U.S. & NATO Torture
following evidence and information regarding U.S. and NATO Torture
has been submitted on behalf of David Chase Taylor to the government of
Switzerland via the Migration Office of the Canton of Zürich on numerous occasions.
Given the political ramifications and subsequent blowback of the The Nuclear Bible, especially in revealing and postponing a nuclear terror attack upon the United States, there is
little doubt that the life and safety of David Chase Taylor is now at stake.
Expected Retaliation from Intelligence Services such as CIA, MI5 or Mossad:
1. Taylor may be TORTURED in
retaliation for his journalistic endeavors
The following news articles confirm the fears of David Chase Taylor and substantiate without a doubt that Torture is in fact being committed within the United States, U.S. territories, and within NATO nations.
Title: Two 'Rule Of Law' Republicans Dissent On Torture And Assassinations
Date: November 13, 2011
Abstract: In Saturday's debate, the starkest divide among the GOP candidates concerned their willingness to adhere to the law while waging the War on Terrorism. Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul affirmed that they would do so. Every other candidate embraced unlawful positions that would've been unthinkable before 2001. The most important: the use of torture and presidential orders to assassinate American citizens.
Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich all favor "enhanced interrogation techniques," a euphemism for torture. Lest you doubt that waterboarding, the specific technique they've endorsed, is in fact torture, first note that it too is a euphemism. It refers to blindfolding someone, strapping them to a table, elevating their head, covering their mouth, forcing water through their nose into their sinuses until their lungs fill, and demanding that they reveal their secrets on the promise that if they do, you'll stop forcibly drowning them. If a Pakistani terrorist kidnapped Laura Bush, strapped her to a board, covered her mouth, and forced water through her nose until her lungs filled, would that be torture?
Jon Huntsman made the most eloquent case against waterboarding.
"This country has values," he said. "We have a name brand in the world... I've been an ambassador for my country three times. I've lived overseas and done business. We diminish our standing in the world and the values that we project that include liberty and democracy, human rights and open markets when we torture. We should not torture. Water-boarding is torture. We dilute ourselves down like a whole lot of other countries and we lose our ability to project values that a lot of people in a lot of corners of the world are still relying on the United States to stand up for."
Assassinating American Citizens
President Obama insists that he has the authority to order the assassination of American citizens who haven't been convicted of any crime or afforded due process so long as he first declares -- in a secret process the details of which we're not allowed to know -- that the target is a terrorist. Said one of the moderators during the debate, "Is it appropriate for the American president -- on the president's say so alone -- to order the death of an American citizen suspected of terrorism?"
Mitt Romney fielded the question.
"Absolutely," he said. "In this case, this is an individual who aligned himself with a group who had declared war on the United States of America. And if there's someone who is going to join a group that declares war on America and we're in a war with that entity, then of course, anyone bearing arms with that entity is fair game for the United States of America." What Romney doesn't mention is that if al-Awlaki, the American citizen we've already assassinated, could be killed "on the president's say so alone," than anyone can be killed. Limiting the president's killing authority to targets who "declare war on America" is meaningless if someone can be found guilty of having declared war on America based on the president's say so alone.
That brings us to Newt Gingrich's frightening answer.
MODERATOR: "As president of the United States would you sign that death warrant for an American overseas who you believe is a terrorist suspect?"
GINGRICH: "Well, he's not a terrorist suspect. He's a person who was found guilty under review of actively seeking the death of American citizens."
MODERATOR: "Not found guilty by a court, Sir. He was found guilty by a panel who looked at it and reported to the president. That's extra-judicial. It's not the rule of law."
GINGRICH: "It is the rule of law. That is explicitly false. It is the rule of law. If you engage in war against the United States, you are an enemy combatant. You have none of the civil liberties of the United States. You cannot go to court... Waging war on the United States is outside criminal law.
What is Gingrich ignoring?
In Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld, the Supreme Court addressed the case of an American citizen declared an enemy combatant by the Bush Administration, which asserted that he took up arms and fought with the Taliban. As Sandra Day O'Connor affirmed in her majority opinion, "due process demands that a citizen held in the United States as an enemy combatant be given a meaningful opportunity to contest the factual basis for that detention before a neutral decision-maker."
Ron Paul was the savior on this issue.
"We're at war against a tactic and therefore there's no limit to it," he said, condemning Obama's assassinations. "We create these monstrosities and we do things outside the law... You want to live within the law. And obey the law. Because otherwise it's going to be very bad for all of us. And this whole idea that now we can be assassinated by somebody we don't even like to run our medical care, they're giving this power to the president to be the prosecutor, the executor, the judge and the jury." As Adam Serwer mused on Twitter, "Paul remark goes at heart of contradiction of modern conservatism: Government is only infallible when it kills people."
Perhaps the most substantively absurd moment of the debate was when Michele Bachmann said, "Today under Barack Obama, he is allowing the ACLU to run the CIA." In fact, the ACLU has explicitly criticized the way Obama has waged the War on Terrorism generally, and actually joined the Center for Constitutional Rights in filing the lawsuit that tried to prevent the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki. Bachmann is either breathtakingly ignorant here or else lying.
Either way, she is just one of many candidates in the GOP field to show the folly of running to Obama's right on foreign policy. He surged troops into Afghanistan, killed Osama bin Laden, launched an undeclared war on Libya in violation of the War Powers Resolution, is waging another undeclared war using drones in Pakistan, and has taken most of the steps his hawkish critics say they'd implement in Iran. In other words, there actually is no coherent critique from the right to make unless it's so extreme in its war-mongering that a country tired of spilling blood and treasure abroad will pass.
Among the candidates at the debate, Huntsman and Paul are the only ones who can credibly attack Obama on the foreign policy grounds where he is weakest: his radicalism on executive power, illegal war in Libya, civil liberties violations, the destabilizing effect of his drone war on Pakistan, and the fact that he has an assassination list with the names of American citizens crossed off it (Atlantic, 2011).
Title: Top Bush-Era GITMO And Abu Ghraib Psychologist Is WH’s Newest Appointment
Date: March 25, 2011
Abstract: One of the most intense scandals the field of psychology has faced over the last decade is the involvement of several of its members in enabling Bush’s worldwide torture regime. Numerous health professionals worked for the U.S. government to help understand how best to mentally degrade and break down detainees. At the center of that controversy was — and is — Dr. Larry James. James, a retired Army colonel, was the Chief Psychologist at Guantanamo in 2003, at the height of the abuses at that camp, and then served in the same position at Abu Ghraib during 2004.
Today, Dr. James circulated an excited email announcing, “with great pride,” that he has now been selected to serve on the “White House Task Force entitled Enhancing the Psychological Well-Being of The Military Family.” In his new position, he will be meeting at the White House with Michelle Obama and other White House officials on Tuesday.
For his work at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, Dr. James was the subject of two formal ethics complaints in the two states where he is licensed to practice: Louisiana and Ohio. Those complaints — 50 pages long and full of detailed and well-documented allegations — were filed by the International Human Rights Clinic of Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program, on behalf of veterans, mental health professionals and others. The complaints detailed how James “was the senior psychologist of the Guantánamo BSCT, a small but influential group of mental health professionals whose job it was to advise on and participate in the interrogations, and to help create an environment designed to break down prisoners.” Specifically:
Writing in 2009, Law Professor Bill Quigley and Deborah Popowski, a Fellow at the Harvard Law School Human Rights Program, described James’ role in this particularly notorious incident:
James treated numerous detainees who were abused, degraded, and tortured, yet never took any steps to stop or even report these incidents. Last year, Steven Reisner — senior faculty member and supervisor at the International Trauma Studies Program, who also teaches at New York University Medical School and Columbia University — told Democracy Now: “there is a lot of evidence that has been made public showing that the torture programs in the CIA and at Guantánamo, the Department of Defense, were created and overseen by health professionals, particularly psychologists” and that psychologists were at these facilities “to use their professional expertise to break down the detainees.” James, argued Dr. Reisner, was directly implicated because:
For his part, Dr. James claims he attempted to protect the detainees under his care from abuse and psychological injury. Meanwhile, the Louisiana psychology board refused to review the merits of the complaint against James on the grounds that the alleged acts were too old (outside the statute of limitations), while the Ohio board issued a three-sentence, cursory letter which decreed, without any explanation whatsoever, that “it has been determined that we are unable to proceed to formal action in this matter.” So while the charges against him have not been formally sustained by either board, neither have they been evaluated or rejected by any apparent consideration of the merits. Judicial review of the Ohio board’s decision is still possible (a Louisiana federal court ruled it lacked jurisdiction to review the board’s Statute of Limitations findings).
Despite the overwhelming evidence against him, James should not be deemed guilty in the absence of a formal adjudication. But the White House’s conduct in selecting him is nonetheless baffling, at best. Of all the psychologists to choose from, why would they possibly choose to honor and elevate the former chief psychologist of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib at the height of the Bush abuses? More disturbing still, among those most damaged by detainee abuse are the service members forced to participate in it; why would the White House possibly want to put on a task force about the health of military families someone, such as Dr. James, who at the very least is directly associated with policies that so profoundly harmed numerous members of the military and their families?
This isn’t exactly a powerful Task Force, but what this appointment does is have the White House — yet again
— signal that it does not really take very seriously the Bush torture
regime. On appearance grounds alone, the Obama administration should
not be embracing and legitimizing the Bush-era Chief Psychologist of
Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. Is there really nobody in the White House
who was able to come to that realization on their own, or is this part
of some twisted “reaching out” effort to show that they view bygones as
bygones when it comes to the war crimes our leaders committed and whom
the Obama administration continues to protect? Whatever the explanation,
the symbolism here is as ugly as the mindset underlying it (Salon, 2011).
Title: Obama's Latest Torture
Date: March 14, 2011
Source: Washington Times
Abstract: President Obama is feeling the heat over the treatment of WikiLeaks suspect Army Pfc. Bradley E. Manning. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Mr. Obama took unseemly advantage of the accusation that George W. Bush's administration tortured terrorist detainees. Now even an O Force insider is strongly hinting that the administration’s conduct toward the individual thought to have leaked thousands of classified documents amounts to torture.
Pfc. Manning’s attorney, David Coombs, last week released a letter in which Pfc. Manning purportedly described the “ordeal” he suffered in January during a three-day suicide watch at the brig where he is being held at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Va. “I was stripped of all clothing [at night] with the exception of my underwear,” he wrote. “My prescription eyeglasses were taken away from me and I was forced to sit in essential blindness.” A short time later State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley was asked about why the United States was “torturing a prisoner in a military brig” during an on-the-record roundtable at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mr. Crowley did not question the premise but said that the way Pfc. Manning was being treated was “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.”
Administration officials were obviously not happy with this outburst. In a resignation statement, Mr. Crowley explained his comments “were intended to highlight the broader, even strategic impact of discrete actions undertaken by national security agencies every day and their impact on our global standing and leadership.” Of course he did much more damage to U.S. global standing and leadership with his casual, off-the-cuff remark. He added that the exercise of power “must be prudent and consistent with our laws and values,” which implies that torture is indeed taking place, but it is not necessarily so.
A source familiar with the protocols of a prisoner suicide watch told The Washington Times that what the letter describes is standard operating procedure. “If [Pfc. Manning] is a threat to himself the military’s first responsibility is to keep him safe,” the source said. “Stripping him down is consistent with that” because the consequences of not taking action would be far worse. “Crowley may call this stupid, but imagine if [Pfc. Manning] killed himself. Imagine the conspiracy theories. It would be endless.”
The military cannot openly address how Pfc. Manning is being treated because the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) forbids disclosure of anything that might touch on Pfc.
Manning’s mental state. The Defense Department has to respect the suspected leaker’s privacy right, and his lawyer is unlikely to convey the impression that Pfc. Manning is psychologically or emotionally unbalanced.
The military has to rely on the commander in chief for top cover. At a press briefing Friday, Mr. Obama said that the Pentagon assured him that the procedures taken with respect to Manning “are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards” and that he “can’t go into details about some of their concerns, but some of this has to do with Private Manning’s safety as well.” The president cannot go into detail because he must also abide by HIPAA restrictions.
Mr. Obama’s statement was just vague enough to ensure that the issue would explode. The Baltimore Sun asks “Why is the U.S. torturing Private Manning?” Al Jazeera notes “the fine line between torture of enemy combatants and American citizens.” Andrew Sullivan calls Manning’s treatment “needless sadism.” Antiwar gadfly Daniel Ellsberg condemned the “shameful abuse of Bradley Manning” which “amounts to torture.” The Daily Kos calls it a war crime. The same media outlets that aided and abetted Mr. Obama in his undignified mission to paint his predecessor as a torturer now level the same charge at him. Perhaps Mr. Obama should call Mr. Bush and apologize (Washington Times, 2011).
Title: Torture Under Obama
Date: February 17, 2010
Source: CATO Institute
Abstract: Some of the increasing number of critics, from the left and the right, of President Barack Obama's abuses of civil liberties and human rights make an exception by praising his executive order in the first month of his term banning torture as a form of interrogation on matters of national security. There is credible reason, however, to dispute the credibility of that presidential pledge.
"Torture's Loopholes" (New York Times, Jan. 20) is by Matthew Alexander, a 14-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force and Air Force Reserves. In 2006, he led the U.S. interrogation team that tracked and found Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the insatiable killer who commanded al-Qaida in Iraq and was then terminated by coalition forces. Alexander went on to write a book that was not endorsed by Dick Cheney: How to Break a Terrorist: The U.S. Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq.This is what Alexander, who describes himself as "an investigator turned interrogator," has to say about Obama allegedly banning torture — and the accompanying decision last August by Attorney General Eric Holder to remove responsibility for interrogating detainees to a new FBI-directed High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group that will constrain itself to use only "noncoercive" methods or those approved by the Army Field Manual.
Unequivocally, Alexander states: "If I were to return to one of the war zones today...I would still be allowed to abuse prisoners." How come? In August, Holder's task force on interrogation, commissioned by the president, "recommended no changes" to the Army Field Manual, thereby retaining the torture loopholes focused on now by the tracker of al-Zarqawi.
To begin, an appendix to the Manual allows a detainee (a.k.a. prisoner) to be kept in solitary confinement indefinitely. As Alexander point out, "extended solitary confinement is torture, as confirmed by many scientific studies." And the prestigious Manual allows suspects just four hours sleep in 24 hours. "As if this wasn't enough," Alexander continues, a loophole permits interrogators, Mr. President, 'to give a detainee four hours of sleep — and then conduct a 20-hour interrogation, after which they can 'reset' the clock and begin another 20-hour interrogation followed by four hours of sleep."
You certainly keep physically fit, Mr. President, but I wonder what your definition of torture is if you allowed yourself, as part of a clinical test, to be interrogated for 40 hours straight?
Until this change in the Army Field Manual, Alexander points out, an interrogator going beyond 20 straight hours of interrogation (as if that weren't inhumane enough) was referred to as "monstering" in that line of work.
Well, Barack Obama did campaign as a much-needed agent of change.
Alexander, who is also a historian of military interrogation, notes that "the United States has a rich history of military ethics dating back to General George Washington during the Revolutionary War. According to General Washington, 'Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any prisoner ... by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country."'
What Washington meant by "such conduct" was the brutal, vicious ways the British army was interrogating their American prisoners. George Washington was The Army Field Manual during our Revolutionary War. But history isn't taught much in the schools anymore, or in the military.
With regard to the systemic torture policy of the Bush-Cheney administration and its effect on recruiters for terrorist forces, Alexander says:
"I listened time and again (in Iraq) to captured foreign fighters cite the torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo as their main reason for coming to Iraq to fight. Consider that 90 percent of the suicide bombers in Iraq are these foreign fighters and you can easily conclude that we have lost hundreds, if not thousands, of American lives because of our policy of torture and abuse."
There were hundreds more photographs of American torture practices in
Afghanistan as well as in Iraq that President Obama commanded in May
must not be released despite a previous court order to the contrary. He
said they would have a "chilling effect" on further investigations of
abuse of detainees. Huh? But Obama, ever desiring to "look forward," is
uninterested in such investigations. But he insisted that any future
abuse of our prisoners is "unacceptable and will not be tolerated."
In reaction to this White House censorship, ACLU attorney Amrit Singh said in that same CNN story: "By withholding these photographs from public view, the Obama administration is making itself complicit in the Bush administration's torture policies."
I do not expect any Obama "transparency" (another broken pledge) uncovering what lawless abuses are, under his own administration's watch, taking place through the "loopholes" in the Army Field Manual, and elsewhere. This is not for us low-level citizens to know.
Meanwhile, where is Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee? He used to insist there be a bipartisan congressional investigation to determine who has been accountable for past official brutality that has not only aided the terrorists but has also greatly marred confidence in us around the world as a model of justice under law in a global battle for the survival — as Colin Powell said right after 9/11 — of civilization.
And, along with investigations of past U.S. torture, where is Obama on torture now? (CATO Institute, 2010).
Title: Obama's Growing Dilemma On Torture Prosecution
Date: April 22, 2009
Abstract: Less than a day after President Barack Obama told CIA employees in person that he didn't support prosecuting them for the harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects, he left open the possibility that those who drafted the legal opinions justifying such questionable techniques could end up facing charges. The surprising statement marked just the latest step in Obama's evolving view of the Bush Administration's handling of terrorism cases, and it underscored the fine line he is navigating in his stated commitments to uphold the rule of law and at the same time move beyond the divisive Bush years.
While he criticized the interrogation policies during last year's presidential campaign, Obama has made clear since his election that he prefers "looking forward and not backwards,' a view he repeated on Tuesday. But in addition to giving a green light to Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the lawyers involved, Obama said for the first time that he could support a bipartisan commission that would probe how government employees ended up carrying out what some view as government-approved torture. (Read "Waterboarding: A Mental and Physical Trauma.")
In retrospect, the apparent change of heart was almost a self-fulfilling prophecy: after all, it was Obama himself who last week ordered the release of four Bush Administration legal memos justifying interrogations that included waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other harsh methods. The documents — with their excruciating details largely intact, despite CIA Director Leon Panetta's call that more be blacked out — outraged partisans on both sides.
Many Democrats and human-rights activists see the memos as damning evidence that the U.S. violated international law and say officials should be held accountable. Many Republicans and national-security experts are dismayed by the decision to air the dirty laundry, claiming the revelations weaken the country's intelligence-gathering capabilities and give a misleading picture of the efficacy of such interrogation tactics. (Read how waterboarding got out of control.)
The Obama Administration has already ruled out the prosecution of those who actually carried out the harsh interrogations, so long as they complied with the government-approved guidelines. And Obama treaded carefully on Tuesday, stressing to reporters at the end of his Tuesday meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah that he did "not want to prejudge" the outcome of the Justice Department's inquiry into the policy's legal underpinnings and that he would not want any inquiry to turn into a partisan witch hunt. "I do worry about this getting so politicized that we cannot function effectively, and it hampers our ability to carry out critical national-security operations," he said. But at that point it was too late. By not entirely ruling out the authors' prosecution — as his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, had appeared to do over the weekend — the President had effectively unleashed the hounds.
And they were quick to pounce on beleaguered White House press secretary Robert Gibbs. He spent a good portion of Tuesday's contentious press briefing trying to make the case that Obama's comments did not in fact signal any change, despite what other Administration officials, including himself and Emanuel, had said in the past.
Advocates on both sides of the heated issue, not surprisingly, didn't see it that way. "Torture is a crime, and we are hopeful that President Obama's comments signal a new acknowledgment of the need for criminal investigations of those who authorized, legally justified and carried out these unlawful acts," said Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. "Accountability is not retribution; it is justice." Republicans professed to be perplexed. "We're sort of interested to know what is the policy or the position of the Administration," said Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, "because now it seems to be somewhat confusing."
Obama's statements — combined with a critical report from the Senate Armed Services Committee into the origins of the interrogation policies that was released on Tuesday night — are sure to ratchet up pressure on his Administration to clear the air. So will a report expected soon from the Justice Department's ethics office, which is looking into the actions of the memos' authors, Steven Bradbury, Jay Bybee and John Yoo. Federal officials say it will find their legal logic unpersuasive, though what measures it may recommend, be it disbarment or criminal charges, are uncertain.
The presidential nod on Tuesday toward the creation of what some are
"truth commission" to ferret out the origin of the harsh
likely to get renewed traction. Democrats Senator Patrick Leahy
of Vermont and Representative John
Conyers of Michigan, who head the two congressional judiciary
argued for such a panel, modeled on the widely respected one
that studied 9/11. Having sparked the current conflagration by releasing
the memos, Obama can only hope that creating such a commission could
tamp it down — and keep this political firestorm from sucking up the
valuable political oxygen he needs for his many other initiatives (TIME, 2009).
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. The techniques were among the Bush administration’s most closely guarded secrets, and the documents released Thursday afternoon were the most comprehensive public accounting to date of the program.
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.
The release of the documents came after a bitter debate that divided the Obama administration, with the C.I.A. opposing the Justice Department’s proposal to air the details of the agency’s long-secret program. Fueling the urgency of the discussion was Thursday’s court deadline in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which had sued the government for the release of the Justice Department 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.
Within minutes of the release of the memos, Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that the memos illustrated the need for his proposed independent commission of inquiry, which would offer immunity in return for candid testimony.
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.
In the memos, the Justice Department authors emphasized precautions the C.I.A. proposed to take, including monitoring by medical personnel, and the urgency of getting information to stop terrorist attacks. 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.
Mr. Bybee, Mr. Bradbury and John Yoo, who was the leading author of the 2002 interrogation memos, are the subjects of an investigation by the Justice Department’s ethics office about their legal analysis on interrogation. Officials have described the draft ethics report, by the Office of Professional Responsibility, as highly critical, but its completion has been delayed to allow the subjects a chance to respond.
The A.C.L.U. said the memos clearly describe criminal conduct and underscore the need to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate who authorized and carried out torture.
But 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” (New York Times, 2009).
Title: Inside The CIA’s Notorious “Black Sites”
Date: December 14, 2007
Abstract: The CIA held Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah in several different cells when he was incarcerated in its network of secret prisons known as “black sites.” But the small cells were all pretty similar, maybe 7 feet wide and 10 feet long. He was sometimes naked, and sometimes handcuffed for weeks at a time. In one cell his ankle was chained to a bolt in the floor. There was a small toilet. In another cell there was just a bucket. Video cameras recorded his every move. The lights always stayed on — there was no day or night. A speaker blasted him with continuous white noise, or rap music, 24 hours a day.
The guards wore black masks and black clothes. They would not utter a word as they extracted Bashmilah from his cell for interrogation — one of his few interactions with other human beings during his entire 19 months of imprisonment. Nobody told him where he was, or if he would ever be freed.
It was enough to drive anyone crazy. Bashmilah finally tried to slash his wrists with a small piece of metal, smearing the words “I am innocent” in blood on the walls of his cell. But the CIA patched him up.
So Bashmilah stopped eating. But after his weight dropped to 90 pounds, he was dragged into an interrogation room, where they rammed a tube down his nose and into his stomach. Liquid was pumped in. The CIA would not let him die.
On several occasions, when Bashmilah’s state of mind deteriorated dangerously, the CIA also did something else: They placed him in the care of mental health professionals. Bashmilah believes these were trained psychologists or psychiatrists. “What they were trying to do was to give me a sort of uplifting and to assure me,” Bashmilah said in a telephone interview, through an interpreter, speaking from his home country of Yemen. “One of the things they told me to do was to allow myself to cry, and to breathe.”
Last June, Salon reported on the CIA’s use of psychologists to aid with the interrogation of terrorist suspects. But the role of mental health professionals working at CIA black sites is a previously unknown twist in the chilling, Kafkaesque story of the agency’s secret overseas prisons.
Little about the conditions of Bashmilah’s incarceration has been made public until now. His detailed descriptions in an interview with Salon, and in newly filed court documents, provide the first in-depth, first-person account of captivity inside a CIA black site. Human rights advocates and lawyers have painstakingly pieced together his case, using Bashmilah’s descriptions of his cells and his captors, and documents from the governments of Jordan and Yemen and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to verify his testimony. Flight records detailing the movement of CIA aircraft also confirm Bashmilah’s account, tracing his path from the Middle East to Afghanistan and back again while in U.S. custody.
Bashmilah’s story also appears to show in clear terms that he was an innocent man. After 19 months of imprisonment and torment at the hands of the CIA, the agency released him with no explanation, just as he had been imprisoned in the first place. He faced no terrorism charges. He was given no lawyer. He saw no judge. He was simply released, his life shattered.
“This really shows the human impact of this program and that lives are ruined by the CIA rendition program,” said Margaret Satterthwaite, an attorney for Bashmilah and a professor at the New York University School of Law. “It is about psychological torture and the experience of being disappeared.”
Bashmilah, who at age 39 is now physically a free man, still suffers the mental consequences of prolonged detention and abuse. He is undergoing treatment for the damage done to him at the hands of the U.S. government. On Friday, Bashmilah laid out his story in a declaration to a U.S. district court as part of a civil suit brought by the ACLU against Jeppesen Dataplan Inc., a subsidiary of Boeing accused of facilitating secret CIA rendition flights.
Bashmilah said in the phone interview that the psychological anguish inside a CIA black site is exacerbated by the unfathomable unknowns for the prisoners. While he figured out that he was being held by Americans, Bashmilah did not know for sure why, where he was, or whether he would ever see his family again. He said, “Every time I realize that there may be others who are still there where I suffered, I feel the same thing for those innocent people who just fell in a crack.”
It may seem bizarre for the agency to provide counseling to a prisoner while simultaneously cracking him mentally — as if revealing a humanitarian aspect to a program otherwise calibrated to exploit systematic psychological abuse. But it could also be that mental healthcare professionals were enlisted to help bring back from the edge prisoners who seemed precariously damaged, whose frayed minds were no longer as pliable for interrogation. “My understanding is that the purpose of having psychiatrists there is that if the prisoner feels better, then he would be able to talk more to the interrogators,” said Bashmilah.
Realistically, psychiatrists in such a setting could do little about the prisoners’ deeper suffering at the hands of the CIA. “They really had no authority to address these issues,” Bashmilah said about his mental anguish. He said the doctors told him to “hope that one day you will prove your innocence or that you will one day return to your family.” The psychiatrists also gave him some pills, likely tranquilizers. They analyzed his dreams. But there wasn’t much else they could do. “They also gave me a Rubik’s Cube so I could pass the time, and some jigsaw puzzles,” Bashmilah recalled.
The nightmare started for him back in fall 2003. Bashmilah had traveled to Jordan from Indonesia, where he was living with his wife and working in the clothing business. He and his wife went to Jordan to meet Bashmilah’s mother, who had also traveled there. The family hoped to arrange for heart surgery for Bashmilah’s mother at a hospital in Amman. But before leaving Indonesia, Bashmilah had lost his passport and had received a replacement. Upon arrival in Jordan, Jordanian officials questioned his lack of stamps in the new one, and they grew suspicious when Bashmilah admitted he had visited Afghanistan in 2000. Bashmilah was taken into custody by Jordanian authorities on Oct. 21, 2003. He would not reappear again until he stepped out of a CIA plane in Yemen on May 5, 2005.
Bashmilah’s apparent innocence was clearly lost on officials with Jordan’s General Intelligence Department. After his arrest, the Jordanians brutally beat him, peppering him with questions about al-Qaida. He was forced to jog around in a yard until he collapsed. Officers hung him upside down with a leather strap and his hands tied. They beat the soles of his feet and his sides. They threatened to electrocute him with wires. They told him they would rape his wife and mother.
It was too much. Bashmilah signed a confession multiple pages long, but he was disoriented and afraid even to read it. “I felt sure it included things I did not say,” he wrote in his declaration to the court delivered Friday. “I was willing to sign a hundred sheets so long as they would end the interrogation.”
Bashmilah was turned over to the CIA in the early morning hours of Oct. 26, 2003. Jordanian officials delivered him to a “tall, heavy-set, balding white man wearing civilian clothes and dark sunglasses with small round lenses,” he wrote in his declaration. He had no idea who his new captors were, or that he was about to begin 19 months of hell, in the custody of the U.S. government. And while he was seldom beaten physically while in U.S. custody, he describes a regime of imprisonment designed to inflict extreme psychological anguish.
I asked Bashmilah which was worse: the physical beatings at the hands of the Jordanians, or the psychological abuse he faced from the CIA. “I consider that psychological torture I endured was worse than the physical torture,” he responded. He called his imprisonment by the CIA “almost like being inside a tomb.”
“Whenever I saw a fly in my cell, I was filled with joy,” he said. “Although I would wish for it to slip from under the door so it would not be imprisoned itself.”
After a short car ride to a building at the airport, Bashmilah’s clothes were cut off by black-clad, masked guards wearing surgical gloves. He was beaten. One guard stuck his finger in Bashmilah’s anus. He was dressed in a diaper, blue shirt and pants. Blindfolded and wearing earmuffs, he was then chained and hooded and strapped to a gurney in an airplane.
Flight records show Bashmilah was flown to Kabul. (Records show the plane originally departed from Washington, before first stopping in Prague and Bucharest.) After landing, he was forced to lie down in a bumpy jeep for 15 minutes and led into a building. The blindfold was removed, and Bashmilah was examined by an American doctor.
He was then placed in a windowless, freezing-cold cell, roughly 6.5 feet by 10 feet. There was a foam mattress, one blanket, and a bucket for a toilet that was emptied once a day. A bare light bulb stayed on constantly. A camera was mounted above a solid metal door. For the first month, loud rap and Arabic music was piped into his cell, 24 hours a day, through a hole opposite the door. His leg shackles were chained to the wall. The guards would not let him sleep, forcing Bashmilah to raise his hand every half hour to prove he was still awake.
Cells were lined up next to each other with spaces in between. Higher above the low ceilings of the cells appeared to be another ceiling, as if the prison were inside an airplane hanger.
After three months the routine became unbearable. Bashmilah unsuccessfully tried to hang himself with his blanket and slashed his wrists. He slammed his head against the wall in an effort to lose consciousness. He was held in three separate but similar cells during his detention in Kabul. At one point, the cell across from him was being used for interrogations. “While I myself was not beaten in the torture and interrogation room, after a while I began to hear the screams of detainees being tortured there,” he wrote.
While he was not beaten, Bashmilah was frequently interrogated. “During the entire period of my detention there, I was held in solitary confinement and saw no one other than my guards, interrogators and other prison personnel,” he wrote in his declaration. One interrogator accused him of being involved in sending letters to a contact in England, though Bashmilah says he doesn’t know anybody in that country. At other times he was shown pictures of people he also says he did not know.
“This is a form of torture,” he told me. “Especially when the person subjected to this has not done anything.”
In his declaration, Bashmilah made it clear that most of the prison officials spoke English with American accents. “The interrogators also frequently referred to reports coming from Washington,” he wrote.
After six months he was transferred, with no warning or explanation. On or around April 24, 2004, Bashmilah was pulled from his cell and placed in an interrogation room, where he was stripped naked. An American doctor with a disfigured hand examined him, jotting down distinctive marks on a paper diagram of the human body. Black-masked guards again put him in a diaper, cotton pants and shirt. He was blindfolded, shackled, hooded, forced to wear headphones, and stacked, lying down, in a jeep with other detainees. Then he remembers being forced up steps into a waiting airplane for a flight that lasted several hours, followed by several hours on the floor of a helicopter.
Upon landing, he was forced into a vehicle for a short ride. Then, Bashmilah took several steps into another secret prison — location unknown.
He was forced into a room and stripped naked again. Photos were taken of all sides of his body. He was surrounded by about 15 people. “All of them except for the person taking photographs were dressed in the kind of black masks that robbers wear to hide their faces,” Bashmilah wrote in the declaration.
He was again examined by a doctor, who took notations on the diagram of the human body. (It was the same form from Afghanistan. Bashmilah saw his vaccination scar marked on the diagram.) The doctor looked in his eyes, ears, nose and throat.
He was then thrown into a cold cell, left naked.
It was another tiny cell, new or refurbished with a stainless steel sink and toilet. Until clothes arrived several days later, Bashmilah huddled in a blanket. In this cell there were two video cameras, one mounted above the door and the other in a wall. Also above the door was a speaker. White noise, like static, was pumped in constantly, day and night. He spent the first month in handcuffs. In this cell his ankle was attached to a 110-link chain attached to a bolt on the floor.
The door had a small opening in the bottom through which food would appear: boiled rice, sliced meat and bread, triangles of cheese, boiled potato, slices of tomato and olives, served on a plastic plate.
Guards wore black pants with pockets, long-sleeved black shirts, rubber gloves or black gloves, and masks that covered the head and neck. The masks had tinted yellow plastic over the eyes. “I never heard the guards speak to each other and they never spoke to me,” Bashmilah wrote in his declaration.
He was interrogated more. Bashmilah recalls an interrogator showing him a lecture by an Islamic scholar playing on a laptop. The interrogator wanted to know if Bashmilah knew who the man was, but he did not. It was in this facility that Bashmilah slashed his wrists, then went on his hunger strike, only to be force-fed through a tube forced down his nose.
The CIA seems to have figured out that Bashmilah was not an al-Qaida operative sometime around September 2004, when he was moved to another, similar cell. But there was no more white noise. And while his ankles were shackled, he wasn’t bolted to the floor with a chain. He was allowed to shower once a week. He was no longer interrogated and was mostly left alone.
Bashmilah was given a list of books he could read. About a month before he was released, he was given access to an exercise hall for 15 minutes a week. And he saw mental healthcare professionals. “The psychiatrists asked me to talk about why I was so despairing, interpreted my dreams, asked me how I was sleeping and whether I had an appetite, and offered medications such as tranquilizers.”
On May 5, 2005, Bashmilah was cuffed, hooded and put on a plane to Yemen. Yemeni government documents say the flight lasted six or seven hours and confirm that he was transferred from the control of the U.S. government. He soon learned that his father had died in the fall of 2004, not knowing where his son had disappeared to, or even if he was alive.
At the end of my
interview with Bashmilah, I asked him if there was anything in
particular he wanted people to know. “I would like for the American
people to know that Islam is not an enemy to other nations,” he said.
“The American people should have a voice for holding accountable people
who have hurt innocent people,” he added. “And when there is a
transgression against the American people, it should not be addressed by
another transgression” (Salon, 2007).
Title: Committee Deplores Member States' Passivity In The Face Of Illegal CIA Operations
Date: January 24, 2007
Source: European Parliament
Abstract: Over a thousand CIA-operated flights used European airspace in 2001-05 and temporary secret detention facilities "may have been located at US military bases" in Europe, says Parliament's temporary committee on CIA activities in Europe. Its final report deplores the passivity of some Member States in the face of illegal CIA operations, and a lack of co-operation from the EU Council of Ministers. It calls for a formal investigation under EU Treaty Article 7 on breaches of fundamental rights.
The report, adopted on Tuesday with 28 votes in favour, 17 against and 3 abstentions, and now due for debate and vote at the February plenary in Strasbourg, says European countries have been "turning a blind eye" to flights operated by the CIA which, "on some occasions, were being used for extraordinary rendition or the illegal transportation of detainees." In some cases, says the report, "temporary secret detention facilities in European countries may have been located at US military bases" and “there may have been a lack of control” over such bases by European host countries. “Secret detention facilities”, it explains, can also include places where somebody is held incommunicado, such as hotel rooms, as in the case of Khaled El-Masri in Skopje in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The Temporary Committee therefore "expects the Council to start hearings and commission an independent investigation without delay, as foreseen in EU Treaty Article 7", and, "where necessary, to impose sanctions on Member States in case of a serious and persistent breach of Article 6".
"Not possible" to Point to Secret Detention Centres in Poland
In an amendment passed by a single vote (23 in favour, 22 against), MEPs stated that from the available "circumstantial evidence", "it is not possible to acknowledge that secret detention centres were based in Poland." The report nonetheless notes that the names of "seven of the fourteen detainees" transferred from a secret detention facility to Guantánamo in September 2006 coincide with those mentioned in a report by ABC News (in a report from December 2005) that identified the twelve top Al Qaeda suspects held in Poland.
From testimonies gathered during their visit to Poland, MEPs conclude that the investigation by the Polish Parliament was not conducted independently and that statements to their delegation were “contradictory” and compromised by "confusion about flight logs [...] which were first said not to have been retained, then said to have probably been archived at the airport, and finally to have been sent by the Polish government to the Council of Europe".
“At least 1245 flights operated by the CIA flew into European airspace or stopped over at European airports between the end of 2001 and the end of 2005”, although, as MEPs emphasise, “not all those flights have been used for extraordinary rendition”.
Working documents published by rapporteur Claudio Fava (PES, IT) also cite “strong evidence of the extraordinary renditions analysed by the committee, as well as of the companies linked to the CIA (…) and the European countries in which the CIA made stopovers”. In their report, MEPs mention up to 21 well-documented cases of extraordinary rendition in which rendition victims were transferred through a European country or were residents in a European state at the time of their kidnapping. With this in mind, the text "calls on the countries of Europe to compensate their innocent victims of extraordinary renditions".
Committee members deplore these renditions “as an illegal instrument used by the USA in the fight against terrorism” and condemn the “acceptance and concealing of the practice, on several occasions, by the secret services and governmental authorities of certain European countries”. They therefore call on the Council and the Member States "to issue a clear and forceful declaration calling on the US Administration to put an end to the practice of extraordinary arrests and renditions".
Use of Torture
The report notes that the renditions investigated by the committee “in the majority of cases involved incommunicado detention and torture” during interrogations, as was confirmed by the victims - or their lawyers - who testified to the committee. According to the testimony of former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray, the exchange of intelligence obtained under torture by third countries' secret services to the British services was a practice known and tolerated by the UK government.
In the light of the available evidence, note Committee members, there is a "strong possibility that some European countries may have received [...] information obtained under torture".
Reluctance to Co-Operate
MEPs also deplored “the lack of co-operation of many Member States and of the Council of the EU towards the temporary committee” and explained that “the serious lack of concrete answers to the questions raised by victims, NGOs, media and parliamentarians has only strengthened the validity of already well-documented allegations”. The Council, they said, initially withheld -- and then provided only partial fragments of -- information pertaining to regular discussions with high-level US officials. The report calls this behaviour "totally unacceptable". Such "shortcomings" of the Council, reads the report, "implicate all Member State governments, since they have collective responsibility as members of the Council". As MEPs note later in the text, the Treaty-based "principle of loyal cooperation [...] which binds Member States and EU institutions to take any measures to ensure the fulfilment of the European obligations, such as the respect of human rights, [...] has not been respected".
The national governments specifically criticised for their unwillingness to co-operate with Parliament's investigations were those of Austria, Italy, Poland, Portugal and the UK. The report also gives detailed evidence of investigations of illegal rendition or CIA flight cases involving Bosnia, Cyprus, Denmark, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Germany, Greece, Ireland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.
At the same time, MEPs complained about “omissions” in statements by Javier Solana, the Council's High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, regarding the Council’s discussions on fighting terrorism with US representatives. Mr Solana, they add, “was unable to supplement the evidence already in the possession of the temporary committee”. The same goes for EU Counter-terrorism Co-ordinator Gijs de Vries, who, MEPs concluded, was “unable to give satisfactory answers”. With this in mind, MEPs took the view that the competences and powers of the Counter-terrorism Co-ordinator should be strengthened and monitored by the European Parliament.
With a view to the end of the committee's mandate, and acknowledging that its conclusions are not "exhaustive", the report encourages governments and/or national parliaments to launch (or to pursue) independent investigations. MEPs also ask the Civil Liberties Committee to follow up the proceedings of the Temporary Committee, to monitor developments and, if necessary, to recommend sanctions under EU Treaty Article 7 against those Member States found to be in breach of EU fundamental rights.
The report also recommends that all European countries should have "specific national laws to regulate and monitor the activities of third countries' secret services on their national territories" and advises that over-flight clearances for military and/or police aircraft should be granted "only if accompanied by guarantees that human rights will be respected".
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