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December 10, 2014

Senate publish report on CIA torture and misinformation

Senate publish report on CIA torture and misinformation

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

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The US Senate Report on CIA Detention Interrogation Program that details the use of torture during CIA detention and interrogation.

A report released by the US Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday concluded that the CIA misinformed the White House and Congress about its imprisonment and interrogation of suspected terrorists during the years after the September 11 attacks.

The committee released an executive summary yesterday ahead of its full 6,000-page report. The summary documented instances where detainees were kept awake for as long as a week and suggested that the agency had waterboarded more suspects than it previously disclosed.

The report also revealed that officials in the Bush administration were often told about these practices long after the fact. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell were not told of the CIA’s operations until a year after they had begun. President Bush was briefed in 2006, four years after the CIA commenced its “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” program.

The released documents refutes the effectiveness of the program and the accuracy of the information gathered. Previously, the Bush administration had defended its use, claiming that the intelligence garnered helped stop terrorist plots and capture al-Qaeda leadership, including Osama bin Laden. The executive summary examines case studies from the CIA’s internal records which the committee says disputes those defenses.

CIA Director John O. Brennan acknowledged many of the failures outlined by the committee, but also rebuked it for what he called an “incomplete and selective picture of what occurred.” Republican Senators have been critical of the report with Richard Burr calling it “a fiction”, and Marco Rubio stating that Senate Democrats published the report out of “partisan joy” with the intention of “trying to embarrass people in the Bush administration.”



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May 15, 2012

Bush, aides convicted of Iraq war crimes in absentia by Malaysia

Bush, aides convicted of Iraq war crimes in absentia by Malaysia

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

This photo is believed to show Ali Shalal in Abu Ghrai; he testified before the tribunal.

The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal in Malaysia has found former President of the United States George W. Bush and seven prominent former colleagues guilty of war crimes. Though the tribunal has no authority to detain the convicted or enforce its verdict, it recommended payment of reparations to detainees from Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib who testified before the court, and recommended they take the matter to a suitable court for enforcement.

While largely symbolic, the tribunal plans to submit its findings to the International Criminal Court and the United Nations Security Council. In addition to Bush, the court also found complicit his Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee, and John Yoo. Legal advisors for Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld were also convicted.

The court heard Iraqi engineer Abbas Abid testify about removal of his fingernails by pliers. Ali Shalal recalled being made to stand on a box whilst hooded, with wires attached to him, and whilst hanging from a wall. Mozzam Begg explained how he was beaten, and Jameelah Hameedi described being stripped, and being used as a human shield. Witnesses described lasting effects.



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May 11, 2012

Bush, aides convicted of war crimes in abstentia

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Ali Shalal, who was tortured in this way and may be the hooded man here, testified before the tribunal.

The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal in Malaysia has found former President of the United States George W. Bush and seven prominent former colleagues guilty of war crimes. Though the tribunal has no authority to detain the convicted or enforce its verdict, it recommended payment of reparations to detainees in Guantanamo Bay and who testified before the court, and recommended they take the matter to a suitable court for enforcement.

While largely symbolic, the tribunal plans to submit its findings to the International Criminal Court and the United Nations Security Council. In addition to Bush, the court also found complicit his Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee, and John Yoo. Legal advisors for Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld were also convited.

The court heard Iraqi engineer Abbas Abid testify about removal of his fingernails by pliers. Ali Shalal recalled being made to stand on a box whilst hooded, with wires attached to him, and whilst hanging from a wall. Mozzam Begg explained how he was beaten, and Jameelah Hameedi described being stripped, humiliated, and being used as a human shield. Witnesses also explained their residual injuries.



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October 23, 2011

US, North Korea form agreement to search for war dead

US, North Korea form agreement to search for war dead

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

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A repatriation ceremony being held for soldiers who died in the Korean War.
Image: UNC – CFC – USFK.

The US and North Korea have come to an agreement to recommence the search for remains of US servicemen, after six years, that had been unaccounted for after the Korean War. The search will continue next year around 100km away from Pyongyang.

They had started work on the recovery of war remains in 1996 but it was brought to an end by Donald Rumsfeld under the Bush Administration in 2005 because of the safety of the search teams after the ambitions for nuclear weapons.

The US has been adamant that this is a “humanitarian matter” so thus their relations should not affect it. This comes as part of an effort to improve relations. They have also agreed to “ensure the effectiveness and safety” for the teams going into the country.



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December 1, 2010

Latest \’CableGate\’ disclosures hint at US diplomatic tactics in Spain and beyond

Latest ‘CableGate’ disclosures hint at US diplomatic tactics in Spain and beyond

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

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Yesterday’s release of more US diplomatic cables by Wikileaks covered pressure on governments, Spain’s judiciary, and buying foreign assistance with detentions at Guantanamo Bay. El Pais, one of five mainstream papers partnering with Wikileaks’ release of documents, examined key output from Madrid’s US embassy.

The latest cables focus on US–Spain relations, particularly during the George W. Bush presidency, with Eduardo Aguirre serving as ambassador in Madrid. He is cited as having “personally exerted” pressure on Spain’s government and judiciary; this leading to at least three investigations being dropped.

Of concern to the press is the death of José Couso in 2003. The Spanish cameraman was killed during the battle for Baghdad; the Spanish judiciary intended to prosecute three US servicemen over the fatality.

File photo of Eduardo Aguirre Jr, United States ambassador to Spain.

American use of Spanish air bases for ‘extraordinary rendition‘ was a second concern the US embassy in Madrid pressured the government on. Spanish prosecutors had been keen to pursue 13 CIA officers over the illegal flights.

Repeatedly, concern over Spain’s independent judiciary invoking ‘universal jurisdiction’ appears in leaked cables. Reports at the time showed magistrates considered actions at Guantanamo Bay torture, and seemed keen to pursue ex-US government officials on grounds of “criminal responsibility”.

Cable 06MADRID1914 highlights the cases of Hamed Abderrahaman Ahmed and Moroccan Lahcen Ikassrien; respectively transferred from Guantanamo Bay, to Spanish custody, in February 2004 and July 2005.

Describing conditions at the Cuban detention centre as “impossible to explain, much less justify”, Hamed — better known as the “Spanish Taliban” — saw a July 2006 ruling by the country’s Supreme Court annul his six-year prison sentence, granting him an immediate release. The ruling cast doubt on the reliability of evidence against Lahcen, who was released on bail.

Hamed and his family, at the time, announced their intent to sue the US government over his suffering in Guantanamo Bay.

File photo of Baltazar Garzón, former Spanish High Court judge.

Later cables illustrate how concerned the Bush administration were over possible prosecution by Baltasar Garzón. Citing an op-ed he penned for a Spanish paper in March 2007, and this subsequently being picked up by Socialist Party secretary José Blanco Lopéz. Pronouncements by the two, and others, on “criminal responsibility” were met with a diplomatically stern response; cable 07MADRID546 states that the government of Spain was “cautioned that continued statements on this issue by senior Spanish figures would be viewed negatively.”

Garzón, best-known for indicting former dictator Augusto Pinochet, seemed to still trouble US diplomats when planning high-level defence talks in March 2007. Mention is made to a possible investigation, and indictment of, Donald Rumsfeld. Spain had informed the US embassy in Madrid the judge in the case was working to dismiss it.

As recently as March last year, Garzón sought to prosecute officials from the Bush administration.

Cquote1.svg […]continued statements on this issue by senior Spanish figures would be viewed negatively. Cquote2.svg

—US embassy ‘caution’ to Spanish government.

Named as potential defendants in a Reuters report, John Ashcroft, John Yoo, William Haynes II, Jay Bybee, and, aide to Vice-President Dick Cheney, David Addington were all being investigated by Garzón.

Come April this year, Garzón himself faced prosecution. A probe into Franco-era war crimes saw him suspended, possibly to be tried for acting contrary to an amnesty extended to Franco supporters. It is alleged he “acted without jurisdiction”.

At present, the former Spanish Supreme Court judge is working at the International Criminal Court. Reports based on El Pais’ investigation around the leaked cables suggest the country’s judiciary has been politicised to suit American interests.

With a price of US$85,000 cited for each former Guantanamo Bay detainee that Spain was to take, recent reports assert other countries have been offered financial incentives to help empty the camp.

Belgium, alongside Spain, was supposedly offered more influence within the European Union in exchange for cooperating with US plans.

Kuwait’s interior minister is said to have refused to take any of their citizens from the camp. Describing inmates as “rotten”, DPA alleges he told the US to “get rid of” detainees in an Afghan war zone.

Yemen, in exchange for agreeing to take Guantanamo detainees, is said to have asked for US$11 million for the construction of a centre to rehabilitate Muslim extremists.

So far, only a tiny fraction of the documents in Wikileaks possession have been made public.



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November 8, 2006

U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld resigns

U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld resigns

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Wednesday, November 8, 2006

President Bush (center) announces resignation of Rumsfeld (left), to be replaced by Gates (right).

The Associated Press is reporting that U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is about to resign. President George W. Bush announced that he will nominate Robert Gates, former head of the CIA, as a replacement for Rumsfeld, speaking at a White House press conference at 1 p.m. today.

Rumsfeld is the second longest serving defense secretary, serving in the post from 1975 to 1977 under President Ford and under President Bush from the beginning of 2001.

“It’ll be a different Congress, a different environment, moving toward a presidential election, and a lot of partisanship and it struck me that this would be a good thing for everybody”, Rumsfeld told Pentagon reporters.

This is one week after President Bush told the American People that Rumsfeld was doing a fantastic job and that he wanted the secretary to stay in his job to the end of his presidency.

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October 19, 2006

US declares vital interest in space

US declares vital interest in space – Wikinews, the free news source

US declares vital interest in space

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

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The United States considers space capabilities … vital to its national interests. Consistent with this policy, the United States will: preserve its rights, capabilities, and freedom of action in space; dissuade or deter others from either impeding those rights or developing capabilities intended to do so; take those actions necessary to protect its space capabilities; respond to interference; and deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to U.S. national interests…

Quote

Proposed arms control agreements or restrictions must not impair the rights of the United States to conduct research, development, testing, and operations or other activities in space for U.S. national interests…

President Bush has declared space to be essential to US defense in a new National Space Policy document published on September 14. Not only has the United States declared that it has rights in space, but also said it will “deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to U. S. national interests”. The policy states that presence in space takes its place alongside sea and air power in the defense of the country. The US has announced officially that it is using space for surveillance and monitoring activities, including observing natural disasters on Earth, and it intends to develop the commercial potential of space.

The new policy was agreed upon in August but the document was not released until October. In September, the BBC reported that the US Missile Defense Agency had announced the successful test firing of an interceptor missile from California which hit a target missile launched from Alaska. This followed the test firing of ballistic missiles by North Korea in July.

The success of this US interceptor missile launch is the fifth out of eight attempts and the first to use the facilities at the Vandenberg base. In the last two attempts, in December 2004 and February 2005, the interceptor missiles failed to take off. This whole program is reported to have cost $100 billion since 1983. The system employs radar and satellites to locate the target missile and to direct the interceptor towards it. The programme is not without its critics.

Reactions to the policy

The BBC reports Tony Snow, White House spokesman as saying, in response to questions about the militarisation of space, “The notion that you would do defense from space is different from that of weaponisation of space. We’re comfortable with the policy”.

Theresa Hitchens, director of the Centre for Defense Information, has a different opinion from Mr. Snow. She said; “While this policy does not explicitly say we are not going to shoot satellites or we are going to put weapons in space, it does, it seems to me, open the door towards that. This is a much more unilateralist vision of space. The United States in this policy seeks to establish its rights but fails to acknowledge the rights of other countries in space, where the Clinton policy was very careful to acknowledge the rights of all nations in space.” Hitchens said

Marine Corps General Cartwright, interviewed by Inside Pentagon, 18 October, was asked about allegations that China had tested the means of destroying American satellites, said “…we really haven’t seen that”. He likened the US role as that of enforcing the rule of the road in space. He pointed out that 16 or more countries can operate 10 or more satellites and that seven of these countries, China, Russia, India, South Korea, Indonesia, Brazil and Japan, are not members of NATO. He said that, “unfortunately, we anticipate some will challenge the free use of space.”

Mikhail Margelov, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s foreign affairs committee, is reported by RBC News as saying that the new policy “… may instigate Russian and joint Russian-US space exploration projects“. Russia and America had been cooperating in space for years and it was not in the interest of the USA to sever those relations”.

Having reported the new policy, the Taipei Times recollects that “Before becoming Bush’s secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld had warned against a “Space Pearl Harbor” and insisted US interests needed to be better protected”.

Under the headline “America wants it all – life, the Universe and everything”, Bronwen Maddox in The Times describes the new space policy as “comically proprietory in tone” and reports that America has rejected talks proposals by 160 other states for a ban on an arms race in space – (the vote in the UN was 160-1). The project is described as having a “breathtaking cost”. The policy does, however, highlight the vulnerability of military, commercial and personal data links that use satellites in space.

The difference between this policy and that of the President Clinton is highlighted in “DefenseTech.org” by the headline “Bush: Space is for Soldiers”. It is pointed out that in the previous space policy the emphasis was on international security and cooperation, the new policy includes the following: “Proposed arms control agreements or restrictions must not impair the rights of the United States to conduce research, development, testing and operations or other activities in space for U.S. national interests”.

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August 3, 2006

Fears raised of Iraq Civil War

Fears raised of Iraq Civil War – Wikinews, the free news source

Fears raised of Iraq Civil War

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Thursday, August 3, 2006

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Two of the most senior Generals in the Pentagon conceded that the recent upsurge in sectarian violence in Iraq may mean a rapid descent into Civil War in Congress, Thursday.

General John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, warned the Senate Armed Services Committee that “Iraq could move toward civil war” if the violence is not contained and stopped soon adding “Sectarian violence is probably as bad as I have seen it.”

General Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated “We do have the possibility of that devolving into civil war.” He added that this does not need to happen, and is controlled more by the Iraqis than the U.S. Military.

President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have refused to call the current situation in Iraq a civil war, even with Rumsfeld admitting in a press conference on Wednesday that violence in Iraq is on the increase, overall.

The statements by the two top U.S. generals echoed a warning to the British government by William Patey, its ambassador to Baghdad, who predicted in a confidential memo that Iraq would break up along ethnic lines and that “the prospect of a low intensity civil war and a de facto division of Iraq is probably more likely at this stage than a successful and substantial transition to a stable democracy.”

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May 14, 2006

US continues to deny Red Cross access to all detainees

US continues to deny Red Cross access to all detainees

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Flag of the ICRC

In a statement released on Thursday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that ICRC President Jacob Kellenberger “deplored the fact that the U.S. authorities had not moved closer to granting the ICRC access to persons held in undisclosed locations.”

The ICRC started making requests to get access to all U.S. detainees, including the ones held in alleged secret prisons, over two years ago. After Kellenberger met with senior officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, he was again refused access to terrorist suspects held in secret detention centers, chief ICRC spokesperson Antonella Notari said on Friday.

Kellenberger said that “No matter how legitimate the grounds for detention, there exists no right to conceal a person’s whereabouts or to deny that he or she is being detained”.

In response, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said that the ICRC has access to the vast majority of U.S. detainees, but said that “There is a certain subcategory of individuals who have forfeited their protections under the Geneva Conventions and there is not an obligation to allow access to those individuals.”

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May 7, 2006

Iran says it may withdraw from Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Iran says it may withdraw from Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

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Sunday, May 7, 2006

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In a letter to the United Nations, Iran’s Parliament has said it may have to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty if pressure to end its nuclear program escalates.

The letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan stated that if the issues with Iran’s nuclear program are not settled by peaceful methods, then “there will be no option for the parliament but to ask the government to withdraw its signature.”

“Should the UN secretary general and Security Council members not fulfill their crucial duties in settling arguments, there will be no choice for the Majlis but to demand the government withdraw the ratification of the additional protocol and put on its agenda a review of Article 10 of the NPT,” said the letter, signed by at least 160 deputies.

In the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Article 10 states that a country can withdraw its signatories from the treaty if the interests of the country have been compromised. In 2003, North Korea withdrew from the treaty for the same reason.

“We will not accept any resolution that is against our rights. Any action by the Security Council will have a negative influence on our cooperation with the agency. The involvement of the Security Council will direct the path of cooperation towards confrontation. It’s obvious that the Security Council should not take any action that it is not capable of dealing with later because we will not refrain from our rights,” said Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Asefi in a press conference on Sunday.

“Suspension and pause is not on the agenda at all, and the Security Council should not do something that will get it into trouble later on,” and “intervention by the Security Council in this issue is completely illegal,” added Asefi.

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan still urges Iran and the United States to hold direct talks. According to journalist and anti-nuclear-weapons activist Praful Bidwai, Iran is “keen to reach a deal or compromise on the nuclear issue” and “numerous governmental and non-governmental experts” in Iran believe that there is “fairly broad agreement” that a compromise proposal could be negotiated which would be politically acceptable in Iran.

Annan stated, “If everybody – all stakeholders and key players – were around the table, I think it would be possible to work out a package that would satisfy the concerns of everybody. Should they (Iran) be offered a diplomatic package allowing them to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful ends, and they resist that, how do they explain it to the world?”

Asefi also said that Iran isn’t prepared to discuss it’s nuclear program with the United States “one-on-one”.

“The U.S. isn’t prepared to have talks on a one-to-one equal basis. They are following the politics of threat. So under these conditions we see no necessity to start talks with them,” said Asefi.

Raw Story earlier made claims from unnamed intelligence sources that some parts of the US administration are opposed to diplomatic activities with Iran. It claimed that US vice-president Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld are carrying out “an ongoing attempt … to squash diplomatic activities” and using Manucher Ghorbanifar, a key figure in the Iran-Contra Affair, to monitor and report on “any interaction and attempts at negotiations between Iranian officials and US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad.”

The treaty was opened for signatures in 1968 and in 1970 entered into force. There are 187 signatures on the treaty.

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  • “Peace activist claims Iran keen to compromise on nuclear issue, Cheney, Rumsfeld allegedly block negotiations” — Wikinews, April 29, 2006

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