The Big Story Torture Everyone Is Missing
While the torture report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee is very important, it doesn’t address the big scoop regarding torture.
Instead, it is the Senate Armed Services Committee’s report that dropped the big bombshell regarding the U.S. torture program.
Senator Levin, commenting on a Armed Services Committee’s report on torture in 2009, explained:
The techniques are based on tactics used by Chinese Communists against American soldiers during the Korean War for the purpose of eliciting FALSE confessions for propaganda purposes. Techniques used in SERE training include stripping trainees of their clothing, placing them in stress positions, putting hoods over their heads, subjecting them to face and body slaps, depriving them of sleep, throwing them up against a wall, confining them in a small box, treating them like animals, subjecting them to loud music and flashing lights, and exposing them to extreme temperatures [and] waterboarding.
McClatchy filled in important details:
Former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that the interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration…
For most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there.”
It was during this period that CIA interrogators waterboarded two alleged top al Qaida detainees repeatedly — Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times in August 2002 and Khalid Sheik Muhammed 183 times in March 2003 — according to a newly released Justice Department document…
When people kept coming up empty, they were told by Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people to push harder,” he continued.” Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people were told repeatedly, by CIA . . . and by others, that there wasn’t any reliable intelligence that pointed to operational ties between bin Laden and Saddam . . .
A former U.S. Army psychiatrist, Maj. Charles Burney, told Army investigators in 2006 thatinterrogators at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility were under “pressure” to produce evidence of ties between al Qaida and Iraq.
“While we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq,” Burney told staff of the Army Inspector General. “The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link . . . there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.”
“I think it’s obvious that the administration was scrambling then to try to find a connection, a link (between al Qaida and Iraq),” [Senator] Levin said in a conference call with reporters. “They made out links where they didn’t exist.”
Levin recalled Cheney’s assertions that a senior Iraqi intelligence officer had met Mohammad Atta, the leader of the 9/11 hijackers, in the Czech Republic capital of Prague just months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The FBI and CIA found that no such meeting occurred.
The Washington Post reported the same year:
Despite what you’ve seen on TV, torture is really only good at one thing: eliciting false confessions. Indeed, Bush-era torture techniques, we now know, were cold-bloodedly modeled after methods used by Chinese Communists to extract confessions from captured U.S. servicemen that they could then use for propaganda during the Korean War.
So as shocking as the latest revelation in a new Senate Armed Services Committee report may be, it actually makes sense — in a nauseating way. The White House started pushing the use of torture not when faced with a “ticking time bomb” scenario from terrorists, but when officials in 2002 were desperately casting about for ways to tie Iraq to the 9/11 attacks — in order to strengthen their public case for invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 at all.
Gordon Trowbridge writes for the Detroit News: “Senior Bush administration officials pushed for the use of abusive interrogations of terrorism detainees in part to seek evidence to justify the invasion of Iraq, according to newly declassified information discovered in a congressional probe.
Colin Powell’s former chief of staff (Colonel Larry Wilkerson) wrote in 2009 that the Bush administration’s “principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at pre-empting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al-Qaeda.”
Indeed, one of the two senior instructors from the Air Force team which taught U.S. servicemen how to resist torture by foreign governments when used to extract false confessions has blown the whistle on the true purpose behind the U.S. torture program.
As Truthout reported:
[Torture architect] Jessen’s notes were provided to Truthout by retired Air Force Capt. Michael Kearns, a “master” SERE instructor and decorated veteran who has previously held high-ranking positions within the Air Force Headquarters Staff and Department of Defense (DoD).
The Jessen notes clearly state the totality of what was being reverse-engineered – not just ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ but an entire program of exploitation of prisoners using torture as a central pillar,” he said. “What I think is important to note, as an ex-SERE Resistance to Interrogation instructor, is the focus of Jessen’s instruction. It is EXPLOITATION, not specifically interrogation. And this is not a picayune issue, because if one were to ‘reverse-engineer’ a course on resistance to exploitation then what one would get is a plan to exploit prisoners, not interrogate them. The CIA/DoD torture program appears to have the same goals as the terrorist organizations or enemy governments for which SV-91 and other SERE courses were created to defend against: the full exploitation of the prisoner in his intelligence, propaganda, or other needs held by the detaining power, such as the recruitment of informers and double agents. Those aspects of the US detainee program have not generally been discussed as part of the torture story in the American press.”
In a subsequent report, Truthout notes:
Air Force Col. Steven Kleinman, a career military intelligence officer recognized as one of the DOD’s most effective interrogators as well a former SERE instructor and director of intelligence for JPRA’s teaching academy, said …. “This is the guidebook to getting false confessions, a system drawn specifically from the communist interrogation model that was used to generate propaganda rather than intelligence” …. “If your goal is to obtain useful and reliable information this is not the source book you should be using.”
Interrogators also forced detainees to take drugs … which further impaired their ability to tell the truth.
And one of the two main architects of the torture program admitted this week on camera:
You can get people to say anything to stop harsh interrogations if you apply them in a way that does that.
And false confessions were, in fact, extracted.
- A humanitarian aid worker said: torture only stopped when I pretended I was in Al Qaeda
- Under torture, Libyan Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi falsely claimed there was a link between Saddam Hussein, al-Qaida and WMD
- President Bush mentioned Abu Zubaydah as a success story, where torture saved lives. Zubaydah was suspected of being a high-ranking al-Qaida leader. Bush administration officials claimed Zubaydah told them that al-Qaida had links with Saddam Hussein. He also claimed there was a plot to attack Washington with a “dirty bomb”. Both claims are now recognized to be false, even by the CIA, which also admits he was never a member of al-Qaida.
- One of the Main Sources for the 9/11 Commission Report was Tortured Until He Agreed to Sign a Confession that He Was NOT EVEN ALLOWED TO READ
- The so-called 9/11 mastermind said: “During … my interrogation I gave a lot of false information in order to satisfy what I believed the interrogators wished to hear” (the self-confessed 9/11 “mastermind” falsely confessed to crimes he didn’t commit)
And the 9/11 Commission Report was largely based on a third-hand account of what tortured detainees said, with two of the three parties in the communication being government employees. And the government went to great lengths to obstruct justice and hide unflattering facts from the Commission.
According to NBC News:
- Much of the 9/11 Commission Report was based upon the testimony of people who were tortured
- At least four of the people whose interrogation figured in the 9/11 Commission Report have claimed that they told interrogators information as a way to stop being “tortured.”
- The 9/11 Commission itself doubted the accuracy of the torture confessions, and yet kept their doubts to themselves
Today, Raymond McGovern – a 27-year CIA veteran, who chaired National Intelligence Estimates and personally delivered intelligence briefings to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, their Vice Presidents, Secretaries of State, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and many other senior government officials –provides details about one torture victim (Al-Libi) at former Newsweek and AP reporter Robert Parry’s website:
But if it’s bad intelligence you’re after, torture works like a charm. If, for example, you wish to “prove,” post 9/11, that “evil dictator” Saddam Hussein was in league with al-Qaeda and might arm the terrorists with WMD, bring on the torturers.
It is a highly cynical and extremely sad story, but many Bush administration policymakers wanted to invade Iraq before 9/11 and thus were determined to connect Saddam Hussein to those attacks. The PR push began in September 2002 – or as Bush’s chief of staff Andrew Card put it, “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.”
By March 2003 – after months of relentless “marketing” – almost 70 percent of Americans had been persuaded that Saddam Hussein was involved in some way with the attacks of 9/11.
The case of Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, a low-level al-Qaeda operative, is illustrative of how this process worked. Born in Libya in 1963, al-Libi ran an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan from 1995 to 2000. He was detained in Pakistan on Nov. 11, 2001, and then sent to a U.S. detention facility in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He was deemed a prize catch, since it was thought he would know of any Iraqi training of al-Qaeda.
The CIA successfully fought off the FBI for first rights to interrogate al-Libi. FBI’s Dan Coleman, who “lost” al-Libi to the CIA (at whose orders, I wonder?), said, “Administration officials were always pushing us to come up with links” between Iraq and al-Qaeda.
CIA interrogators elicited some “cooperation” from al-Libi through a combination of rough treatment and threats that he would be turned over to Egyptian intelligence with even greater experience in the torture business.
By June 2002, al-Libi had told the CIA that Iraq had “provided” unspecified chemical and biological weapons training for two al-Qaeda operatives, an allegation that soon found its way into other U.S. intelligence reports. Al-Libi’s treatment improved as he expanded on his tales about collaboration between al-Qaeda and Iraq, adding that three al-Qaeda operatives had gone to Iraq “to learn about nuclear weapons.”
Al-Libi’s claim was well received at the White House even though the Defense Intelligence Agency was suspicious.
“He lacks specific details” about the supposed training, the DIA observed. “It is possible he does not know any further details; it is more likely this individual is intentionally misleading the debriefers. Ibn al-Shaykh has been undergoing debriefs for several weeks and may be describing scenarios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their interest.”
Meanwhile, at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, Maj. Paul Burney, a psychiatrist sent there in summer 2002, told the Senate, “A large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al-Qaeda and Iraq and we were not successful. The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link … there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.”
President Bush relied on al-Libi’s false Iraq allegation for a major speech in Cincinnati on Oct. 7, 2002, just a few days before Congress voted on the Iraq War resolution. Bush declared, “We’ve learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and deadly gases.”
And Colin Powell relied on it for his famous speech to the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003, declaring: “I can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these [chemical and biological] weapons to al-Qaeda. Fortunately, this operative is now detained, and he has told his story.”
Al-Libi’s “evidence” helped Powell as he sought support for what he ended up calling a “sinister nexus” between Iraq and al-Qaeda, in the general effort to justify invading Iraq.
For a while, al-Libi was practically the poster boy for the success of the Cheney/Bush torture regime; that is, until he publicly recanted and explained that he only told his interrogators what he thought would stop the torture.
You see, despite his cooperation, al-Libi was still shipped to Egypt where he underwent more abuse, according to a declassified CIA cable from early 2004 when al-Libi recanted his earlier statements. The cable reported that al-Libi said Egyptian interrogators wanted information about al-Qaeda’s connections with Iraq, a subject “about which [al-Libi] said he knew nothing and had difficulty even coming up with a story.”
According to the CIA cable, al-Libi said his interrogators did not like his responses and “placed him in a small box” for about 17 hours. After he was let out of the box, al-Libi was given a last chance to “tell the truth.” When his answers still did not satisfy, al-Libi says he “was knocked over with an arm thrust across his chest and fell on his back” and then was “punched for 15 minutes.”
After Al-Libi recanted, the CIA recalled all intelligence reports based on his statements, a fact recorded in a footnote to the report issued by the 9/11 Commission. By then, however, the Bush administration had gotten its way regarding the invasion of Iraq and the disastrous U.S. occupation was well underway.
Intensive investigations into these allegations – after the U.S. military had conquered Iraq – failed to turn up any credible evidence to corroborate these allegations. What we do know is that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were bitter enemies, with al-Qaeda considering the secular Hussein an apostate to Islam.
Al-Libi, who ended up in prison in Libya, reportedly committed suicide shortly after he was discovered there by a human rights organization. Thus, the world never got to hear his own account of the torture that he experienced and the story that he presented and then recanted.
Hafed al-Ghwell, a Libyan-American and a prominent critic of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime at the time of al-Libi’s death, explained to Newsweek, “This idea of committing suicide in your prison cell is an old story in Libya.”
Paul Krugman eloquently summarized the truth about the torture used:
Let’s say this slowly: the Bush administration wanted to use 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. So it tortured people to make them confess to the nonexistent link.
There’s a word for this: it’s evil.
Torture Program Was Part of a Con Job
As discussed above, in order to “justify” the Iraq war, top Bush administration officials pushed and insisted that interrogators use special torture methods aimed at extracting false confessions to attempt to create a false linkage between between Al Qaida and Iraq. And see this and this.
But this effort started earlier …
5 hours after the 9/11 attacks, Donald Rumsfeld said “my interest is to hit Saddam”.
And at 2:40 p.m. on September 11th, in a memorandum of discussions between top administration officials, several lines below the statement “judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. [that is, Saddam Hussein] at same time”, is the statement “Hard to get a good case.” In other words, top officials knew that there wasn’t a good case that Hussein was behind 9/11, but they wanted to use the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to justify war with Iraq anyway.
Moreover, “Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the [9/11] attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda”.
And a Defense Intelligence Terrorism Summary issued in February 2002 by the United States Defense Intelligence Agency cast significant doubt on the possibility of a Saddam Hussein-al-Qaeda conspiracy.
And yet Bush, Cheney and other top administration officials claimed repeatedly for years that Saddam was behind 9/11. See this analysis. Indeed, Bush administration officials apparently swore in a lawsuitthat Saddam was behind 9/11.
Moreover, President Bush’s March 18, 2003 letter to Congress authorizing the use of force against Iraq, includes the following paragraph:
(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
Therefore, the Bush administration expressly justified the Iraq war to Congress by representing that Iraq planned, authorized, committed, or aided the 9/11 attacks.
Indeed, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind reports that the White House ordered the CIA to forge and backdate a document falsely linking Iraq with Muslim terrorists and 9/11 … and that theCIA complied with those instructions and in fact created the forgery, which was then used to justify war against Iraq. And see this.
Suskind also revealed that “Bush administration had information from a top Iraqi intelligence official ‘that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – intelligence they received in plenty of time to stop an invasion.’ ”
Cheney made the false linkage between Iraq and 9/11 on many occasions.
For example, according to Raw Story, Cheney was still alleging a connection between Iraq and the alleged lead 9/11 hijacker in September 2003 – a year after it had been widely debunked. When NBC’s Tim Russert asked him about a poll showing that 69% of Americans believed Saddam Hussein had been involved in 9/11, Cheney replied:
It’s not surprising that people make that connection.
And even after the 9/11 Commission debunked any connection, Cheney said that the evidence is “overwhelming” that al Qaeda had a relationship with Saddam Hussein’s regime , that Cheney “probably” had information unavailable to the Commission, and that the media was not ‘doing their homework’ in reporting such ties.
Even then-CIA director George Tenet said that the White House wanted to invade Iraq long before 9/11, and inserted “crap” in its justifications for invading Iraq.
Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill – who sat on the National Security Council – also says that Bush planned the Iraq war before 9/11.
Top British officials say that the U.S. discussed Iraq regime change even before Bush took office.
The administration’s false claims about Saddam and 9/11 helped convince a large portion of the American public to support the invasion of Iraq. While the focus now may be on false WMD claims, it is important to remember that, at the time, the alleged link between Iraq and 9/11 was at least as important in many people’s mind as a reason to invade Iraq.
So the torture program was really all about “justifying” the ultimate war crime: launching an unnecessary war of aggression based upon false pretenses.
Why would the CIA torture if torture “doesn’t work”? Wouldn’t they want the most effective tool to gather intelligence?
The Senate Armed Services Committee report gave the answer.
via WashgintonsBlog.Read more
Intelligence Officer, Author, Talk Radio Host, Activist, UFOlogist
Milton William “Bill” Cooper was an American conspiracy theorist, radio broadcaster, and author best known for his 1991 book Behold a Pale Horse, in which he warned of multiple global conspiracies, some involving extraterrestrial aliens.
via Cryptome.org 11 December 2014
CIA Torture Pseudonyms
Update: The “Associates” of “Company Y” are now known, as is “CIA officer 2.” Additional people and details have become known.
The press has been hard at work uncovering the pseudonyms used and nailing down the true identities of the site. I compile them here.
The most important outstanding questions: who are Detainees “R” & “S,” and where is detention site “red?” While I feel pretty strongly about redacting the names of low-level personnel from the NSA slides, which are technical in nature, I have zero interest in protecting torturers. The public has a right to know where these black sites were, and the detainees deserve a name and a fair trial.
BLACK – RomaniaBLUE – “Quartz” – Stare Kiejkuty, Poland
BROWN – Afghanistan
COBALT – “Salt Pit” – Afghanistan
GRAY – Afghanistan
GREEN – Thailand
INDIGO – Guantanamo
MAROON – Guantanamo
ORANGE – Afghanistan
VIOLET – Lithuania
RED – This could be an additional site in one of the above countries, or someplace entirely different. It is mentioned only once in the report, on page 140 of 499, and the entry is almost entirely redacted.
Company Y – Mitchell, Jessen & Associates, based in Spokane, Washington.The “Associates” are David Ayers, Randall Spivey, James Sporleder, Joseph Matarazzo, and Roger Aldrich.
It should be noted that there is no “Company X” in this report, I found this peculiar. It seems that there should be one, and as it happens there are several shady “Companies’ known: “Premier Executive Transport Services” Incorporated in Dedham Massachusetts, is known to have been part of the CIA rendition program. The names of its officers include “Coleen Bornt,” “Brian Dice” and “Tyler Edward Tate.” These are fictitious people.
Other companies suspected of involvement in rendition include: “Stevens Express Leasing” “Richmor Aviation” “Rapid AirTrans” “Path Corporation”
Business Q – Associated with Zubair, associated with Hambali
“Grayson Swigert” – James Mitchell”Hammond Dunbar” – Bruce Jessen
CIA Officer 1 – COBALT Site manager – Matthew Zirbel. Zirbel’s corrupt CIA boss (Convicted) Kyle “Dusty” Dustin Foggo overruled the 10 day suspension Zirbel received in the murder of Gul Rahman (innocent).CIA Officer 2 – Torturer at COBALT and BLUE – Albert El Gamil – retired from CIA in 2004.
[Redacted] – Ron Czarnetsky, CIA Chief of Station on Warsaw, Poland from 2002 to 2005. This would make him responsible for site BLUE.
[no mention] Alfreda Frances Bikowsky – Made herself involved in Waterboarding in Poland (BLUE) in March of 2003. Took trip unassigned and on own dime. Was “scolded” and told it “wasn’t supposed to be entertainment.” Would have been there at the same time as Mitchell and Jessen.
Asset X – Directly involved in the capture of KSM.Asset Y – Reports on Janat Gul
Person 1 – al-Ghuraba group member, with an interest in airplanes and aviation. “intelligence indicates the interest was unrelated to terrorist activity.”
Detainee R – Held by foreign government, rendered to CIA custodyDetainee S – Held by foreign government
Raymond McGovern is a retired CIA officer turned political activist. McGovern was a CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990, and in the 1980s chaired National Intelligence Estimates and prepared the President’s Daily Brief.Read more
Robert David Steele Vivas is an American activist and a former Central Intelligence Agency clandestine services case officer known for his promotion of open source intelligence.Read more
Following leads on the anthrax trail took us across four continents – filming outside the high security perimeter fences of some of the world’s most secret germ war labs (and inside a couple), tracking down and talking to experts and scientists some of whom were members of the so called “International Bio-Weapons Mafia”. None was more chilling than the face to face we got with the man they call Doctor Death – Wouter Basson, the army scientist who headed apartheid South Africa’s secret germ war program – Project Coast.
Shrouded in mystery and hidden behind front companies that used worldwide intelligence connections, the shocking activities of the program only emerged after the fall of apartheid – revealing a shockingly sophisticated operation that had 200 scientists developing germ war agents to be used against the country’s black population.
This was one of the very few interviews Doctor Death has given and for the first time he talks candidly about the help the received from the West, his relationship with David Kelly and the creation of “the Black Bomb” an agent that could sterilize blacks without their knowledge.
And then there’s his strange relationship with Larry Ford, the Mormon gynecologist to Hollywood stars who was also moonlighting for the South Africans and had CIA connections.
Some experts are wondering whether Doctor Deaths’s program provided a convenient off-shore operation for Western germ war experimentation?
Operating out of South Africa during the Apartheid era in the early 1980’s, Dr. Wouter Basson launched a secret bioweapons project called Project Coast. The goal of the project was to develop biological and chemical agents that would either kill or sterilize the black population and assassinate political enemies. Among the agents developed were Marburg and Ebola viruses.
Basson is surrounded by cloak and dagger intrigue, as he told Pretoria High court in South Africa that “The local CIA agent in Pretoria threatened me with death on the sidewalk of the American Embassy in Schoeman Street.” According to a 2001 article in The New Yorker magazine, the American Embassy in Pretoria was “terribly concerned” that Basson would reveal deep connections between Project Coast and the United States.
In 2013, Basson was found guilty of “unprofessional conduct” by the South African health council.
Bioweapons expert Jeanne Guillemin writes in her book Biological Weapons: From the Invention of State-Sponsored Programs to Contemporary Bioterrorism, “The project‘s growth years were from 1982 to 1987, when it developed a range of biological agents (such as those for anthrax, cholera, and the Marburg and Ebola viruses and for botulinum toxin)…“
Basson’s bioweapons program officially ended in 1994, but there has been no independent verification that the pathogens created were ever destroyed. The order to destroy them went directly to Dr. Basson. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The integrity of the process rested solely on Dr. Basson’s honesty.”
Basson claims to have had contact with western agencies that provided “ideological assistance” to Project Coast. Basson stated in an interview shot for the documentary Anthrax War that he met several times with Dr. David Kelly, the infamous UN weapons inspector in Iraq. Kelly was a top bioweapons expert in the United Kingdom. He was found dead near his home in Oxfordshire in 2003. While the official story claims he committed suicide, medical experts highly doubt this story.
In a 2007 article from the Mail Online, it was reported that a week prior to his death, Dr. Kelly was to be interviewed by MI5 about his ties to Dr. Basson.
Dr. Timothy Stamps, Minister of Health of Zimbabwe, suspected that his country was under biological attack during the time that Basson was operating. Stamps told PBS Frontline in 1998 that “The evidence is very clear that these were not natural events. Whether they were caused by some direct or deliberate inoculation or not, is the question we have to answer.”
Stamps specifically named the Ebola and Marburg viruses as suspect. Stamps thinks that his country was being used as a testing ground for weaponized Ebola.
“I’m talking about anthrax and cholera in particular, but also a couple of viruses that are not endemic to Zimbabwe [such as] the Ebola type virus and, we think also, the Marburg virus. We wonder whether in fact these are not associated with biological warfare against this country during the hostilities…Ebola was along the line of the Zambezi [River], and I suspect that this may have been an experiment to see if a new virus could be used to directly infect people.”
The Ghanaian Times reported in early September on the recent Ebola outbreak, noting connections between Basson and bioweapons research. The article points out that, “…there are two types of scientists in the world: those who are so concerned about the pain and death caused to humans by illness that they will even sacrifice their own lives to try and cure deadly diseases, and those who will use their scientific skill to kill humans on the orders of… government…”
Indeed, these ideas are not new. Plato wrote over 2,000 years ago in his work The Republic that a ruling elite should guide society, “…whose aim will be to preserve the average of population.” He further stated, “There are many other things which they will have to consider, such as the effects of wars and diseases and any similar agencies, in order as far as this is possible to prevent the State from becoming either too large or too small.”
As revealed by The Age, Nobel prize winning Australian microbiologist Sir Macfarlane Burnet secretly urged the Australian government in 1947 to develop bio weapons for use against the “overpopulated countries of South-East Asia.” In a 1947 meeting with the New Weapons and Equipment Development Committee, the group recommended that “the possibilities of an attack on the food supplies of S-E Asia and Indonesia using B.W. agents should be considered by a small study group.”
This information gives us an interesting perspective on the recent unprecedented Ebola outbreak. Is it an organic natural phenomenon? Did this strain of Ebola accidentally escape from a bioweapons lab? Or, was it deliberately released?Read more
Life is not easy for 30-year-old .
Just a few years ago he was doing well; as a trained Intelligence Analyst in the US Air National Guard he looked forward to a stable and glamorous career at the center of action, living inside a virtual videogame and fighting America’s enemies via drones. It was a heady combination of gamer geek dreams and the aspirations of a good boy who’d grown up in a military family, following his parents’ path to public service.
Now he sits in a cell in a foreign country, far from his Indiana roots, suffering from PTSD and recovering from two apparent suicide attempts. The last one by diving headfirst onto a concrete floor from a top bunk bed. He’s struggling hard to stay in that cell, too; or at least, never to return to the land of his birth, the land he once served so proudly.
In a series of clipped, yet eloquent, emails Major Paul DeHart, Matt’s father, talked to us about the struggles his family have been through in the days since. “No prison is a good prison. Depriving any human being much less one who has grown up under western law which in theory at least values human dignity and freedom above most things is punishment enough. I will say compared to the way human beings in general and prisoners specifically are treated in any US prison system, state or federal, Canadian prisoners seem to be treated as human beings with at least the potential for rehabilitation.”
“But, the US approach to warehousing prisoners and exploiting them as resources for labour and prison-industrial-complex businesses is no different than the way the US approaches old people in nursing homes or labour in general. From a corporatist standpoint, a human resource which is no longer productive is no longer of any value. The concept of intrinsic human value seems to have been forgotten.”
On his son’s complex situation and appeal for sanctuary: “It’s simple in our book. He was tortured by the US. That is a violation of international law. Does anyone doubt any more that the US tortures people? If they have done it overseas to supposed enemies – why not to their own citizens? Why is the US Senate report in CIA torture still not released. You figure it out. Along those lines – I reference what happened to Canadian citizen [Maher] Arar.”
As Matt himself explained to the National Post, “It’s not that I’m not patriotic — I am. I voted for Bush. My family is military, pretty gung ho. But everything has changed.”
The DeHart case (as explained in the masterful five-part National Post chronicle) is neither straightforward nor at first glance tremendously sympathetic. Of his own volition he walked into the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC. What happened there depends on which version of the stories he’s told you believe. Either he was there to look for work and a new start, having lost faith in the US, or he was there to mislead them about drone technology, deliberately handing them misinformation to protect the country he loved. But what does this have to do with the child pornography charges against him, the only charges which have been filed? And if he’s wanted on child pornography charges, why did the FBI interrogate him as part of an espionage investigation, as the documentation shows?
And what does this have to do with Anonymous?
It all started with Chanology. According to statements DeHart gave Adrian Humphreys of the National Post, he participated in Project Chanology, the original “moralfag” action which pitted Anonymous against the Church of Scientology. There were many aspects to the operation, but the most famous was the adoption of the Guy Fawkes mask, since become inextricably associated with the hacktivist collective. The statements DeHart gave were corroborated by operation founder Gregg Housh, although he could not specifically identify participants, having known them only via pseudonyms.
Chanology was DeHart’s first taste of activism, and he liked it. Getting deeper into the hacktivist scene, he eventually ran a server on which some files which may or may not have been destined for WikiLeaks resided.
His American lawer Tor Ekeland told us via email, “This whole matter revolves around a file that appeared in the fall of 2009 on a TOR server Matt was a co-sys admin. People speculate that it was enroute to Wikileaks, although I have not seen any confirmation of this fact. The file was unencrypted for the first two days on the server. According to published reports, it’s an FBI investigative file of domestic criminal activity by the CIA.”
Then came the raid.
That was 2010. No malware and no such mystery file was found on DeHart’s computer equipment; he’d long since deleted the file, which had been uploaded to the server by someone else.
“I opened the door and it was the police task force. Your stomach drops and your heart beats like crazy. It takes you by surprise, even though I had nothing to hide once the server was destroyed…
I was shook up,” Matt said. “I don’t know everything they took, but I know they took everything. After they had left I looked at the search warrant which was left on the couch. It was a generic warrant from the Memphis FBI field office and it said they were searching for child pornography.”
That was when he started to lose faith. Not too long after that he visited the Russian and Venezuelan embassies, looking for the future he could no longer see himself having in the USA. He didn’t find it there and decided to take the same route once taken by escaped slaves, the Underground Railway to the free environs of Canada.
Part of the reasoning, as his father told Humphreys, was that if there was any hold-up with the passport, they’d know the child porn incident wasn’t over. There was no problem with the passport. He left, signed up for a French Immersion course which to his chagrin didn’t take, then enrolled in technical college in scenic Prince Edward Island, intending to study welding. “I figured I’d try something that had nothing to do with computers. I felt good going to Canada,” he explained to the National Post.
All was going well, but in order to start school he needed a student visa, which he had to obtain from his home country.
You see this coming, don’t you?
He bussed across the St Croix river to the American side, where he spent the night at a hotel and took care of the paperwork. Then he headed back to Canada. Presenting his passport at the border, he anticipated no issues. The guard scanned it, checked the computer, scanned it again, went into an office to check something, and suddenly all hell broke loose.
While two guards threw themselves in front of the exit, blocking it, DeHart was cuffed and plopped in a chair. Soon he was tumbled into the back of a Border Patrol vehicle which was driven by an FBI agent and taken to an ICE detention center, where he was refused a lawyer and detained.
DeHart says he was strapped into a lab chair and drugged with an IV drip, before being aggressively questioned for hours. He was shown a new criminal complaint, charging him with soliciting child pornography; it was written that very day.
His father explained some anomalies. “We have repeatedly asked in court in the US for actual transcripts of his interrogations and have been told there are no audio or video records. Yeah right. Two agents are flown out from the national security section in DC to interrogate Matt and there are no records. Hmmm.”
He was transferred from the ICE detention center to another holding facility, where he collapsed and was taken to hospital, where the doctors determined him to be in a paranoid state, claiming persecution by the FBI. His symptoms were consistent with “drug induced psychosis” according to medical personnel.
Department of Justice documents show that DeHart was not actually detained on child porn charges; he was detained relating to an issue of national security/espionage. And he remained detained for months, until a judge added up the inconsistencies in the case, found DeHart a credible witness and not a flight risk, and ordered that he be released with a monitoring bracelet and curfew.
On November 5, Guy Fawkes Day, Million Mask March day, Matt DeHart filed a motion to dismiss the charges against him.
On April 2 of the next year, he and his family fled, driving north almost a full day and night to a border station in Fort Francis, Ontario, where they claimed refugee status and requested asylum from the Canadian government. Ekeland explained, “He and his family are seeking refugee status in Canada based on the fact that Matt was tortured by the FBI and that he cannot get a fair trial in the U.S.”
Paul DeHart said, “We came to Canada to seek protection from the US under international law. We know the tremendous courage it would take any Canadian official to stand up to Canada’s closest ally and biggest trading partner. However, it has been done before. In my generation Canada welcomed war protesters who disobeyed draft laws in the US and came to Canada where tens of thousands of them were granted immigrant status and protected.” In more recent, more Conservative times, however, the Canadian government has been rounding up and repatriating (ie returning to the US) AWOL American soldiers.
The next day the Canadian government from whom they were seeking aid charged Matt with espionage against Canada.
“There are Americans who try to sneak across the Canadian border to flee US law enforcement all the time,’” said Paul DeHart. CBSA [Canada Border Services Agency] I’m sure keeps stats. We did not sneak anywhere. We reported to a CBSA office and declared ourselves as asylum seekers under the UN Convention Against Torture (CAT). Matt was not detained by Canadian officials until the following day when a US Judge issued an arrest warrant for failing to appear at a schedule court hearing.”
And this, along with the still-unresolved child pornography charges, is why Matt DeHart has spent the last year in Canadian jail cells. At one point he won limited release, and was reunited with his family, but when the family moved to a different apartment Matt notified his corrections officer of the move in an incorrect manner: by notifying the company in charge of his electronic monitor, who then notified the officer. His father explained, “Someone in the CBSA made a decision to have him rearrested on a
reporting technicality which had nothing to do with flight risk or danger to the community and forfeit the $10,000 bond we put up. Money by the way we could not afford to lose.” He remains in custody. Rallies for his release have been unsuccessful, if high-profile.
Paul DeHart told us, “You should thank God as Canadians you seem to still have a mature and unbiased judiciary. The judge who reviewed Matt’s bond release in Sept 2013, after CBSA challenged it in court, wrote a very well-supported opinion which basically said in paraphrase – in Canada someone is innocent until proven guilty. If her 13-page opinion is indicative of the quality of
Canadian judges, then I’d say at least judicially, Canadians are in good hands.”
“We are awaiting two decisions by the Immigration and Refugee Board. First, we await the admissibility decision for Matt. He is opposed by the govt for the charges in TN. The final submissions were sent in middle of August. A negative decision will start a time clock on a shortened process to have Matt sent back to the US. Actually, it’s my understanding that he would just have to be deported from Canada. Theoretically it doesn’t have to be back to the US, but where else would he be sent?”
“The other decision is whether as a family we qualify under for protection from the Canadian government. Final submission for that hearing are due this month. No telling how long either decision will take. Considering the unusual nature of our claim, we suspect the Canadian government will be sure to make a very thorough examination of each and have detailed rationale for the decisions.” This is going to involve a lot of lawyers, though, and they are not inexpensive, particularly for a couple of new immigrants who left behind established careers. “The [child porn] case in Tennessee is suspended until/unless Matt returns to the US as we understand it.”
The governments in question don’t appear to be in any rush. Major DeHart raises an interesting question: extradition. “After being in Canada since April 2013, a year and a half, there has been no extradition request from the US. Since these are relatively routine it raises the question – why not?”
We asked DeHart about the extent to which the Canadian and US governments were cooperating on the case. “Who knows?” he replied. “Clearly the questions Matt was asked by both CSIS [Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the “Canadian FBI”] and the War Crimes unit of CBSA were focused on events in the US which had nothing to do with child pornography. Questions Leann and I were asked at the admissibility hearing by CBSA hearings officers seemed to have come directly from the US. And, that makes sense since US border personnel are on Canadian soil and work closely with CBSA.”
Their old government seems content to leave the entire family in the hands of the Canadians, despite maintaining an apparent interest in watching events unfold. “We have not been contacted by anyone from the US government since we came to Canada,” Paul DeHart told us. “I will say that the day after we crossed the border in Ft. Frances we noticed at least a dozen US Homeland Security vehicles parked in that relatively small town. I do know we did not feel safe from the US there.” As a former NSA employee, DeHart is well-equipped to identify HS vehicles.
On September 12 DeHart’s US attorney Tor Ekeland created an online fundraiser to cover his legal expenses. He chose the site GoFundMe, which often works with Anonymous fundraisers.
That same day, the fundraiser was shut down.
“We got an email from GoFundMe saying we’d violated their Terms of Service, and that our account was being terminated,” Ekelund told me via email. “When we asked for explanation we got none. By the time we’d received the email the account had already been deleted.”
Paul DeHart said, “Well, you can draw your own conclusions. Supposedly the site was taken down for a violation of terms of service. But, since it was started and run by a law firm, that makes little sense.”
Not wasting any time, Ekeland immediately rebuilt the fundraiser on Canadian site Fundrazr, which also hosts Julian Assange’s personal fundraiser. “We had the Fundrazr up in an hour or two, most of the time which was spent on looking at alternatives sites. It took about 15 minutes to actually get it up and running again. It stands at $550 of a $10,000 goal.
“No money was lost. Gofundme sent us everything. I really don’t focus on fundraising, and I usually go thousands of dollars out of pocket on the cases I have that are like this. I never make money of these types of cases, and I’m certainly not doing it for the money.”
The future is uncertain, obscured in a blizzard of paperwork, allegations, missing files, and, most recently, very specific publication bans (which we are probably breaking by reporting this). There are two powerful, often collusive, governments
Ekeland explained, “As of this writing, the U.S. government has not taken any action to extradite Matt. They will not try him in absentia.”
Paul DeHart sums it up. “Unless you have spent a large part of your adult life serving in the S military you would have a hard time understanding what an absolutely gut-wrenching, traumatic experience it is to have to fill out a basis of claim form for asylum against the country you love and served. But there is no excuse for what was done to our son, and no one in the US seemed to care about that.”
“It is our intention to remain in Canada and live out the rest of our lives in peace. If we are granted status we would never be allowed to return to the country of our birth. My own mother passed away in May 2013 after we came here. I was unable to attend her funeral.”
“If we are permitted to remain in Canada and Matt is allowed free to pursue life again, then our lives will resume. We will work, live, and make a new life in Canada. We have no ambitions beyond this: to live free from the fear of the US government. Imagine knowing that your head is in the sights of a sniper some 2 miles away. You know that at any moment a trigger can be pulled sending a 50 calibre bullet into your skull and exploding it. I know that’s graphic and perhaps hyperbole, but that is what it
feels like to know that our lives are in the sights of the most powerful government on earth.”
“You wonder if this is the day someone pulls the trigger.”
Featured Image via Free Matt DeHart
NOTE: Matt’s job description has been corrected. He was originally reported to be a drone pilot, but was actually an Intelligence Analyst. His father writes, “His job in the Air National Guard was equivalent to PFC Manning’s in the Army.”
via: TheCryptoSphere.comRead more