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ACLU settles torture case with CIA-contracted psychologists

RT | August 17, 2017

The ACLU has declared a “historic victory” following the settlement of its lawsuit against two CIA-contracted psychologists involved in torturing suspects and developing the agency’s ‘enhanced interrogation program.’ The terms are confidential.

CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou told RT that while the settlement is historic, he is disappointed on three fronts.

American Civil Liberties Union attorneys, acting on behalf of three plaintiffs who claimed they were tortured, said it’s the first time the CIA, or its private contractors, had been held accountable for torturing suspects.

“This outcome show that there are consequences for torture and that survivors can and will hold those responsible for torture accountable,” Dror Ladin, an ACLU attorney said, according to AP.

“It is a clear warning for anything who thinks they can torture with impunity.”

Kiriakou, a former CIA counter-terrorism officer who blew the whistle on the torture program in 2007, noted the historic victory “because nothing like this has ever happened before,” but added, “I am disappointed with a settlement.”

He said the American people will never know the details of what would have been released had the case gone to trial.

“Documents would have certainly been de-classified, there would have been a number of people testifying in open court, and so we I think we will probably never know the real details of the CIA torture program. That’s a disappointment,” he told RT.

Another disappointment is over the the sealed terms of agreement.

“I am happy for the victims and the families of the victims of CIA torture, but I wish that we were able to say definitively that the final terms were enough of a deterrent to stop the CIA from possibly doing this again,” Kiriakou said.

Kiriakou said his third disappointment was over the two psychologists –James Mitchell and John Jessen – being indemnified at the time they signed their contract with the CIA.

“So not one cent from this entire ordeal comes out of Mitchell and Jessen’s pockets, leaving taxpayers footing this bill for this lawsuit, and that is very sad,” Kiriakou added. “Especially as they made $81 million and they pay none of it to their own victims.”

Kiriakou said he wished the case had gone to trial but was nevertheless surprised it had gone as far it did. A trial date was set for September 5 in federal court in Spokane, Washington. He said the CIA had ample opportunity to invoke ‘national security’ and ask for a dismissal but they elected not to do that.

“That order would have to have come from the White House, the Obama White House. When Donald Trump became president, he did not invoke ‘national security’ either, so it seems the CIA made an internal decision to just to get this thing behind them and be done with it,” said Kiriakou.

“And I think they were able to convince the Obama administration and the Trump administration that it was the right thing to do.”

The ACLU filed the suit in 2015 on behalf of Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud and the family of Gul Rahman under the Alien Tort Statute, which allows for federal lawsuits for gross human rights violations. Rahman froze to death in a secret CIA prison.

The two men and Rahman’s family claimed the trio were tortured and experimented on using methods developed by the CIA-contracted psychologists, Mitchell and Jessen, following the terror attacks of 9/11.

During the interrogations, the plaintiffs claimed they were subject to waterboarding, slammed into walls, stuffed inside coffin-like boxes, exposed to extreme temperatures, starved, and kept awake for days, the ACLU argued.

James Smith, the lead attorney for the psychologists said his clients were public servants whose interrogation of suspected terrorists was authorized by the government.

“The facts would have borne out that while the plaintiffs suffered mistreatment by some of their captors, none of that mistreatment was conducted, condoned or caused by Drs. Mitchell and Jessen,” Smith stated, according to AP.

AP reported that as the two psychologists worked as government contractors, their legal bills will be covered by US taxpayer money.

The Justice Department got involved in the case to represent the government’s interest in keeping classified information secret but did not try to block the lawsuit.

As part of the settlement agreement, both sides agreed to release a joint statement in which Doctors Mitchell and Jessen acknowledged they worked with the CIA “to develop a program for the CIA that contemplated the use of specific coercive methods to interrogate certain detainees.”

The parties acknowledged that Rahman “was subjected to abuses in the CIA program that resulted in his death” and plaintiffs Suleiman Abdullah Salim and Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud were “also subjected to coercive methods in the CIA program, which resulted in pain and suffering.”

The ACLU said it had based its legal claims on the declassified facts in the executive summary of the Senate report on CIA torture. The ACLU claimed that in addition to torturing prisoners themselves, Mitchell and Jessen trained other CIA personnel in their methods. The pair founded a company in 2005 that the CIA contracted to run its entire torture program, including supplying interrogators for the agency’s secret “black site” prisons. The government paid the company $81 million over several years.

A US Senate investigation in 2014 found that the techniques developed by the two psychologists produced no useful intelligence. President Obama terminated the contract in 2009.

August 17, 2017 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 2 Comments

Still Spinning On Libya

By James W. Carden | Consortium News | August 17, 2017

In recent weeks, the Washington Post’s Cairo bureau chief Sudarsan Raghavan has published a series of remarkable dispatches from war-torn Libya, which is still reeling from the aftermath of NATO’s March 2011 intervention and the subsequent overthrow and murder of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

On July 2, Raghavan reported on what amounts to Libya’s modern-day slave trade. According to his report, Libya is “now home to a thriving trade in humans. Unable to pay exorbitant smuggling fees or swindled by traffickers, some of the world’s most desperate people are being held as slaves, tortured or forced into prostitution.”

The numbers help tell the tale. “The number of migrants departing from Libya is surging,” writes Raghavan, “with more than 70,000 arriving in Italy so far this year, a 28 percent increase over the same period last year.”

On August 1, Raghavan returned to the pages of the Post with a disturbing portrait of life in Tripoli, reporting that: “Six years after the revolution that toppled dictator Moammar Gaddafi, the mood in this volatile capital is a meld of hopelessness and gloom. Diplomatic and military efforts by the United States and its allies have failed to stabilize the nation; the denouement of the crisis remains far from clear. Most Libyans sense that the worst is yet to come.”

Raghavan notes that “Under Gaddafi, the oil-producing country was once one of the world’s wealthiest nations.” Under his rule, “Libyans enjoyed free health care, education and other benefits under the eccentric strongman’s brand of socialism.” It would be difficult not to see, Raghavan writes, “the insecurity that followed Gaddafi’s death has ripped apart the North African country.”

Taken together, Raghavan’s reports should come as a rude shock to stalwart supporters of NATO’s intervention in Libya. Yet the embarrassing fervor with which many embraced the intervention remains largely undiminished – with, as we will see, one notable exception.

An Upside-Down Meritocracy

Anne Marie Slaughter, who served as policy planning chief at the State Department under Hillary Clinton, emailed her former boss after the start of the NATO operation, to say: “I cannot imagine how exhausted you must be after this week, but I have never been prouder of having worked for you.”

Five months after the start of NATO operation against Gaddafi, Slaughter went public with her approval in an op-ed for the Financial Times titled “Why Libya Skeptics Were Proved Badly Wrong.” Proving, if nothing else, that the foreign policy establishment is a reverse meritocracy, Slaughter holds an endowed chair at Princeton and is also the well-compensated president of the influential Washington think tank New America.

President Obama’s decision to intervene received wide bipartisan support in the Congress and from media figures across the political spectrum, including Bill O’Reilly and Cenk Uyghur.

Yet the casus belli used to justify the intervention, as a U.K. parliamentary report made clear last September, was based on a lie: that the people of the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi were in imminent danger of being slaughtered by Gaddafi’s forces.

The report, issued by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, states that “Despite his rhetoric, the proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence.”

The report also noted that while “Many Western policymakers genuinely believed that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered his troops to massacre civilians in Benghazi … this did not necessarily translate into a threat to everyone in Benghazi. In short, the scale of the threat to civilians was presented with unjustified certainty. US intelligence officials reportedly described the intervention as ‘an intelligence-light decision.’”

Even as it became clear that the revolution had proved to be a disaster for the country, the arbiters of acceptable opinion in Washington continued to insist that NATO’s intervention was not only a success, but the right thing to do. It is a myth that has gained wide purchase among D.C.’s foreign policy cognoscenti, despite the judgment of former President Barack Obama, who famously described the intervention as “a shit show.”

Still Spinning

A full year after the commencement of NATO’s campaign against Gaddafi, former NATO Ambassador Ivo Daalder and NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stravidis took to the pages of that reliable bellwether of establishment opinion, Foreign Affairs, to declare that “NATO’s operation in Libya has rightly been hailed as a model intervention.”

According to Daalder and Stravidis, “the alliance responded rapidly to a deteriorating situation that threatened hundreds of thousands of civilians rebelling against an oppressive regime.”

In 2016, a Clinton campaign press release justifying the ill-starred intervention, claimed “Qadhafi and his regime made perfectly clear what their plans were for dealing with those who stood up against his reign, using disgusting language in urging his backers to cleanse the country of these rebels. This was a humanitarian crisis.”

Astonishingly, the campaign “Factsheet” goes on to assert that, “there was no doubt that further atrocities were on the way, as Qadhafi’s forces storming towards the county’s second biggest city.” Yet there is, as both the U.K. parliamentary report and a Harvard study by Alan J. Kuperman found, no evidence for this whatsoever.

“Qaddafi did not perpetrate a ‘bloodbath’ in any of the cities that his forces recaptured from rebels prior to NATO intervention — including Ajdabiya, Bani Walid, Brega, Ras Lanuf, Zawiya, and much of Misurata — so there was,” writes Kuperman, “virtually no risk of such an outcome if he had been permitted to recapture the last rebel stronghold of Benghazi.”

Nevertheless, the myth persists. Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Shadi Hamid, the author of Islamic Exceptionalismcontinues to insist, against all evidence, that the intervention was a success.

“The Libya intervention was successful,” says Hamid, “The country is better off today than it would have been had the international community allowed dictator Muammar Qaddafi to continue his rampage across the country.”

In this, Hamid is hardly alone. Left-activists in thrall to a Trotskyite vision of permanent revolution also continue to make the case that NATO’s intervention was a net positive for the country.

In a recent interview with In These Times, Leila Al-Shami claimed that “If Gaddafi had not fallen, Libya now would look very much like Syria. In reality, the situation in Libya is a million times better. Syrian refugees are fleeing to Libya. Far fewer people have been killed in Libya since Gaddafi’s falling than in Syria. Gaddafi being ousted was a success for the Libyan people.” … Full article

August 17, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

America refuses to pause military drills in South Korea

By Adam Garrie | The Duran | August 17, 2017

A day after Donald Trump praised North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un for his “wise and well-reasoned” response to the current crisis, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, has said something that is both unwise and unreasonable.

While in Beijing working on establishing a communications hotline with China in order to avoid future conflicts, Dunford said something which demonstrates that the United States is continuing to ignore China and Russia’s joint request to cease all military drills and missile tests in and around South Korea.

When asked if the US still intends to go through with its scheduled drill in South Korea, Dunford stated, “My advice to our leadership is that we not dial back our exercises. The exercises are very important to maintaining the ability of the alliance to defend itself. As long as the threat in North Korea exists, we need to maintain a high state of readiness to respond to that threat”.

This patently uncooperative statement came hours after the Chinese Foreign Ministry issued the following statement, “China believes that dialogue and consultations are the only effective avenue to resolve the peninsula issue, and that military means cannot become an option”.

The US will doubtlessly always be on alert in the region and so too will North Korea always be prepared to defend itself against the kind of US aggression that destroyed the country during the Korean War between 1950 and 1953.

However, Dunford’s remarks demonstrate that the US still has both of its proverbial feet firmly on a military footing, although for the sake of cooperation, every one ought to be walking towards diplomatic engagement. Until Washington and Pyongyang speak directly as China and Russia have been imploring them both to do, the conflict will remain in a tense, however frozen state.

August 17, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Israeli army restrict international access to Kafr Qaddum during confrontation

International Solidarity Movement | August 17, 2017

Kafr Qaddum, occupied Palestine – Israeli occupation forces blocked international access to Kafr Qaddum on Saturday, before apparently attacking Palestinian demonstrators for the second time in two days.

Israeli force searching Palestinian cars

The Israeli military set up a road block at the entrance to the village, which has seen weekly demonstrations for several years, searching cars and checking IDs. Internationals who attempted to enter were detained for three hours with their passports confiscated. No reason was given for their detention, other than that the village was ‘dangerous’.

Israeli forces inspecting Palestinian cars

Kafr Qaddum, a small town in the Nablus area, has seen biweekly demonstrations for 6 years, since Israel blocked off their main access to Nablus in order to facilitate settler travel. The roadblock has doubled the length of journeys into Nablus, including for ambulances which are forced to take a 13km detour.

August 17, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 1 Comment

Korea and Venezuela: Flip Sides of the Same Coin

By Jacob G. Hornberger | Future of Freedom Foundation | August 14, 2017

By suggesting that he might order a U.S. regime-change invasion of Venezuela, President Trump has inadvertently shown why North Korea has been desperately trying to develop nuclear weapons — to serve as a deterrent or defense against one of the U.S. national-security state storied regime-change operations. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Venezuela and, for that matter, other Third World countries who stand up to the U.S. Empire, also seeking to put their hands on nuclear weapons. What better way to deter a U.S. regime-change operation against them?

Think back to the Cuban Missile Crisis. The U.S. national-security establishment had initiated a military invasion of the Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, had exhorted President Kennedy to bomb Cuba during that invasion, and then had recommended that the president implement a fraudulent pretext (i.e., Operation Northwoods) for a full-scale military invasion of Cuba.

That’s why Cuba, which had never initiated any acts of aggression against the United States, wanted Soviet nuclear missiles installed in Cuba. Cuba’s leader Fidel Castro knew that there was no way that Cuba could defeat the United States in a regular, conventional war. Everyone knows that the military establishment in the United States is so large and so powerful that it can easily smash any Third World nation, including Cuba, North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Venezuela.

Castro’s strategy worked. The Soviet nuclear missiles installed in Cuba drove Kennedy to reject the Pentagon’s and CIA’s vehement exhortations to bomb and invade Cuba. The way the Pentagon and the CIA saw the situation was that Kennedy now had his justification for effecting a violent regime-change operation in Cuba. The way Kennedy saw the situation was that a violent regime-change operation through bombing and invasion could easily result in all-out nuclear war between the United States and Russia.

It turned out that Kennedy was right. What the Pentagon and the CIA didn’t realize at the time is that Soviet commanders on the ground in Cuba had fully armed tactical nuclear weapons at their disposal and the battlefield authority to use them in the event of a U.S. bombing or invasion of the island. If Kennedy had complied with the dictates of the Pentagon and the CIA, it is a virtual certainty that the result would have been all-out nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States. To his ever-lasting credit, Kennedy struck a deal in which he vowed that the United States would cease and desist from invading Cuba in return for the Soviet Union’s withdrawal of its nuclear missiles from Cuba.

The point is this: If the Pentagon and the CIA had not been trying to get regime-change in Cuba, Cuba would never have felt the need to get those Soviet missiles. It was the Pentagon’s and CIA’s commitment to regime change in Cuba that gave us hte the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Equally important, the resolution of the crisis showed that if an independent, recalcitrant Third World regime wants to protect itself from a U.S. national-security-state regime-change operation, the best thing it can do is secure nuclear weapons. Thus, the current crisis over North Korea’s quest to get nuclear weapons to deter a U.S. regime-change operation is rooted in how Cuba deterred the U.S. national security establishment’s regime-change efforts in 1962.

Americans would be wise to regime change operations in North Korea and Venezuela in the context of the U.S. government’s overall foreign policy of military empire and interventionism.

Recall, first of all, that the U.S. government has a long history of interventionism in Latin America, where it has brought nothing but death, destruction, suffering, misery, and tyranny. Nicaragua, Guatemala, Chile, Brazil, Panama, and Grenada come to mind.

In fact, the situation in Chile that resulted in U.S. intervention was quite similar to today’s situation in Venezuela. In Chile, a socialist was democratically elected and began adopting socialist policies, which caused economic chaos and crisis. The CIA and Pentagon intentionally and secretly did everything they could to makes matters worse. U.S. officials even engaged in bribery, kidnapping, and assassination in Chile. They incited and encouraged a coup that succeeded in ousting the democratically elected socialist and replaced by a “pro-capitalist” military general, whose forces proceeded to round up, kidnap, torture, rape, or execute tens of thousands of people, including the murder of two Americans, all with the support and complicity of the Pentagon and the CIA.

Haven’t we seen the same types of results with the U.S. regime-change operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Syria, and elsewhere? Death, destruction, and chaos, not to mention a gigantic refugee crisis for Europe.

And look at what the pro-empire, interventionist system has done to the American people. Constant, never-ending crises and chaos, with North Korea being just the latest example. Out of control federal spending and debt that are threatening the nation with financial bankruptcy and economic and monetary crises. Totalitarian-like powers being exercised by the president and his national-security establishment, including assassination, torture, and indefinite detention. Weird, bizarre random acts of violence that reflect the same lack of regard for the sanctity of human life that U.S. officials display in faraway countries.

None of this is necessary. It’s entirely possible for Americans to live normal, healthy, free lives. All it takes is a change of direction — one away from empire and interventionism and toward a limited-government republic and non-interventionism in the affairs of other nations. That’s the way to achieve a free, prosperous, harmonious, and friendly society.

August 17, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

UN Calls for Syria Peace Talks in Oct./Nov.

Al-Manar | August 17, 2017

The United Nations hopes for “serious negotiation” between the government and a still-to-be-formed unified Syrian “opposition” in October or November this year, the U.N. Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura said on Thursday.

“Regarding the [Syrian] government, we are counting very much on Russia, on Iran, on anyone who has got major influence, and on the government of Syria to be ready finally to initiate when they are invited to Geneva, a genuine, direct negotiation with whatever [opposition] platform comes out,” he told reporters.

De Mistura also said that a letter from Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu in August had paved the way for Russian military police to be staged along the route of a U.N.-Red Cross convoy which reached Douma in eastern Gouta near Damascus on Thursday, the first time since May.

De Mistura added that the aid convoys are being prepared to be sent to Foaa & Kefraya in addition to other towns.

August 17, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Russia throws weight behind Iran’s missile program

Press TV – August 16, 2017

Iran’s defensive missile program is part of its “national interests,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says, asserting that the new US sanctions against the Islamic Republic over its missile activities are “illegitimate” and only harm the nuclear deal between Tehran and the P5+1.

Speaking to reporters in a news conference on Wednesday, Lavrov said Iran’s development of an array of ballistic missiles was not in violation of the UN Security Council’s Resolution 2231, adopted in July 2015 to endorse the landmark nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA.)

“The missile program is Iran’s internal affair. Iran is not prohibited from having it,” Lavrov said. “The UN Security Council’s resolution contains no legal bans on that score.”

‘Illegitimate’ pressure

The top Russian diplomat warned the US against upsetting the balance of the deal in favor of its own interests by resorting to unilateral measures.

Washington has on several occasions slapped new sanctions against Iran over its missile program, most recent of which was on July 28.

“Unilateral sanctions are essentially illegitimate. When these sanctions are used to upset the balance on a certain problem in favor of some party, and such a balance was achieved on the Iranian nuclear program, these are irresponsible moves, which may upset and undermine that balance,” Lavrov said.

“One should not come up with such provocations, since the issue at hand is the interests of a vast region where we would like to secure a non-nuclear status rather than some individual country’s national interests,” he added.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned earlier this week that Tehran’s nuclear program could quickly return to its pre-JCPOA status in case the US continued its hostile attitude.

“I do hope that this will not happen,” Lavrov said. “I also hope that the United States will not violate its commitments to the Joint Plan, either.”

He noted that both the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the administration of US President Donald Trump had time and again confirmed Iran’s compliance to the deal.

Russia against ‘suffocating’ North Korea

Elsewhere, Lavrov weighed in on the aggravating tensions between the US and North Korea and said Russia was not in favor of economic sanctions that were meant to “suffocate” Pyongyang and its people.

“We cannot support the ideas that some of our partners continue to nourish and that are aimed literally at the economic suffocation of North Korea with all the negative, tragic humanitarian consequences for the North Korean citizens,” Lavrov said, noting that the possibilities for economic pressure on North Korea had almost been “exhausted.”

The standoff was intensified earlier this month after Trump threatened Pyongyang with “fire and fury” over its missile program. The North hit back by threatening a missile strike against the US Pacific territory of Guam.

“We are noting that this rhetoric has quieted down recently, and it is probably to be hoped that the hot heads have cooled down,” Lavrov said.

August 17, 2017 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Corruption is Legal in America

Learn more at http://Represent.Us/TheProblem

August 17, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, Video | | 1 Comment