Saturday, June 3, 2017

Slow Saturday Special: Trump on Torture

He hasn't said anything yet other than the campaign and deferring to Mattis, and I don't think you will be seeing anything else, either:

"ISIS detainees may be held at Guantánamo, document shows" by Charlie Savage New York Times   February 09, 2017

WASHINGTON — The Trump White House is nearing completion of an order that would direct the Pentagon to bring future Islamic State detainees to the Guantanamo Bay prison, despite warnings from national security officials and legal scholars that doing so risks undermining the effort to combat the group, according to administration officials and a draft executive order obtained by The New York Times.

White House officials have detailed their thinking about a new detainee policy in an evolving series of drafts of an executive order being circulated among national security officials for comment. While previous versions have shown that the draft has undergone many changes — including dropping language about reviving CIA prisons — the plan to add Islamic State detainees to the Guantánamo population has remained constant.

The latest version of the draft, which circulated this week, would direct Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to use Guantanamo to detain suspected members of “Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces, including individuals and networks associated with the Islamic State.”

Before the session begins I just want to say -- behind the Al-CIA-Duh and and the ISIS™ -- how are you going to enter into so-called peace negotiations with the Taliban if you still want to imprison and torture them? Or is the alleged peace talk simply another phony-baloney from the war pre$$ like, well, the whole tenure of my blogging, the purpose of which is top get us all to heave a big sigh of relief before the next escalation? Peace talk in a War Pre$$? HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

The White House has kept similar language in the draft order despite warnings from career government national security officials that carrying out its plan would give federal judges an opportunity to reject the executive branch’s theory that the war against the Islamic State is legal, even though Congress never explicitly authorized it. The issue could arise when reviewing an inevitable habeas corpus lawsuit filed by the Islamic State.

Well, then it is an illegal war and if a citizen were honest about past U.S. history one would recognize that all the wars since WWII have been illegal, although I suppose the Congre$$ did give Bush authority for Afghanistan and Iraq. Since then they haven't wanted to get their hands bloody with a vote. Passed on Syria, it was Obombs away in Libya, Yemen is.... well, assisting the Saudis so only blood on the shirt, right?

The Obama administration first argued in late summer 2014 that the Islamic State was part of the existing armed conflict that Congress authorized in 2001 against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. But while the Islamic State got its start as Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq more than a decade ago, that theory is disputed because the two groups later split and went to war with each other.

Yeah, Hussein kept those U.S. creations OUT of Iraq, but it was about much more than that. Establishing a base for U.S.-and allied supported terrorists in the middle of the region was a big one. From there you can operate allied-aligned groups for overthrows or destabilization campaigns, while using the yoke of those same groups to batter recalcitrant indigenous people into submission. It's really a great ballgame they got going!

“It raises huge legal risks,” said Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard Law School professor and former senior Justice Department official in the Bush administration. “If a judge says the Sept. 11 authorization does not cover such a detention, it would not only make that detention unlawful, it would weaken the legal basis for the entire war against the Islamic State.” 

That is accepting the supposition that the wars were, in fact, legal. I do not. There was never any real investigation via Afghanistan and 9/11, and within a month Bush was bombing the place (war plan was all set and ready to go after Taliban blocked energy pipelines and burned down opium crops)

The Times reported Feb. 4 that the White House had limited the draft order so that it focused on carrying out President Trump’s vow to keep the Guantánamo prison open and use it for newly captured detainees. That draft of the order dropped the ideas of reopening CIA prisons and permitting interrogators to use harsher techniques than those now allowed in the Army Field Manual.

Well, that is what they are telling us, but if so I suppose it's a tiny improvement. Only problem is, I'm tired of incremental nothings in the back-and-forth swing into tyranny.

That report was based on accounts by people familiar with a version that circulated last week. But a new draft order circulated this week, titled “Protecting America Through Lawful Detention of Terrorist and Other Designated Enemy Elements,” includes some revisions. The latest version, unlike the previous one, explicitly revokes President Obama’s January 2009 executive order directing the government to close the prison by January 2010, a deadline it failed to meet.

In a way, that broken promise sums up the failure of the Obama presidency. It was his first promise made, and the hole outlasted him.

The revised text also dropped references to revitalizing the use of the military commissions system at Guantanamo for prosecuting terrorism suspects, and instead focused exclusively on detention policy — like its directive to use the prison to detain captured Islamic State suspects without trial.

Some have been there since it opened, and the blog editor reads such a thing with great sadness. I will explain after the break.


As I move forward, this seems to be the appropriate time to tell you how troubling the torture issue is to this American. I suppose the initial revulsion is on a human level. One can put oneself in place of the victim very easily. In fact, a reporter gave the waterboard thing a go a while back. He lasted around the 6 seconds the experts say you have before your internal body chemistry starts going haywire with panic due to the conditions it perceives. 

Anyhow, the issue truly does pale in comparison to the millions murdered in the wars based on lies these past 50-60 years. The people in Central and South America and Southeast Asia can certainly attest to that, and the more recent examples of death and destruction in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia show the misery is left in our wake.

Here is the problem with torture: No longer can I, a citizen of the United States, criticize any nation's detention policies. My government has robbed me of that moral right, and detention without trial is abhorrent to the American character. I can voice my opposition to Israeli detention of Palestinians; however, my criticism will carry no weight. By comparison, when my government singles out some future target, it carries the rankest stench of hypocrisy and is now dismissed by the world. Oh, the Empire may get lip service to keep the economic boot or military hammer from coming down upon said target, but when its not looking it's back to doing what is in their own best interests.

So no one read the report, huh?

"Trump administration starts returning copies of CIA torture report to Congress" by Mark Mazzetti New York Times   June 02, 2017

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has begun returning copies of a voluminous 2014 Senate report about the CIA’s detention and interrogation program to Congress, complying with the demand of a top Republican senator who has criticized the report for being shoddy and excessively critical of the CIA.

So what does the NSA/CIA intel complex and data-gathering center have on him?

The Trump administration’s move, described by multiple congressional officials, raises the possibility that copies of the 6,700-page report could be locked in Senate vaults for good — exempt from laws requiring that government records eventually become public.

Yes, you don't want to know about the awful and ugly war crimes done in your name over a batch of damnable narratives and outright lies regarding all these wars for Empire. Same would be true if you realized how deeply ingrained pedophilia is amongst the ruling cla$$ and certain politicians and others you think you like. Were you to know those things, the $cum would lose all credibility and be chased down in the streets (as H.W. once said).

The CIA, the office of the director of national intelligence, and the CIA’s inspector general have returned their copies of the report, the officials said.

Democratic lawmakers and rights groups criticized Senate Intelligence Committee’s chairman, Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, saying he is attempting to make it harder for the public to ever see the classified document.

Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, a former Democratic chairman of the committee, called Burr’s move ‘‘alarming and concerning.’’

‘‘This creates a dangerous precedent,’’ she told the Associated Press, warning that ‘‘countless historical reports and records’’ could be nullified under the same procedure. ‘‘No senator — chairman or not — has the authority to erase history. I believe that is the intent of the chairman.’’

It's already been scrubbed by bankers and Zionists, and she seems to have no problem with the monuments coming down.

Look, that is the era we are in. The Internet brought awareness and the cla$$ pushback has come in the form of censorship under cover of politically-correct tolerance -- so we don't face up to the past, never mind conduct a critical examination of it, and accept whatever version comes from authority at any given moment, with any questioning to be considered blasphemous and treason. 1984 came in 2017.

The report is the result of a yearslong investigation into the CIA program by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee. It tells the story of how — in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — the CIA began capturing terrorism suspects and interrogating them in secret prisons beyond the reach of the US judicial and military legal systems.

The central conclusion of the report is that the spy agency’s interrogation methods — including waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and other kinds of torture — were far more brutal and less effective than the CIA described to policymakers, Congress, and the public.

You didn't need them to tell you that, and I'm surprised to see them use the T-word.

It is the most comprehensive accounting of the Bush-era program that exists, and a declassified executive summary of the report was made public in December 2014 — with the support of some Republicans on the committee.

The committee, which was then run by Democrats, also sent copies of the entire classified report to at least eight federal agencies, asking that they incorporate the report into their records — a move that would have made it subject to requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

That law — which allows citizens, the media, and other groups to request access to information held by the federal government — does not apply to congressional records.

The agencies all refused, and instead kept their copies of the report locked up and unread, prompting the American Civil Liberties Union to sue the CIA for access to the full Senate document.

(Blog editor frowns!! They didn't even bother to crack them open!)

After Republicans took over the Senate in early 2015, Burr asked the Obama administration to return all the copies of the report that had been sent to the CIA, the Pentagon, the Justice Department, and other executive-branch agencies.

The Obama administration left the matter to the courts, and the case was still being heard when the Trump administration took over. It ended in April, clearing the way for the agencies to return their copies of the report.

Burr has called the report nothing more than afootnote in history.” His committee is now conducting an investigation into whether any of Trump’s campaign advisers or associates assisted in the Russian effort to disrupt last year’s presidential campaign.

(Blog editor shakes head at the monstrousness of the statement. Maybe one day the Holocaust™ will be a footnote. Or D-Day. Or Pearl Harbor.

Oh, yeah, about the Russians. They are where all the ideas came from. Just a footnote for you.)

The return of the report to the Senate committee “is extremely disturbing on a number of levels,” said Katherine Hawkins, senior counsel at the Constitution Project, an advocacy organization. “First, it remains absurd that no one in the executive branch will open the full report. Second, Senator Burr’s ongoing attempts to bury the torture report casts doubt on his willingness to follow the facts to conclusions that would damage the administration in the Russia probe.”

To bury it from the American people is all. The rest of the world knows what is going on.

The CIA and the office of the director of national intelligence both declined to comment.

The full report is not expected to offer evidence of previously undisclosed interrogation techniques, but the interrogation sessions are said to be described in great detail.....


Looks like you won't be seeing any pictures, either.


Senate Torture Report
Secret Torture Sites
Not Seeing the CIA Torture 

Isn't destruction of evidence a crime?

Also see:  

Begging For Mercy
Siddiqui and Friends

Don't shrink from it.

It used to be Obama's Gitmo:

"New report will fuel debate over closing Guantanamo prison" by Deb Riechmann Associated Press  August 11, 2016

WASHINGTON — A new report on Guantanamo detainees tells the stories of former Al Qaeda bomb makers and bodyguards as well as low-level militant cooks and medics who have been transferred or cleared for release — despite fears they are at risk of returning to battle.

The Pentagon gave the unclassified report to Senator Kelly Ayotte, Republican of New Hampshire, who has been pushing the Obama administration for years to be more transparent about who is being transferred out of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She shared it with the Associated Press and posted it online Wednesday.

‘‘By clearly detailing some of the disturbing terrorist activities and affiliations of detainees at Guantanamo, the report demonstrates why these terrorists should not be released — they pose a serious risk to our national security,’’ Ayotte said in an e-mail response to questions.

The remaining detainees ‘‘will no doubt’’ return to the fight once released, she said, noting that the Defense Department told her that 93 percent of the detainees still at Guantanamo as of late last year were high risk for reengagement in terrorism.

Many of the detainees have or had been held without charge for more than 14 years at the military prison, which Obama has pledged to close.

The report tells the story of detainees such as Karim Bostan, who once ran a flower shop and later was accused of running an Al Qaeda-affiliated explosives cell believed to have targeted US-led coalition forces in eastern Afghanistan. He’s been at Guantanamo for more than 13 years, but has been cleared for transfer to a country willing to accept him.

It also, however, tells the story of Muhammad Said Salim Bin Salman, a Yemeni who traveled to Afghanistan to train at an Al Qaeda camp. He says he became a cook and never fought because he suffers from back pain. Deemed a medium intelligence risk, he was cleared for release and transferred to Oman in January following 14 years of detention.

David Remes, a human rights lawyer who represents several detainees, says dangerous men are not being released.

‘‘Holding the men at all was a deep injustice and a lasting stain on the US. These men shouldn’t have been in Guantanamo in the first place,’’ Remes said. ‘‘It’s one thing to prosecute detainees for attacks on the US. . . . It is quite another thing — and contrary to the values the US says it is committed to — to hold men for many years, who are accused of no crime.’’

It's a footnote.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence reports that 5 percent of Guantanamo prisoners released since President Obama took office have reengaged in militant activities and another 8 percent are suspected of it. That compares to 21 percent confirmed and 14 percent suspected during the Bush administration.

Opened in January 2002, the prison once held about 770 detainees. Bush transferred more than 500 and, so far, Obama has transferred 162 detainees to other countries.

The report given to Ayotte covers 107 detainees who were at the prison as of Nov. 25, 2015, the day Obama signed the 2016 defense policy bill, which required the administration to provide more information to Congress about the detainees. The population has been whittled to 76 today.

Republican lawmakers accuse Obama of rushing to downgrade detainees’ threat status to clear them for transfer so he can make good on his campaign pledge to close the prison before he leaves office in January. Myles Caggins III, a spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House, declined to predict whether Obama will achieve his goal, but said the United States continues to work with countries willing to receive 34 detainees — nearly half the remaining prison population — who have been cleared for transfer.

Where is the U.N. in all this? Not one peep about this.

The GOP-led Congress has tried to slow or stop detainees from being transferred out and has banned any from being moved to US prisons.

While some unclassified information about Guantanamo detainees can be found in hundreds of government documents, news stories, court files, and detainee threat assessments leaked by Wikileaks, the Pentagon has never compiled it in a single, unclassified report for lawmakers, or the public, to peruse.

That would give away the whole ballgame!


Going by the book:

"Prisoner who published ‘Guantanamo Diary’ to be set free" by Ben Fox Associated Press  July 21, 2016

MIAMI — A former Al Qaeda militant who gained fame with the publication of a diary about life at Guantanamo has been approved for release from the detention center at the US base in Cuba, his lawyers said Wednesday.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a native of Mauritania who has been in custody without charge for nearly 14 years, was cleared by the Periodic Review Board set up by the Obama administration.

The decision was initially announced by his legal team, which included the American Civil Liberties Union, and was later confirmed by the Pentagon. He appeared before the board, which conducts parole-like hearings, in June.

A statement published on the board’s website said it determined Slahi’s detention ‘‘is no longer necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States.’’

Factors cited in the brief statement included his ‘‘highly compliant behavior in detention’’ and ‘‘clear indications of a change in the detainee’s mind-set,’’ as well as family and other support available to him upon release.

The board did not say when he would be freed from Guantanamo, where he is among 31 prisoners approved for release, or whether he would be sent back to Mauritania.

‘‘We will now work toward his quick release and return to the waiting arms of his loving family,’’ said Nancy Hollander, a New Mexico-based lawyer for Slahi. ‘‘This is long overdue.’’

The board, comprised of representatives from six government agencies, also cleared Abdul Zahir, a prisoner from Afghanistan, for release.

He was suspected of being an Afghan insurgent when he was captured by US forces in July 2002. But authorities later determined that while he had worked for members of Al Qaeda and the Taliban as a translator and bookkeeper, he had only limited ties to significant figures in either organization.

Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Sterling Thomas, a military lawyer appointed to represent Zahir, said the prisoner has become a poet at Guantanamo, ‘‘despite the onset of several mental and physical ailments stemming from his detention.’’

Slahi, who is about 46, received international acclaim for his ‘‘Guantanamo Diary,’’ a memoir of captivity with accounts of harsh interrogations at the base and overseas. It was published in January 2015.

US officials have said in military and court files that Slahi traveled in the early 1990s from Germany, where he was attending college, to Afghanistan to fight with Islamic rebels against a Communist government supported by the Soviet Union. He later trained with and swore allegiance to Al Qaeda and had close contacts over the years with significant figures in the organization, including two men who became hijackers in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the United States.

Slahi was detained in Mauritania in November 2001 and questioned by the FBI in connection with, among other things, the millennium bomb plot, which included a thwarted plan to set off explosives at Los Angeles International Airport on New Year’s Eve 1999.

Authorities sent him to Jordan and Guantanamo, where his alleged brutal interrogation prompted a prosecutor to resign from his case. For most of his years at the base in Cuba he has been held with another man in their own section of the prison with special perks and privileges.

He got the Club Med torture treatment. Good Christ!!

The publication of ‘‘Guantanamo Diary’’ prompted an international campaign by human rights groups calling for Slahi’s release along with the closure of the detention center in Cuba, where the United States now holds 76 men.

‘‘We’re delighted for Mohamedou and his family, but the new chapter in his life won’t start until the Pentagon actually transfers him, and it should begin that process immediately,’’ said Hina Shamsi, a member of his legal team and director of the ACLU’s National Security Project.


They are being let go to make space for the new arrivals:

Indonesia prisoner makes first public appearance at Gitmo

Hearing held for Guantanamo prisoner not seen publicly since 2002

He was waterboarding 83 times in one month.

Ex-Gitmo detainee awakes from coma after Uruguay protest

He was on a hunger strike, and not one word about the forced feeding.

Remember the swap for the escapee?

Judge hears testimony about injuries during Bergdahl search
Judge questions including injury evidence in Bergdahl case
Judge questions effect of Trump comments on Bergdahl case

He's haunted by it.

"For 8 years, he was detained and abused in Gitmo. Now he wants to go back" by Carlotta Gall New York Times  February 17, 2017

TUNIS, Tunisia — After eight years as a detainee in the US detention facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, Hedi Hammami said he still suffers from headaches, depression and anxiety attacks from the torture and other mistreatment he says he suffered there, even six years after his release.

What's he want, money?

Married with two children now and employed as a nighttime ambulance driver, Hammami, 47, seems to have rebuilt his life. Yet the pressures of living in Tunisia’s faltering democracy, under harassment and enduring repeated raids by the police, have driven him to make an extreme request.

“It would be better for me to go back to that single cell and to be left alone,” he said recently. “Two or three weeks ago I went to the Red Cross and asked them to connect me to the US foreign ministry to ask to go back to Guantánamo.” 

Then that place destroyed this guy. I'm sure there is some technical syndrome for what he is describing.

The Red Cross refused to take his request, he said, but he insists nevertheless that at this point, that would be best for him. “I have lost my hope,” he said. “There is no future in this country for me.”

When he was first released from Guantánamo in 2010, Tunisia was still a dictatorship under the rule of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and notorious for torturing prisoners, in particular Islamists. Deemed no longer a threat to the United States, Hammami was sent to the former Soviet republic of Georgia.

After the popular uprising in 2011 that overthrew Ben Ali and set off the Arab Spring, Hammami negotiated his return to Tunisia. He timed it well, benefiting from a national amnesty for political prisoners and a program of compensation that gave him a job in the Ministry of Health.

“I hoped very much that after the revolution everything would get better,” he said in one of several interviews in his rented home in a working-class suburb of Tunis.

Does he know who was the "unexpected beneficiary" of the Arab Spring?

Yet, soon after he began work in 2013, police raided his apartment with dogs at 3 a.m., breaking the door and hauling him down to the police station. “They made me crawl on all fours down the stairs,” he recounted. At the police station they said they just wanted to get to know him, and let him go after 15 minutes. “That was just the beginning.”

Let me guess: drug raid, wrong house.

Since then, Hammami has lived under a constant regimen of police surveillance, raids and harassment. His cellphone and computer were confiscated. When he moved to a new house, police followed him, turning up at all hours to question him.

In December 2015 he was placed under house arrest, told he no longer had the right to work and ordered to sign in at the police station morning and evening for six weeks. He remains under “administrative control,” and police enforce the order at will. He cannot travel outside Tunis. Every so often, like on Sept. 11, the police order him to sign in with them. “I feel someone is doing it for revenge,” he says.

The police have also scared landlords from renting to him, forcing him to move six times in three years. His Algerian wife’s residency card was confiscated, preventing her from working to supplement his meager salary. The family is barely managing, she said, asking not to be named for fear of further police harassment.

Gees, they are treating him like a child molester.

Stress and tension from the police actions have intensified the psychological problems Hammami brought with him from Guantánamo. Rim Ben Ismail, a psychologist working for the World Organization Against Torture in Tunisia, who has counseled 12 Tunisians who were detained in Guantánamo, said Hammadi’s wish to return to his cell is fairly typical of the Guantánamo detainees.

“Because of their past they are all presumed guilty,” she said....

They are in there so long they actually begin to believe it themselves!


RelatedFormer Guantanamo Bay detainee said to have turned suicide bomber

No need for a trial now.


"Sabir Mahfouz Lahmar, was one of six Algerians detained in Bosnia in 2001 on suspicion of plotting to bomb the US embassy in Sarajevo. The Justice Department later backed off the allegations, but held the men at Guantanamo for years. The French official said Lahmar, at 48, is the oldest of the four men and two women who were arrested and said that there were no indications the group was plotting an attack....."