Sunday, July 12, 2015

Forever in the Spotlight: Prison Would Be Better Fit for Many

CIA Two Torture Contractors: "Experts" Who Never Conducted an Interrogation
(their story will not go away, and rightly so)

GOP Choice to Conduct Interrogations

All the Cleaning in the World Can't Erase the Stain

Former FBI Supervisory Special Agent
(the man who first broke Abu Zubaydah)

First watch this 22-minute interview of Mr. Soufan to gain extensive background (if any is needed at this point).  It can be seen here.

2nd Update related to the 1st Update next:

Three to Leave Jobs Over Psychologists’ Involvement in Bush-Era Interrogations
WASHINGTON — The nation’s largest professional organization for psychologists announced a management shake-up on Tuesday. The action came days after a scathing report concluded that top officials of the group had colluded with government officials during the George W. Bush administration to assure that the organization’s ethics rules did not bar psychologists from involvement in harsh interrogations about terrorist activity.

The board of the organization, the American Psychological Association, said that three top officials, including the chief executive, Norman Anderson, were leaving the group. Another senior official was forced out last week, just before the report on the group’s involvement with the Bush-era interrogations was released. All of the officials who are leaving the organization were named in the 542-page report.

The report, the result of a seven-month investigation by David Hoffman, a Chicago lawyer, broadly examined the role of psychologists in the Bush-era interrogation programs conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon.

1st Update: Major and Significant — Three Related Articles (July 13, 2015):

1.  U.S. “torture doctors” could face charges after report alleges post-9/11 collusion | July 10, 2015: The largest association of psychologists in the United States is on the brink of a crisis, the Guardian has learned, as an independent review prepares to reveal that medical professionals lied and covered up their extensive involvement in post-9/11 torture. The revelation, puncturing years of denials, creates the potential for leadership firings, loss of licenses and even prosecutions. For more than a decade, the American Psychological Association (APA) has maintained that a strict code of ethics prohibits its more than 130,000 members to aid in the torture of war detainees/or “prisoners” while simultaneously permitting involvement in military and intelligence interrogations. The group has rejected media reporting on psychologists’ complicity in torture; suppressed internal dissent from anti-torture doctors; cleared members of wrongdoing; and portrayed itself as a consistent ally against abuse. Now, a voluminous independent review conducted by a former assistant US attorney, David Hoffman, is said to undermine the APA's denials in full -- and vindicate the dissenters.

2.  Former chair of Oregon Health & Science University psychology department worked with CIA on torture - report | July 11, 2015: A prominent retired Oregon Health & Science University psychology professor served on a CIA psychology advisory committee and played at least a limited role in helping the agency develop the so-called “enhanced interrogation” techniques (actually classified as torture) post 9/11 program, according to an exhaustive new report commissioned by the American Psychological Association.  After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Joseph Matarazzo, former chair of the OHSU medical psychology department, exhorted his fellow psychologists to use their expertise to help the U.S. government force information out of detainees, according to the new report. “In this environment, things are different, and the CIA is going to need some help,” Matarazzo reportedly told another psychologist at a 2002 conference in Singapore, adding (almost in Dick Cheney-like words): “Things may get harsh. We may need to take the gloves off.” (Recall that former VP Dick Cheney once said (this from a NPR source): We've got to spend time in the shadows. We have to work toward the dark side, if you will.”  I surmise Cheney meant like Luke Skywalker’s father – words and intent, even if that meant breaking the law and dragging the country into the sewer, which BTW is did).

3.  Psychologists and CIA Torture | July 10, 2015:  A 542-page report concludes that prominent psychologists worked closely with the CIA to blunt dissent inside the agency over an interrogation program that is now known to have included torture. It also finds that officials at the American Psychological Association (APA) colluded with the Pentagon to make sure that the association's ethics policies did not hinder the ability of psychologists to be involved in the interrogation program.

Original Post Continues Here: Background:  Abu Zubaydah was arrested in Pakistan in March 2002. He has been in U.S. custody for more than twelve years, four-and-a-half of them in the CIA secret prison network. He was transferred among prisons in various countries as part of the U.S. rendition program. 

During his time in CIA custody Zubaydah was extensively interrogated. He was water-boarded 83 times and subjected to numerous other torture techniques including forced nudity, sleep deprivation, confinement in small dark boxes, deprivation of solid food, stress positions, and physical assaults. While in CIA custody, Zubaydah lost his left eye. Videotapes of some of Zubaydah's interrogations are amongst those destroyed by the CIA in 2005.

After Abu Zubaydah was captured, the plans originally called for a joint FBI and CIA interrogation of him. However, two FBI agents, Ali Soufan and Steve Gaudin, arrived first at the black site in Thailand where Abu Zubaydah was being held. Their interrogation started with standard interview techniques and also included cleaning and dressing Abu Zubaydah's wounds.  Ali Soufan stated at the time "... that we kept him alive. It wasn't easy, he couldn't drink, he had a fever. I was holding ice to his lips." 

The two FBI agents attempted to convince Abu Zubaydah that they knew of his activities in languages he understood: English and Arabic. Both FBI agents believed they were making good progress in gathering intelligence from Abu Zubaydah, including the fact that he revealed the name and location of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, known as "Mukhtar" (now called: KSM) to Abu Zubaydah, who was the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and that American José Padilla wanted to use a "dirty bomb" in a terror attack on New York City. 

Then a CIA interrogation team arrived a week or two later after the FBI team, and they concluded that Abu Zubaydah was holding back information and that harsher techniques were necessary. The CIA team was led by CIA contractor and former Air Force psychologist James Mitchell, who ordered that Abu Zubaydah answer questions or face a gradual increase in aggressive techniques (waterboarding at the time was the first). 

In 2009, Soufan testified before Congress that his FBI team was removed from Abu Zubaydah's interrogation multiple times, only to be asked to return when the harsher interrogation tactics of the CIA proved unsuccessful. Soufan was alarmed by the early CIA tactics, such as enforced nudity, cold temperatures, and blaring loud rock music in Zubaydah's cell. Soufan reported to his FBI superiors that the CIA's interrogation constituted “borderline torture.” 

He was particularly concerned about a coffin-like box he discovered that had been built by the CIA interrogation team. He was so angry he called the FBI assistant director for counter-terrorism, Pasquale D'Amaro, and shouted, “I swear to God, I'm going to arrest these guys!” Afterward, the two FBI agents were ordered to leave the facility by FBI Director Robert Mueller. Mr. Soufan left, but Steve Gaudin stayed an additional few weeks and continued to participate in the interrogation.

Now the result of all that based on these two stories: (1) from the NY Times editorial board here and an extensive NY Times article here from a top notch reporter on this story (James Risen).

This NY Times summary (or bottom line if you like) is spot on and I have said so for years:The Obama administration has so far refused to prosecute the torturers. As more evidence about this program comes to light, that position becomes increasingly indefensible.

My catalog of prior posts on this subject is below, plus this entire blog is dedicated this subject, which remains an ugly stain on the honor of the country. 

Enjoy your research:


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Will Sun Ever Set on Gitmo "Not Under Obama" — /s/ The GOP

Photo provided by the AP / the Toronto Star by Michelle Shephard

A Republican-led Senate panel on February 12, 2015, narrowly approved legislation that would bar most transfers of terror suspects from our detainee prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, That was a major roadblock in President Obama’s push to close Gitmo.

Now we are in June 2015, and face these two major developments relating to those remaining detainees there and closure of the facility – also, I might add, from a GOP-run Senate:

(1)  Some in the Senate push to limit CIA torture techniques (June 13, 2015):  Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has joined a bipartisan team pushing to limit “enhanced or brutal interrogation techniques” rightly labeled torture techniques, such as waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and electric shock that the CIA can use on detainees. McCain along with and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in the Senate that would prohibit the use of so-called “enhanced interrogation” tactics and allow the CIA to only use techniques listed in the Army Field Manual (FM), such as deception, the silent treatment, isolation (and I add: the many others proven effective minus any torture). The amendment would make permanent the executive order signed by President Obama back in 2009 that limited interrogation techniques to those found in the Army FM.

(2)  Over White House objections, the Senate (June 18, 2015) passed a $612 billion defense policy bill that calls for (1) arming Ukraine forces against Russia, (2) prevents another round of base closures, and (3) makes it harder for President Obama to close the prison Gitmo for terror suspects still detained there, some 116 or so. The Senate vote was 71-25 that approved the bill, which Mr. Obama has threatened to veto, and yet must be reconciled with the House version passed earlier.
In addition to that, the White House opposes the provisions that would make it harder for Obama to transfer the remaining 116 detainees out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, so he can make good on his pledge to close the military prison.  So, it stays open and there get no justice – which used to the American way … Imagine Americans still held in Hanoi – ouch.
Now, this latest on detainee release from The AP via Yahoo news in part: At least two Guantanamo Bay detainees are using President Obama's own words to argue that the U.S. war in Afghanistan is over — and therefore they should be set free.  
The court cases from detainees captured in Afghanistan ask federal judges to consider at what point a conflict is over and whether Obama, in a written statement last December, crossed that line by saying the American “combat mission in Afghanistan is ending.”  The questions are important since the Supreme Court has said the government may hold prisoners captured during a war for only as long as the conflict in that country continues.
“The lawyers for the detainees are asking the right questions,” says Stephen Vladeck, a national security law professor at American University, “And what's really interesting is that the government can't quite seem to figure out its answer.” 
The DOJ opposes the detainee challenges, arguing that “… the conflict in Afghanistan has clearly not concluded and the president didn't say that all fighting had ended.” (Or words to that affect). 
Stay tuned – "... it aint’ over till it’s over" as Yogi Berra would say. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Two Torture Novices Back in the Spotlight Under a Heat Lamp

Bruce Jessen (top) and Jim Mitchell

Background for the following three key stories vis-à-vis torture from here as well as other stories of interest to the readers – check them out after this brief set up:

Snapshot of Jessen and Mitchell: John Bruce Jessen is both a retired Air Force psychologist and former Mormon bishop along with James Elmer Mitchell, also a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel and psychologist created the controversial interrogation program used by the CIA and others referred to as “enhanced interrogation (and note in professional interrogation lingo that means “torture”) of detainees.

The two earned some $81 million from the CIA for their program. At one point, those two yahoos were quoted as saying, “It's not harmful or long lasting.”

The major problem with both Jessen and Mitchell as noted in the ABC article is this – pretty simple really: Neither one of them had ever conducted an interrogation, or had ever been involved in an intelligence operation in the real world, let alone in a combat situation.

When they became involved in interrogations for the CIA, it was their first step into the real world of intelligence, said Air Force Colonel Steve Kleinman, a career military interrogator and former colleague of both Mitchell and Jessen. “That was their very first experience with it. Everything else was role-play,” Kleinman said.

On top of that, Mitchell and Jessen had no experience with al-Qaeda, Islamic extremists, or battlefield interrogations. Yet, more than anyone else, they shaped the CIA's interrogation program for all the evil shit it contained and we have witnessed a dozen years or so.

Now this update as it relates the damage those two inflicted. Also, note that the strikeouts in the articles below are from the original source document editors:

1.  CIA torture program broke agency rules on human experimentationTimeline suggested CIA manipulated basic definitions of human experimentation to ensure the torture program proceeded – watchdog from June 15 2015:  The Central Intelligence Agency had explicit guidelines for "human experimentation" - before, during and after its post-9/11 torture of terrorism detainees prisoners - that raise new questions about the limits on the CIA’s in-house and contracted medical research. Sections of a previously classified CIA document, made public by the Guardian, empower the agency's director to “approve, modify, or disapprove all proposals pertaining to human subject research.” CIA director George Tenet approved abusive interrogation torture techniques, including water boarding, designed by CIA contractor psychologists (Note: Our two “friends outlined above”).  Tenet further instructed the agency's health personnel to oversee the brutal interrogations -- the beginning of years of controversy, still ongoing, about torture as a violation of medical ethics.

2.  Human experimentation and the CIA: Read the previously classified document also from June 15, 2015: This document, updated over the years and still in effect at the CIA, was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the ACLU and shared with the Guardian, which is publishing it for the first time. The guidelines for 'human experimentation' were still in effect during the lifespan of the agency's controversial interrogation torture program.

3.  Senators push to limit CIA torture techniques from June 13, 2015:  Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has joined a bipartisan team pushing to limit brutal interrogation torture techniques -- such as waterboarding, sleep deprivation and electric shock – that the CIA can use on detainees. McCain and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) have proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in the Senate that would prohibit the use of so-called “enhanced interrogation” tactics and allow the CIA to only use techniques listed in the Army Field Manual (FM), such as deception, the silent treatment, isolation (and I add: the many others proven effective minus any torture). The amendment would make permanent the executive order signed by President Obama back in 2009 that limited interrogation techniques to those found in the Army FM.

And here we are still today: With the public in the dark, the world in turmoil, and detainees at Gitmo still waiting on justice – whatever that means, who knows?

Thanks for stopping by. More updates later.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Detainees Released Since 2002: FOX Blasts Obama Skips Bush

DOD statement on the release

 Six latest detainees released 

The facts on the ground
(BTW: the simple math says under Bush-Cheney 532 were released)
(Fox is kinda mum on that part - why is that???)

Check out this video clip from Fox - it runs about 7 minutes. Especially watch and listen to the 
FOX slant - their apparent and utter disdain for Mr. Obama flows as usual just about anything or everything he even tries to do, has done. They constantly attack him in full armor.

This video clearly shows the FOX-run/GOP-managed PR machine with all its ugly, nasty, well-funded, and albeit very effective partnership in full throttle, clever unison, and sad cahoots, which is open and not a secret at all.

Yet, the GOP and FOX have the unmitigated gall to say it is "Mr. Obama who is undermining America..." ha ...

Monday, June 1, 2015

Subtle Form of Torture: Controlled Polls and Slanted Questions

Simple Graph With Simple Choices for Responses 
(easy to measure results)

Two ways to look at polling, which is something I have always been interested in for a very long time:

First Example: Polling is prevalent in modern day politics, with most every politician utilizing and implementing polls to serve their needs. Politicians may even have a team of pollsters at their right hand in order to keep a steady grip and knowledge on polls.
  • Former President Bill Clinton was most famous for his excessive use of polling, going as far as polling to determine optimal vacations spots and pets for his family that could yield the highest popularity among voters.
  • Former President George W. Bush was certainly less flagrant in his usage of polls, but used them nonetheless to determine how to create a favorable outlook on his unfavorable policies.
Both of these presidents were aware of the advantages that effectively employing polls could have. Both were well aware of the multitude of uses and impacts that their polling could offer.

Thus, polling is no longer simply an objective questionnaire used to determine a popular opinion about something simple or easy to see the results quickly and get a feel for what the public really thinks (like the first chart above re: Opinion on the Iraq war in 2007).

It asks and answers this question: “What does this graph show?”

This graph is an example of a public opinion poll that asks a question about a specific issue with four possible answers. The respondent's opinions show their feelings on the matter below percentage. From the graph, it can be determined quickly that the public believes the situation in Iraq has gotten worse.

So, polling and its purpose and affect both have a broader spectrum of usage than ever; some good, some not so hot.

Second Example * current hot topic now in Congress: Refers to the two charts below that are supposed to be self-explanatory about public basically on the same subject, but are they really, objective?

One Set of Views

Second Set of View - same subject

It boils down to the question, how it is formulated but more importantly who is asked and how it is asked and sometimes even, when it is asked.

More so, it is evident that the use of polling is very beneficial but not always accurate. Polling analyzes the voters behaviors, however, if the poll itself is biased or unclear, the results are not as accurate as they were hoped to be. Polling is a necessary process, but is not always completely reliable.

Additionally, polls impact voters because people stick with the norm. If many people feel one way, others will be influenced and ultimately do the same. This constant cycle of people voting because others did that first, causes for further falsity in the results.

However, the results that are released are taken into consideration by the politicians and they govern based on what the public says. So, polls are at their greatest when they are accurate.

What we do not need are more highly-paid and ugly Ads like the next graph (cartoon actually) shows. You may agree or might not, but it does make the point I want to make with this post. I wonder what the poll results for this blog post would be (smile).

Thanks for stopping by and by all means answer the next pollster who calls for your opinion. It might just count - for what I am not sure (second smile - depends on who is paying for the survey, I guess)???

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

CIA Torture Report: Not to be Released — Here We Go Again

"Damn right, we did. I ordered it. So what? Nobody will ever prove it ..." 
(ho ho hee hee ha ha)

This post relates to the following headlines and then a few details on the subject that got us here with the Judge’s decision. Here is the headline that got my attention and that warrants this review:

Judge Who Blocked Release of Osama bin-Laden Death Photos Now Blocks Release of Senate Torture Report
The background then goes back to the Senate in 2014 with this re: The CIA Torture Report 
Senate Votes to Declassify Parts of CIA Torture Report 
Also, I wanted to remind everyone what former President George Walker Bush said about torture: In his recent memoir “Decision Points,” Mr. Bush admitted that he enthusiastically authorized that certain detainees be water boarded – or tortured, which has been a Federal and war crime for decades under both domestic and international law. When asked if he would authorize the torture of detainees again, the former president declared “Damn right!”  

The release of his memoir coincides with reports that no one will face criminal charges for the destruction of CIA videotapes which contained interrogations using water boarding (since President Obama said, “We need to look forward, not backward.” (Sic) here on Youtube in his words.

The Bush clip is here on Youtube and also is in his own words about why he said okay to water boarding ... it is perhaps the weakest excuse in American history ranking up there with former Army Lt. William Calley who said about his ordering of the My Lai massacre, “I was just following orders.” (Mr. Bush apparently was just following his lawyers’ orders - oops).  

Now here we are today: The basic premised why the Senate report is being blocked is simple and by careful design, in a nutshell as the Judge states this way:  

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s full report on the CIA program. The executive summary of the report was previously made public, albeit with numerous redactions.  

Now, U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg (appointed by Mr. Obama) has rejected the ACLU’s request, ruling that the report remains a congressional record and thus isn’t subject to the FOIA. When Congress created FOIA in 1966, it made sure to exempt the legislative branch from its provisions.  

That may be true (can’t be released under FOIA rules), but Congress can waive that and allow the release of the report for the public read – why? This government acted on our behalf and by all accounts broke a lot of laws regarding treatment of detainees and that report will shed light on the program. The public does indeed in my view have a compelling right to know – then we can make up our mind to judge whether our government acted on our best behalf or not. That is fundamental to our system, isn’t it?  

Closely related:
If this ruling stands, it keeps the spotlight on an ugly chapter in our history and the country that will forever remain a terrible stain ... that should matter - so why doesn't it?

Thursday, April 30, 2015

APA and CIA Torture Program: Novices at Work = Failure

Two Key Novices Who Got Very Rich for Being Very Wrong

Many links to this story. The basic article broke from here today (April 30, 2015). It is a story I have followed a long time ... this is confirmation of one huge mess.

Intro and Attention Grabber:

WASHINGTON — The American Psychological Association (APA) secretly collaborated with the administration of President George W. Bush to bolster a legal and ethical justification for the torture of prisoners swept up in the post-September 11 war on terror, according to a new report by a group of dissident health professionals and human rights activists.

As part of that story and one previously reported one about Jessen and Mitchell (photo abovecomes from here - a lot more in depth - key parts:

1.  Neither psychologist (Jessen or Mitchell) had any experience as an interrogator.
2.  Neither one had any specialized knowledge of al-Qaeda.
3.  Neither one had a background in counter-terrorism activities.
4.  Neither one or any relevant cultural or linguistic expertise. 

Despite their lack of experience in these key areas, Mitchell and Jessen “...carried out inherently governmental functions, such as acting as liaison between the CIA and foreign intelligence services, assessing the effectiveness of the interrogation program, and participating in the interrogation of detainees in held in foreign government custody.” And, BTW: they were paid millions

The icing on the proverbial cake as it were is this question in my mind: “How effective was the program; did Jessen and Mitchell earn their millions; and was it worth it overall?”

Simply stated: (1) No, the program was not effective; (2) No, Jessen and Mitchell ripped off the taxpayers; and (3) No, overall, it was not worth it. 

From that Senate report here (all 528 pages), remember it?

WASHINGTON — The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday issued a sweeping indictment of the CIA's program to detain and interrogate terrorism suspects in the years after the Sept. 11 attacks, drawing on millions of internal C.I.A. documents to illuminate practices that it said were more brutal — and far less effective — than the agency acknowledged either to Bush administration officials or to the public.  

B/L: A critical program like what was needed and intended run amok, was costly and very damaging to the country and our national honor and fiber. All that had to have been done was to have talked to experienced interrogators. They would have set the record straight. But, alas, that was never done and still today we suffer from that grand Foxtrot Uniform (larger than a simple Faux Pas as it were). Did we learn a valuable lesson? Only time will tell. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Gitmo Detainees Cleared for Release: Ha, GOP Says Sit Tight

Just Checking - yep, still in detention - they ain't goin' nowhere soon

Washington Post story update on the release of detainees at Gitmo - some for 10 years or so - and already cleared for release - glitch: no place to go. And, GOP-run Congress may make it worse.

A few facts grabbed from the article:

1.  [...] 645 detainees have been have been transferred out of the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba to 55 different countries.

2.  [...] 431 of those 645 detainees — two-thirds of the total — were sent to just five countries: Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Yemen, and Algeria.

3.  [...] 15 countries received between 5 and 15 detainees, including Uruguay, which received six. That total: 142 detainees.

4.  [...] 30 countries received 5 detainees or less each, including the U.S. which holds 2 in custody: That total: 72 detainees.

5.  [...] 122 detainees remain in Guantanamo.

6.  [...]  57 detainees have been approved for transfer, hopefully by the end of 2015, 

However, the GOP has thrown a few monkey wrenches in the mix, like this major possibility: Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) is sponsoring a bill that would extend the ban on bringing detainees to the United States and would effectively bar future transfers to third countries.

Meanwhile, the White House is drafting a plan that officials hope will receive the support of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, as an alternate to Ayotte’s measure. McCain has previously expressed openness to shutting the prison.  

Continue reading at the WaPo link ... this is an interesting story and change of events for too long overdue. Stay tuned, we shall see.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Gitmo Trial of Top Five Started, Delayed, Pending Restart

The Place

Inside the Courtroom
(artist's view)

The trial of the five men accused in the 9/11 terrorist attacks (currently facing trial) resumed on February 9, 2015 at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But, then it was then abruptly halted. Defendants protested that one of the court interpreters at the hearing had been present years before at secret sites where the men had been held and, where they claim they had been tortured. The judge (Judge James Pohl) ordered a recess to look into the matter.

Background: The five are accused of conspiring to organize, train, transfer funds to the 19 hijackers in the 9/11 plot, and each is charged with killing 2,976 people. Among all the charges: Conspiracy, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, murder in violation of the law of war, destruction of property in violation of the law of war, hijacking or hazarding a vessel or aircraft, and terrorism.

If convicted, each faces the death penalty.

(1)  Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) (born in Kuwait to Pakistani parents), alleged mastermind.
(2)  Ramzi bin al-Shibh (Yemeni), a plotter.
(3)  Walid bin Attash (Yemeni), co-conspirator.  
(4)  Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi (Saudi), paymaster and facilitator.  
(5)  Abi Abd al-Aziz Ali (Iranian) (aka: Ammar al-Baluchi, nephew of KSM), computer technician and funder.

Some Gitmo detainee numbers as of March 27, 2015:

  • Total number of detainees ever incarcerated at Guantánamo: 780.
  • Detainees released under President Bush: over 500.
  • Detainees at start of Obama Presidency: 242.
  • Detainees transferred, repatriated, or resettled under Obama: 116.
  • Detainees transferred to U.S. for prosecution: 1.
  • Detainees who died in custody since January 2009: 4.
  • Detainees currently held at Gitmo: 122.
  • Number of current detainees imprisoned for more than 10 years: 106.
  • Remaining detainees approved for release: 56.
  • Detainees convicted by military commission and still held at Gitmo: 3.
  • Detainees designated for trial or commission: 29 (Note: Pentagon has plans to prosecute 14 detainees, including those currently in pre-trial hearings).
  • Detainees designated for indefinite detention without charge or trial: 34.
  • Yemenis approved for transfer: 48 (33 held in “conditional” detention, pending improved security in Yemen, or transfer to a third country).
  • Number of countries that have accepted detainees: 55.
 More good data at the link. Thanks for stopping by. More later, I am sure. Come back.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Man Who Broke Abu Zubaydah and Didn't Use Torture

Ali Soufan, Former FBI Special Agent

From an interview with Mr. Ali Soufan is a former FBI Supervisory Special Agent who investigated and supervised highly sensitive and complex international terrorism cases, including the East Africa Embassy Bombings, the attack on the USS Cole, and the events surrounding 9/11. 

But, his biggest case came in March 2002. He and a colleague were the first to interrogate Abu Zubaydah, who at that point was considered the most important al-Qaeda prisoner held by the Americans. 

Abu Zubaydah
(undated photo)

Mr. Soufan was born in Lebanon and speaks Arabic. Because he could quote the Koran during questioning of detainees, he was able to build up trust with them, and guess what: He never laid a finger on anyone and in the case of Abu Zuibaydah, Soufan got him to reveal critical information, including the identity of KSM - the so-called 9/11 mastermind.

However, later Zubaydah was handed over to the CIA. They chose to use him as their first detainee on whom they would “test or try” the now infamous “enhanced interrogation techniques.” 

At that point, Zubaydah clammed up after the harsh stuff started. 

… Soufan never had a problem getting Zubaydah to talk and talk freely and provide good intelligence – that is an historical fact, which again reinforces the premise that “torture does not work,” plus it is illegal, unlawful and a war crime.  

Continue the Soufan interview at the link cited above. Good reading and worth your time. 

The case background on Abu Zubaydah can be seen here and here, both are good reads and both contain a lot of history of the ugly trail of torture approved under the Bush watch.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Another Ugly Gitmo Story and Another Nasty Stain on the CIA

The Camp for Detainees

Staff Sgt. Joseph Hickman, a Marine veteran who reenlisted in the Maryland National Guard after 9/11, contradicts the military version of events in his new book, 'Murder at Camp Delta: A Staff Sergeant’s Pursuit of the Truth About Guantanamo Bay.'
The Book About the Camp

The story behind the book, written by Joseph Hickman, a former Marine and Maryland Army National soldier who was there.

It's is Hickman's overall conclusion and claim that he has solved one of the military prison’s greatest mysteries that: “Three men the Pentagon said had killed themselves were actually tortured to death by the CIA.”

Hickman asserts that the official government line that Yasser Talal al-Zahrani of Yemen, and Salah Ahmed al-Salami and Mani Shaman al-Utaybi, both of Saudi Arabia, killed themselves in 2006 in a suicide pact was and remains a lie and is not the simple story that appeared years ago for the public to believe.

Continue reading this very detailed and compelling story at the link.

I suspect this story is not over – so, stay tuned.