Spanish judge starts Guantanamo torture probe

Al Goodman |

A Spanish judge Wednesday ordered an investigation into harsh treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay under the Bush administration on suspicion that there was “an authorized and systematic plan for torture,” according to a court document.

The case involves four former Guantanamo prisoners — a Spaniard, a Moroccan, a Palestinian and a Lebanese — who testified before the judge, Baltasar Garzon, that they had been tortured while held at the U.S. detention camp for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Two of the four were acquitted in Spain of terrorism charges, while similar charges against two others were shelved, according to the 10-page court order from Judge Garzon on Wednesday, viewed by CNN.

The judge wrote there was sufficient evidence to open an investigation, based on the testimony from the four, plus news media reports about newly-declassified U.S. government documents.

The declassified U.S. documents, he wrote, revealed “an authorized and systematic plan for torture and harsh treatment of people deprived of their freedom without any charges and without the most basic elemental rights for detainees, set forth and demanded by international treaties.”

Veratect Twitter

“Veratect is providing the earliest detection of new information on swine influenza.”

 Kurt Nimmo |

On June 17, 1996, the U.S. Air Force released Air Force 2025, “a study designed to comply with a directive from the chief of staff of the Air Force to examine the concepts, capabilities, and technologies the United States will require to remain the dominant air and space force in the future.” In the unclassified study, the College of Aerospace Doctrine, Research, and Education at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama posed several “fictional representations of future situations/scenarios” likely to arise.

In Chapter 5, the authors present a timeline figure representing “plausible history.” In 2009, according to the figure, influenza will kill 30 million people. “A similar influenza pandemic occurred in the past,” a footnote explains, making a reference to the influenza epidemic of 1918 and 1919, described as “one of the worst human catastrophes on record. It has been estimated that more than 20 million people around the world died during the epidemic, and of the 20 million people who suffered from the illness in the United States, approximately 850,000 died.”


Dahr Jamail |

Last week found Iraq swimming in blood once again. Attacks last Thursday brought the worst violence Iraq has seen in over a year, with at least 96 Iraqis killed and 157 wounded in two massive suicide bombings. Over 35 bombings have rocked Baghdad this month alone. There appears to be no end in sight for the escalating violence. For an Obama administration that plans to keep at least 50,000 US troops in Iraq indefinitely, look no further for a justification in doing so.

On Friday, further slaughter assaulted Iraq, with 93 killed and another 163 wounded as the attacks continued unabated. Saturday was a light day, with “only” 15 Iraqis killed and 22 wounded, while Iraqi security forces reportedly defused 20 bombs and two booby-trapped cars in Baghdad.

Meanwhile, violence most likely related to the growing battle between government forces and the Sahwa, who are stepping up attacks against government and US forces, continues. In the last three days, clashes erupted at a police checkpoint in Fallujah, three men were killed while planting an improvised explosive device (IED) in Khanaqin, three Sahwa fighters were arrested north of Babel while planting an IED, an IED targeting Sahwa members in Udhaim killed three members and wounded three others, gunmen killed a member of the Sahwa in Mussayab, a car bomb was defused in Fallujah and two Sahwa members were wounded in a blast in Iskandariya. And, by the way, at least five US soldiers have been killed in the last five days.

If we are to believe what our trusted international media report, the world is on the brink of a global pandemic outbreak of a new deadly strain of flu, H1N1 as it has been labelled, or more popularly, Swine Flu. As the story goes, the outbreak of the deadly flu was first discovered in

Mexico. According to press reports, after several days, headlines reported as many as perhaps 150 deaths in

were believed caused by this virulent people-killing pig virus that has spread to humans and now is allegedly being further spread from human to human. Cases were being reported hourly from Canada to

and beyond. The only thing wrong with this story is that it is largely based on lies, hype and coverup of possible real causes of Mexican deaths.

One website, revealingly named Swine Flu Vaccine, reports the alarming news, ‘One out of every five residents of Mexico‘s most populous city wore masks to protect themselves against the virus as

Mexico City seems to be the epicenter of the outbreak.
As many as 103 deaths have been attributed to the swine flu so far with many more feared to be on the horizon. The health department of

Mexico said an additional 1,614 reported cases have been documented.’ We are told that the H1N1 ‘shares genetic material from human, avian and swine influenza viruses.’1


Airports around the world have installed passenger temperature scans to identify anyone with above normal body temperature as possible suspect for swine flu. Travel to

Mexico has collapsed. Sales of flu vaccines, above all Tamiflu from Roche Inc., have exploded in days. People have stopped buying pork fearing certain death. The World Health Organization has declared  a ‘a public health emergency of international concern,’ defined by them as ‘an occurrence or imminent threat of illness or health conditions caused by bioterrorism, epidemic or pandemic disease, or highly fatal infectious agents or toxins that pose serious risk to a significant number of people.’2


Paul Joseph Watson | Prison

The FDA has approved “emergency measures” to carry out “mass dosings” of U.S. citizens with antiviral drugs in the event of a widespread swine flu pandemic.

An Associated Press report states that the new powers would allow the drugs to be distributed to a “broader range of the population” than present measures allow.

The drugs, primarily Tamiflu and Relenza, would be “distributed to larger segments of the population without complying with the approved label requirements,” according to the report.

The announcement follows a similar directive issued last night, which would allow Tamiflu to be used to treat children under the age of 1 and to provide doses higher than originally approved for children over the age of 1.

As we reported this morning, a Time Magazine article prepares Americans to accept mandatory enforced vaccination and says that citizens should “trust” the government and “forgive” them if the vaccination itself results in deaths and injuries, as happened during the 1796 swine flu fiasco, when the U.S. government attempted to mass vaccinate the entire population.

Reuters | YahooNews

Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari said on Monday that the whereabouts of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden remained a mystery and there was a suspicion that he could be dead.

Speaking to international media, Zardari said U.S. officials had told him that they had no trace of the al Qaeda chief, although they habitually say he is most likely in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s own intelligence agencies were no wiser, either, Zardari said.

“There is no news,” the president said. “They obviously feel that he does not exist anymore but that’s not confirmed, we can’t confirm that.”
Al Jazeera aired excerpts of an audio recording in March in which the speaker’s voice sounded like earlier messages from bin Laden, who has eluded all efforts to catch him since al Qaeda carried out the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

Bin Laden, if he is still alive, turned 52 on March 10, but he is known to suffer from ill-health.

There have been reports that he had died of natural causes in the past, but they have never been corroborated, and security analysts believe intelligence agencies monitoring jihadi websites on the Internet would have picked up some chatter.

After insisting once again that there is a consensus on man-made global warming (while paradoxically comparing those not in consensus with those who deny the moon landing), Al Gore obfuscates, downplays and refuses to discuss the role that CEOs have played in crafting his Cap-and-Trade C02 trading schemes and carbon swapping systems.

Al Gore tries to put a lid in Congressional committee testimony on a little reported but vitally important subject in the global warming, carbon-tax ‘debate’– the new derivatives bubble in the emerging green-energy credit-swap market

Marjorie Cohn |

When I testified last year before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties about Bush interrogation policies, Congressman Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) stated that former CIA Director Michael Hayden had confirmed that the Bush administration waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zabaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashirit for only one minute each. I told Franks that I didn’t believe that. Sure enough, one of the newly released torture memos reveals that Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times and Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times. One of the 2005 memos written by Bush-era Justice Department official Stephen Bradbury asserted that “enhanced techniques” used on Zubaydah yielded the identification of Mohammed and an alleged radioactive bomb plot by Jose Padilla. But FBI Supervisory Special Agent Ali Soufan, who interrogated Zubaydah from March to June 2002, wrote in The New York Times that Zubaydah produced that information under traditional interrogation methods, before the harsh techniques were ever used.

Why, then, the relentless waterboarding of these two men? It turns out that high Bush officials put heavy pressure on Pentagon interrogators to get Mohammed and Zubaydah to say there was a link between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 hijackers, in order to justify President Bush’s illegal and unnecessary invasion of Iraq in 2003. That link was never established.

President Obama released the four memos in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU. They describe unimaginably brutal techniques and provide “legal” justification for clearly illegal acts of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. In the face of monumental pressure from the CIA to keep them secret, Obama demonstrated great courage in deciding to make the grotesque memos public. At the same time, however, in an attempt to pacify the intelligence establishment, Obama said that “it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution.”


Prototype for all mandatory mass vaccination schemes


Andrew J. Bacevich |

THE HISTORY of American liberalism is one of promoting substantively modest if superficially radical reforms in order to refurbish and sustain the status quo. From Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal to Bill Clinton’s New Covenant, liberals have specialized in jettisoning the redundant to preserve what they see as essential. In this sense, modern liberalism’s great achievement has been to deflect or neutralize calls for more fundamental change – a judgment that applies to President Obama, especially on national security.

Granted, Obama has acted with dispatch to repudiate several of George W. Bush’s most egregious blunders and for this he deserves credit. In abrogating torture, ordering the Guantanamo prison camp closed, and setting a deadline for withdrawing troops from Iraq, Obama is turning the page on a dark chapter in American statecraft. After the hectoring and posturing that figured so prominently in his predecessor’s style, the president’s preference for dialogue rather than preaching is refreshing.

But however much Obama may differ from Bush on particulars, he appears intent on sustaining the essentials on which the Bush policies were grounded.

Ray McGovern | 

Well, well. The New York Times has finally put a story together on the key role that two controversial psychologists played in devising the Bush administration’s torture policies. Guess we should be thankful for small favors.

Apparently, a NYTimes“exposé” requires a 21-month gestation period; just by way of pointing out that the substance of the Times“exposé” appeared in an article the July 2007 issue ofVanity Fair.

Katherine Eban, a Brooklyn-based journalist who writes about public health, authored that article and titled it “Rorschach and Awe.” It was the result of a careful effort to understand the role of psychologists in the torture of detainees in Guantánamo.

She identified the two psychologists as James Elmer Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, who she reported were inexperienced in interrogations and “had no proof of their tactics’ effectiveness” but nevertheless sold the Bush administration on a plan to subject captives to “psychic demolition,” essentially severing them from their personalities and scaring them “almost to death.”

In Wednesday’s New York Times, reporters Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti plow much the same ground. But please do not misunderstand. They deserve praise for finally pushing their own article past the Times‘ censors, but let’s not pretend the startling revelations are new.

The Times ought to allow the likes of Shane and Mazzetti to publish these stories when they are fresh. Alternatively, the “newspaper of record” might at least report the findings of the likes of Eban, rather than ignoring them for nearly two years.

It’s pretty much all out there now, isn’t it? Not only the Times‘ better-late-than-never “exposé,” but also:

–The (leaked) text of the report of the International Committee of the Red Cross on the torture of “high-value” detainees;

–The too-slick-by-half “legal opinions” under Department of Justice letterhead;

–The findings of the 18-month investigation by the Senate Armed Services Committee highlighting that it was President George W. Bush’s dismissal of Geneva (in his executive order of Feb. 7, 2002) that “opened the door” to abuse of detainees.


Paul Joseph Watson | 

The Obama administration is resisting an independent inquiry into the Bush torture program because top Democrats like Pelosi were complicit in approving illegal methods.

We now know why top Democrats are protecting Bush administration officials from facing an inquiry into the illegal torture program – because several of them were actually complicit in giving their approval for such methods to be used.

The White House stressed again yesterday that it would not be pursuing an investigation of key Bush administration officials, despite the manifestly provable fact that the order to torture came from the very top, which was re-affirmed with the recent release of the Senate Armed Services Committee report.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs stated yesterday, “I think the last few days might well be evidence of why something like this would likely just become a political back and forth.”

“By (definition), an independent commission would probably not be something that I would weigh in on if Congress were to create one of those,” he told reporters, according to AFP.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also said he opposed an independent torture probe, stating, “I think it would be very unwise, from my perspective, to start having commissions, boards, tribunals, until we find out what the facts are.”

In addition, upon the recent release of the torture memos, Obama’s right-hand man, chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, told ABC News that top Bush administration officials “should not be prosecuted either and that’s not the place that we go.” Obama’s statement that accompanied the release of the torture memos stated, “In releasing these memos, it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution.”


Marc A. Thiessen, President Bush’s former speechwriter, is defending torture in the Washington Post. Apparently, this is the level of clout Dick Cheney and George Bush have, when the only people out defending them are speechwriters and people who are implicated in torture.

Here is what Mr. Thiessen writes:

In releasing highly classified documents on the CIA interrogation program last week, President Obama declared that the techniques used to question captured terrorists “did not make us safer.” This is patently false. The proof is in the memos Obama made public — in sections that have gone virtually unreported in the media.

Right. The reason the section Mr. Thiessen cites has gone underreported is because it is written by the same fabulists within the DOJ who authored legal permission that gave the Executive Branch all but-dictatorial power. Plus, if Mr. Thiessen had actually ever read a CIA brief of any sort, he would understand how laughable his argument is. Here is the part of the DOJ memo he cites, which claims the CIA credits torture with keeping us safe since the attacks of September 11, 2001:

Consider the Justice Department memo of May 30, 2005. It notes that “the CIA believes ‘the intelligence acquired from these interrogations has been a key reason why al Qaeda has failed to launch a spectacular attack in the West since 11 September 2001. . . . In particular, the CIA believes that it would have been unable to obtain critical information from numerous detainees, including [Khalid Sheik Mohammed] and Abu Zubaydah, without these enhanced techniques.” The memo continues: “Before the CIA used enhanced techniques . . . KSM resisted giving any answers to questions about future attacks, simply noting, ‘Soon you will find out.’ ” Once the techniques were applied, “interrogations have led to specific, actionable intelligence, as well as a general increase in the amount of intelligence regarding al Qaeda and its affiliates.”

This is like a bad science experiment on how to best pretend that reality does not exist. I don’t know where to begin with this nonsense. Obviously claims that KSM is a success story are idiotic – not because KSM is innocent, no he is absolutely a terrorist. But because any expert will tell you that torture does not provide actionable intelligence. Don’t take my word for it. Call on any expert from the FBI to the CIA and ask them if torture works. Really, go ahead. In addition to this glaring problem, because this is not something that any expert would say, there is also the following – now pay close attention to this sentence:

the intelligence acquired from these interrogations has been a key reason why al Qaeda has failed to launch a spectacular attack in the West since 11 September 2001

That is absurd. No CIA analyst would ever make such a broad claim, because this is an unknown. You cannot possibly know what was planned in every corner of the world and what failed for reasons US intelligence had no control over. CIA analysis is always measured, from everything I have ever read and seen. It is almost as though the people at DOJ authoring these claims need someone to take responsibility for these assertions, a sort of get out jail card should these memos see the light of day.


Larry Shaughnessy | 

Missing vials of a potentially dangerous virus have prompted an Army investigation into the disappearance from a lab in Maryland.

Fort Detrick is the home of the Army's top biological research facility.

Fort Detrick is the home of the Army’s top biological research facility.

The Army’s Criminal Investigation Command agents have been visiting Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, to investigate the disappearance of the vials. Christopher Grey, spokesman for the command, said this latest investigation has found “no evidence of criminal activity.”


Matt Corley | 

In January, the Iraqi government announced that it would “not issue a new operating license to Blackwater Worldwide,” which is now known as Xe, and that the company would have to be out of the country “as soon as a joint Iraqi-U.S. committee finishes drawing up guidelines for private contractors.” But the AP reports today that the company is “still protecting U.S. diplomats in Iraq, even though the company has no license to operate there and has been told by the State Department its contracts will not be renewed two years after a lethal firefight that stirred outrage in Baghdad.” Some victims of that firefight are angry that the company has yet to leave:

Some Iraqis wounded in the September 2007 shootout by guards for the former Backwater Worldwide security firm expressed anger and dismay Tuesday after reports that the company will continue work in Iraq longer than previously thought.

Hussein Jabber, a Baghdad lawyer hit by gunfire in the deadly melee, says he was outraged at the Iraqi government for not taking a harder stance against the company, now known as Xe.

“The Blackwater personnel are mercenaries. The Iraqi government knows that very well,” said Jabber, who still has bullet fragments in his arm and side from the Sept. 16, 2007 shooting that left 17 Iraqis dead and another 20 wounded in Baghdad’s busy Nisoor Square.


Friday, March 27th 2009
Russia to end Chechnya anti-terror mission

Thursday, April 16th 2009
Russia signals end of Chechnya operation

Tuesday, April 21st 2009
Russia moves troops closer to Georgia’s capital

Steve Watson |

A newly released Senate Armed Services Committee report is garnering much media attention today, however it only confirms what we first reported in 2005 – that high-ranking Bush officials were responsible for torture of detainees and tried to shift the blame to low-ranking army officers.

The report is “a condemnation of both the Bush administration’s interrogation policies and of senior administration officials who attempted to shift the blame for abuse — such as that seen at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and Afghanistan — to low ranking soldiers,” said Democratic Senator Carl Levin, who led the investigation.

It names former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as approving an initial December 2002 memo that was taken as an approval for torture methods in U.S. run prisons worldwide.

Procedures approved in the memo were adopted in Iraq in a memo issued almost one year later in September 2003 by the Iraq war commander, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez.

The report (PDF), which has been described by some media sources as “explosive“, reveals nothing new, however, and confirms what we’ve already known for over three and a half years.

In October 2005 former U.S. Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski appeared on the Alex Jones Show to make these very revelations. We subsequently produced an article detailing her claims and also the fact that she was deliberately kept out of the loop and scapegoated to protect higher ups.



U.S. manufacturers, including major drugmakers, have legally released at least 271 million pounds of pharmaceuticals into waterways that often provide drinking water — contamination the federal government has consistently overlooked, according to an Associated Press investigation. 

Hundreds of active pharmaceutical ingredients are used in a variety of manufacturing, including drugmaking: For example, lithium is used to make ceramics and treat bipolar disorder; nitroglycerin is a heart drug and also used in explosives; copper shows up in everything from pipes to contraceptives.

Federal and industry officials say they don’t know the extent to which pharmaceuticals are released by U.S. manufacturers because no one tracks them — as drugs. But a close analysis of 20 years of federal records found that, in fact, the government unintentionally keeps data on a few, allowing a glimpse of the pharmaceuticals coming from factories.

As part of its ongoing PharmaWater investigation about trace concentrations of pharmaceuticals in drinking water, AP identified 22 compounds that show up on two lists: the EPA monitors them as industrial chemicals that are released into rivers, lakes and other bodies of water under federal pollution laws, while the Food and Drug Administration classifies them as active pharmaceutical ingredients.

The data don’t show precisely how much of the 271 million pounds comes from drugmakers versus other manufacturers; also, the figure is a massive undercount because of the limited federal government tracking.