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…
Thursday, 15 Sep 2011 04:47 PM
By Christopher Ruddy
I recently received a chain email with the subject line “George Soros — This Is an Evil Man.”
Once printed, the electronic epistle goes on for no less than nine pages, detailing the claim that the billionaire investor is one of the most sinister men on the planet who “controls President Obama’s every move” as well as the moves of the entire Democratic Party, not to mention the U.S. stock market and perhaps the global economy.
“He’s anti-God, anti-family, anti-American and anti-good,” the anonymous writer claims, rattling off a litany of claims against Soros, some true, some false, some bizarre.
I seriously doubt, for instance, that President Obama takes orders from Soros. Sometimes I wonder if the president listens to anyone these days.
For many conservatives, Soros is viewed as a major political opponent. But in dealing with such an opponent it’s necessary to fully grasp who this opponent is and what he is really about.
After observing Soros for some years now, I have concluded he’s neither evil nor completely liberal. He is, in my mind, a liberal partisan whose own political views don’t fit neatly into any box.
Rightfully, he has raised the ire of conservatives here in the U.S., not so much for his ideas but for his die-hard support of Democratic candidates and liberal causes.
Soros emerged as a star in the political firmament during the 2004 election when he spent an estimated $24 million in an effort to defeat President George W. Bush, saying removing him from office was the “central focus of my life” and a “matter of life and death.”
Soros was also an early supporter of Barack Obama, though he held back significant financial support for Obama’s presidential bid in 2008. In the 2010 congressional elections, Soros, wisely, largely sat out the race, saying the Republican “avalanche” couldn’t be stopped.
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…
The black flag of Al Qaeda has been spotted flying over a public building in Libya, raising concerns that the country could lurch towards Muslim extremism
The flag, complete with Arabic script reading “there is no God but Allah” and full moon underneath, was seen flying above the Benghazi courthouse building, considered to be the seat of the revolution, according to the news website Vice.com.
The flag was said to be flying over the building alongside the Libyan national flag but the National Transitional Council has denied that it was responsible.
Vice.com also reported that Islamists had been seen driving around the city’s streets, waving the Al Qaeda flag from their cars and shouting “Islamiya, Islamiya! No East, nor West”.
The revelation came just days after it emerged that rebels in Libya have imposed Sharia law in the some parts of country since seizing power.
Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, chairman of the National Transitional Council, said Islamic Sharia law would be the “basic source” of legislation in free Libya.
The move towards Islamic extremism is likely to alarm many in the West who supported the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.
Source: Telegraph UK
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…
By KHALAF AL-HABTOOR, Thursday, 12 May 2011
Vultures circle around Gulf States
Forget the fiery rhetoric, Washington, Tel Aviv and Tehran have more in common than you might imagine. All share the same aim: to control Arab States, the custodians of the world’s largest oil and gas deposits, and prevent them from uniting under one powerful bloc. In earlier times, they have been co-conspirators in that endeavour. The question is whether Iran truly is an enemy of America/Israel and a natural ally of the Arab world as the Iranian leadership works hard to portray?
The rivalry between Persians and Arabs goes back 1,400 years to the Muslim Conquests when Persians embraced Islam. Today, Iranians wrap themselves in an Islamic flag in an effort to lead the Muslim world yet the pre-Islamic Zoroastrian New Year Norouz is still Iran’s most celebrated festival. Attempts by Iranian clerics to undermine the resurgence of the Shiite holy city of Najaf in Iraq to retain the center of religious gravity in the Iranian Shiite city of Qom exemplify Tehran’s nationalistic instincts.
If Iranians were true friends of Arabs, they would not impede Arabic being spoken or the construction of Sunni mosques when Shiite mosques and synagogues proliferate. The Iranian government also bans parents from giving traditional Arab names to their newborns. It should be remembered too that Tehran still occupies UAE islands, refuses demands from the Arab population of Al-Ahwaz (Khuzestan) for autonomy, has territorial claims on Bahrain and threatens airlines that use “Arabian Gulf” instead of “Persian Gulf” with being barred from Iranian airspace. With friends like these who needs enemies!
Dr. Abdullah Al-Nafisi, a university professor and specialist on Shiite affairs, says Iranians are primarily Persian nationalists who use their faith to reach Arabs via Shiite Arab minorities. He says Iranian officialdom from the Supreme Leader down to senior military officers, Revolutionary Guards and intelligence personnel once followed the teachings of the politician and cleric Abdollah Nouri. This former Interior Minister maintains that all Gulf States belong to Persia and promotes Iranian retribution on Arabs for helping to destroy the Persian Empire which may account for Iranian Arabs being treated as second-class citizens. Conversely, according to Al-Nafisi, ordinary Iranians harbour no hostility towards the country’s 25,000 Jews who are represented in Parliament and are so well-respected that most have declined cash incentives to move to Israel.
Under-the-table dealings between Israel, the US and Persia extend back to the reign of Mohammed Reza Shah when Iranian oil flowed to Israel and, in turn, Israel supplied Iran with technological knowhow, missile assembly plants and military training. Iran even supplied Israel with details of Jamal Abdul Nasser’s military planning according to an illuminating book by Trita Parsi titled “Treacherous Alliance.”
Following the 1979 Islamic revolution, Yasser Arafat was lectured by the Ayatollah Khomeini on the need for Palestinians to reject Arab nationalism and revert to their Islamic roots, Parsi says. It was clear that Mr. Khomeini wasn’t serious in his support for the Palestinian cause. His primary aim was to lead the Islamic world, indoctrinate Arabs with his credo and bolster Arab Shiites.
A research paper by Xue Maior concludes Iran disseminates the principles of the Iranian revolution under anti-Israel slogans”. Israel never took the “Little Satan” slur seriously and lobbied Washington to renew relations with Tehran. In 1981, Iran facilitated Israel’s attack on Iraq’s nuclear reactor with photographs and maps of OSIRAK and during the eight-year-long Iran-Iraq War, the Iranians purchased weapons from Israel with the White House’s blessing, writes Parsi. In early 1986 President Reagan signed a secret memo authorising the sale of US arms to Iran resulting in the Iran-Contra scandal.
With the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, Tehran saw its plan to dominate the Arab world slipping away and so began funding and supporting Islamist rejectionist groups to spoil the peace process. Despite being included in George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil”, Iran offered to help strengthen the fledgling Afghan army under US supervision and in 2002, the US State Department initiated talks with prominent Iranian political figures.
Tehran later urged Iraqi Shiites not to resist the US-led occupation for good reason. Iraq – the main obstacle to Iran’s access to Gulf States – had been conveniently defanged and was now ruled by political figures that have either lived in Iran for many years or consider it as their spiritual home. Inadvertently or otherwise, Mr. Bush spent billions of American taxpayers’ money and sacrificed tens of thousands of lives only to bring Iraq into Iran’s sphere of influence.
Tehran has since made efforts to woo Washington so as to gain access to the IMF, win clout in the UN and oil the lifting of anti-Iranian sanctions. It’s worth noting that economic sanctions against Iran have not heavily impacted the Iranian economy, certainly not in comparison to those that crippled Iraq and were considered responsible for the death of 500,000 Iraqi children – perhaps indicating that the West isn’t serious about disciplining Iran.
It’s curious, too, that Washington has been flexing its muscles over Iran’s uranium enrichment program since a 2006 UNSC resolution demanding its suspension but despite Iran’s intransigence the West has refrained from packing a punch – a dramatic contrast from its determination to punish Saddam for his non-existent WMD. Why the double standards?
In recent decades, Iran has hardened its grip on Lebanon and expanded its influence to Syria, Iraq and Yemen as well as to Shiite minorities in the Gulf. Prior to the “Arab Spring” that may have been planned by American NGOs working with Arab youth movements – as reported in the Washington Post and New York Times – veteran leaders kept a lid on Tehran’s ambitions.
The toppling of strong Arab leaderships is an invitation to sectarian conflict, extremist organisations, secessionist groups – and civil war. I would argue that division and chaos under the banner of “freedom” will serve Iran. It’s already happening. The new Egypt has permitted Iranian warships through the Suez Canal and is preparing to normalise diplomatic relations with Tehran despite deep reservations within the GCC.
It’s notable that while the US is vehemently supportive of revolutionaries in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Syria and is using its airpower to attack the Libyan regime, its condemnation against Iran’s repression of anti-government activists has been lukewarm. I have always suspected that the ‘enmity’ between Iran and the US/Israel may be an elaborate act. If Tehran has covertly cooperated with its so-called enemies in the past, it’s not that much of a stretch to believe that may be occurring now.
In any case, keeping up the pretence of enmity is a symbiotic win-win situation for all concerned. Israel has a pretext to expand its nuclear arsenal and propagandise its need to put security first in the face of an Iranian existential threat. Iran uses anti-Israel slogans to increase its standing among Muslims. And the US has an excuse to maintain its military footprint in the Gulf.
What if, in the future, Washington, Tel Aviv formed an alliance similar to the one that existed at the time of the Shah? How would that impact the independence of Gulf States? It may be that such a scenario is in preparation which would explain the West’s softly-softly approach towards Iran’s nuclear program, oppression of dissidents and support of armed religious militants in Arab lands.
In conclusion, I would strongly urge GCC states to increase their military might and initiate a unified strategy to defend against threats to our land, dignity and freedom. In an increasingly unprincipled geopolitical climate where major powers are willing to dump even close allies to suit their interests we cannot rely on protection from others. We’re on our own – and the sooner we face up to that fact and take care of ourselves the better.
Source: Al Arabiya
With the TOP SECRET state of the art Spy technology known only as “a Flash Drive” (A.K.A USB Drive)!!!
Today, the msn front page Top buzzing article is an Associated Press news article titled: “How bin Laden emailed without being detected” which reveals how Bin Laden emails avoided CIA detection.
In the article, the Associated Press reveals the “secret” of what they called “Osama Bin Laden’s painstaking email system”, which “kept him one step ahead of the U.S. government’s best eavesdroppers”.
According to AP, Osama’s evil and extremely complicated methods, was described in detail to The Associated Press by a counterterrorism official and a second person briefed on the U.S. investigation, whom spoke to the AP “on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive intelligence analysis”. It allowed Bin Laden to stay under the radar for over 10 years and frustrated Western efforts to trace him through cyberspace.
So what is Bin Laden’s very complicated and advanced system, that illuded the CIA & FBI, and prevented his detection?
Brace yourselves for the Shocking OBL Top Secert “Emailing System”, according to AP:
As the most wanted man alive (now dead) Osama Bin Laden, was “holed up in his walled compound in northeast Pakistan with no phone or Internet capabilities, bin Laden would type a message on his computer without an Internet connection, then save it using a thumb-sized flash drive. He then passed the flash drive to a trusted courier, who would head for a distant Internet cafe.
The article then continues to give us more detailed description of how the OBL email system:
At that location, the courier would plug the memory drive into a computer, copy bin Laden’s message into an email and send it. Reversing the process, the courier would copy any incoming email to the flash drive and return to the compound, where bin Laden would read his messages offline.
Worthy of the book “Flash Drive for Dummies” the AP articles then describes the above revelations as:
It was a slow, toilsome process. And it was so meticulous that even veteran intelligence officials have marveled at bin Laden’s ability to maintain it for so long.
Navy SEALs hauled away roughly 100 flash memory drives after they killed bin Laden, and officials said they appear to archive the back-and-forth communication between bin Laden and his associates around the world.”
SHOCKING! isn’t it?!
So the complicated toilsome meticulous painstaking CIA proof email system, is 100 flash drives, an annual membership of a local Internet Cafe, and an errand boy?
As it turns out avoiding CIA detection and illuding the Top Spy agencies of the world is fairly simple…
It’s either that the US government B.S. have Leaked into AP news network, OR that the CIA veteran intelligence officers are as intelligent as a not-so-intelligent 12 years old teenager!!!