were described in the report as poor “and were especially bleak early in the program”.

The CIA chief of interrogations described COBALT as “a dungeon”. There were 20 cells, with blacked-out windows. Detainees were “kept in complete darkness and constantly shackled in isolated cells with loud music and only a bucket to use for human waste”. It was cold, something the report says likely contributed to the death of a detainee.

Prisoners were walked around naked or were shackled with their hands above their heads for extended periods of time. About five CIA officers would engage in what is described as a “rough takedown”. A detainee would be shouted at, have his clothes cut off, be secured with tape, hooded and dragged up and down a long corridor while being slapped and punched.

A CIA photograph shows a waterboard at the site, surrounded by buckets and a bottle of an unknown pink solution and a watering can resting on the beams of the waterboard. The CIA failed to provide a detailed explanation of the items in the photograph.

Frozen to death – Gul Rahman

Gul Rahman died in the early hours of 20 November 2002, after being shackled to a cold concrete wall in a secret CIA prison.

Photograph AP

Gul Rahman

Photograph: AP

At COBALT, the CIA interrogated in 2002 Gul Rahman, described as a suspected Islamic extremist. He was subjected to “48 hours of sleep deprivation, auditory overload, total darkness, isolation, a cold shower and rough treatment”.

CIA headquarters suggested “enhanced measures” might be needed to get him to comply. A CIA officer at COBALT ordered Rahman be “shackled to the wall of his cell in a position that required the detainee to rest on the bare concrete floor”.

He was only wearing a sweatshirt as a CIA officer has ordered his clothes to be removed earlier after judging him to be uncooperative during an interrogation.

The next day, guards found Rahman dead. An internal CIA review and autopsy assessed he likely died from hypothermia – “in part from having been forced to sit on the bare concrete floor without pants”. An initial CIA review and cable sent to CIA headquarters after his death included a number of misstatements and omissions.
Shackled to the wall

The CIA in the first half of 2003 interrogated four detainees described as having “medical complications in their lower extremities”: two had a broken foot, one had a sprained ankle and one a prosthetic leg.

CIA officers shackled each of them in a standing position for sleep deprivation for extended periods until medical staff assessed they could no longer maintain that position.

“The two detainees that each had a broken foot were also subjected to walling, stress positions and cramped confinement, despite the note in their interrogation plans that these specific enhanced interrogation techniques were not requested because of the medical condition of the detainees,” the report says.
‘Rectal feeding’

CIA operatives subjected at least five detainees to what they called “rectal rehydration and feeding”.

One CIA cable released in the report reveals that detainee Majid Khan was administered by enema his “‘lunch tray’ consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts and raisins was ‘pureed and rectally infused’”. One CIA officer’s email was in the report quoted as saying “we used the largest Ewal [sic] tube we had”.

Rectal feeding is of limited application in actually keeping a person alive or administering nutrients, since the colon and rectum cannot absorb much besides salt, glucose and a few minerals and vitamins. The CIA administered rectal rehydration to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed “without a determination of medical need” and justified “rectal fluid resuscitation” of Abu Zubaydah because he “partially refus[ed] liquids”. Al-Nashiri was given an enema after a brief hunger strike.

Risks of rectal feeding and rehydration include damage to the rectum and colon, triggering bowels to empty, food rotting inside the recipient’s digestive tract, and an inflamed or prolapsed rectum from carless insertion of the feeding tube. The report found that CIA leadership was notified that rectal exams may have been conducted with “Excessive force”, and that one of the detainees, Mustafa al-Hawsawi, suffered from an anal fissure, chronic hemorrhoids and symptomatic rectal prolapse.

The CIA’s chief of interrogations characterized rectal rehydration as a method of “total control” over detainees, and an unnamed person said the procedure helped to “clear a person’s head”.

Waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah and KSM

The report suggests Abu Zubaydah was a broken man after his extensive interrogations. In CIA documents he is described as having become so compliant that “when the interrogator raised his eyebrows” he would walk to the “water table” and sit down. The interrogator only had to snap his fingers twice for Abu Zabaydah to lie down, ready for water-boarding, the report says.

“At times Abu Zubaydah was described as ‘hysterical’ and ‘distressed to the level that he was unable effectively to communicate’. Waterboarding sessions ‘resulted in immediate fluid intake and involuntary leg, chest and arm spasms’ and ‘hysterical pleas’. In at least one waterboarding session, Abu Zubaydah ‘became completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth’ … Abu Zubaydah remained unresponsive until medical intervention, when he regained consciousness and ‘expelled copious amounts of liquid’.”

The CIA doctor overseeing the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said that the prisoner was ingesting so much water that he or she was no longer concerned that regurgitated gastric acid was likely to damage his oesophagus. But, the doctor warned, the CIA should start using saline, because his electrolytes were becoming too diluted.

The forgotten man chained to a wall

One CIA interrogator at COBALT reported that “‘literally, a detainee could go for days or weeks without anyone looking at him’, and that his team found one detainee who ‘as far as we could determine’, had been chained to a wall in a standing position for 17 days’.’ Some prisoners were said to be like dogs in kennels: “When the doors to their cells were pened, ‘they cowered.’”

In April 2006, during a CIA briefing, President George W Bush, expressed discomfort at the “image of a detainee, chained to the ceiling, clothed in a diaper, and forced to go to the bathroom on himself”. This man is thought to be Ridha al-Najjar, who was forced to spend 22 hours each day with one or both wrists chained to an overhead bar, for two consecutive days, while wearing a diaper. His incarceration was concealed from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation involved keeping detainees awake for up to 180 hours, usually standing or in stress positions, at times with their hands shackled above their heads. At least five detainees experienced disturbing hallucinations during prolonged sleep deprivation and, in at least two of those cases, the CIA nonetheless continued the sleep deprivation.” One of the prisoners forced to say awake for seven-and-a-half days was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Most of this time he was forced to stand. The report says that former CIS director Michael Hayden was aware that Mohammed had been deprived of sleep for this period.

 At the direction of the White House, the secretaries of state and defence – both principals on the National Security Council – were not briefed on the programme’s specifics until September 2003 Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

At the direction of the White House, the secretaries of state and defence – both principals on the National Security Council – were not briefed on the programme’s specifics until September 2003 Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

CIA lied to officials

The White House, National Security Council (NSC) and others were given “extensive amounts of inaccurate and incomplete information” related to the operation and effectiveness of the CIA’s detention and interrogation programme. No CIA officer briefed the president on the specific CIA enhanced interrogation techniques before April 2006. The CIA did not inform two secretaries of state of the locations of CIA detention facilities, despite the foreign policy implications and the fact that the political leaders of host countries were generally informed of their existence. FBI director Robert Mueller was denied access to CIA detainees that the FBI believed was necessary to understand domestic threats.
The White House kept key members of its team in the dark

At the direction of the White House, the secretaries of state and defence – both principals on the National Security Council – were not briefed on the programme’s specifics until September 2003. An internal CIA email from July 2003 noted that the White House was “extremely concerned” that secretary of state Colin Powell “would blow his stack if he were to be briefed on what’s been going on.”
Wrongfully detained

Among its findings, the report says that: “The CIA did not conduct a comprehensive or accurate accounting of the number of individuals it detained, and held individuals who did not meet its own legal standard for detention.”

The CIA acknowledged to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) in February 2006 that it had wrongly detained five individuals throughout the course of its detention programme. The report’s review of CIA records indicates that at least 21 additional individuals, or a total of 26 of the 119 (22%), of detainees identified did not meet the CIA’s standard for detention.

The report calls the number “a conservative calculation” and notes it does not include “individuals about whom there was internal disagreement within the CIA over whether the detainee met the standard or not, or the numerous detainees who, following their detention and interrogation, were found not to ‘pose a continuing threat of violence or death to US persons and interests’ or to be ‘planning terrorist activities’.

With one exception, the reports says there are no CIA records that indicate that anyone was held accountable for “the detention of individuals the CIA itself determined were wrongfully detained.”
CIA misled the press

The CIA gave inaccurate information to journalists in background briefings to mislead the public about the efficacy of its interrogation programme, the report reveals.

“In seeking to shape press reporting … CIA officers and the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA) provided unattributed background information on the program to journalists for books, articles and broadcasts, including when the existence of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program was still classified,” the report said.

It also added that when this still-classified information was published, the CIA did not, as a matter of policy, submit crime reports – highlighting a gulf between officially sanctioned leaks and non-sanctioned whistleblowing, the latter of which is often heavily prosecuted.

The report refers to Ronald Kessler’s book The CIA At War. An unidentified party at the CIA – the name and office is redacted – decided not to open an investigation into the publication of classified information by Kiessler “because ‘OPA provided assistance with the book.’”

An article by Douglas Jehl in the New York Times also contained “significant classified information,” which was also not investigated because it was based on information provided by the CIA.

Both the book and the article, the report continues, contained inaccurate information about the effectiveness of CIA interrogation programs, and untrue accounts of interrogations.

Many of the inaccuracies the CIA fed to journalists, the report says, were consistent with inaccurate information being provided by the agency to policymakers at the time.

This article was amended on 10 December 2014. Colin Powell was secretary of state in the Bush administration, not defence secretary as an earlier version said.

The Most Gruesome Moments in the CIA ‘Torture Report’

Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty

Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty

By Shane Harris – 12.9.14

The CIA’s rendition, interrogation, and detention programs were even more nightmarish than you could imagine.
Interrogations that lasted for days on end. Detainees forced to stand on broken legs, or go 180 hours in a row without sleep. A prison so cold, one suspect essentially froze to death. The Senate Intelligence Committee is finally releasing its review of the CIA’s detention and interrogation programs. And it is brutal.Here are some of the most gruesome moments of detainee abuse from a summary of the report, obtained by The Daily Beast:Well Worn WaterboardsThe CIA has previously said that only three detainees were ever waterboarded: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, and Abd Al Rahim al-Nashiri. But records uncovered by the Senate Intelligence Committee suggest there may have been more than three subjects. The Senate report describes a photograph of a “well worn” waterboard, surrounded by buckets of water, at a detention site where the CIA has claimed it never subjected a detainee to this procedure. In a meeting with the CIA in 2013, the agency was not able to explain the presence of this waterboard.

Near Drowning

Contrary to CIA’s description to the Department of Justice, the Senate report says that the waterboarding was physically harmful, leading to convulsions and vomiting. During one session, detainee Abu Zubaydah became “completely unresponsive with bubbles rising through his open full mouth.” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded at least 183 times, which the Senate report describes as escalating into a “series of near drownings.”

The Dungeon-Like Salt Pit 

Opened in Sept. 2002, this “poorly managed” detention facility was the second site opened by the CIA after the 9/11 attacks. The Senate report refers to it by the pseudonym Cobalt, but details of what happened there indicate that it’s a notorious “black site” in Afghanistan known as the Salt Pit. Although the facility kept few formal records, the committee concluded that untrained CIA operatives conducted unauthorized, unsupervised interrogation there.

A Senate aide who briefed reporters on the condition that he not be identified said that the Cobalt site was run by a junior officer with no relevant experience, and that this person had “issues” in his background that should have disqualified him from working for the CIA at all. The aide didn’t specify what those issues were, but suggested that the CIA should have flagged them. The committee found that some employees at the site lacked proper training and had “histories of violence and mistreatment of others.”

Standing on Broken Legs

In November 2002, a detainee who had been held partially nude and chained to the floor died, apparently from hypothermia. This case appears similar to the that of Gul Rahman, who died of similarly explained causes at an Afghan site known as the “Salt Pit,” also in November 2002. The site was also called “The Dark Prison” by former captives.

The aide said that the Cobalt site was was dark, like a dungeon, and that experts who visited the site said they’d never seen an American prison where people were kept in such conditions. The facility was so dark in some places that guard had to wear head lamps, while other rooms were flooded with bright lights and white noise to disorient detainees.

At the Cobalt facility, the CIA also forced some detainees who had broken feet or legs to stand in stress-inducing positions, despite having earlier pledged that they wouldn’t subject those wounded individuals to treatment that might exacerbate their injuries.

Non-stop Interrogation

Starting with Abu Zubaydah, and following with other detainees, the CIA deployed the harshest techniques from the beginning without trying to first elicit information in an “open, non-threatening manner,” the committee found. The torture continued nearly non-stop, for days or weeks at a time.

The CIA instructed personnel at the site that the interrogation of Zubaydah, who’d been shot during his capture, should take “precedence over his medical care,” the committee found, leading to an infection in a bullet wound incurred during his capture. Zubaydah lost his left eye while in custody. The CIA’s instructions also ran contrary to how it told the Justice Department the prisoner would be treated.

Forced Rectal Feeding and Worse

The CIA forced some detainees who had broken feet or legs to stand in stress-inducing positions, despite having earlier pledged that they wouldn’t subject those wounded individuals to treatment that might exacerbate their injuries.

At least five detainees were subjected to “rectal feeding” or “rectal hydration,” without any documented medical need. “While IV infusion is safe and effective,” one officer wrote, rectal hydration could be used as a form of behavior control.

Others were deprived of sleep, which could involve staying awake for as long as 180 hours—sometimes standing, sometimes with their hands shackled above their heads.

Some detainees were forced to walk around naked, or shackled with their hands above their heads. In other instances, naked detainees were hooded and dragged up and down corridors while subject to physical abuse.

At one facility, detainees were kept in total darkness and shackled in cells with loud noise or music, and only a bucket to use for waste.

Lost Detainees

While the CIA has said publicly that it held about 100 detainees, the committee found that at least 119 people were in the agency’s custody.

“The fact is they lost track and they didn’t really know who they were holding,” the Senate aide said, noting that investigators found emails in which CIA personnel were “surprised” to find some people in their custody. The CIA also determined that at least 26 of its detainees were wrongfully held. Due to the agency’s poor record-keeping, it may never be known precisely how many detainees were held, and how they were treated in custody, the committee found.

No Blockbuster Intelligence

The report will conclude that the CIA’s interrogation techniques never yielded any intelligence about imminent terrorist attacks. Investigators didn’t conclude that no information came from the program at all. Rather, the committee rejects the CIA’s contention that information came from the program that couldn’t have been obtained through other means.

“When you put detainees through these [torture sessions] they will say whatever they can say to get the interrogations to stop,” the Senate aide said.

The Senate Intelligence Committee reviewed 20 cited examples of intelligence “successes” that the CIA identified from the interrogation program and found that there was no relationship between a cited counterterrorism success and the techniques used. Furthermore, the information gleaned during torture sessions merely corroborated information already available to the intelligence community from other sources, including reports, communications intercepts, and information from law-enforcement agencies, the committee found. The CIA had told policymakers and the Department of Justice that the information from torture was unique or “otherwise unavailable.” Such information comes from the “kind of good national-security tradecraft that we rely on to stop terrorist plots at all times,” the Senate aide said.

In developing the enhanced interrogation techniques, the report said, the CIA failed to review the historical use of coercive interrogations. The resulting techniques were described as “discredited coercive interrogation techniques such as those used by torturous regimes during the Cold War to elicit false confessions,” according to the committee. The CIA acknowledged that it never properly reviewed the effectiveness of these techniques, despite the urging of the CIA inspector general, congressional leadership, and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.

Contractors and Shrinks

The CIA relied on two outside contractors who were psychologists with experience at the Air Force’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape school to help develop, run, and assess the interrogation program. Neither had experience as an interrogator, nor any specialized knowledge of al Qaeda, counterterrorism, or relevant linguistic expertise, the committee found. In 2005, these two psychologists formed a company, and following this the CIA outsourced virtually all aspects of the interrogation program to them. The company was paid more than $80 million by the CIA.

Lies to the President

An internal report by the CIA, known as the Panetta Review, found that there were numerous inaccuracies in the way the agency represented the effectiveness of interrogation techniques—and that the CIA misled the president about this. The CIA’s records also contradict the evidence the agency provided of some “thwarted” terrorist attacks and the capture of suspects, which the CIA linked to the use of these enhanced techniques. The Senate’s report also concludes that there were cases in which White House questions were not answered truthfully or completely.

Cover-Ups

In the early days of the program, CIA officials briefed the leadership of the House Intelligence Committee. Few records of that session remain, but Senate investigators found a draft summary of the meeting, written by a CIA lawyers, that notes lawmakers “questioned the legality of these techniques.” But the lawyer deleted that line from the final version of the summary. The Senate investigators found that Jose Rodriguez, once the CIA’s top spy and a fierce defender of the interrogation program, made a note on the draft approving of the deletion: “Short and sweet,” Rodriguez wrote of the newly revised summary that failed to mention lawmakers’ concerns about the legality of the program.

Threats to Mothers

CIA officers threatened to harm detainees’ children, sexually abuse their mothers, and “cut [a detainee’s] mother’s throat.” In addition, several detainees were led to believe they would die in custody, with one told he would leave in a coffin-shaped box.

Detainees wouldn’t see their day in court because “we can never let the world know what I have done to you,” one interrogator said.

Sexual Assault by Interrogators 

Officers in the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program included individuals who the committee said, “among other things, had engaged in inappropriate detainee interrogations, had workplace anger management issues, and had reportedly admitted to sexual assault.”

[ And the worst has yet to be revealed ]