Tag Archives | US government

No, You Cannot Know This Man’s Account of His Torture by the CIA

The detainee's lawyer says the CIA is trying "guarantee that Abu Zubaydah never discloses what was done to him." (Photo: Stephen Melkisethian/flickr/cc)

The detainee’s lawyer says the CIA is trying “guarantee that Abu Zubaydah never discloses what was done to him.” (Photo: Stephen Melkisethian/flickr/cc)

Guantanamo prisoner Abu Zubaydah detailed the torture that the CIA inflicted on him to his lawyers, but that information won’t be making it to the public eye.

Reuters reported Thursday:

U.S. government officials have blocked the release of 116 pages of defense lawyers’ notes detailing the torture that Guantanamo Bay detainee Abu Zubaydah says he experienced in CIA custody, defense lawyers said on Thursday.

Zubaydah, abducted in Pakistan and transferred to U.S. authorities in 2002, has been held at Guantanamo without charge or trial since 2006. A lawyer for Zubaydah in his proceedings against Poland and Lithuania before the European court of human rights has written that he

might now be described as exhibit A in the week’s Senate report. He has the regrettable distinction of being the first victim of the CIA detention programme for whom, as the report makes clear, many of the torture (or “enhanced interrogation”) techniques were developed, and the only prisoner known to have been subject to all of them.

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You’re a Criminal in a Mass Surveillance World – How to Not Get Caught


David Montgomery via Liberty.me:

Sometimes you just get lucky.

I was in Amsterdam when the Snowden story broke. CNN was non-stop asking politicians and pundits, “Is Edward Snowden a traitor?” Those who said he betrayed America also said something else: Mass surveillance is only an issue if you’re a criminal. If you’ve got nothing to hide then you’ve got nothing to fear.

The Snowden story hit me upon my return from – of all places on earth – the Secret Annex of the Anne Frank House. The Secret Annex is where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis for two years. It was during this period of hiding in terror that Anne wrote her world-famous diary. In it she confided, “I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met.”

The “Anne Frank House” — then and now

The “Anne Frank House” — then and now

I say I was lucky because the cosmic unlikeliness of my Secret Annex visit coinciding with Snowden’s mass surveillance revelations led to some revelations of my own.

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US Officials Leak Information About the ISIS Raid That’s More Sensitive than Anything Snowden Ever Leaked

AK Rockefeller (CC BY-SA 2.0)

AK Rockefeller (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Trevor Timm writes at the Freedom of the Press Foundation:

Over the weekend, the US government announced that special forces soldiers entered Syria to conduct a raid that killed an alleged leader of ISIS, Abu Sayyaf. In the process, anonymous US officials leaked classified information to the New York Times that’s much more sensitive than anything Edward Snowden ever revealed, and it serves as a prime example of the government’s hypocrisy when it comes to disclosures of secret information.

Here’s how the New York Times described how the US conducted this “successful” raid:

The raid came after weeks of surveillance of Abu Sayyaf, using information gleaned from a small but growing network of informants the C.I.A. and the Pentagon have painstakingly developed in Syria, as well as satellite imagery, drone reconnaissance and electronic eavesdropping, American officials said. The White House rejected initial reports from the region that attributed the raid to the forces of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.

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Selling ‘Peace Groups’ on US-Led Wars

Margaret Sarfehjooy and Coleen Rowley write at Consortium News:

“War is peace” double-speak has become commonplace these days. And, the more astute foreign policy journalists and commentators are beginning to realize the extent of how “liberal interventionists” work in sync with neocon warhawks to produce and sustain a perpetual state of U.S. war.

More and more “peace and social justice” groups are even being twisted into “democracy promotion,” U.S. militarism style. But rarely do we get a window to see as clearly into how this Orwellian transformation occurs as with the “Committee in Solidarity with the People of Syria” (CISPOS) based in Minnesota’s Twin Cities, a spin-off of “Friends for a Nonviolent World” (FNVW), steering its Quaker-inspired founding in nonviolence to promote speakers and essayists with strong ties to the violent uprising to topple the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, resulting in a war that has already taken some 200,000 lives.

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Washington’s National Security State: A Practical Failure, a Faith-Based Success Story

514zcaXr01L[Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from Tom Engelhardt’s new book, “Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.” It is available on Amazon

Engelhardt runs the website TomDispatch. You can follow TomDispatch.com on Facebook and Twitter.]

Looked at another way, the NSS [Washington’s national security state] is also a humongous humbug, a gigantic fraud of a belief system that only delivers because its followers never choose to look at the world through Martian eyes.

Let’s start with its gargantuan side. No matter how you cut it, the NSS is a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! of staggering numbers that, once you step outside its thought system, don’t add up. The US national defense budget is estimated to be larger than those of the next thirteen countries combined–that is, simply off-the-charts more expensive. The US Navy has eleven aircraft carrier strike groups when no other country has more than two.… Read the rest

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Federal Regulators Sue Big Banks Over Mortgages

resize_bank_of_america_signWill the Obama administration finally approach national banks with an iron fist? The New York Times reports:

A bruising legal fight pitting the country’s most powerful banks against the full force of the United States government began Friday, as federal regulators filed suits against 17 financial institutions that sold the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac nearly $200 billion in mortgage-backed securities that later soured.

The suits are the latest legal salvo fired at the banks accusing them of misdeeds during the housing boom. Investors fled financial shares Friday amid growing concern that the litigation could last for years and undermine earnings and balance sheets in the process.

The complaints were filed just as the stock market closed Friday afternoon, but with word leaking out of the impending legal action during the trading session, shares of Bank of America fell more than 8.3 percent, while JPMorgan Chase dropped 4.6 percent and Goldman fell 4.5 percent.

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U.S. Reviews Syphilis Experiment In Guatemala: Researchers Knew It Was Unethical

Tuskeegee_studyAll too often groups of people are unknowingly infected with disease as a means of isolated experimentation. Earlier this week the Commision for the Study of Bioethical Issues reviewed the 1940s incident  where the U.S. government infected Guatemalan prisoners and patients with syphilis. Via Reuters:

U.S. government researchers must have known they were violating ethical standards by deliberately infecting Guatemalan prison inmates and mental patients with syphilis for an experiment in the 1940s, according to a U.S. presidential commission.

The U.S.-funded research in Guatemala did not treat participants as human beings, failing to even inform them they were taking part in research, as was the case for a similar study in the United States, the commission said on Monday.

The United States apologized last year for the experiment, which was meant to test the drug penicillin, after it was uncovered decades later by a college professor.

President Barack Obama’s Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues investigated the syphilis experiment and discussed its key findings in Washington on Monday.

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