Archive | December 11th, 2014






Kafr Mayyit/Abu Al-Zubayr/Baalis/Qumaynaas Axis:  The SAA conducted a flawless raid on Erdoghan’s Nusra rodents and killed 16 while wounding a reported 11:

Saamir Al-Sirmaani

Ghaazi Shamlaan

‘Abdul-‘Azheem Furaykaash

Zaahi Mahmoud Zi’innu

Muhammad Sharafuddeen

The rest of the dead were confirmed foreigners, some Turks and some Georgians.

Ma’arrat Al-Nu’maan:  We can confirm a successful assassination operation by MI operatives targeting a major leader of Ahraar Al-Shaam, Ismaa’eel Al-Subay’ (a/k/a “Abu Daawood”).  He was found thrown inside a clutch of bushes with a bullet lodged in his head.  He was a designer for IED factories.

تدمير عربات مفخخة ونسف خطوط إمداد العصابات التكفيرية في ريف درعا

Members of the Popular Defense Committees (formely the NDF) keep their eyes peeled for crawling rats.

Abu Al-Dhuhoor Airbase area:   Stalwart SAA continue to knock back the pathetic Nusra efforts to overrun a base for which they have no use.

Kinsafraa:  A uniquely precise operation near the Auction House in the Al-Zaawiya Mountain area netted 14 rats belonging to Nusra.  This area is infested with Nusra, Harakat Hazm, Ahraaf Al-Shaam and Ma’roof’s glorious Syrian Revolutionaries’ Front (yawn).  The names of the killed has not been relayed to me, yet.  This was an ambush that went off perfectly.

Salqeen and Al-Raami Village:  These 2 towns overlook Turk Occupied Syria, namely Hatay, and they are infested with plague-carrying rodents of Nusra.  Yesterday, citizens came out and emulated the inhabitants of Doumaa by demanding that the rats leave immediately.  They also expressed scorn for the biggest rat of them all, Recep Tayyip Erdoghan, whose days are numbered.

نساء سلقين بريف إدلب يتظاهرن ضد انتهاكات إرهابيي

Al-Sahn Village near Jisr Al-Shughoor:  Skirmishing with no details.


مقتل عدد من الإرهابيين باستهداف تجمعات لهم في خان أرنبة بريف القنيطرة

Al-Shaykh Miskeen:  The Syrian Army continues to tear away at the lifeblood of the rat armies armed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, trained by the Jordanian Dwarf King and his skunks, and aided and abetted by the Zionist Tay-Sachs Ghetto State.

Yesterday, an Al-Jazeera “reporter” (what a joke!) was killed when his own car collided with a Nusra vehicle as he was embedded with the terrorists and covering their glorious exploits for the world’s most degrading “news” and propaganda network.  That’s right folks, Mahraan Al-Dayri, rammed his car into another one driven by a fellow rat and died instantly at the scene.  Boo hoo hoo.  According to his family litter of rodents, he turned his lights off so he wouldn’t be shot at by the SAA – great move. Right?  He was known to run guns for the terrorists and was a rabid hater of minorities.

He was running guns for the Nusra cannibals and worked for Qatar’s intrepid General Intelligence Agency which is led by a former Mossad officer.  This slimy rat was from Al-Shaykh Miskeen and didn’t have the decency to thank the Ba’ath Party for the free education he got in journalism at the University of Damascus.  Let him burn in Hell.

Other rodents killed with this vile lump of simian excrement were:

Moussaa Khalaf Al-Muflih

Sameer Ishaaq Qash’am

Falaah Maalik Mu’zir

Ahmad Mahmoud Hilaal

Shaakir Sidqi A’waan

Muhammad Zaayid Al-Nusayraat (JORDANIAN APE VOMIT)

Muhammad Ahmad Jaamoos

Another 5 could not be identified.  The SAA also destroyed 3 pickups with 23mm cannons and 6 vans carrying weapons and ammunition to the 2 groups called Nusra and Harakat Al-Muthanna.

Nawaa:  The SAA relentless here:

Baasil Jarwaan ‘Uwaydaat (Another soon-to-be extinct clan of rodents)

Muhammad Yusuf Al-Sa’di

Al-Naaziheen Camp:  On Tuesday, the SAA targeted and killed one of the area’s most notorious gangsters who led a group called Kateebat Madfa’iyyat Sijjeel (Artillery of Dried Mud Brigades.  See the Koranic chapter on the Elephant to figure out what “sijjeel” is).  He was Ramzi Abaazeed, another member of a major Der’ah clan facing extinction.

Der’ah City:  6 separate nests of Nusra jackals were invaded and destroyed by SAA and PDC at the Arba’een Quarter after they had fired 11 propane canisters filled with military grade TNT and enhancers provided by King Pygmy of Amman.  The number killed is estimated at 30+.

Tal Al-Za’tar:  An attempted suicide bombing using another fat truck against an SAA outpost saw the driver go up like a puff of vapor and his truck sitting on the side waiting for the junkyard pickup.   Monzer writes that he was smiling as he was ejected in a ball of lights out of his truck and into the waiting arms of Satan.

Daa’il:  Very precise artillery fire by SAA bull’s-eyed a pack of hyenas traveling in a flatbed.

North ‘Itmaan:  Another miserable attack on an SAA checkpoint was repelled and 2 rodents killed:

Saafi Ahmad Al-Jabali 

Muhammad Haani Bahlawaan

‘Itmaan-Tafass Unpaved Road: Fighting with no details.

East Inkhil:  Fighting with no details.

Ibta’:  SAA killed a confirmed 9 and took 3 prisoners.  A vehicle was reported destroyed with weapons and ammunition seized for distribution to our militias for killing Wahhabists.

Old Customs in Der’ah City:  We are seeing the end of this area as a conduit for the delivery of weapons and ammunition from King Dwarf of Jordan.

Al-Faqee’, Jaassim, Dayr Al-‘Adas:   Fighting with no details.



Al-Nabk:  A year after the town’s liberation, the Syrian flag is hoisted up the highest pole in the Qalamoon to commemorate the event that would free the formerly-tormented people of western Damascus Province.  Major political figures and notables attended the event which was marked by a sense of jubilation and relief as the Syrian Army continues the onslaught against the NATO/Zionist/Wahhabist criminals.


Pat Buchanan is heroic in his pursuit of truth no matter where it takes him:

Read about Razan Zaytoona, the traitor who was kidnapped by her heroes. Maybe, she’ll be lucky and get liberated by the great Syrian Army:

Penny shames the Guardian for firing Nafeez Ahmad who exposed the real reasons for the Zionist invasion of Gaza.  Good read and for all those who subscribe to the Guardian a reason to end the subscription by giving them what for:

I never knew Global Research had a sense of humor, but, you’ve got to read what they say about the EU:


Terrorism is Mother of Evils and Sufferings


By Sajjad Shaukat

Terrorism is the mother of all evils and root cause of Muslims’ sufferings in general and Pakistan

Terrorists have maligned the name of Islam to have acceptability to their inhuman actions with a

view to generating semblance of legitimacy.

Suicide bombers are mostly juveniles, oblivious of the fact that suicide is ‘HARAM’

(Illegitimate) in Islam. Allah (God) says, kill not yourselves. Surely Allah is merciful…and cast

not yourselves into ruin with your own hands. Suicide bombers are not only killing themselves,

but are also killing innocent human beings.

While taking note of terrorists’ suicide attacks in Middle East and Pakistan, Saudi Arabia’s grand

mufti (Mufti-e-Azam),Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al-Sheikh issued a Fatwa (Religious

verdict), asserting that suicide attacks are illegal and illegitimate (HARAM).” He explained,

“Such acts fall under the category of crime and suicide bombers or terrorists represent an

adversary of Islam and enemy of Muslims…they commit crimes against humanity, while

misguiding other Muslims.” Denouncing terrorism as un-Islamic, he pointed out that terrorists’

activities are part of a conspiracy to defame Islam and destroy Muslims.

However, in the recent years, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its affiliated banned outfits

conducted many terror-activities in Pakistan like suicide attacks, ruthless beheadings of

tribesmen, assaults on security personnel and prominent figures including Shias, Ahmadis, Sufis,

Christians and Sikhs. Contrary to the teachings on the importance of gaining education and

knowledge in Islam, these terrorists have destroyed and torched more than 1,000 schools and

mosques in Pakistan. They also attacked the female teachers in order to deny education to girls.

Besides, terror-attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA, Balochistan and Karachi are part of the

scheme to create chaotic situation in the country. Indian Consulates in Afghanistan are also

playing a very negative role in supporting TTP and Baloch separatists.

In this respect, choosing Pakistani venue for targeting innocent public by a suicide attack at

Wagha border in Lahore, on November 2, 2014, while flag ceremony was being conducted on

both sides of the border is testament to TTP’s terrorists’ hidden agenda and allegiance to the

enemies of Pakistan. Besides, India is also encouraging TTP factions showing allegiance for

DAISH ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), to get united.

Terrorism has caused massive damage to the prosperity of Pakistan during last 14 years. In this

context, the Parliamentary Secretary for Interior, Maryam Aurangzeb informed the National

Assembly on December 19, 2014, “Extremist groups have been active throughout the country

with their own ideology…Pakistan which has been major victim of terrorism has suffered a loss

of almost 80 billion dollars including loss of 50,000 precious lives of civilians and security

agencies…huge collateral damage during the decade long war against terrorism.”

Undoubtedly, in our country, the victims of terror attacks and suicide bombings have been

innocent men, women and children. Regrettably, those militant entities like TTP, which try to

justify terrorism and suicide bombings in the name of Islam, are misguiding the people, while

these brutal acts are clearly against the teachings of Islam.

From time to time, while condemning the militants’ inhuman activities as undemocratic and un-

Islamic practices, Pakistan’s various Ulema (Islamic scholars) have clarified in their joint fatwa,

and separate statements that “killing of innocent people, target killings and suicide bombings

including sectarianism are against the spirit of Islam…the terrorists’ self-adopted interpretation

of Islam was nothing, but ignorance and digression from the actual teachings of the religion.”

They explained, “Islam does not forbid women’s education.”

While, Islam is a religion of universal application, as it emphasizes peace, democracy,

moderation and human rights including tolerance of political groups, religious communities and

sects which are in minority in a country. It also permits periodic reinterpretation of Islamic

teachings which is called Ijtihad.

The Constitution of 1973 which was unanimously adopted, clearly states that Pakistan is

basically a democracy guided by the Islamic principles and values—no law would be made

contrary to Quran and Sunnah.

Notably, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in his sermon at Hajjatul Wida issued directions for

protection of life, property and dignity of the whole mankind. The sermon became a charter of

democracy which was included in the constitutions of the western elected governments in one

In fact, Islam and democracy have co-relationship with each other. Diversified people and Ulema

participate in the system of representatives, which does not exclude or discriminate any one on

basis of caste, creed and sect. It does not confine religion to mosque.

Islam considers killing one innocent person equal to murdering the entire humanity, while Jihad

is a sacred obligation, but its real spirit needs to be understood clearly, as killing innocent women

and children is not Jihad. By playing in the hands of anti-Pakistan foreign countries, especially

Indian secret agency RAW, the TTP and its banned affiliated groups are defaming Islam.

Every one knows that terrorism caused political instability, economic crisis, social strife and

sectarian divide in Pakistan. And, terrorists are foreign-paid killers, having foreign agenda,

while, Islam condemns terrorism in any form.

it is mentionable that Pakistan’s Armed Forces have almost defeated the ferocious terrorists,

particularly of the TTP by clearing the areas of North Waziristan Agency by military operation

Zarb-e-Azb which has broken the backbone of the insurgents, and is rapidly been achieving its

objectives. The operation has full support of the civil government, opposition parties and Ulema

including all other segments of society and general masses who are united against terrorism. In

this regard, DG, ISPR Directorate, Major-Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa had stated, “Armed forces of

Pakistan have launched the operation against terrorists…who had been waging a war against the

state of Pakistan by disrupting our national life in all its dimensions…with the support of the

entire nation, these enemies will be denied space across the country.”

Optimistically speaking, Pakistan can soon be on the road to prosperity, a secure country to

invest, a peaceful place for tourists to visit, provided the terrorism which is mother of evils and

sufferings is eliminated from its roots.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants,

Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Posted in Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on Terrorism is Mother of Evils and Sufferings

The Role of 9/11 in Justifying Torture and War: The Criminalization of the US State Apparatus. Senate Report on CIA Torture is a Whitewash

Global Research

The words “possible criminal actions” by CIA employees is used in the report.

The terms unethical and immoral are mentioned. The criminality of those who ordered these actions at the highest levels of government, however, is not acknowledged.

The actions directed against alleged jihadists are categorized as ineffective in the process of revealing intelligence. This in itself is a red herring. The objective of torture was not to reveal intelligence.

What of course is not acknowledged is that the alleged terrorists who were tortured were framed by the CIA.

Known and documented the Al Qaeda network is a creation of US intelligence.

The jihadists are “intelligence assets”.

Torture serves to perpetuate the legend that the evil terrorists are real and that the lives of Americans are threatened.

Torture is presented as “collateral damage.” Torture is an integral part of war propaganda which consists in demonizing the alleged terrorists.

And the Senate committee report ultimately upholds the legitimacy of the US intelligence apparatus, the US government, its military and intelligence agenda and its “humanitarian wars” waged in different parts of the World.

Guantanamo Camp (right)

The term “legally misguided” is mentioned but the fact that these actions were “illegal” and “criminal” is casually dismissed.

According to Senator Feinstein: “The CIA plays an incredibly important part in our nation’s security and has thousands of dedicated and talented employees.”

The actions documented by the Senate report were undertaken from 2001-2009, namely during the Bush administration, overlapping into the Obama presidency. This inevitably raises the issue of responsibility of the current US administration. There is no evidence that these practices were abandoned by the Obama presidency. In fact quite the opposite.

And the “Global War on Terrorism” prevails with new initiatives on the drawing board of the Pentagon.

The Role of 9/11

9/11 serves as a justification for the torture program in same way as it serves as a justification to wage war on Afghanistan and Iraq. According to Senator Feinstein:

“All of us have vivid memories of that Tuesday morning when terror struck New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

“Make no mistake, on September 11, 2001 war was declared on the United States.

“Terrorists struck our financial center. They struck our military center. And they tried to strike our political center and would have, had brave and courageous passengers not brought down the plane.

“We still vividly remember the mix of outrage and deep despair and sadness as we watched from Washington.

“Smoke rising from the Pentagon. The passenger plane lying in a Pennsylvania field. The sound of bodies striking canopies at ground level as innocents jumped to the ground below from the World Trade Center.

Enemy Number One: Osama bin Laden, alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks

The tacit argument –which is contained in the Senate report– is that America was under attack. Evil folks are lurking. The security of the Homeland was at stake.

And these evil people knew things (namely intelligence) which were threatening our security. They were arrested by the CIA. And the CIA had a mandate to go after the terrorists.

Yet we all know by now that the 9/11 official narrative is a fabrication. The official 9/11 story is that Osama bin Laden was behind the 9/11 attacks. Lest we forget, bin Laden was hospitalized in a Pakistani military hospital in Rawalpindi on September 9, 2001.

9/11 was used as a pretext, a casus belli to wage an illegal war against Afghanistan. What we are dealing with is the criminalization of the US State apparatus.

Jihadists were not behind the 9/11 attacks. The evidence points to a conspiracy at the highest levels of US government including the involvement of the intelligence apparatus.

We do not learn from our mistakes, says Senator Feinstein.

These decisions were from an administrative point of view misguided, according to the Senate Committee.

It was all a big mistake, according to the Senate report.

The evidence contained in the report, nonetheless, points to criminal wrongdoing at the highest levels of government. Yet the political statements underlying the report as well as the media coverage constitute a whitewash.

The September 11, 2001 attacks provided the green light to wage a “Global War on Terrorism”. While the report acknowledges CIA brutality, it does not question the legitimacy of the “Global War on Terrorism”. The acts of torture were all for a good cause.

The truth is that the CIA is a criminal entity within the US State apparatus.

Nobody is to be held responsible. The report is in essence a political whitewash. In substance what the report says is:

We are clean and moral people, it was an administrative error to torture the terrorists. But under the circumstances with our nation under attack, it is understandable that we acted in that way. Let us learn from our mistakes. It will never happen again. ”But history will judge us by our commitment to a just society governed by law and the willingness to face an ugly truth and say ‘never again.’”

Never again? The ugly truth underlying the “Global War on Terrorism” has not acknowledged.

The fact that torture has been routinely applied since the establishment of the CIA under the Truman presidency, extensively applied in Latin America, Africa and South East Asia, is casually dismissed.

President Bush is not alone. What he did was to implement a policy which was already firmly entrenched in the intelligence community. Blaming Bush is a convenient scapegoat. it avoids opening up a can of worms.

Every single administration since the end of World War II has endorsed the practices of torture.

What distinguishes the Bush and Obama administrations in relation to the historical record of U.S. sponsored crimes and atrocities, is that the concentration camps, targeted assassinations and torture chambers are known to the public and are openly considered as legitimate forms of intervention, which sustain the global war on terrorism and support the spread of Western democracy.

The Criminalization of Justice: Will the Architects of Torture be Indicted for Crimes against Humanity?

Todays legal system in America has all the essential features of an inquisitorial order, which supports torture and provides a green light to CIA atrocities.

The Senate report ultimately upholds guidelines of the Department of Justice adopted in the immediate wake of 9/11. Torture is permitted under certain circumstances, according to an August 2002 Justice Department legal opinion:

if a government employee were to torture a suspect in captivity, he would be doing so in order to prevent further attacks on the United States by the Al Qaeda terrorist network, said the memo, from the Justice Departments office of legal counsel, written in response to a CIA request for legal guidance. It added that arguments centering on necessity and self-defense could provide justifications that would eliminate any criminal liability later. 7 (See Washington Post, June 7, 2004)

Interrogation methods bordering on torture do not imply an unconstitutional infringement according to the U.S. Justice Department:

Even if an interrogation method might arguably cross the line drawn in Section and application of the stature was not held to be an unconstitutional infringement of the Presidents Commander in Chief authority, we believe that under current circumstances [the war on terrorism] certain justification defenses might be available that would potentially eliminate criminal liability. (Complete August 2, 2002 Justice Department Memorandum in pdf)

Anybody who doubts the legitimacy of the American inquisition (i.e. 9/11 and the Global War on Terrorism) is a heretic conspiracy theorist or an accomplice of the terrorists.

Michel Chossudovsky, December 11, 2014

Read this statement very carefully.

Statement by Senator Feinstein (emphasis added)

“Today a 500-page executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s five and a half year review of the CIA’s detention and interrogation programwhich was conducted between 2002 and 2009is being released publicly.

“The executive summary, which is going out today, is backed up by a 6,700 page classified and unredacted report (with 38,000 footnotes), which can be released if necessary at a later time.

“The report released today examines the CIA’s secret overseas detention of at least 119 individuals and the use of coercive interrogation techniquesin some cases amounting to torture.

“Over the past couple of weeks, I have gone through a great deal of introspection about whether to delay the release of this report to a later time. This clearly is a period of turmoil and instability in many parts of the world. Unfortunately, that’s going to continue for the foreseeable future, whether this report is released or not.

“There are those who will seize upon the report and say ‘see what Americans did,’ and they will try to use it to justify evil actions or to incite more violence. We cannot prevent that. But history will judge us by our commitment to a just society governed by law and the willingness to face an ugly truth and say ‘never again.’

“There may never be the ‘right’ time to release this report. The instability we see today will not be resolved in months or years. But this report is too important to shelve indefinitely.

“My determination to release it has also increased due to a campaign of mistaken statements and press articles launched against the report before anyone has had the chance to read it. As a matter of fact, the report is just now, as I speak, being released.

“This is what it looks like. Senator Chambliss asked me if we could have the minority report bound with the majority report. For this draft, that is not possible. But in the final draft, it will be bound together. But this is what the summary of the 6,000 pages look like.

“My words give me no pleasure. I am releasing this report because I know there are thousands of employees at the CIA who do not condone what I will speak about this morning, and who work day in and out, day and night, long hours, within the law for America’s security in what is certainly a difficult world. My colleagues on the intelligence committee and I are proud of them, just as everyone in this chamber is, and we will always support them.

“In reviewing the Study in the past few days with the decision looming over the public release, I was struck by a quote, found on page 126 of the Executive Summary. It cites the former CIA Inspector General, John Helgerson, who in 2005 wrote the following to the then-Director of the CIA, which clearly states the situation with respect to this report years later as well: ‘… we have found that the Agency over the decades has continued to get itself in messes related to interrogation programs for one overriding reason: we do not document and learn from our experience each generation of officers is left to improvise anew, with problematic results for our officers as individuals and for our Agency.’ (Source: E-mail, John Helgerson to Porter Goss, Jan. 28, 2005)

“I believe that to be true. I agree with Mr. Helgerson. His comments are still true today. But this must change.

“On March 11, 2009, the Committee voted 14-1 to begin a review of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. Over the past five years, a small team of committee investigators pored over the more than 6.3 million pages of CIA records the leader spoke about to complete this report, or what we call the ‘study.’

“It shows that the CIA’s actions a decade ago are a stain on our values and on our history.

“The release of this 500-page summary of our report cannot remove that stain, but it can and does say to our people, and the world, that America is big enough to admit when it’s wrong and confident enough to learn from its mistakes. Releasing this report is an important step to restore our values and show the world that we are in fact a just and lawful society.

“Over the next hour, I’d like to lay out for senators and the American public the report’s key findings and conclusions.

“And I ask that when I complete this, Senator McCain be recognized.

“Before I get to the substance of the report, I’d like to make a few comments about why it’s so important that we make this study public.

“All of us have vivid memories of that Tuesday morning when terror struck New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

“Make no mistake, on September 11, 2001 war was declared on the United States.

“Terrorists struck our financial center. They struck our military center. And they tried to strike our political center and would have, had brave and courageous passengers not brought down the plane.

“We still vividly remember the mix of outrage and deep despair and sadness as we watched from Washington.

“Smoke rising from the Pentagon. The passenger plane lying in a Pennsylvania field. The sound of bodies striking canopies at ground level as innocents jumped to the ground below from the World Trade Center.

“Mass terror that we often see overseas had struck in our front yard, killing 3,000 innocent men, women, and children. What happened? We came together as a nation, with one singular mission: bring those who committed these acts to justice.

“But it’s at this point where the values of America come into play where the rule of law and the fundamental principles of right and wrong become important.

“In 1990 the United States Senate ratified the Convention Against Torture. The Convention makes clear that this ban against torture is absolute. It says: ‘No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, (including what I just read) whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.’

“Nonetheless, it was argued that the need for information on terrorist plots after 9/11 made extraordinary interrogation techniques necessary.

“Even if one were to set aside all of the moral arguments, our review was a meticulous and detailed examination of records. It finds that coercive interrogation techniques did not produce the vital, otherwise unavailable intelligence the CIA has claimed.

“I will go into further detail on this issue in a moment. But let me make clear, these comments are not a condemnation of the CIA as a whole. The CIA plays an incredibly important part in our nation’s security and has thousands of dedicated and talented employees.

“What we have found is that a surprisingly few people were responsible for designing, carrying out, and managing this program. Two contractors developed and led the interrogations. There was little effective oversight. Analysts analysts on occasion, gave operational orders about interrogations and CIA management of the program was weak and diffuse.

“Our final report was approved by a bipartisan vote of 9-6 in December 2012 and exposes brutality in stark contrast to our values as a nation.

“This effort was focused on the actions of the CIA from late 2001 to January of 2009. The report does include considerable detail on the CIA’s interactions with the White House; the Departments of Justice, State, and Defense; and the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“The review is based on contemporaneous records and documents during the time the program was in place and active. Now, these documents are important because they aren’t based on recollection, they aren’t based on revision and they aren’t a rationalization a decade later.

“It’s these documents, referenced repeatedly in thousands of footnotes, that provide the factual basis for the study’s conclusions.

“The committee’s majority staff reviewed more than 6.3 million pages of these documents provided by the CIA, as well as records from other departments and agencies.

“These records include: finished intelligence assessments, CIA operational and intelligence cables, memoranda, e-mails, real-time chat sessions, inspector general reports, testimony before Congress, pictures, and other internal records.

“It’s true we didn’t conduct our own interviews. Let me explain why that was the case.

“In 2009, there was an ongoing review by DOJ Special Prosecutor John Durham.

“On August 24, Attorney General Eric Holder expanded that review. This occurred six months after our study had begun.

“Durham’s original investigation of the CIA’s destruction of interrogation videotapes was broadened to include possible criminal actions of CIA employees in the course of CIA detention and interrogation activities.

“At the time, the committee’s Vice Chairman Kit Bond withdrew the minority’s participation in the study, citing the attorney general’s expanded investigation as the reason.

“The Department of Justice refused to coordinate its investigation with the Intelligence Committee’s review. As a result, possible interviewees could be subject to additional liability if they were interviewed.

“And the CIA, citing the attorney general’s investigation, would not instruct its employees to participate in our interviews. (Source: classified CIA internal memo, Feb. 26, 2010)

“Notwithstanding this, I am really confident of the factual accuracy and comprehensive nature of this report for three reasons:

“First, it’s the 6.3 million pages of documents reviewed, and they reveal records of actions as those actions took place, not through recollections more than a decade later.

“Second, the CIA and CIA senior officers have taken the opportunity to explain their views on CIA detention and interrogation operations. They have done this in on-the-record statements in classified Committee hearings, written testimony and answers to questions, and through the formal response to the Committee in June 2013 after reading the Study.

“And third, the committee had access to, and utilized, an extensive set of reports of interviews conducted by the CIA inspector general and the CIA’s oral history program.

“So while we could not conduct new interviews of individuals, we did utilize transcripts or summaries of interviews of those directly engaged in detention and interrogation operations. These interviews occurred at the time the program was operational and covered the exact topics we would have asked about had we conducted interviews ourselves.

“Those interview reports and transcripts included, but were not limited to, the following: George Tenet, director of the CIA when the agency took custody and interrogated the majority of its detainees; Jose Rodriguez, director of the CIA Counterterrorism Center (CTC), a key player in the program; CIA General Counsel Scott Muller; CIA Deputy Director of Operations James Pavitt; CIA Acting General Counsel John Rizzo; CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin; and a variety of interrogators, lawyers, medical personnel, senior counterterrorism analysts and managers of the detention and interrogation program.

“The best place to start, about how we got into this, and I’m delighted Senator Rockefeller is on the floor, is a little more than eight years ago, on September 6, 2006, when the Committee met to be briefed by then Director Michael Hayden.

“At that 2006 meeting, the full committee learned for the first time for the first time of the use of so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ or EITs.

“It was a short meeting, in part because President Bush was making a public speech later that day, disclosing officially for the first time the existence of CIA “black sites” and announcing the transfer of 14 detainees from CIA custody to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“It was the first time the interrogation program was explained to the full Committee as details had previously been limited to the chairman and vice chairman.

“Then, on December 7, 2007, the New York Times reported that CIA personnel in 2005 had destroyed videotapes of the interrogation of two CIA detainees: the CIA’s first detainee, Abu Zubaydah, as well as ‘Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

“The committee had not been informed of the destruction of the tapes. Days later, on December 11, 2007, the committee held a hearing on the destruction of the videotapes.

“Director Hayden, the primary witness, testified that the CIA had concluded that the destruction of videotapes was acceptable, in part, because Congress had not yet requested to see them. (Source: SSCI transcript, Dec. 11, 2007 hearing)

“Director Hayden stated that, if the committee had asked for the videotapes, they would have been provided. But, of course, the committee had not known that the videotapes existed. And we now know from CIA emails and records that the videotapes were destroyed shortly after senior CIA attorneys raised concerns that Congress might find out about the tapes.

“In any case, at that same December 11th committee hearing, Director Hayden told the committee that CIA cables related to the interrogation sessions depicted in the videotapes were, and I quote, “a more than adequate representation of the tapes and therefore, if you want them, we’ll give you access to them.” (Source: SSCI transcript, December 11, 2007 hearing)

“Senator Rockefeller, then chairman of committee, designated two members of the committee staff to review the cables describing the interrogation sessions of Abu Zubaydah and al-Nashiri.

“Senator Bond, then vice chairman, similarly directed two of his staffers to review the cables.

“The designated staff members completed their review and compiled a summary of the content of the CIA cables by early 2009, by which time I had become chairman. The description in the cables of CIA’s interrogations and the treatment of detainees presented a starkly different picture from Director Hayden’s testimony before the committee.

“They described brutal, around the clock interrogations, especially of Abu Zubaydah, in which multiple coercive techniques were used in combination and with substantial repetition. It was an ugly, visceral description.

“The summary also indicated that Abu Zubaydah and al-Nashiri did not, as a result of the use of these so-called EITs, provide the kind of intelligence that led the CIA to stop terrorist plots or arrest additional suspects.

“As a result, I think it’s fair to say the entire committee was concerned, and it approved the scope of an investigation by a vote of 14-1, and the work began.

“In my March 11, 2014, floor speech about the study, I described how in 2009 the committee came to an agreement with the new CIA director, Leon Panetta, for access to documents and other records about the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, so I won’t repeat that here.

“From 2009 until 2012, our staff conducted a massive and unprecedented review of CIA records.

“Draft sections of the report were produced by late 2011 and shared with the full committee. The final report was completed in December 2012 and approved by the committee by a bipartisan vote of 9-6.

“After that vote, I sent the full report to the president and asked the administration to provide comments on it before it was released.

“Six months later, in June of 2013, the CIA responded.

“I directed then that if the CIA pointed out any error in our report, we would fix it, and we did fix one bullet point that did not impact our Findings and Conclusions. If the CIA came to a different conclusion than the report did, we would note that in the report and explain our reasons for disagreeing, if we disagreed.

“You will see some of that documented in the footnotes of that executive summary as well as in the 6,000 pages.

“In April 2014, the committee prepared an updated version of the full study and voted 12-3 to declassify and release the executive summary, findings and conclusions, and Minority and additional views.

“On August 1, we received a declassified version from the Executive Branch. It was immediately apparent that the redactions to our report prevented a clear and understandable reading of the Study and prevented us from substantiating the findings and conclusions. So we obviously objected.

“For the past four months, the Committee and the CIA, the Director of National Intelligence, and the White House have engaged in a lengthy negotiation over the redactions to the report. We have been able to include some more information in the report today without sacrificing sources and methods or our national security. I’d like to ask following my remarks that a letter from the White House dated yesterday conveying the report, also points out that the report is 93 percent complete and redactions amount to 7 percent of the bulk of the report.

“Mr. President, this has been a long process. The work began seven years ago when Senator Rockefeller directed committee staff to review the CIA cables describing the interrogation sessions of Abu Zubaydah and al-Nashiri.

“It’s been very difficult. But I believe the documentation and the findings and conclusions will make clearhow this program was morally, legally and administratively misguided, and that this nation should never again engage in these tactics.

“Let me turn now to the contents of the study.

“As I noted, we have 20 findings and conclusions, which fall into four general categories:

“First, the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques were not an effective way to gather intelligence information.

“Second, the CIA provided extensive amounts of inaccurate information about the operation of the program and its effectiveness to the White House, the Department of Justice, Congress, the CIA inspector general, the media and the American public.

“Third, the CIA’s management of the program was inadequate and deeply flawed.

“And fourth, the CIA program was far more brutal than people were led to believe.

“Let me describe each category in more detail:

“The first set of findings and conclusions concern the effectiveness or lack thereof of the interrogation program.

“The committee found that the CIA’s coercive interrogation techniques were not an effective means of acquiring accurate intelligence or gaining detainee cooperation.

“The CIA and other defenders of the program have repeatedly claimed that the use of so-called interrogation techniques was necessary to get detainees to provide critical information, and to bring detainees to a ‘state of compliance’ in which they would cooperate and provide information.

“The study concludes that both claims are inaccurate. [but not criminal]

“The report is very specific in how it evaluates the CIA’s claims on the effectiveness and necessity of its enhanced interrogation techniques. Specifically, we used the CIA’s own definition of effectiveness as ratified and approved by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel. (Source: DOJ Office of Legal Counsel memos)

“The CIA’s claims that EITs were necessary to obtain ‘otherwise unavailable’ information, that could not be obtained from any other source, to stop terrorist attacks and save American lives that’s a claim we conclude is inaccurate.

“We took 20 examples that the CIA, itself, claimed to show the success of these interrogations. These include cases of terrorist plots stopped or terrorists captured.

“The CIA used these examples in presentations to the White House, in testimony to Congress, in submissions to the Department of Justice, and ultimately to the American people.

“Some of the claims are well-known: the capture of Khalid Shaykh Mohammad, the prevention of attacks against the Library Tower in Los Angeles, and the take-down of Osama bin Laden.

“Other claims were made only in classified settings, to the White House, Congress, and Department of Justice.

“In each case, the CIA claimed that critical and unique information came from one or more detainees in its custody after they were subjected to the CIA’s coercive techniques, and that information led to a specific counterterrorism success.

“Our staff reviewed every one of the 20 cases, and not a single case holds up.

“In every single one of these cases, at least one of the following was true:

“One, the intelligence community had information separate from the use of EITs that led to the terrorist disruption or capture; two, information from a detainee subjected to EITs played no role in the claimed disruption or capture; and three, the purported terrorist plot either didn’t exist or posed no real threat to Americans or U.S. interests.

“Some critics have suggested the study concludes that no intelligence was ever provided from any detainee the CIA held. That is false, and the Study makes no such claim.

“What is true is that actionable intelligence that was ‘otherwise unavailable’ otherwise unavailable was not obtained using these coercive interrogation techniques.

“The report also chronicles where the use of interrogation techniques that do not involve physical force were effective.

“Specifically, the report provides examples where interrogators had sufficient information to confront detainees with facts and know when the detainees were lying, and where they applied rapport-building techniques developed and honed by the U.S. military, the FBI, and more recently the interagency High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, called the ‘HIG,’ that these techniques produced good intelligence.

“Let me make a couple of additional comments on the claimed effectiveness of CIA interrogations.

“At no time did the CIA’s coercive interrogation techniques lead to the collection of intelligence on an imminent threat that many believe was the justification for the use of these techniques. The committee never found an example of this hypothetical ‘ticking time bomb’ scenario.

“The use of coercive technique methods regularly resulted in fabricated information. Sometimes, the CIA knew detainees were lying. Other times, the CIA acted on false information, diverting resources and leading officers or contractors to falsely believe they were acquiring unique or actionable intelligence and that its interrogations were working when they were not.

“Internally, CIA officers often called into question the effectiveness of the CIA’s interrogation techniques, noting how the techniques failed to elicit detainee cooperation or produce accurate information.

“The report includes numerous examples of CIA officers questioning the agency’s claims, but these contradictions were marginalized and not presented externally.

“The second set of findings and conclusions is that the CIA provided extensive inaccurate information about the program and its effectiveness to the White House, the Department of Justice, Congress, the CIA inspector general, the media, and the American public.

“This conclusion is somewhat personal for me. I recall clearly when Director Hayden briefed the Intelligence Committee for the first time on the so-called EITs at that September 2006 committee meeting.

“He referred specifically to a ‘tummy slap,’ among other techniques, and presented the entire set of techniques as minimally harmful and applied in a highly clinical and professional manner. They were not.

“The committee’s report demonstrates that these techniques were physically very harmful and that the constraints that existed, on paper, in Washington did not match the way techniques were used at CIA sites around the world.

“Of particular note was the treatment of Abu Zubaydah over a span of 17 days in August 2002.

“This involved non-stop interrogation and abuse, 24/7 from August 4 to August 21, and included multiple forms of deprivation and physical assault. The description of this period, first written up by our staff in early 2009, while Senator Rockefeller was chairman, is what prompted this full review.

“But the inaccurate and incomplete descriptions go far beyond that. The CIA provided inaccurate memoranda and explanations to the Department of Justice while its [Office of] Legal Counsel was considering the legality of the coercive techniques.

“In those communications to the Department of Justice, the CIA claimed the following: the coercive techniques would not be used with excessive repetition; detainees would always have an opportunity to provide information prior to the use of the techniques; the techniques were to be used in progression, starting with the least aggressive and proceeding only if needed; medical personnel would make sure that interrogations wouldn’t cause serious harm, and they could intervene at any time to stop interrogations; interrogators were carefully vetted and highly trained; and each technique was to be used in a specific way, without deviation, and only with specific approval for the interrogator and detainee involved.

“None of these assurances, which the Department of Justice relied on to form its legal opinions, were consistently or even routinely carried out.

“In many cases, important information was withheld from policymakers. For example, former Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham asked a number of questions after he was first briefed in September 2002, but the CIA refused to answer him, effectively stonewalling him until he left the committee at the end of the year.

“In another example, the CIA, in coordination with White House officials and staff, initially withheld information of the CIA’s interrogation techniques from Secretary of State Colin Powell and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

“There are CIA records stating that Colin Powell wasn’t told about the program at first because there were concerns that, and I quote, ‘Powell would blow his stack if he were briefed.’ (Source: E-mail from John Rizzo dated July 31, 2003)

“CIA records clearly indicate and definitively that after he was briefed on the CIA’s first detainee, Abu Zubaydah the CIA didn’t tell President Bush about the full nature of the EITs until April 2006. That’s what the records indicate.

“The CIA similarly withheld information or provided false information to the CIA inspector general during his conduct of a special review by the IG in 2004.

“Incomplete and inaccurate information from the CIA was used in documents provided to the Department of Justice and as a basis for President Bush’s speech on September 6, 2006, in which he publicly acknowledged the CIA program for the first time.

“In all of these cases, other CIA officers acknowledged internally they acknowledged internally that information the CIA had provided was wrong.

“The CIA also misled other White House officials. When Vice President Cheney’s counsel, David Addington, asked CIA General Counsel Scott Muller in 2003 about the CIA’s videotaping the waterboarding of detainees, Muller deliberately told him that videotapes “were not being made,” but did not disclose that videotapes of previous waterboarding sessions had been made and still existed. (Source: E-mail from Scott Muller dated June 7, 2003)

“There are many, many more examples in the committee’s report.

“The third set of findings and conclusions notes the various ways in which CIA management of the Detention and Interrogation Program from its inception to its formal termination in January ’09 was inadequate and deeply flawed.

“There is no doubt that the Detention and Interrogation Program was, by any measure, a major CIA undertaking. It raised significant legal and policy issues and involved significant resources and funding. It was not, however, managed as a significant CIA program. Instead, it had limited oversight and lacked formal direction and management.

“For example, in the six months between being granted detention authority and taking custody of its first detainee, Abu Zubaydah, the CIA had not identified and prepared a suitable detention site.

“It had not researched effective interrogation techniques or developed a legal basis for the use of interrogation techniques outside of the rapport-building techniques that were official CIA policy until that time.

‘In fact, there is no indication the CIA reviewed its own history that’s just what Helgerson was saying in ’05 with coercive interrogation tactics. As the executive summary notes, the CIA had engaged in rough interrogations in the past.

“In fact, the CIA had previously sent a letter to the Intelligence Committee in 1989, and here is the quote, that “inhumane physical or psychological techniques are counterproductive because they do not produce intelligence and will probably result in false answers.” (Source: Letter to the SSCI from John Helgerson, CIA Director of Congressional Affairs, Jan. 8, 1989)

“However, in late 2001 and ’02, rather than research interrogation practices and coordinate with other parts of the government with extensive expertise in detention and interrogation of terrorist suspects, the CIA engaged two contract psychologists who had never conducted interrogations themselves or ever operated detention facilities.

“As the CIA captured or received custody of detainees through 2002, it maintained separate lines of management at headquarters for different detention facilities.

“No individual or office was in charge of the detention and interrogation program until January of 2003, by which point more one-third of CIA detainees identified in our review had been detained and interrogated.

“One clear example of flawed CIA management was the poorly managed detention facility, referred to in our report by the code name “COBALT” to hide the actual name of the facility. It began operations in September of 2002.

“The facility kept few formal records of the detainees housed there and untrained CIA officers conducted frequent, unauthorized and unsupervised interrogations using techniques that were not and never became part of the CIA’s formal enhanced interrogation program.

“The CIA placed a junior officer with no relevant experience in charge of the site. In November 2002, an otherwise healthy detainee who was being held mostly nude and chained to a concrete floor died at the facility from what is believed to have been hypothermia.

“In interviews conducted in 2003 by the CIA Office of the Inspector General, CIA’s leadership acknowledged that they had little or no awareness of operations at this specific CIA detention site, and some CIA senior officials believed, erroneously, that enhanced interrogation techniques were not used there.

“The CIA, in its June 2013 response to the committee’s report, agreed that there were management failures in the program, but asserted that they were corrected by early 2003. While the study found that management failures improved somewhat, we found they persisted until the end of the program.

“Among the numerous management shortcomings identified in the report are the following:

“The CIA used poorly trained and non-vetted personnel.

“Individuals were deployed in particular, interrogators without relevant training or experience.

“Due to the CIA’s redactions to the report, there are limits to what I can say in this regard, but it is clear fact that the CIA deployed officers who had histories of personal, ethical and professional problems of a serious nature.

“These included histories of violence and abusive treatment of others and should have called into question their employment with the United States government, let alone their suitability to participate in a sensitive CIA covert action program.

“The two contractors that CIA allowed to develop, operate, and assess its interrogation operations conducted numerous ‘inherently governmental functions’ that should never have been outsourced to contractors.

“These contractors are referred to in the report in special pseudonyms ‘SWIGERT’ and ‘DUNBAR,’ they developed the list of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques that the CIA employed.

“They personally conducted interrogations of some of the CIA’s most significant detainees using the techniques, including the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah, Khalid Shaykh Mohammad, and al-Nashiri.

“The contractors provided the official evaluations of whether detainees’ psychological states allowed for the continued use of the enhanced techniques, even for some detainees they themselves were interrogating or had interrogated.

“Evaluating the psychological state of the very detainees they were interrogating is a clear conflict of interest and a violation of professional guidelines.

“The CIA relied on these two contractors to evaluate the interrogation program they had devised and in which they had obvious financial interests, again, a clear conflict of interest and an avoidance of responsibility by the CIA.

“In 2005, the two contractors formed a company specifically for the purpose of expanding their work with the CIA. From ’05 to ’08, the CIA outsourced almost all aspects of its Detention and Interrogation program to the company as part of a contract valued at more than $180 million.

“Ultimately, not all contract options were exercised. However, the CIA has paid these two contractors and their company more than $80 million.

“Of the 119 individuals found to have been detained by the CIA during the life of the program, the committee found that at least 26 were wrongfully held. These are cases where the CIA itself determined that it had not met the standard for detention set out in the 2001 Memorandum of Notification, which governs a covert action.

“Detainees often remained in custody for months after the CIA determined they should have been released. CIA records provide insufficient information to justify the detention of many other detainees.

“Due to poor record keeping, a full accounting of how many specific detainees were held and how they were specifically treated while in custody may never be known.

“Similarly, in specific instances, we found that enhanced interrogation techniques were used without authorization, in a manner far different and more brutal than had been authorized by the Office of Legal Counsel, and conducted by personnel not approved to use them on detainees.

“Decisions about how and when to apply interrogation techniques were ad hoc and not proposed, evaluated, and approved in the manner described by the CIA in written descriptions and testimony about the program.

“Detainees were often subject to harsh and brutal interrogation and treatment because CIA analysts believed, often in error, that they knew more information than what they had provided.

“Sometimes, CIA managers and interrogators in the field were uncomfortable with what they were being asked to do and recommended ending the abuse of a detainee. Repeatedly in such cases, they were overruled by people at CIA headquarters who thought they knew better, such as by analysts with no line authority. This shows again how a relatively small number of CIA personnel perhaps 40 to 50 were making decisions on detention and interrogation, despite the better judgments of other CIA officers.

“The fourth and final set of findings and conclusions concern how the interrogations of CIA detainees were absolutely brutal, far worse than the CIA represented them to policymakers and others.

“Beginning with the first detainee, Abu Zubaydah, and continuing with numerous others, the CIA applied its so-called enhanced interrogation techniques in combination and in near non-stop fashion for days or even weeks at a time, on one detainee.

“In contrast to CIA representations, detainees were subjected to the most aggressive techniques immediatelystripped naked and diapered, physically struck, and put in various painful stress positions for long periods of time.

“They were deprived of sleep for days in one case up to 180 hours that’s 7 and half days, over a week with no sleep, usually standing or in stress positions, at times with their hands tied together over their heads, chained to the ceiling.

“In the COBALT facility I previously mentioned, interrogators and guards used what they called ‘rough takedowns’ in which a detainee was grabbed from his cell, clothes cut off, hooded, and dragged up and down a dirt hallway while being slapped and punched.

“The CIA led several detainees to believe they would never be allowed to leave CIA custody alive, suggesting to Abu Zubaydah that he would only leave in a coffin-shaped box. (Source: CIA cable from Aug. 12, 2002)

“According to another CIA cable, CIA officers also planned to cremate Zubaydah should he not survive his interrogation. (Source: CIA cable from July 15, 2002)

“After the news and photographs emerged from the United States military detention of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib, the Intelligence Committee held a hearing on the matter on May 12, 2004.

“Without disclosing any details of its own interrogation program, CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin testified that CIA interrogations were nothing like what was depicted at Abu Ghraib, the United States prison in Iraq where detainees were abused by American personnel.

“This, of course, was false.

“CIA detainees at one facility, described as a “dungeon,” were kept in complete darkness, constantly shackled in isolated cells with loud noise or music and only a bucket to use for human waste.

“The U.S. Bureau of Prisons personnel went to that location in November 2002 and, according to a contemporaneous internal CIA email, told CIA officers they had never ‘been in a facility where individuals are so sensory deprived.’ (Source: CIA e-mail, sender and recipient redacted, Dec. 5, 2002)

“Throughout the program, multiple CIA detainees subject to interrogations exhibited psychological and behavioral issues including hallucinations, paranoia, insomnia, and attempts at self-harm and self-mutilation.

“Multiple CIA psychologists identified the lack of human contact experienced by detainees as a cause of psychiatric problems.

“The executive summary includes far more detail than I am going to provide here about things that were in these interrogation sessions, and the summary itself includes only a subset of the treatment of the 119 CIA detainees. There is far more detail, all documented, in the full 6,700-page study.

“This summarizes, briefly, the committee’s findings and conclusions.

“Before I wrap up, I’d like to thank the people who made this enormous undertaking possible.

“First, I thank Senator Jay Rockefeller. He started this project by directing his staff to review the operational cables that described the first recorded interrogations after we learned that the videotapes of those sessions had been destroyed. And that report was what led to this multi-year investigation. And without it, we wouldn’t have any sense of what happened.

“I thank the other members of the Senate Intelligence Committee one of whom is on the floor today, from the great state of New Mexico, others have been on the floor who voted to conduct this investigation, to approve its result and to make the report public.

“But most importantly, I want to thank the Senate Intelligence Committee staff who performed this work.

“They are dedicated and committed public officials who sacrificed, really sacrificed, a significant portion of their lives to see this report through to its publication.

“They have worked days, nights, weekends for years, in some of the most difficult circumstances, it’s no secret to anyone the CIA did not want this report coming out, and I believe the nation owes them a debt of gratitude.

“They are: Dan Jones, who has led this review since 2007. More than anyone else, today is a result of his effort; Evan Gottesman and Chad Tanner, two other members of the Study Staff. Each wrote thousands of pages of the full report and have dedicated themselves and much of their lives to this project; and Alissa Starzak, who began this review as co-head and contributed extensively until her departure from the committee in 2011.

“Other key contributors to the drafting, editing and review of the report were Jennifer Barrett, Nick Basciano, Mike Buchwald, Jim Catella, Eric Chapman, John Dickas, Lorenzo Goco, Andrew Grotto, Tressa Guenov, Clete Johnson, Michael Noblet, Michael Pevzner, Tommy Ross, Caroline Tess, and James Wolfe.

“And finally, David Grannis, who has been a never-faltering staff director throughout this review.

“Madame President, this study is bigger than the actions of the CIA.

“It’s really about American values and morals. It’s about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, our rule of law.

“These values exist regardless of the circumstances in which we find ourselves. They exist in peacetime and in wartime. And if we cast aside these values when convenient, we have failed to live by the very precepts that make our nation a great one.

“There is a reason why we carry the banner of a great and just nation. So we submit this Study on behalf of the committee, to the public, in the belief that it will stand the test of time. And with it, the report will carry the message “never again.”

“I very much appreciate your attention, and I yield to Senator McCain.”

Posted in USAComments Off on The Role of 9/11 in Justifying Torture and War: The Criminalization of the US State Apparatus. Senate Report on CIA Torture is a Whitewash

Palestine and Europe’s symbolic gestures

Sanctions Russia Israel

Symbolic European gestures of state recognition won’t advance the Palestinian cause

By Alan Hart

At a recent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) conference in Chicago, Israeli peace activist and author Miko Peled said the following: “Palestinians are subjected to the inevitable brutality that comes with occupation and they are subject to racist laws that are designed to discriminate against them, to disenfranchise them, to take away their land and eventually get them to surrender completely or leave or die.” In the light of that reality how should votes in European parliaments to recognise a Palestine state be judged?

Miko’s answer was that they should be seen for what they really are: “cowardly and symbolic acts”.

The real cowards are European leaders and their governments.

I disagree with Miko to the extent that I believe it’s wrong to label (if only by implication) all who voted in favour of recognising a Palestinian state as cowards. Many of them would like the governments of the parliaments of which they are members to set a timetable for an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and siege of the Gaza Strip prison camp with the declared intention to isolate and impose sanctions on the Zionist (not Jewish) state if it did not comply with the withdrawal timetable. My point here is that the real cowards are European leaders and their governments.

In the words of a recent Haaretz editorial, many of the members of European parliaments who voted in favour of recognising a Palestinian state did so in part because they are aware that a growing number of the citizens whose votes they need at election time “have had enough of Israel’s occupation and settlement”.

In that light, and noting that European leaders are not prisoners of the Zionist lobby to anything like the extent President Obama is and loathe Netanyahu and his ever expanding settlement policy every bit as much as he does, the question arising is this.

Is there any reason to believe that the time is coming when European leaders will stop being cowards and summon up the courage to take action to cause (or try to cause) Israel to end its defiance of international law and be serious about peace on terms which would provide the Palestinians with an acceptable amount of justice and security for all?

At the time of writing there is a French initiative underway. Its purpose is, it seems, to get a new Security Council resolution in which the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 would be a key component and which would limit restarted negotiations for peace to two years.

Without a declaration that a rejectionist Israel will be isolated and  have sanctions imposed on it, a new Security Council resolution would be just another cowardly and symbolic act.

According to usually well informed sources, the French have received an assurance from the Obama administration that it will not seek to derail the initiative. And this has led the French to entertain the hope that Obama will not veto a new Security Council resolution no matter how much Israel’s leaders, their lobby and its deluded, so-called Christian fundamentalist allies object to it.

At first glance the developing French initiative seems to offer a small ray of hope for a peace. But… There is no indication of whether or not a new UN Security Council resolution would declare that Israel will be isolated and have sanctions imposed on it at the end of two years of a restarted peace process if it continued its rejectionist position and demonstrated that it’s not interested in peace on any terms the Palestinians could accept.

Without a declaration that a rejectionist Israel will be isolated and  have sanctions imposed on it, a new Security Council resolution would be just another cowardly and symbolic act.

I want to close this post with some suggested reading for President Obama.

It was drawn to my attention by John V. Whitbeck, an American international lawyer who specialises in conflict resolution in general and international law as it relates to the conflict in and over Palestine that became Israel in particular.

It is a quotation from part of President George Washington’s Farewell Address in 1796. In this letter to his people, America’s first president warned of the political dangers that had to be avoided if Americans were to remain true to their values.

Here is the paragraph containing his most prophetic vision.

…a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favourite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest, in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favourite nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained; and by exciting jealousy, ill will and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld: And it gives to ambitious, corrupted or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favourite nation) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliance of ambition corruption or infatuation.

If he could revisit us today I am sure he would say that America’s passionate attachment for Israel has produced the variety of evils he described.

If the time comes when President Obama has to debate with himself about whether or not he should veto a Security Council resolution demanding that Israel ends its defiance of international law with the promise of sanctions if it doesn’t, I think he should read the whole of Washington’s Farewell Address before making his decision.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Palestine and Europe’s symbolic gestures

The colonial underdevelopment of Africa by Europe and the United States

By Estevan Hernández
The colonial underdevelopment of Africa by Europe and the United States

Kwame Nkrumah

This article is based on a talk given at a Nov. 7 Party for Socialism and Liberation forum on Ebola.

The history of colonialism has made it impossible for West African countries to have the infrastructure to properly respond to a health crisis such as Ebola.

Africa before colonialism

How could Africa, with all its abundance of mineral wealth and unsurpassed history of the development of science and mathematics, be left so barren by the invading exploiters?

Africa’s historic contributions to the world are fundamental and extensive, but are barely mentioned in our primary schools as part of the racist propaganda, which supports colonialism.


For example Africa is home to the world’s earliest known use of measurement and calculation. The continent is the birthplace of both basic and advanced mathematics. Thousands of years ago, Africans were using numerals, algebra and geometry in daily life.


Africans excelled in the area of medicine as well. Blacks in Egypt produced the earliest physicians, medical knowledge, and medical literature.

Hippocrates, the Greek physician, is incorrectly considered to be the “father of medicine.” This falsehood persists worldwide in spite of the evidence.

A doctor and journalist recently wrote on the this matter saying:

“I asked five young doctors on our staff who they considered to be the father of medicine. They all named Hippocrates (460-370 B.C.) Later I posed the same question to Bernard White,… [of] non-commercial WBAI radio in New York. He named [the African] Imhotep (2650 B.C), the chief minister and royal physician to Pharaoh Djoser (2686-2613).”

Africa under colonialism

Africa with all of its intellectual and material wealth then became threatened and attacked by the most massively cruel system of exploitation the world had yet to witness, i.e. colonialism.

It was the expedition of Columbus in 1492 that stimulated the global search for colonies and markets. Britain, France, Portugal, Spain, Holland, and Belgium began a frantic competition for colonies.

Colonialism in Africa began with the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, which was at its greatest in West Africa where the Ebola outbreak is also concentrated.


By the eighteenth century, slaves had become Africa’s main export.

Approximately 1.2 – 2.4 million Africans died during their transport to theNew World.[67] This figure does not include deaths of enslaved Africans as a result of their labor, slave revolts, or diseases suffered while living among New World populations.

A database compiled in the late 1990s put the figure for the number of slaves in the transatlantic slave trade at more than 11 million people. For a long time, an accepted figure was 15 million.

Some African elite rulers likely saw an economic benefit from trading slaves. The Kingdom of Benin, for instance, participated in the African slave trade, at will, from 1715 to 1735.[104]HistorianWalter Rodney estimates that by c.1770, the King ofDahomey was earning an estimated £250,000 per year by selling captive Africans to the Europeans. As with colonialism proper there is generally a very small group of natives in the oppressed nation who benefit from the blood of their people.

But the true beneficiaries were the colonists and European elites who grew immensely rich. Thanks to the influx of capital from Africa, the European economies were able to rapidly grow and and eventually transform into capitalism.

Colonialism and slavery were the foundation for the original accumulation of modern capital.  Referring to this Karl Marx famously said, “Capitalism came into existence with blood dripping from its every pore.”

In 1884 the Berlin Conference brought together these capitalist powers. It was premised on the humanitarian efforts to bring about the end of the slave trade, but the conference only enacted coercive resolutions against Africans; no Africans were even represented at the Berlin Conference.

The primary consequence of the Berlin conference was the destruction of self-determination, sovereignty and cohesion of African nations. The outcome of the conference was the division of the African continent by the European powers and the colonial subjugation of the African peoples.

Between 1898 and 1911 all across Africa, millions of peasants were forced off the land as the continent was carved up into rubber, cotton, coffee, cocoa and nut plantations for European monopolies.

It is impossible to briefly explain the enormity of the devastation caused by the system. Many overt forms of military violence were waged to enforce it. In 1907, French naval artillery leveled Casablanca to force Morocco to accept French rule. The life expectancy of Africans dropped drastically. Under Belgian rule, for example the population of the Congo fell from 20 million to 8 million between 1891 and 1911.

The roots of West Africa’s inability to quickly eradicate Ebola

Defining underdevelopment

In economics “underdevelopment”  can be defined as when resources are not used to their fullsocio-economic potential, with the result that development is slower in most cases than it should be. Underdeveloped nations are characterized by a wide disparity between their rich and poor populations, and an unhealthy balance of trade.[1] Symptoms of underdevelopment include lack of access to job opportunities, drinkable water, food, education and housing[2] and health care!

The wealth of these countries instead went to enrich Western nations, leaving nothing for the African masses.

Within the analysis of underdevelopment, “dependency theory” suggests that the wealthy nations of the world need a peripheral group of poorer states in order to remain wealthy.

But who is dependent on whom? Some writers assign dependence onto the African nations because they are dependent on importing goods from the oppressor nations. But I think it would be best to assign dependency to the oppressor, or imperialist countries like Britain, France, and the U.S. because the rich would have nothing if it weren’t for the exploitation of the workers’ production.

If you have ever listened to our radio show Liberation Radio you will hear in the intro the quote “Capitalism needs poverty.” This point is essential.

Walter Rodney

Walter Anthony Rodney was a prominent Guyanese historian, political activist and preeminent scholar, who was assassinated in Guyana in 1980.

In his great book, “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa,” many important reasons for the current crisis in Africa can be found.

Rodney traces the development of trade, colonial development, and imperialism as the source and cause of the extreme poverty that now can be seen in Africa, and which is so starkly seen during the current Ebola calamity. He wrote:

“Throughout the period that Africa has participated in the capitalist economy, two factors have brought about underdevelopment. In the first place, the wealth created by African labor and from African resources… grabbed by the capitalist countries of Europe; and in the second place, restrictions were placed upon African capacity to make the maximum use of its economic potential.

“This,” explains Rodney, “is why Africa has realized so little of its potential and why so much of its present wealth goes outside of the continent.”

This is also why a disastrous epidemic has begun and threatens not only Africa but the world. The solution to the Ebola crisis lies in the ability to have all the necessary equipment and trained staff to treat, isolate and contain the outbreak. Unless measures are taken by the wealthiest countries to provide the resources—supplies, medicine, organization, and health care workers—it will not be possible to bring the crisis under control.

Africa under neo-colonialism

Can I end my talk here?

No, because we have only mentioned the historical roots, and not the current current plunder of Africa.

The systematic international exploitation of Africa did not end with colonialism. Exploitation is very much alive today. But the system has changed; no longer do we have colonialism, but imperialism and neo-colonialism.

In “Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism” Vladimir Lenin explained what is happening in the world today as we enter the 21st Century.

Lenin provided a careful, five-point definition of imperialism which has grown from colonialism: “(1) the concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life; (2) the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this “finance capital”, of a financial oligarchy; (3) the export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance; (4) the formation of international monopolist capitalist associations which share the world among themselves, and (5) the territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed.

At the present time, we can easily recognize in Lenin’s analysis, not only U.S. and European imperialism, but also the World Bank, IMF, WTO and Third World debt. This was described in “Neo-colonialism, the Last Stage of Imperialism” in 1965 by Kwame Nkrumah, the President of Ghana.

Explaining neo-colonialism, he wrote: “Still another neo-colonialist trap on the economic front has come to be known as ‘multilateral aid’ through international organisations: the International Monetary Fund, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (known as the World Bank), the International Finance Corporation and the International Development Association are examples, all, significantly, having U.S. capital as their major backing. These agencies have the habit of forcing would-be borrowers to submit to various offensive conditions, such as supplying information about their economies, submitting their policy and plans to review by the World Bank and accepting agency supervision of their use of loans.”

Neo-colonialism provides enormous profits as did colonialism before it. Nkrumah described how Western monopolies now control the prices of commodities by lowering the prices they pay and extracting enormous profit.

Nkrumah detailed how the U.S. Peace Corps, university professors and programs and the U.S. Information Agency are engaged in the support of neo-colonialism.

This is the situation we have today in the countries hardest hit by Ebola: Guinea, Sierra Leon, and Liberia.

Although financial domination is primarily used today, military threat enforced by the oppressor’s armies is also real.


Washington is already heavily involved militarily in Africa. Several thousand Pentagon troops, CIA operatives and State Department functionaries are on the continent as part of the U.S. Africa Command (or AFRICOM).

AFRICOM is a militarized arm of U.S. imperialism. The mission of AFRICOM is three-fold:

  1. To economically gain unrestrained access to Africa’s natural resources.
  2. To politically subdue African nations with the conditional promises of infrastructure assistance.
  3. To further increase the number of military outposts in Africa to reinforce U.S. military supremacy in the global north and south.

AFRICOM reinforces the rule of finance capital. It encompasses the centralization of corporate control over the production, financing and management of Africa’s natural resources. During the Bush administration U.S. Vice Admiral Robert T. Moeller openly declared at a 2008 AFRICOM conference, that the guiding principle of AFRICOM was to protect “the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market.”

Currently a primary interest of the United States is uranium, which is of strategic importance as documented in the Department of Energy 2010 paper “Critical Mineral Strategy.” The document affirmed the continuance of securing uranium and oil deposits for the sole purpose of retaining a monopoly on mineral distribution.

The Obama administration actively sought to expand U.S. military activities on the African continent. In its 2011 Fiscal Year budget request for security assistance programs for Africa, the administration sought $38 million for the Foreign Military Financing program to pay for U.S. arms sales to African countries.

The administration also sought an additional $21 million for the International Military Education and Training Program to bring African military officers to the United States and $24.4 million for Anti-Terrorism Assistance programs in Africa.

All of these efforts by the Obama administration are consistent with previous American presidential administrations. Regardless if they are Democrats or Republicans they are in support o African puppet governments which will adhere to U.S imperial interests.

Answer is to fight against imperialism

We must be able to see through the propaganda the corporate media is spinning on behalf of U.S. imperialism. As politicians representing the capitalist parties take to the microphone to proclaim “action to stop Ebola,” we should put that in the context that their parties have never truly cared about Africans and are in fact to blame for this mess.

It was revealed on Oct. 23 in The New York Times that a vaccine had been developed years ago that was 100 percent effective in animal testing and ready for clinical trials for humans. At that time, the researchers said that a vaccine to protect people from the Ebola virus could be ready by 2011.

But it never happened and was ignored by big business. The big pharmaceuticals, it is well known, rake in billions in profits every year. These giant corporations were unwilling to spend the funds needed to develop a vaccine for a disease, which at the time had infected “only” several hundred people in West Africa.

Ebola has long been known to be a lethal disease but it is only now being considered a “crisis” because it is starting to become a threat to non-Black African communities.  When it was devastatingly the lives of Africans, the politicians hardly mentioned it.

It is our duty as workers living in the oppressor nation to stand up to all the forms of imperialism. Do you think its ok that 5,000 people have died from this illness? Do you have friends or family members who have suffered from a preventable disease? What if it was us in west Africa right now? Sisters and brothers, we must take every opportunity available to us to counter imperialism. In doing so we have the chance to prevent the misery and suffering of our people.

Neo-colonialism, like colonialism before it, will be defeated. Nkrumah pointed out that it has succeeded thus far by the tactic of “divide and rule” and that it will ultimately be defeated by the unity of the exploited peoples. This requires a clear understanding of the issues involved. An understanding which can be provided by a revolutionary party arm in arm with the masses, which is what the Party for Socialism and Liberation is attempting to build daily through struggle and through meetings like these.

As Nkrumah said, “With the utmost speed, neo-colonialism must be analysed in clear and simple terms for the full mass understanding by the surging organisations of the African peoples… Bolstered with ideological clarity, these organisations, closely linked with the ruling parties where liberatory forces are in power, will prove that neo-colonialism is the symptom of imperialism’s weakness and that it is defeatable. For, when all is said and done, it is the so-called little man, the bent-backed, exploited, malnourished, blood-covered fighter for independence who decides. And he invariably decides for freedom.”

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After 42 years in solitary, Albert Woodfox’s conviction overturned

By John McDevitt

Albert Woodfox (left) wishes he could tell his longtime friend, comrade and fellow Angola 3 member, Herman Wallace (right), of the news of his long overdue impending release.

On Dec. 4, while shackled and chained, needing assistance to turn the pages of the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, revolutionary Albert Woodfox received the news that his sentenced has finally been overturned. His release date has not been set. Woodfox is the only remaining incarcerated member of the Angola 3.

Albert Woodfox, 67, is the longest held prisoner in solitary confinement in
U.S. history—held in an 8×6 cell for 23 hours a day for 42 years.

Judges of the 5th circuit court upheld a lower court’s decision that his 1972 conviction was attained by racially discriminatory means. In 1993, Woodfox’s sentence was overturned after it was shown that the selection of a white foreperson of the jury presented a racist pattern on the part of the state. Woodfox was soon after re-indicted by the racist Louisiana courts for the 1971 murder of a prison guard during a rebellion—a crime that the three revolutionaries did not commit.

The struggle of the Angola 3 has highlighted the torture of solitary confinement used against prisoners in the US. They exemplified the fight against the racist prison industrial complex and mass incarceration that has grown exponentially over the decades they have been locked up in solitary confinement. The conditions and history of Angola Prison could provide no better example as it was built on the grounds of a former slave plantation.

The crime of solitary confinement in the U.S.

The Angola 3 have endured unimaginable torture being confined to a cell for most of their lives without any human contact. As a result, Albert Woodfox developed chronic claustrophobia.

“I feel like I am being smothered, it is very difficult to breathe, and I sweat profusely. It seems like the cell walls close in and are just inches from my face. I try to cope by pacing, or by closing my eyes and rocking myself,” he described in a 2008 document of the anguish of being locked in such a small space day after day to silence him as a member of the Black Panther Party and leader among the inmates at Angola.

The three members of the Angola 3 were sent to prison for armed robbery in 1971. Woodfox escaped from a courtroom and joined the Black Panther Party. Later while incarcerated in Angola State Penitentiary, the three worked to improve conditions for inmates. They organized petitions and hunger strikes to condemn segregation in the prison along with other demands to end violence and systemic rape.

The plight of the Angola 3 became known when former Black Panther, Malik Rahim, of New Orleans discovered the three men were still in prison. The case of the Angola 3 has garnered support from all corners of the globe pointing out the racism and horrendous conditions that prisoners in the U.S. endure, especially those in solitary confinement.

Herman Wallace died after just three days of freedom on Oct. 4, 2013. Robert King Wilkerson was released in 2001 after pleading to conspiracy to commit murder; he was in solitary for 29 years.

Free the Angola 3! Tear down the prison walls! End solitary confinement!

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Obama’s choice: Mass violator of people’s rights

By Partnership for Civil Justice Fund

D.C. police, commanded by Chief  Charles Ramsey, pepper spray anti-globalization protestors, April 2000

The President has placed at the head of his task force on militarized policing Charles Ramsey, an official whose own record is one of overseeing militarized policing, excessive force and mass false arrests, and whose disregard for constitutional rights as Chief of the D.C. MPD was publicly condemned by the Council of the District of Columbia.

“[T]he chief of police of the District of Columbia presents himself as someone who dismisses the importance of safeguarding the Constitutional rights of political activists, fails to recognize the legitimacy of the judicial process, and fails to hold himself accountable for providing information in a legitimate setting.” – D.C. Council Judiciary Committee Report on MPD Policy and Practices in Handling Demonstrations, March 2004

“It is evident that Commissioner Ramsey is unfit for any task force with a mandate to evaluate policing practices in America,” stated Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund. “Unless, of course, that task force is created solely as window dressing to assuage public outrage in the short term with no intention of accomplishing any meaningful change.”

The context for the portion of the report quoted above is as follows:

Constitutional rights litigation brought by the Partnership for Civil Justice uncovered that Chief Ramsey’s police department was engaged in an illegal domestic spying operation, deploying undercover officers, including agents provocateur, on long term assignments posing as political activists, in the absence of any allegation of criminal activity. Ramsey’s police agents infiltrated political organizing meetings, including in people’s homes, participated in political activities, and also encouraged peaceful demonstrators to take unlawful actions.

The mass violations of civil rights under Chief Ramsey’s leadership spurred a major investigation by the D.C. legislature, including on the issue of infiltration of political organizations.

The following is taken from the D.C. Council’s Committee on the Judiciary “Report on Investigation of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Policy and Practice in Handling Demonstrations in the District of Columbia,” published March 11, 2004. As part of its report, the D.C. Council’s Judiciary Committee excerpted portions of Ramsey’s sworn testimony taken in deposition by the PCJF in litigation against the MPD, followed by the Committee’s assessment of the then-Chief of the D.C. MPD. The report as a whole is replete with condemnation of Chief Ramsey’s MPD and its mass violations of constitutional rights.

“In a November 14, 2003, deposition [testimony], Chief Ramsey repeatedly refused to answer a direct and straightforward question about ensuring that undercover officers do not violate civil rights. With apologies for the repetition, the efforts by the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, to secure an answer are included here verbatim:

“Q: What safeguards are put in place to make sure that the Constitutional rights of political activists are not violated by the use of intelligence officers infiltrating their organizing meetings and activities?

“A: We’re only concerned with any unlawful activities that may be taking place or being planned.

“Q: But what safeguards are put into place with regard to the intelligence operations conducted by the MPD that involve assigning officers to infiltrate political meetings or assemblies?

“A: Our officers are interested only in any unlawful activities that might be taking place or being planned by an individual or a group of individuals. Anything beyond that, we aren’t concerned about.

“Q: I’m going to ask you again, however, what safeguards are put into place by the Metropolitan Police Department to ensure that intelligence operations using Metropolitan Police Department officers to infiltrate political organizing activities do not violate the rights of political activists?

“A: Again, we aren’t concerned with the political positions of any group or individual. We are only concerned with unlawful activities that an individual or a group might be engaged in.

“Public officials are responsible for their actions including providing information concerning the performance of their duties when questions are raised within a legitimate fact-finding setting, whether that setting is a D.C. Council hearing or a court proceeding. In the deposition quoted above, Chief Ramsey failed to meet even minimal standards for responding to legitimate questions. The end result: the chief of police of the District of Columbia presents himself as someone who dismisses the importance of safeguarding the Constitutional rights of political activists, fails to recognize the legitimacy of the judicial process, and fails to hold himself accountable for providing information in a legitimate setting.”

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The use and abuse of British Muslims

By Dan Glazebrook
The use and abuse of British Muslims

“The Use and Abuse of British Muslims: The British state continues to facilitate ‘Islamist terrorism’, but is using new legislation to promote racism and crackdown on dissent” was originally posted on RT.

Using the spectre of ‘ISIS terrorism’ as cover, David Cameron is pushing through the latest chapter in the British state’s ongoing crackdown on civil liberties. But he is doing nothing to stop the terrorism he has helped to create.

The British state has been facilitating and promoting terrorism in Syria and Libya for the past four years. Since the beginning of the Syrian insurgency, the British government has been calling for its victory, meeting its leaders (including those openly allied to Al Qaeda), providing it with militaryequipmenttraining its forces, and has even chipped in to a £30 million project to improve its public relations techniques.

Bombarded with lurid, misrepresented, and sometimes simply fabricated, stories about Assad’s brutality – and equally whitewashed accounts of the rebel forces – from the British media, hundreds of British Muslims responded to the propaganda campaign by going to join the valiant ‘freedom fighters’ Cameron had been applauding so loudly. The British intelligence services openly facilitated their passage, as the revelations at the recent trial of Moazzam Begg made abundantly clear.

Moazzam Begg 

When the volunteers arrived, however, they discovered that the real situation in Syria was nothing like the image they had been fed by the BBC, ITN and Al Jazeera. The simple narrative of an oppressed people rising up against a hated dictator was muddied by the sectarian violence common amongst the insurgents, their gratuitous targeting of civilians, and the widespread support for the government still clearly evident amongst huge swathes of the population, including the supposedly oppressed Sunnis who continue to make up the majority of the Syrian army.

Some of those who went to fight became disillusioned –as was perhaps the case with the two brothers jailed last week – whilst others were influenced by – and even developed a taste for – the sectarian brutality they found themselves a part of. Over time, the disillusioned either returned home, or, if they were Syrian themselves, even began to ‘critically support’ the government, seeing it as the ‘lesser of two evils’ leading what had effectively become an existential war of national defence against a Western-backed terror campaign. In the process, the insurgency became increasingly stripped of its liberal veneer, and ever more openly a war of extreme religious chauvinism, targeting entire sections of the population on the basis of sect and race as much as political affiliation.

Of course, there was always the danger of ‘blowback’ for the British state – the danger that those young Britons who had been ‘radicalised’ in Syria (establishment double-speak for brainwashed, traumatised and initiated into a life of violence) would return to practice their new skills back home.

But rather than admit that its campaign of de-stabilization against Syria has been a murderous disaster and reversing it, the British state has launched yet another round of ‘counter-terror’ measures, which implicitly point the finger of blame at the British Muslim community itself – precisely the section of British society who have suffered most from the government’s abuse of their youth as cannon fodder for their proxy war against Syria. Indeed, it is the parents of those youngsters lured into fighting in Syria who have been most angered by the British state’s effective endorsement and facilitation of the misguided activities of their children.

No one should be fooled into thinking that either the new ‘counter-terror’ bill or the recent prosecution of two Britons returning from Syria actually represents a change of heart. It is worth noting that, far from discouraging terrorism, both the legislation and the court case create an incentive for British Muslims in Syria to stay there and keep fighting. When Moazzam Begg – who had admitted to making frequent trips to Syria in order to help the insurgency – was put on trial, MI5 eventually came to his defence and admitted they had given him the green light for everything he was doing, ensuring the collapse of the prosecution case. No intelligence agencies sprang to the defense of the two brothers last week, however, and both were given sentences of several years. Yet the judge had admitted that not only was there no evidence of their planning terrorism in the UK, but also that there was no evidence they had even been involved in the fighting in Syria. Was this, perhaps, what they were really being punished for – for refusing to co-operate with MI5 and fight in Britain’s proxy war?

Is this why no one in MI5 spoke up for them? Either way, the message being sent to Britons in Syria is clear – stay and fight, because if you dare to come back you will be punished; a message clearly backed up by the new bill’s proposals to give the government the power to ban its citizens from returning home at all. Those British Muslims in Syria and Iraq who might have might have come to their senses and realised that they were conned by the Cameron/ Hague/ Al Jazeera/ BBC ‘freedom fighter’ narrative, are now effectively being told by the British state that desertion is a crime and they must stay and finish the job. The Begg case shows that the only way to guarantee their immunity from prosecution is with MI5 protection, and the only way to attain that, it seems, is by being able to demonstrate some real service to the destabilisation campaign. Try to return without even have fired a shot, and the fate of the London brothers awaits you.It is in this light – of the British state’s use of Muslims to act as proxy soldiers for their campaigns of des-tabilisation against independent third world states such as Libya and Syria – that we should view the ‘anti-terror’ legislation. The strategy of recruiting British Muslims as foot soldiers for Britain’s wars is obviously fraught with danger. Unlike sending in ground forces as an occupying army, there is no direct chain of command from the British state, there is the danger that they will turn against their handlers, and so on. Therefore by granting new powers of house arrest, seizing passports, banning return home etc, this gives the intelligence services a very real additional power in terms of controlling and manipulating the fighters involved. Refusal to co-operate can get you put under house arrest, or ensure that your passport is removed. But co-operation can be rewarded with MI5 protection. And all of it can be presented to the public as the precise opposite – as the intelligence services diligently working to crack down on terrorism.

Of course, none of this means that the threat of terrorism within Britain is not real. But this week’s trial of a far-right British soldier for possession of a nail bomb suggests it does not emanate solely from the Muslim community. Indeed, the largest ever haul of explosives in Britain – along with a rocket launcher – was discovered by police in the house of a BNP member in 2006, and according to Europol data, only 0.4% of terrorist attacks between 2006 and 2008 were carried out by Islamists.

Likewise there has yet to be a single prosecution of anyone returning from Syria planning attacks on British soil. Yet the presentation of the threat in the media always associates terrorism with Islam. This serves a double purpose – not only does it serve to scapegoat a vulnerable and under-represented community for Britain’s promotion of terrorism abroad, but it also deludes the white, non-Islamic, majority into thinking that anti-terror laws are not also aimed at them. We have already seen how existing ‘counter-terror’ legislation has been used to crack down on protest and other misdemeanors  totally unrelated to terrorism – from the arrest of 82 year old Water Wolfgang following his violent eviction from the Labour party conference, to councils spying on people’s dustbin habits.

The reality is that once the police, the Home Secretary, and other state agencies are given ‘anti-terror’ powers, they will use them as part of their everyday toolkit. And there is a good reason for them to beef up this toolkit against dissent right now – the imminent prospect of another financial crash.

David Cameron himself is but the latest establishment figure to admit that another crash is very likely on the way; others have gone further, with Martin Wolf of the Financial Times arguing that it is inevitable. When it occurs, it will massively deepen the existing economic crisis, and lead to unprecedented job, benefit and wage cuts, dwarfing even the already unprecedented cuts of the past few years. The social unrest, dissent and revolt this will produce will be huge, and the ongoing waves of ‘counter-terror’ legislation will ensure that the state has the legislative framework already in place to launch massive crackdowns without the need for legal niceties of evidence, courts, trials etc.

The current bill’s proposal to lower the burden of proof for imposing house arrest (now known as Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures) from ‘reasonable belief’ to ‘balance of probabilities’ is a particularly contemptuous snub to the entire basis of the British legal system. But it is not one without precedent, following on from other measures over the past fourteen years which have extended detention without charge, banned ‘unauthorised’ protests outside parliament, and allowed the government to strip dual nationals of citizenship, amongst many others.

Once again, the spectre of ‘Islamist terrorism’ has provided the popular acquiescence necessary to push these measures through. The media’s complicity has been absolute. The proposal to allow the mass government snooping of internet data – already standard practice, albeit currently illegal – was justified largely by a well-timed ‘revelation’ that one of Lee Rigby’s killers, Michael Adebalajo, used facebook to communicate his intentions to a colleague. This titbit, revealed in a report by parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, was front page, top of the hour, news across pretty much all British-based channels and newspapers.

What was almost universally ignored from the same Committee report, however – or at least relegated to the inside pages – was the revelation that MI5 had been in frequent contact with Adebelajo for over ten years, and in particular during the run up to Rigby’s murder, during which time they had been attempting to recruit him to work for the organisation. Indeed, according to his friends and family, it was precisely this MI5 pressure and harassment which largely motivated his fatal attack on Rigby. In other words, whilst the media were pushing the line that facebook were responsible for the killing – implying that it could have been prevented if only state agencies were given greater powers of surveillance – they were sitting on a story which suggested the exact opposite – that Rigby’s murder was carried out by a man driven to it by the British state in its desperate attempt to extend its collaboration with ‘Islamist terrorism’.

By presenting the matter in the way they did, the media helps to ensure that the majority white, non-Muslim, British public are lulled into the idea that the tearing up of civil liberties is something that will only affect Muslims – so therefore the rest of us have nothing to worry about.

The British state is promoting and tapping into a latent Islamophobia in order to tear up the civil liberties of the entire population – even whilst it continues to rely on ‘Islamist terrorism’ to fight its proxy wars against independent third world states abroad. This is cynicism at its purest.

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When Police and Journalists Become “Media Partners”



Global Research

Close to three weeks have passed since the mass shooting incident at Florida State University where three individuals were injured and Attorney Myron May perished in a hail of police gunfire.

Major news media consider the FSU shooting more or less a closed case. After all, journalists appear to have been spoon-fed a story that includes its own sort of “The End” moment. A madman with a gun showed up in a public place. Terrified witnesses were interviewed and their fearful testimony publicized. The shooter’s bizarre online statements were duly noted. Then, official pleas for “unity,” “strength,” and “healing” were unquestioningly parroted, and less than two days later the entire affair was capped off with a photo op candlelight vigil.

With the notion of a full scale, coordinated media production in mind, it should be unsurprising that law enforcement and news media now consider themselves to be “partners” in such a tragedy’s public presentation. A November 21 press statement from Tallahassee Police Public Affairs Officer David Northway to select news media reads:

As the investigation into the tragedy at FSU continues, the Tallahassee Police Department is releasing the original report written on the night of the event. This report is short in nature as it was written to be a “starting point” as the crime scene was very large and the multiple officers on scene that evening had many duties, including identifying victims, evacuating the students and maintaining scene security …

TPD would like to thank our media partners for their patience with the incident, in particular releasing the identity of the victims. This has allowed TPD to conduct interviews with some of them and begin to piece the facts of the case together.

Why would police refer to journalists as “media partners” in the affair? One of the first things a fledgling journalist learns in J-school is to take a skeptical and discerning stance in her/his reportage on public affairs and personages. Here Tallahassee police go so far as to suggest that the very publicity generated around the victims facilitated their interrogation.

The “media partners” remark is emblematic of the now common amalgamation of reporter and publicity hack. In the context of the similarly routine “active shooter” exercises committed in the presence of unwitting bystanders, it curiously echoes a 2008 plan for carrying out a Boston Marathon-related mass casualty drill, where officials emphasized [w]orking with the media … Building a longstanding relationship with journalists and reporters,” the blueprint reads, “ensures that they get the right story and that they serve as a resource when needed.[1]

Police Records Remain Withheld

Citing an “ongoing investigation” (Section 119.071(2)(c), Florida Statute) FSU and Tallahassee police departments immediately involved in the incident have yet to release any substantive documentation addressing what actually took place in the early morning hours of November 21, 2014 in front of FSU’s campus library.

Excepting press conferences and severely redacted police reports (here and here) virtually no forensic information has been made available to news media and the broader public on the incident. Such records would include closed-circuit video footage of the incident, photographs of evidence and crime scene, detailed officer and eyewitness accounts, and forensic details of May’s fatal injuries.

In a pro forma maneuver, the “active criminal investigative and intelligence exemption” of Florida’s public records law is being invoked by Tallahassee and FSU police as an inquiry by Leon County’s Attorney ensues over whether Tallahassee and FSU officers used inordinate force against May in responding to the incident.

“Traditionally, the State Attorney in this circuit has taken all officer-involved shootings to the Grand Jury,” Tallahassee Assistant City Attorney Richard Courtemanche remarked in response to a public records request, concluding that the Grand Jury will likely hear the case by December 17, at which time the records will be made public.

Although FSU police comprised the overall majority of officers responding to the event and present when May was fatally shot, the university was ambiguous concerning whether such records would be forthcoming. On December 8 FSU counsel recommended that MHB’s public records request be refiled “at a later date, at which time records may be available.”

Public Titillated, Ill-Informed

Law enforcement’s “media partners” exhibited a feeding frenzy in the hours and days following the FSU shooting, taking advantage of most every reportorial technique to sensationalize the tragedy. In keeping with the “mentally ill gunman” news frame, they have failed to seriously ponder whether inordinate force was deployed in dealing with a clearly distressed figure, not to mention the party’s repeated claims to be a target of electronic surveillance and harassment–well documented technologies and methods for compromising individuals.

In the unusual rash of mass shooting incidents over the past few years, the most prominent occurring in Tucson, Aurora, and Newtown, official investigations have been glaringly slipshod and opaque, leaving an array of unanswered questions and missing information.

In the Isla Vista and Las Vegas shootings in early 2014, for example, dubious crime scene investigations were conducted while police reports and related documentation still remains under wraps. As one mass shooting follows on the heels of another, the public is poorly served by a news media far more concerned with fleeting titillation than genuinely delving into what really happened in each instance.


[1] James F. Tracy, Obama’s FEMA Director Planned Boston Mass Casualty Event in 2008,”, May 21, 2013. Since the mid-2000s FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System and Digital Emergency Alert System, working in coordination with broadcast and social media, constitute an apparatus that can effectively control important elements of the broader publics perceptions and sentiment. FEMAs Integrated Capstone Event (ICE) is a comprehensive exercise involving a multi-disciplined response of federal, state, and local emergency responders reacting in unison to a common mass casualty event. According to FEMA, Each scenario focuses on the foundations of CDP trainingincident management, mass casualty response, and emergency response to a catastrophic natural disaster or terrorist act. Shannon Arledge, Integrated Capstone Event Merges Four Mass Casualty Response Courses,, last updated May 28, 2013. See also Tracy, Mass Traumatization and the Body Politic,”, July 2, 2013.

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Proposed Australian citizenship bill guarantees isolation


Immigration minister Scott Morrison

By: Antony Loewenstein

My weekly Guardian 

The legislation on asylum seekers that immigration minister Scott Morrison pushed through the Senate last week, granting him even wider powers, is not the only area in which he is seeking to extend and concentrate his influence over the lives of vulnerable people.

The Australian Citizenship and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 is yet another attempt by Morrison to give himself and his department massive, largely unchecked power to control individuals’ futures. Most of the affected aren’t asylum seekers but may include citizens undergoing drug rehabilitation or suffering from a mental illness. They face being potentially blocked or losing Australian citizenship. The bill outlines the various ways in which the minister can deny, block or rescind citizenship for any individual, former asylum seeker or not, who he believes obtained this privilege dishonestly.

The bill aims to change the definition of Australian citizenship. The minister already has the power to sever visas but this goes further to potentially affect thousands of Australian citizens who are living productive lives today. Morrison’s moves against asylum seekers aim to drop the established norms of natural justice. The citizenship bill continues this appalling trend where the minister and his department are deemed more knowledgable than independent oversight. It’s a change that must be rejected though the public response has so far been almost non-existent.

The bill aims to grant the minister powers to determine an individual’s “good character”. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection explains in its submission to a Senate committee why the government believes the law should change: “As an elected member of parliament and minister of the Crown, the minister has the privilege of representing the Australian community and has gained a particular insight into the community standards and values.”

These “values” may be news to the thousands of asylum seekers languishing in horrific conditions on Nauru and Manus Island, forced to suffer months and years of detention for the “crime” of legally arriving by boat.

Another section of the submission demands “setting aside” decisions of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) “concerning character and identity if it would be in the public interest to do so.” The idea that a minister, Morrison or somebody else from any political party, is better placed to decide on character is an absurd proposition that denies recent history of a mostly successful process. The AAT isn’t a perfect body, but for the immigration department to state that its position is null and void shows contempt for any independent review. This obsession with centralising power guarantees secrecy and grave errors.

Despite the government claiming that it would only ignore the AAT in cases where decisions fall outside community expectations and standards, the Law Council of Australia opposes the proposal, saying it “undermines the independent review process which is provided by the AAT.”

The Law Council’s submission is concise and powerful. It praises the AAT as “generally designed to promote good decision-making and provide individuals affected by adverse decisions with a relatively straight-forward, inexpensive mechanism by which to seek review.” This echoes Morrison’s aim to restrict the ability of individuals to challenge rejection by his department.

The Law Council also condemns the proposal that the department could make decisions on citizenship “in the public interest.” It argues that such a term “should be defined and limited to decisions affecting the Australian economy, affecting Australia’s relations with other countries, concerning national security or concerning major political controversies.”

Another disturbing section of the bill revolves around granting the minister the right to determine “fraud” or “misrepresentation” of an Australian citizen, including children, and then potentially revoking that person’s papers. Crucially, as the Law Council details, “this is regardless of whether the person was convicted of an offence in relation to the fraud or misrepresentation.” Australia would be a country where a minister determines guilt “outside of any criminal proceedings.” The presumption of innocence is trashed in this bill.

Melbourne-based Carina Ford, an accredited immigration law specialist who works in this area, says that the bill revolves around a belief that, “the executive thinks that they’re in a better position to make decisions than tribunals.”

“I have concerns with a minister having the power to overrule AAT tribunal decisions. Australia has a system of separation of powers and it’s problematic when a minister can overrule it. This government has been doing that in terms of citizenship and character. We should have faith in our tribunals, they are able to make the right decisions.”

Ford argues that the Abbott government’s platform of securing Australia’s borders partly explain this bill. She worries that unjust decisions are assured. These are “draconian powers if somebody has provided a fraudulent document. It will be very difficult to get citizenship, even if it may have been 10-15 years ago for a person who has been paying tax and living safely here. A decision made when you’re 18 may come and bite you when you’re 28.”

Morrison’s thirst for power follows a global trend. In Britain the current issues of immigration and citizenship are inexorably tied to the rise of Ukip and prime minister David Cameron’s quest to toughen his country’s stance against European citizens. Across Europe the rhetoric against immigrants is growing, fuelling public insecurity about jobs and the economy. The Cameron government has made obtaining citizenship much harder.

In America, the power of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement is staggering, affecting the options of millions of current and future citizens. Scapegoating for simply being immigrants is routine and lacks any serious accountability mechanism.

Morrison’s push to grant himself even larger influence should be resisted for the simple reason that his department proudly avoids scrutiny. The Abbott government, so fond of excluding critics in its Team Australia campaign, should not be trusted to decide the “good character” of vulnerable citizens.

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