Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 12th, 2014 at 03:34:30 PM EST
I interrogated the top terrorist in US custody. Then the CIA came to town | Ali Soufan | Comment is free | theguardian.com

In the middle of my interrogation of the high-ranking terrorist Abu Zubaydah at a black-site prison 12 years ago, my intelligence work wasn't just cut short for so-called enhanced interrogation techniques to begin. After I left the black site, those who took over left, too - for 47 days. For personal time and to "confer with headquarters".

For nearly the entire summer of 2002, Abu Zubaydah was kept in isolation. That was valuable lost time, and that doesn't square with claims about the "ticking bomb scenarios" that were the basis for America's enhanced interrogation program, or with the commitment to getting life-saving, actionable intelligence from valuable detainees. The techniques were justified by those who said Zubaydah "stopped all cooperation" around the time my fellow FBI agent and I left. If Zubaydah was in isolation the whole time, that's not really a surprise.

One of the hardest things we struggled to make sense of, back then, was why US officials were authorizing harsh techniques when our interrogations were working and their harsh techniques weren't. The answer, as the long-awaited Senate Intelligence Committee report now makes clear, is that the architects of the program were taking credit for our success, from the unmasking of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as the mastermind of 9/11 to the uncovering of the "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla. The claims made by government officials for years about the efficacy of "enhanced interrogation", in secret memos and in public, are false. "Enhanced interrogation" doesn't work.

Turns out Abu Zubaydah's misfortune was that the "enhanced interrogators" decided that he must confess to being al-Qaida #3, in spite of the FBI's information that he wasn't even a member.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Dec 12th, 2014 at 03:34:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
British agents may have known of `odd case' of CIA torture, says Lord West | US news | The Guardian

British agents may have been aware of the "odd case" of torture by CIA officers and may even have been present while waterboarding was happening but a full public inquiry would be a waste of time, Lord West, a former Home Office minister and ex-chief of defence intelligence, has said.

The senior Labour politician said there was no need for a new inquiry despite growing political pressure for a full investigation into British complicity in torture in the wake of a damning report about CIA torture of detainees in the wake of 9/11.

It's funny when the culprit decides that there is no need to investigate...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Dec 12th, 2014 at 03:34:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The British learned a long time ago not to ask questions where you won't like the answer

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Dec 13th, 2014 at 12:49:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Meet James Mitchell, CIA's post-9/11 torture architect whose firm we paid $80 million - Boing Boing

James Elmer Mitchell, a former Air Force psychologist credited with teaching the CIA how to torture war on terror detainees in the 2000s, is the subject of an on-camera interview with VICE correspondent Kaj Larsen.

This isn't the first time Dr. Mitchell has been profiled. We first heard about him in a 2005 New Yorker article, the New York Times, and the Guardian have explored the role he and Dr. Bruce Jessen played in designing the CIA's "Enhanced Interrogation Program."

But VICE got him on camera for a sitdown interview for the first time. When you watch it, remember: the contracting firm this man ran with Jessen is said to have received more than $80 million from the CIA to teach the CIA how to torture people. And some of that torture included anal rape, freezing people to death, and shoving hummus and nuts up men's asses.

Oh, and taxpayers covered $5 million in legal fees to then cover Mitchell and Jessen's own asses.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sat Dec 13th, 2014 at 04:19:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gaining information is just cover.

The US tortures people for the same reasons that other empires has. It is used for domination, to coerce cooperation, to scare people, to satisy the urge for vengeance.

It was never about information, that is just the sales pitch.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Dec 13th, 2014 at 08:06:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It doesn't even make sense on that level.

I am very sure what is actually going on is that people in authority have simply watched too much "24" and similar drivel and are basing policy off that.

I come to this theory - That torture is simply happening because the people running the show are mind-numbingly stupid, based on the fact that the only thing torture is actually achieving is the erosion of US moral authority.
It isn't common or targeted enough to even register as a risk factor to people who grew up in places like saudi arabia or afghanistan.

But the fact that the US tortures? That proves that any claim the US makes to being a fundamentally different  country - a country of laws, principles and ideals, is a sham. So couple of centuries of building a mythology of being the city on the hill? The country that actually tries to be better? Lets just wreck that for.. No gain at all.

So, the only theories that fit the facts is that the US has a serious problem of Manchurian Candidates trying really hard to wreck things from within, or you know, the people in charge are very, very stupid.

It's basically the same "Hard Choices" fallacy that is wrecking the economy of the western world, policy makers doing things that are obviously, blatantly just flat out evil and then patting themselves on the back and naming it necessity. But that name is a lie. It's just Evil.

by Thomas on Sun Dec 14th, 2014 at 04:25:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mind-numbingly stupid would work except this is not new to the CIA.

CIA Torture Made Latin America Safe for China

In fact, as the Senate Intelligence Subcommittee's report on torture makes clear, a direct line runs between what happened in Central America and U.S. torture methods during the George W. Bush administration: An officer who had been rebuked by the CIA's inspector general for his interrogation methods in Latin America during the 1980s became the CIA's chief of interrogations in its Renditions Group in 2002.

They mainstreamed an oppression technique that sometimes work and sometimes doesn't. Fear and awe, but mostly fear.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Dec 15th, 2014 at 03:56:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Deterrence effects scale very badly from severity of consequence and very well from probability of said consequence occurring - this is well known and thoroughly proven, if not acted on in terms of policy very often.

In order to oppress via torture you have to torture a very high percentage of the people who are conspicuously annoying to your regime.
In other words, it was predictable that the US torture program wouldn't work, even if I assume the people in charge are actual mustache twirling imperialist sith lords. So, back to theory of "Stupid" and "overly fond of thriller plots".

by Thomas on Mon Dec 15th, 2014 at 10:49:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Court rejects attempt to allow Edward Snowden into Germany | US news | The Guardian

The Green and Left parties wanted the whistleblower to give evidence in person to a parliamentary committee investigating espionage by the US agency, but Germany's constitutional court ruled against them on Friday.

The government has argued that Snowden's presence in Germany could impair relations with the US and put it under pressure to extradite him.

It has suggested sending the committee - which consists of eight MPs - to interview him in Moscow, where Snowden is living in exile. Snowden has said through a lawyer that he is prepared to speak to the panel only if permitted to do so in Germany.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 12th, 2014 at 03:35:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Growing share of European development aid disguised as loans | EurActiv

EXCLUSIVE: About a third of German, and more than half of French development aid payments made since 2005 were in fact loans to poorer countries on which they will receive interests, EurActiv can reveal.

Last year, Germany and France fell far short of their 2015 development aid targets, despite bundling loans and domestic administrative costs with grants as part of their total payment.

In 2005, EU member states committed to increase Official Development Assistance (ODA) to 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) by 2015. That was reaffirmed at a meeting of EU leaders in February 2013.

Only the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Luxembourg hit the 0.7% target in 2013. Those countries used either no, or very few, loans to make up their numbers in 2013.

Note the mistake in the title: it should be loans disguised as aid, not aid disguised as loan...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Dec 12th, 2014 at 03:35:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Africa's elite exploit Chinese development aid, study reveals | EurActiv

A recent study shows China's development aid for Africa flows primarily to the birth regions of leading African politicians, while geopolitical interests only play a secondary role for Beijing. EurActiv Germany reports.

China's growing importance for Africa is under increasing scrutiny from politicians in the West. This led an international research team, with members from the University of Heidelberg, to focus on Chinese development aid.

The results show Chinese development aid for Africa goes predominantly to home regions of leading African politicians. This also applied when there was greater need for aid in another part of the same country, the authors write.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 12th, 2014 at 03:35:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Africa's elite exploit Chinese development aid, study reveals.

FIFY. In that, and many other areas, Chinese is little different from European or US "aid".

by Bernard on Sun Dec 14th, 2014 at 05:18:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed the second paragraph I quoted, though doubtless the work of a Euractiv desk editor, reads like a dead give-away of hypocrisy regarding embezzlement of Western aid by the same elites. However, this is still a valid counter to naive people who believe that Chinese development aid is somehow a better alternative to the West's.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Dec 14th, 2014 at 02:13:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think you necessarily need to be naive to believe that Chinese aid is usually a better alternative. Simply having alternatives will tend to improve the bargaining power of the recipient country, which can hardly fail to improve the quality of the aid. Add to this the fact that China, as the geopolitical underdog and new entrant in most of these countries, normally does have to offer better deals.

Of course "better than the British Empire" is not precisely an impressively challenging bar to clear.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 14th, 2014 at 03:46:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well, it could have been say th Congo Free State...

the first PPP in world history.

by IM on Sun Dec 14th, 2014 at 04:09:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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