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.

The Torture-Friendly Trump Administration

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By Medea Benjamin for Other Words – Only stupid people say torture works — and one of them is sitting in the White House. It should come as no surprise to anyone that Donald Trump is pro-torture. He said on the campaign trail he’d approve waterboarding “in a heartbeat,” plus “a hell of a lot worse.” He added: “Only a stupid person would say it doesn’t work.” There are certainly a lot of stupid people then, because everyone from interrogators to researchers have repeatedly concluded that torture doesn’t work. People will say whatever you want them to say to make the pain stop, making torture not only inhumane but also bad for intelligence. A 2009 Senate Armed Services Committee review concluded that torture “damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority.” That’s why the Senate voted in 2015 to turn the presidential ban on torture into official law. To his credit, Trump did water down his original support for torture, allowing Defense Secretary James Mattis — who opposes torture — to override him. But if the Trump administration is now opposed to torture, why are they nominating the architects of America’s torture fiasco to key posts?

US Implicated In Brutal Torture In Lebanon

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By Maggie Michael for AP News – MUKALLA, Yemen (AP) — Hundreds of men swept up in the hunt for al-Qaida militants have disappeared into a secret network of prisons in southern Yemen where abuse is routine and torture extreme — including the “grill,” in which the victim is tied to a spit like a roast and spun in a circle of fire, an Associated Press investigation has found. Senior American defense officials acknowledged Wednesday that U.S. forces have been involved in interrogations of detainees in Yemen but denied any participation in or knowledge of human rights abuses. Interrogating detainees who have been abused could violate international law, which prohibits complicity in torture The United Arab Emirates and Yemeni forces run a secret network of prisons where prisoners are brutally tortured. The U.S. has questioned some detainees, and have regular access to their testimony — a potential violation of international law. (June 21) The AP documented at least 18 clandestine lockups across southern Yemen run by the United Arab Emirates or by Yemeni forces created and trained by the Gulf nation, drawing on accounts from former detainees, families of prisoners, civil rights lawyers and Yemeni military officials.

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.

Hiding The Ugly Business Of U.S. Torture

From nationofchange.org

By Ray McGovern for Information Clearing House – A grisly feature of the “war on terror” was America’s descent into torture, but the powers-that-be have decided that the common folk shouldn’t worry their little heads about this ugliness, reports ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern. June 05, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – So, you did not believe in the power of the Deep State? Well, you may change your mind after reading a report in The New York Times that the powers-that-be in Washington are about to deep-six the 6,700-page Senate report based on original CIA cables and other documents that not only to depict savage torture practices during the George W. Bush era, but also show that CIA officials consistently lied in claiming these heinous practices yielded information of any intelligence value. In what amounts to a gross violation of the public trust – not to mention his oath to the Constitution – Senate Intelligence Committee chair, Sen. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, has recalled all copies and will put the report under lock and key for good – dismissing it as a “footnote in history.”

Trump Administration Suppresses CIA Torture Report

From nationofchange.org

By Andrew Emett for Nation of Change – In yet another reversal of former President Barack Obama’s decisions, the Trump administration has begun returning copies of the 6,700-page CIA torture report in accordance with Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr’s demands. Instead of upholding transparency, Trump has taken steps to erase the human rights violations committed by the Central Intelligence Agency from the annals of history. In December 2014, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released the executive summary on the CIA’s Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation (RDI) program. According to the summary, the CIA repeatedly lied to the Committee regarding prisoners’ deaths, the backgrounds of CIA interrogators, threats to detainees’ family members, and the effectiveness of torture. Under pseudonyms within the heavily redacted report, two retired Air Force psychologists, Dr. Bruce Jessen and Dr. James Mitchell, received contracts to develop the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques. They decided to reverse-engineer the Air Force’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) counter-interrogation training by inflicting both physical and psychological torture upon detainees.

New CIA Deputy Director Assisted In Destroying Nearly 100 Torture Videotapes

Haspel ran a CIA black site in Thailand codenamed “Cat’s Eye” while supervising the harsh interrogations.

By Andrew Emett for Nation of Change – After running a secret prison in Thailand and overseeing the torture of at least two terror suspects, the woman responsible for drafting the order to destroy 92 torture videotapes was recently promoted to CIA Deputy Director. Although former President Obama issued an executive order effectively ending the use of torture, President Donald Trump appointed a new CIA Director who criticized Obama for shutting down black sites and adhering to international anti-torture laws. On Thursday, the CIA released a statement that said, “CIA Director Mike Pompeo today announced that President Trump has selected Gina Haspel to be the new Deputy Director of CIA.

Witness Against Torture Protests In DC

Witness Against Torture Hate Doesn't Make Great inside Hart Senate Office Building 1-17

By Staff for Witness Against Torture. Clad in orange jumpsuits and Shut Down Guantanamo t-shirts, activists with Witness Against Torture took over the Hart Senate Building with a message for Senators, staffers, and the general public. They marked the 15th anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The message was “Shut Down Guantanamo,” “No Torture Cabinet” and “Hate Doesn’t Make U.S. Great.” These statements were painted a banner that activists dropped from a balcony as 9 members of the group dressed in orange jumpsuits and black hoods held a die-in, mourning those Muslim men who died at Guantanamo without ever being charged with a crime. The nine, and another two singers, were arrested by Capitol Police, as supporters sang “O America, don’t believe their lies. Their politics of hate will destroy our children’s lives.” The balconies were crowded with onlookers as the action unfolded. One of the two who unfurled the “No Torture Cabinet” banner

Senate Torture Report Being Kept From Public For 12 Years After Obama Decision

Obama defended the CIA after its operatives surreptitiously spied on the emails and work product of the Senate’s lead investigator, Daniel Jones. Photograph: Pix via ZU/Rex/Shutterstock

By Spencer Ackerman for The Guardian – Barack Obama has agreed to preserve the Senate’s landmark investigation into the CIA’s use of torture after 9/11, but his decision ensures that the document remains out of public view for at least 12 years and probably longer. Obama’s decision, revealed in a letter from White House counsel W Neil Eggleston, prevents Republican Richard Burr, the Senate intelligence committee chairman who has been highly critical of the investigation, from destroying existing classified copies of the December 2014 report. Daniel Jones, a former committee staffer who led the torture inquiry, criticized the preservation as inadequate.

Newsletter - Time To Ask Who We Are

It's Our Future

By Margaret Flower and Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. The United States has reached a turning point. Where we turn is dependent on what we do as people to determine our future. Neither of the major political parties are going to adequately solve the crises we face. This is a time to examine and discuss some fundamental issues: who we are and who we want to be. Out of crises come opportunities to put bold solutions in place. We are calling for a People’s Agenda. We have the power to make changes in this country that completely alter the course of our nation and the world. We can say no to genocide against Native Americans. We can end systemic racism. We can demand respect for the human rights of all people. We can promote peace and prosperity for all. We can solve the climate crisis. It is up to us and how we organize in our communities. At the heart of the success of popular movements is what we have advocated – the building of a broad and diverse unified movement that is active and has built national consensus for the changes we wish to see.

Installing A Torture Fan At CIA

Circling up at Guantanamo. Mark Colville, Matthew W. Daloisio, Luke Nephew Peace Poet, Frida Berrigan, Jerica Arents, Frank Antonio López, Chris Knestrick, Justin Norman, Marie Shebeck and Uruj Ehsan Sheikh in Guantánamo, Cuba.

By Ray McGovern for Consortium News – The CIA’s torturers can breathe a sigh of relief after President-elect Trump tapped a defender of “enhanced interrogation techniques” to become CIA director, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern. President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo, an open aficionado of torture practices used in the “war on terror,” to be CIA director shows that Trump was serious when he said he would support “waterboarding and much worse.”

Major New Court Ruling Says “Even The President” Can’t Declare Torture Lawful

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

By Alex Emmons for The Intercept – IN A ROBUST RULING in favor of Abu Ghraib detainees, an appellate court ruled Friday that torture is such a clear violation of the law that it is “beyond the power of even the president to declare such conduct lawful.” The ruling from a unanimous panel of judges on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstates a lawsuit against a military contractor for its role in the torture of four men at the notorious prison in Iraq.

CIA Torture Victims Describe How Mental Scars Never Go Away

aclu.org

By Joshua Manson for ACLU – The New York Times is publishing a devastating exposé series on the lasting psychological effects of U.S. government torture on men who once were held in CIA-run secret overseas prisons or at Guantanamo Bay. Two psychologists, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, were independent contractors for the CIA and designed and helped implement the torture program. They are now defendants in an ACLU lawsuit on behalf of three of those victims. Two of them were interview for the Times series — the third was tortured to death.

Creating Enemies: US Military Admits ISIS Leader Was Held In Abu Gharib

Camp Bucca prison near Basra, Iraq, Sept. 16, 2009. Photo: Essam Al-Sudani/AFP/Getty Images

By Joshua Eaton for the Intercept. In February 2004, U.S. troops brought a man named Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badry to Abu Ghraib in Iraq and assigned him serial number US9IZ-157911CI. The prison was about to become international news, but the prisoner would remain largely unknown for the next decade. At the time the man was brought in, Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba was finalizing his report on allegations of abuse at Abu Ghraib’s Hard Site — a prison building used to house detainees singled out for their alleged violence or their perceived intelligence value. Just weeks later, the first pictures of detainee abuse were published on CBS News and in the New Yorker. Today, detainee US9IZ-157911CI is better known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State. His presence at Abu Ghraib, a fact not previously made public, provides yet another possible key to the enigmatic leader’s biography and may shed new light on the role U.S. detention facilities played in the rise of the Islamic State.