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If one did not know who Richard Zuley was from reporter Jess Bravin's account, or from my article linking Zuley, the interrogation leader in the torture of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, with a history of alleged Chicago police frame-up and coerced confessions (reported at The Dissenter last November), the splash of notoriety from a recent series of articles by Spencer Ackerman at The Guardian certainly made the former Chicago detective a near-household name.

While Ackerman himself, and others, have concentrated in follow-up stories on revelations of the existence of a so-called police "black site" at Homan Square, where cops reportedly lock-up suspects "off the books," and torture them, or on the larger issue of police abuse in Chicago or other major American cities, Zuley's links to military and other possible intelligence agencies have remained largely unexamined.

The lingering question remains: how did Zuley get from the Chicago precinct house to the interrogation booths at Guantnamo? Why was someone like him put in charge of the Special Projects Team responsible for the interrogation of an ostensible high-value detainee like Slahi, answering in the chain-of-command directly to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld?

If we follow the story down that rabbit hole, we will see that Zuley's background links to the role played by the Pentagon's European Command (EUCOM) in renditioning prisoners to Guantanamo. While we don't know if Zuley played any role in these renditions, it seems highly likely he knew of them, as he apparently worked for what Washington Post reporter Dana Priest once called the "super-secret" Joint Analysis Center (JAC) at EUCOM headquarters in England.

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As reported at The Guardian, this coming week we will see the publication of the first book by a Guantanamo detainee who is still imprisoned on the U.S.-run strategic interrogation prison site in Cuba.

The detainee is Mohamedou Ould Slahi, prisoner number 760, and the subject of a special torture experiment by Department of Defense interrogators in 2003. His own diary of his experiences are being excerpted at The Guardian.

The subject of this diary extends our knowledge of Slahi's torture, and how Guantanamo's torture program worked in general. But it also extends our knowledge of how the U.S. torture regime had intimate links with domestic police abuse in the United States.

As we'll see, a former Chicago policeman, currently being sued for framing up an innocent man from murder, who was only released from jail by a judge last year after serving some 20 years in prison, was in fact put in charge of Guantanamo's Special Projects Team, and led the torture of Mr. Slahi.

The following is reposted from its original publication at The Dissenter/FDL:

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Recent revelations about the content of a still secret Senate report on the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation program, which allowed for use of torture, highlight the use of techniques used by a little-known military department.

These techniques from the military’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape program (SERE) had been lifted from a mock-torture prison camp exercise used to inoculate U.S. prisoners against the effects of torture. Two military psychologists hired as contractors for the CIA allegedly helped form the CIA’s controversial “enhanced interrogation” program.

James Mitchell, one of the two psychologists, recently told The Guardian newspaper he could not talk about the specifics of the program due to a non-disclosure agreement, which carried "criminal and civil penalties" should he violate it. But the details of the program, used in slightly different forms by both the CIA and the Department of Defense have been examined in numerous press and governmental reports.

Currently, the use of SERE techniques is supposedly banned for use by both CIA and Defense Department interrogators.

But a key U.S. Defense Department directive rewritten only a month before Barack Obama was first elected President used a legalistically-carved definition for SERE techniques to hide the fact that important components of the SERE interrogation techniques that could amount to torture were still available to U.S. interrogators.

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On February 21, attorneys for six former Guantanamo prisoners took their civil case against Donald Rumsfeld and a number of U.S. military officials to federal appeals court. Rumsfeld and the others are being sued "for the torture, religious abuse and other mistreatment of plaintiffs," according to a press release from Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR).

Unremarked in the otherwise thin press coverage of this case was the fact that four of the six former prisoners charge the U.S. with forced drugging, via pills or injections. In one case, a special riot squad known as the "Extreme Reaction Force" entered the cell of one of the prisoners to restrain him and force medications upon him.

The former prisoners were from Turkey, Uzbekistan and Algeria. According to an Agence France-Presse account published at The Raw Story the day of the hearing, "the judges will make their ruling in several weeks, but one of them, Judge David Tatel, said military and civilian officials at the Pentagon had failed in their duty.

"'Their job is to protect the detainees from abuse, they failed to do so,' he said."

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A report by a multidisciplinary task force, made up largely of medical professionals, ethicists and legal experts, has called on President Obama to issue an executive order outlawing torture and other abusive techniques currently in use in the military's Army Field Manual on interrogations. The Task Force, which wrote the report for The Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) and the Open Society Foundations (OSF), has also called on the Department of Defense to rewrite the Army Field Manual in accordance with such an executive order.

The recommendation for action on the Army Field Manual (AFM) was the second finding and recommendation in the report (PDF):

The president has issued an executive order prohibiting the use of torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, and has repudiated Justice Department legal memoranda authorizing its use. However, the Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations, which binds both military and CIA interrogators, permits methods of interrogation that are recognized under international law as forms of torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. Such methods include sleep deprivation, isolation, and exploitation of fear.
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Whatever the fate of the recent proposal to disarm Syria's chemical weapon arsenal, there remain many reasons why one should oppose U.S. military action against Syria. But given that the government was trumpeting air strikes as a righteous response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, there is one reason to oppose U.S. action that carries with it more than the usual amount of painful irony.

It is difficult to know how to introduce this subject, as it is so dark and evil, and the U.S. population has been lied to for so long about it, that I fear the initial reaction very likely can only be shock and denial. And yet, the crimes to which I am about to refer are quite well documented, and were themselves the focus of a Congressional bill in 2000 directing the National Archives to specially search for and release the relevant documentation. The deaths involved are said to approach half-a-million souls, and the injuries of many are still ongoing.

Kept "Top Secret" in "Intelligence Channels"

Here, in summary, are the primary facts. As you read this, remember that the U.S. government not only amnestied those involved in the following war crimes, but paid them for the information they could provide, and in some cases hired them. The decision was made by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the State Department, and possibly the new CIA and the new president, Truman. The idea for the deal was prompted by General Douglas MacArthur, military doctors at Ft. Detrick, and officials in the U.S. Chemical Warfare Service. It was famously decided that all that you are about to read now would be kept as "top secret," not to be released outside "intelligence channels." And it wasn't... for about 35 years.

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Note: The following diary is not meant to trash Barack Obama. I spent a good deal of time researching it, and I had a lot of discussion with a DoD spokesman clarifying the issues. I stand by everything written in this article, and have taken the time to document the content carefully.

Nearly a year ago, I asked If Obama Withdrew the Yoo, Bradbury Torture Memos, What Goverment Opinion Now Covers The AFM and Appendix M? The question has direct relevance today, because the Army Field Manual on interrogation (FM 2-22.3) and its Appendix M governs current interrogation policy at Guantanamo, where a major hunger strike of over 100 detainees has paralyzed operations. Detainees are protesting the hopelessness of indefinite detention, and the harassment they must endure, including searches of their holy book, the Koran.

This article answers the question I asked earlier. It documents the fact the Obama administration never rescinded a Bush-era memo on the use of controversial interrogation tactics for use by the U.S. military. The memo concerned concerned "restricted" techniques to be included in the 2006 revision of the Army Field Manual.  As a result, today torture and abuse remain a part of U.S. military interrogation doctrine.

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Once upon a time, Daily Kos had numerous diaries on the ongoing use of torture by the United States, or on the false evidence, much of it wrung from tortured prisoners held by the US or by foreign countries via rendition, that was used to start the Iraq War. But today, such diaries are the exception rather than the rule.

The general turning away from the torture issue follows the policy of the very popular US president Barack Obama who has famously said that the country must look forward and not backwards when it comes to the torture scandal. By that he means, no investigations or prosecutions for torturers.

But he never told the American people it would mean making deals with torturers in the Saudi government, or with allies, who would seek to hold one Guantanamo detainee in particular indefinitely, or ship him to the Saudi dungeons, all so evidence he could supply in an ongoing investigation could be suppressed.

If proven true, this obstruction of justice is a crime. But more than that, it is an attempt to falsify history, and that may be its real legacy. More immediately, it is destroying the life and family of an innocent man, British resident Shaker Aamer, cleared for release from Guantanamo by both Bush and Obama administrations, but still held in indefinite detention by the U.S.

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Cross-posted from The Dissenter/FDL

On March 6, the UK Guardian posted a very important story, with accompanying videos, examining in details and with witnesses the extraordinary efforts by US military and civilian personnel to assemble, train, and direct Shi'a commando brigades in Iraq. These police brigades and paramilitary units unleashed a hellish reign of terror, with massive round-ups, torture, and death squad killings.

The Guardian reveals from photos, interviews, and documentary evidence the chief role of former US Special Operations Colonel James Steele, as well as General Petraeus and other US officials in organizing this counterinsurgency-cum-terror campaign.

Steele had been in charge of training Salvadoran army personnel linked to a campaign of extrajudicial killings, disappearances, and torture during the Salvadoran Civil War in the 1980s. Back in those days, Petraeus was an ambitious up-and-comer, reportedly all too willing to learn what Steele, who'd learned counter-terror techniques in Vietnam, had to teach him, even staying in Steele's house.

Steele came to Iraq as a supposed civilian adviser. He carried a lot of authority, however, according to the Guardian investigation. From whence did that authority derive? Was he on special assignment for Rumsfeld (Rummy apparently is the one who sent him to Iraq)? For the National Security Council and/or the Joint Chiefs of Staff? Was he working with the CIA or JSOC's shadowy Intelligence Support Activity (ISA)? Steele, who is described in the Guardian video as someone who is extremely cold, without feeling, is unlikely ever to reveal that himself.

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"Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde..."

It is with profound sadness, but also anger, that I submit humbly this diary. I thought the Daily Kos community should not be unaware not only of the death of an innocent man, but of the very real possibility that a crime is being covered up before our eyes in that abomination of a hellhole that is Guantanamo.

Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, a 27-year-old man with a brain injury from a car accident, swept up in the orgy of war and fear after 9/11 and sold for $5000 by the Afghan Northern Alliance to the Americans, had spent over 10 years in Guantanamo. He had been cleared for release many times. But even though a federal judge had granted his habeas request for release, the Obama Administration challenged that ruling.

A 2-1 vote of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that ruling, relying on one anonymous statement from a government informant, and infamously ruling that the government had a "presumption of regularity," such that Latif (or any other prisoner) could not challenge such anonymous raw intel reports.

The Supreme Court refused to overturn, and the case became an international cause célèbre. Amnesty International was planning a world-wide campaign to work for Latif's release. But before they could, the despairing man was found dead in his cell last September 8.

New revelations show he died from a drug overdose. Was it suicide? Or was something else at work here? You decide. But do not ignore this man's death.

My story is below, but two other crucial articles, which I reference in the diary, can be read at The New York Times and

Latif himself was a poet, and in one of his poems from Guantanamo he wrote: "Where is the world to save us from torture? / Where is the world to save us from the fire and sadness?"


I want to see an impartial, comprehensive, public investigation into the death of Adnan Latif and the other purported "suicides" at Guantanamo.

92%38 votes
7%3 votes

| 41 votes | Vote | Results

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The government has withheld for years the actual facts surrounding the deaths of two of the six completed Guantanamo "suicides" to date. For instance, they hid the fact that one of the detainees was supposedly found hanged with his hands tied behind his back. Another detainee supposedly used an underwear elastic band (or "ligature") to strangle himself -- except the type of underwear described was not used by the detainees, and the ligature itself has gone missing. It was not provided to the autopsy examiners.

I have found that my ground-breaking investigation into the deaths of two Guantanamo detainees, Abdul Rahman Al Amri and Mohammad Ahmed Abdullah Saleh Al Hanashi, based on hitherto-unexamined autopsy reports, has been largely ignored by the mainstream media and the blogosphere. Except for Jason Leopold, Andy Worthington, Marcy Wheeler and the good folks at Eurasia Review, there has been a decided reluctance to report what I have found.

So I must go public all on my own, and the powers that be know that I will not be silent.

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For some reason, most of the progressive blogs are deep-sixing the important news surrounding the publication of former FBI Special Agent Ali Soufan's new book, The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda. There are two crucial reasons to pay attention to this media event.

One: Soufan makes clear that his interrogations of Al Qaeda-suspected terrorists was interrupted multiple times by the CIA or Pentagon higher-ups in order to implement torture techniques as part of the interrogation, something that ultimately drove the FBI away from the interrogation scene at Guantanamo and elsewhere.

Two: Soufan makes clear that the CIA on multiple occasions blocked information on reaching him and other FBI agents relating to foreknowledge of Al Qaeda-suspected terrorists, including one involved in the USS Cole attack, entering the United States. Even more, they lied about informing the FBI about this, and they lied to the FBI about their even having knowledge of a major terrorist summit in Malyasia in 2000, where the 9/11 plot was presumably discussed.

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