March 23, 2009 archive

CIA Has 3,000 Documents On Torture Tapes

Crossposted from Antemedius

By Jason Leopold

t r u t h o u t | Report

Monday 23 March 2009

   The CIA has about 3,000 documents related to the 92 destroyed videotapes that showed “war on terror” detainees being subjected to harsh interrogations, the Justice Department has disclosed, suggesting an extensive back-and-forth between CIA field operatives and officials of the Bush administration.

   The Justice Department said the documents include “cables, memoranda, notes and e-mails” related to the destroyed CIA videotapes. Those tapes included 12 that showed two “high-value” prisoners undergoing the drowning sensation caused by waterboarding and other brutal techniques that have been widely denounced as torture.

   The number of documents – but not their contents – was mentioned on Friday in a Justice Department letter from Lev Dassin, acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York, to US District Court Judge Alvin Hellerstein in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

   Dassin told Judge Hellerstein that unredacted versions of the materials would be available for only him to review “in-camera” on March 26. The CIA also refused to provide the ACLU with a list of individuals who watched the videotapes prior to their destruction because that information “is either classified or otherwise protected by statute.”

   The number of relevant documents – “roughly 3,000,” according to the letter – adds weight to the belief that CIA interrogators were in frequent communication with headquarters at Langley, Virginia, and with senior Bush administration officials who were monitoring the harsh techniques used and approving them one by one or even in combination.

   The volume of communications also lends support to the suspicion that many officials were involved in the debate about what to do with the incriminating videotapes, not just one or two CIA officers acting on their own. CIA officials have said the videotapes were destroyed to prevent disclosure of how the agency’s interrogators subjected “war on terror” detainees to waterboarding and other brutal methods.

Four at Four

  1. The Washington Post reports U.S. role alleged in the detention and torture of an American Muslim in UAE.

    One day last July, Naji Hamdan was summoned to the U.S. Embassy in the United Arab Emirates. He drove two hours through the desert heat from Dubai to answer questions from FBI agents who had arrived from Los Angeles, where Hamdan had gone to school, started a family, built a successful auto-parts business and become a U.S. citizen.

    At his apartment six weeks later, he was awakened from a nap by men who bundled him into a black Chevrolet Suburban with tinted windows. Hamdan was told he was a prisoner of the UAE and was held in a cell painted glossy white to reflect the lights that burned round the clock, according to a note he wrote from prison. Between interrogations, he wrote, he was confined in a frigid room overnight, strapped into “an electric chair” and punched in the head until he lost consciousness.

    In one session, the blindfolded prisoner recalled hearing a voice that sounded American. The voice said, “Do what they want or these people will [expletive] you up,” Hamdan wrote.

    The prisoner obliged, signing a confession that he later said meant only that he would do anything to make the pain stop. The case might have ended there but for Hamdan’s U.S. citizenship and his American attorney’s assertion that he was tortured “at the behest” of his own government.

    According to Newsweek, the Declassified Bush-Era torture memos is coming soon. “Over objections from the U.S. intelligence community, the White House is moving to declassify-and publicly release-three internal memos that will lay out, for the first time, details of the ‘enhanced’ interrogation techniques approved by the Bush administration for use against ‘high value’ Qaeda detainees. The memos, written by Justice Department lawyers in May 2005, provide the legal rationale for waterboarding, head slapping and other rough tactics used by the CIA. One senior Obama official, who like others interviewed for this story requested anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity, said the memos were ‘ugly’ and could embarrass the CIA.”

Four at Four continues with Obama and Afghanistan, another bombing in Iraq, and more proof the Wall Street bailout only helps the rich.

Top Comments: A selection worth reading……. With updates

From the Daily Kos thread, here are a few comments that struck me.

I am going to keep adding more, rolling updates, I believe ek calls it. Especially ones that contain some form of solution. A good record I think.

General Smedley Butler (US Marines) said it best:

Sick of serving the ruling class, he retired in 1931 at the ripe age of 50, and summarized his service as follows;

   “I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purifly Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-12. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras “right” for American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested… . Looking back on it, I feel I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three city districts. We Marines operated on three continents.”


Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!

by bigtimecynic

BREAKING!!! The.Sky.Is.Falling.


Congressional Republicans on Sunday predicted a doomsday scenario of crushing debt and eventual federal bankruptcy if President Barack Obama’s massive spending blueprint wins passage.

Let’s see the “doomsday scenario,” which Republicans fear in a few years, is crushing debt and federal bankruptcy.

Hmm… …Wait a sec… …Oh.My.God… Doomsday is here already!!!

Weekly Torture Action 3 – “Criminalizing Policy” Letter

Welcome the third week of the Dog’s letter writing campaign about torture. This is a small effort to keep the decision makers of our nation aware that we as a people will not and can not simple draw a line under the State Sanctioned Torture policy of the criminal Bush administration. The basic premise of this series is that the Dog will write a letter every Monday to the President, the Attorney General, and the Justices of the US Supreme Court, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid, reminding them of one or another point about the State Sanctioned Torture policy of the last Administration. Those that wish to join the Dog in this endeavor are more than welcome to cut and paste the entire thing or write their own on the topic of the week.  

Internet Attack

Nothing says elite establishment American more than the name Rockefeller.  Here he is trying to sell you something that only ensures his kind stays atop the food chain.…

Cyber threat in this case means you.  The threat of Americans learning and discovering and embracing the truth just might end their control over us.

Docudharma Times Sunday March 22

GOP Lawmakers:

Hate The Stimulus In Washington

Love It In Their Districts



Monday’s Headlines:

Mournful calm follows Oakland firestorm

Sri Lankans face humanitarian crisis trapped in ‘no fire zone’, warns UN

Terror forces India to abandon plans to host cricket contest

French plan to break taboo on ethnic data causes uproar

Spain’s defence minister shot down over Nato gaffe

Nobel outrage at South Africa’s decision to ban the Dalai Lama

Hutu rebels in Congo strike back against joint offensive

Turkish president visits Baghdad

UN to criticise Israel over Gaza

U.S. Rounding Up Investors to Buy Bad Assets

This article is by Andrew Ross Sorkin, Eric Dash and Rachel L. Swarns.


Published: March 22, 2009

WASHINGTON – Obama administration officials worked Sunday to persuade reluctant private investors to buy as much as $1 trillion in troubled mortgages and related assets from banks, with government help.

The talks came a day before the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, planned to unveil the details of the administration’s long-awaited plan to purchase troubled assets, meant to remove them from the balance sheets of banks and, in turn, spur banks to lend more money to consumers and companies.

The plan relies on private investors to team up with the government to relieve banks of assets tied to loans and mortgage-linked securities of unknown value. There have been virtually no buyers of these assets because of their uncertain risk.

As part of the program, the government plans to offer subsidies, in the form of low-interest loans, to coax private funds to form partnerships with the government to buy troubled assets from banks.

Tibetan monks arrested over police station attack

Tania Branigan in Beijing

The Guardian, Monday 23 March 2009

Almost 100 monks are being held in detention after hundreds of people attacked a police station and government officials in a Tibetan area of north-western China, state media reported.

The unrest broke out in Qinghai province on Saturday when a Buddhist lama vanished after escaping police custody. He was under investigation “on suspicion of Tibetan independence activities”.

The official news agency, Xinhua, said monks from the local monastery attacked the police station in Ragya, a township in the Tibetan prefecture of Golog. Some officials were slightly injured. It added that six people were arrested for involvement in the attack, while 89 others surrendered. All but two were monks.


As Cuts Loom, Will Working From Home Lead to a Layoff?

Recession Pushes Some to Eschew Flexible Job Policies

By Annys Shin

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, March 23, 2009; Page A01

With the recession forcing businesses to cut back on workers, employees are increasingly doing all they can to hang onto their jobs and are forgoing many of the benefits that once allowed them to balance the demands of work and family life.

In good times, workers frequently seized the opportunity to use “flex time” and family leave, to telecommute and to take paid sick days. But, according to workplace consultants, human resources specialists and employees themselves, those days are slipping away. More workers are giving up those arrangements, or resisting asking about them in the first place, out of fears that doing so will make them appear less committed to their work and therefore more expendable.

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Dream Catcher #9



of space and time


out of the emptiness

endlessly wound

on a bobbin


from an uncarved block

The tatting

knitting and knotting


the hopes and dreams

in the reality

of the fabric

of the tapestry

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–March 22, 2009

Monday Morning Business Update

And Late Breaking News

“Political Will”

“Political Will”, when uttered by a Villager, means the ability to ignore the opinion of the American people.

The Iron Triangle of Institutional Washington, the lawyers and lobbyists and media mouthpieces are hoping Obama has the “political will” to stand up to us, to the face of our anger at the elites.

Their vanity doesn’t quite grasp the nature of their epic failure to deceive.

The preposterous Randian “entitlement” of these Massive Failure Masters is exposed.  Cadillac Wall Street Welfare Queens they know nothing.

I expect the market to rise tomorrow on the expectation that another Bailout is in the offing.

On the other hand at least the House has blinked, though they may count it a free vote; and I don’t think anyone on “Main St.” or the rest of the 95% of us is going to be fooled by the smoke and mirrors.

To say Obama’s presidency hangs by a thread is an understatement.  The housing market has another 20% to drop to historic average.  Anyone who thinks that the economy is going to turn around by June (I’m looking at you Cramer) is a cockeyed optimist.

We have to stop paying off Credit Default Swaps that are not asset backed.  Sorry if you bet on black time to rake the chips in.

The market rate for toxic assets is 30% but banks don’t want to let them go for less than 60%.  Geithner wants to form a partnership with private capital where they put up less than 10% of the money and get 80% of the profits (if any).

Of course if there aren’t any profits (20% drop in housing prices to historic average) we guarantee the entire loss.

What a pathetic sucker bet.

And it’s not like they’re going to buy all asset backed crap either.  This stuff includes all those worthless chips on black.

This is going to be a tough sell.  I don’t think they have the “political will” to do it.

Late Night Karaoke

Replacement Killers

Late Night Karaoke

Down There  

All Ur Poneys Are Belong to Us!

Oh hai, mai name iz Cookie.

I haz successfully led a Revolushun at da blog affeckshunitly known as “Da grate Orange Satan.” Us pooties haz proven we can take over da Rec List at will.  

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