Suspect had multiple aliases, granted political asylum by Australian government, interviewed by Australian media, spent years as fake pro-Western “Shia’a cleric” condemning Iran and Syria before recently “converting” to Sunni and supporting ISIS.
December 16, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – Another embarrassing chapter has unfolded for Western intelligence and security communities in the wake of the so-called “Sydney Siege.” The suspect named by the media as “Man Haron Monis” also has gone by the names “Manteghi Boroujerdi” and “Mohammad Hassan Manteghi” and was an individual now confirmed to have long been on the radar of the Australian government, media, law enforcement, and court system since his arrival on Australian shores almost two decades ago.
Image: Anti-Western ISIS Wahabi terrorist, pro-Western “liberal” Shia’a cleric, and secular common man. As with any long-time actor, the “Sydney Siege” suspect has been cast for many diverse roles, with many different names, and an extensive wardrobe. He had played both the hero and the villain. It is beyond bizarre that he has remained in the spotlight across Australia’s political stage for nearly two-decades with a growing criminal record, increasingly disturbing and disruptive behavior, and yet somehow “eluded” Australia’s indiscriminate and all-invasive surveillance network and multiple terror sweeps made just in the past several months. It appears that this “shape-shifting sheik” played a central role in manipulating the Australian public at integral junctures of the West’s “War on Terror.”
Claiming he was a “lone wolf” attacker whose violence and extremism could not have been foreseen is betrayed by an extensive criminal record including murder, preceded by the suspicious circumstances that brought him to Australia to begin with.
Two-Decades in the Spotlight
He fled Iran in 1996 for unknown reasons, claiming in a 2001 Australian ABC interview that he was formerly of Iran’s “Ministry of Intelligence and Security.” He claimed in the same interview to have been in contact with the UN about “secret information” he had regarding the Iranian government.
In Iran, mostly I have been involved with the Ministry of Intelligence and Security.
the Iranian regime wants to make me silent, because I have some secret information about government, and about their terrorist operations in the war. I sent a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and somebody on behalf of Mr Kofi Anan sent the answer, and they want to do something.
He would also profess his love for the West, and in particular his belief that the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia in particular were “religious societies” claiming:
If we explain about the meaning of the word ‘Islamic’ as a religious society, if we say Islamic society is a religious society, and a society which has a relation with God, and wants to be honest, we can say Australia, Canada, England, USA, so many western countries, they are religious societies. They don’t say ‘We are religious’, but in fact the spirit of religion, we can see the spirit of religion in these societies. And some other countries in the Middle East, in Asia, they say ‘We are Islamic’ they have a name of Islamic, but in fact they are not religious societies and religious governments.
Whenever I walk in the street, whenever I go out in Australia, I feel I am in a real religious society. I don’t want to say it is perfect, we don’t have a perfect society on the earth, but when we compare, if we compare Australia with Iran and other countries in the Middle East, we can say it is heaven.
ABC itself introduced Boroujerdi/Monis/Manteghi as follows:
People in Sydney walking past the State Parliament buildings on Macquarie Street in recent weeks might have noticed a tall Muslim cleric who has taken up residence in a tent on the footpath outside. He is Ayatollah Manteghi Boroujerdi, a liberal cleric who fled Iran four years ago after being very critical of the Iranian regime. Ayatollah Boroujerdi’s wife and two daughters are now under house arrest in Iran, and he’s hoping the Howard government will put pressure on the regime there to let his family join him here in Australia.
Far from an extremist – Boroujerdi/Monis/Manteghi instead posed as the perfect poster child for the ongoing anti-Iran, pro-war propaganda building at the time – propaganda that continues to this very day and is an integral part of current efforts to overthrow both the Syrian and Iranian governments.
He was a “liberal Iranian” fleeing the “Iranian regime” who held his family “hostage.” He professed his admiration of Western society and praised it as “heaven.” “Heavenly” could have also described his propaganda value to the West at the time.
The Shape-Shifting Sheik
Over the years, however, Boroujerdi/Monis/Manteghi would shape-shift, coincidentally along the same unsavory lines Western pro-war rhetoric shifted – first by helping discredit anti-war sentiment in Australia by sending abusive letters to the families of fallen soldiers, then discrediting Islam itself through cartoonish acts of rhetorical extremism. And just like a shape-shifter, the character Boroujerdi/Monis/Manteghi would don many different costumes.
Image: Hostages in the recent “Sydney Siege” hold up the flag often used by terrorist group “Al Nusra” currently fighting America’s proxy war in Syria against the government in Damascus. Al Nusra has received US anti-tank weapons after front groups the US assured were “vetted” and “moderate” turned them over while pledging allegiance to the Al Qaeda franchise. The UK Independent would also report that the suspect requested specifically an ISIS flag.
At times he would appear as a secular liberal dressed in Western, if not outdated attire, at other times a “Shai’a cleric” wearing traditional robes. Most recently, to help sow ISIS hysteria, he impersonated an ISIS supporter, claiming to have “converted to Sunni Islam” a month ago, wearing Wahabi-inspired terrorist attire. And in his final act amid the “Sydney Siege,” he would produce the flag often carried by Al Qaeda affiliate Al Nusra in Syria – a terrorist front that has in fact drawn many Australian’s from Sydney over the course of the recent Syrian war.
His alleged ideological causes were as contradictory as his attire. First claiming for years to be a pro-Western “liberal Shia’a,” dressed as a Shia’a cleric, his recent shift to supporting ISIS terrorists would mean he was backing a terrorist front of Wahabists – enemies of Iran and the Shai’a communities across the entire Muslim World that depend on Tehran for protection. It would also mean he was adopting an ideology that at least rhetorically claims to stand in complete opposition to the West he had previously claimed to admire.
While Australian authorities seemed perfectly comfortable with Boroujerdi/Monis/Manteghi’s continuously disruptive behavior, genuine leaders across Australia’s Muslim community implored the Australian government to investigate him. In a 2008 Australian article titled, “Call to probe mystery Shia cleric,” it was reported that:
FEDERAL agents have been urged by the nation’s senior Shia leader, Kamal Mousselmani, to investigate an Iranian man purporting to be a prominent Islamic cleric.
Sheik Mousselmani told The Australian yesterday the mystery cleric – who has been identified as Ayatollah Manteghi Boroujerdi on his website after appearing under the name Sheik Haron – was not a genuine Shia spiritual leader.
He said there were no ayatollahs – supreme Shia scholars – in Australia and none of his fellow spiritual leaders knew who Ayatollah Boroujerdi or Sheik Haron was.
“We don’t know him and we have got nothing to do with him,” Sheik Mousselmani said. “The federal police should investigate who he is. It should be their responsibility.”
What could have possibly motivated the Australian government to continue giving a clear and persistent menace to society free reign? The Current Narrative Doesn’t Add Up
The state-run Iranian news agency, Fars, quoted a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Marziyeh Afkham, as saying that it had warned the Australian authorities about Mr. Monis.
“The history and mental-psychological conditions of this individual, who sought political asylum in Australia more than two decades ago, had been discussed with Australian authorities many times,” Ms. Afkham was quoted as saying.
However, were that the case, and had Iran warned Australian authorities of this man, one wonders why he would be allowed political asylum in the first place, let alone allowed to occupy the spotlight amid Australia’s divisive political landscape for so long, especially in light of his many alleged criminal offenses.
Considering the global surveillance state Australia finds itself a willing partner in, how is it possible to claim Boroujerdi/Monis/Manteghi was a “lone wolf” terrorist? Surely if Australians are being surveilled without probable cause, so too was Boroujerdi/Monis/Manteghi, and yet he was apparently able to obtain weapons, travel freely with them, all while publicly supporting terrorist organizations including ISIS.
According to a portion of his now-deleted website (which you can see here) … Monis pledged allegiance to ISIS before the attack.
Vox would go on to cite Washington-based Neo-Conservative pro-war, anti-Iranian think-tank, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy (FDD) to claim Boroujerdi/Monis/Manteghi had no ties to ISIS and that he was simply a “fruitcake.” No evidence was provided.
However, this “fruitcake” was credible enough to be granted political asylum by the Australian government in 1996, credible enough to serve the West’s propaganda campaign against Iran in 2001, and then play along with the West’s coordinated strategy of tension designed to discredit anti-war sentiment during Australia’s participation in the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, and more recently ratchet up anti-Islamic sentiment and help justify continued Western military intervention in nations like Syria and Iran against which both Boroujerdi/Monis/Manteghi and the FDD are/were clearly opposed to.
Image: Recently, a series of sweeping raids involving hundreds of Australian
police and security agents netted suspected “terrorists” after communications
were “intercepted.” One must wonder why police didn’t also visit the “Sydney
Siege” suspect who openly pledged allegiance to ISIS.
In fact, if unable to convince Australians to back “liberals” like himself in opposition to the Iranian government, perhaps he and his handlers felt posing as an extremist to provoke support for direct military intervention in Syria and in turn, Iran, was the next best bet.
One thing is for sure, for a man in Australia’s political and legal spotlight either for good or for bad for nearly two decades, it is highly unlikely he was able to put together this plot without Australian security and intelligence agents knowing. After several recent “anti-terror” operations carried out across Sydney based on intercepted communication, why hadn’t federal agents also visited a suspected murderer openly pledging allegiance to ISIS?
The Western media’s eagerness to dismiss Boroujerdi/Monis/Manteghi’s actions amid the “Sydney Siege” before a full investigation reeks of a cover-up and whatever the truth may be – what is being insisted upon by the media, government, and corporate-funded think-tanks now certainly isn’t it.
Veteran Fox News correspondent Dominic Di-Natale, who recently reported on the riots in Ferguson, Mo., has been found dead of an apparent suicide.
He was 43.
Officials discovered Di-Natale’s body Wednesday in Jefferson County, Co., where the international reporter owned property. The coroner said that he took his own life.
According to Fox News, the U.K. born journalist had been dealing with undisclosed health issues.
“We were extremely saddened to learn of Dominic’s passing and send our deepest condolences to his family and friends,” said a statement from a Fox News spokesperson. “He was an esteemed journalist and an integral part of our news coverage throughout the Middle East.”
Fox News’ Megyn Kelly expressed her condolences on Twitter.
So sad to hear Fox’s Dominic Di-Natale has died. A great reporter, who off-air was always trying to help US troops. I will miss him.
“Carlos” has been a paid killer for more than 25 years – working for drug cartels, politicians and the military.
We met the hitman in Tepito market – one of the most dangerous places in the whole of Mexico City, despite being at the heart of its smartest district.
The assassin said the network of cartel power is so entrenched in society and powered by so much money that it is unstoppable.
“On some occasions, we have to go to places where weapons are not allowed and then they (police) meet us.
“They take us to a hotel and they provide all the weapons that we may need, money and everything so that one can do the job one has to do.”
The abduction of 43 students last September has forced Mexico into confronting its crime problems.
Carlos believes that the students are already dead, and uses a chilling example from his own experience to explain why he is so certain.
“Let me tell you a story. Some protestors came. We let them in and then we closed the road, we closed the entrance, we closed the exit. When they were stuck in the middle we killed them all,” he recounted.
“Then a (rubbish) truck from the army came and collected them all. Then street sweeper machines went past. They opened the road again, as if nothing had happened.
“The students are dead, it is more convenient. For kidnapping you get 160 years, for killing its 35. It’s a huge difference, don’t you think?”
Mexico is described by many as a “Narco State”, where government and civil society appear powerless against drug money, cartels, corruption and terrible violence – committed on an almost daily basis.
This country bordering the United States and Central America has become a transit point for drugs across the world.
The revenues are mind-blowing – tens of billions of dollars a year.
The demand for what it can deliver to affluent societies is insatiable.
It is the root of the problem of course, and widespread poverty, combined with the need to make a living, are the crumbling foundations of a state teetering on the edge of disaster.
Mexico is in trouble. It is failing. A black market culture where anything can be bought is all-pervading. Nobody is above this. Absolutely nobody.
British rock scene old-timer Geoffrey “Jake” Commander, who has played for the likes of Elton John and ELO, has been sentenced to ten days in a US jail after taking part in a mass online hack with protest group Anonymous.
Commander was found guilty of taking part in a mass cybercrime after he joined an Anonymous chatroom.
The rocker found himself amongst 1,000 other activist who then clicked the “LOIC” tool, which sends a huge amount of traffic to servers, resulting in a system crash.
The attack, staged in 2010, was against US financial institutions.
Some 13 other Anonymous hackers were also prosecuted, though at the ripe old age of 66, Commander was by far the oldest of the offenders.
When first charged with the offence, Commander potentially faced up to 10 years in prison, but the prosecution eventually downgraded the crime to a “misdemeanor,” which would only land the rock star 10 days in the cells.
The guitarist reportedly did not attempt to argue he didn’t know what he was doing, though he did say his decision to participate in the hack was “impulsive, spurious and foolish.”
FP Photo / Spencer Platt
He remained adamant, however, that the act itself was a form of “protest” against the banks which had “brought the country to its knees.”
The “LOIC” code Commander used targeted MasterCard’s website, and lost the company more than $1million.
Commander only participated in the attack for three hours, which features 2,000 activists and was codenamed “Operation Payback”.
Following the criminal act in 2010, Commander was not arrested and moved back to England with his family. It was not until returning in 2013 that he was arrested, placed under pretrial release, and forced to surrender his British passport.
According to Commander’s attorney, Drewry Hutcheson Jr. the guitarist was given the option of serving his 10 days at weekends, but opted to take the full amount at once.
The prosecution said such attacks on the banking system could “cause significant consequences, not only for victim companies, but also for consumers and the economy as a whole.”
Commander apologized to the judge.
“I’m mortified to have upset the government of this country, which has been my host for many years,” he said.
But given his star-studded background, some of the prosecution seemed sympathetic towards Commander.
When he appeared before US District Judge Liam O’Grady, the lawyer told him he always kept his car tuned in to Radio Classic Rock.
An “exhaustive”, five-year Senate investigation of the CIA’s secret interrogations of terrorism suspects renders a strikingly bleak verdict of a program launched in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, describing levels of brutality, dishonesty and seemingly arbitrary violence that at times brought even agency employees to moments of anguish.
The report by the Senate Intelligence Committee delivers new allegations of cruelty in a program whose severe tactics have been abundantly documented, revealing that agency medical personnel voiced alarm that waterboarding methods had deteriorated to “a series of near drownings” and that agency employees subjected detainees to “rectal rehydration” and other painful procedures that were never approved.
The 528-page document catalogues dozens of cases in which CIA officials allegedly deceived their superiors at the White House, members of Congress and even sometimes their own peers about how the interrogation program was being run and what it had achieved. In one case, an internal CIA memo relays instructions from the White House to keep the program secret from then-Secretary of State Colin Powell out of concern that he would “blow his stack if he were to be briefed on what’s going on.”
A declassified summary of the committee’s work discloses for the first time a complete roster of all 119 prisoners held in CIA custody and indicates that at least 26 were held because of mistaken identities or bad intelligence. The publicly released summary is drawn from a longer, classified study that exceeds 6,000 pages.
The report’s central conclusion is that harsh interrogation measures, deemed torture by program critics including President Obama, didn’t work. The panel deconstructs prominent claims about the value of the “enhanced” measures, including that they produced breakthrough intelligence in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, and dismisses them all as exaggerated if not utterly false — assertions that the CIA and former officers involved in the program vehemently dispute. The agency is expected to release its own detailed rebuttal Tuesday, and Director John Brennan plans to speak to the CIA work force.
In a statement, the agency said the committee’s report had “too many flaws for it to stand as the official record of the program.”
“Many of the Study’s charges that CIA misrepresented are based on the authors’ flawed analysis of the value of the intelligence obtained from detainees,” the statement said. “But whether Congress accepts their assessment or ours, we still must question a report that impugns the integrity of so many CIA officers when it implies — as it does clearly through the conclusions — that the Agency’s assessments were willfully misrepresented in a calculated effort to manipulate.”
The release of the report comes at an unnerving time in the country’s conflict with al-Qaeda and its off-shoots. The Islamic State has (allegedly) beheaded three Americans in recent months and seized control of territory across Iraq and Syria. Fears that the report could ignite new overseas violence against American interests prompted Secretary of State John F. Kerry to appeal to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to consider a delay. The report has also been at the center of intense bureaucratic and political fights that erupted earlier this year in accusations that the CIA surreptitiously monitored the computers used by committee aides involved in the investigation.
Many of the most haunting sections of the Senate document are passages taken from internal CIA memos and e-mails as agency employees described their visceral reactions to searing interrogation scenes. At one point in 2002, CIA employees at a secret site in Thailand broke down emotionally after witnessing harrowing treatment of Abu Zubaida, a high-profile facilitator for al-Qaeda.
“Several on the team profoundly affected,” one agency employee wrote at the time, “some to the point of tears and choking up.” The passage is contrasted with closed-door testimony from high-ranking CIA officials, including then-CIA Director Michael V. Hayden, who when asked by a senator in 2007 whether agency personnel had expressed reservations replied: “I’m not aware of any. These guys are more experienced. No.”
The document names only a handful of high-ranking CIA employees and does not call for any further investigation of those involved or even offer any formal recommendations. It steers clear of scrutinizing the involvement of the White House and Justice Department, which two years ago ruled out the possibility that CIA employees would face prosecution.
Instead, the Senate text is largely aimed at shaping how the interrogation program will be regarded by history. The inquiry was driven by Feinstein and her frequently stated determination to foreclose any prospect that the United States might contemplate such tactics again. Rather than argue their morality, Feinstein set out to prove that they didn’t work.
In her foreword to the report, Feinstein does not characterize the CIA’s actions as torture, but said the trauma of Sept. 11 had prompted the agency to employ “brutal interrogation techniques in violation of U.S. law, treaty obligations and our values.” The report should serve as “a warning for the future,” she said. “We cannot again allow history to be forgotten and grievous past mistakes to be repeated.”
The reaction to the report, however, only reinforced how polarizing the CIA program remains more than five years after it was (ALLEGEDLY) ordered dismantled by Obama.
Over the past year, the CIA assembled a lengthy and detailed rebuttal to the committee’s findings that argues that all but a few of the panel’s conclusions are unfounded. Hayden and other agency veterans have for months been planning a similarly aggressive response.
The report also faced criticism from Republicans on the intelligence committee who submitted a response to the report that cited alleged inaccuracies and faulted the committee’s decision to base its findings exclusively on CIA documents without interviewing any of the operatives involved. Democrats have said they did so to avoid interfering with a separate Justice Department inquiry.
At its height, the CIA program included secret prisons in countries including Afghanistan, Thailand, Romania, Lithuania and Poland — locations that are referred to only by color-themed codes in the report, such as “Cobalt,” to preserve a veneer of secrecy.
The establishment of the “black sites” was part of a broader transformation of the CIA in which it rapidly morphed from an agency focused on intelligence gathering into a paramilitary force with new powers to capture prisoners, disrupt plots and assemble a fleet of armed drones to carry out targeted killings of al-Qaeda militants.
The report reveals the often haphazard ways in which the agency assumed these new roles. Within days of the Sept. 11 attacks, for example, President George W. Bush had signed a secret memorandum giving the CIA new authority to “undertake operations designed to capture and detain persons who pose a continuing, serious threat of violence or death to U.S. persons and interests.”
But the memo made no reference to interrogations, providing no explicit authority for what would become an elaborately drawn list of harsh measures — including sleep deprivation, slams against cell walls and simulated drowning — to get detainees to talk. The Bush memo was a murky point of origin for a program that is portrayed as chaotically mismanaged throughout the report.
One of the most lengthy sections describes the interrogation of the CIA’s first prisoner, Abu Zubaida, who was detained in Pakistan in March 2002. Zubaida, badly injured when he was captured, was largely cooperative when jointly questioned by the CIA and FBI but was then subjected to confusing and increasingly violent interrogation as the agency assumed control.
After being transferred to a site in Thailand, Zubaida was placed in isolation for 47 days, a period during which the presumably important source on al-Qaeda faced no questions. Then, at 11:50 a.m. on Aug. 4, 2002, the CIA launched a round-the-clock interrogation assault — slamming Zubaida against walls, stuffing him into a coffin-sized box and waterboarding him until he coughed, vomited and had “involuntary spasms of the torso and extremities.”
The treatment continued for 17 days. At one point, the waterboarding left Zubaida “completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth.” CIA memos described employees who were distraught and concerned about the legality of what they had witnessed. One said that “two, perhaps three” were “likely to elect transfer.”
The Senate report suggests top CIA officials at headquarters had little sympathy. When a cable from Thailand warned that the Zubaida interrogation was “approach[ing] the legal limit,” Jose Rodriguez, then chief of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, cautioned subordinates to refrain from such “speculative language as to the legality” of the interrogation. “Such language is not helpful.”
Through a spokesman, Rodriguez told The Washington Post that he never instructed employees not to send cables about the legality of interrogations.
Zubaida was waterboarded 83 times and kept in cramped boxes for nearly 300 hours. In October 2002, Bush was informed in his daily intelligence briefing that Zubaida was still withholding “significant threat information,” despite views from the black site that he had been truthful from the outset and was “compliant and cooperative,” the report said.
The document provides a similarly detailed account of the interrogation of the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who fed his interrogators a stream of falsehoods and intelligence fragments. Waterboarding was supposed to simulate suffocation with a damp cloth and a trickle of liquid. But with Mohammed, CIA operatives used their hands to form a standing pool of water over his mouth. KSM, as he is known in agency documents, was ingesting “a LOT of water,” a CIA medical officer wrote, saying that the application had been so altered that “we are basically doing a series of near drownings.”
The CIA has maintained that only three prisoners were ever subjected to waterboarding, but the report alludes to evidence that it may have been used on others, including photographs of a well-worn waterboard at a black site where its use was never officially recorded. The committee said the agency could not explain the presence of the board and water-dousing equipment at the site, which is not named in the report, but is believed to be the “Salt Pit” in Afghanistan.
There are also references to other procedures, including the use of tubes to administer “rectal rehydration” and feeding. CIA documents describe a case in which a prisoner’s lunch tray “consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts, and raisins was ‘pureed’ and rectally infused.” At least five CIA detainees were subjected to “rectal rehydration” or rectal feeding without documented medical necessity.
At times, senior CIA operatives voiced deep misgivings. In early 2003, the CIA officer in charge of the interrogation program described it as a “train [wreck] waiting to happen” and that “I intend to get the hell off the train before it happens.” The officer, identified by former colleagues as Charlie Wise, subsequently retired and died in 2003. He had been picked for the job despite being reprimanded for his role in other troubled interrogation efforts in the 1980s in Beirut, former officials said.
The agency’s records of the program were so riddled with errors, according to the report, that the CIA often offered conflicting counts of how many prisoners it had.
In 2007, then-CIA Director Hayden testified in a closed-door session with the Senate panel that “in the history of the program, we’ve had 97 detainees.” In reality, the number was 119, according to the report, including 39 who had been subjected to harsh interrogation methods.
Two years later, when Hayden was preparing to deliver an early intelligence briefing for senior aides to newly elected President Obama, a subordinate noted that the actual count was significantly higher. Hayden “instructed me to keep the detainee number at 98,” the employee wrote to himself in an e-mail. “Pick whatever date I needed to make that happen but the number is 98.”
Hayden comes under particularly pointed scrutiny in the report, which includes a 38-page table comparing his statements to often conflicting agency documents. The section is listed as an “example of inaccurate CIA testimony.”
In an e-mail to The Post, Hayden said the discrepancy in the prisoner numbers reflected the fact that detainees captured before the start of the interrogation program were counted separately from those held at the black sites. “This is a question of booking, not a question of deception,” Hayden said. He also said he directed the analyst who had called the discrepancy to his attention to confirm the revised accounting and then inform incoming CIA Director Leon Panetta that there was a new number and that the figure should be corrected with Congress.
Hayden said he would have explained this to the committee if given the chance. “Maybe if the committee had talked to real people and accessed their notes we wouldn’t have to have this conversation,” he said, describing the matter as an “example of [committee] methodology. Take a stray ‘fact’ and claim its meaning to fit the desired narrative (mass deception).”
The report cites other cases in which CIA officials are alleged to have obscured facts about the program. In 2003, when David Addington, a lawyer who worked for Vice President Dick Cheney, asked whether the CIA had videotaped interrogations of Zubaida, CIA General Counsel Scott Muller informed agency colleagues that he had “told him that tapes were not being made.” Muller apparently did not mention that the CIA had recorded dozens of interrogation sessions or that some in the agency were eager to have them destroyed.
The tapes were destroyed in 2006 at the behest of Rodriguez, a move that triggered a Justice Department investigation. The committee also revealed that a 21-hour section of recordings — which depicted the waterboarding of Zubaida — had gone missing years earlier when then CIA Inspector General John Helgerson’s office sought to review them as part of an inquiry into the interrogation program.
Helgerson would go on to find substantial problems with the program. But, in contrast to the Senate panel, his report concluded that the agency’s “interrogation of terrorists has provided intelligence that has enabled the identification and apprehension of other terrorists and warned of terrorist plots planned for the United States and around the world.”
A prominent section of the Senate report is devoted to high-profile claims that the interrogation program produced “unique” and otherwise unobtainable intelligence that helped thwart plots or led to the captures of senior al-Qaeda operatives.
Senate investigators said none of the claims held up under scrutiny, with some unraveling because information was erroneously attributed to detainees subjected to harsh interrogations, others because the CIA already had information from other sources. In some cases, according to the panel, there was no viable terror plot to disrupt.
A document prepared for Cheney before a March 8, 2005, National Security Council meeting noted in a section titled “Interrogation Results” that “operatives Jose Padilla (PROECTED TERRORIST) and Binyam Mohammed planned to build and detonate a ‘dirty bomb’ in the Washington D.C. area.”
But according to an April 2003 CIA e-mail, Padilla and Mohammed had apparently taken seriously a “ludicrous and humorous” article about building a dirty bomb in a kitchen by swinging buckets of uranium to enrich it.
KSM dismissed the idea, as did a government assessment of the proposed plot: “CIA and Lawrence Livermore National Lab have assessed that the article is filled with countless technical inaccuracies which would likely result in the death of anyone attempting to follow the instructions, and definitely would not result in a nuclear explosion,” noted another CIA e-mail in April 2003. The agency nonetheless continued to directly cite the “dirty bomb” plot while defending the interrogation program until at least 2007, the report notes.
The report also deconstructs the timeline leading to the identification of Padilla and his alleged accomplice. It notes in April 2002, that Pakistani authorities, who detained Padilla, suspected he was an al-Qaeda member. A few days later, Abu Zubaida, described two individuals who were pursuing what was described as a “cockamamie” dirty bomb plot. The connection was made by the CIA immediately, months before the use of harsh interrogation on Zubaida.
Some within CIA were derisive of the continuing exploitation of the dirty bomb plot by the agency. “We’ll never be able to successfully expunge Padilla and the ‘dirty bomb’ plot from the lore of disruption, but once again I’d like to go on the record that Padilla admitted that the only reason he came up with so-called ‘dirty bomb’ was that he wanted to get out of Afghanistan and figured that if he came up with something spectacular, they’d finance him,” wrote the head of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear group at the CIA Counterterrorism Center. “Even KSM says Padilla had a screw loose.”
In another high-profile case, the CIA credited the interrogation program with the capture of Hambali, a senior member of Jemaah Islamiah and the suspected mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombing that killed more than 200 people. In a briefing for the president’s chief of staff, for instance, the CIA wrote that “during KSM’s interrogation we acquired information that led to the capture of Hambali.” But the Senate found that information from KSM played no role in Hambali’s capture and in fact intelligence leading to his detention came from signals intelligence, a CIA source, and investigations by the Thai authorities.
Similarly, the CIA said the interrogation program led to the discovery of the “Second Wave,” attacks, a plan by KSM to employ non-Arabs to use airplanes to hit targets on the West Coast. Associated with this in CIA reporting was the identification of al-Ghuraba, a cell of the Southeast Asian militant group Jemaah Islamiah.
In a November 2007 briefing for Bush on “Plots Discovered as a Result of EITs,” the CIA said it “learned” about the Second Wave and al-Ghuraba “after applying the waterboard along with interrogation techniques.” But the Senate report says the plot was disrupted by a series of arrests and interrogations that had nothing to do with the CIA program.
Even the hunt for bin Laden was accompanied by exaggerations of the role of brutal interrogation techniques, according to the report. In particular, the committee found that the interrogations played no meaningful role in the identification of a courier, Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti, who would lead the agency to bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
The identification of al-Kuwaiti relied on pieces of intelligence from multiple source, including a critical clue from a detainee captured in Iraq named Hassan Ghul.
Ghul’s revelation came before he was subjected to harsh measures, according to the report. In an interview with the CIA inspector general’s office, a CIA officer familiar with Ghul’s case said that he “sang like a tweetie bird. He opened up right away and was cooperative from the outset.”
President Obama on Friday announced his nomination of Ashton B. Carter, a physicist and former deputy defense secretary, to replace Chuck Hagel as defense secretary. Video by Reuters on Publish Date December 5, 2014. Photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times.
On December 5, 2014, Carter was nominated by President Barack Obama to replace outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
So Who IS Ashton Carter?
He was deputy secretary of defense from October 2011 to December 2013, serving as the DOD’s chief operating officer overseeing more than $600 billion per year and 2.4 million civilian and military personnel, and managing global 24/7 operations. From April 2009 to October 2011, he was undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics with responsibility for procurement of all technology, systems, services, and supplies, bases and infrastructure, energy and environment, and more than $50 billion annually in R&D.
Previously, Carter was a senior partner of Global Technology Partners focused on advising investment firms in technology and defense.
Carter noted that China was a central economic partner and that ‘The Shift to Asia’ is principally an economic matter with new security implications. India, Australia, and New Zealand were mentioned as forthcoming security partners (AKA the TPP Agreement currently on the “fast track” for the Obama Admin. See: Obama’s TPP Negotiators Get Big Bonuses From WallStreet)
Carter is certainly a man from Wall Street, and a long standing member of the Global Govt round tables. He shares a high level tech background with the recent Obama Nominee for AG, Loretta Lynch. (Also from Wall St. as well as the NY Federal Reserve. MORE on Ms Lynch HERE)
There seems to be a major preparation ongoing for some kind of Cyber War. This war to be blamed on set up enemies such as “ISIS”, Syria, and North Korea etc… Would be impossible to prove to the American Citizenry. We would have to “trust” the powers that be, that whatever occurred went down per the official story. The I – Patriot Act has already been written.
Ashton Carter has been up for nomination for past duties in the US Central Govt…. He has passed unanimously each time.
UK-based family: Hostage might still be alive, had it not been for attempted US rescue mission 8 Dec 2014 The UK-based family of a British-born hostage killed by Islamic militants has said he might still be alive had it not been for an attempted US rescue mission. Luke Somers, 33, was shot by his al Qaida [al-CIAduh] captors as they fought US special forces attempting to extract him and South African teacher Pierre Korkie. Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAB) posted a video online on Thursday, threatening to kill the American citizen within three days but his stepmother Penny Bearman and half-sister Lucy Somers indicated they still had hope because previous threats had not been carried out. Ms Bearman, 55, of Deal, Kent, told the Times they were “quite angry because if there had not been a rescue attempt he would still be alive.”
13 people killed in failed US hostage rescue attempt in Yemen 7 Dec 2014 Thirteen people were killed on Saturday in a rescue mission by the United States in Yemen which failed to save two hostages held by al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), according to residents. A woman and a 10-year-old boy were among at least 11 people killed alongside two hostages when US forces fought terrorists in the failed rescue mission in Yemen, Reuters reported on Sunday. US special forces raided the village of Dafaar in Shabwa province shortly after midnight on Saturday to save Luke Somers, a British-born American photojournalist.
A senior aide to Russian PresidentVladimir Putin has accused Israel’s Mossad of training Islamic State (aka ISIS) terrorists operating in Iraq and Syria, Iran’s Press TV reports.
Alexander Prokhanov told the state-controlled news outlet that Mossad is also likely to have transferred some of its “spying experience” to the leadership of ISIS, even as Israeli military advisers assisted the terrorists in other ways.
Prokhanov said ISIS is a byproduct of US policies in the Middle East.
“ISIS is a tool at the hands of the United States. They tell the Europeans that if we (the Americans) do not intervene, ISIS will cause you harm,” he said. In fact, however, he added, Iran and Russia are the main targets of ISIS terror.
“They launched their first terror attack against us just a few days back in Chechnya,” he said, stressing that the ISIS ideology has got nothing to do with the Islam practiced in Iran and some other Muslim countries in the Middle East region.
Prokhanov said the United States and Israel are one and the same when it comes to supporting a terror organization like the ISIS.
In September, ISIS terrorists fresh from the conquest of the last Syrian military base in the north of the country sent a “special message” to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, as well as his key ally, Putin.
After taking Taqba airbase, the jihadis released a video showing the mass execution of some 250 regime fighters and a group of jihadis addressing Assad directly from inside a hangar in the base.
“You’d better watch out Bashar – we’re coming for you in planes!” declared one terrorist from atop a captured Russian aircraft. “We’ll be coming for you from the skies, with these planes, Allah willing.”
“Brace yourself for what’s coming, you pig.”
A second, young fighter then addresses Putin, whose military and political support has been crucial in keeping Assad in power.
“Vladimir Putin, these are the Russian planes that you sent to Bashar. Allah willing, we will take them back to your own turf, and liberate Chechnya and the Caucasus, Allah willing… Your throne is being threatened by us,” he said
‘Heinous crime': Syria urges UN to sanction Israel over Damascus airstrikes 8 Dec 2014 Syrian officials demanded the UN impose sanctions on Israel after Tel Aviv conducted airstrikes near Damascus Airport. They say the attack was a heinous crime against their sovereignty by a country which doesn’t hide its policy of supporting terrorism. “Tel Aviv committed a heinous crime against Syria’s sovereignty,” said Syrian Foreign and Expatriates Ministry in two identical letters to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and to the Chair of the UN Security Council, SANA news agency reported. The attack aimed to support armed terrorist groups in Syria, especially after Damascus made some progress in the cities of Deir Ezzor, Aleppo and Daraa, say Syrian officials.
President Obama has renewed the NSA’s phone-snooping program for another three months, with the administration saying Monday that it’s too important to let it expire right now, defying members of Congress who said it was time to ax the controversial program.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and National Intelligence Director James R. Clapper said Monday they’ve won a 90-day extension of the snooping authority from the secret court that oversees intelligence activities.
They said they’d prefer Congress rewrite the laws to limit the program, but Senate Republicans last month filibustered a bill to do that, foisting the decision about whether to renew the program back solely on the president.
“Given that legislation has not yet been enacted, and given the importance of maintaining the capabilities of the telephony metadata program, the government has sought a 90-day reauthorization of the existing program, as modified by the changes the president directed in January,” the two men said in a joint statement.
The new order was issued on Dec. 4, and gives the NSA snooping powers through Feb. 27.
The National Security Agency’s program collects the phone numbers, times and durations of calls made on U.S. telephone companies’ systems. The data is stored for five years and investigators are allowed to check it to build a network of connections if they have a number they believe to be associated with terrorism.
Administration lawyers argue the program is justified by a part of the Patriot Act that they said allows for bulk collection of data on Americans. Opponents — including the Patriot Act’s author — say that’s a misreading of the law.
Congressional opponents easily won House passage earlier this year of a bill to rein in bulk collection, but Republicans filibustered a different version in the Senate last month. That filibuster signals it is unlikely Congress will reach an agreement on the snooping program next year, when the GOP will control both the House and Senate.
Given that gridlock, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, the senior Democrat in the Senate, had urged Mr. Obama to kill the program himself by declining to seek the 90-day extension.
Mr. Obama says he’s already taken steps to limit the NSA’s snooping, including usually asking investigators to seek court permission before scouring the database for connections and limiting their search to just two “hops,” or connections, from the initial number they were investigating.
A screenshot from a video shared on social media shows Eric Garner being choked by an NYPD police officer. A grand jury declined to to indict the officer involved in the death, but a grand jury did indict the man who filmed the video over weapons charges stemming from a separate incident. Getty Images
As protesters took to the streets of New York over the decision of a Staten Island grand jury not to indict a police officer who put Eric Garner in a chokehold shortly before he died, one person involved in the incident has not escaped indictment — the man who filmed the incident.
Ramsey Orta, who filmed the incident that resulted in Garner’s death, was indicted on weapons charges stemming from an Aug. 2 arrest, according to the Staten Island Advance. Police allege that Orta, 22, placed a .25-caliber handgun in the waistband of Alba Lekaj, 17, in an area near where Garner died, that is known for drug-related activity. Orta claims that the charges are a retaliatory measure by the police for his testimony in the Garner case.
“When they searched me, they didn’t find nothing on me,” Orta said to the Advance regarding his arrest. “And the same cop that searched me, he told me clearly himself, that karma’s a b***h, what goes around comes around,” Orta said.
“I had nothing to do with this. I would be stupid to walk around with a gun after me being in the spotlight,” he said later, according to Rawstory.
Orta pleaded not guilty according to Mediaite. At the time of his arrest, Orta reportedly told police: “You’re just mad because I filmed your boy.”
A grand jury did not believe Orta’s account, charging him with single felony counts of third-degree criminal weapon possession and criminal firearm possession, according to The Huffington Post.
By contrast, a Staten Island grand jury seemingly accepted the account of NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was seen applying a chokehold to Garner in the video (see below), but whose lawyer claimed that “it was never his intention to harm anyone,” according to the New York Times.
The protests over Garner’s death come on the heels of a spate of controversial killings of black men by U.S. police officers. The shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, resulted in a grand jury declining to indict the officer, and sparked protests across the U.S. and abroad.
After John Crawford III, a 22-year-old black man, was shot dead by Ohio police in a Walmart in August while carrying a BB gun that the store sold, a grand jury in the state also declined to pursue charges against officers, according to the Washington Post.
In addition, the shooting by Ohio police of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was reportedly brandishing a replica handgun when shot by a police officer whose capabilities had been previously questioned by his superiors, has further inflamed tensions in recent months.
It is incredibly rare for US grand juries not to return indictments, except in cases where the person facing charges is a police officer. In 2010, the most recent year for which data exist, U.S. attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases, and grand juries declined to return an indictment in only 11 of them, according to FiveThirtyEight.
While less complete data on officer-involved shootings exist, FiveThirtyEight cites the example of the U.S. city of Dallas, where grand juries reviewed 81 shootings between 2008 and 2012 and returned just one indictment.