Tag: CIA (page 3)
A federal judge in Washington has refused to order an investigation into the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes showing coercive techniques.
A federal judge yesterday declined to order a special review of the CIA's destruction of interrogation videotapes, saying that there is no evidence the Bush administration defied court orders and that Justice Department prosecutors should be allowed to proceed with their own investigation into the matter.
U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. said in a three-page ruling in Washington that a group of inmates held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, "offer nothing to support their assertion that a judicial inquiry" is necessary into the tape destruction. He said neither of the detainees whose interrogations were taped and later destroyed has an apparent connection to the prisoners who were demanding the review.
The Justice Department says it's investigating the destruction of the tapes of interrogations of two detainees, as has the House Intelligence Committee. But, the star witness for the House investigation is refusing to testify without immunity.
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The House Intelligence Committee has scheduled a hearing on January 16 (pdf) regarding the destruction of CIA interrogation videotapes of two al Qaeda suspects held in secret overseas prisons, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.
The order to destroy the tapes allegedly was given by Jose Rodriguez who at that time was head of the CIA’s clandestine service. Rodriguez, who has hired lawyer Robert Bennett to represent him, has no intention of being the scapegoat.
The TimesonLine reports Rodgriguez is seeking immunity for his testimony. Who might he give up?
Four names in the White House have surfaced so far. My money is on Cheney lawyer (now his Chief of Staff) David Addington.
Jose Rodriguez, former head of the CIA’s clandestine service, is determined not to become the fall guy in the controversy over the CIA’s use of torture, according to intelligence sources.
It has emerged that at least four White House staff were approached for advice about the tapes, including David Addington, a senior aide to Dick Cheney, the vice-president, but none has admitted to recommending their destruction.
Former CIA agent Larry Johnson writes the real issue isn't who ordered the tape destruction, but who lied to the Judge in the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui. That was my first thought when I read that one of the taped suspects was Abu Zubaydah.
Larry points out: [More...]
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The House of Representatives today passed a bill outlawing harsh interrogation methods.
The measure, approved by a largely party-line vote of 222 to 199, would require U.S. intelligence agencies to follow Army rules adopted last year that explicitly forbid waterboarding and require interrogators to adhere to a strict interpretation of the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war. The rules, required by Congress for all Defense Department personnel, also ban sexual humiliation, "mock" executions and the use of attack dogs, and prohibit the withholding of food and medical care.
President Bush said he'd veto the bill, which now goes to the Senate. In related news, the ACLU wrote the Senate today (letter here, pdf)listing ten reasons why a special prosecutor should be appointed to investigate the CIA's destruction of interrogation tapes.
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The Washington Post has a disturbing revelation:
In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.
Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.
Who were they? [More...]
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The CIA's destruction of hundreds of hours of videotapes of detainee interrogations could put several prosecutions at risk.
Officials acknowledged on Friday that the destruction of evidence like videotaped interrogations could raise questions about whether the Central Intelligence Agency was seeking to hide evidence of coercion. A review of records in military tribunals indicates that five lower-level detainees at Guantánamo were initially charged with offenses based on information that was provided by or related to Mr. [Abu]Zubaydah. Lawyers for these detainees could argue that they needed the tapes to determine what, if anything, Mr. Zubaydah had said about them.
Think: Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh. I'm wondering whether it could also result in reversals of the convictions of Zacarias Moussaoui and Jose Padilla.
The known detainees whose interrogation videos were destroyed are Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. Undoubtedly, more will come to light as the investigation proceeds. I won't be surprised if interrogation tapes of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh were also destroyed. In that case, they might be deprived not only of potentially exculapatory information by Zubayah but of their own statements for use at their upcoming military commission trials.
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Meet Majid Khan.
The first of the so-called high value Guantánamo detainees to have seen a lawyer claims he was subjected to “state-sanctioned torture” while in secret C.I.A. prisons, and he has asked for a court order barring the government from destroying evidence of his treatment.
The request, in a filing by his lawyers, was made on Nov. 29, before officials from the Central Intelligence Agency acknowledged that the agency had destroyed videotapes of interrogations of two Qaeda operatives that current and former officials said included the use of harsh techniques.
An intelligence official denies that Khan was videotaped.
Mr. Dixon, one of Mr. Khan’s lawyers, said Saturday that the admission that officials had destroyed videotapes of interrogations showed why such an order was needed.
“They are no longer entitled to a presumption that the government has acted lawfully or in good faith,” Mr. Dixon said.
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Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) has called for an investigation into the destruction of the CIA interrogation tapes (background here):
Today U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) sent the attached letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey asking him to open an official investigation to determine whether the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes violates the law.
He wrote: "I urge you to investigate whether CIA officials who destroyed these videotapes and withheld information about their existence fiom official proceedings violated the law. . . CIA Director Hayden asserts that the videotapes were destroyed 'in line with the law.' However, it is the Justice Department's role to determine whether the law was violated."
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The New York Times has learned the CIA destroyed interrogation tapes of two al-Qaeda detainees.
The videotapes showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terror suspects — including Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in C.I.A. custody — to severe interrogation techniques. They were destroyed in part because officers were concerned that tapes documenting controversial interrogation methods could expose agency officials to greater risk of legal jeopardy, several officials said.
Both the Judge in the Moussaoui case and the 9/11 Commission had requested the tapes:
The recordings were not provided to a federal court hearing the case of the terror suspect Zacarias Moussaoui or to the Sept. 11 commission, which had made formal requests to the C.I.A. for transcripts and any other documentary evidence taken from interrogations of agency prisoners.
The C.I.A. confirmed the destruction today when the Times informed the agency it would be publishing an article about the tapes tomorrow.
The CIA defends its actions but destruction of evidence and withholding information about the existence of evidence is a serious no-no. This could be a significant story. [More...]
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The Bush Administration insists it does not torture. Former detainees say otherwise.
AMMAN, Jordan -- Over the past seven years, an imposing building on the outskirts of this city has served as a secret holding cell for the CIA.
The building is the headquarters of the General Intelligence Department, Jordan's powerful spy and security agency. Since 2000, at the CIA's behest, at least 12 non-Jordanian terrorism suspects have been detained and interrogated here, according to documents and former prisoners, human rights advocates, defense lawyers and former U.S. officials.
The Jordanians specialized in two tactics:
Former prisoners have reported that their captors were expert in two practices in particular: falaqa, or beating suspects on the soles of their feet with a truncheon and then, often, forcing them to walk barefoot and bloodied across a salt-covered floor; and farruj, or the "grilled chicken," in which prisoners are handcuffed behind their legs, hung upside down by a rod placed behind their knees, and beaten.
Former detainee Al-Haj Abdu Ali Sharqawi says:
"I was kidnapped, not knowing anything of my fate, with continuous torture and interrogation for the whole of two years," Al-Haj Abdu Ali Sharqawi, a Guantanamo prisoner from Yemen, recounted in a written account of his experiences in Jordanian custody. "When I told them the truth, I was tortured and beaten."
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The Washington Post reports on the CIA's Ghost Air prisoners. Some have been sent to Guantanamo, some were returned to their home countries (some of whom were never heard from again) and some are....missing.
There's further reading today on this at Alternet: The Bush Era's Dark Legacy of Torture.
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Via Spencer Ackerman, this is just rich:
CIA Director Michael Hayden is going after the agency's independent watchdog, Inspector General John Helgerson. Hayden wonders if Helgerson -- who is not appointed by the CIA director -- hasn't gone too far in investigating how the agency conducts detentions and interrogations. . . . Helgerson has for years been perceived as overly aggressive in reviewing CIA techniques in the war on terrorism.
. . . [T]he investigation, headed by Hayden confidante Robert L. Deitz, is now a full-fledged exploration of how Helgerson conducts his work. It comes as Helgerson is "nearing completion" on several reports into interrogations, renditions, and detentions, reports The New York Times.
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Khaled el-Masri, (also spelled al-Masri) the 42 year old German shoe salesman and father of five who was plucked off a street in Macedonia while on holiday, beaten and flown to a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan where he was held for 5 months until the U.S. and Condoleeza Rice admitted he was picked up by mistake (a case of mistaken identity) has had his lawsuit against the U.S. rejected by the Supreme Court today. Reuters reports here and the AP here.
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Bump and Update: The New York Times has a new article describing the two memos from 2005:
One 2005 opinion gave the Justice Department’s most authoritative legal approval to the harshest agency techniques, including head slapping, exposure to cold and simulated drowning, even when used in combination.
The second opinion declared that under some circumstances, such techniques were not “cruel, inhuman or degrading,” a category of treatment that Congress banned in December 2005.
As one Senator opined today:
“I find it unfathomable that the committee tasked with oversight of the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation program would be provided more information by The New York Times than by the Department of Justice,” Mr. Rockefeller wrote.
As for the timing of the memos:
A senior administration official who insisted on anonymity said the opinion on the “combined effects” of different techniques was approved in May 2005.
The opinion that the methods were not cruel or inhuman was approved later in 2005, the official said. Officials have said both opinions remain in effect.
White House Denies Memos Authorized Torture
Predictably, the White House is denying that memos issued in 2005 authorized previously prohibited CIA interrogation techniques that amount to torture.
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Following up on Big Tent Democrat's earlier post, the New York Times has a five page article revealing that in 2005, over the objections of his Deputy Attorney General James Comey, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales approved legal opinions written by Steven Bradbury concerning enhanced interrogation techniques.
The 2005 Justice Department opinions remain in effect, and their legal conclusions have been confirmed by several more recent memorandums, officials said. They show how the White House has succeeded in preserving the broadest possible legal latitude for harsh tactics.
Who is Bradbury? [More...]
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Jane Mayer in The New Yorker Magazine today exposes the torturous interrogation practices the C.I.A. used on its prize detainee, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, during his not-so secret stay in an overseas prison.
Author Jane Mayer, on the CBS Evening News, said:
"The Red Cross went in and got to interview these people for the first time," said Mayer on the CBS Evening News. "What these people described was hanging from the ceilings by their arms and being water-boarded, partially drowned, put on leashes and knocked into walls and basically deprived of all kinds of sensory imagery for years."
The article also puts the lie to President Bush's continuous insistence that the U.S. does not engage in torture.
Mayer's article further described the CIA program of physical and psychological abuse as completely regimented and deliberate.
"There have always been mistakes made in the past when prisoners have been abused in wars," Mayer told Mitchell. "But this is the first time it's been done on purpose."
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