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.
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
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
By Raymond Bonner for Pro Publica. In 2009, Abu Zubaydah’s lawyers interviewed their client and prepared a handwritten, first-person account of the torture their client suffered at the hands of the U.S. government. The document, quoted above, recounts the terrifying experience of a man repeatedly waterboarded in the mistaken belief that he was al-Qaida’s No. 3 official. It was filed in federal court as part of his lawsuit seeking release from Guantanamo, and like nearly all the documents in the case, was sealed at the government’s request. Now, seven years later, Zubaydah’s statement, which he signed under oath, has been released, and it provides the most detailed, personal description yet made public of his “enhanced interrogation” at a Central Intelligence Agency “black site” in Thailand.
By Kit O’Connell for Mint Press News – RALEIGH, North Carolina — Half as many prisoners in North Carolina face solitary confinement, thanks to dedicated efforts to cut back on the controversial practice often equated with torture. “Last spring, roughly 5,330 of the state’s 38,000 prisoners – 1 in 7 – were segregated from other inmates on any given day,” wrote Taylor Knopf on May 26 in the News & Observer. “By this month, that number had been reduced to 2,540.”
By Carey Wedler for ANTIMEDIA – The world’s most famous whistleblower, Edward Snowden, took Twitter by storm when he created an account last year. Since, he has criticized everyone from the FBI to Google, so his latest post on the CIA should come as no surprise. Commenting on revelations the CIA “inadvertently” destroyed a copy of the 6,700-page torture report, Snowden questioned the agency’s official story.
By Staff of RT – The CIA’s internal watchdog “inadvertently” deleted its only copy of the Senate report on torture techniques employed by the agency in the wake of 9/11 – and did so while the Justice Department was insisting in court that copies were being stored. Other copies still exist, including at the CIA itself, but news of the deletion is significant, as it occurred at the CIA inspector general’s office, which is in charge of overseeing policies and conduct at the agency to ensure that it is not breaking the law or acting out of bounds.
By Eric M. Johnson for Reuters – SEATTLE (Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Friday refused to dismiss a lawsuit against the former military psychologists who developed the CIA’s interrogation program during George W. Bush’s presidency, handing a major victory to a group of men who said they were tortured in secret prisons abroad. U.S. District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush’s decision to allow the case to proceed was a step forward in the campaign to hold individuals accountable for a program that the American Civil Liberties Union said resulted in the torture of at least 119 men from 2002 until it was ended in 2008.