Skip to main content

Home/ Geopolitics Weekly/ Group items tagged US CIA

Rss Feed Group items tagged

Pedro Gonçalves

Mossad 'posed as CIA to recruit fighters' - Middle East - Al Jazeera English - 0 views

  • Agents with Israel's spy agency, Mossad, have posed as CIA agents in operations to recruit members of the Pakistani group Jundallah, according to a report in US-based Foreign Policy magazine.

    Using US dollars and passports, the agents passed themselves off as members of the US Central Intelligence Agency in the operations, according to memos from 2007 and 2008, said the report which was published on Friday.

    It is unclear whether the recruitment programme is ongoing.

  • "Israel has done this before. I know of a report very widely accepted in the US of Israeli Mossad agents in the United States, actually recruiting American Muslims," Mark Perry, who authored the report, told Al Jazeera.
  • Jundallah [which translates to "soldiers of God"] says it is fighting for the interests of Iran's southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan province's large ethnic Baluch community, whose members, unlike most Iranians, mainly follow the Sunni branch of Islam.

    The Baluch straddle the border with neighbouring Pakistan and Afghanistan and Jundallah fighters have taken advantage of the unrest in the region to find safe haven in the border area.

  • ...2 more annotations...
  • According to the US government, the group is responsible for targeting Iranian government officials and killing Iranian women and children, Foreign Policy said.

    In July it claimed responsibility for attacking the Grand Mosque in Sistan-Baluchistan capital of Zahedan, reportedly targeting members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards Corps, killing 28 people.

  • Tensions in the US-Iran relationship have also spiked, most recently following the car-bombing of an Iranian nuclear scientist.

    Foreign Policy, however, said there was no evidence of a link between the scientist's killing and Jundallah.

Pedro Gonçalves

Iran says it has evidence U.S. behind scientist's killing | Reuters - 0 views

  • "We have reliable documents and evidence that this terrorist act was planned, guided and supported by the CIA," the Iranian foreign ministry said in a letter handed to the Swiss ambassador in Tehran, state TV reported.

    "The documents clearly show that this terrorist act was carried out with the direct involvement of CIA-linked agents."

  • State TV said a "letter of condemnation" had also been sent to the British government, saying the killing of Iranian nuclear scientists had "started exactly after the British official John Sawers declared the beginning of intelligence operations against Iran."
  • In 2010, chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service Sawers said one of the agency's roles was to investigate efforts by states to build nuclear weapons in violation of their international legal obligations and identify ways to slow down their access to vital materials and technology.
Pedro Gonçalves

Poland admits role in CIA rendition programme | World news | guardian.co.uk - 0 views

  • The Polish authorities have for the first time admitted their involvement in the CIA's secret programme for the rendition of high-level terrorist suspects from Iraq and Afghanistan, it emerged today.
  • The Polish authorities have for the first time admitted their involvement in the CIA's secret programme for the rendition of high-level terrorist suspects from Iraq and Afghanistan, it emerged today.

    After years of stonewalling, Warsaw's air control service confirmed that at least six CIA flights had landed at a disused military air base in northern Poland in 2003.

Pedro Gonçalves

CIA doctors face human experimentation claims | World news | guardian.co.uk - 0 views

  • Doctors and psychologists the CIA employed to monitor its "enhanced interrogation" of terror suspects came close to, and may even have committed, unlawful human experimentation, a medical ethics watchdog has alleged.
  • The most incendiary accusation of PHR's latest report, Aiding Torture, is that doctors actively monitored the CIA's interrogation techniques with a view to determining their effectiveness, using detainees as human subjects without their consent. The report concludes that such data gathering was "a practice that approaches unlawful experimentation".
  • In April, a leaked report from the International Committee of the Red Cross found that medical staff employed by the CIA had been present during waterboarding, and had even used what appeared to be a pulse oxymeter, placed on the prisoner's finger to monitor his oxygen saturation during the procedure
Pedro Gonçalves

CIA Had Secret Al Qaeda Plan - WSJ.com - 0 views

  • A secret Central Intelligence Agency initiative terminated by Director Leon Panetta was an attempt to carry out a 2001 presidential authorization to capture or kill al Qaeda operatives, according to former intelligence officials familiar with the matter.
  • According to current and former government officials, the agency spent money on planning and possibly some training. It was acting on a 2001 presidential legal pronouncement, known as a finding, which authorized the CIA to pursue such efforts. The initiative hadn't become fully operational at the time Mr. Panetta ended it.
  • In 2001, the CIA also examined the subject of targeted assassinations of al Qaeda leaders, according to three former intelligence officials. It appears that those discussions tapered off within six months. It isn't clear whether they were an early part of the CIA initiative that Mr. Panetta stopped.
  • ...7 more annotations...
  • Amid the high alert following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a small CIA unit examined the potential for targeted assassinations of al Qaeda operatives, according to the three former officials. The Ford administration had banned assassinations in the response to investigations into intelligence abuses in the 1970s. Some officials who advocated the approach were seeking to build teams of CIA and military Special Forces commandos to emulate what the Israelis did after the Munich Olympics terrorist attacks, said another former intelligence official.
  • "It was straight out of the movies," one of the former intelligence officials said. "It was like: Let's kill them all."
  • Also in September 2001, as CIA operatives were preparing for an offensive in Afghanistan, officials drafted cables that would have authorized assassinations of specified targets on the spot.
  • One draft cable, later scrapped, authorized officers on the ground to "kill on sight" certain al Qaeda targets, according to one person who saw it. The context of the memo suggested it was designed for the most senior leaders in al Qaeda, this person said.

    Eventually Mr. Bush issued the finding that authorized the capturing of several top al Qaeda leaders, and allowed officers to kill the targets if capturing proved too dangerous or risky.

  • Lawmakers first learned specifics of the CIA initiative the day after Mr. Panetta did, when he briefed them on it for 45 minutes
  • On Sunday, lawmakers criticized the Bush administration's decision not to tell Congress. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, hinted that the Bush administration may have broken the law by not telling Congress.
  • Ms. Feinstein said Mr. Panetta told the lawmakers that Mr. Cheney had ordered that the information be withheld from Congress. Mr. Cheney on Sunday couldn't be reached for comment through former White House aides.
Pedro Gonçalves

BBC NEWS | Americas | Bin Laden 'is still in Pakistan' - 0 views

  • Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden is still hiding in Pakistan, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Leon Panetta has said.
Pedro Gonçalves

BBC NEWS | Americas | US intelligence nominee withdraws - 0 views

  • US President Barack Obama's choice for a top intelligence job has withdrawn after questions about his experience of CIA interrogation techniques.

    Phillip Mudd worked for the CIA under former President George W Bush.

  • Earlier this year President Obama nominated him to be Under Secretary of Intelligence at the Department of Homeland Security.
Argos Media

Bush Officials Try to Alter Ethics Report - washingtonpost.com - 0 views

  • Former Bush administration officials have launched a behind-the-scenes campaign to urge Justice Department leaders to soften an ethics report criticizing lawyers who blessed harsh detainee interrogation tactics, according to two sources familiar with the efforts.
  • Representatives for John C. Yoo and Jay S. Bybee, subjects of the ethics probe, have encouraged former Justice Department and White House officials to contact new officials at the department to point out the troubling precedent of imposing sanctions on legal advisers, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the process is not complete.
  • A draft report of more than 200 pages, prepared in January before Bush's departure, recommends disciplinary action, rather than criminal prosecution, by state bar associations against Yoo and Bybee, former attorneys in the department's Office of Legal Counsel, for their work in preparing and signing the interrogation memos. State bar associations have the power to suspend a lawyer's license to practice or impose other penalties.
  • ...3 more annotations...
  • Bybee, now a federal appeals court judge, and Yoo, now a law professor in California
  • The legal analysis on interrogation prepared by a third former chief of the Office of Legal Counsel, Steven G. Bradbury, also was a subject of the ethics probe. But in an early draft, investigators did not make disciplinary recommendations about Bradbury.
  • Among other things, the draft report cited passages from a 2004 CIA inspector general's investigation and cast doubt on the effectiveness of the questioning techniques, which sources characterized as far afield from the narrow legal questions surrounding the lawyers' activities.
Argos Media

Europe's 'Special Interrogations': New Evidence of Torture Prison in Poland - SPIEGEL O... - 0 views

  • For more than a year now, Warsaw public prosecutor Robert Majewski has been investigating former Polish Prime Minister Leszek Miller's government on allegations of abuse of office. At issue is whether sovereignty over Polish territory was relinquished, and whether former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski and his left-leaning Social Democratic government gave the CIA free reign over sections of the Stare Kiejkuty military base for the agency's extraterritorial torture interrogations.
  • "No European country is so sincerely and vigorously investigating former members of the government as is currently the case in Poland," says Wolfgang Kaleck from the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin, which supports the investigations.
  • The public prosecutor's office has also launched a probe to determine whether the Polish intelligence agency made 20 of its agents available to the CIA, as was recently reported by the conservative Polish daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita. A former CIA official confirmed this information to SPIEGEL. There was reportedly a document issued by the intelligence agency that mentioned both the 20 Polish agents and the transfer of the military base to the Americans. Two members of a parliamentary investigative committee in Warsaw had an opportunity to view this document in late 2005, but it has since disappeared.
  • ...6 more annotations...
  • Similar conclusions were reached by the second investigative report on CIA kidnappings in Europe, which was submitted two years ago by the special investigator of the Council of Europe, Dick Marty
  • Journalist Mariusz Kowalewski at Rzeczpospolita and two colleagues have been searching for months now for proof of the existence of a secret CIA base in Poland. The journalists have discovered flight record books from Szymany that had been declared lost, and based on refueling receipts and currency exchange rates, they have reconstructed flights and routes, and spoken with informants. Over the past few weeks, their newspaper and the television network TVP Info have revealed new details on an almost daily basis.
  • There are rumors circulating that one of the most important interrogators of Sheikh Mohammed, an American named Deuce Martinez -- the man who didn't torture him, but rather had the task of gently coaxing information out of him -- was in Poland at the time. That is the proof that's still missing.
  • According to Marty's report, members of the former Polish military intelligence and counterintelligence agency, WSI, were given positions with the border police, customs and airport administration to safeguard the activities of the CIA. "The latest revelations in Poland fully corroborate my evidence, which is based on testimony by insiders and documents that have been leaked to me," says the investigator today. Now, under the "dynamic force of the truth" that Obama has unleashed, Marty says that Europeans must finally reveal "which governments tolerated and supported the illegal practices of the CIA."
  • "The order to give the CIA everything they needed came from the very top, from the president," a member of the Polish military intelligence agency told the Marty team in 2007. Kwasniewski denies this. He says that there was close intelligence corporation with the US, but no prisons on Polish soil.
  • It's very possible that the debate on torture and responsibility which is currently being conducted in the US will soon also reach Europe. After all, Germany granted the US flyover rights and dropped its bid to extradite 13 CIA operatives in the case of Khalid el-Masri, a German citizen who claims he was abducted by the Americans. The Italian intelligence agency allegedly assisted the CIA with the kidnapping in Milan of the Islamic cleric Abu Omar. Britain's intelligence agency, MI6, reportedly delivered information directly to CIA agents who were conducting interrogations in Morocco. And there are also reports of a secret prison in Romania.
Argos Media

Europe's 'Special Interrogations': New Evidence of Torture Prison in Poland - SPIEGEL O... - 0 views

  • The current debate in the US on the "special interrogation methods" sanctioned by the Bush administration could soon reach Europe. It has long been clear that the CIA used the Szymany military airbase in Poland for extraordinary renditions. Now there is evidence of a secret prison nearby.
  • Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the architect of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, also known as "the brains" behind al-Qaida. This was the man who had presented Osama bin Laden with plans to attack the US with commercial jets. He personally selected the pilots and supervised preparations for the attacks. Eighteen months later, on March 1, 2003, Sheikh Mohammed was captured in Rawalpindi, Pakistan by US Special Forces and brought to Afghanistan two days later. Now the CIA was flying him to a remote area in Poland's Masuria region. The prisoner slept during the flight from Kabul to Szymany, for the first time in days, as he later recounted:
  • A large number of Polish and American intelligence operatives have since gone on record that the CIA maintained a prison in northeastern Poland. Independent of these sources, Polish government officials from the Justice and Defense Ministry have also reported that the Americans had a secret base near Szymany airport. And so began on March 7, 2003 one of the darkest chapters of recent American -- and European -- history.
  • ...8 more annotations...
  • It was apparently here, just under an hour's drive from Szymany airport, that Sheikh Mohammed was tortured, exactly 183 times with waterboarding -- an interrogation technique that simulates the sensation of drowning -- in March, 2003 alone. That averages out to eight times a day. And all of this happened right here in Europe.

  • What the CIA did back then to prisoners in the Polish military airbase of Stare Kiejkuty, north of Szymany, had been authorized by the president. According to witnesses, Stare Kiejkuty housed a secret CIA prison for "high value detainees" -- for the most prominent prisoners of the war on terror.
  • There is now no doubt that the Gulfstream N379P landed at least five times at Szymany between February and July, 2003. Flight routes were manipulated and falsified for this purpose and, with the knowledge of the Polish government, the European aviation safety agency Eurocontrol was deliberately deceived.
  • Stare Kiejkuty military base, known as a training camp for Polish intelligence agents.
  • Sheikh Mohammed said that they cut the clothes from his body, photographed him naked and threw him in a three-by-four-meter (10 x 13 ft) cell with wooden walls. That was when the hardest phase of the interrogating began, he claims. According to Sheikh Mohammed, one of his interrogators told him that they had received the green light from Washington to give him a "hard time":
  • "They never used the word 'torture' and never referred to 'physical pressure,' only to 'a hard time.' I was never threatened with death, in fact I was told that they would not allow me to die, but that I would be brought to the 'verge of death and back again.'"
  • He says he was questioned roughly eight hours a day. He spent the first month naked and standing, with his hands chained to the ceiling of the cell, even at night.
  • the al-Qaida operative described how he was strapped to a special bed and submitted to waterboarding:

    "Cold water from a bottle that had been kept in a fridge was then poured onto the cloth by one of the guards so that I could not breathe. This obviously could only be done for one or two minutes at a time. The cloth was then removed and the bed was put into a vertical position. The whole process was then repeated during about one hour. Injuries to my ankles and wrists also occurred during the waterboarding as I struggled in the panic of not being able to breathe."

Argos Media

Effectiveness Of Harsh Questioning Is Unclear - washingtonpost.com - 0 views

  • It is unclear from unclassified reports whether the information gained was critical in foiling actual plots. Mohammed later told outside interviewers that he was "forced to invent in order to make the ill-treatment stop" and that he "wasted a lot of their time [with] several false red-alerts being placed in the U.S.," according to the Red Cross, whose officials interviewed Mohammed and other detainees after they were transferred to the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in September 2006.
  • Mohammed continued to be a valued source of information long after the coercive interrogation ended. Indeed, he has gone on to lecture CIA agents in a classroom-like setting, on topics from Greek philosophy to the structure of al-Qaeda, and wrote essays in response to questions, according to sources familiar with his time in detention.
  • Counterterrorism officials also said the two men and other captured suspects provided critical information about senior al-Qaeda figures and identified hundreds of al-Qaeda members, associates and financial backers.

    ad_icon

    The accumulation and triangulation of information also allowed officials to vet the intelligence they were receiving and to push other prisoners toward making full and frank statements.

  • ...5 more annotations...
  • The memo said the CIA waterboarded Mohammed only after it became apparent that standard interrogation techniques were not working, a judgment that appears to have been reached rapidly. Mohammed, according to the memo, resisted giving any answers to questions about future attacks, saying, "Soon you will know."
  • A 2005 memo by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel said that Mohammed and Abu Zubaida, the nom de guerre of Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein, an al-Qaeda associate who was also subjected to coercive interrogation, have been "pivotal sources because of their ability and willingness to provide their analysis and speculation about the capabilities, methodologies and mindsets of terrorists."
  • One of the Justice Department memos said waterboarding "may be used on a High Value Detainee only if the CIA has 'credible intelligence that a terrorist attack is imminent.' " It also stated that waterboarding can be employed only if "other interrogation methods have failed to elicit the information [or] CIA has clear indications that other methods are unlikely to elicit this information within the perceived time limit for preventing the attack."
  • The memo, while saying it discussed only a fraction of the important intelligence gleaned from Abu Zubaida and Mohammed, cited three specific successes: the identification of alleged "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla; the discovery of a "Second Wave" attack targeting Los Angeles; and the break-up of the Indonesian Jemaah Islamiya cell, an al-Qaeda ally led by Riduan Isamuddin, better known as Hambali.

    The last example was an undoubted success that led to the capture of several suspects, but the other two are much less clear-cut.

  • The Office of Legal Counsel memo said Abu Zubaida provided significant information on two operatives, including Jose Padilla, who "planned to build and detonate a dirty bomb in the Washington D.C area."
Argos Media

Bush-era interrogation may have worked, Obama official says - CNN.com - 0 views

  • The Bush-era interrogation techniques that many view as torture may have yielded important information about terrorists, President Obama's national intelligence director said in an internal memo.
  • A Gallup poll in early February showed that 38 percent of respondents favored a Justice Department criminal investigation of torture claims, 24 percent favored a noncriminal investigation by an independent panel, and 34 percent opposed either. A Washington Post poll about a week earlier showed a narrow percentage of Americans in favor of investigations.
  • The memo, obtained by CNN late Tuesday, was sent around the time the administration released several memos from the previous administration detailing the use of terror interrogation techniques such as waterboarding, which simulates drowning.
  • ...5 more annotations...
  • Obama left open the possibility of criminal prosecution Tuesday for former Bush administration officials who drew up the legal basis for aggressive interrogation techniques many view as torture.

    Obama said it will be up to Attorney General Eric Holder to decide whether or not to prosecute the former officials.

    "With respect to those who formulated those legal decisions, I would say that is going to be more a decision for the attorney general within the parameter of various laws, and I don't want to prejudge that," Obama said during a meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II at the White House.

  • "High-value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qaeda organization that was attacking this country," Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said in a memo to personnel.
  • The author of one of the memos that authorized those techniques, then-Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, is now a federal appeals court judge in California.

    U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-New York, a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, has called for Bybee's impeachment, while Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, chair of the Senate Judiciary committee, called for his resignation.

    "If the White House and Mr. Bybee told the truth at the time of his nomination, he never would have been confirmed," Leahy said. "So actually, the honorable and decent thing for him to do now would be to resign. If he's an honorable and decent man, he will."

  • Obama reiterated his belief that he did not think it is appropriate to prosecute those CIA officials and others who carried out the interrogations in question.

    "This has been a difficult chapter in our history and one of [my] tougher decisions," he added. The techniques listed in memos "reflected ... us losing our moral bearings."

  • The president's apparent willingness to leave the door open to a prosecution of Bush officials seemed to contradict White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who indicated Sunday that the administration was opposed to such an action.

    Obama believes "that's not the place that we [should] go," Emanuel said on ABC's "This Week."

Argos Media

Divisions Arose on Rough Tactics for Qaeda Figure - NYTimes.com - 0 views

  • The first use of waterboarding and other rough treatment against a prisoner from Al Qaeda was ordered by senior Central Intelligence Agency officials despite the belief of interrogators that the prisoner had already told them all he knew, according to former intelligence officials and a footnote in a newly released legal memorandum.
  • The escalation to especially brutal interrogation tactics against the prisoner, Abu Zubaydah, including confining him in boxes and slamming him against the wall, was ordered by officials at C.I.A. headquarters based on a highly inflated assessment of his importance, interviews and a review of newly released documents show.
  • Abu Zubaydah had provided much valuable information under less severe treatment, and the harsher handling produced no breakthroughs, according to one former intelligence official with direct knowledge of the case. Instead, watching his torment caused great distress to his captors, the official said.
  • ...13 more annotations...
  • Even for those who believed that brutal treatment could produce results, the official said, “seeing these depths of human misery and degradation has a traumatic effect.”
  • A footnote to another of the memos described a rift between line officers questioning Abu Zubaydah at a secret C.I.A. prison in Thailand and their bosses at headquarters, and asserted that the brutal treatment may have been “unnecessary.”
  • In March 2002, when Abu Zubaydah was captured in Pakistan after a gunfight with Pakistani security officers backed by F.B.I. and C.I.A. officers, Bush administration officials portrayed him as a Qaeda leader. That judgment was reflected in the Aug. 1, 2002, legal opinion signed by Jay S. Bybee, then head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

    The memo summarizes the C.I.A.’s judgment that Abu Zubaydah, then 31, had risen rapidly to “third or fourth man in Al Qaeda” and had served as “senior lieutenant” to Osama bin Laden. It said he had “managed a network of training camps” and had been “involved in every major terrorist operation carried out by Al Qaeda.”

  • The memo reported the C.I.A.’s portrayal of “a highly self-directed individual who prizes his independence,” a deceptive narcissist, healthy and tough, who agency officers believed was the most senior terrorist caught since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
  • His interrogation, according to multiple accounts, began in Pakistan and continued at the secret C.I.A. site in Thailand, with a traditional, rapport-building approach led by two F.B.I. agents, who even helped care for him as his gunshot wounds healed.
  • A C.I.A. interrogation team that arrived a week or two later, which included former military psychologists, did not change the approach to questioning, but began to keep him awake night and day with blasting rock music, have his clothes removed and keep his cell cold.
  • The legal basis for this treatment is uncertain, but lawyers at C.I.A. headquarters were in constant touch with interrogators, as well as with Mr. Bybee’s subordinate in the Office of Legal Counsel, John C. Yoo, who was drafting memos on the legal limits of interrogation.
  • Through the summer of 2002, Abu Zubaydah continued to provide valuable information. Interrogators began to surmise that he was not a leader, but rather a helpful training camp personnel clerk who would arrange false documents and travel for jihadists, including Qaeda members.
  • He knew enough to give interrogators “a road map of Al Qaeda operatives,” an agency officer said. He also repeated talk he had heard about possible plots or targets in the United States, though when F.B.I. agents followed up, most of it turned out to be idle discussion or preliminary brainstorming.

    At the time, former C.I.A. officials say, his tips were extremely useful, helping to track several other important terrorists, including Mr. Mohammed.

  • But senior agency officials, still persuaded, as they had told President George W. Bush and his staff, that he was an important Qaeda leader, insisted that he must know more.

    “You get a ton of information, but headquarters says, ‘There must be more,’ ” recalled one intelligence officer who was involved in the case. As described in the footnote to the memo, the use of repeated waterboarding against Abu Zubaydah was ordered “at the direction of C.I.A. headquarters,” and officials were dispatched from headquarters “to watch the last waterboard session.”

  • The memo, written in 2005 and signed by Steven G. Bradbury, who worked in the Office of Legal Counsel, concluded that the waterboarding was justified even if the prisoner turned out not to know as much as officials had thought.
  • And he did not, according to the former intelligence officer involved in the Abu Zubaydah case. “He pleaded for his life,” the official said. “But he gave up no new information. He had no more information to give.”
  • Since 2002, the C.I.A. has downgraded its assessment of Abu Zubaydah’s significance, while continuing to call his revelations important.

    In an interview, an intelligence officer said that the current view was that Abu Zubaydah was “an important terrorist facilitator” who disclosed “essential raw material for successful counterterrorist action.”

Argos Media

Interrogation Memos Detail Psychologists' Involvement; Ethicists Outraged - washingtonp... - 0 views

  • The ICRC, which conducted the first independent interviews of CIA detainees in 2006, said the prisoners were told they would not be killed during interrogations, though one was warned that he would be brought to "the verge of death and back again," according to a confidential ICRC report leaked to the New York Review of Books last month.
  • "The interrogation process is contrary to international law and the participation of health personnel in such a process is contrary to international standards of medical ethics," the ICRC report concluded.
  • An Aug. 1, 2002, memo said the CIA relied on its "on-site psychologists" for help in designing an interrogation program for Abu Zubaida and ultimately came up with a list of 10 methods drawn from a U.S. military training program known as Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, or SERE. That program, used to help prepare pilots to endure torture in the event they are captured, is loosely based on techniques that were used by the Communist Chinese to torture American prisoners of war.
  • ...4 more annotations...
  • The role played by psychologists in adapting SERE methods for interrogation has been described in books and news articles, including some in The Washington Post. Author Jane Mayer and journalist Katherine Eban separately identified as key figures James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, two psychologists in Washington state who worked as CIA contractors after 2001 and had extensive experience in SERE training.
  • The CIA psychologists had personal experience with SERE and helped convince CIA officials that harsh tactics would coerce confessions from Abu Zubaida without inflicting permanent harm. Waterboarding was touted as particularly useful because it was "reported to be almost 100 percent effective in producing cooperation," the memo said.
  • The agency then used a psychological assessment of Abu Zubaida to find his vulnerable points. One of them, it turns out, was a severe aversion to bugs.

    "He appears to have a fear of insects," states the memo, which describes a plan to place a caterpillar or similar creature inside a tiny wooden crate in which Abu Zubaida was confined. CIA officials say the plan was never carried out.

  • Former intelligence officials contend that Abu Zubaida was found to have played a less important role in al-Qaeda than initially believed and that under harsh interrogation he provided little useful information about the organization's plans.
Argos Media

Interrogation Memos Detail Psychologists' Involvement; Ethicists Outraged - washingtonp... - 0 views

  • When the CIA began what it called an "increased pressure phase" with captured terrorism suspect Abu Zubaida in the summer of 2002, its first step was to limit the detainee's human contact to just two people. One was the CIA interrogator, the other a psychologist.
  • During the extraordinary weeks that followed, it was the psychologist who apparently played the more critical role. According to newly released Justice Department documents, the psychologist provided ideas, practical advice and even legal justification for interrogation methods that would break Abu Zubaida, physically and mentally. Extreme sleep deprivation, waterboarding, the use of insects to provoke fear -- all were deemed acceptable, in part because the psychologist said so
  • "No severe mental pain or suffering would have been inflicted," a Justice Department lawyer said in a 2002 memo explaining why waterboarding, or simulated drowning, should not be considered torture.
  • ...4 more annotations...
  • the documents show a steady stream of psychologists, physicians and other health officials who both kept detainees alive and actively participated in designing the interrogation program and monitoring its implementation. Their presence also enabled the government to argue that the interrogations did not include torture.
  • The role of health professionals as described in the documents has prompted a renewed outcry from ethicists who say the conduct of psychologists and supervising physicians violated basic standards of their professions.
  • "The health professionals involved in the CIA program broke the law and shame the bedrock ethical traditions of medicine and psychology," said Frank Donaghue, chief executive of Physicians for Human Rights, an international advocacy group made up of physicians opposed to torture. "All psychologists and physicians found to be involved in the torture of detainees must lose their license and never be allowed to practice again."
  • The alleged actions of medical professionals in the secret prisons are viewed as particularly troubling by an array of groups, including the American Medical Association and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

    AMA policies state that physicians "must not be present when torture is used or threatened." The guidelines allow doctors to treat detainees only "if doing so is in their [detainees'] best interest" and not merely to monitor their health "so that torture can begin or continue."

Argos Media

Interrogation Memos Detail Harsh Tactics by the C.I.A. - NYTimes.com - 0 views

  • The Justice Department on Thursday made public detailed memos describing brutal interrogation techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency, as President Obama sought to reassure the agency that the C.I.A. operatives involved would not be prosecuted.
  • In dozens of pages of dispassionate legal prose, the methods approved by the Bush administration for extracting information from senior operatives of Al Qaeda are spelled out in careful detail — like keeping detainees awake for up to 11 straight days, placing them in a dark, cramped box or putting insects into the box to exploit their fears.
  • The interrogation methods were authorized beginning in 2002, and some were used as late as 2005 in the C.I.A.’s secret overseas prisons.
  • ...18 more annotations...
  • Some senior Obama administration officials, including Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., have labeled one of the 14 approved techniques, waterboarding, illegal torture.
  • The United States prosecuted some Japanese interrogators at war crimes trials after World War II for waterboarding and other methods detailed in the memos.
  • Together, the four memos give an extraordinarily detailed account of the C.I.A.’s methods and the Justice Department’s long struggle, in the face of graphic descriptions of brutal tactics, to square them with international and domestic law. Passages describing forced nudity, the slamming of detainees into walls, prolonged sleep deprivation and the dousing of detainees with water as cold as 41 degrees alternate with elaborate legal arguments concerning the international Convention Against Torture.
  • The documents were released with minimal redactions, indicating that President Obama sided against current and former C.I.A. officials who for weeks had pressed the White House to withhold details about specific interrogation techniques.
  • Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, had argued that revealing such information set a dangerous precedent for future disclosures of intelligence sources and methods.
  • A more pressing concern for the C.I.A. is that the revelations may give new momentum to proposals for a full-blown investigation into Bush administration counterterrorism programs and possible torture prosecutions.
  • Mr. Obama condemned what he called a “dark and painful chapter in our history” and said that the interrogation techniques would never be used again. But he also repeated his opposition to a lengthy inquiry into the program, saying that “nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.”
  • Mr. Obama said that C.I.A. officers who were acting on the Justice Department’s legal advice would not be prosecuted, but he left open the possibility that anyone who acted without legal authorization could still face criminal penalties. He did not address whether lawyers who authorized the use of the interrogation techniques should face some kind of penalty.
  • The four legal opinions, released in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the A.C.L.U., were written in 2002 and 2005 by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, the highest authority in interpreting the law in the executive branch.
  • The first of the memos, from August 2002, was signed by Jay S. Bybee, who oversaw the Office of Legal Counsel, and gave the C.I.A. its first detailed legal approval for waterboarding and other harsh treatment.
  • Three others, signed by Steven G. Bradbury, sought to reassure the agency in May 2005 that its methods were still legal, even when multiple methods were used in combination, and despite the prohibition in international law against “cruel, inhuman or degrading” treatment.
  • All legal opinions on interrogation were revoked by Mr. Obama on his second day in office, when he also outlawed harsh interrogations and ordered the C.I.A.’s secret prisons closed.
  • They recounted the C.I.A.’s assertions of the effectiveness of the techniques but noted that interrogators could not always tell a prisoner who was withholding information from one who had no more information to offer.
  • The memos include what in effect are lengthy excerpts from the agency’s interrogation manual, laying out with precision how each method was to be used. Waterboarding, for example, involved strapping a prisoner to a gurney inclined at an angle of “10 to 15 degrees” and pouring water over a cloth covering his nose and mouth “from a height of approximately 6 to 18 inches” for no more than 40 seconds at a time.
  • But a footnote to a 2005 memo made it clear that the rules were not always followed. Waterboarding was used “with far greater frequency than initially indicated” and with “large volumes of water” rather than the small quantities in the rules, one memo says, citing a 2004 report by the C.I.A.’s inspector general.
  • Most of the methods have been previously described in news accounts and in a 2006 report of the International Committee of the Red Cross, which interviewed 14 detainees. But one previously unknown tactic the C.I.A. proposed — but never used — against Abu Zubaydah, a terrorist operative, involved exploiting what was thought to be his fear of insects.
  • “As we understand it, you plan to inform Zubaydah that you are going to place a stinging insect into the box, but you will actually place a harmless insect in the box, such as a caterpillar,” one memo says.
  • Dennis C. Blair, the director of national intelligence, cautioned that the memos were written at a time when C.I.A. officers were frantically working to prevent a repeat of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    “Those methods, read on a bright, sunny, safe day in April 2009, appear graphic and disturbing,” said Mr. Blair in a written statement. “But we will absolutely defend those who relied on these memos.”

1 - 20 of 23 Next ›
Showing 20 items per page