Latest News

“It's not the journalist's role to decide what the public can see” - SARAH HARRISON interviewed by the European Centre for Press & Media Freedom

May 17, 2018
GAMEC HANGER is the annual conference of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom on 28 -29 May 2018 in Leipzig. Its theme is the controversial role of new technology in the future of media freedom. To inform debate, ECPMF is publishing several articles. In an interview with former WikiLeaks editor Sarah Harrison, who helped whistleblower Edward Snowden to escape to Russia, ECPMF discusses the issues raised in her new book “Women, whistleblowing and WikiLeaks“, published by OR Books.

Read the full interview here.

ALEX NUNNS discusses the state of the British Labour Party at Politics Theory Other

May 16, 2018
This week I’m joined by Alex Nunns, author of The Candidate: Jeremy Corbyn's Improbable Path to Power to discuss the Labour Party after the local elections, the balance of power within the PLP, and the prospects for a new centrist party.

Listen to the full interview here.

The Birth of the Focus Group - read an extract from DIVINING DESIRE in Quirk's Marketing Research Review

May 16, 2018

Read the full extract here.

“A murderous assault on nonviolent protesters” - NORMAN FINKELSTEIN on Gaza at The Real News

May 15, 2018
Norman Finkelstein says that Israeli forces have conducted “a murderous assault on non-violent protesters” in Gaza’s Great March of Return because non-violent protest threatens not Israel, but its occupation.

Watch the full interview here.

London's 'War Zone': What Trump and Others Don't See - read an excerpt from TALES OF TWO LONDONS at City Lab

May 15, 2018
Trump angered Brits when he cited London’s increasing knife violence recently, saying a city hospital there was “like a war zone.” In this excerpt from Tales of Two Londons, the authors describe the joys and threats in a London neighborhood..

Read the full excerpt here.

“This world is replete with morally complex problems... Gaza is not one of them.” - JAMIE STERN-WEINER at the Verso blog

May 15, 2018
For more than a decade, Gaza—a narrow strip along the Mediterranean coast—has been subjected to a suffocating economic siege. The siege was imposed by Israel and its international accomplices after the election of the Hamas government in 2006, as a form of ‘economic warfare’. The objective was to cripple Gaza’s economy in the hopes that the suffering thereby inflicted would induce Gaza’s civilian population—70 percent of whom are refugees and more than half of whom are children—to turn against their rulers. To this end, the flow of goods as well as people across Gaza’s perimeter was reduced to the bare minimum. The guiding principle was explained by one of the architects of Israel’s Gaza policy, Dov Weisglass: ‘It’s like a diet—the Palestinians will lose lots of weight, but they won’t die’. That is, humanitarian aid would be allowed entry but the inputs required for a functioning economy would be blocked. International human rights organisations have unsurprisingly condemned this mediaeval-like policy as a ‘collective punishment’ (International Committee of the Red Cross) imposed in ‘flagrant violation of international law’ (Amnesty International).

Read the full article here.

“For seventy years, Israeli violence has permeated every aspect of Palestinians’ lives” - GREG SHUPAK writes for Jacobin

May 15, 2018
n May 14,1948, seventy years ago, Israel issued its “declaration of independence.” Since then, every May 15 has been Nakba Day, when Palestinians mark the ethnic cleansing of their people entailed by the creation of Israel. This Nakba Day will feature the culmination of the Great Return March, when Palestinians will march en masse to the fence Israel erected to separate Gaza and Israel and say that they intend to try to pass through the barrier. As of this writing, Israel has already killed at least 52 Palestinian demonstrators in what Amnesty International has called “an abhorrent violation of international law,” involving “what appear to be willful killings constituting war crimes.” Like other settler colonial states, Israel aims to asphyxiate the socially reproductive capacities of the indigenous populations it seeks to dominate. That imperative is particularly urgent in the Israeli case, where the Jewish and non-Jewish populations under the state’s control are of comparable size and the land in question is relatively small. This discriminatory denial of rights extends to Palestinians across the globe, whether they live as second-class citizens of Israel, under occupation, in the diaspora or in refugees camps. All are prevented from returning to their homes through the use of violence and with decisive help from the US.

Read the full article here.

MEDEA BENJAMIN on the Iran nuclear deal and the peace talks in Korea on RT's Jesse Ventura show

May 14, 2018
Jesse Ventura and Brigida Santos discuss the importance of diplomacy when it comes to North Korea and Iran. Author and Code Pink activist, Medea Benjamin, discusses her book, “Inside Iran: the Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Benjamin shares the history of America’s relationship with Iran and weighs in on the fate of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—the Iran Nuclear Deal.

The interview begins after 11 minutes and can be seen in full here.

SARI BASHI, contributor to MOMENT OF TRUTH on Gaza and the occupation at The Real News

May 14, 2018
In a new book, “Moment of Truth,” Sari Bashi discusses the 11-year blockade that has driven Gazans to the brink. With water unfit to drink, denial of education, healthcare and mobility, Gazans don’t have much to lose, she says.

Watch the full interview here.

“We Must Speak Up Against Israel's Slaughter in Gaza” - JAMIE STERN-WEINER and MUHAMMAD SHEHADA write for Vice

May 14, 2018
For over a decade, the Gaza Strip has been subjected to a brutal, medieval-style siege. Imposed by Israel after the election of the Hamas government in 2006, the stated objective of the siege was "economic warfare": to block all economic activity in Gaza and thereby turn the civilian population against its leadership. To this end, imports were restricted to what Israeli bureaucrats deemed a humanitarian necessity, while exports were almost completely prohibited. At the same time, the number of exit permits issued to Gazans was sharply reduced. As their economy suffocated and living standards plunged, the people of Gaza, hemmed in from the land, air and sea, were unable even to flee. In effect, Gaza was transformed – in the words of former UK Prime Minister David Cameron – into a "prison camp".

Read the full article here.

GREG SHUPAK on the mainstream media's narrow Iran debate at FAIR

May 14, 2018
The debate in the New York Times and Washington Post over President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran deal, revolves around which tactics America should use to dominate Iran.

Read the full article here.

MEDEA BENJAMIN on Trump's Foreign Policy and her new book INSIDE IRAN on The Zero Hour

May 14, 2018
With the Unites States withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal, we are in a critical moment with US/Iranian relations. Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK, joins Richard Eskow to discuss Trump’s foreign policy and her latest book, “Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Watch the full interview here.

ELI VALLEY on the rift between diaspora Jews and Israel at i24 News

May 14, 2018
'I'm uncomfortable with Zionism because I don't like to be told that Jewish values reached their culmination through the dispossession of an entire other people,' Eli Valley, author of the acclaimed Diaspora Boy, tells i24NEWS' David Shuster.

Watch the full interview here.

MEDEA BENJAMIN discusses the Iran nuclear deal and the peace process in Korea on TruthOut

May 11, 2018
President Trump announced Tuesday he is pulling the United States out of the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal, brokered by his predecessor, President Obama. That same day, Trump's new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to North Korea to finalize plans for President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to hold a landmark face-to-face meeting. For more on President Trump, the Iran nuclear deal and efforts to avoid nuclear proliferation and nuclear war, we speak with Media Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink, author of "Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran." She has also participated in the peace delegation to North Korea, Women Cross DMZ.

Watch the full interview here.

Alex Salmond interviews MEDEA BENJAMIN, author of INSIDE IRAN on RT

May 11, 2018
On this episode of Fault Lines, hosts Garland Nixon and Lee Stranahan discuss Rudy Giuliani's return to the spotlight since joining President Trump's legal team. In addition to comments regarding Stormy Daniels, Giuliani spoke in favor of regime change in Iran as the Trump administration seeks to address both foreign and domestic policy challenges.

The interview with Medea starts at 15 minutes in. You can watch the full interview here.

Gina Haspel, the CIA, and THE TORTURE REPORT

May 9, 2018

Black Sites, Lies, and Videotape


Gina Haspel, President’s nominee to lead the CIA, will testify in front of Congress today about her supervision of a black site in Thailand where detainees are known to have been tortured. Hers is a role the CIA—which at the time had no organizational background or experience running detention facilities—has deliberately obscured. Below, from Larry Siems’ 2011 book The Torture Report, is an account of the torture of a number of detainees in Thailand, as well as a look into the site’s administration around the time of Haspel’s tenure.

redacted document from the torture report
Inventory of 92 videotapes of the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah in the CIA black site in Thailand, available at http://www.aclu.org/files/assets/cia_release20100415_p10-18.pdf.

 


On November 20, 2002, a suspected Afghan military in his early thirties named Gul Rahman was doused with water, shackled naked to the floor, and left overnight in a frigid cell in a CIA black site known as “The Salt Pit” on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan. He died of hypothermia. The supervisor of the facility, an agent with no experience as an interrogator or a jailer, ordered him buried in an unmarked grave.

As this was happening, the CIA was dispatching one of its lawyers to the black site in Thailand to review the videotapes of the Abu Zubaydah interrogation. For weeks the agency had been discussing destroying the tapes; a cable sent from the secret prison to headquarters in August, the month Zubaydah was waterboarded eighty-three times, discussed “the security risks of videotape retention” and suggested “new procedures for videotape retention and disposal.” A September 6, 2002 email between CIA attorneys has as its subject “Destruction proposal on disposition of videotapes at fi eld,” and an email two months later “from a CIA officer to CIA officers and attorneys” dated November 6 follows up with the “proper procedures for destruction of the interrogation videotapes.”

But Langley had decided it wanted a “random independent review” of the tapes first, and so in late November, an attorney from the CIA General Counsel’s office was sent to verify that Abu Zubaydah’s torment had followed the approved script. With his assurances that it had, the discussion resumed: on November 27, a cable was sent from the black site “requesting approval for destruction of the interrogation tapes,” and on December 3, 2002, headquarters responded with a cable with the subject line “Closing of facility and destruction of classified information” and an email “outlining the destruction plan for the videotapes.”

In the midst of this exchange, back in Afghanistan, CIA agents delivered a young mullah named Habibulah into the hands of army interrogators at Bagram Collection Point, a converted hangar at the former Soviet airbase about fifty kilometers north of Kabul. Within a week, an Armed Services Medical Examiner reported, “the remains” were “presented for autopsy clothed in a disposable diaper. No additional clothing or personal effects accompan[ied] the body.”

Habibulah had been “found unresponsive, restrained in his cell”—handcuffed to the wire mesh ceiling of the plywood-walled isolation cell, that is—at 12:15 a.m. on December 4, 2002. The military first claimed he had died of natural causes. The Medical Examiner, however, concluded the cause of death was “pulmonary embolism due to blunt force injuries”; the Manner of Death, “homicide.”

The day Habibulah was killed, the CIA switched off the video cameras and closed down its black site in Thailand. In addition to the torture of Abu Zubaydah, they had for the previous two weeks been recording the interrogation of a second “high value detainee,” Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, whose arrest the administration trumpeted on November 21, 2002. Th e alleged chief of Al Qaeda operations in the Persian Gulf and the suspected organizer of the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, al-Nashiri was captured in Dubai in October and held for a time at the Salt Pit in Afghanistan before being flown to Thailand on November 15—where, as the CIA’s Inspector General observes blandly, “The interrogation proceeded after [redacted] the necessary authorization.”

“Psychologist/interrogators began Al-Nashiri’s interrogations using EITs immediately upon his arrival,” the Inspector General reported. A largely redacted documented headed “Summary,” “CTC’s interrogation efforts” [redacted] “with the interrogation of Al-Nashiri” dated November 20, 2002 records that “Al-Nashiri has undergone [redacted] interrogation with the HVT interrogators using [redacted]” and “Al-Nashiri is becoming more compliant and is providing actionable intelligence.” Even so, Mitchell’s team kept climbing the force continuum. The Inspector General found that although al-Nashiri “provided lead information on other terrorists during his first day of interrogation,” the use of EITs continued for eleven more days, and on the twelfth day, “psychologist/interrogators administered two applications of the waterboard to Al-Nashiri during two separate interrogation sessions.”

They didn’t stop there. Th e cameras were switched off on December 4th; that day, al-Nashiri and Zubaydah were bundled onto a CIA-leased jet and flown to Dubai and on to a new secret CIA detention facility located near the airport in Szymany, Poland. The plane, a leased twenty two-seat Gulfstream jet carrying the two detainees and the six-person CIA rendition team, landed in Poland on December 5th; al-Nashiri’s “enhanced interrogation” resumed immediately and continued for two more weeks, at which time his interrogators “assessed him to be ‘compliant.’”


Further Reading

[display-posts tag="torture-report" include_date="true" posts_per_page="100"]

“The peace movement must mobilize” - MEDEA BENJAMIN discusses the Iran Nuclear deal on Democracy Now

May 9, 2018
President Trump announced Tuesday he is pulling the United States out of the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal, brokered by his predecessor, President Obama. That same day, Trump’s new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to North Korea to finalize plans for President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to hold a landmark face-to-face meeting. For more on President Trump, the Iran nuclear deal and efforts to avoid nuclear proliferation and nuclear war, we speak with Media Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink, author of “Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” She has also participated in the peace delegation to North Korea, Women Cross DMZ.

Watch the full interview here.

MEDEA BENJAMIN discusses INSIDE IRAN and the Iran Nuclear deal on Faultlines

May 8, 2018
On this episode of Fault Lines, hosts Garland Nixon and Lee Stranahan discuss Rudy Giuliani's return to the spotlight since joining President Trump's legal team. In addition to comments regarding Stormy Daniels, Giuliani spoke in favor of regime change in Iran as the Trump administration seeks to address both foreign and domestic policy challenges.

The interview with Medea starts at 2 hours and 15 minutes. You can listen to the full interview here.

ARIEL DORFMAN on the Vietnam War and how Hollywood reframes U.S. imperialism, at Democracy Now

May 7, 2018
Extended interview with the writers Viet Thanh Nguyen and Ariel Dorfman, who have both contributed essays to the new collection, “The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives.” Nguyen won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel “The Sympathizer.” Dorfman has been described as one of the greatest Latin American novelists. His latest novel is “Darwin’s Ghosts.

Watch the full interview here.

“War is the way Americans learn geography” - MEDEA BENJAMIN discusses INSIDE IRAN at The New Humanist

May 7, 2018
In the decades since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, bitter relations have persisted between the US and Iran. Why is this? In her latest book, Inside Iran (OR Books), Medea Benjamin explores the complex relationship between the two countries. Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK and the fair trade advocacy group Global Exchange, is one of America’s best-known 21st-century activists. She has won a number of plaudits for her peace activism - including in 2012, the US Peace Memorial Foundation’s Peace Prize; the 2014 Gandhi Peace Award and the 2010 Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Prize. Here, she discusses Iran, US foreign policy, and protest in America today.

Read the full interview here.