Psychologists Agree To Historic Settlement In ACLU Case On Behalf Of Three Torture Victims

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By Staff of ACLU – NEW YORK — In a first for a case involving CIA torture, the American Civil Liberties Union announced a settlement today in the lawsuit against the two psychologists who designed and implemented the agency’s brutal program. A jury trial was scheduled to begin on September 5, after the plaintiffs successfully overcame every attempt by the psychologists to have the case dismissed. The lawsuit was brought by the ACLU on behalf of Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, and the family of Gul Rahman, who froze to death in a secret CIA prison. The three men were tortured and experimented on using methods developed by the CIA-contracted psychologists, James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen. “This is a historic victory for our clients and the rule of law,” said ACLU attorney Dror Ladin. “This outcome shows that there are consequences for torture and that survivors can and will hold those responsible for torture accountable. It is a clear warning for anyone who thinks they can torture with impunity.” The full terms of the settlement agreement are confidential.

Psychologists Accused Of Designing CIA ‘Torture’ Programme To Face Trial

James Mitchell (left) and Bruce Jessen (right) are accused in a lawsuit of being the designers of the CIA's interrogation programme ACLU

By Jeremy B. White for Independent – Setting up an extraordinary public airing of how the American government treated terrorism suspects in the years following 9/11, a federal lawsuit against two psychologists accused of being architects of Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] interrogation methods will proceed to trial. Judge Justin L Quackenbush of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Washington cleared the way for the case to move to the trial phase on Monday, rejecting the psychologists’ lawyers request for summary judgement. The American Civil Liberties Union brought the lawsuit on behalf of two men who were captured and detained by the CIA and the family of a third who died of hypothermia while in custody. They allege that they were beaten, deprived of sleep, forced to endure extreme temperatures and subjected to a form of waterboarding, a technique that simulates drowning. The organisation hailed the impending trial as a rare opportunity to cast into the public eye an era that has often been shrouded in secrecy. A exhaustive US Senate report on post-9/11 interrogation techniques concluded that attempts to extract information from suspects were “were brutal and far worse than the CIA represented to policymakers and others.” “This is a historic day for our clients and all who seek accountability for torture,” ACLU attorney Dror Ladin said in a press release.

Seymour Hersh Cracks ‘RussiaGate’ As CIA-Planted Lie, Revenge Against Trump

The Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin: Did the Russians hack U.S. election databases? (Yahoo News photo illustration, photos: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters, Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters, AP, AP)

By Eric Zuesse for Global Research – The kid gets — I don’t think he [Seth Rich] was murdered [because of this] I don’t think he was murdered because of what he knew, the kid was a nice boy, 27, he was not an ITS person, he learned stuff, he was a data-programmer, but he learned stuff, and so he was living on one street, somewhere, he was living in a very rough neighborhood, and in the exact area where he lived, there had been about, I am sure you know, there had been about 8 or 9 or 10, violent robberies, most of them with somebody brandishing a gun, and I am sure you know, his [the kid’s] hands were marked up, the cops concluded [HERSH SAW THE POLICE REPORT] he fought off the people, he tried to run, and they shot him twice in the back with a 22, small-caliber, and then the kid that did it ran, he got scared. So, the cops do this, here’s what nobody knows, what I am telling you, now maybe you do know something about it: When you have a death like that, DC cops, as you’re [dealing now with a person who is] dead, you generally don’t zip and go, yep I know, what’s the motive, what’s going on, you have to get to the kid’s apartment and see what you can find.

Black Peace Advocate Wonders If Trump Can Rein In CIA

Trump flanked by the Blackstone CEO, Stephen Schwarzman, a Momentive investor and Trump’s ‘jobs czar’, and the General Motors CEO, Mary Barra. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

By Bruce A. Dixon for Black Agenda Report – President Trump’s cancellation of the CIA’s longstanding mission to train, arm and finance a jihadist overthrow of the Syrian government is recognition that “the Obama war has basically failed,” said Ajamu Baraka, spokesperson for the newly organized Black Alliance for Peace and the Green Party’s 2016 vice presidential candidate. Given that the military and intelligence services rebelled against President Obama’s attempts to cooperate with the Russians in Syria, last year, “it remains to be seen to what extent these elements of the ‘deep state’ are going to obey that directive,” said Baraka, who is also an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report.

Did Trump Really End The CIA’s Secret War In Syria?

by Kenny Cole | CC BY 2.0

By Jeff Mackler for Counter Punch – “Trump Ends Covert Aid to Syrian Rebels Trying to Topple Assad,” read a July 19 New York Times headline. Citing The Washington Postas its source, the article noted that the official termination of the “secret” U.S. program “was never publicly announced, just as the beginnings of the program four years ago were officially a secret, authorized by President Barack Obama through a ‘finding’ that permitted the C.I.A. to conduct a deniable program.” “Mr. Trump’s decisions,” said The Times, “amounted to an acknowledgment that no escalation of the program, which began in 2013 in concert with the C.I.A.’s counterparts in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan, was likely to yield a different result.” The CIA and its “counterparts” were intervening in Syria even before 2013, if not congruent with the brief Arab Spring mobilizations of 2011, when poor peasants, democratically minded youth, and others protested against the Bashar Assad government’s neo-liberal and repressive policies. The New York Times revealed on June 21, 2012, that the CIA had been ferrying arms, recruiting, and training anti-Assad groups based in Turkey. The U.S. was simultaneously the major power behind the Syrian National Council (SNC), which it established to be the new Syrian “government in waiting.”

‘How Can You Work … For A President That Undermines Your Work?’

Andrew Harrer/ Bloomberg via Getty Images

By Mattathias Schwartz for Pro Publica – Last week, Dan Coats, the former senator from Indiana and current head of the U.S. intelligence community, was interviewed by NBC’s Lester Holt in front of a live audience at the Aspen Security Forum, a gathering where diplomats, journalists and top U.S. officials mingle with business executives in between livestreamed panel discussions on world affairs. (The hourlong discussion was posted on YouTube.) ProPublica has obtained internal talking points, apparently written by one of Coats’ aides, anticipating questions that Holt was likely to ask. They offer a window into the euphemisms and evasions necessary to handle a pressing issue for Coats: how to lead the intelligence community at a time when the president has insulted it on Twitter and denigrated its work while questions about Russian influence consume ever more time and attention in Washington. Sixteen of the 26 questions addressed by the talking points concerned internal White House politics, the Russia investigation, or the president himself. One question put the challenges facing Coats this way: “How can you work as DNI for a president that undermines your work?”

Drowning In CIA Propaganda Then And Now

by Seattleye | CC BY 2.0

By Edward Curtin for Counter Punch – Have you ever seen a photograph of yourself from the past and laughed or grimaced at the way you were dressed or your hair style? It’s a common experience. But few people draw the obvious conclusion about the present: that our present appearance might be equally laughable. The personal past seems to be “over there,” an object to be understood and dissected for its meaning, while the present seems opaque and shape-shifting – or just taken-for-granted okay. “That was then,” says the internal voice, “but I am wiser now.” Historical perspective, even about something as superficial as appearance, rarely illuminates the present, perhaps because it makes us feel ignorant and unfree. This is even truer with political and social history. In recent years there has been a spate of books and articles detailing the CIA’s past Cold War cultural and political propaganda efforts, from the creation of the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) with its string of magazines, to its collaboration with many famous writers and intellectuals, including Peter Matthiessen, George Plimpton, Richard Wright, Irving Kristol, et al., and its penetration and working relationships with so many publications and media outlets, including The New York Times, the Paris Review, Encounter, etc.

Trump Faces Down CIA And Co-Opts Pentagon On Syria (For The Time Being)

From blackagendareport.com

By Glen Ford for Black Agenda Report – It’s not like Donald Trump to “stifle” himself, as TV’s Archie Bunker used to say, but the president has been relatively subdued about his decision, reportedly made last month, to terminate the CIA program that has armed, trained, directed and protected jihadist fighters in Syria. Trump’s uncharacteristic reticence on the matter is understandable, given the agency’s homicidal culture and history. It is also likely that Trump’s gaggle of White House generals, led by Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis and national security advisor H.R. McMaster, have kept the Pentagon in check, preventing a reprise of the mutiny that sabotaged President Obama’s cease-fire and intelligence-sharing agreement with Russian forces in Syria, on September 17 of last year. In a blatant rebellion against civilian authority, U.S. warplanes killed 100 Syrian soldiers at Deir Ez-Zor, allowing ISIS to overrun half the city. The next week, with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter at his side, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford told the Senate Armed Services Committee, “The U.S. military role will not include intelligence sharing with the Russians.” The Pentagon had “punked” lame duck President Barack Obama and his secretary of state, John Kerry.

CIA Says They Are Working With Mexico & Colombia To Overthrow Venezuela

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By Staff of Tele Sur – The comments come after CIA Director Mike Pompeo confirmed the United States is advising Mexico and Colombia on developments in Venezuela. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has demanded the governments of Colombia and Mexico respond to allegations that they are working with the CIA to overthrow the Venezuelan government. In a televised interview, Maduro said, “The director of the CIA has said, ‘The CIA and the U.S. government work in direct collaboration with the Mexican government and the Colombian government to overthrow the constitutional government in Venezuela and to intervene in our beloved Venezuela.’” “I demand the government of Mexico and the government of Colombia to properly clarify the declarations from the CIA and I will make political and diplomatic decisions accordingly before this audacity,” he added. The comments come after CIA Director Mike Pompeo confirmed the United States is advising Mexico and Colombia on developments in Venezuela.

Former CIA Intelligence Analyst Says Whistleblowers Are Vital To A Transparent Democracy

Without whistleblowers, investigative journalism is not possible, says ex-CIA analyst and author Melvin Goodman. (Image: wildpixel / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

By Mark Karlin for Truthout – Melvin A. Goodman: I spent 24 years at the CIA as a Soviet analyst in the directorate of intelligence. I was not drawn to the agency by idealism, but by a fascination with the incredible repository of intelligence that is held within the entire community. I received an early introduction to this collection as a US Army cryptographer in the 1950s. There have been many intelligence failures over the past 70 years since the creation of the CIA, but virtually all of them have been due to analytical failures, either politicization of intelligence from above (e.g., missing the decline of the Soviet Union; Iraqi weapons of mass destruction) or simply poor analytic tradecraft (e.g., October War of 1973; 9/11 attacks; Soviet invasions of Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968). These failures were not due to inadequate collection. In fact, the collection of intelligence was sufficient to prevent every one of these failures, including 9/11. If I had been more idealistic then, perhaps I would have paid more attention to the CIA’s role in the conduct of covert action, particularly the illegal and immoral activities prior to my entry into the CIA, including the overthrow of the Mossadegh government in Iran, the attempt to assassinate Lumumba in the Congo, and the efforts to overthrow Castro in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Documents Expose How Hollywood Promotes War On Behalf Of Pentagon, CIA And NSA

Plato’s Cave reimagined for the Hollywood era — copyright Derek Swansonn

By Tom Secker for Insurge Intelligence/ Medium – Alongside the massive scale of these operations, our new book National Security Cinema details how US government involvement also includes script rewrites on some of the biggest and most popular films, including James Bond, the Transformers franchise, and movies from the Marvel and DC cinematic universes. A similar influence is exerted over military-supported TV, which ranges from Hawaii Five-O to America’s Got Talent, Oprah and Jay Leno to Cupcake Wars, along with numerous documentaries by PBS, the History Channel and the BBC. National Security Cinema also reveals how dozens of films and TV shows have been supported and influenced by the CIA, including the James Bond adventure Thunderball, the Tom Clancy thriller Patriot Games and more recent films, including Meet the Parents and Salt. The CIA even helped to make an episode of Top Chef that was hosted at Langley, featuring then-CIA director Leon Panetta who was shown as having to skip dessert to attend to vital business. Was this scene real, or was it a dramatic statement for the cameras?

Newsletter: Color Revolution Comes Home?

The System Is Guilty

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The United States has perfected the art of regime change operations. The US is the largest empire in world history with more than 1,000 military bases and troops operating throughout the world. In addition to military force, the US uses the soft power of regime change, often through ‘Color Revolutions.’ The US has been building its empire since the Civil War era, but it has been in the post-World War II-time period that it has perfected regime change operations.US military presence around the world Have the people of the United States been the victims of regime change operations at home? Have the wealthiest and the security state created a government that serves them, rather than the people? To answer these questions, we begin by examining how regime change works and then look at whether those ingredients are being used domestically.

State Department Finally Releases Updated Official History of Iran Coup

Pro-Shah crowds on streets of Tehran, August 1953.

By Malcolm Byrne for National Security Archive. The State Department today released a long-awaited “retrospective” volume of declassified U.S. government documents on the 1953 coup in Iran. The volume includes fascinating details on Iranian, American and British planning and implementation of the covert operation, as well as information about U.S. contacts with key figures such as Ayatollah Abol-Ghasem Kashani, and insights into U.S. concerns about the growing influence of communist Tudeh Party. The publication is the culmination of decades of internal debates and public controversy after a previous official collection omitted all references to the role of American and British intelligence in the ouster of Iran’s then-prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddeq. For decades, neither the U.S. nor the British governments would acknowledge their part in Mosaddeq’s overthrow, even though a detailed account appeared as early as 1954 in The Saturday Evening Post, and since then CIA and MI6 veterans of the coup have published memoirs detailing their activities.

CIA No Longer Can Defend The Indefensible—Its Torture Program

Demonstrators at the International Day to Shut Down Guantanamo in 2007. The rally was held in Washington, D.C. (takomabibelot / Flickr)

By John Kiriakou for Truth Dig – James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the two contract psychologists who were the masterminds of the CIA’s torture program, are in for a heap of trouble. They are defendants in two major lawsuits accusing them of designing, implementing, overseeing and personally participating in the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program. That they did exactly that is not in doubt. Indeed, Mitchell has written proudly of his work in a new book. But what makes these cases newsworthy is that the CIA has apparently turned its back on the two, offering no support and even cooperating with the plaintiffs by voluntarily turning over documents and refusing to supply CIA officers to serve as defense witnesses. (This is not out of the goodness of the CIA’s heart. But we’ll get to that later.) The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed the first suit in January in the federal district court for the Eastern District of Washington state, where Mitchell and Jessen based their company, on behalf of three former CIA detainees—Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud and the estate of Gul Rahman, a suspected Afghan militant who was tortured and who died in CIA custody in 2002. The second suit was filed on behalf of Abu Zubaydah in the federal district court for the District of Columbia. The suit holds that Abu Zubaydah was tortured relentlessly by the CIA, which held him in a series of secret prisons around the world.

Wikileaks Unveils ‘Cherry Blossom’ — Wireless Hacking System Used By CIA

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By Swati Khandelwal for The Hacker News – WikiLeaks has published a new batch of the ongoing Vault 7 leak, this time detailing a framework – which is being used by the CIA for monitoring the Internet activity of the targeted systems by exploiting vulnerabilities in Wi-Fi devices. Dubbed “Cherry Blossom,” the framework was allegedly designed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) with the help of Stanford Research Institute (SRI International), an American nonprofit research institute, as part of its ‘Cherry Bomb’ project. Cherry Blossom is basically a remotely controllable firmware-based implant for wireless networking devices, including routers and wireless access points (APs), which exploits router vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access and then replace firmware with custom Cherry Blossom firmware. “An implanted device [called Flytrap] can then be used to monitor the internet activity of and deliver software exploits to targets of interest.” a leaked CIA manual reads.