WASHINGTON — A nonpartisan, independent review of interrogation and detention programs in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks concludes that “it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture” and that the nation’s highest officials bore ultimate responsibility for it.
The sweeping, 577-page report says that while brutality has occurred in every American war, there never before had been “the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.” The study, by an 11-member panel convened by the Constitution Project, a legal research and advocacy group, is to be released on Tuesday morning.
Debate over the coercive interrogation methods used by the administration of President George W. Bush has often broken down on largely partisan lines. The Constitution Project’s task force on detainee treatment, led by two former members of Congress with experience in the executive branch — a Republican, Asa Hutchinson, and a Democrat, James R. Jones — seeks to produce a stronger national consensus on the torture question.
While the task force did not have access to classified records, it is the most ambitious independent attempt to date to assess the detention and interrogation programs. A separate 6,000-page report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s record by the Senate Intelligence Committee, based exclusively on agency records, rather than interviews, remains classified.
“As long as the debate continues, so too does the possibility that the United States could again engage in torture,” the report says. Read more…
Richard Miniter, OP/ED | 9/09/2011
George Soros is rich enough to buy his own foreign policy, but is it wise to let him have one?
Soros’ strange pattern of investments and gifts, especially in the former-Soviet states of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, amounts to a personal foreign policy.
While other rich men fund think tanks and charities abroad, the sheer scale of Soros’ spending sets him apart. Soros, through foundations and his Open Society Institutes, pours some $500 million per year into organizations in the former Soviet world, according to their own estimates. That, in many cash-starved countries, is enough capital to change who runs the capital.
And Soros gets results. Through strategic donations, Soros helped bring down the communist government in Poland, toppled Serbia’s bloodstained strongman Slobodan Milosevic, and fueled the “Rose Revolution” in Georgia. Soros has also funded opposition parties in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Croatia, Georgia, and Macedonia, helping them into either power or prominence. All of these countries were once Russian allies.
Of course, Soros doesn’t work alone. His investments often ride a populist wave of discontent or are made alongside American or European governments and non-profits. No amount of money can singlehandedly bring down a popular foreign leader. But a weak leader can be pushed from power—and Soros likes to give the humpty-dumpty shove to the world’s autocrats.
And that creates problems for the U.S. Since Soros’ most significant dictator-toppling efforts are concentrated in the post-Soviet world, Soros’ foreign policy creates friction between the U.S and Russia and generates hostility from a range of energy-rich Central Asian states, which provide key bases for the Afghan war. Some nations, including Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, have even banned Soros or his philanthropic front-groups.
The bigger problem: Russia and other nations tend to see Soros as a tool of U.S. policy. While Soros is not, his high-profile involvement in the domestic affairs of these faraway lands poses problems for Washington. Soros has made it harder for President Obama to “hit the reset button” with Russia and has complicated relations with a host of other nations. Getting Russia’s vote on the U.N. Security Council to halt Iran’s nuclear-weapons program or further isolate North Korea is made more difficult by Soros. Bases for U.S. special forces or Predator drones are harder to get in Central Asia. Worse still, Soros’ foreign policy draws America into a clutch of ethnic and land disputes in Central Asia that are more fraught and more violent than Israel-Palestine and, unlike Israel, do not involve a vital U.S. interest.
There are good reasons not to privatize the dictator-toppling business. Elected governments are supposed to balance competing national interests (hence the seeming incoherence of some aspects of America’s foreign policy) and officials can be held accountable for their actions, either by voters, courts, legislatures or other governments. And democracies forge their foreign policies in public debates.
Soros’ foreign policy is different. He pursues his own vision, undisturbed by his effect on other nations or the interests of his own. It is hard for foreign governments to hold him accountable and his goals and methods are usually kept secret.
While the risks of Soros’ foreign policy to the U.S. are clear, they are clearly ignored by Washington policy makers and the White House press corps. Why? Read more…
by Michel Chossudovsky
The cooptation of the leaders of major opposition parties and civil society organizations in anticipation of the collapse of an authoritarian puppet government is part of Washington’s design, applied in different regions of the World.
The process of cooptation is implemented and financed by US based foundations including the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Freedom House (FH). Both FH and the NED have links to the US Congress. the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and the US business establishment. Both the NED and FH are known to have ties to the CIA.
The NED is actively involved in Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria. Freedom House supports several civil society organizations in Egypt.
“The NED was established by the Reagan administration after the CIA’s role in covertly funding efforts to overthrow foreign governments was brought to light, leading to the discrediting of the parties, movements, journals, books, newspapers and individuals that received CIA funding. … As a bipartisan endowment, with participation from the two major parties, as well as the AFL-CIO and US Chamber of Commerce, the NED took over the financing of foreign overthrow movements, but overtly and under the rubric of “democracy promotion.” (Stephen Gowans, January « 2011 “What’s left“)
While the US has supported the Mubarak government for the last thirty years, US foundations with ties to the US State department and the Pentagon have actively supported the political opposition including the civil society movement. According to Freedom House: “Egyptian civil society is both vibrant and constrained. There are hundreds of non-governmental organizations devoted to expanding civil and political rights in the country, operating in a highly regulated environment.”
In a bitter irony, Washington supports the Mubarak dictatorship, including its atrocities, while also backing and financing its detractors, through the activities of FH, the NED, among others. Read more…
The man in charge of the military committee responsible for keeping order in Tripoli, and, (according to his words) a strong & grateful ally of the United States and NATO, is Abdel Hakim Belhaj, the emir of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, who fought in Afghanistan alongside the Mujahideen and in the Soviet-Afghan war.
In 1992 Abdel Hakim Belhaj returned to Libya, where he formed with others the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which tried to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi from 1994 onwards. Belhadj was known during this period as Abu Abdullah al-Sadiq, and was part of the LIFG that fought an insurgency campaign based from eastern Libya. But after three unsuccessful assassination attempts on Gaddafi, the LIFG was crushed in 1998. Belhadj and other leaders of the LIFG fled to Afghanistan, and joined the Taliban.
Belhaj as an enemy of the US
Following the US invasion of Afghanistan, Abdel Hakim was arrested in Pakistan in late 2001, and handed over to US security officials, but unlike other captives taken in Afghanistan, he was repatriated to Libya two months later.
Tracked by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), after a tip-off from MI6 gained from London-based informants, Belhadj was arrested with his pregnant wife in 2004 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia. Transferred on the same plane to Bangkok, he was then placed in the custody of the CIA, where he was retained at a secret prison at the airport. He was subjected to extraordinary rendition on behalf of the United States, and sent to Thailand. His pregnant wife, traveling with him, was taken away, and his child would be 6 before he saw him.
In Bangkok, Mr. Belhaj said, he was tortured for a few days by two people he said were C.I.A. agents, and then, worse, they repatriated him to Libya, where he was thrown into solitary confinement for six years, three of them without a shower, one without a glimpse of the sun.
In 2010 under a “de-radicalisation” drive championed by Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the Libyan authorities released him amongst 170 other Libyan Islamists. In March 2011, Belhadj appeared in an unreleased al-Jazeera film, in which he praised the mediation of Saif al-Islam for his release. In response, Gaddafi’s son said that the men who had been freed “were no longer a danger to society.” Read more…
On the 13th of October, at 11:09 a.m., Reuters published an article titled “Who’s Behind the Wall Street Protests” that alleged that George Soros was the secret backer of the Occupy Wall Street protests. Immediately Reuters came under fire from various Left wing American news networks (New York Times, The Atlantic, The New York Observer, The Salon and of course Washington Post).
The backlash was so strong that after 6 hours only, at 5:45 p.m., Reuters totally withdrew it’s earlier accusations! In the re-edited version, Reuters changed the article completely! They even modified the title of the article to: Soros: not a funder of Wall Street protests, the new article starts with this very clear statement: “George Soros is NOT a financial backer of the Wall Street protests”!!!
Later on Reuters went on to explain that the original article was a result of: “technical glitch” and an editor’s mistake!!! Utterly shameful news reporting, even if the original report was wrong!
This goes to tell us of the amount of pressure that a man like Soros posses over the global media and news networks, even as big as Reuters itself! And of course goes to show the amount of Hypocrisy present in today’s media!
Well, Here we will publish the original Reuters report and leave it to your judgment to decide whether Soros is really connected to the Occupy Wall Street protests or not. Read more…
Freedom House publishes an annual report assessing the degree of perceived democratic freedoms in each country.
Freedom House is supposedly an international non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Washington, D.C. which conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights, but it is accused by a lot of analysts and activists to be a front for the American Council on Foreign Relations and its British counterpart the Royal Institute of International Affairs.
Noam Chomsky has criticized Freedom House for receiving funding from and allegedly furthering the interests of the U.S. government.
In it’s annual report, titled “Freedom in the World”, Freedom House claims to evaluate the state of global freedom. The report is published with illustrated maps, titled the “Freedom Maps”.
Here are the maps of the last 3 years alongside their charts:
As you can see from the maps above and charts below, according to “Freedom House” most of the Middle East countries are labeled as NOT FREE, while three countries only (Morocco, Lebanon and Kuwait) are labeled as PARTLY FREE, and ONE Country only is FREE, and that’s ISRAEL! Read more…
Robert Fisk writes: For 10 years, we’ve lied to ourselves to avoid asking the one real question
By their books, ye shall know them.
I’m talking about the volumes, the libraries – nay, the very halls of literature – which the international crimes against humanity of 11 September 2001 have spawned. Many are spavined with pseudo-patriotism and self-regard, others rotten with the hopeless mythology of CIA/Mossad culprits, a few (from the Muslim world, alas) even referring to the killers as “boys”, almost all avoiding the one thing which any cop looks for after a street crime: the motive.
Why so, I ask myself, after 10 years of war, hundreds of thousands of innocent deaths, lies and hypocrisy and betrayal and sadistic torture by the Americans – our MI5 chaps just heard, understood, maybe looked, of course no touchy-touchy nonsense – and the Taliban? Have we managed to silence ourselves as well as the world with our own fears? Are we still not able to say those three sentences: The 19 murderers of 9/11 claimed they were Muslims. They came from a place called the Middle East. Is there a problem out there? Read more…
EGYPT´S FY 2009 ESF: PROPOSED BUDGET FOR D&G
Ref ID: 07CAIRO3423
Date: 2007-12-06 15:07
Origin: Embassy Cairo
DE RUEHEG #3423/01 3401507
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 061507Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7663
C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 003423
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/05/2017
TAGS: EAID PGOV EG
SUBJECT: EGYPT´S FY 2009 ESF: PROPOSED BUDGET FOR D&G
REF: A) CAIRO 3343 B) CAIRO 3420
Classified by Ambassador Francis Ricciardone for reason 1.4 (d).
1. (C) SUMMARY AND INTRODUCTION: After a great deal of deliberation, in which Embassy Cairo participated fully, the inter-agency agreed to allot $66.5m for democracy and governance programs in Egypt for FY08 and $75m for FY09. These figures represent annual totals of our support for civil society — both US and Egyptian NGO´s — and also for programs carried out with the Government of Egypt in the areas of administration of justice, media reform and decentralization. We believe that the likely negative Egyptian response to this level of funding, and the inability of US and Egyptian NGO´s to spend at this level with intended results and required accountability, argue for reducing the FY09 D&G figure to $50m. If conditions change, or our projections prove too conservative, we could consider adding funds from other Egypt ESF sources. END SUMMARY. Read more…
Zbigniew Brzezinski (born March 28, 1928 in Warsaw, Poland) is a Polish American political scientist, geostrategist, and statesman who served as United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981.
Major foreign policy events during his term of office included the normalization of relations with the People’s Republic of China (and the severing of ties with the Republic of China), the signing of the second Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT II), the brokering of the Camp David Accords, the transition of Iran from an important US client state to an anti-Western Islamic Republic, encouraging dissidents in Eastern Europe and emphasizing certain human rights in order to undermine the influence of the Soviet Union, the financing of the mujahideen in Afghanistan in response to the Soviet deployment of forces there (allegedly either to help deter a Russian invasion, or to deliberately increase the chance of such an intervention occurring—or for both contradictory reasons simultaneously being embraced by separate US officials) and the arming of these rebels to counter the Soviet invasion.
He was chosen by Barack Obama’s as top Foreign Policy Advisor on the Middle East, and is also a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and a member of various boards and councils, including the International Crisis Group.