Supreme Court Tortures the Constitution Again

The Supreme Court ruled in March that Americans have no right to learn the grisly details of CIA torture because the CIA has never formally confessed its crimes. The case symbolizes how the rule of law has become little more than legal mumbo-jumbo to shroud official crimes. And it is another grim reminder that Americans cannot rely on politically approved lawyers wearing bat suits to save their freedoms.

In 2002, the CIA captured Abu Zubaydah, a Palestinian radical, in Pakistan and falsely believed he was a kingpin with al Qaeda. The CIA tortured him for years in Thailand and Poland. As Justice Neal Gorsuch noted, the CIA “waterboarded Zubaydah at least 80 times, simulated live burials in coffins for hundreds of hours,” and brutalized him to keep him awake for six days in a row. The CIA has admitted some of the details of the torture, and Zubaydah’s name was mentioned more than a thousand times in a 683-page Senate report released in 2014 on the CIA torture regime. But the Supreme Court permitted the CIA to pretend that the case is still secret.

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The NYT Acknowledges the CIA’s Big Lie for Gina Haspel

The  New York Times has finally acknowledged Gina Haspel’s direct involvement in the Central Intelligence Agency’s policy of torture and abuse.  On June 4, 2022, an article provided details of Haspel’s role as chief of the CIA base twenty years ago that was known for conducting the most sadistic acts of torture and abuse.  At her confirmation hearings to become CIA director in 2018, Haspel refused to answer any direct questions about her role in the policy of torture and abuse, which included the waterboarding of a Saudi prisoner, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.  The CIA stopped me from writing about Haspel’s role in my 2018 memoir, “Whistleblower at the CIA.”

As a result of CIA’s censorship, I joined a lawsuit with four former federal employees to end the government’s suppression of our writings on national security issues.  Last month, the Supreme Court allowed to stand a court ruling that denied our case, which had been presented by lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union.  The government has a legitimate interest in protecting bona fide secrets, but the CIA’s review system is opaque, exceeding legitimate security boundaries, and compromising free speech.  The Haspel case exposes the dangers of government censorship; the failures of the Senate’s confirmation process; and the CIA’s ability to avoid accountability for its transgressions.

At the closing of Haspel’s hearing, the chairman of the intelligence committee, Richard Burr (R/NC), told her that “you have acted morally, ethically and legally over a distinguished 30-year career.”  Surely the members of the committee knew of Haspel’s role in torture and abuse.  This would be particularly true for the senior Democrat on the committee, Diane Feinstein, who led the committee’s investigation of the CIA program.

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Supreme Court Expands Government Secrecy Powers in Torture-Related Case

The US Supreme Court ruled recently on the government’s use of the state secrets doctrine in an opinion that will make it easier for intelligence agencies to evade accountability in future individual rights cases. In US v. Zubaydah, government torture policy and state secrets converge. A torture victim requested information related to his treatment at a CIA “black site,” and the government blocked that request, citing national security interests. Seven members of the Court joined parts of an opinion siding with the government, with only Justices Sotomayor and Gorsuch dissenting. The case has implications for other torture-related cases and for government accountability more broadly as it expands state secrecy powers based on a doctrine that was already overbroad, and suspect in its origins.

The Zubaydah case is procedurally unusual. Abu Zubaydah is currently detained at Guantanamo, but the history of his confinement and treatment at numerous sites over the past two decades is well known. The government has admitted to waterboarding him and subjecting him to other forms of torture, and the 2014 Senate Report on Torture refers specifically to Zubaydah at numerous points. Moreover, former President Obama conceded that Zubaydah was tortured. In the course of seeking a tribunal that would hear his claims, Zubaydah asked the Polish government to investigate criminally the interrogations that took place at a CIA black site in Poland, Stare Kiejkuty. Since much of the supporting evidence was located in the United States, Zubaydah had to petition a US District Court for an order compelling its production. Federal law allows for such a petition, but when it was filed, the US government objected, citing the state secrets doctrine. The case worked its way up to the Supreme Court and the Court ruled for the first time in years on the scope and application of the doctrine.

The state secrets privilege (SSP) is an evidentiary doctrine originating in the 1953 case of US v. Reynolds, a Cold War-era dispute involving the crash of a military aircraft. In Reynolds, the victims’ families sought information about the crash, specifically survivors’ statements and an accident report. The government objected, claiming that revealing this information would endanger national security. The Supreme Court agreed, and their ruling gave birth to the SSP, which expanded in use over the ensuing seven decades. In short, the ruling says that the government is entitled to withhold information, in the course of litigation, where there is a “danger that compulsion of the evidence will expose military matters which, in the interest of national security, should not be divulged.” But the potential for such a broadly stated secrecy power to be abused is self-evident and was so even in the Reynolds case itself. As Louis Fisher has shown, the information withheld in Reynolds surfaced on the Internet in the 1990s and was quite mundane, containing not military secrets but evidence of government negligence instead.

Courts have applied the SSP to thwart discovery of evidence in a case where a twelve-year-old boy came under CIA scrutiny for writing letters overseas, where government workers sought information about deadly chemicals to which they had been exposed (so they could get treatment for their illness), and where the victim in an earlier torture case sought relief. But some questions had not been settled. Could the very subject matter of a case be a state secret, so that no discovery requests could even be made? Could trial courts order production of alleged secret evidence in chambers so a judge could view it before ruling on the SSP? And most centrally relevant to Zubaydah’s case, could the SSP apply to information already in the public domain (in other words, to non-secrets)?

It is this last question – whether the SSP applies to already-known information – that the Court took on in its recent opinion. The existence of Stare Kiejkuty is well-known, described in various sources. And the witnesses whose testimony Zubaydah sought to procure had already testified in similar proceedings. James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen were government contractors – psychologists specializing in family therapy who developed coercive interrogation protocols and then supervised their use by the CIA on-site. One of them even wrote a book about his exploits, and both had already testified about their interrogation work in other cases, such as the trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

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Ex-CIA Chief Gina Haspel Reportedly ‘Observed’ Waterboarding of Prisoners at Agency Black Site

Gina Haspel, who was confirmed as director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in May 2018 and held the post until 2021, first attracted controversy over her role as chief of a CIA black site in Thailand in 2002 where so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” were applied to prisoners.

Gina Haspel, who was the first female director of the CIA from 2018 to 2021, observed a prisoner being subjected to “enhanced interrogation” that included waterboarding at an agency black site, reported The New York Times.

Controlled by the Central Intelligence Agency, such black sites are used by the US government in its War on Terror to detain enemy combatants.

The revelation came in testimony during a hearing in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in May. The pre-trial hearings are part of the drawn-out trial of detainees facing capital charges related to allegations that they conspired in the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

So-called “psychologist” James Elmer Mitchell, who helped to invent and implement into common practice the agency’s interrogation programme, which included rectal feeding, hanging by handcuffs, and waterboarding, testified in relation to events that took place in late 2002. He revealed that along with another CIA contract “psychologist”, John Bruce Jessen, they subjected a Saudi prisoner, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, to waterboarding at a CIA black site in Thailand.

Nashiri is accused of orchestrating the bombing of the US Navy destroyer USS Cole in 2000, which killed 17 American sailors.

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Journo: Is It Coincidence That Some CIA Torture Techniques are so Popular With Ukrainian Neo-Nazis?

While the US rushed to vilify Russia’s latest UN Security Council Arria-Formula summit on Kiev’s human rights violations, one might wonder as to why Ukrainian neo-Nazi torture sites have so much in common with CIA secret prisons, says Dutch journalist Sonja van den Ende.

“I participated in the UN Security Council Arria-Formula meeting on 6 May 2022″, says Sonja van den Ende, an independent journalist from Rotterdam, Netherlands. “The goal of this meeting was to present to the United Nations (UN) members evidence about war crimes committed by the Ukrainian Army in cooperation with the Azov Battalion which was provided by us, journalists on the ground, in Donbass. The evidence was presented in the form of videos and oral testimonies, from residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, especially Mariupol, Volnovakha and Melitiopol”.

However, the Western UN members, especially representatives from the US, the UK, Norway, Albania, and France, paid little if any attention to the Donbass people’s stories, according to the Dutch journalist. Furthermore, they behaved in an arrogant way, she adds.

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‘All of these guys belong in prison’: Guantanamo CIA Torture Described in Vivid Detail by Psychologist

One of the psychologists paid tens of millions of dollars by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to oversee the interrogation of prisoners in the so-called War on Terror provided new details on Monday about the torture of a Guantánamo Bay detainee at CIA “black site” in Thailand.

The New York Times reports James E. Mitchell told a military judge during a pretrial hearing at Guantánamo that Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri—a Saudi national facing possible execution for allegedly masterminding the deadly 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen—broke quickly under torture and became so obedient that he would crawl into a cramped confinement box before guards ordered him to do so.

Initially, guards had to force al-Nashiri into the box. But according to Mitchell, the prisoner “liked being in the box” and would “get in and close it himself.”

Annie W. Morgan, a former Air Force defense attorney who is a member of al-Nashiri’s legal team, told the Times that when she heard Mitchell’s testimony,

“I got the image of crate-training a dog and became nauseous.”

“That was the goal of the program, to create a sense of learned helplessness and to become completely dependent upon and submissive to his captors,” she added, referencing a tactic taught in U.S. torture programs and documents dating back to the 1950s.

Gail Helt, a former CIA analyst who advocates Guantánamo’s closure, tweeted, “Imagine the hell Mr. Nashiri experienced outside of that box that made him prefer being inside it.”

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CIA Behind Secret Plots to Kidnap, Torture and Assassinate Ukrainian Dissidents for President Zelensky, says Ukraine Defector

Vasily Prozorov, a former officer with the Security Services of Ukraine (SBU) stated soon after his defection to Russia in 2018 that the SBU had been advised by the CIA since 2014.

“CIA employees [who have been present in Kyiv since 2014] are residing in clandestine apartments and suburban houses,” he said. “However, they frequently come to the SBU’s central office for holding, for example, specific meetings or plotting secret operations.”

Prozorov’s revelations take on extremely ominous implications in light of a new report by The Grayzone Project detailing the SBU’s participation in a campaign of assassination, kidnapping and torture overseen by Ukrainian President and Western media darling Volodymyr Zelensky.

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CIA Files Confirm Guantanamo Bay Torture Program’s MKULTRA Roots

In March the CIA declassified a 2008 CIA Inspector General report on the agency’s treatment of 9/11 suspect Ammar al-Baluchi at overseas ‘black sites’ and Guantanamo Bay. The report was released as a result of legal submissions and its shocking contents offer an unprecedentedly candid snapshot of the brutal physical and psychological torment to which he and hundreds of others were subjected by the agency over many years, under its global torture program.

The nephew of purported 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Baluchi was arrested in Pakistan in April 2003. He was accused of serving as a “key lieutenant” within al-Qaeda and its chief “bagman,” having provided pivotal financial and logistical support to the 9/11 hijackers. U.S. officials declared his capture would offer crucial information on the plot, prevent future attacks by the terrorist group, and potentially even lead to the apprehension of Osama bin Laden. Despite years of incarceration, interrogation and torture, none of this proved to be true.

Quoting contemporary cables, the Inspector General’s report tracks Baluchi’s induction at the “Salt Pit,” a CIA black site in Afghanistan, in detail. New arrivals were physically examined, their beards and heads shaved, and then put through a “non-enhanced” psychological assessment to determine their “willingness to cooperate without enhanced techniques…displace their expectations and begin the conditioning of subjects.”

The cable’s nameless author stated that, depending on his “resistance level,” staff did not intend to employ enhanced techniques against Baluchi “unless directed by headquarters.”

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“One less traitor”: Zelensky oversees campaign of assassination, kidnapping and torture of political opposition

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has framed his country’s war against Russia as a battle for democracy itself. In a carefully choreographed address to US Congress on March 16, Zelensky stated, “Right now, the destiny of our country is being decided. The destiny of our people, whether Ukrainians will be free, whether they will be able to preserve their democracy.”

US corporate media has responded by showering Zelensky with fawning press, driving a campaign for his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize and inspiring a flamboyant musical tribute to himself and the Ukrainian military during the 2022 Grammy awards ceremony on April 3.

Western media has looked the other way, however, as Zelensky and top officials in his administration have sanctioned a campaign of kidnapping, torture, and assassination of local Ukrainian lawmakers accused of collaborating with Russia. Several mayors and other Ukrainian officials have been killed since the outbreak of war, many reportedly by Ukrainian state agents after engaging in de-escalation talks with Russia.

“There is one less traitor in Ukraine,” Internal Affairs Ministry advisor Anton Geraschenko stated in endorsement of the murder of a Ukrainian mayor accused of collaborating with Russia.

Zelensky has further exploited the atmosphere of war to outlaw an array of opposition parties and order the arrest of his leading rivals. His authoritarian decrees have triggered the disappearance, torture and even murder of an array of human rights activists, communist and leftist organizers, journalists and government officials accused of “pro-Russian” sympathies.

The Ukrainian SBU security services has served as the enforcement arm of the officially authorized campaign of repression. With training from the CIA and close coordination with Ukraine’s state-backed neo-Nazi paramilitaries, the SBU has spent the past weeks filling its vast archipelago of torture dungeons with political dissidents.

On the battlefield, meanwhile, the Ukrainian military has engaged in a series of atrocities against captured Russian troops and proudly exhibited its sadistic acts on social media. Here too, the perpetrators of human rights abuses appear to have received approval from the upper echelons of Ukrainian leadership.

While Zelensky spouts bromides about the defense of democracy before worshipful Western audiences, he is using the war as a theater for enacting a blood-drenched purge of political rivals, dissidents and critics.

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Shocking Videos Allegedly Show Ukrainians Shooting And Torturing Russian POWs

Videos that surfaced late last night purportedly show members of the Ukrainian military shooting Russian POWs in the knees and beating them senseless.

Several correspondents from around the world have called on the International Criminal Court, which Ukraine has invited into their country, to investigate and verify these potential war crimes.

Videos allegedly showing Ukrainian soldiers shooting Russian prisoners of war in the knees have hit the internet alongside a series of clips from the Ukrainian army calling the families and loved ones of deceased Russian soldiers in order to mock their deaths. The footage embedded below is graphic and viewer discretion is advised.

While The Gateway Pundit is unable to independently verify the content of these videos, a foreign correspondent from the BBC has indicated that she reviewed the clips. “Seeing (not sharing) graphic videos from Ukraine. In accepting ICC jurisdiction, Ukraine has enabled ICC prosecutors to investigate allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity on both sides,” she tweeted. “Rhetoric from some politicians suggests focus on Russians alone.” Reporters from Sweden’s SVT and Bellingcat’s Elliot Higgins have also acknowledged the release of the videos.

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