War on Terror


Behind closed doors, Guantánamo secret court talks about the CIA, torture and rights

21st July 2018

The CIA used an alleged accomplice in the Sept. 11 terror attacks as a test subject to train new interrogators. Agents diapered or left naked a one-legged CIA captive during his time in secret overseas detention. Taking showers still traumatizes the alleged USS Cole bomber, whom the CIA waterboarded in 2003.

These and other details emerged from McClatchy’s review of 1,300 pages of partially declassified transcripts of Guantánamo’s secret death-penalty case sessions that have been gradually made public since February.

Although still heavily redacted, the transcripts show a consistent theme across 30 hours of closed war-crimes hearings: When the public and accused terrorists aren’t allowed to listen, the legal arguments are often about the CIA’s secret overseas prison network, the circumstances of Guantánamo detention and how now outlawed Bush-era interrogation methods might affect future justice.

In 2002 and 2003, “Essentially the United States government is running a Turkish prison. And that’s an insult, probably, to Turkey, frankly,” Navy Cmdr. Brian Mizer, a defense attorney, told a judge in a May 2014 court argument initially labeled top secret.

To mount a proper death-penalty defense in the USS Cole bombing case, Mizer said, his team needs “the gritty, granular detail” of what U.S. agents did to Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, the Saudi man accused of plotting al-Qaida’s suicide bombing that killed 17 American sailors on Oct. 12, 2000. His jury needs to “smell the urine, the feces, the blood, the sweat and see just how vile and disgusting this process was.” Then, if Nashiri were convicted, defense lawyers can ask the jury, “Do you have to kill him now?”

The transcripts come from a renewed Pentagon effort to clear a four-year backlog of transcripts at the Guantánamo court. In December, the Sept. 11 trial judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, complained to prosecutors that the government wasn’t following his order to “expeditiously” release an unclassified version of the transcripts for the public to see, according to the declassified tranche.

Before the transcripts were released, security officials blacked out portions that remain classified and began posting redacted versions on a Pentagon website in February.

What has emerged is a puzzling patchwork of information. Some full pages are blacked out. Sometimes the censors released only fragments of sentences, making for quirky reads like this, which came at the end of four full pages of remarks that are entirely blacked out: Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, the chief prosecutor, declares on Jan. 11, 2018, “When the transcript comes out, they’ll all be able to see all the stuff I just said because [REDACTED].”

Still, the transcripts yielded some intriguing information from hearings that were closed to both the public and the defendants:

  • Guantánamo’s covert lockup, Camp 7, was built in 2004. That was two years before the CIA delivered Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the accused chief plotter of the Sept. 11 attacks, and 13 other black-site captives to the island prison for trial. The year of construction, revealed in June 3, 2016, testimony, was long considered secret — so much so that the prison commander declined to answer the question during a meeting with reporters in June, even as he made a pitch for money from Congress to build a more efficient $69 million version, complete with a hospice wing for aging captives.
  • A defense attorney declared in May that from their September 2006 arrival at Guantánamo until January 2007, those accused of planning the Sept. 11 attacks were “essentially entirely CIA prisoners” — not strictly detainees of the U.S. military. “I’ve never disclosed that information to anybody,” defense attorney Jay Connell told the judge, according to a declassified transcript. In open court he had used an approved intelligence-community talking point that Camp 7 “continued under CIA operational control for some period of time.” Those four months matter because in January 2007 FBI agents interrogated the terror suspects to gather evidence apart from their years of CIA abuse. And now defense lawyers want the judge to exclude those so-called clean-team interrogations from trial as tainted by torture.
  • In CIA custody, alleged 9/11 plot deputy Walid bin Attash “was stripped of his clothes and photographed while nude; he was subjected to long periods of nudity; he was interrogated while nude,” defense attorney Cheryl Bormann told a war court judge on Feb. 25, 2016, a description that was not contained in the declassified section of the torture report released by the Senate intelligence committee. “When not forced to urinate and defecate into a diaper, he was forced to urinate and defecate into a bucket while monitored.”
  • In a January hearing, Air Force Capt. Brian Brady, a defense lawyer, told the judge that defense lawyers need to know what U.S. intelligence agencies are operating at Guantánamo. If there was an active presence of the National Security Agency or Defense Intelligence Agency at the detention center, Brady argued, lawyers might be able to argue that some trial evidence was manipulated by the intelligence community.
n an image obtained by McClatchy. The 9/11 charge sheet says he went by “Khallad,” an alias.

Pohl inquired: “Let’s say, for example, either the CIA or the detention facility themselves record a conversation, and then they forward the recording or the information to the NSA or the DIA. Would that be the type of involvement you’re talking about, or are you talking about the direct involvement at the time?” Brady replied: “Both, judge.”

In February 2007, Khalid Sheik Mohammed reportedly boasted to a military panel that he personally beheaded Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl “with my blessed right hand.” Mohammed has never been charged with the 2002 murder in Pakistan. But in a passing remark at the same closed January session, prosecutor Bob Swann told the judge that Mohammed “has provided many statements” about the grisly beheading — leaving unclear whether they were obtained through surveillance or interrogations.

The transcripts also provide new details about day-to-day operations at Camp 7, for high-value detainees, such as the 9/11 plotters, who were waterboarded, sleep-deprived, had their heads slammed into walls and were subjected to forced rectal feeding or rehydration during their years of secret CIA custody:

  • A Navy medic and nurse are on duty around the clock but there generally is no after-hours doctor on site.
  • Each cell has an adjoining outdoor recreation yard that each inmate can open or close, one commander said.
  • At times the detention center has allowed communal prayer.
  • The U.S. military videotapes “forced cell extractions,” a tackle-and-shackle technique to remove a defiant inmate from a cell but troops don’t record when guards force a defiant captive into his cell.

In early 2016, two Pentagon intelligence programs classified above top secret called ACCMs, Alternative Compensatory Control Measures, were operating at Guantánamo. They were so highly classified that only the few officials who were deemd ACCM “indoctrinated” were allowed to stay in the courtroom while the measures were discussed. Any discussion of the program is blacked out in the released transcripts. Later that year, a transcript shows, one of the ACCMs had been disbanded. Their code names, however, are still secret.

Russia says it has IRREFUTABLE evidence that actors staged the chemical attack in Syria

14th April 2018

RUSSIA has evidence that foreign actors staged the alleged chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Mr Lavrov said in a press conference on Friday: “We have irrefutable evidence that this was yet another performance and that security services of a country which is trying to be in the frontlines of the Russophobic campaign were involved in this performance.”

He announced that Russian experts had examined the site of the alleged attack in the city, and found no trace of chemical weapons.

But Mr Lavrov failed to mention the country he alleges is spearheading a Russo-phobic campaign with the “fabrication”.

The foreign minister’s comments come after the US and several of its allies accused Damascus of using chemical gas during an offensive in Douma, killing up to 70 people.

US President Donald Trump also accused Russia and Iran of aiding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and promised to make a decision within 48 hours on his response to the alleged chemical weapons attack, threatening to launch “nice and new” missiles at Syria.

According to the foreign minister, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) experts left to Syria “not very quickly, without excessive enthusiasm” and only under pressure from Russia and Syria.

And in a press conference on Friday, Russia’s UK Ambassador, Alexander Yakovenko claimed the UK-funded White Helmets are “famous for staging attacks” in Syria.

He said:”Syrian authorities were immediately blamed for the so-called attack, no proof was presented and no questions were asked.

“I think the conclusions were based on social media. Russian services for security visited the incident and didn’t find any kind of substances there, no traces of chemical poisoning were found in local hospitals.

“We are interested in meeting experts there to carry out necessary tests.”

He added: “At the request of the Syrian government, OPCW experts will be on ground tomorrow. We would like them to visit the place of the alleged incident and take samples, not just studying social media images and stories.”

The foreign minister has accused a state of spearheading a Russo-phobic attack
Prime Minister Theresa May has said it is highly likely that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government was responsible for the attack.

Mrs May said on Wednesday: “All the indications are that the Syrian regime was responsible…”

 

 

 

source/read more; https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/945645/russia-syria-chemical-attack-usa-actors-staged

Anti-Terrorism Fantasy Camps Become Tourist Attraction In Israel

9th Jan 2018

These part-propaganda, part-morbid fantasy “terror camps” provide tourists a chance to play the role of IDF soldiers in dramatic situations.

Holidays are all about having fun, exploring new places and relaxing in the sun. However, the latest tourist attraction in Israel seems to be the complete opposite of that.

Apparently, half a dozen of fantasy terror camps have popped up throughout Israel and the West Bank, offering tourists from across the globe a chance to pretend-kill terrorists, who look suspiciously like Palestinian Arabs, only for $115 per person.

These facilities allow visitors to train like IDF soldiers and act in a variety of stimulated situations — including an explosion at a Jerusalem marketplace, a stabbing attack, a sniper tournament and a live demonstration with attack dogs.

The two-hour “training camp,” which is frankly part-propaganda and part-morbid amusement, provides travelers “a taste of the Israeli military experience,” according to Haaretz.

 

source/read more: http://www.carbonated.tv/news/anti-terror-fantasy-military-camps-become-tourist-attraction-israel

Concertgoer Gives Vegas Gunman Middle Finger Amid Shooting

3rd Oct 2017

THIS is the moment a music fan flips the bird at the Mandalay Bay gunman who’s opening fire with his automatic rifle on the audience around him.

Clutching a can of beer, the unnamed man can be seen standing up searching for the source of the gunfire – while everyone else takes cover.

The gunman killed 50 people and wounded hundreds more when he opened fire on a country music concert in Vegas on Sunday in the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

 

 

 

read more: https://www.infowars.com/fearless-concertgoer-gives-vegas-gunman-middle-finger-amid-shooting/

CIA ‘torture psychologists’ avoid trial with secret settlement

20th Aug 2017

Two psychologists who helped design the CIA’s post-9/11 interrogation program settled a lawsuit Thursday by detainees alleging they were illegally tortured.

The secret settlement in the suit, brought on behalf of two living ex-detainees and one who died of hypothermia after brutal questioning in US custody, avoided what would have been the first public trial of the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of torture on suspected Al-Qaeda members.
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But it also allowed the two psychologists who supplied the CIA with “coercive” interrogation techniques, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, to maintain that they personally had nothing to do with the use of waterboarding, extreme stress positions and beatings on detainees.

“Neither Dr. Mitchell nor I knew about, condoned, participated in, or sanctioned the unauthorized actions that formed the basis for this lawsuit,” Jessen said in a mutually agreed statement attached to the settlement.

“We served our country at a time when freedom and safety hung in the balance.”

The American Civil Liberties Union brought the suit in 2015 against Mitchell and Jessen, who were recruited by the CIA in 2002 to design and help conduct interrogations of war-on-terror suspects captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

– CIA paid $80mn for their expertise –

The two were paid around $80 million for their work, which included helping interrogate Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks by Al-Qaeda, and Abu Zubaydah, another top Qaeda suspect.

The suit accused Mitchell and Jessen of responsibility for the CIA’s use of torture methods on the three detainees, Tanzanian Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Libyan Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, and Gul Rahman of Afghanistan.

Rahman died of hypothermia in a CIA prison cell in November 2002, after what the ACLU says were two weeks of brutal torture.

The ACLU had sought to pin responsibility in part on the psychologists, as well as gain a significant financial award for the men and Rahman’s family. The trial had been set to begin on September 5.

The ACLU and lawyers for the defendants declined to give any details of the settlement, including whether any money would be paid as part of it.

In the settlement statement, the plaintiffs stood by their allegations that Mitchell and Jansen had responsibility for the extreme interrogation methods used on them.

However, they said afterward, “We brought this case seeking accountability and to help ensure that no one else has to endure torture and abuse, and we feel that we have achieved our goals.”

“We were able to tell the world about horrific torture, the CIA had to release secret records, and the psychologists and high-level CIA officials were forced to answer our lawyers’ questions,” they said.

James Smith, the main lawyer for Mitchell and Jensen, said the treatment of the three, while regrettable, was not the fault of his clients.

“If this case had gone forward, the facts would have borne out that while the plaintiffs suffered mistreatment by some of their captors, none of that mistreatment was conducted, condoned or caused by Drs. Mitchell and Jessen,” Smith said.

source; https://www.yahoo.com/news/cia-torture-psychologists-avoid-trial-secret-settlement-170038297.html

 

 

 

DoD Not Providing Adequate Care to Troops at Risk of Suicide

9th Aug 2017

Defense Department health care providers do a good job of screening for suicide risk, but they fail to provide critical and effective follow-up treatment to servicemembers identified as suicidal, according to a Rand Corp. report released Monday.

Rand researchers found appropriate follow-up care was given to only 30 percent of servicemembers with depression and 54 percent of servicemembers with post-traumatic stress disorder who were at risk of suicide. The rest did not receive follow-up care or got medication and psychotherapy that has not been proven to help.

The report is based on observations of nearly 39,000 servicemembers with diagnosed PTSD or depression over a one-year period. It’s one of the largest evaluations of military mental health care, said Kimberly Hepner, a behavioral scientist and the lead researcher.

“The military health system did quite well in screening for suicide risk,” Hepner said. “Where we found they could do better was how the providers responded to servicemembers with suicide risk identified.”

The Pentagon asked Rand for an independent report on the care it provides to servicemembers with PTSD and depression.

It’s difficult to know how many active-duty servicemembers suffer from PTSD or depression, Hepner said. The report cites between 4 and 20 percent of the more than 2.6 million people who deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq during Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Department of Veterans Affairs analyzed millions of veterans’ records and reported last year an average of 20 veterans died from suicide each day in 2014. While veterans made up about 8.5 percent of the U.S. population in 2014, they accounted for 18 percent of suicides.

 

 

read more/ source: http://www.military.com/daily-news/2017/08/07/report-dod-not-providing-adequate-care-troops-risk-suicide.html

Bondi synagogue ban over terrorism risk leaves Jewish community shocked and furious

6th July 2017

A LOCAL council has banned the construction of a synagogue in Bondi because it could be a terrorist target, in a shock move that religious leaders say has caved in to Islamic extremism and created a dangerous precedent.

The decision, which has rocked the longstanding Jewish community in the iconic suburb, was upheld in court this week as the nation reeled from the alleged airline terror threat and debate raged over increased security measures at airports and other public places.

The Land and Environment Court backed the decision by Waverley Council to prohibit the construction of the synagogue in Wellington St, Bondi — just a few hundred metres from Australia’s most famous beach — because it was too much of a security risk for users and local residents.

Jewish leaders are shocked the decision appears to suggest they cannot freely practice their religion because they are the target of hate by Islamist extremists — and that the council has used their own risk assessment of the threat posed by IS against it.

The head of the local Jewish community said the council and the court had effectively stifled freedom of religion and rewarded terrorism.

“The decision is unprecedented,” Rabbi Yehoram Ulman told news.com.au.

“Its implications are enormous. It basically implies that no Jewish organisation should be allowed to exist in residential areas. It stands to stifle Jewish existence and activity in Sydney and indeed, by creating a precedent, the whole of Australia, and by extension rewarding terrorism.”
The synagogue is in the heart of Australia’s most iconic suburb and just a few hundred metres from the world famous Bondi Beach. Photo: Dylan Robinson

The synagogue is in the heart of Australia’s most iconic suburb and just a few hundred metres from the world famous Bondi Beach. Photo: Dylan RobinsonSource:News Corp Australia

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff told news.com.au he had never heard of any other religious group being denied a place of worship just because they were targeted by outside extremists and that the move was a dangerous precedent.

“It’s a very sad day for Australia if an established community, which needs a house of worship, is refused permission to build it because of fear that others may pose a threat,” he said.

“This simply shows how we’re all losing our freedoms. Those who want us to be afraid are winning, and this ill-conceived judgment represents a dangerous precedent.”

Ironically, the council and the Land and Environment Court appeared to use the proposal’s own risk assessment and security measures in the proposed design — including using setback buildings and blast walls — as evidence the site was too much of a security risk.

Yet in a classic catch-22, the council also said if the design was changed to boost security this would be unacceptable because it would be too unsightly.

“The proposed development should be refused as the site is not suitable for the proposed synagogue use as the Preliminary Threat and Risk Analysis relied on by the Applicant raises concerns as to the safety and security of future users of the Synagogue, nearby residents, motorists and pedestrians in Wellington Street and the physical measures proposed to deal with the identified threats will have an unacceptable impact on the streetscape and adjoining properties.”
An artist’s impression of the synagogue development in Wellington Street, Bondi.

The Friends of Refugees from Eastern Europe, the Jewish group that appealed the council decision in the Land and Environment Court, argued the Preliminary Threat and Risk Analysis it commissioned from a terrorism expert did not indicate any risk to local residents or passers-by and was only about the security of those using the synagogue — who were used to the threat of violence.

Its evidence, as summarised by the court decision, was:

“The PTRA concludes nothing more than stating:

• western countries face a security threat, currently primarily from ISIS;

• the threat level in Australia is “probable”;

• Jewish communities across the world are no stranger to the threat of violence and as such will generally take security measures into account when planning, constructing or renovating buildings;

• the CITED design considers “potential possible threats” that are relevant to Australia; and

• the design measures focus on the persons inside the buildings only

“The PTRA does not raise concerns as to the safety and security of future particularly users of the synagogue, nearby residents, motorists; or pedestrians in Wellington Street.”
Rabbi Yehoram Ulman with local MP and now Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in 2006.

But in the judgment handed down by the Land and Environment Court on Wednesday, Commissioner Graham Brown said the risk assessment was inadequate and upheld the council’s decision.

“It would seem that a more sophisticated risk assessment process could be required for matters such as a potential terrorist threat,” he found.

Rabbi Ulman said the decision “came as surprise and shock to the entire Jewish community” but was even more scathing about the council, warning it had threatened the future of Jewish life in Australia.

“By pulling the terror threat argument they have shown that they are completely out of touch both with the reality and with needs of their constituency,” he told news.com.au.

“They have effectively placed in jeopardy the future of Jewish life in Australia.”

A Waverley Council spokesperson noted the court had supported the council’s position, which was supported by several residents’ concerns.

“The ruling follows Council’s presentation of evidence to the court in support of refusal of the application, based on:

· The proposal does not respond to the context, character and streetscape of the area or provide sufficient residential amenity

· Unacceptable amenity impacts such as adequate solar access, noise and loss of privacy; and

· The site is unsuitable for a synagogue because of the potential risk to users and other members of the general public.

“A number of residents agreed with the contentions raised by the Council and provided additional evidence against the development of the site.”

source: http://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/news/bondi-synagogue-ban-over-terrorism-risk-leaves-jewish-community-shocked-and-furious/news-story/6ec6252d613583df7797c7cac2b25de4

Nearly 135 patients may have been exposed to HIV & Hepatitis at Air Force base in Qatar

24th Jun 2017

Up to 135 patients who underwent surgical procedures at the clinic at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar over an eight-year period may have been infected with a variety of blood-borne diseases – including HIV and Hepatitis C – according to the Air Force Surgeon General.

Between April 2008 and April 2016, the Air Force Medical Service found that endoscopes used during gastrointestinal procedures “were cleaned in a manner inconsistent with sterilization guidelines,” according to a report.

An endoscope is an instrument that can be inserted into the body to gain an internal view. Both HIV and Hepatitis C are viruses that can be transmitted through blood.

The Air Force Medical Service is now reaching out to all suspected patients who may have been exposed as a result, and is providing testing and counseling resources to anyone involved.

The spokeswoman for the surgeon general, Larine Barr, said that the risk of infection was small, especially since all troops are required to have a negative HIV and Hepatitis B test before deploying.

“[The chances are] very small, particularly in a deployed environment,” she said.

Although the risk is considered small, commander of the Air Force Medical Operations Agency, Brig. Gen. Robert Miller, suggested that service members who are contacted and notified that they may have been exposed to one of the blood-borne agents should get immediate testing to make sure.

“Providing quality health care to our airmen and their families is our top priority,” Miller said in a press release. “We apologize to our patients and assure them that appropriate actions have been taken to address and mitigate the causes that led to this problem.”

Following these drastic revelations, the Air Force has issued a service-wide patient safety alert to ensure that all medical facilities are following stringent guidelines for cleaning, decontaminating and sterilizing endoscopes, as well as anything else that can be considered reusable.

 

 

 

 

source:http://americanmilitarynews.com/2017/06/nearly-135-patients-may-have-been-exposed-to-hiv-hepatitis-at-air-force-base-in-qatar/?utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=alt&utm_source=dvf