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Guilty of Torture: Stephen Kappes

Spencer Ackerman links to me today in his piece, "Do We Really Have to Call Steve Kappes a Torturer?" He picks up on the central charge of my post, that Kappes signed off on the rendition of Abu Omar. He writes as follows:

"The most serious charge against Kappes, as best I can tell, comes from his role in the abduction and rendition of Abu Omar, the Egyptian cleric taken by the CIA off the streets of Milan and tortured in Egypt. A 2007 article from The Chicago Tribune about the rendition reports briefly that Kappes was "one of those who signed off on the Abu Omar abduction." (h/t TalkLeft.) No doubt that's troubling. Extraordinary rendition is legally and morally problematic. Italy is prosecuting in absentia the CIA agents involved in the Abu Omar rendition."

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Envisioning Intelligence Post-Bush

Tim Shorrock is one of the most well-informed and fascinating writers on the intelligence world (check out his interview with Glenn Greenwald here). His recent book, "Spies for Hire," uncovers the extremely cozy relationship between the official CIA and its corresponding "trade association," the INSA (Intelligence and National Security Alliance). You can read some more about that relationship, especially as it relates to John Brennan, in a diary I wrote here. Brennan was until mid-Nov of this year the chairman of the INSA.

Shorrock and Frank Naif recently wrote two really excellent articles for the Huffington Post that describe the problems a post-Bush intelligence agency is going to face as well as the skills and attitudes that are going to be needed to face them.

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Net Neutrality vs. Torture Policy

Something struck me today while catching up on my blog headlines.  Remember the WSJ article BTD blogged about that set off an online firestorm?  We were all supposed to sit tight and dismiss the article until Obama appointed someone like Brennan to the CIA.  Then we could complain.  Then we would find out if Obama had changed his policy.

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CIA at the crossroads

As I continue my research into Obama's reported CIA and DNI candidate fields, I am finding it remarkable that among the candidates there is such dissent when it comes to what they believe is right/acceptable in interrogation policy and information collection. It's really quite amazing.

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Psst...Rand Beers for CIA.

Us liberal blogging types are such a destructive bunch, aren't we?  We hardly know anything if you go by what the MSM says.  

But what confuses me most is that the press seems ignorant of the CIA transition process as anything more than Brennan, and now perhaps, Hayden.  I have read very little on any other possible candidates.  Wondering if Obama will appoint a progressive, who agrees with his views, is apparently beyond them.  Even if that guy is one of his advisers!

So here is my suggestion, made once before, now expanded into its own diary.  Beers for CIA Director.

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Report: Obama May Keep Hayden as CIA Chief

U.S. News and World Reports writes that President-Elect Barack Obama may keep Michael Hayden as head of the CIA.

I don't see Obama keeping Hayden. I hope the US News Report is just a rumor being floated for reaction.

Keeping Hayden would be unfortunate. It would represent the wrong kind of change for Obama who voted against Hayden's confirmation. Here's Obama's 2006 speech on why he opposed Hayden for CIA director. [More...]

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The Company's Company Man: Notes on Brennan 3

I have wanted to write something on John Brennan that has to do with his post-CIA business dealings and his chairmanship of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (which dates from Spring 2007 til about a week ago).  Like most other aspects of Brennan, his business and INSA dealings disturbingly reflect the status quo at the CIA and will in practice undermine Obama's stated goals if he is appointed CIA Director.

For this diary I will be leaning heavily on Meteor Blades' review of Tim Shorrock's "Spies for Hire" and Tim Shorrock's book itself, portions of which can be read for free on Google Books.  I want to use their insights to demonstrate Brennan's involvement in the corruption of the Bush administration.

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ACLU Asks Court to Reinstate Secret Rendition Lawsuit

The ACLU today requested the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate its lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen Dataplan. (Press release will be available here shortly.) The lawsuit charged:

Jeppesen knowingly provided direct flight services to the CIA that enabled the clandestine transportation of the men to secret overseas locations, where they were tortured and subjected to other "forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment" under the agency's "extraordinary rendition" program.

More...

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Fed. Appeals Court Orders Pentagon to Turn Over Detainee Abuse Photos

The ACLU scored a victory today in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

A federal court today ordered the Department of Defense to release photographs depicting the abuse of detainees by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected the government's appeal of a 2006 order directing the Defense Department to release the photos. Today's decision comes as part of an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit seeking information on the abuse of prisoners held in U.S. custody overseas.

The ACLU says these photos demonstrate that the abuse was not limited to Abu Ghraib and not an occasional aberration. [More...]

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ACLU Obtains Key CIA Torture Memos


The ACLU announced today it has obtained three key memos concerning the CIA's abusive interrogation techniques. You can view them here.

Among other things, they establish that the CIA was told to document the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, including who was present. The first memo shows waterboarding was an approved technique.

One of the documents obtained by the ACLU today is a redacted version of a previously undisclosed Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) opinion from August 2002 that authorizes the CIA to use specific interrogation methods, including waterboarding.

[More...]

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New Habeas Action Filed for Guantanamo Detainee

From the Center for Constitutional Rights:

Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed one of the first new habeas corpus petitions since the Supreme Court ruled on June 12 that the men at Guantánamo have the constitutional right to habeas corpus. The petition was filed on behalf of detainee Mohammed Sulaymon Barre, a UN mandate refugee from Somalia protected by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

In related news, the CCR, Amnesty International and other groups are challenging the CIA's refusal to release documents about its secret prisons and detention program, alleging a cover-up: [More...]

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The CIA's Black Torture Hole In Poland


Meet Deuce Martinez. Career narcotics agent turned Five-Star CIA interrogator. Credited with getting Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah and Ramzi Binalshibh to talk.

Waterboarding, belly slaps, sleep deprivation and more. Martinez didn't like getting his hands dirty with the physical abuse, he waited in the wings while others did it and then conducted the interrogations. If the detainee stopped cooperating, it was back to the torture, then back to Martinez. Ultimately, they talked. The value of their information? The CIA says huge, even accounting for the misinformation they were fed. Of course, there's no way to test that theory.

Where did this all occur? Inside the CIA's black hole of choice -- in Poland. [More...]

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New Inspector General Report on Detainee Abuse


President Bush says the United States does not engage in torture. A new report by the DOJ Inspector General today does not agree. The full report is here.

Some of the techniques used violated Defense Department policy at the time.

F.B.I. agents complained repeatedly, beginning in 2002, about the harsh interrogation tactics that military and C.I.A. interrogators were using in questioning terrorism suspects, like making them do dog tricks and parade in the nude in front of female soldiers, but their complaints appear to have had little effect, according to an exhaustive report released Tuesday by the Justice Department’s inspector general.

The report for the most part praises the FBI.

“In sum, while our report concluded that the F.B.I. could have provided clearer guidance earlier, and while the F.B.I. and DoJ could have pressed harder for resolution of F.B.I. concerns about detainee treatment, we believe the F.B.I. should be credited for its conduct and professionalism in detainee interrogations in the military zones in Afghanistan,” in Iraq and at Guantánamo Bay, the report said. DoJ refers to the Justice Department, the bureau’s parent agency.

The ACLU sees it differently: [more...]

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OPR Opens Investigation Into 2002 DOJ Torture Memo


The Office of Professional Responsibility, which is the branch of the Justice Department that investigates alleged misconduct, announced today that it has opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the infamous August, 2002 "torture memorandum" that opined interrogation techniques such as waterboarding were not torture.

Among other issues, we are examining whether the legal advice contained in those memoranda was consistent with the professional standards that apply to Department of Justice attorneys," Jarrett wrote.

More...

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Bush Admits U.S. Used British Territory During Transport of Ghost Prisoners

The Bush Administration has admitted for the first time using a British territory in its transporting of Ghost Air prisoners as part of its secret rendition program.

The Bush administration is bracing for a diplomatic backlash after conceding it used British territory to transport suspected terrorists on secret rendition flights despite repeated earlier assurances the U.S. had not.

U.S. officials have sought to quell the fallout by apologizing to Britain for what they said was an "administrative error." The admission, however, may reopen a bitter debate between the United States and its allies over how the fight against terrorism should be conducted and compromise future cooperation.

The territory at issue: Diego Garcia.[More...]

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