Originally published at the Nation by Katherine Hawkins on 11/7/13
Over four years after President Obama promised to “look forward, not backward” regarding the CIA’s brutal treatment of captives under the Bush administration, the issue has not gone away. The torture debate may fade from the headlines for weeks or months at a time, but it al
ways come back. Last year the trigger was the release of Zero Dark Thirty. A few weeks ago, it was Abu Anas al-Libi’s capture, shipboard interrogation and transfer to the United States for trial. Later this year, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) will vote on whether to begin declassification of its 6,000-page report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects.
Often, debates about torture focuses on whether it leads to high-profile counterterrorism successes: the killing of Osama bin Laden, the capture of high-level suspects like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the disruption of terrorist plots against Los Angeles or London. The public evidence suggests—and according to Democratic senators, the SSCI report will definitively prove—that defenders of “enhanced interrogation” have greatly exaggerated the role that torture played in these events.
In all the debates about whether torture “worked,” though, there is another part of the record that is almost always forgotten: the attacks that torture did not prevent. There are no documented cases of “ticking time bombs” being defused by torture. But there are Al Qaeda plots that were not stopped,… Continue reading
Preface: This is not a partisan post. We have repeatedly documented that Obama is as bad or worse than the Bush administration.
In the run up to the Iraq war – and for several years thereafter – the program of torture carried out by the Bush administration was specifically specifically aimed at establishing a false justification for war. Dick Cheney is the guy who pushed for torture, pressured the Justice Department lawyers to write memos saying torture was legal, and made the pitch to Congress justifying torture. (The former director of the CIA said Cheney oversaw American torture policies).
The type of torture used by the U.S. on the Guantanamo suspects is of a special type. Senator Levin revealed that the the U.S. used Communist torture techniques specifically aimed at creating false confessions (see this, this, this and this).
According to NBC News:
In fact, the 9/11 Commission Report was largely based on third-hand… Continue reading
The pervasive news surrounding the confirmation hearing of John Brennan, Obama’s nominee for CIA director, is paralleled by another, related story that has been largely ignored by the U.S. media. That is the story of the man called Abu Zubaydah, whose alleged torture testimony, obtained by the CIA while Brennan was the head of the agency’s Terrorist Threat Center, built the foundation for the official account of 9/11. This week I spoke to Lee Hamilton, former vice-chairman of the 9/11 Commission, about the serious problems that the government’s new stance on Zubaydah creates for the 9/11 Commission Report.
As stated in my last article on the subject, Zubaydah is at the center of an unraveling of the official account of the 9/11 attacks. His extensive torture at the hands of the CIA during Brennan’s tenure, which included at least 83 water-boarding sessions, hanging the man naked from the ceiling, slamming him against a concrete wall, and other atrocious experimental techniques, was said to produce valuable evidence about al Qaeda. However, the government now claims that Zubaydah was never a member or associate of al Qaeda and therefore he could not have known any of the information that the 9/11 Commission attributed to him.
From the start of our conversation, Hamilton told me that he was having trouble remembering Zubaydah. That was odd considering that an article he and Thomas Kean wrote for the New York Times in 2008, describing how the CIA obstructed the 9/11 investigation, referred several times… Continue reading
Compiled by University of Waterloo 9/11 Research Group
The following articles are peer-reviewed journal papers that address issues surrounding the day of 9/11/2001 from a critical perspective. Academics are encouraged to take an interest in 9/11 research.
March 2012 | Launching the U.S. Terror War: the CIA, 9/11, Afghanistan, and Central Asia
Journal: The Asia-Pacific Journal
Author: Dr. Peter Dale Scott (University of California, Berkeley)
February 2012 | Temporal Considerations in Collapse of WTC Towers
Journal: Int. J. Structural Engineering, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp.189-207
Author: Dr. Gregory Szuladzinski (PhD, Structural Mechanics; FEIA & Member of ASCE)
September 2011 | Conspiracy Theories and Stylized Facts
Journal: Journal for Peace and Justice Studies 21.2 (Fall 2011)
Author: Dr. Kurtis Hagen (SUNY)
June 2011 | Was There Abnormal Trading in the S&P 500 Index Options Prior to the September 11 Attacks?
Journal: Multinational Finance Journal, 2011, vol. 15, no. 1/2, pp. 1-46
Authors: Wing-Keung Wong (Hong Kong Baptist University) and Dr. Howard E. Thompson (University of Wisconsin) et al
May 2011 | Review of David Ray Griffin’s Cognitive Infiltration:
An Obama Appointee’s Plan to Undermine the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory
Journal: Florida Philosophical Review (Volume XI, Issue 1, Summer 2011)
Author: Dr. Kurtis Hagen (SUNY Plattsburgh)
April 2011 | Collapse Time Analysis of Multi-Story Structural Steel Buildings
Journal: The Open Civil Engineering Journal (Bentham Open)
Authors: Dr. Robert Korol (McMaster University) et al
January 2011 | The Response of Cultural Studies… Continue reading
CIA Criminal Revolving Door: CIA Officer “Albert” Involved in False Intelligence Linking Al-Qaeda to Iran, Iraq
by Kevin Fenton
Reprimanded for Torture, Retired, then Back to CIA as a Contractor
A recent book by former FBI agent Ali Soufan shows that the same CIA officer was involved in generating intelligence that falsely linked al-Qaeda to first Iran and then Iraq. The officer was also involved in a notorious torture episode and was reprimanded by the Agency’s inspector general.
The officer, who Soufan refers to as “Fred,” but whose real first name is “Albert” according to a February 2011 Associated Press article, served at the CIA station in Jordan in 1999. During that time, al-Qaeda, aided by a collection of freelance terrorists headed by Abu Zubaidah, attempted to commit a series of attacks in the country, known as the Millennium Plot. However, the attacks were foiled by the local Jordanian intelligence service, working with the CIA and FBI.
During the investigations of the plotters, Albert drafted a series of official cables that were later withdrawn. Although the withdrawing of the cables was first mentioned in a July 2006 article by Lawrence Wright for the New Yorker, Wright did not mention what was in the cables or by whom they were drafted. The content of one of them and the drafter were first revealed upon the publication of Soufan’s book in mid-September 2011.
According to Soufan, one of the twelve withdrawn cables falsely stated that the group of… Continue reading
12 September 2011
A former FBI agent has told the BBC that he is being prevented from telling the truth about the events of 9/11 and what has happened since.
Ali Soufan alleges that crucial intelligence was not passed on from the CIA before the attacks in 2001.
He has written a book detailing some of his claims and has been speaking to the BBC’s Security Correspondent Gordon Corera in his first on camera interview on the subject.
In response to the allegations in this report the CIA issued a statement to the BBC that said: “Any suggestion that the CIA purposely refused to share critical lead information on the 9/11 plots with the FBI is baseless.”
“The suggestion that the Central Intelligence Agency has requested redactions on this publication because it does not like the content is ridiculous.”
The CIA decline to comment on the record about the accusations regarding waterboarding and interrogation.
Unofficial transcript of video, “Former FBI Agent says truth of 9/11 remains hidden” :
Gordon Corera: Stepping out of the shadows, appearing for the first time on camera, Ali Soufan, the former FBI agent with an eyewitness account some people don’t want him to tell.
Ali Soufan: They are trying to stop me and others from telling the world what really happened over there.
Gordon Corera: He believes huge mistakes were made with devastating consequences. Born in Lebanon, Soufan had… Continue reading
By Glenn Greenwald
In August, 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder — under continuous , aggressive prodding by the Obama White House — announced that three categories of individuals responsible for Bush-era torture crimes would be fully immunized from any form of criminal investigation and prosecution: (1) Bush officials who ordered the torture (Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld); (2) Bush lawyers who legally approved it (Yoo, Bybee, Levin), and (3) those in the CIA and the military who tortured within the confines of the permission slips they were given by those officials and lawyers (i.e., “good-faith” torturers). The one exception to this sweeping immunity was that low-level CIA agents and servicemembers who went so far beyond the torture permission slips as to basically commit brutal, unauthorized murder would be subject to a “preliminary review” to determine if a full investigation was warranted — in other words, the Abu Ghraib model of justice was being applied, where only low-ranking scapegoats would be subject to possible punishment while high-level officials would be protected.
Yesterday, it was announced that this “preliminary review” by the prosecutor assigned to conduct it, U.S. Attorney John Durham, is now complete, and — exactly as one would expect — even this category of criminals has been almost entirely protected, meaning a total legal whitewash for the Bush torture regime:
The Justice Department has opened full criminal investigations of the deaths in CIA custody of two detainees , including one who perished at Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison,… Continue reading
Obama professor among 250 experts who have signed letter condemning humiliation of alleged WikiLeaks source
by Ed Pilkington in New York
More than 250 of America’s most eminent legal scholars have signed a letter protesting against the treatment in military prison of the alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, contesting that his “degrading and inhumane conditions” are illegal, unconstitutional and could even amount to torture.
The list of signatories includes Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who is considered to be America’s foremost liberal authority on constitutional law. He taught constitutional law to Barack Obama and was a key backer of his 2008 presidential campaign.
Tribe joined the Obama administration last year as a legal adviser in the justice department, a post he held until three months ago.
He told the Guardian he signed the letter because Manning appeared to have been treated in a way that “is not only shameful but unconstitutional” as he awaits court martial in Quantico marine base in Virginia.
The US soldier has been held in the military brig since last July, charged with multiple counts relating to the leaking of thousands of embassy cables and other secret documents to the WikiLeaks website.
Under the terms of his detention, he is kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, checked every five minutes under a so-called “prevention of injury order” and stripped naked at night apart from a smock.
Tribe said the treatment was objectionable “in the way it violates his person and his liberty… Continue reading
By Ray McGovern
April 6, 2011
The Obama administration’s decision to use a military tribunal rather than a federal criminal court to try alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others means the real motives behind the 9/11 attacks may remain obscure.
The Likud Lobby and their allied U.S. legislators can chalk up a significant victory for substantially shrinking any opportunity for the accused planners of 9/11 to tell their side of the story.
What? I sense some bristling. “Their side of the story?” Indeed! We’ve been told there is no “their side of the story.”
For years, President George W. Bush got away with offering up the risible explanation that they “hate our freedoms.” The stenographers of the White House press corps may have had to suppress smiles but silently swallowed the “they-hate-us-for-our-freedoms” rationale.
The only journalist I can recall stepping up and asking, in effect, “Come on; now really; it’s important; why do the really hate us” was the indomitable Helen Thomas.
In January 2010, just weeks after the “underpants bomber” tried to down an airliner over Detroit, President Barack Obama asked White House counter-terrorism guru, John Brennan, to field questions from the White House press.
Helen Thomas took the opportunity to ask why the would-be bomber did what he did. The exchange with Brennan is, hopefully, more instructive than it is depressing — highlighting a limited mindset still stuck in bromides.
Thomas: “Why do they want to do us harm? And what is the motivation?… Continue reading
February 17, 2010
Contact: press [at] ccrjustice.org
New York — Yesterday evening, the district court in Washington, D.C. ruled against two men who died in Guantánamo in June 2006 and their families in a case seeking to hold federal officials and the United States responsible for the men’s torture, arbitrary detention and ultimate deaths at Guantánamo.
Following a two-year investigation, the military concluded that the men had committed suicide. Recent first-hand accounts by four soldiers stationed at the base at the time of the deaths, however, raise serious questions about the cause and circumstances of the deaths, including the possibility that the men died as the result of torture.
In dismissing the case, the district court ruled that the deceased’s constitutional claims that it was a violation of due process and cruel treatment to detain them for four years without charge while subjecting them to inhumane and degrading conditions of confinement and violent acts of torture and abuse, could not be heard in federal court. The men were held on the basis of an “enemy combatant” finding by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal later found by the Supreme Court itself to be inadequate.
The district court held that the claims were barred by a jurisdiction-stripping provision of the 2006 Military Commissions Act that bars any challenge by a Guantánamo detainee to their treatment, conditions, or any other aspect of their detention, while failing to address the plaintiffs’ arguments about the unconstitutionality of the provision itself. The court also dismissed the deceased’s claims under the Alien Tort Claims Act, following a holding by the D.C.…Continue reading
By Ray McGovern
November 17, 2009
As Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other alleged 9/11 conspirators go to trial, the corporate media’s embargo on the truth about the Bush years will be under great strain.
Media commentary on the upcoming 9/11 trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has raised concern that state secrets may be divulged, including details about how the Bush administration used torture to extract evidence about al-Qaeda.
“I think that we’re going to shine a light on something that a lot of people don’t want to look at” is how American Civil Liberties Union attorney Denney LeBoeuf put it, according to The New York Times on Saturday.
No problem, says Attorney General Eric Holder, who claims to have “great confidence” that other evidence — apart from what may have been gleaned from the 183 times Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, for example — will suffice to convict him.
Maybe so, But what the Fawning Corporate Media (or FCM) have so far neglected is the likelihood that the testimony will be so public that they will have to break their studied silence about why Sheikh Mohammed and his associates say they orchestrated the attacks of 9/11.
For reasons that are painfully obvious, the FCM have done their best to ignore or bury the role that Israel’s repression of the Palestinians has played in motivating the 9/11 attacks and other anti-Western terrorism.
It is not like there is no evidence on this key issue. Rather, it appears that the Israel-Palestine connection is pretty much kept off limits for discussion.…Continue reading
by Kristen Breitweiser,
9/11 widow and activist
November 16, 2009
Even after witnessing the horrors of 9/11 that included me helplessly watching the murder of my husband on live television, I still believe that we are a civilized nation of laws. And like the Nuremberg trials that brought the murderers of millions to justice, now more than ever, Americans need to trust our own judicial system to fully and openly prosecute the mass murderers of 9/11 while the rest of the world bears witness.
Because while the terrorists were successful in bringing down the Twin Towers and hijacking airplanes on 9/11, our Constitution should never be hijacked or brought down as a result of anything–let alone the potential adversity faced in prosecuting modern day monsters like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Indeed, in the fight against Islamist extremism, we should never bow to the terrorists by compromising, manipulating, re-writing or flat-out ignoring the core, bedrock principles of our Constitution that speak to the very heart of who we are as a nation–a democracy.
Yet, quite alarmingly, Republicans seem to be exhibiting just this sort of crisis of confidence in our Constitution’s ability to prosecute these horrible men. Republicans argue that men like KSM are war criminals who can only be convicted in military commissions where they won’t receive the protections of our laws. Republicans seem to lack a certain faith in our Constitution’s ability and adaptability in meting out the demands of modern day justice.
So the once-brazen, chest-thumping Republicans who… Continue reading
By Ray McGovern
August 30, 2009
EXTRA! Read all about it in the Washington Post: Torture
Cheney and torture practitioners vindicated.
It seems coverage of the Bush administration’s “war on terror” has been put back on track by the editors of the Washington Post and their “sources” who are determined to highlight the supposed successes of waterboarding and other forms of torture.
Frankly, I was wondering when this return to form would happen at the Post. I was surprised to see Post journalists recently lose their grip, so to speak, and fall into the practice of reporting real facts — like the sickening revelations in the long-suppressed CIA Inspector General’s report on torture.
Apparently they have now been reminded of the biases of the newspaper’s top brass, forever justifying the hardnosed “realism” of the Bush administration as it approved brutal and perverse methods for stripping the “bad guys” of their clothes, their dignity, their sense of self — all to protect America.
Hooded, threatened with cocked guns and electric drills, deprived of sleep for long periods, beaten, dressed in diapers, forced into painful stress positions, locked in tiny boxes and subjected to the near-drowning of waterboarding, the terrorism suspects were supposed to be terrorized into what the CIA psychologists called “learned helplessness.”
And to read the Washington Post’s account, it all worked, transforming alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed from a “truculent enemy” into what the CIA considered its “preeminent source” on al-Qaeda.
The Post… Continue reading
July 16, 2009
Posted at YouTube.com: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_aTbznZDT0
A brand new, powerful music video from David Ippolito. (That Guitar Man from Central Park) Watch this video. Please leave your own comments. Be heard. Download this song for free at www.thatguitarman.com. But… PASS THIS VIDEO ON TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW! (You and me… let’s make it “cool to care” again.)
Enver Masud: 9/11, Waterboarding, a Confession and the Iraq War
Enver Masud was one of the speakers at a “Demand Accountability for Torture” rally, on June 25, 2009, in John Marshall Park, in Washington, D.C. He questioned how Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was” waterboarded 183 times by the CIA,” and then confessed to being the “mastermind of 9/11,” can get a “fair trial”in this country. Mr. Masud connected the dots between 9/11, the waterboarding of a detainee, a so-called “confession,” and the Iraq War. Mr. Masud is the founder and CEO of “The Wisdom Fund” and the author of “The War on Islam.” See, http://twf.org/ For more on waterboarding, go to:
“Waterboarding: The Psychological Damage is Indescribable,” http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news… and http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news… Closer to home, U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (IND-CT) has condoned waterboarding. Check out: http://thinkprogress.org/2009/04/22/l… For background on the rally, see: http://tortureaccountability.webs.com/ and http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/ For a brief overview of the Law concerning the subject matter of Torture, go to: http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/us_law/detainees/prohibits_torture.htm
June 25, 2009
The highest officials in our government have trampled on our traditional ideals of making America a nation of laws, not of men, by illegally narrowing the scope of torture and authorizing waterboarding, walling and other inhumane interrogation
techniques. In doing so, they violated the Anti-Torture Act, the War Crimes Act, the Geneva Conventions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment.
In order to enforce our laws and restore the free society that our forefathers envisioned, citizens must demand accountability for abuses of the laws pertaining to torture. In the tradition of the Civil Rights movement, change will not occur unless citizens stand up for their rights under the law.
On June 25th join us for an international day of demonstration demanding accountability for torture
in and across the country, to prosecute those responsible for torture. In Washington D.C. we have tabling starting at 9, speakers and a rally from 11 to 12 in , then a march to the Department of Justice. (Find other events across the US here. (Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Pasadena, CA, Boston, MA, Salt Lake City, UT, Tampa Bay, FL, Portland, OR, Bryn Mawr, PA, Seattle, WA, Las Vegas, NV, Honolulu, HI, Anchorage, AK)
Torture Accountability Action Day, sponsored by:
By DEVLIN BARRETT
WASHINGTON — Accused al Qaeda mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed complained that interrogators tortured lies out of him, though he proudly took credit for more than two dozen other terror plots, according to newly released sections of government transcripts.
“I make up stories,” Mohammed said at one point in his 2007 hearing at Guantánamo Bay.
In broken English, he described an interrogation in which he was asked the location of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
“Where is he? I don’t know,” Mohammed said. ‘Then he torture me. Then I said, ‘Yes, he is in this area or this is al Qaeda which I don’t know him.’ I said no, they torture me.”
Yet at the same military tribunal hearing, Mohammed ticked off a list of 29 terror plots in which he took part.
The transcripts were released as part of a lawsuit in which the American Civil Liberties Union is seeking documents and details of the government’s terror detainee programs.
Previous accounts of the military tribunal hearings had been made public, but the Obama administration went back and reviewed the still-secret sections and determined that more portions could be released.
Most of the new material centers around the detainees’ claims of abuse during interrogations while being held overseas in CIA custody.
One detainee, Abu Zubaydah, told the tribunal that after months “of suffering and torture, physically and mentally, they did not care about my injuries.”
Zubaydah was the first detainee subjected to Bush administration-approved harsh interrogation techniques, which included a simulated form of drowning known as waterboarding, slamming the suspect into walls and prolonged period of nudity.…Continue reading