CIA Used Gun, Drill in Interrogation
IG Report Describes Tactics Against Alleged Cole Mastermind
By Joby Warrick and R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, August 22, 2009
CIA interrogators used a handgun and an electric drill to try to frighten a captured al-Qaeda commander into giving up information, according to a long-concealed agency report due to be made public next week, former and current U.S. officials who have read the document said Friday.
The tactics — which one official described Friday as a threatened execution — were used on Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, according to the CIA’s inspector general’s report on the agency’s interrogation program. Nashiri, who was captured in November 2002 and held for four years in one of the CIA’s “black site” prisons, ultimately became one of three al-Qaeda chieftains subjected to a form of simulated drowning known as waterboarding.
At home with the Lockerbie bomber
From Times Online
August 21, 2009
Martin Fletcher in Tripoli
Is he the evil perpetrator of the deadliest terrorist attack in British history, or a sick old man, a loving father and grandfather, who has suffered a terrible miscarriage of justice? Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi put on a virtuoso performance when The Times came calling yesterday.
His house, in the Dimachk area of Tripoli, was not hard to find. Policemen stood guard outside. The road was lined with the BMWs of smartly dressed friends and relatives who had come to pay their respects. The high outer walls were festooned with fairy lights and with pictures of the Lockerbie bomber as he looked when he left Libya more than a decade ago. In the garden stood a marquee where he had evidently been welcomed home the previous night.
We sent in our business cards and waited, more in hope than expectation.
Lebanese man is target of first rendition under Obama
Contractor Raymond Azar is arrested in Afghanistan, hooded, stripped and flown to the U.S. His alleged crime? Bribery. A human rights activist calls the case ‘bizarre.’
By Bob Drogin
August 22, 2009
Reporting from Alexandria, Va. – A Lebanese citizen being held in a detention center here was hooded, stripped naked for photographs and bundled onto an executive jet by FBI agents in Afghanistan in April, making him the first known target of a rendition during the Obama administration.
Unlike terrorism suspects who were secretly snatched by the CIA and harshly interrogated and imprisoned overseas during the George W. Bush administration, Raymond Azar was flown to this Washington suburb for a case involving inflated invoices.
Azar, 45, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to commit bribery, the only charge against him.
It’s been hard to tell, but health plan does have supporters
By Margaret Talev | McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON – As President Barack Obama tries to regain control over the health care debate, one challenge is holding together the massive roster of organizations that support an overhaul of the system, or at least some parts of it.
While the half-dozen or so major groups that actively oppose Obama’s efforts share common themes of free-market, anti-tax advocacy, the hundreds of groups that put their money and names behind the overhaul effort are harder to label. Some have been at odds in the past and could turn on one another as congressional negotiators try to hammer out legislation this autumn.
Ahmadinejad chooses wanted man for cabinet
Iran’s new defence minister sought by Interpol for 1994 bombing of Jewish centre
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 22 August 2009 00.21 BST
A former commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards has been nominated by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s president, to head the country’s defence ministry, despite being listed on Interpol’s wanted register for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural centre in Argentina.
Argentinian prosecutors joined Jewish groups last night in condemnation of Ahmadinejad’s decision to propose Ahmad Vahidi for the senior cabinet post.
Vahidi has been on an Interpol “red notice” since November 2007, in connection with the car bomb attack on the Israeli-Argentine Mutual Association (AMIA) building in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and injured 150 – the worst attack on a Jewish target outside Israel since the second world war.
Iranian boy who defied Tehran hardliners tells of prison rape ordeal
From The Times
August 22, 2009
The 15-year-old boy sits weeping in a safehouse in central Iran, broken in body and spirit. Reza will not go outside – he is terrified of being left alone. He says he wants to end his life and it is not hard to understand why: for daring to wear the green wristband of Iran’s opposition he was locked up for 20 days, beaten, raped repeatedly and subjected to the Abu Ghraib-style sexual humiliations and abuse for which the Iranian regime denounced the United States.
“My life is over. I don’t think I can ever recover,” he said, as he recounted his experiences to The Times – on condition that his identity not be revealed. A doctor who is treating him, at great risk to herself, confirmed that he is suicidal, and bears the appalling injuries consistent with his story. The family is desperate, and is exploring ways of fleeing Iran.
Russia declassifies secret documents on Nazi-Soviet pact
Tom Parfitt in Moscow
guardian.co.uk, Friday 21 August 2009 20.05 BST
Russia has declassified top-secret surveillance documents in an attempt to justify its occupation of Eastern Europe under the Nazi-Soviet pact, signed 70 years ago on Sunday.
The hidden protocols of the pact, in which Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler agreed to carve up Poland and other sovereign states, were denounced by the Soviet parliament in 1989, shortly after they were revealed for the first time.
But the pact, which lasted until Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, is now being rehabilitated to chime with Kremlin ideology that claims a Russian sphere of interest in the “near abroad” former Soviet republics.
Volunteers forced to launch private mission to recover RAF crew’s bodies
British volunteers have launched a privately-funded mission to recover the remains of eight RAF crew killed in Malaya in 1945, after the Government refused to help
By Julian Ryall
Published: 8:00AM BST 22 Aug 2009
Sunday is the 64th anniversary of the crash that killed the crew of the 356 Squadron Liberator KL654 while on a resupply sortie over Negeri Sembilan in central Malaya.
Japan had announced its surrender only eight days earlier and part of the crew’s mission was to search for prisoners of war still held in camps in the jungle.
The site of the crash was first discovered in the 1950s and reported to the authorities, but no action was taken. Another appeal was made in 1970, but there was again indifference among British authorities. In 2006, a team of Malaysian aviation archaeologists found the plane and a preliminary excavation the following year recovered two rings, a pocket knife, belt buckles, watch straps and bone fragments.
‘If you’re going to cane me, then do it in public’
Model’s stand after conviction for drinking alcohol exposes brutality of Malaysian law
By Andrew Buncombe, Asia editor
Saturday, 22 August 2009
She says it was only the second time she had drunk alcohol in her life, and even then it was just a few of glasses of beer. But it was enough for a Muslim court in Malaysia to order Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, a part-time model and mother-of-two, to be caned. The corporal punishment case has divided the Asian nation and led human rights campaigners to urge the authorities to show restraint.
Now, in her first interview, Ms Kartika has urged the authorities to carry out the punishment in public. “I never cried when I was sentenced by the judge,” she told Reuters at her father’s house in a village 200 miles north of Kuala Lumpur. “I told myself, all right then, let’s get on with it.”
Nobel laureate’s death sparks a diplomatic breakthrough
North Korean delegation lays wreath and burns incense at a tribute to rival state’s former leader
By Peter Popham
Saturday, 22 August 2009
They shook hands with the sons of South Korea’s late peacemaker president, bowed their heads at the portrait of the deceased, burnt incense at the mourning altar and finally left a wreath, emblazoned with the name of their boss, Kim Jong-il.
This was North Korea’s first dispatch of envoys to Seoul in nearly two years, reviving hopes that the reclusive communist state might be ready to resume negotiations, nearly three months after a nuclear test that shocked the world.
The man they were saluting was the late South Korean president Kim Dae-jung, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his long, stubborn and eventually successful efforts to start rapprochement with the North.
Row over South African athlete highlights ambiguities of gender
Some have raised doubts whether Caster Semenya is a woman. But a scientist says physical features do not always match DNA or hormones. A variety of genetic and hormonal anomalies can lead to ambiguity.
By Thomas H. Maugh II
August 21, 2009
In sporting events, officials who watch athletes produce a urine specimen usually can see immediately whether their genitals match their proclaimed sex. But that analysis can leave room for doubt, as with South African runner Caster Semenya.
The problem, said Dr. Joe Leigh Simpson, a pediatric geneticist at Florida International University, is that genetic or hormonal abnormalities can affect any organ system “and the gonads and external genitalia are not exempt from that.” When such anomalies do occur, “it can produce confusion” because hormone levels and other aspects of physiology may not match appearance.
Mexico goes after mother of cartel leader
The government arrested the mother and brother of La Familia cartel leader this week. Is that an effective strategy – or will it backfire?
By Sara Miller Llana | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the August 21, 2009 edition
MEXICO CITY – The reputed head of the La Familia cartel, an increasingly notorious drug trafficking organization in Mexico, did not mince words in his threat: “If anybody attacks my father, my mother, my brothers, they’re going to have to deal with me,” Servando Gomez warned the government on local television last month.
But instead of backing down, the administration of Mexican President Felipe Calderón, who has deployed 45,000 troops throughout Mexico to clamp down on traffickers, responded this week by detaining not just Mr. Gomez’s brother, but his mother too.
It is another signal that President Calderón will not succumb to intimidation by well-armed and even-better-financed organized crime outlets. But it also raises the issue of guilt by association, and has some here concerned that targeting families could backfire. Gomez’s mother, for example, was released Wednesday, two days after her arrest, for “lack of evidence.”