By Matthew Cole
A top al Qaeda expert who remains in a senior position at the CIA was a key architect of the agency’s defense of its detention and “enhanced interrogation” program for suspected terrorists, developing oft-repeated talking points that misrepresented and overstated its effectiveness, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report released last week.
The report singles out the female expert as a key apologist for the program, stating that she repeatedly told her superiors and others — including members of Congress — that the “torture” was working and producing useful intelligence, when it was not. She wrote the “template on which future justifications for the CIA program and the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques were based,” it said.
The expert also participated in “enhanced interrogations” of self-professed 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, witnessed the waterboarding of terror suspect Abu Zubaydah and ordered the detention of a suspected terrorist who turned out to be unconnected to al Qaeda, according to the report.
The expert is no stranger to controversy. She was criticized after 9/11 terrorist attacks for countenancing a subordinate’s refusal to share the names of two of the hijackers with the FBI prior to the terror attacks.
But instead of being sanctioned, she was promoted.
The expert was not identified by name in the unclassified 528-page summary of the report, but U.S. officials who spoke with NBC News on condition of anonymity confirmed that her name was redacted at least three dozen times in an effort to avoid publicly identifying her. In fact, much of the four-month battle between Senate Democrats and the CIA about redactions centered on protecting the identity of the woman, an analyst and later “deputy chief” of the unit devoted to catching or killing Osama bin Laden, according to U.S. officials familiar with the negotiations.
NBC News is withholding her name at the request of the CIA, which cited a climate of fear and retaliation in the wake of the release of the committee’s report in asking that her anonymity be protected.
While the two psychologists who developed the “enhanced interrogation techniques,” Dr. James Mitchell and Dr. Bruce Jessen, quickly became household names as a result of the report – including being the subjects of a “Saturday Night Live” skit” – scathing criticism of the expert’s role in defending the program went nearly unmentioned.
The expert — one of several female CIA employees on whom “Maya,” the lead character in the movie “Zero Dark Thirty,” was based — has previously been identified in the media as a CIA officer involved in the rendition program. But the Senate report offers the first detailed account of the depth of her involvement. It quotes from emails, memos and congressional testimony, to document her unique role in what it says were misrepresentations about the efficacy of the CIA’s program, which President Barack Obama has said included torture. The report does not ascribe any motive for the alleged misrepresentations.
by Andrew P. Napolitano
December 18, 2014
When the government is waving at us with its right hand, so to speak, it is the government’s left hand that we should be watching. Just as a magician draws your attention to what he wants you to see so you will not observe how his trick is performed, last week presented a textbook example of public disputes masking hidden deceptions. Here is what happened.
Last week was dominated by two huge news stories. One was the revelation by the Senate Intelligence Committee of torture committed by CIA agents and contractors on 119 detainees in the post-9/11 era – 26 of whom were tortured for months by mistake. In that revelation of anguish and error were the conclusions by CIA agents themselves that their torture had not produced helpful information. President Barack Obama acknowledged that the CIA had tortured, yet he directed the Department of Justice not to prosecute those who tortured and those who authorized it.
The other substantial news story was the compromise achieved by Congress and the White House to fund the government through the end of September 2015. That legislation, which is 2,000 pages in length, was not read by anyone who voted for it. It spends a few hundred billion dollars more than the government will collect in tax revenue. The compromise was achieved through bribery; members of Congress bought and sold votes by adding goodies (in the form of local expenditures of money borrowed by the federal government) to the bill that were never debated or independently voted upon and were added solely to achieve the votes needed for passage. This is how the federal government operates today. Both parties participate in it. They have turned the public treasury into a public trough.
Hidden in the law that authorized the government to spend more than it will collect was a part about funding for the 16 federal civilian intelligence agencies. And hidden in that was a clause, inserted by the same Senate Intelligence Committee that revealed the CIA torture, authorizing the National Security Agency to gather and retain nonpublic data for five years and to share it with law enforcement and with foreign governments. “Nonpublic data” is the government’s language referring to the content of the emails, text messages, telephone calls, bank statements, utility bills and credit card bills of nearly every innocent person in America – including members of Congress, federal judges, public officials and law enforcement officials. I say “innocent” because the language of this legislation – which purports to make lawful the NSA spying we now all know about – makes clear that those who spy upon us needn’t have any articulable suspicion or probable cause for spying.
Written by Mike Bondi, P.Eng.
Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth
16 December 2014
ReThink911 Canada Holds Parliamentary Press Conference
An historic milestone in the 9/11 Truth Movement has been achieved by a dedicated group of activists in Ottawa, Ontario, with the presentation of a petition in the House of Commons requesting a “parliamentary review of the omissions and inconsistencies in the official United States of America 9/11 Commission Report.”
This is not the first time that Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth has published news on the three-year effort to present this petition to the Canadian government. Back in February 2012, we reported that the petition for a parliamentary review of the destruction of the three WTC skyscrapers on September 11, 2001, had been given to members of Parliament in the hope that they would formally present the petition in the House of Commons. However, officials were not yet ready to tackle the numerous unanswered questions about 9/11. Again, in March 2013, we reported that a renewed effort to have the petition read in the House of Commons was impeded by Ottawa MP and foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar, because he “did not agree with it.” Still not ready.
A major development finally unfolded on December 3, 2014 when a Member of Parliament rose in the House of Commons “to present a petition, from petitioners in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and particularly in the Ottawa area, calling on the government of Canada to conduct a parliamentary review into the events that occurred in the United States on September 11.”
Mainstream media quickly picked up the story, predictably labeling the petition “a call to support a conspiracy theory.” Also unsurprisingly, the MP came under fire when she insisted that it was her duty as a Member of Parliament to present the petition to the government, even though she “does not agree with it.”
“The Canadian government can and must reset the course of history.” — Isabelle Beenen
Seeing — and seizing — an opportunity to speak to the nation, activists from across Canada responded swiftly. Elizabeth Woodworth of the 9/11 Consensus Panel and David Long of ReThink911 Canada organized a press conference, which was held at the parliamentary press gallery on December 10. Long, author of the petition and a 9/11 survivor, hosted the event and introduced three speakers, each of whom presented powerful and moving statements. Isabelle Beenen read the statement on behalf of AE911Truth; Dr. Graeme MacQueen represented the 9/11 Consensus Panel; and Bill Brinnier spoke on behalf of 9/11 victims and their families.
Media response following the press conference was quite a mix. Global News presented a full minute of Dr. MacQueen’s statement addressing deficiencies in the official 9/11 investigation, including the fact that testimony of over 150 eyewitnesses who had seen and heard explosions on 9/11 had been ignored. Other news sources provided the usual response, including assertions that “the official report explains that the molten metal [flowing from the South Tower just minutes prior to its collapse] was aluminum from the plane” – even though it couldn’t possibly be so.
“I want the truth. . . . We’re going to continue as long as it takes.” — Bill Brinnier
Brinnier, a New York architect whose best friend, World Trade Center construction manager Frank Di Martini, was killed in the North Tower, traveled to Ottawa from Kingston, New York, to make a plea on behalf of all of the 9/11 family members: “I am here today because, like so many other people touched by this unthinkable tragedy, I know that the official story of what happened on that day simply does not add up, and I want the truth.” Later, in the Q&A session with reporters, Brinnier, who is a board member of the New York City Coalition for Accountability Now, reiterated, “To believe that simple office fires could cause the collapse of a 47-story office building — that’s impossible.” He vowed to continue fighting for the truth about 9/11 “as long as I have breath in my lungs.”
Dr. MacQueen, a retired professor from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, as well as founder and former director of the Centre for Peace Studies and author of the recently published book, The 2001 Anthrax Deception: The Case for a Domestic Conspiracy, noted, in response to follow-up questions after the press conference, that even a dismissive response to the petition from the Canadian government would not mean this historic initiative had failed. “It’s all part of the contest, which is heating up,” he observed.
Beenen, who has become one of the most active ReThink911 Canada supporters, presented AE911Truth’s case that “a thorough investigation by the Canadian government can and must reset the course of history and bring about a future of peace – based on a solid foundation of truth and justice. You are not alone. You have the full backing of not only the thousands of licensed/degreed architects and engineers for 9/11 Truth, but millions of citizens around the world who are aware of the truth about 9/11.”
“It’s all part of the contest, which is heating up.” – Dr. Graeme MacQueen
September 11th survivor David Long, who heard the explosions, recalled, “I saw . . . within the first minute or two . . . streams of molten metal coming out of the buildings. I thought there were bombs in those buildings. Everything I saw told me that there were bombs.”
“The government of Canada would be saying it is acceptable to insult the victims.” – David Long
He also explained that because “the US Senate released a report on CIA torture the same day [December 10], we touched on that in the press conference, since evidence obtained through torture was used to make the government’s case in the official 9/11 report. This critical information means that apparently Canada accepts evidence obtained through torture, since it accepted the official account of 9/11 given by the US government,” commented Long — despite the fact that such evidence is not considered reliable in any court of law. He went on to say that any response from the Canadian government that dismissed the significance of the evidence presented to Parliament would conflict with the fact that 9/11 victims themselves presented the petition. “In effect, the government of Canada would be saying it is acceptable to insult the victims.”
The Canadian government is required to reply to a petition within 45 calendar days of its presentation. Absent a reply, a committee designated by the MP who presented the petition is required to investigate the failure to respond. Perhaps Canada is now ready to grapple with the truth about 9/11.
The myth of democracy – exposed
by Justin Raimondo
December 15, 2014
It was a sneak attack. As the stream of borrowed money that funds the Regime was threatened with a (temporary yet embarrassing) cutoff, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Oceania), inserted what Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan) calls a “novel” provision into H.R. 4681, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 – one “that for the first time statutorily authorizes spying on U.S. citizens without legal process.”
The resolution was headed for a perfunctory vote by acclamation but the ever-vigilant libertarian Amash insisted on a roll call vote, putting the culprits on the record – and mobilizing 45 Republicans and 55 Democrats to vote an emphatic “Nay!”
H.R. 4681 is now the law of the land – and the implications are ominous.
Previous legislation, including the PATRIOT Act, at least attempted to create a halo of “legality” around the Surveillance State by requiring some procedural folderol prior to despoiling the contents of our email in-boxes. That this ritual was to occur in secret, with the “court” 98.9 percent certain to take the government’s side, is beside the point – the point being that all pretenses have been dropped. The idea that the government must answer in court to the charge that it is overstepping its constitutional authority has been overthrown – and with it our old republic. Citizens have become subjects – and all with the stroke of a pen.
That the penumbra of “law” was always a smokescreen for the rapacity inherent in all governments is something us libertarians could have told you – indeed, have been telling you – and yet one can hardly fault the skepticism of both liberals and conservatives. After all, don’t we have a Bill of Rights? Isn’t this still America?
The answer to both questions is no. The irrefutable evidence for this is contained in section 309 of H.R. 4681. As Amash points out:
“To be clear, Sec. 309 provides the first statutory authority for the acquisition, retention, and dissemination of US persons’ private communications obtained without legal process such as a court order or a subpoena. The administration currently may conduct such surveillance under a claim of executive authority, such as E.O. 12333. However, Congress never has approved of using executive authority in that way to capture and use Americans’ private telephone records, electronic communications, or cloud data.”
Former UK Ambassador Describes What Happens to People with Integrity Who Have the Misfortune to End Up in Government Positions
December 15, 2014
By Craig Murray, Former British Ambassador To Uzbekistan
In the summer of 2004, I warned Tony Blair’s Foreign Office that Britain was using intelligence material which had been obtained by the CIA under torture. Two months later I was sacked as the British Ambassador to Uzbekistan on the orders of Downing Street, bringing to an end my 20-year diplomatic career.
When I then went public with the news that Uzbek territory was part of a global CIA torture programme, I was dismissed as a fantasist by Mr Blair’s henchmen. Now finally, a decade later, I have been vindicated by last week’s shocking Senate Intelligence Committee report.
Over 500 pages it details the CIA’s brutal abuse of Al Qaeda suspects, who were flown around the world to be tortured in a network of secret prisons. One of these was in Uzbekistan, where the US had an air base.
The CIA programme included both torture they conducted themselves and torture conducted for them by allies. Shamefully, the torture-by-proxy details remain classified to protect America’s gruesome ‘allies’.
The CIA were flying people to Uzbekistan to be tortured, usually via their secret prison at Szymany in Poland. The Uzbeks were doing the actual torture, sometimes with CIA members in the room.
Aside from the moral dimension, the Senate report confirmed my repeated view that intelligence gleaned from torture is useless. When I was Ambassador, one secret file I was sent contained CIA information which named a member of Al Qaeda. The man turned out to be a Jehovah’s Witness.
In 2003, I attended a meeting at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), where I was told by officials that it was not illegal for us to use intelligence from torture as long as we did not carry out the torture ourselves. I was also told at the meeting that this intelligence was ‘useful’ – and that policy came directly from the then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.
Written by Craig McKee
Saturday, 13 December 2014
Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth
The original “9-11 Questions” by artist Anthony
Freda is now owned by the 9/11 Museum, though it
is not clear whether its curators intend to ever
display it in public.
To call it unlikely would be an understatement.
A work of art that challenges the official account of 9/11 has been accepted into the permanent collection of the 9/11 Museum in New York City. And surprisingly, the piece was created by an artist who is best known for his illustrations in the mainstream media.
Anthony Freda — who has contributed provocative political art to publications like The New York Times, Time, Rolling Stone, Esquire, The New Yorker, and Playboy — says he has no idea why the museum would accept his painting, titled “9-11 Questions.”
“I still can’t figure out what is in the museum’s mind letting me in there, because literally every part of my being is fighting against the official narrative that they are trying to promote,” he said in an interview. “The thing that fascinates me, and they admitted this, is that this is the only piece in the entire collection that questions the official narrative in any way.”
Freda met with museum staff for 90 minutes to donate the art and to answer questions about the images it contains. The entire exchange was filmed for a documentary called Behind Truth Art, which is planned for release in 2015. (This 30-minute preview shows highlights of the meeting.)
Museum officials told Freda that “9-11 Questions” will rotate with other works on display and that it may also be included in traveling 9/11 art shows organized by the museum. But he concedes that museum officials, now that they own it, can do whatever they want with the piece — including locking it in a vault forever.
Freda created the work eight years ago, when The Village Voice commissioned him to illustrate its article “Fakes on a Plane,” which was intended to “gently make fun” of online 9/11 documentaries like Loose Change and the people who believe them.
The same memo Bush used to wall himself off from the details of CIA torture is keeping Obama’s drone war alive.
By Marcy Wheeler
December 12, 2014
On the second day of Barack Obama’s presidency, he prohibited most forms of physical torture. On the third, a CIA drone strike he authorized killed up to 11 civilians.
Those two data points explain one of the most remarkable aspects of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s summary of its report on torture and also likely point to what should be the report’s larger lesson: the purported absence of presidential leadership behind either the torture or the drone programs.
The 525-page executive summary of the Senate’s report, which was released to the public on Tuesday, Dec. 9, provides the most comprehensive description of the torture conducted as part of the CIA’s rendition, detention, and interrogation program in support of the war on terror. (The full 6,000-page report will remain classified for decades.) The summary portrays brutal torture that was also largely counterproductive for intelligence-gathering purposes. It depicts a program so badly managed that the CIA lost count of detainees and on more than one occasion detained and tortured the wrong suspect.
But the most disturbing part of the report might not be the gruesome abuses or the gross incompetence. At least we can hope those are in the past. The biggest problem for the future that the report reveals consists of claims about the ignorance of President George W. Bush (and to a much lesser extent, Vice President Dick Cheney) about key parts of the program.
The report doesn’t describe events in which the White House is known to have been — or almost certainly was — involved in. The report states, for example, that Thailand (which the report refers to as “Detention Site Green” to obscure a widely known fact) “was the last location of a CIA detention facility known to the president or the vice president.” The report also states that the CIA first briefed Bush on interrogation techniques on April 8, 2006. “[T]he president expressed concern,” the report helpfully explains, “about the ‘image of a detainee, chained to the ceiling, clothed in a diaper, and forced to go to the bathroom on himself.’”
In other words, the report leaves the impression that Bush remained ignorant of the goriest details of the torture his administration conducted — for almost two full years after pictures from Abu Ghraib showed abuses just as graphic.
But there are places where the White House’s involvement should be included. For example, when the report discusses how John Yoo, then in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, adopted a “necessity defense” in the 2001 memos finding the torture legal, it says nothing about the role David Addington, Cheney’s counsel, played in the process. That is despite the fact that Addington testified to Congress in 2008 that he helped to put the language about the necessity defense back into the memos. The Senate’s report thus leaves out one event in which Cheney’s office is known to have been involved.
Paul Craig Roberts
Dec. 12, 2014
On occasion a reader will ask if I can give readers some good news. The answer is: not unless I lie to you like “your” government and the mainstream media do. If you want faked “good news,” you need to retreat into The Matrix. In exchange for less stress and worry, you will be led unknowingly into financial ruin and nuclear armageddon.
If you want to be forewarned, and possibly prepared, for what “your” government is bringing you, and have some small chance of redirecting the course of events, read and support this site. It is your site. I already know these things. I write for you.
The neoconservatives, a small group of warmongers strongly allied with the military/industrial complex and Israel, gave us Granada and the Contras affair in Nicaragua. President Reagan fired them, and they were prosecuted, but subsequently pardoned by Reagan’s successor, George H.W. Bush.
Ensconced in think tanks and protected by Israeli and military/security complex money, the neoconservatives reemerged in the Clinton administration and engineered the breakup of Yugoslavia, the war against Serbia, and the expansion of NATO to Russia’s borders.
Neoconservatives dominated the George W. Bush regime. They controlled the Pentagon, the National Security Council, the Office of the Vice President, and much else. Neoconservatives gave us 9/11 and its coverup, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the beginning of the destabilizations of Pakistan and Yemen, the U.S. Africa Command, the invasion of South Ossetia by Georgia, the demise of the anti-ABM Treaty, unconstitutional and illegal spying on American citizens without warrants, loss of constitutional protections, torture, and the unaccountability of the executive branch to law, Congress, and the judiciary. In short, the neoconservatives laid the foundation for dictatorship and for WW III.
Paul Craig Roberts
Dec. 11, 2014
Readers have asked for my take on the CIA torture report. There is so much information and commentary available that it is unnecessary.
Igor Volsky provides a concise summary.
President George W. Bush signed off on torture and then told the gullible people that “this government does not torture people.” The torture was horrific. The CIA even tortured its own informers. Two American psychologists who designed the torture program were paid $81 million.
CIA torturers received cash awards for “consistently superior work” when their innocent victims died.
The US government involved 54 countries in its torture program. The rendition program sent detainees to other countries where they were tortured in secret “black sites.’
Those Americans who committed crimes as horrific as any in history have been given a pass by Obama. No accountability for their crimes. This finishes off the rule of law in America, which was already on life support.
CIA Torture Report Sparks Worldwide Condemnation
Even Nations That Participated Were Shocked How Far It Went
A history of the CIA’s Torture program.
Former president of Poland admits that Poland hosted a CIA torture prison: