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Archive for the ‘history’ Category


Apologies to Washington and Jefferson for posting this one, but they can take it ;)

From Charles Davis at Salon.com:

Terrible findings in the torture report “are not who we are,” John Kerry claims. Well, here’s a U.S. history lesson

America, nation of torturers: Stop saying "this isn't who we are" -- here's the real truth

John Yoo, Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer in “24: Live Another Day,” John Brennan (Credit: AP/Susan Walsh/Fox/Reuters/Larry Downing/Photo collage by Salon)

It’s comforting for those whose actions are not aligned with their stated values to believe that what one does in real life is not what ultimately defines who one really is. It’s nice to think who we are is determined not by the things we did the day before, but by the stated ideals we hope to aspire to fulfill, starting tomorrow. In a nation-state founded by settler-colonial Protestants, the argument is familiar – it’s what’s deep down inside that gets one up into heaven, not the good or genocidal nature of what one does down here on Earth – and as with any half-decent lie, it’s relatable: as fallible human beings, we’d all rather like to believe that we’re not as bad as we are but as good as we say we would like to be.

While founded on the ethnic cleansing of the continent’s original inhabitants and the enslavement of its African workforce, the news – or rather, confirmation – that the CIA employed a revolting range of “enhanced” torture techniques in the wake of 9/11 is being portrayed by some as a vile exception to the United States’ otherwise exceptional history; a “stain on our values and history,” in the words of Senator Dianne Feinstein, whose committee released the report detailing the agency’s use of near-drownings and mock executions and sexual abuse to humiliate and demoralize a foreign “other” under the guise of gathering intelligence. These practices, the terrible things this country has again and again been shown to do, “are not who we are,” addedSecretary of State John Kerry. Indeed, “the awful facts of this report” do not even “represent who they are,” he said of those awful people described in that report (“its important that this period not define the intelligence community in anyone’s mind,” he continued).

“Some of the actions that were taken were contrary to our values,” President Barack Obama chimed in, crediting his government with, as always, correcting its own mistakes (“They aren’t picking up prisoners anymore,” Senator James Risch explained to CNN. “What they do is when they identify a high-value target, the target is droned.”).

As a rhetorical ploy, it’s understandable: Saying the United States has always been garbage is not going to be terribly popular in a nation that still fondly refers to a group of sadistic slave-owners as its “founding fathers” — so politicians savvy enough to know that openly embracing torture is not a good look for the world’s leading state-sponsor of holier-than-thou rhetoric, appeal to a history and set of values that never was and never were in practice, as a way to give political cover to their middling, public relations-minded critiques of the national-security state’s least defensible excesses. It’s entirely false, this narrative of extreme goodness marked by occasional self-correcting imperfection, but it satisfies our national ego to think the American phoenix rises from a store of ethically traded gold, not a pile of rotting trash.

“We will likely hear these false appeals to an imaginary history a great deal with the release of the Senate report on CIA torture,” writes Juan Cole, a history professor at the University of Michigan. But even historians can fall victim to America’s easier to digest mythology, with Cole proceeding to characterize the ugly truth about the United States – that it was founded on the “exaltation of ‘whiteness’ over universal humanity, and preference for property rights over human rights” – as but a right-wing lie. As he tells it, the likes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were actually progressives who would almost certainly “have voted to release the report and . . . been completely appalled at its contents.”

Cole follows that assertion up with a list of things that some of these founding fathers said they believed: Jefferson, for instance, argued that the formal abolition of torture in the French legal system was in keeping with “the progress of philanthropy and civilization.” And the Bill of Rights of course prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment.” But, naggingly, the actual record of those who gave those nice speeches and drafted the Constitution suggests we shouldn’t just believe what they said and wrote down.

“Fascists will argue that the Constitution does not apply to captured foreign prisoners of war, or that the prisoners were not even P.O.W.s, having been captured out of uniform,” writes Cole. “But focusing on the category of the prisoner is contrary to the spirit of the founding fathers.”

Except, it isn’t at all – and if fascism is denying human rights on the basis of nationality or appearance, than the exalted founders were of course fascists themselves. The same document that ostensibly prohibits torture also defined an African slave as three-fifths of a person – and even then, only for purposes of bolstering the political power of those who enslaved them: in practice, they were treated as property whose master could torture or murder them with impunity. This is not pedantry: Hundreds of thousands of people were denied their ostensibly inalienable rights because of the color of their skin; nearly four million by the time of the Civil War, or almost half the population of the South.

Thomas Jefferson, for instance, may have agonized over the evil of slavery, usually in private, but then he also reputedly raped a 15-year-old he owned and, according to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, paid $70 just so he could have a runaway slave he had already sold off to someone else “severely flogged in the presence of his old companions.” At least once, Jefferson even“ordered the destruction of all dogs belonging to his slaves,” according to researcher Mary V. Thompson. “At least one of the condemned dogs was hung as a disciplinary warning.”

Jefferson was a savage white supremacist who in practice if not always in speech believed that people of color (“slaves” and “savages” as they were known then; “thugs” and “terrorists” as they’re often called today) did not deserve all the same rights as wealthy white Americans like him; he could own them, but they could not even own a pet. The sometimes beautiful talk of universal rights popular around the time of the American revolution was ignored in practice; then as now there were giant exceptions for those whom it would be inconvenient to consider fully human.

Torture has always been commonplace in the United States. As former slave Harriet Ann Jacobs recounted, a wealthy slaveholder who was “highly educated, and styled a perfect gentleman,” tied up a fellow slave to a cotton gin for four days and five nights as punishment for running away; he “was found partly eaten by rats and vermin,” which had likely “gnawed him before life was extinct.” His body was unceremoniously dumped in a grave. “Women are considered of no value,” Jacobs recalled – “This same master shot a woman through the head” for running away, without harm to his social status (“the feeling was that the master had a right to do what he pleased with his own property”) – and any man who resisted a whipping risked being set upon by dogs “to tear his flesh from his bones.”

“I do not say there are no humane slaveholders,” Jacobs concluded her account. “Such characters do exist . . . . But they are ‘like angels’ visits – few and far between.’” And Africans weren’t the only ones denied the rights enjoyed by human property-owning white men.

“The kind of warfare the U.S. military practices today in the rest of the world was developed in their irregular counter-insurgency against Native nations, starting in the British colonial period for sure, but developing uniquely and more harshly once the U.S. was independent with a policy of conquering the continent,” said historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. “The important thing to stress about the use of torture,” she told me, “is that it is unrelated to ‘getting information.’ Torture is used in counterinsurgency to terrorize a population . . . [it’s] a preventative measure to suppress resistance by terrifying the insurgents, breaking their will to continue.” And America has a long, ignoble history of doing it.

In her most recent book, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, notes that British colonists in America organized militias in order to steal land from the less-than-human natives, seeking “to disrupt every aspect of resistance as well as to obtain intelligence” by taking prisoners, “destroying indigenous villages and fields and intimidating and slaughtering enemy noncombatant populations.” A settler named Hannah Dustin became a folk hero in 17th century America after presenting 10 indigenous scalps to the Massachusetts General Assembly, which rewarded her “with bounties for two men, two women, and six children” (later on, the bounties were eliminated for indigenous children under the age of 10; “values”).

Seeking to expand his young nation-state’s territory, President George Washington concluded that, “No other remedy remains, but to extirpate, utterly if possible,” the indigenous population that stood in the white settlers’ way. Andrew Jackson personally waged total war against the men, women and children of the Muskogee Nation before becoming president and ethnically cleansing all native peoples East of the Mississippi; today the guy’s face is on the $20 bill. At Sand Creek, during the presidency of Abe Lincoln, dozens of unarmed Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians were massacred. “All manner of depredations were inflicted on their persons,” recountedone eyewitness. “They were scalped, their brains knocked out; the men used their knives, ripped open women, clubbed little children, knocked them in the head with their guns, beat their brains out, mutilated their bodies in every sense of the word.”

Instead of renouncing this history, we have chosen to celebrate a mythical, white-washed version of it, with genocide relegated to a footnote. If our leaders were more honest, they’d admit that the CIA’s recently revealed torture isn’t a break from this legacy, but the fruit of it – the product of decades of dehumanizing counter-insurgency warfare that expanded the USA from 13 colonies on the East Coast to much of North America and, ultimately, a global empire (it’s no coincidence that the code-name for Osama bin Laden was “Geronimo,” taken from the famed Apache leader).

After almost wiping out America’s original inhabitants, the U.S. government went on to declare total war on differently pigmented people around the globe. President Woodrow Wilson re-instituted slavery (or “forced labor”) in Haiti after its political class proved insufficiently compliant, his famed commitment to the right of self-determination not extending to those darker than pasty white. In Vietnam, the CIA’s “Phoenix Program” saw those accused of collaborating with the North Vietnamese subjected to “assassination, kidnapping, and systematic torture,”according to historian Douglas Valentine. Inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were raped and murdered. And today, amid official proclamations that we live in a post-torture age, inmates held in Guantanamo Bay – many of whom could never even go to a show trial because insofar as there’s any real evidence against them it was gained through torture – continue to be subjected to torturous force-feedings that have been condemned by the United Nations.

The abuse, exported across Latin America through the torture-training School of the Americas, also continues here at home, with tens of thousands of black and brown and poor white US citizens currently languishing in mind-destroying solitary confinement, California’s Pelican Bay State Prison alone holding over 500 people in isolation for a decade or more. In Chicago, a cop who electrocuted and otherwise tortured more than 200 people until they confessed to crimes they didn’t do, got off with about 3 years behind bars after the evidence of his sadism became too great to ignore; that’s less prison time than if he had been caught with a gram of crack cocaine.

Pointing all this out – noting that the U.S. government has rarely lived up to its stated ideals – is not to engage in mere pedantry, nor is it an attempt to suggest this country is irredeemably evil. This nation was born in genocide and slavery, sure, still it could conceivably change – but only if, instead of ignoring the institutionalized injustice, we recognizing and call out the systemic cause of the alleged “aberrations” our leaders are forced to distance themselves from every 18 months. The problem is not that the tree of liberty has produced a few bad seeds, but that the settler-colonists who planted it on someone else’s land watered it with blood of slaves and native peoples. It’s not George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who are responsible for making America a state that tortures, but George Washington and that other dick Tom Jefferson.

Avoiding the routine departure from “our values” requires confronting our actual history; it’s the only way to learn from it. Torture and total war are not the work of a few bad people, but the product of a system that from its inception treated human beings as property and the right to property as more important than the rights of women and men – it’s who we are, and if we want the violence wrought by our system to end, we must honestly address the systemic cause. The paeans to our imagined greatness might be comforting, we should resist the temptation to out-patriot the right or else we’ll end up just like them: doing public relations for the system that allows this evil to keep happening. And if humanity ever does manage to kick the habit of installing the worst among us at the top of hierarchical and unaccountable systems of power, history may very well judge us by our actions, not our pretty words and beautifully articulated aspirations.

 

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14 Sites in Cuba

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New polls show that – even after the Senate torture report showed that torture is unnecessary and doesn’t work – Americans still think torture is necessary and works.

Why?

Because they still don’t know the truth … because the mainstream media has hidden it from them. Specifically, Americans still believe that torture works to produce helpful intelligence that helps keep us safe.

Americans wouldn’t support torture if they knew the following facts, proven beyond any doubt:

They have, from the beginning, been trying to prevent an investigation into war crimes.

  • The detainees held up as “poster boy” justifications for torture actually prove the opposite

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/12/americans-support-torture-dont-know.html

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Jon Stewart spent the first segment of tonight’s Daily Show diving into a former vice president’s Meet the Press appearance and asking, “Is Dick Cheney a righteous warrior or a psychopath?” Stewart called Cheney the “best-slash-worst” on this particular issue, and mocked him for setting the nation’s moral bar pretty low by defining the event of 9/11 as torture that the U.S. has not sank to.

And what amazed Stewart is how after all these years, Cheney is “impervious to doubt” and the thought that maybe any of what he says is “complete bullshit.”

Stewart concluded, “George W. Bush, thank you for not dying while you were in office.”

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Abby Martin talks to Laurel Krause, co-founder of the Kent State Truth Tribunal about the Kent State massacre cover-up 43 years on, and the news that the UN Human Rights Council will be looking into the US government’s actions on that day.

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Whether a tyranny labels itself as communism, fascism. dictatorship, monarchy, they all fall under the umbrella of despotism. How can we tell if our nation of liberty and civil rights is sliding towards a system run by despots? Knowing the signs are critical, especially when they are happening all around us.

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Before Obama made his Amnesty speech last Thursday I thought of The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe. One brick after another sealed the fate of an unsuspecting murder victim in Poe’s classic mystery story. We could all benefit if we began to interpret every action of the New World Order as part of an elaborate step by step scheme to kill the majority of Americans and to reduce the remaining survivors to Debt Slavery.

We need to define the term NWO before we explain their plans to exterminate at least 5 to 6 billion people. I guarantee you that many of those billions of human beings look a lot like you and me. Some of us might even be on the US government’s secretive Main Core list of people to be Disappeared the night before Bankers see people with pitchforks in the streets. This means that the Bankers only have to be worried that you might become justifiably be angry after they steal all of your pensions, savings and investments while inflating prices and cutting your wages 50 to 60%.

In 2007 a Swiss study at the Federal Institute of Technology revealed that 20% of all international trade was controlled by 147 corporations. These companies share Board of Director members. These companies include the Too Big To Jail Banks, the top insurers, the major Arms suppliers, major oil companies, the Pharmaceutical giants, some major industrial and High Tech corporations and that especially vile entity  known as Monsanto.

David Rothkopf, a Kissinger associate, wrote Superclass. He said the West is run by 30 Families and their 6,000 Minions.

Sir Evelyn de Rothschild and David Rockefeller founded both the Bilderberg Society and the Trilateral Commission. America had an election once in which there were two major party candidates and one independent running for President. The Republican was a member of the Bilderberg Society headed by Sir Evelyn de Rothschild in Europe and by David Rockefeller in North America. The Democrat was a member of the Trilateral Commission headed by David Rockefeller in North America and by Sir Evelyn de Rothschild in Europe. And for those who felt like rebellion there was the Independent candidate who was a member of the Trilateral Commission headed by David Rockefeller in North America and by Sir Evelyn de Rothschild in Europe.

The Bilderberg Society has an annual meeting at which Tech Giants, oil companies, Banks, insurance companies, Arms Suppliers and others get together with politicians like Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, Tony Blair and miscellaneous slithery operatives like Richard Perle to discuss issues in private. The Bilderberg Steering Committee has an agenda prepared in advance which is given them from representatives of the 30 Families and their primary Minions. Richard Perle was the architect of both the invasion of Iraq and of Obama’s proxy wars against Libya and Syria. Perle is a member of the Bilderberg Steering Committee.

The agenda is given to the Bilderberg meeting by the Steering Committee. It is discussed until consensus is reached and the participants agree to implement it over the coming year.

Every candidate for President since 1988 has had direct history as a CIA asset as well as membership in either the Trilateral Commission or the Bilderberg Society with one exception. That would be George W Bush whose father was the Executive Director of the Trilateral Commission and a CIA Director. In his case blood lines count. Robin Cook was Labour Foreign Secretary under Tony Blair before the Iraq war. He and Blair concluded that George Bush was not the real President of the United States. Dick Cheney and Henry Kissinger ran Bush’s administration for the 30 Families.

Henry Kissinger who is a member of both the Bilderberg Society and the Trilateral Commission said, ‘Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.’

His counterpart in the Democrat party is Zbigniew Brzezinski. He has been a longtime mentor of Barack Obama. He said, ‘It is infinitely easier to kill a million people than to control a million people.’

Barack Obama is a Teleprompter Reader. He is no more President of the United States than was George W Bush.

Obama is America’s Destroyer in Chief. Amnesty will bankrupt America and drive crime through the roof. The illegal aliens he allowed into the country have become burdens to local taxpayers. They demand services and produce no tax revenue. They have burdened us with Enterovirus D68, active Tuberculosis, Giardia, scabies and other diseases.

Even if they do find work, the illegal aliens will need enormous subsidies in Food Stamps, housing, education and healthcare. Employers might be inclined to hire them and to fire the Native Born because Obamacare offers them $3,000 in healthcare subsidies per illegal alien. The elderly in America are forced to continue working because their pensions and retirement funds are evaporating. What happens to them when when men and women in their 60s have to compete against 20 year-olds who come with Obamacare subsidies for their employers?

We are told that as many as 40% of the jobs the illegal aliens came to do will disappear in 15 years. So just exactly what will that 8 year-old boy from Guatemala do when he turns 23?

Obama under Open Borders has allowed career criminals to enter the US. He has allowed juveniles with Gang Tattoos to cross the border even if they told Border Patrol they killed people back home. Obama gave them bus tickets to their destination of choice. The FBI did a Gang survey in 2011. They found that the US had 1.4 million Gang Members and their numbers were growing at 40% every 4 years. That meant we could expect 1,960,000 Gang Members in 2015 even without Open Borders. The majority of Gang Members  are Spanish speaking.

They are for the most part first or second generation illegal aliens. MS-13 is a Central American Gang that works as foot soldiers for the Sinaloa drug cartel. They are also allied with the Mexican Mafia which runs the Mexican gangs inside the California state prisons. The Sinaloa Cartel is a primary ally of the CIA.

Mexico has killed 130,000 people in their gang wars. In Mexico the Drug Cartels kill honest cops and reporters. Open Borders means that we will have more than 2 million Gang Bangers to lead the way when the Dollar Dies. The Drug Gangs will be organizing Nationwide Food Riots. They will be using their best soldiers to raid pharmacies, gun shops and National Guard Armories. The Drug Cartels have already made Death Lists of American cops they deem to be excessively courageous and honest. When the time is right, they will go down those Death Lists until the America you knew ceases to exist.

The major Mexican Cartels have close working relationships with the CIA which flies drugs into the US by the plane load and sells them guns. The US banks launder their drug money. Without the cooperation of the Banks the Drug Cartels would be out of business. Big Banks launder a trillion dollars a year in illegal drugs and weapons. They also launder $500 billion in political bribes internationally.

Russian Jewish gangs have been operating out of Mexico City in close cooperation with the Mexican Gangs so we have come full circle. The Opium business replaced the African slave trade. 90% of the ships involved in that trade were Jewish owned. His Majesty’s Jewish Government waged two Opium Wars against China to expand the Opium trade which had replaced slavery as a money maker.

The Race Riots in Ferguson Missouri were the work of the Department of Justice and the people brought in from around the country to stir things up. One veteran fireman pointed out that those fires in Ferguson were set by professionally trained arsonists. The fires were designed to burn businesses to the ground before the fires could be put out. The National Guard seems to have been held back on the first night so organized rioters could shoot at firemen and other first responders. Attorney General Eric Holder had called the Governor and asked him to restrain the National Guard.

That these businesses had been employing black people is of no concern either to Eric Holder or to Barack Obama.

Eric Holder is a law partner at Covington and Burling. When his fellow partner Lanny Breuer retired from the DOJ as head of its powerful Criminal Investigation Division, he made $4 million a year back at their old firm. Why so much? That is $2,000 an hour after expenses for a 2,000 hour work year. Covington and Burling receives monthly retainers of $50,000 to $100,000 from every Too Big To Jail Bank in the country.

We have come full circle from the Race Riots to the Drug Cartels and the Banks. The self-appointed elite decided to take down America as we are the center of what is left of the resistance to the New World Order.

This is a Death Match. The Foundations have done numerous studies in which they conclude they only need a billion or so of us to work to support them. The Georgia Guidestones say they only need 500 million commoners.

That means they want 6 billion or more of us common folk to die.

At some point, if we are to survive, we will have to learn to say No. Until that day the NWO will add one brick after another to America’s Wall of Doom.

http://vidrebel.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/amnesty-one-brick-in-americas-wall-of-doom-race-riots-another/

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The Big Story Torture Everyone Is Missing

While the torture report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee is very important, it doesn’t address the big scoop regarding torture.

Instead, it is the Senate Armed Services Committee’s report that dropped the big bombshell regarding the U.S.  torture program.

Senator Levin, commenting on a Armed Services Committee’s report on torture in 2009, explained:

The techniques are based on tactics used by Chinese Communists against American soldiers during the Korean War for the purpose of eliciting FALSE confessions for propaganda purposes. Techniques used in SERE training include stripping trainees of their clothing, placing them in stress positions, putting hoods over their heads, subjecting them to face and body slaps, depriving them of sleep, throwing them up against a wall, confining them in a small box, treating them like animals, subjecting them to loud music and flashing lights, and exposing them to extreme temperatures [and] waterboarding.

McClatchy filled in important details:

Former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that the interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration

For most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabiandothers had told them were there.”

Holiday Gift Baskets – Chocolate Covered Almonds Gift Tin – 40 oz.

It was during this period that CIA interrogators waterboarded two alleged top al Qaida detainees repeatedly — Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times in August 2002 and Khalid Sheik Muhammed 183 times in March 2003 — according to a newly released Justice Department document…

When people kept coming up empty, they were told by Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people to push harder,” he continued.”  Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people were told repeatedly, by CIA . . . and by others, that there wasn’t any reliable intelligence that pointed to operational ties between bin Laden and Saddam . . .

A former U.S. Army psychiatrist, Maj. Charles Burney, told Army investigators in 2006 that interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility were under “pressure” to produce evidence of ties between al Qaida and Iraq.

“While we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq,” Burney told staff of the Army Inspector General. “The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link . . . there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.”

“I think it’s obvious that the administration was scrambling then to try to find a connection, a link (between al Qaida and Iraq),” [Senator] Levin said in a conference call with reporters. “They made out links where they didn’t exist.”

Levin recalled Cheney’s assertions that a senior Iraqi intelligence officer had met Mohammad Atta, the leader of the 9/11 hijackers, in the Czech Republic capital of Prague just months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The FBI and CIA found that no such meeting occurred.

The Washington Post reported the same year:

Despite what you’ve seen on TV, torture is really only good at one thing: eliciting false confessions. Indeed, Bush-era torture techniques, we now know, were cold-bloodedly modeled after methods used by Chinese Communists to extract confessions from captured U.S. servicemen that they could then use for propaganda during the Korean War.

So as shocking as the latest revelation in a new Senate Armed Services Committee report may be, it actually makes sense — in a nauseating way. The White House started pushing the use of torture not when faced with a “ticking time bomb” scenario from terrorists, but when officials in 2002 were desperately casting about for ways to tie Iraq to the 9/11 attacks — in order to strengthen their public case for invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 at all.

***

Gordon Trowbridge writes for the Detroit News: “Senior Bush administration officials pushed for the use of abusive interrogations of terrorism detainees in part to seek evidence to justify the invasion of Iraq, according to newly declassified information discovered in a congressional probe.

Indeed, one of the two senior instructors from the Air Force team which taught U.S. servicemen how to resist torture by foreign governments when used to extract false confessions has blown the whistle on the true purpose behind the U.S. torture program.

As Truthout reported:

Jessen’s notes were provided to Truthout by retired Air Force Capt. Michael Kearns, a “master” SERE instructor and decorated veteran who has previously held high-ranking positions within the Air Force Headquarters Staff and Department of Defense (DoD).

***

The Jessen notes clearly state the totality of what was being reverse-engineered – not just ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ but an entire program of exploitation of prisoners using torture as a central pillar,” he said. “What I think is important to note, as an ex-SERE Resistance to Interrogation instructor, is the focus of Jessen’s instruction. It is EXPLOITATION, not specifically interrogation. And this is not a picayune issue, because if one were to ‘reverse-engineer’ a course on resistance to exploitation then what one would get is a plan to exploit prisoners, not interrogate them. The CIA/DoD torture program appears to have the same goals as the terrorist organizations or enemy governments for which SV-91 and other SERE courses were created to defend against: the full exploitation of the prisoner in his intelligence, propaganda, or other needs held by the detaining power, such as the recruitment of informers and double agents. Those aspects of the US detainee program have not generally been discussed as part of the torture story in the American press.”

In a subsequent report, Truthout notes:

Air Force Col. Steven Kleinman, a career military intelligence officer recognized as one of the DOD’s most effective interrogators as well a former SERE instructor and director of intelligence for JPRA’s teaching academy, said ….  “This is the guidebook to getting false confessions, a system drawn specifically from the communist interrogation model that was used to generate propaganda rather than intelligence”  …. “If your goal is to obtain useful and reliable information this is not the source book you should be using.”

Interrogators also forced detainees to take drugs … which further impaired their ability to tell the truth.

And one of the two main architects of the torture program admitted this week on camera:

You can get people to say anything to stop harsh interrogations if you apply them in a way that does that.

And false confessions were, in fact, extracted.

For example:

And the 9/11 Commission Report was largely based on a third-hand account of what tortured detainees said, with two of the three parties in the communication being government employees. And the government went to great lengths to obstruct justice and hide unflattering facts from the Commission.

According to NBC News:

  • Much of the 9/11 Commission Report was based upon the testimony of people who were tortured
  • At least four of the people whose interrogation figured in the 9/11 Commission Report have claimed that they told interrogators information as a way to stop being “tortured.”
  • The 9/11 Commission itself doubted the accuracy of the torture confessions, and yet kept their doubts to themselves

Details here.

Today,

Today, Raymond McGovern – a 27-year CIA veteran, who chaired National Intelligence Estimates and personally delivered intelligence briefings to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, their Vice Presidents, Secretaries of State, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and many other senior government officials – writes at former Newsweek and AP reporter Robert Parry’s website:

But if it’s bad intelligence you’re after, torture works like a charm. If, for example, you wish to “prove,” post 9/11, that “evil dictator” Saddam Hussein was in league with al-Qaeda and might arm the terrorists with WMD, bring on the torturers.

It is a highly cynical and extremely sad story, but many Bush administration policymakers wanted to invade Iraq before 9/11 and thus were determined to connect Saddam Hussein to those attacks. The PR push began in September 2002 – or as Bush’s chief of staff Andrew Card put it, “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.”

By March 2003 – after months of relentless “marketing” – almost 70 percent of Americans had been persuaded that Saddam Hussein was involved in some way with the attacks of 9/11.

The case of Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, a low-level al-Qaeda operative, is illustrative of how this process worked. Born in Libya in 1963, al-Libi ran an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan from 1995 to 2000. He was detained in Pakistan on Nov. 11, 2001, and then sent to a U.S. detention facility in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He was deemed a prize catch, since it was thought he would know of any Iraqi training of al-Qaeda.

The CIA successfully fought off the FBI for first rights to interrogate al-Libi. FBI’s Dan Coleman, who “lost” al-Libi to the CIA (at whose orders, I wonder?), said, “Administration officials were always pushing us to come up with links” between Iraq and al-Qaeda.

CIA interrogators elicited some “cooperation” from al-Libi through a combination of rough treatment and threats that he would be turned over to Egyptian intelligence with even greater experience in the torture business.

By June 2002, al-Libi had told the CIA that Iraq had “provided” unspecified chemical and biological weapons training for two al-Qaeda operatives, an allegation that soon found its way into other U.S. intelligence reports. Al-Libi’s treatment improved as he expanded on his tales about collaboration between al-Qaeda and Iraq, adding that three al-Qaeda operatives had gone to Iraq “to learn about nuclear weapons.”

Al-Libi’s claim was well received at the White House even though the Defense Intelligence Agency was suspicious.

“He lacks specific details” about the supposed training, the DIA observed. “It is possible he does not know any further details; it is more likely this individual is intentionally misleading the debriefers. Ibn al-Shaykh has been undergoing debriefs for several weeks and may be describing scenarios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their interest.”

Meanwhile, at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, Maj. Paul Burney, a psychiatrist sent there in summer 2002, told the Senate, “A large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al-Qaeda and Iraq and we were not successful. The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link … there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.”

Just What the Doctor Ordered

President Bush relied on al-Libi’s false Iraq allegation for a major speech in Cincinnati on Oct. 7, 2002, just a few days before Congress voted on the Iraq War resolution. Bush declared, “We’ve learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and deadly gases.”

And Colin Powell relied on it for his famous speech to the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003, declaring: “I can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these [chemical and biological] weapons to al-Qaeda. Fortunately, this operative is now detained, and he has told his story.”

Al-Libi’s “evidence” helped Powell as he sought support for what he ended up calling a “sinister nexus” between Iraq and al-Qaeda, in the general effort to justify invading Iraq.

For a while, al-Libi was practically the poster boy for the success of the Cheney/Bush torture regime; that is, until he publicly recanted and explained that he only told his interrogators what he thought would stop the torture.

You see, despite his cooperation, al-Libi was still shipped to Egypt where he underwent more abuse, according to a declassified CIA cable from early 2004 when al-Libi recanted his earlier statements. The cable reported that al-Libi said Egyptian interrogators wanted information about al-Qaeda’s connections with Iraq, a subject “about which [al-Libi] said he knew nothing and had difficulty even coming up with a story.”

According to the CIA cable, al-Libi said his interrogators did not like his responses and “placed him in a small box” for about 17 hours. After he was let out of the box, al-Libi was given a last chance to “tell the truth.” When his answers still did not satisfy, al-Libi says he “was knocked over with an arm thrust across his chest and fell on his back” and then was “punched for 15 minutes.”

After Al-Libi recanted, the CIA recalled all intelligence reports based on his statements, a fact recorded in a footnote to the report issued by the 9/11 Commission. By then, however, the Bush administration had gotten its way regarding the invasion of Iraq and the disastrous U.S. occupation was well underway.

***

Intensive investigations into these allegations – after the U.S. military had conquered Iraq – failed to turn up any credible evidence to corroborate these allegations. What we do know is that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were bitter enemies, with al-Qaeda considering the secular Hussein an apostate to Islam.

Al-Libi, who ended up in prison in Libya, reportedly committed suicide shortly after he was discovered there by a human rights organization. Thus, the world never got to hear his own account of the torture that he experienced and the story that he presented and then recanted.

Hafed al-Ghwell, a Libyan-American and a prominent critic of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime at the time of al-Libi’s death, explained to Newsweek, “This idea of committing suicide in your prison cell is an old story in Libya.”

Paul Krugman eloquently summarized the truth about the torture used:

Let’s say this slowly: the Bush administration wanted to use 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. So it tortured people to make them confess to the nonexistent link.

There’s a word for this: it’s evil.

Torture Program Was Part of a Con Job

As discussed above, in order to “justify” the Iraq war, top Bush administration officials pushed and insisted that interrogators use special torture methods aimed at extracting false confessions to attempt to create a false linkage between between Al Qaida and Iraq. And see this and this.

But this effort started earlier …

5 hours after the 9/11 attacks, Donald Rumsfeld said “my interest is to hit Saddam”.

He also said “Go massive . . . Sweep it all up. Things related and not.”

And at 2:40 p.m. on September 11th, in a memorandum of discussions between top administration officials, several lines below the statement “judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. [that is, Saddam Hussein] at same time”, is the statement “Hard to get a good case.” In other words, top officials knew that there wasn’t a good case that Hussein was behind 9/11, but they wanted to use the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to justify war with Iraq anyway.

Moreover, “Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the [9/11] attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda”.

And a Defense Intelligence Terrorism Summary issued in February 2002 by the United States Defense Intelligence Agency cast significant doubt on the possibility of a Saddam Hussein-al-Qaeda conspiracy.

And yet Bush, Cheney and other top administration officials claimed repeatedly for years that Saddam was behind 9/11. See this analysis. Indeed, Bush administration officials apparently swore in a lawsuit that Saddam was behind 9/11.

Moreover, President Bush’s March 18, 2003 letter to Congress authorizing the use of force against Iraq, includes the following paragraph:

(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

Therefore, the Bush administration expressly justified the Iraq war to Congress by representing that Iraq planned, authorized, committed, or aided the 9/11 attacks.

Indeed, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind reports that the White House ordered the CIA to forge and backdate a document falsely linking Iraq with Muslim terrorists and 9/11 … and that the CIA complied with those instructions and in fact created the forgery, which was then used to justify war against Iraq. And see this.

Suskind also revealed that “Bush administration had information from a top Iraqi intelligence official ‘that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – intelligence they received in plenty of time to stop an invasion.’ ”

Cheney made the false linkage between Iraq and 9/11 on many occasions.

For example, according to Raw Story, Cheney was still alleging a connection between Iraq and the alleged lead 9/11 hijacker in September 2003 – a year after it had been widely debunked. When NBC’s Tim Russert asked him about a poll showing that 69% of Americans believed Saddam Hussein had been involved in 9/11, Cheney replied:

It’s not surprising that people make that connection.

And even after the 9/11 Commission debunked any connection, Cheney said that the evidence is “overwhelming” that al Qaeda had a relationship with Saddam Hussein’s regime , that Cheney “probably” had information unavailable to the Commission, and that the media was not ‘doing their homework’ in reporting such ties.

Again, the Bush administration expressly justified the Iraq war by representing that Iraq planned, authorized, committed, or aided the 9/11 attacks. See this, this, this.

Even then-CIA director George Tenet said that the White House wanted to invade Iraq long before 9/11, and inserted “crap” in its justifications for invading Iraq.

Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill – who sat on the National Security Council – also says that Bush planned the Iraq war before 9/11.

Top British officials say that the U.S. discussed Iraq regime change even before Bush took office.

And in 2000, Cheney said a Bush administration might “have to take military action to forcibly remove Saddam from power.” And see this.

The administration’s false claims about Saddam and 9/11 helped convince a large portion of the American public to support the invasion of Iraq. While the focus now may be on false WMD claims, it is important to remember that, at the time, the alleged link between Iraq and 9/11 was at least as important in many people’s mind as a reason to invade Iraq.

So the torture program was really all about “justifying” the ultimate war crime:  launching an unnecessary war of aggression based upon false pretenses.

Postscript:   It is beyond any real dispute that torture does not work to produce any useful, truthful intelligence.  Today, the following question made it to the front page of Reddit:

Why would the CIA torture if torture “doesn’t work”? Wouldn’t they want the most effective tool to gather intelligence?

The Senate Armed Services Committee report gave the answer.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/12/doesnt-mainstream-media-discuss-torture-issue.html
Sam's Club Merry Monday - 12/15

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Who Is The True Israel?


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How can we express the terrible shock we have felt from the proven fact that our government is using torture? How can we express what so many of us are thinking—that it is absolutely appalling to know that our representatives are implementing barbaric instruments of torture as policy? How do we express our moral outrage?

Perhaps more importantly, how do we begin to take steps towards ending this heinous crime?

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The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday released a long-awaited report on CIA interrogation tactics deployed by the George W. Bush administration in the years after the September 11 attack.

Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) emphasized that the CIA’s interrogation techniques, including torture, did not lead to any valuable intelligence.

“At no time did the CIA’s coercive interrogation techniques lead to the collection of imminent threat intelligence, such as the hypothetical ‘ticking time bomb’ information that many believe was the justification for the use of these techniques.”

The report also found that the CIA lied about the effectiveness of torture, misleading both the government and the public.

“The study details how the CIA used inaccurate information to obtain legal and policy approval to use the CIA’s ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’” Feinstein said. “The CIA provided inaccurate information to the White House, Congress, the Justice Department, the CIA inspector general, the media, and the American public.”

Also, Feinstein said, the CIA’s management of the program was deeply flawed, and the agency employed personnel who were poorly trained.

“The CIA deployed individuals without relevant training or experience. CIA also deployed officers who had documented personal and professional problems of a serious nature — including histories of violence and abusive treatment of others — that should have called into question their employment, let alone their suitability to participate in the sensitive CIA program.”

And finally, the CIA’s techniques were much more brutal than the agency admitted, the chairwoman said.

“CIA detainees at one detention facility, described as a ‘dungeon,’ were kept in complete darkness and constantly shackled in isolated cells with loud noise or music and only a bucket to use for human waste. Lack of heat at the facility likely contributed to the death of a detainee. At times, detainees were walked around naked and shackled with their hands above their head. At other times, naked detainees were hooded and dragged up and down corridors while being slapped and punched.”

Read the report (PDF) below:

Senate torture report

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/12/here-is-the-senates-500-page-report-on-bush-era-torture/

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‘There are two operant Crowns in England, one being Queen Elizabeth II. Although extremely wealthy, the Queen functions largely in a ceremonial capacity and serves to deflect attention away from the other Crown, who issues her marching orders through their control of the English Parliament.

This other Crown is comprised of a committee of 12 banks headed by the Bank of England (House of Rothschild). They rule the world from the 677-acre, independent sovereign state know as The City of London, or simply ‘The City.

‘ The City is not a part of England, just as Washington D.C., is not a part of the USA.’

Read more: The Top of the Pyramid: The Rothschilds, the British Crown and the Vatican Rule the World

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What happened to Americans?

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