CIA Torture Exposed | Unfilter 126

CIA Torture Exposed | Unfilter 126

After a year long battle the Executive Summary of the CIA Torture report is out. This week we document the reaction & bring you the most relevant information on this story we’ve been following for nearly a year.

Plus why the 2015 NDAA is being totally ignored, protests in London & we respond to some lovingly critical listener feedback.

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— Show Notes —

CIA Torture Report

16 Horrifying Excerpts From the Torture Report That the CIA Doesn’t Want You to See – Mic

One prisoner froze to death after being left to sleep, without pants, on a cold concrete floor. Another was forced to stand in a “stress position” on broken bones. CIA officers threatened to sexually assault the wife of one detainee, and cut the throat of another prisoner’s mother.

And it gets worse.

After months of negotiations with the White House and CIA, the Senate Intelligence Committee has released a redacted summary of its original 6,300-page report on the “enhanced interrogation techniques” carried out by George W. Bush-era intelligence agents on suspected terrorists.

Through a process known as “extraordinary rendition,” detainees were taken to prisons in allied nations — so-called CIA “black sites” — where American officers sought to extract information, often by using brutal and repugnant tactics banned by international law. The secret program began sometime in the weeks after 9/11; President Barack Obama’s executive order formally ended it Jan. 22, 2009.

Tuesday’s “executive summary” is approximately 500 pages, with certain key details — names and locations — blacked out by CIA censors. The report is a dense and at times confounding read. CIA officials did their best to obscure the names of the 54 countries that partnered with U.S. intelligence to host the prisons. In 2005, 92 videotapes showing hundreds of hours of extreme interrogations were destroyed. Names of individual agents have also been wiped from the record, either to protect their safety or preserve their careers.

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney must have known about the CIA’s torture of detainees: The Senate Intelligence report suggests they wanted plausible deniability.

The annals of history suggest the latter, and in a few passages, so does the report. A big lesson of the Church Committee—Sen. Frank Church’s mid-1970s probe into black-bag jobs, assassination plots, coup attempts, and other acts of CIA malfeasance since the agency’s origins—is that, in nearly every instance, there was no “rogue elephant” at Langley. Rather, the presidents in office at the time knew what was going on, at least in broad, strategic terms—and their CIA henchmen knew to give the leader of the free world a wide berth of “plausible deniability” in case they got caught.

As the Church reports and books such as Tim Weiner’s Legacy of Ashes clearly show, President Dwight Eisenhower knew about and approved the CIA’s plot to overthrow Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq. President John F. Kennedy knew about, and approved, the plots to murder Cuba’s Fidel Castro; in fact, his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy formed a top secret “Special Group” in the White House to oversee the operation. President Lyndon B. Johnson (who, after he left office, told a reporter that Kennedy had been running “a damn Murder Inc. in the Caribbean”) carried on the enterprise elsewhere in Latin America.

Bush White House Was Worried Colin Powell Would ‘Blow His Stack’ If Briefed on Torture – Bloomberg Politics

The Bush White House didn’t brief then-Secretary of State Colin Powell about the specifics of the CIA’s interrogation program until September 2003 because it was worried Powell would “blow his stack” if he found out what was going on, according to the report released Tuesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

According to a July 2003 email, the official reason the National Security Council didn’t have a full briefing on the program at that time was to “avoid press disclosures.” But unofficially, the email said, “it is clear to us from some of the runup meetings we had with [White House] counsel that the [White House] is extremely concerned [Secretary of State] Powell would blow his stack if he were to be briefed on what’s been going on.”

The Most Gruesome Moments in the CIA ‘Torture Report’ – The Daily Beast

Interrogations that lasted for days on end. Detainees forced to stand on broken legs, or go 180 hours in a row without sleep. A prison so cold, one suspect essentially froze to death. The Senate Intelligence Committee is finally releasing its review of the CIA’s detention and interrogation programs. And it is brutal.

Off the Grid: Nine CIA ‘Black Sites’ Where Detainees Were Tortured – The Intercept

Margot Williams, The Intercept‘s research editor for investigations, compiled the locations and, with research editor Josh Begley, placed them on the map.

The report identifies the locations of the CIA black sites by color codes and redacts the country names, but previous reports by NGOs, European agencies, media reports and detainee statements can identify most of the locations. The sites are located in Afghanistan, Lithuania, Romania, Poland, Thailand, and a secret site on the Guantanamo Naval Base, known as Strawberry Fields, — “forever.”

WASHINGTON: CIA acknowledges problems but says tactics helped thwart attacks | National News | The State

“While we made mistakes, the record does not support the study’s inference that the agency systematically and intentionally misled each of these audiences on the effectiveness of the program,” the statement said.

CIA lied to the public and John Brennan must quit, says outgoing senator in fiery speech | US news | The Guardian

Mark Udall, who lost his seat in Colorado last month, said the still-classified portions of the Senate report on CIA torture, represented a ‘smoking gun’

Once Senate investigators noticed about 1000 documents mysteriously disappearing from the firewalled network it shared with the CIA, they took portions of a printed copy of the Panetta review back to the Senate, prompting allegations – later scotched by the CIA Inspector General – that the Senate inappropriately accessed classified CIA information.

But the discrepancy between the Panetta Review’s apparent criticism of torture and a response offered by the CIA in 2013, and released Tuesday, prompted the committee to fear the CIA, Udall said, “knowingly provided inaccurate information to the committee in the present day, which is a serious offense and a deeply troubling matter for the committee, the Congress, the White House and our country.”

“The Panetta review corroborates many of the significant findings of the committee’s study. Moreover, the Panetta review frankly acknowledges significant problems and errors made in the CIA’s detention and interrogation program,” Udall continued.

“The CIA continued not only to defend the program and deny any wrongdoing, but also to deny its own conclusions to the contrary in the Panetta review.” Sections of the review, Udall said, remain in the committee’s hands, but not the whole document, which he called on the CIA to turn over.

The CIA declined to respond to Udall directly and referred instead to the 2013-era response to the committee.

Expressing disappointment in Obama and current White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, Udall said that White House complicity in obscuring the CIA’s torture record jeopardized Obama’s anti-torture stance and refuted Obama’s pledge to run a transparent administration.

“Actions speak louder than words,” Udall said.

Ex-CIA Clandestine Service chief Jose Rodriguez defends interrogation techniques – CBS News

As for the interrogation tapes Rodriguez ordered to have destroyed, Rodriguez said he did it to protect the identity of the officers who worked for him and “whose faces were all over those tapes.”

“I knew the tapes would leak someday, and I feared retribution from al Qaeda for my people,” Rodriguez said.

​CIA paid 2 torture experts $81mn for their ‘unique expertise’ — RT USA

In all, the Senate report suggests that the two contractors who
created the torture program were paid more than $80 million in
taxpayer money for their work with the CIA. The government has
agreed to cover upwards of $5 million in additional indemnity
costs for the two men if they incur legal costs for their role as
interrogation program architects through 2021
, and the executive
summary released on Tuesday after nearly four years of work
suggests the pair has already received $1.1 million due to legal
fees largely involving the creation of the Senate Committee’s

For CIA, Truth about Torture Was an Existential Threat – The Intercept

The executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s grindingly exhaustive torture report released Tuesday indelibly captures CIA officials turning their back on human decency, and it all starts with a “novel” legal defense floated in November 2001 by CIA lawyers — and arguably prompted by their White House masters, lurking offstage — that the “CIA could argue that the torture was necessary to prevent imminent, significant, physical harm to persons, where there is no other available means to prevent the harm.”

Specifically, they pointed out: “states may be very unwilling to call the U.S. to task for torture when it resulted in saving thousands of lives.”

There are no indications the CIA is ready to turn things around, of course. CIA Director John Brennan went to extraordinary lengths to stymie and discredit the investigation. And now, he is rebuffing its conclusions.

Brennan’s statement Tuesday acknowledged “shortcomings” and “mistakes,” but reasserted “that interrogations of detainees on whom [enhanced interrogation techniques] EITs were used did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives.” He angrily rejected the report’s “inference that the Agency systematically and intentionally misled” Congress, the Executive Branch, and the public.”

Other reports and works of journalism have clearly identified Vice President Dick Cheney as the prime mover in creating a torture regime that extended not just to the black sites, but to Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and elsewhere. Cheney was no victim of misinformation; he was its architect.

George W. Bush might have remained unfamiliar with the details until as late as 2006 — “According to CIA records, when briefed in April 2006, the president expressed discomfort with the ‘image of a detainee, chained to the ceiling, clothed in a diaper, and forced to go to the bathroom on himself’.” But he must have had some idea what Cheney and others were up to in the basement.

A 2005 proposal from Senator Carl Levin to establish an independent commission to investigate detainee abuse, for instance, “resulted in concern at the CIA that such a commission would lead to the discovery of videotapes documenting CIA interrogations.” As a result, the CIA destroyed them.

Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency (NSA)

The summary devotes a 37-page appendix on “Inaccurate CIA Testimony” by former CIA Director Michael Hayden in one Senate Intelligence Committee hearing alone.

At the April 12, 2007, hearing, Director Hayden verbally provided extensive inaccurate information on, among other topics: (1) the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, (2) the application of Department of Defense survival school practices to the program, (3) detainees’ counter interrogation training, (4) the backgrounds of CIA interrogators, (5) the role of other members of the interrogation teams, (6) the number of CIA detainees and their intelligence production, (7) the role of CIA detainee reporting in the captures of terrorist suspects, (8) the interrogation process, (9) the use of detainee reporting, (10) the purported relationship between Islam and the need to use the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques, (11) threats against detainees’ families, (12) the punching and kicking of detainees, (13) detainee hygiene, (14) denial of medical care, (15) dietary manipulation, (16) the use of waterboarding and its effectiveness, and (17) the injury and death of detainees.

Hayden told the Senate Intelligence committee: “Punches and kicks are not authorized and have never been employed.” But interviews conducted for two CIA internal reviews described the treatment of Gul Rahman, the detainee was died at the Salt Pit. One witness stated:

[T]here were approximately five CIA officers from the renditions team… they opened the door of Rahman’s cell and rushed in screaming and yelling for him to “getdown.” They dragged him outside, cut off his clothes and secured him with Mylar tape. They covered his head with a hood and ran him up and down a long corridor adjacent to his cell. They slapped him and punched him several times… a couple of times the punches were forceful. As they ran him along the corridor, a couple of times he fell and they dragged him through the dirt (the floor outside of the cells is dirt). Rahman did acquire a number of abrasions on his face, legs, and hands, but nothing that required medical attention. (This may account for the abrasions found on Rahman’s body after his death. Rahman had a number of surface abrasions on his shoulders, pelvis, arms, legs, and face.)

Hayden also lied to Congress about how many detainees were held. At first, the CIA’s lowball numbers were, amazingly enough, just a mistake

Internal CIA documents indicate that inadequate record keeping made it impossible for the CIA to determine how many individuals it had detained. In December 2003, a CIA Station overseeing CIA detention operations in Country [REDACTED] informed CIA Headquarters that it had made the “unsettling discovery” that the CIA was “holding a number of detainees about whom” it knew “very little.”

But five years later, when a CIA officer informed Hayden that the correct number was 112 or more, the officer sent himself an email to memorialize the conversation: “DCIA instructed me to keep the detainee number at 98 — pick whatever date i [sic] needed to make that happen but the number is 98.

Dianne Feinstein leaving intelligence job amid clash on tactics report – LA Times

But as she prepares to turn over the committee’s gavel next month to Sen. Richard M. Burr (R-N.C.), Feinstein’s tenure as chairwoman is closing amid an acrimonious fight over a project that pits her against the CIA. Her staff has completed a 6,000-page report evaluating and criticizing the agency’s use during the George W. Bush years of harsh interrogation tactics, which President Obama and others have labeled as torture.

Since April, Feinstein has been fighting with the CIA and the White House to make public as much as possible of the report’s 480-page executive summary.

Republican Sen. John McCain broke with members of his party Tuesday, lauding the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture and decrying the use of torture as having “stained our national honor” and doing “much harm and little practical good.”

2003 George W. Bush Statement on Torture

In 2003, _George W. Bush’s_included the following language:.

The United States is committed to the world-wide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example. I call on all governments to join with the United States and the community of law-abiding nations in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture and in undertaking to prevent other cruel and unusual punishment. I call on all nations to speak out against torture in all its forms and to make ending torture an essential part of their diplomacy.


Protests Continue

‘Die-in’ for Eric Garner: Hundreds shut down mall, block streets in London protest

A crowd of people stormed a London mall, blockaded roads, and shouted slogans in an anti-police brutality demonstration against a Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo for Eric Garner’s death on December 4.

Sneak Attack? Congress Slips Controversial Measures into Spending Bil

Congress snuck in two measures to its must-pass spending bill — all without formal debate. The first was a rider that essentially overturns the District of Columbia’s ballot initiative legalizing marijuana, which passed by a more than 2-to-1 margin last month.

The second measure Congress snuck into the spending the bill will be more galling to some, because it amounts to a pay raise for the two unpopular political parties: It raises the $32,400 maximum that donors could give the Democratic National Committee or Republican National Committee to a whopping $324,000 per year, gutting what’s left of the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law. The Washington Post says this was inserted on page 1,599 of a 1,603-page bill (!!!). These two measures — and probably more like them — will become law because they were jammed into a must-pass spending bill to keep the government open.

21st Century Cold War Has Began; US House Of Reps Passes Resolution 758 Even As US Tells Russia To Stop Self-isolation – International Business Times

The United States has effectively pushed the button of the 21st century Cold War era. On Thursday, its House of Representatives passed Resolution 758, a decree telling the U.S., Europe and its’ allies to “aggressively keep the pressure” on Russia and its President Vladimir Putin until such measures “change his behaviour.”

Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2014 (H.R. 3979) –

On December 4, 2014, the House used the bill again as the vehicle for passage of a third bill, by replacing its text completely and turning it into the bill it is now, the Carl Levin and Howard P. “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015.


A friend of mine and I were discussing Unfilter (both of us are supporters) and here are some thoughts I have after our discussion. To be clear, my thoughts, not necessarily his. He can chime in here if he likes.

Hey, I think it would be really great if you guys could digitize the Red book and make it searchable. You’re always referencing it and I think a lot of people would also enjoy being able to see what is in it so far and what has and hasn’t come true.

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