Daily Archives: December 8, 2007

CIA defiant over destruction of torture tapes

Sydney Morning Herald | Dec 8, 2007

Mark Mazzetti in Washington

IN 2005 the CIA destroyed at least two videotapes of the interrogation of two al-Qaeda operatives in its custody, in the midst of congressional and legal scrutiny of its secret detention program.

The tapes, recorded in 2002, showed agency officers subjecting terrorism suspects – including Abu Zubaydah, the first prisoner in CIA custody – to severe interrogation techniques. They were destroyed because there were concerns that the tapes could expose agency officers to legal action, several present and former government officials said.

In a statement to employees on Thursday, the CIA director, General Michael Hayden, said the decision to destroy the tapes was made “within the CIA”. The reason was to protect undercover officers and because they no longer had intelligence value.

But their destruction raises questions about whether agency officials withheld information from the courts and from the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the 9-11 commission), about aspects of the program. The recordings were not provided to a federal court hearing the case of the terrorism suspect Zacarias Moussaoui or to the 9-11 commission, which was appointed by the President, George Bush, and Congress, and which had formally requested the CIA produce transcripts and other documentary evidence of CIA prisoner interrogations.

The disclosures about the tapes are likely to reignite the debate over laws that allow the CIA to use more severe interrogation practices than other agencies.

A congressional conference committee voted on Wednesday to outlaw these practices, but the measure has yet to pass the full House and Senate and is likely to be vetoed by Mr Bush.

General Hayden said in his statement that the tapes posed a “serious security risk” and if they had become public they would have exposed CIA officials “and their families to retaliation from al-Qaeda and its sympathisers”.

It was not clear who authorised the destruction of the tapes, but current and former government officials said the action was approved by the Directorate of Operations, the agency’s clandestine service. Two former intelligence officials said that Porter Goss, the head of the agency at the time, was not told about the tapes’ destruction and was angry to learn of it later.

General Hayden said leaders of congressional oversight committees had been fully briefed about the tapes’ existence and destruction. But one House Intelligence Committee member insisted Congress had not been notified of the decision in 2005.

Australian PM sets forth plan for a New World Order

“It would seem that men and women need a common motivation, namely a common adversary, to organize and act together in the vacuum such as motivation seemed to have ceased to exist or have yet to be found. The need for enemies seems to be a common historical factor…

Bring the divided nation together to face an outside enemy, either a real one or else one INVENTED for the purpose…

Democracy will be made to seem responsible for the lagging economy, the scarcity and uncertainties. The very concept of democracy could then be brought into question and allow for the seizure of power.

In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. The real enemy [of the elites and their minions] then is humanity itself.”

– “The First Global Revolution” (1991) published by the Club of Rome. Members of the Club of Rome include: Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, Bill Gates, George Soros and author of the Kyoto Protocols Maurice Strong.

Rudd draws his New World Order

 

Sydney Morning Herald | December 8, 2007

The new Prime Minister has signalled big changes, writes Cynthia Banham.

A year ago, Kevin Rudd had his hands full simply trying to make a dent on the Howard government’s domination of Australian politics.

This week, in a few carefully chosen words to the Herald, the new Prime Minister moved decisively to put his – and Australia’s – stamp on global affairs.

National leaders usually take time to grow comfortable in the demanding role of player on the international stage. Australia’s new Prime Minister, a former diplomat, is already into stride.

Rudd’s bid to deal Australia back into global climate-change negotiations turned more than 11 years of the nation’s foreign policy posture under John Howard on its head.

As revealed in the Herald, Rudd has a grand plan for Australia to act as a climate-change broker to bring together the widely divergent developed and developing countries under a new international agreement.

In so doing, Rudd banished to history the Howard administration’s foreign affairs model – with its rejection of multilateralism, and its reliance on bilateralism or ad hoc “coalitions of the willing” outside the framework of the United Nations.

In its place is a fresh embrace of the liberal internationalism favoured by Labor governments; in other words, multilateral dealings centred on the new Government’s ambitious determination to establish Australia as a key player in middle-power diplomacy.

This repositioning of Australia’s role in the global community will have its first test next week at the Bali climate-change talks.

Labor re-embracing multilateralism is not the only change in foreign policy under Rudd. And while the Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith, is a polished and smart performer, he has no foreign policy experience. It will be Rudd pulling the strings.

Allan Gyngell, the executive director of the Lowy Institute for International Policy, says while the broad shape of Australia’s foreign policy includes a strong relationship with the United States, close engagement with Asia, and support for an open trading system, there will be changes.

“I think we’re going to see substantial internal renovations – in other words those broad objectives will remain, but inside the interior decorators will be hard at work,” Gyngell says.

So, for instance, although Rudd places central importance on the US alliance, just as the Howard government did, get ready to see a different interpretation of the relationship with Washington. The friendship Howard developed with the US President, George Bush, after the 2001 terrorist attacks no longer defines the alliance. We will still be close, but expect to see a more independent Canberra.

. . .

Related

China says one-child policy helps protect climate

Global warming hysteria serves as excuse for world government
If world government is to be achieved by consent, the world must be sold on the idea of world government and its necessity

Al Gore’s Global Green Fascism
In a New York Times editorial, Al Gore says we need a new generational mission to combat global warming. What he really wants is government control of the economy.

Globalists Love Global Warming
Trilateral Commission, chairman of British Petroleum, CFR, Club of Rome fan hysteria to achieve world government

Brother of Blackwater board member impeded Iraq probe

Mcclatchy-tribune | Dec 7, 2007

Inspector general at State forced out

By WARREN P. STROBEL

WASHINGTON — Embattled State Department Inspector General Howard Krongard submitted his resignation Friday, forced out for allegedly impeding ongoing criminal investigations into the construction of a new, $740 million U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and into the security firm Blackwater Worldwide.

A State Department official said that Krongard had become a political liability, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, through aides, asked him this week to leave. The official insisted on anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak about personnel matters.

Krongard came under fire from his own investigators and from a congressional panel for allegedly blocking probes into serious claims of wrongdoing in Iraq.

Those allegations include contract fraud and shoddy workmanship in the troubled Baghdad embassy and arms smuggling by Blackwater.

Krongard initially vowed to fight the accusations against him. But his position collapsed at a House of Representatives hearing last month when he was asked whether his brother, former top CIA official Alvin “Buzzy” Krongard, had accepted a position on a Blackwater advisory board. Krongard first denounced what he said were “ugly rumors,” then, after telephoning his brother, reversed himself.

Only then did he recuse himself from any more supervision of the growing Blackwater investigation. (His brother subsequently resigned from the Blackwater post.) Krongard had also been asked by the Justice Department to withdraw from the investigation into the embassy construction scandal.

In a 2 1/2 -page letter to President Bush, Krongard portrayed the decision to leave as his own and said he was departing with “a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment,” but he also suggested that he was the victim of partisan politics.

In a separate statement, he declined comment on the charges that have swirled around since mid-September.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said in a statement: “Mr. Krongard’s decision removes an enormous distraction from the Inspector General’s office and will allow the office to focus on its important oversight responsibilities.”

The State Department’s inspector general is supposed to investigate criminal wrongdoing, audit contracts and inspect the agency’s embassies and missions worldwide.

Scandal-Plagued Mercenary Firm Blackwater Makes a Play for the Big Money

 

The Nation | Dec 8, 2007

By Jeremy Scahill

Despite disgrace, Blackwater’s business is booming and the company is pursuing political power from deep inside Mitt Romney’s campaign.

Gunning down seventeen Iraqi civilians in an incident the military has labeled “criminal.” Multiple Congressional investigations. A federal grand jury. Allegations of illegal arms smuggling. Wrongful death lawsuits brought by families of dead employees and US soldiers. A federal lawsuit alleging war crimes. Charges of steroid use by trigger-happy mercenaries. Allegations of “significant tax evasion.” The US-installed government in Iraq labeling its forces “murderers.” With a new scandal breaking practically every day, one would think Blackwater security would be on the ropes, facing a corporate meltdown or even a total wipeout. But it seems that business for the company has never been better, as it continues to pull in major federal contracts. And its public demeanor grows bolder and cockier by the day.

Rather than hiding out and hoping for the scandals to fade, the Bush Administration’s preferred mercenary company has launched a major rebranding campaign, changing its name to Blackwater Worldwide and softening its logo: once a bear paw in the site of a sniper scope, it’s now a bear claw wrapped in two half ovals — sort of like the outline of a globe with a United Nations feel. Its website boasts of a corporate vision “guided by integrity, innovation, and a desire for a safer world.” Blackwater mercenaries are now referred to as “global stabilization professionals.” Blackwater’s 38-year-old owner, Erik Prince, was No. 11 in Details magazine’s “Power 50,” the men “who control your viewing patterns, your buying habits, your anxieties, your lust. … the people who have taken over the space in your head.”

In one of the company’s most bizarre recent actions, on December 1 Blackwater paratroopers staged a dramatic aerial landing, complete with Blackwater flags and parachutes — not in Baghdad or Kabul but in San Diego at Qualcomm Stadium during the halftime show at the San Diego State/BYU football game. The location was interesting, given that Blackwater is fighting fierce local opposition to its attempt to open a new camp — Blackwater West — on 824 acres in the small rural community of Potrero, just outside San Diego. Blackwater’s parachute squad plans to land at the Armed Forces Bowl in Texas this month and the Virginia Gold Cup in May. The company recently sponsored a NASCAR racer, and it has teamed up with gun manufacturer Sig Sauer to create a Blackwater Special Edition full-sized 9-millimeter pistol with the company logo on the grip. It comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty. For $18, parents can purchase infant onesies with the company logo.

In recent weeks, Blackwater has indicated it might quit Iraq. “We see the security market diminishing,” Prince told the Wall Street Journal in October. Yet on December 3 Blackwater posted job listings for “security specialists” and snipers as a result of its State Department diplomatic security “contract expansion.” While its name may be mud in the human rights world, Blackwater has not only made big money in Iraq (about $1 billion in State Department contracts); it has secured a reputation as a company that keeps US officials alive by any means necessary. The dirty open secret in Washington is that Blackwater has done its job in Iraq, even if it has done so by valuing the lives of Iraqis much lower than those of US VIPs. That badass image will serve it well as it expands globally.

Prince promises that Blackwater “is going to be more of a full spectrum” operation. Amid the cornucopia of scandals, Blackwater is bidding for a share of a five-year, $15 billion contract with the Pentagon to “fight terrorists with drug-trade ties.” Perhaps the firm will join the mercenary giant DynCorp in Colombia or Bolivia or be sent into Mexico on a “training” mission. This “war on drugs” contract would put Blackwater in the arena with the godfathers of the war business, including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon.

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