NEW YORK – Records obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit reveal new information about the CIA’s destruction of videotapes depicting the brutal interrogation of prisoners at CIA black sites, including the precise date the tapes were destroyed and evidence that the White House was involved in early discussions about the proposed destruction. The new records, obtained by the ACLU late last week, consist principally of an index of CIA documents relating to the destruction of the tapes. The documents themselves have been withheld in their entirety, purportedly for reasons relating to national security.
On Friday, District Court Judge Gladys Kessler ordered the release from Guantánamo of Farhi Saeed bin Mohammed, a 48-year old Algerian, after granting his habeas corpus petition. Her ruling has not yet been unclassified, so the reasons for her decision are not yet clear, but it is significant that the ruling now brings to 31 the number of prisoners who have successfully challenged the basis of their detention in US courts. In contrast, just eight prisoners have lost their habeas petitions, meaning that the success rate in the prisoners’ legal challenges now stands at 80 percent.
It is also likely that her ruling will, as in all the other successful petitions, involve lambasting the government for relying on statements made by other prisoners whose unreliability has been noted by the authorities, and who were either tortured, coerced or bribed, or on statements made by the prisoners themselves while subjected to grueling and often abusive conditions, It also seems probable that the ruling will refute the government’s claims that its rag-bag of hearsay, innuendo and snippets of intelligence is coherent enough to constitute real evidence.
There was something both sad and strange about President Obama’s weak presence in China last week.
Sad because he arrived with no seeming goals and left empty handed just after visiting the ancient Great Wall, which he said gave him a perspective on time.
Strange because he allowed the Chinese rulers to quarantine his stops from the Chinese people—whether in person or on television. His main public meeting was with young Communist League students who came with scripted questions.
In an explosive new article in The Nation magazine, investigative journalist and Democracy Now! correspondent Jeremy Scahill reveals the private military firm Blackwater is part of a covert program in Pakistan that includes planning the assassination and kidnapping of Taliban and Al-Qaeda suspects. Blackwater is also said to be involved in a previously undisclosed U.S. military drone campaign that has killed scores of people inside Pakistan. The article says the program has become so secretive that top Obama administration and military officials have likely been unaware of its existence. In a Democracy Now! exclusive, Scahill joins us for his first interview since the story broke.[Includes rush transcript]
Francoise was burnt when the hut she was sleeping in was set on fire. The door was locked from the outside. Her neighbours broke the door down and she escaped with one of her children, but the other dies in the fire. Visit htt://www.condition-critical.org for more stories from people living through the war in Eastern Congo.