Wiretapping, corruption charges pile up for former Panama president Martinelli (2015)

In January, Panama prosecutors arrested two former security ministers on charges of illegal wiretapping and intercepting internet communications, in just one of several ongoing cases accusing the previous administration of widespread power abuse and mismanagement of public funds.

The most scandalous allegation broke when prosecutors announced they had found telephone and internet communication intercepting equipment on January 12. Police arrested two members of ex-president Ricardo Martinelli’s government – former chief of police and ex-security minister Gustavo Pérez and former vice security minister Alejandro Garúz – on charges of surveillance without judicial approval.

The list of alleged surveillance victims was impressive. It included two judges on Panama’s Supreme Court, U.S. CIA agents, the archbishop of Panama, leaders from political parties that opposed Martinelli’s Democratic Change Party (CD), construction union leaders and even members of Martinelli’s own cabinet and political party. Local media continue to release more complete lists of victims as they become available.

In the wiretapping case, no direct accusations against Martinelli have yet emerged. However, one of the alleged wiretap victims – former director of the National Aid Program Rafael Guardia – is under investigation for awarding an inflated $45 million contract for dehydrated food. On January 26, Guardia alleged that Martinelli gave the order to sign the inflated contracts.

Guardia fell under investigation after authorities discovered $9 million in bank accounts connected to Guardia, despite having only earned $161,000 in salary during a 23-month stint in social welfare agency.

Additional investigations are ongoing against former education ministers, former social development ministers and a Supreme Court judge appointed by Martinelli.

Martinelli left Panama on January 28 to attend a meeting of the Central American Parliament – a regional coordinating body – where he serves as a Panama representative. He has yet to return to Panama. He did, however, grant an interview to Miami-based journalist María Salazar, accusing current president Juan Carlos Varela of a political witch hunt.

“We are only the opposition political party,” Martinelli told Salazar. “I’m the only leader that threatens [Varela] right now.”

Martinelli went on to accuse Varela of interfering with every aspect of the government, suggesting that the prosecutor’s office is not acting independently. He said that he used to consider Varela, who served as a vice president and Foreign Minister in Martinelli’s government, one of his best friends.

Martinelli dismissed Varela as Foreign Minister in 2011 and the two feuded publicly over accusations of Martinelli’s corruption during his remaining tenure as vice president. Martinelli’s wife, Marta Linares, also ran as a vice-presidential candidate for Martinelli’s CD party in 2014, against Varela.

As a member of the Central American Parliament, Martinelli enjoys a legal protection under Panamanian law provided to all elected officials. However, on Tuesday, Panama’s election authority, the Electoral Tribunal, lifted that exemption for the dehydrated food contract case.

President Varela is standing by the actions of the prosecutors, saying that he has not interfered in their investigations in an interview with CNN en Español.

“The investigations have nothing to do with the political life, the economic life, nor the social life of the country,” Varela told CNN. “They are very strong allegations on invasions of privacy of the citizens of the country, the disappearance of surveillance equipment and isolated themes being handled by the prosecutors.”

by Corey Kane | 13th February 2015 | @corkane
Find this story at 13 February 2015

© Copyright 2016 Latin Correspondent

Panama Papers: Spy agencies widely used Mossack Fonseca to hide activities

Intelligence agencies from several countries, including CIA intermediaries, have abundantly used the services of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca to “conceal” their activities, German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) says, citing leaked documents.

Both “secret agents and their informants have used the company’s services,” wrote the newspaper, which earlier this month published online materials based on 11.5 million documents from the Panamanian law firm. It has been called the largest leak on corruption in journalistic history.

“Agents have set up shell companies to conceal their activities,” the Munich-based newspaper reported, adding that there are CIA mediators among them.

According to SZ, Mossack Fonseca’s clients also included some of those involved in the so-called Iran-Contra affair, in which several Reagan administration officials secretly facilitated arms sales to Iran in the 1980s in order to secure the release of US hostages and fund Nicaragua’s Contra rebels.

Read more
© RT‘Who’s funding this?’ CIA & MI5 whistleblowers question credibility of Panama Papers coverage
The Panama Papers also claim to reveal that some “former high-ranking officials of the intelligence services of Saudi Arabia, Colombia and Rwanda” are listed amongst the company’s clients. Among them was Sheikh Kamal Adham, the former Saudi intelligence chief, who according to SZ, was “one of the CIA’s key intermediaries in the 1970s” in the Middle East region.

The Panama leak claims to expose the offshore holdings of 12 current and former world leaders and provides data on the financial activities of 128 other politicians and public officials from different countries. Newspapers around the globe had plenty of world leaders to choose from, – from President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko to King Salman of Saudi Arabia and the late father of British Prime Minister David Cameron.

With high-profile figures on the menu, the majority of the international media rushed to accuse Vladimir Putin of corruption, even though neither he nor any members of his family were mentioned in the Panama Papers leak.

Last week WikiLeaks tweeted that the US government and American hedge-fund billionaire George Soros allegedly funded the Papers to attack Putin. According to the international whistleblowing organization, the US government’s funding of such an attack appeared to be a serious blow to its integrity.

Read more
Demonstrators hold placards during a protest outside Downing Street in Whitehall, central London, Britain April 9, 2016 © Neil HallCrowds march in London to demand Cameron resignation following Panama Papers leak (IMAGES)
One former CIA officer told RT that the fact that the Western media has been unanimously using the Russian leader as the “face” of the Panama Papers leak can be explained by one simple look at the organizations behind these news outlets.

“Everyone in corporate press is controlled by corporations that profit on wars and have an interest in creating tensions – all these people in the Western press, like the Guardian, are blackening Putin [for being] a designated villain here. Curiously, his name is not in these documents,” Ray McGovern said, adding that it was “a major mistake made by the leaker” to hand the documents over to the corporate media, instead of leaking them to trusted independent journalists.

There were many raised eyebrows particularly over little mention of the exposed offshore dealings of UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s late father. Last week the British PM admitted that he benefited from shares in an offshore trust set up by his father. Cameron, who is facing outrage over revelations concerning his private finances, told ITV that he had received £300,000 (about $420,000) in inheritance from his father, who died in 2010. Yet he claimed that he didn’t know whether any of that money came from an offshore source. A massive protest gathered in front of PM David Cameron’s residence at 10 Downing Street on Sunday, calling for his resignation.

Published time: 12 Apr, 2016 13:22
© Rodrigo Arangua / AFP
Find this story at 12 April 2016

© Autonomous Nonprofit Organization “TV-Novosti”, 2005–2016.

US-Agenten nutzten offenbar Briefkastenfirmen

Die CIA bemühte über Mittelsmänner anscheinend die Dienste der Kanzlei Mossack Fonseca: Laut einem Bericht der “SZ” ließen Agenten in den Achtzigern Briefkastenfirmen gründen, um ihre Aktionen zu verschleiern.

US-Geheimdienstler sollen “in erheblichem Umfang” die Dienste der Kanzlei Mossack Fonseca in Panama genutzt haben. Das geht laut der “Süddeutschen Zeitung” (“SZ”) aus den Panama Papers hervor. Demnach ließen Agenten Briefkastenfirmen gründen, um ihre Aktionen zu verschleiern. Unter ihnen seien auch Mittelsmänner aus dem Umfeld des amerikanischen Auslandsgeheimdienstes CIA.

Zur Kundschaft von Mossack Fonseca gehörten demnach in den Achtzigerjahren etwa Figuren der Iran-Contra-Affäre. Dabei ging es um geheime Waffenlieferungen der CIA an Teheran. In diesem Zusammenhang wird unter anderem ein US-Geschäftsmann genannt, der Flugzeuge verlieh. Mit einer seiner Maschinen sollen laut dem Bericht in den Achtzigerjahren im Auftrag der CIA Waffen nach Teheran geliefert worden sein. Der Geschäftsmann bestreitet, von der Operation gewusst zu haben.

Auch weitere Unternehmen, die immer wieder in Verdacht geraten sind, dem US-Geheimdienst geholfen zu haben, tauchen der “SZ” zufolge in dem Material auf.

Außerdem seien unter den gegenwärtigen oder früheren Kunden hochrangige Geheimdienstverantwortliche aus mindestens drei Ländern zu finden, konkret aus Saudi-Arabien, Kolumbien und Ruanda – auch der saudische Scheich Kamal Adham, der in den Siebzigerjahren als wichtigster Ansprechpartner der CIA in der Region galt.

Ein weiterer Kunde Mossack Fonsecas ist nach Angaben der “SZ” der Isländer Loftur Johannesson. Er werde im Zusammenhang mit mindestens vier Briefkastenfirmen genannt. Der SPIEGEL bezeichnete ihn Anfang der Neunziger in einem Artikel über die “guten Kunden der CIA” als Kontaktperson des Geheimdienstes. In mehreren Büchern und Artikeln heißt es, Johannesson habe im Auftrag der CIA Waffen in Krisenregionen geliefert, unter anderem nach Afghanistan, so die “SZ”.

Johannesson habe über einen Sprecher erklären lassen, er sei Geschäftsmann im Luftfahrtgeschäft und nicht für Geheimdienste tätig. Die Kanzlei in Kanada erklärte laut dem Bericht zudem, sie überprüfe ihre Kunden gründlich. Sollte ein Mandant seine Identität oder die Herkunft seiner Gelder nicht angemessenen nachweisen, so werde sie mit ihm nicht zusammenarbeiten.

12. April 2016, 00:03 Uhr
Find this story at 12 April 2016

© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2016

CIA middlemen and other spies used Panama Papers law firm to hide activities, report says

Secret agents from several countries, including intermediaries of the CIA, have used the services of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca in order to “conceal” their activities, German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported Tuesday.
“Secret agents and their informants have made wide use of the company’s services,” wrote the newspaper, which obtained a massive stash of 11.5 million documents from the company that is sending shockwaves around the globe.
“Agents have opened shell companies to conceal their activities… Among them are close intermediaries of the CIA,” the newspaper reported.
China’s elite hiding billions overseas

The Munich-based newspaper said Mossack Fonseca’s clients included “several players” in the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal, which saw senior US officials facilitate secret arms sales to Iran in a bid to secure the release of American hostages and fund Nicaragua’s Contra rebels.
The Panama Papers also reveal that “current or former high-ranking officials of the secret services of at least three countries… Saudi Arabia, Colombia and Rwanda” are listed amongst the company’s clients, the Sueddeutsche said.
Hong Kong’s rich face exposure in tax-haven leak

Among them was Sheikh Kamal Adham, the former Saudi intelligence chief who died in 1999. Adham “spent the 1970s as one of the CIA’s key intermediaries” in the Middle East, the daily said.
The Sueddeutsche Zeitung received the huge stash of Mossack Fonseca documents from an anonymous source and shared them with more than 100 media groups through the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
A week after the first revelations, the documents have shed light on how the world’s rich and powerful have used offshore companies to stash their assets, forcing Iceland’s prime minister to resign and putting pressure on a slew of other leaders around the world.

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 April, 2016, 1:49pm
Agence France-Presse

Find this story at 12 April 2016

Copyright © 2016 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd.

The Covert Roots of the Panama Papers

Panama has long been a haven for money launderers—including the CIA.

It should come as no surprise that the CIA’s finances are a secret. One of the rare glimpses into the agency’s funding came when Edward Snowden leaked a copy of the intelligence “black budget” to The Washington Post in 2013. But if history is any indication, the CIA may well have resources that don’t appear on any congressional document, highly classified or otherwise. Covert operations, by their very nature, often require access to off-the-books funding. The CIA’s first operation was paid for with funds seized from the Nazis, and in the years since, the agency has been notoriously creative about how it obtains its money.

Signal

The Panama Papers underscore how tax havens are used by covert agencies and other shadowy players to launder dirty money, a practice that has a long history in which Panama, in particular, has played a notable part.

Adnan Khashoggi would know. A “principal foreign agent” of the United States, as one Senate report referred to him, the billionaire playboy made a fortune (more than $100 million between 1970 and 1975 alone) from commissions negotiating arms deals with his native Saudi Arabia. He used these windfalls, in turn, to cultivate political clout—including, allegedly, with President Richard Nixon. In the aftermath of Watergate, when Congress began reining in the CIA, Khashoggi helped establish the supranational intelligence partnership known as the Safari Club. Soon after, he aided the CIA in circumventing another congressional impediment. With money borrowed from the Saudi and U.S. intelligence-linked Bank of Credit and Commerce International, he financed the illegal arms sales that set off the Iran-Contra scandal.

One way Khashoggi structured his shadowy holdings during his heyday was through the specialized services of Mossack Fonseca, the law firm that is in the news for having helped global luminaries like Vladimir Putin hide their money. Thanks to a recent report from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, we now know Khashoggi to be among a number of former spies and CIA associates implicated by the 2.6 terabytes of offshore financial documents provided to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung last summer.

That his name should appear in an international dark money scandal suggests something about the nature of tax havens that much of the media’s coverage has thus far avoided grappling with. The Panama Papers have largely been presented as an unprecedented insight into how global elites hide their fortunes from tax collectors and other regulators. But they also underscore how tax havens are used by covert agencies and other shadowy players to launder dirty money, a practice that has a long history in which Panama, in particular, has played a notable part.

The Panama Papers date back to 1977. By then, the Carter administration, worried that it could jeopardize negotiations over the Panama Canal, had already willed itself into forgetting what the U.S. government had long known about Panama’s intimate role in the burgeoning South American cocaine trade. Serious allegations against Manuel Noriega, the intelligence chief who would go on to become the country’s ruler, had been brought to the attention of the now-defunct Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs as early as 1971. But the United States’s interests in Panama were at least as strong as those of the emerging coke lords who were using Panama as a stopover for drug shipments headed north. In some cases, their interests were one and the same.

At the time, the Panama Canal Zone played host to the School of the Americas, the U.S. military training academy infamous for the remarkable array of atrocities committed by its highest-achieving graduates. Not far from the SOA facility was the classified U.S. communications network used to coordinate Operation Condor, the cross-border rendition, torture, execution, and assassination program implemented by the South American dictatorships of the era. With its abundance of U.S. surveillance hardware and constant influx of easily disguised foreigners, Panama became a sort of regional outpost for U.S. Cold War intelligence.

A proud SOA alumnus himself, Noriega was recruited by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency in 1959 and received his first check from the CIA in 1967. The military coup that broke out that year catapulted him to the top of Panama’s spy agency, a position for which the ruthless, ideologically flexible Noriega proved to be uniquely well-suited.

Noriega had a talent for the double life. He would fly to Washington to meet with CIA Director William Casey one day and to Havana to meet with Fidel Castro the next, positioning himself as a key interlocutor between the sworn enemies and playing one side off the other. He was just as comfortable railing against Yankee imperialism as he was serving up rivals and narco-associates in exchange for DEA commendations. Noriega allegedly charged $200,000 a planeload to protect the Medellin Cartel’s shipment routes. The $200,000 a year he collected from the Reagan administration must have seemed a pittance by comparison.

CIA payments to Noriega were channeled through accounts he maintained at the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, the agency’s preferred conduit for its secret dealings with Saudi and Pakistani intelligence and with the heroin-trafficking mujahedeen insurgency in Afghanistan. During the same period, Adnan Khashoggi, who was listed on a 1991 Defense Intelligence Report as having sold machine guns to the Medellin Cartel, was borrowing from the bank to finance weapons sales to Iran—the proceeds for which, like some of Noriega’s earnings, were then funneled to the Nicaraguan Contras. Subsequent federal prosecutions determined BCCI’s Panamanian branch, in particular, to be actively engaged in money laundering for the Colombian drug trade. A Senate subcommittee report called the bank a “fundamentally corrupt criminal enterprise.”

But BCCI was hardly the only Panamanian financial house awash in drug profits and covert intrigue. As a 1985 House Foreign Affairs report explained, it was hard to find a Panamanian bank that wasn’t engaged, to one degree or another, in some form of untoward activity. “With more than one hundred banks, the U.S. dollar as the national currency, and strict bank secrecy laws, Panama is an ideal haven for laundering narcotics money. Unlimited amounts of money may be brought into and out of the country with no reporting requirements, and money laundering is not a crime.” Corruption in government and the military, the committee found, was “endemic and institutionalized.”

Panama, to borrow the words of the Senate’s Iran-Contra report, had become the “hemisphere’s first ‘narco-kleptocracy,’” a major financial clearing house not just for the Colombian cartels, but for illegal groups of all stripes in the region, as well as “legitimate” businesspeople drawn to the exciting new services being offered thanks to the logistical demands and largesse of the drug trade. Americans were sinking millions into this innovative tax haven, and the surplus of available dirty currency actually insulated Panama from the debt crises that were sweeping the region at the time—converting it into a secure, relatively stable place for the Third World rich to hide their money.

“Particularly popular with Latin Americans,” writes Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld in Evil Money, “was a double-shell arrangement, in which the Bahamian cover was overlaid with Panamanian corporate shells. Panamanian lawyers were equally adept at creating fictitious companies. The money would be wired from one corporate account to another without revealing the identity of the real owner.”

Dummy companies of this sort, set up by the White House and registered in Panama, were used to float the Nicaraguan Contras. Noriega’s personal Swiss-based lawyer even helped Marine Colonel Oliver North construct a front for an airfield in Costa Rica. A veritable fleet of aircraft, including planes provided by Noriega and some paid for through a BCCI account, made the circuitous journey from secret runway to secret runway, dropping off weapons in Honduras and Costa Rica, cocaine in the southern United States, and large stacks of small-denomination bills in Panamanian bank vaults.

As we continue to dig through the many layers of corruption, lawbreaking, and bad faith that have accumulated in the intervening years, it’s important to recognize that the quintessentially private practices that now form the basis for the Panama Papers revelations emerged within a context of large-scale state criminality.

The 1989 U.S. invasion that led to Noriega’s arrest only exacerbated the underlying problems of Panamanian governance. As Jonathan Marshall, co-author of the indispensable Cocaine Politics, explained, between “economic sanctions, capital flight, war damage, and a more than a billion dollars’ worth of damage from post-conflict looting,” any new president would have faced significant challenges. It happened that the one the United States installed, Guillermo Endara, had dubious ties to a bank the DEA and FBI both suspected of money laundering. Endara’s appointees for attorney general, treasury minister, and chief Supreme Court justice had each served as director of a bank shut down for its alliance with Colombia’s Cali Cartel. By the U.S. government’s own estimation, trafficking and laundering got worse in the invasion’s aftermath, a legacy that has continued on to the present day. Facing corruption charges, the country’s most recent president has sought refuge in Miami.

After the invasion, a joke started circulating around Panama that seems fairly prescient, in light of the Panama Papers. “They took Ali Baba,” it went, “and left us with the 40 thieves.”

BY STEVEN COHEN
April 8, 2016
Find this story at 8 April 2016

Copyright 2016 © New Republic.

Swiss banker whistleblower: CIA behind Panama Papers

Bradley Birkenfeld is the most significant financial whistleblower of all time, so you might think he’d be cheering on the disclosures in the new Panama Papers leaks. But today, Birkenfeld is raising questions about the source of the information that is shaking political regimes around the world.

Birkenfeld, an American citizen, was a banker working at UBS in Switzerland when he approached the U.S. government with information on massive amounts of tax evasion by Americans with secret accounts in Switzerland. By the end of his whistleblowing career, Birkenfeld had served more than two years in a U.S. federal prison, been awarded $104 million by the IRS for his information and shattered the foundations of more than a century of Swiss banking secrecy.

In an exclusive interview Tuesday from Munich, Birkenfeld said he doesn’t think the source of the 11 million documents stolen from a Panamanian law firm should automatically be considered a whistleblower like himself. Instead, he said, the hacking of the Panama City-based firm, called Mossack Fonseca, could have been done by a U.S. intelligence agency.
“The CIA I’m sure is behind this, in my opinion,” Birkenfeld said.
Birkenfeld pointed to the fact that the political uproar created by the disclosures have mainly impacted countries with tense relationships with the United States. “The very fact that we see all these names surface that are the direct quote-unquote enemies of the United States, Russia, China, Pakistan, Argentina and we don’t see one U.S. name. Why is that?” Birkenfeld said. “Quite frankly, my feeling is that this is certainly an intelligence agency operation.”

A poolside view overlooking the newer side of the Panama City skyline.
Panama Papers show tax avoidance like a ‘cancer’
Asked why the U.S. would leak information that has also been damaging to U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, a major American ally, Birkenfeld said the British leader was likely collateral damage in a larger intelligence operation.
“If you’ve got NSA and CIA spying on foreign governments they can certainly get into a law firm like this,” Birkenfeld said. “But they selectively bring the information to the public domain that doesn’t hurt the U.S. in any shape or form. That’s wrong. And there’s something seriously sinister here behind this.”

The public relations office for the CIA did not immediately return a message for comment.
Birkenfeld also said that during his time as a Swiss banker, Mossack Fonseca was known as one piece of the vast offshore maze used by bankers and lawyers to hide money from tax authorities. But he also said that the firm that is at the center of the global scandal was also seen as a relatively small player in the overall offshore tax evasion business.

The sign in front of the building that houses law firm Mossack Fonseca in Panama City, Panama.
Did ‘smart’ people avoid the Panama Papers?
Bradley Birkenfeld, a former banker with UBS AG, walks outside Schuylkill Federal Correctional Institution after speaking to the media in Minersville, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Friday, Jan. 8, 2010.
Why did the US pay this former Swiss banker $104M?

“We knew that firm very well in Switzerland. I certainly knew of it,” Birkenfeld said.
But Mossack Fonseca was just one of a number of firms in Panama offering such services, he said. “The cost of doing business there was quite low, relatively speaking,” he said. “So what you would have is Panama operating as a conduit to the Swiss banks and the trust companies to set up these facilities for clients around the world.”

Eamon Javers CNBC.com
12 April 2016

Find this story at 12 april 2016

© 2016 CNBC LLC.

Inside Allan Dulles’ Reign as CIA Director, from ’54 Guatemala Coup to Plotting Castro’s Overthrow

DAVID TALBOT
author of the new book The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government. He is the founder and former CEO and editor-in-chief of Salon. He is also author of the best-seller, Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years.
This is viewer supported newsDONATE
Voters go to the polls in Guatemala on Sunday to elect a new president after a popular uprising led to President Otto Pérez Molina’s resignation and jailing. We speak with journalist and historian David Talbot, author of “The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government,” about the role Allen Dulles and his brother, then-Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, played in the CIA’s 1954 coup in the country, the ramifications of which are still being felt. “The CIA and Allen Dulles told Eisenhower after the Guatemala coup, ‘Oh, it was a clean coup. You know, hardly anyone died,'” Talbot said. “But the fact is, tens of thousands of people died in the killing fields of Guatemala as a result of that coup, and that violence continues today.”

TRANSCRIPT
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to Part 2 of my conversation with the author of The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government. The new book is written by journalist and historian David Talbot, the founder of former CEO and editor-in-chief of Salon. The book examines the life and legacy of Alan Dulles, the longest-serving CIA director. He held the position from 1953 to ’61, but his influence is still felt at the agency. Under his watch, the CIA overthrew the governments of Iran and Guatemala in 1953 and 1954, invaded Cuba, and was tied to the killing of Patrice Lumumba, Congo’s first democratically elected leader.

During Part 1 of our conversation, I asked David Talbot about the 1953 coup in Iran and the ’61 murder of Patrice Lumumba. Part 2 of our interview begins with Guatemala. The ramifications of the CIA’s 1954 coup are still being felt in Guatemala, where voters will go to the polls next Sunday to elect a new president. Last month, President Otto Pérez Molina resigned and was jailed following a popular uprising. I asked David Talbot to talk about the ’54 coup and the role played by Allen Dulles and his brother, John Foster Dulles, who was secretary of state at the time.

DAVID TALBOT: Well, of course, their original power goes back to Sullivan & Cromwell, this very powerful Wall Street law firm that John Foster Dulles ran and where Allen Dulles worked. And among their clients was United Fruit. United Fruit, of course, was this colossus, this corporate colossus, that ruled much of Latin America, owned, you know, vast acreage in Guatemala and many other countries. They weren’t just a banana company. They were a multinational real estate company. They owned often the utilities. And they owned the local political elites in those countries.

In the early ’50s, Jacobo Árbenz, this young military officer, a reform officer, starts to emerge as a potential leader. He runs for president and is elected by his people on a reform campaign. And one of the first things he does, of course, in this country that’s basically a medieval country ruled by land barons, is to begin to nationalize some of the land, that’s not being even used by United [Fruit], and give it to the people themselves, the farmers, to work. And this provokes a major backlash from United Fruit, from the local political elites, the oligarchs, and from the CIA. Allen Dulles, working for Eisenhower as CIA director, portrays Jacobo Árbenz as a dangerous communist—he wasn’t—and prepares to overthrow him in a military coup, which does occur.

What I tell the story of, mostly I focus on, is the tragic aftermath of that coup, because not only for the Árbenz family, which, in some ways, were the Kennedys of Guatemala—glamorous, young couple, Jacobo and María Árbenz, their children, very good-looking, wealthy, but very committed to uplifting the poor in that country. And after the coup, they’re sent into a terrible exile. No country will touch them, because CIA pressure. The CIA and the State Department pressure every country, from Mexico throughout Latin America, not to take the Árbenz family in. They’re finally forced to go behind the Iron Curtain to Czechoslovakia to seek exile. They’re not happy there. They finally end up back in Mexico, but they’re under tight supervision. The family is haunted. It’s stalked wherever it goes. One of his daughters commits suicide. And Jacobo Árbenz himself ends up dead under mysterious circumstances—scalded to death in a bathtub in a Mexico City hotel. His family today believes that he was assassinated. And given the fact that the CIA had a death list of left-wing figures, journalists, political leaders, after the coup that were to be eliminated, that, you know, is a distinct possibility.

So, these ripples of tragedy, after these coups, go on and on. You know, the CIA and Allen Dulles told Eisenhower after the Guatemala coup, “Oh, it was a clean coup. You know, hardly anyone died.” But the fact is, tens of thousands of people died in the killing fields of Guatemala as a result of that coup, and that violence continues today.

AMY GOODMAN: And wasn’t it also a precursor to what happened with the Bay of Pigs? Move forward like, what, six years, and explain what happened.

DAVID TALBOT: Right. Well, emboldened by how easy it was to do a regime change in Guatemala, yes, when Fidel Castro comes to power in Cuba, he again antagonizes the same corporate interests that the Dulles brothers represent—oil companies, like the Rockefeller-owned Standard Oil, and others, agribusiness firms. So they believe that Fidel has to be eliminated, and they begin plotting, under the Eisenhower administration, with Eisenhower’s approval, to kill, to assassinate Fidel Castro. And, in fact, at one point, Fidel Castro, who was beloved in this country after the revolution—he had overthrown a thug, a Mafia-backed thug, Batista, a very corrupt and violent dictatorship. He was seen as the future, and very glamorous, he and Che Guevara and so on. They would come to New York and would be mobbed by people in the streets. When they came to New York for a U.N. meeting in 1960, though, the Eisenhower administration was already pushing back, and no hotel would take them. Finally, a hotel in Midtown did take them, but there was—they asked for so much money as security, they were basically blackmailing Fidel. He was outraged, and he ended up staying in a hotel in Harlem that took him in.

AMY GOODMAN: Hotel Theresa.

DAVID TALBOT: Hotel Theresa. And they stood up to this Washington pressure, the manager of that hotel, who was African-American. He had grown up in Jim Crow South. And he said, “You know, I know what it’s like to be denied a roof over your head. This Cuban delegation can stay here.” So it was a very—

AMY GOODMAN: Did he meet Malcolm X there?

DAVID TALBOT: He did. It was a very dramatic moment. Malcolm X makes a visit to the Hotel Theresa. He squeezes into his suite, where there’s dozens of people crammed. They have a very interesting encounter, Fidel and Malcolm. And it really changed their lives and had a big impact on both of those men for years afterwards. In fact, Malcolm said he was one of the few white men that he learned to respect and appreciate. And, by the way, there was an FBI guy taking notes the whole time in that hotel room, so we know some of what happened there and the dialogue, because of the FBI report on this.

AMY GOODMAN: Who was it?

DAVID TALBOT: Well, his name was not revealed, but there was an agent surveilling him. But meanwhile, while Fidel is there, meeting with Khrushchev from the Soviet Union and Nasser from Egypt and the world leaders and embarrassing the Eisenhower administration, because here he’s gone to Harlem, and, you know, no one else would take him in, in Midtown Manhattan—meanwhile, the Mafia is meeting with CIA agents at the Plaza Hotel, just blocks away, plotting his assassination. So, a lot of intrigue in 1960 going on in New York. And then, to make it even more interesting, a young JFK, who’s campaigning for president, after Fidel has left, shows up at the Hotel Theresa and basically says, “This is revolutionary ground I’m standing on. And we should welcome the winds of change and the revolution, the future. We shouldn’t be afraid of it.” So, very end—and begins to talk about the mortality rate of black infants in Harlem and many of the issues that are still current.

AMY GOODMAN: And yet, look at what President Kennedy, then President Kennedy, did, when it came to Cuba—

DAVID TALBOT: Exactly.

AMY GOODMAN: —what happened under his reign, from the Bay of Pigs to the endless assassination attempts of Fidel Castro.

DAVID TALBOT: Kennedy did do a flip-flop, to an extent, after that. He came in as president. He was young. He was untested, under a lot of pressure from the national security people in his administration. He inherited the Bay of Pigs operation, the plans for that. He was basically told, “Look, if you pull the plug on this thing, it’s so far along now, there will be a major political backlash against you.” So he was kind of sandbagged by the CIA. He did go through with it, but he had no intention of widening it into an all-out U.S. military assault on the island, on Cuba. But that’s what the CIA had in mind. They knew that this motley crew of Cuban exiles they put together to invade the island wasn’t sufficient to unseat Castro. But what they hoped and what they planned was that a young President Kennedy, as this invasion was bogged down on the beaches of the Bay of Pigs, would be forced then to send in the Marines and the U.S. Air Force to topple Castro.

AMY GOODMAN: And then, of course, the Cuban missile crisis, the closest we ever came to a nuclear war.

DAVID TALBOT: Well, but Kennedy stood his ground, and he didn’t do that. And that was the beginning of his break, at the Bay of Pigs, between the CIA and Cuba—and President Kennedy. And then, yes, that became even more severe with the Cuban missile crisis the following year. Again, the military in this country and the CIA thought that we could take, you know, Castro out. During the Cuban missile crisis, they were prepared to go to a nuclear war to do that. President Kennedy thought people like Curtis LeMay, who was head of the Air Force, General Curtis LeMay, was half-mad. He said, “I don’t even see this man in my—you know, in my sight,” because he was pushing for a nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union. And even years later, Curtis LeMay, after years after Kennedy is dead, in an interview that I quote from in the book, bitterly complains that Kennedy didn’t take this opportunity to go nuclear over Cuba. So, President Kennedy basically, I think, saved my life—I was 12 years old at the time—saved a lot of our lives, because he did stand his ground. He took a hard line against the national security people and said, “No, we’re going to peacefully resolve the Cuban missile crisis.”

AMY GOODMAN: And then President Kennedy, on November 22nd, 1963, was assassinated.

DAVID TALBOT: That’s right.

AMY GOODMAN: David Talbot on his new book, The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government. Back with him in a minute.

OCTOBER 19, 2015STORY

Find this story at 19 October 2015

Sources Detail Skewed Reports On How The U.S. Is Doing Against ISIS

Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., (left) and Jack Reed, D-R.I., hear testimony on operations against ISIS from Gen. Lloyd Austin.i
Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., (left) and Jack Reed, D-R.I., hear testimony on operations against ISIS from Gen. Lloyd Austin.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

NPR has new details on what investigators are discovering about Pentagon analysis of the battle against ISIS in Iraq.

The Pentagon is looking at whether senior military officials at U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM, pressured intelligence analysts into painting a rosy picture of the fight against ISIS. The Defense Department’s inspector general is talking to a group of intelligence analysts who are providing evidence and details on how bias crept into their assessments.

One military source who witnessed the skewing of reports and told NPR he was “a victim of them” said that analysts at CENTCOM got the message as they began writing their assessments of events on the ground. If analysts wanted to include a piece of good news regarding the campaign against ISIS or the progress of Iraqi forces, they needed almost no sourcing. But if they wanted to include bad news — such as Iraqi forces retreating — analysts were required to cite three or four sources.

Two military sources familiar with the investigation say that, while they haven’t discovered a direct order to cherry-pick intelligence, it was something that evolved because of the way data were handled and produced.

“The bad news didn’t just need to be footnoted,” one military source, who did not want to be further identified because he is involved with the inquiry, told NPR. “The intelligence data itself had to be attached to the report. It became pretty clear if they wrote something bad, it was likely to be changed. Knowing that bad news on ISIS wasn’t welcome meant that, over time, the picture of the fight began being rosier.”

A military source described the evolution of one report that came out of CENTCOM’s intelligence shop. It was a dispatch on an ISIS attack in Iraq near the Syrian border. The initial CENTCOM report read, “Iraqi forces retreated.” It was sent back for reworking, the source said. Eventually that report came to read that the Iraqi forces had not retreated, but instead had reinforced another Iraqi position. The final draft suggested a strategic decision had been made. But that was not what happened, the source said — the Iraqi forces ran. A second source confirmed the account of the change in wording to put the Iraqi forces in a more positive light.

The head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Lloyd Austin, was on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee. He had been called to provide a progress report on the fight against ISIS. But he was obliged to address, although obliquely, the Pentagon investigation into CENTCOM first. “There is an ongoing DOD IG investigation looking into allegations concerning the processing of intelligence information by CENTCOM’s intelligence directorate,” Austin said in his opening remarks. “Because the allegations are currently under investigation … it would be premature and inappropriate for me to discuss this matter.”

All he would say was that the CENTCOM reports, contrary to what had been said in the media, did not go directly to the president, and CENTCOM drew its intelligence analysis from a variety of sources — 1,200 analysts, combat commanders on the ground, and other agencies. Even so, in his testimony, the general seemed to be painting an upbeat picture. “In recent months, Iraq’s security forces have experienced some setbacks, and this is to be expected in a fight as complex as this one,” said Austin. “But overall the Iraqis continue to make progress.”

Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, made clear he wasn’t swallowing Austin’s assessment. “I must say I have been on this committee for 30 years and I have never heard testimony like this,” McCain said. “Never.”

Just the week before his appearance, McCain told the general, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Martin Dempsey, had testified that the fight against ISIS was tactically stalemated. “So obviously you and the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have a very different view of what the situation is,” McCain said.

SEPTEMBER 16, 2015 8:09 PM ET
Dina Temple- Raston

Find this story at 16 September 2015

© 2015 npr

A Former CIA Official Apologizes to ‘Every American’ For Iraq Intelligence Failures

An intelligence assessment drafted by the CIA months prior to the March 2003 US invasion of Iraq asserting that Saddam Hussein harbored an active weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) cache has been thoroughly debunked time and again.

But even after the deaths of more than 4,000 US soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, CIA officials have never publicly taken responsibility for getting the pre-war intelligence so wrong.

Former CIA deputy director Michael Morell, however, now owns up to the disastrous “mistakes” the agency made on the Iraqi WMD failures.

The veteran intelligence official has written The Great War of Our Time: The CIA’s Fight against Terrorism from al Qa’ida to ISIS, which offers a behind-the-scenes look at numerous national security crises since 9/11. Morell writes in the book about the CIA’s Iraq intelligence failures, and he apologizes to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who told the United Nations Security Council on February 5, 2003 that Iraq had “biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more.” When WMDs weren’t located in Iraq after the US invasion, Powell’s credibility was destroyed.

Related: CIA Report Says No Evidence Saudi Arabia ‘Willingly Supported’ al Qaeda Leading up to 9/11

“Let me tell you why I [apologized to] Colin Powell,” Morell told VICE News before a recent appearance at the Richard Nixon Library to promote his book. “Here’s a guy who had a stellar reputation… and quite frankly that reputation was tarnished when he went before the UN and laid out the case. That case turns out to be wrong. Almost every part of it turns out to be wrong. I knew he had said to folks over the years, ‘You know, nobody from the agency has ever apologized to me.’ And so that’s why I wanted to apologize to him…. The apology applies to every single American.”

Morell was somewhat defensive when asked to discuss why CIA analysts were unable to determine that Iraq had abandoned its weapons program in the 1990s. He compared the analysts to “weather forecasters.”

“This is a very difficult business,” he said. “I don’t know a harder job in the world than trying to get an understanding of what’s the status of the Iran nuclear program. Or, what’s the status of North Korea’s long-range missile system. Or, where does Chinese military modernization stand. Or, what are the plans, intentions, and capabilities of al Qaeda in Yemen.”

Watch the VICE News interview with Michael Morell

Ultimately, Morell said the main reason “we were not able to come up with the right answer is that we didn’t do our fundamental job of penetrating [Saddam Hussein’s] inner circle with a human asset. So there was no information to give to the analyst to say, ‘Here’s what this guy is up to.’ This was our failure, and quite frankly a national security failure, to get inside of Saddam’s inner circle to tell us exactly what he was up to with regards to weapons of mass destruction.”

While Morell leaves no doubt that the CIA failed on Iraq, he mounts a full-throated defense when discussing the agency’s so-called enhanced interrogation program, which he “doesn’t like calling torture, because to call it torture says my guys were torturers, and they were told that they weren’t.”

“I have no doubt after spending months looking at this that [the program] was effective,” Morell said. “I’ve seen the intelligence that these guys provided before enhanced interrogation techniques. It was not full answers to questions, it was not specific information, it was not actionable. After enhanced interrogation techniques, full answers to questions, specific information, actionable information. There’s no doubt in my mind it was effective.”

His analysis is at odds with the damning findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which last December released a declassified executive summary of its mammoth report on the CIA’s torture program, an investigation that took five years to complete, cost $40 million, and led to chilled relations between the CIA and the committee.

In fact, the harshest critique in Morell’s book is aimed directly at Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, including the panel’s former chairwoman, Dianne Feinstein, who led the oversight effort into the detention and interrogation program and said what committee staffers discovered in millions of pages of CIA documents clearly rose to the level of torture. He declined to respond to some of the more brutal findings in the Senate report, such as subjecting a handful of detainees to “rectal feeding” and whether that amounted to torture.

So how did the Senate get it wrong if it perused the CIA’s own highly classified documents to reach its conclusions?

“One of the things I learned as an intelligence analyst very early on is it’s very dangerous to speculate,” Morell said. “When you speculate, you get things wrong a lot more then you get right. But I’ll speculate for you with that caveat. Senator Feinstein made it very clear to everyone who would talk to her about this, that she wanted the report to be the nail in the coffin of the country ever doing anything like this again. Well, when you’re on her staff and you hear that day after day after day, and your job is to put this report together, it takes you in a certain direction.”

“Republican leaders in the House and the Senate [approved] this program back in 2002, 2003, 2004. And not only approved the program but encouraged us to go further — they thought we were risk-averse when we stopped the program for a period of time…. So what’s the only way that the [Senate] can get themselves out of this discussion? To say that the CIA lied to them at the time about what we were doing and about the effectiveness of the program. That’s the only way to get themselves off the hook. I can’t prove any of that. I’m speculating.”

VICE News tried numerous times to obtain a comment from Feinstein, but her office failed to respond to our queries.

However, a day before Morell’s book went on sale, Feinstein took the unprecedented step of issuing a press release attacking Morell’s contradictory claims about the torture program and said he did not even bother to read the full 6,700-page report. Feinstein’s office then issued a 54-page point-by-point rebuttal to all of the assertions Morell made in his book about the efficacy of the program.

Morell, who now works for a private security firm founded by former aides to Hillary Clinton, told VICE News that the US is engaged in an “intelligence war.”

“In this new era of terrorism, the enemy is very hard to find, but very easy to kill,” he said. “The finding, which is the hard part, is all about intelligence. So this is an intelligence war…. You cannot capture and kill your way out of this. The other problem that you have to deal with is how do you stop the creation of new terrorists? How do you deal with the radicalization problem of young men and young women around the globe? That’s something that we have not done well as a country or as a coalition of countries… and it’s not going to go away until we get our arms around that.”

An earlier version of this report incorrectly said the CIA’s pre-war Iraq intelligence concluded that Saddam Hussein colluded with Al Qaeda. The story has been updated.

By Jason Leopold
June 25, 2015 | 7:35 pm

Find this story at 25 June 2015

Copyright https://news.vice.com/

Military Analyst Again Raises Red Flags on Progress in Iraq

WASHINGTON — As the war in Iraq deteriorated, a senior American intelligence analyst went public in 2005 and criticized President George W. Bush’s administration for pushing “amateurish and unrealistic” plans for the invasion two years before.

Now that same man, Gregory Hooker, is at the center of an insurrection of United States Central Command intelligence analysts over America’s latest war in Iraq, and whether Congress, policy makers and the public are being given too rosy a picture of the situation.

As the senior Iraq analyst at Central Command, the military headquarters in Tampa that oversees American military operations across the Middle East and Central Asia, Mr. Hooker is the leader of a group of analysts that is accusing senior commanders of changing intelligence reports to paint an overly optimistic portrait of the American bombing campaign against the Islamic State. The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating.

Although the investigation became public weeks ago, the source of the allegations and Mr. Hooker’s role have not been previously known. Interviews with more than a dozen current and former intelligence officials place the dispute directly at the heart of Central Command, with Mr. Hooker and his team in a fight over what Americans should believe about the war.

Photo

Gregory Hooker is critical of reports on the ISIS fight.
Mr. Hooker, who declined to comment, has been an Iraq analyst for more than two decades. Some on his team were at Central Command, or Centcom, when American troops poured into Iraq in 2003. The analysts remained focused on the country long after President Obama officially ended the war in 2011.

“This core group of Iraq analysts have been doing this for a long time,” said Stephen Robb, a retired Marine colonel and a former head of the Centcom Joint Intelligence Center. “If they say there’s smoke, start looking for a firehouse.”

The investigation has repercussions beyond the question of whether the American-led bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria is succeeding. The allegations call into question how much the president — this one or the next — can rely on Centcom for honest assessments of military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and other crisis spots.

In some ways, the Iraq team’s criticism mirrors the disputes of a decade ago, when Mr. Hooker wrote a research paper saying the Bush administration, over many analysts’ objections, advocated a small force in Iraq and spent little time thinking about what would follow the invasion.

That dispute was separate from the battle over flawed intelligence assessments by the C.I.A. and other spy agencies that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Central Command did not contribute significantly to those assessments.

Several current and former officials said that it was the two most senior intelligence officers at Centcom — Maj. Gen. Steven Grove and his civilian deputy, Gregory Ryckman — who drew analysts’ ire with changes in draft intelligence assessments. But why the assessments were changed remains an open question. Some analysts suggested that leaders in Tampa feared that reporting bad news might anger the White House. Others described an institutional bias that makes it hard for the military to criticize its own operations.

Continue reading the main story

Graphic: Where ISIS Has Directed and Inspired Attacks Around the World
Centcom’s leader, Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, was chosen for the job in part because the White House regarded him as a steady, cautious loyalist who would execute military operations in the Middle East with little drama — an especially important consideration after the contentious relationship between the White House and Gen. James Mattis, the previous Centcom commander. General Austin gave testimony last week to the Senate Armed Services Committee that was roundly criticized by some lawmakers as being an overly positive assessment of the war’s progress.

Centcom’s mammoth intelligence operation, with some 1,500 civilian, military and contract analysts, is housed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, in a bay front building that has the look of a sterile government facility posing as a Spanish hacienda. In banks of plain cubicles, the analysts try each day to measure the progress of war.

That effort has long been difficult, particularly in campaigns without traditional armies and clear battle lines. During the war in Vietnam, generals were criticized for measuring success in body counts. In the fight against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, the military issues daily reports that suggest tactical victories but offer little hint about how the war is going.

“One airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL cache, three ISIL fighting positions and one ISIL motorcycle,” a report this month said. “Near Ramadi, one airstrike destroyed an ISIL vehicle.”

Brian Hale, a spokesman for the director of national intelligence, played down the significance of Centcom’s conclusions in shaping the thinking of senior policy makers, including Mr. Obama, about the war. In a statement on Wednesday he said that Centcom and other military commanders do not provide “broad or strategic assessments.”

The success of daily airstrikes, experts say, can give the illusion of progress, particularly for Centcom commanders who are judged in Washington on their ability to carry out a successful mission. Iraq analysts, officials said, are less optimistic.

Continue reading the main story
Obama’s Evolution on ISIS
Some of President Obama’s statements about the American strategy to confront ISIS and its effectiveness.

“You can get pulled into watching the laser dot on a target and watching it blow up,” said Kevin Benson, a retired Army colonel who teaches intelligence analysis to officers at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. “After that, it can be hard to hear that you’re not making progress, because you saw it.”

Analysts like Mr. Hooker and his team are supposed to be immune from such pressure because they are employed by the Defense Intelligence Agency. In practice, though, the analysts are reviewed by officials at Centcom.

Although critics have suggested that the bombing campaign’s stalemate proves the need for more troops in Iraq, colleagues say Mr. Hooker’s team is not advocating that approach. “I don’t know anyone outside of a political commercial who thinks we need to send large numbers of troops into Iraq,” said one intelligence official who has worked closely with the Centcom analysts.

Instead, analysts say the dispute centers on whether the military is being honest about the political and religious situation in Iraq and whether a bombing campaign can change it.

“What are the strategic objectives here? There are none. This is just perpetual war,” said David Faulkner, the former targeting director at Centcom who worked alongside the Iraq analysts. “People say: ‘Oh, you’re military. You like that.’ No, we don’t.”

Current and ex-officials said tension about how to portray the war’s progress began almost at the start of the campaign last summer, when Mr. Obama authorized strikes against Islamic State fighters in Iraq and later expanded the bombings to Syria.

Continue reading the main story

Graphic: How ISIS Expands
Early this year, one former official said, Mr. Hooker’s team concluded that, despite public statements to the contrary, airstrikes against Islamic State-held refineries had not significantly weakened its finances because it had built makeshift refineries to sell oil on the black market. But the finding was not distributed outside Centcom, the ex-official said.

Over this past year, analysts felt pressure to keep their assessments positive. In order to report bad news, current and former officials said, the analysts were required to cite multiple sources. Reporting positive news required fewer hurdles. Senior officials sent emails cautioning against using pessimistic phrases that they said were more likely to get attention, according to one former official. In some instances, officials said, conclusions were completely changed.

Anger among analysts grew so intense that in the spring, Mr. Hooker’s civilian boss, William Rizzio, confronted his superiors about the problems. Mr. Rizzio, a retired Marine colonel who had gradually come to take the side of the analysts in the dispute, had meetings with General Grove and Mr. Ryckman. It is unclear what transpired in the meetings, but three people with knowledge of the situation, who, like some others interviewed, spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter is part of the inspector general’s investigation, said the result was that Mr. Rizzio was punished for siding with the analysts. He was temporarily reassigned, and analysts were left wondering what happened to him after his name was scraped off the front of his office at Centcom’s Joint Intelligence Center.

Mr. Rizzio, who has since returned to his position, declined to be interviewed.

His concerns gained a more sympathetic hearing several months later, when officials began speaking to the Pentagon’s inspector general, who opened his investigation in July. Officials would not say if Mr. Hooker was the first analyst to do so.

The inspector general’s investigation turned a quiet matter into one of the most high-profile intelligence disputes since officials issued new rules that encourage dissenting views. Those rules were intended to prevent a repeat of the debacle over weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The investigation has put this team of analysts, who for years worked in relative obscurity, at the center of a dispute that has the attention of intelligence officials across the government.

“Signing onto a whistle-blowing complaint can easily be a career-ender,” David Shedd, a former acting head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, wrote in a column this week on Defense One, a national security news website. “The nation’s analytic professionals are watching closely to see how it is handled.”

Correction: September 24, 2015
An earlier version of this article misstated the year that President Obama officially ended the Iraq war. It was 2011, not 2009.
Kitty Bennett contributed research.

By MARK MAZZETTI and MATT APUZZOSEPT. 23, 2015

A version of this article appears in print on September 24, 2015, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Military Analyst Again Raises Red Flags on Progress in Iraq. Order Reprints| Today’s Paper|Subscribe

Find this story at 23 September 2015

© 2015 The New York Times Company

Inquiry Weighs Whether ISIS Analysis Was Distorted

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating allegations that military officials have skewed intelligence assessments about the United States-led campaign in Iraq against the Islamic State to provide a more optimistic account of progress, according to several officials familiar with the inquiry.

The investigation began after at least one civilian Defense Intelligence Agency analyst told the authorities that he had evidence that officials at United States Central Command — the military headquarters overseeing the American bombing campaign and other efforts against the Islamic State — were improperly reworking the conclusions of intelligence assessments prepared for policy makers, including President Obama, the government officials said.

Fuller details of the claims were not available, including when the assessments were said to have been altered and who at Central Command, or Centcom, the analyst said was responsible. The officials, speaking only on the condition of anonymity about classified matters, said that the recently opened investigation focused on whether military officials had changed the conclusions of draft intelligence assessments during a review process and then passed them on.

Photo

Iraqi Army recruits in Taji in April with U.S. Army trainers. About 3,400 American troops are advising Iraqi forces. Credit John Moore/Getty Images
The prospect of skewed intelligence raises new questions about the direction of the government’s war with the Islamic State, and could help explain why pronouncements about the progress of the campaign have varied widely.

Legitimate differences of opinion are common and encouraged among national security officials, so the inspector general’s investigation is an unusual move and suggests that the allegations go beyond typical intelligence disputes. Government rules state that intelligence assessments “must not be distorted” by agency agendas or policy views. Analysts are required to cite the sources that back up their conclusions and to acknowledge differing viewpoints.

Under federal law, intelligence officials can bring claims of wrongdoing to the intelligence community’s inspector general, a position created in 2011. If officials find the claims credible, they are required to advise the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. That occurred in the past several weeks, the officials said, and the Pentagon’s inspector general decided to open an investigation into the matter.

Spokeswomen for both inspectors general declined to comment for this article. The Defense Intelligence Agency and the White House also declined to comment.

Col. Patrick Ryder, a Centcom spokesman, said he could not comment on a continuing inspector general investigation but said “the I.G. has a responsibility to investigate all allegations made, and we welcome and support their independent oversight.”

Numerous agencies produce intelligence assessments related to the Iraq war, including the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and others. Colonel Ryder said it was customary for them to make suggestions on one another’s drafts. But he said each agency had the final say on whether to incorporate those suggestions. “Further, the multisource nature of our assessment process purposely guards against any single report or opinion unduly influencing leaders and decision makers,” he said.

It is not clear how that review process changes when Defense Intelligence Agency analysts are assigned to work at Centcom — which has headquarters both in Tampa, Fla., and Qatar — as was the case of at least one of the analysts who have spoken to the inspector general. In the years since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Pentagon has relocated more Defense Intelligence Agency analysts from the agency’s Washington headquarters to military commands around the globe, so they can work more closely with the generals and admirals in charge of the military campaigns.

Mr. Obama last summer authorized a bombing campaign against the Islamic State, and approximately 3,400 American troops are currently in Iraq advising and training Iraqi forces. The White House has been reluctant, though, to recommit large numbers of ground troops to Iraq after announcing an “end” to the Iraq war in 2009.

The bombing campaign over the past year has had some success in allowing Iraqi forces to reclaim parts of the country formerly under the group’s control, but important cities like Mosul and Ramadi remain under Islamic State’s control. There has been very little progress in wresting the group’s hold over large parts of Syria, where the United States has done limited bombing.

Some senior American officials in recent weeks have provided largely positive public assessments about the progress of the military campaign against the Islamic State, a Sunni terrorist organization that began as an offshoot of Al Qaeda but has since severed ties and claimed governance of a huge stretch of land across Iraq and Syria. The group is also called ISIS or ISIL.

Continue reading the main story
Obama’s Evolution on ISIS
Some of President Obama’s statements about the American strategy to confront ISIS and its effectiveness.

In late July, retired Gen. John Allen — who is Mr. Obama’s top envoy working with other nations to fight the Islamic State — told the Aspen Security Forum that the terror group’s momentum had been “checked strategically, operationally, and by and large, tactically.”

“ISIS is losing,” he said, even as he acknowledged that the campaign faced numerous challenges — from blunting the Islamic State’s message to improving the quality of Iraqi forces.

During a news briefing last week, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter was more measured. He called the war “difficult” and said “it’s going to take some time.” But, he added, “I’m confident that we will succeed in defeating ISIL and that we have the right strategy.”

But recent intelligence assessments, including some by Defense Intelligence Agency, paint a sober picture about how little the Islamic State has been weakened over the past year, according to officials with access to the classified assessments. They said the documents conclude that the yearlong campaign has done little to diminish the ranks of the Islamic State’s committed fighters, and that the group over the last year has expanded its reach into North Africa and Central Asia.

Critics of the Obama administration’s strategy have argued that a bombing campaign alone — without a significant infusion of American ground troops — is unlikely to ever significantly weaken the terror group. But it is not clear whether Defense Intelligence Agency analysts concluded that more American troops would make an appreciable difference.

In testimony on Capitol Hill this year, Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart, the agency’s director, said sending ground troops back into Iraq risked transforming the conflict into one between the West and ISIS, which would be “the best propaganda victory that we could give.”

“It’s both expected and helpful if there are dissenting viewpoints about conflicts in foreign countries,” said Micah Zenko, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of a forthcoming book, “Red Team,” that includes an examination of alternative analysis within American intelligence agencies. What is problematic, he said, “is when a dissenting opinion is not given to policy makers.”

The Defense Intelligence Agency was created in 1961, in part to avoid what Robert McNamara, the Secretary of Defense at the time, called “service bias.” During the 1950s, the United States grossly overestimated the size of the Soviet missile arsenal, a miscalculation that was fueled in part by the Air Force, which wanted more money for its own missile systems.

During the Vietnam War, the Defense Intelligence Agency repeatedly warned that even a sustained military campaign was unlikely to defeat the North Vietnamese forces. But according to an internal history of the agency, its conclusions were repeatedly overruled by commanders who were certain that the United States was winning, and that victory was just a matter of applying more force.

“There’s a built-in tension for the people who work at D.I.A., between dispassionate analysis and what command wants,” said Paul R. Pillar, a retired senior Central Intelligence Agency analyst who years ago accused the Bush administration of distorting intelligence assessments about Iraq’s weapons programs before the beginning of the Iraq war in 2003.

“You’re part of a large structure that does have a vested interest in portraying the overall mission as going well,” he said.

By MARK MAZZETTI and MATT APUZZOAUG. 25, 2015
A version of this article appears in print on August 26, 2015, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Inquiry Weighs If ISIS Analysis Was Distorted . Order Reprints| Today’s Paper|Subscribe

Find this story at 25 August 2015

© 2015 The New York Times Company

Syria crisis: US-trained rebels give equipment to al-Qaeda affiliate

A group of US-trained Syrian rebels has handed over their vehicles and ammunition to fighters linked to al-Qaeda, the US military has admitted.
It said one rebel unit had surrendered six pick-up trucks and ammunition to the al-Nusra Front this week – apparently to gain safe passage.
Congress has approved $500m (£323m) to train and equip about 5,000 rebels to fight against Islamic State militants.
But the first 54 graduates were routed by al-Nusra Front, the military said.
Gen Lloyd Austin told US lawmakers last week that only “four or five” US-trained rebels were still fighting.
‘Programme violation’
“Unfortunately, we learned late today that the NSF (New Syrian Forces) unit now says it did in fact provide six pick-up trucks and a portion of their ammunition to a suspected al-Nusra Front (group),” Pentagon spokesman Cpt Jeff Davis said on Friday.
Meanwhile, Col Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for US Central Command (Centcom), said this happened on 21-22 September.
He added that the surrendered vehicles and ammunition amounted to roughly 25% of the equipment issued to the unit.
“If accurate, the report of NSF members providing equipment to al-Nusra Front is very concerning and a violation of Syria train-and-equip programme guidelines,” Col Ryder said.
The unit was part of some 70 rebel fighters who participated in the second US training course.
The train-and-equip programme is at an early stage, but this is just the latest in a series of setbacks, the BBC’s Laura Bicker in Washington says.

26 September 2015

Find this story at 26 September 2015

Copyright © 2015 BBC

Pentagon: U.S.-trained fighters have not joined forces with al-Qaeda

The Pentagon on Wednesday denied reports that the latest batch of U.S.­trained rebels in Syria had defected
and joined al­Qaeda, as officials sought to dispel suggestions of further setbacks for the troubled effort to build
an effective local force against the Islamic State.
Earlier this week, shortly after a group of 71 U.S.­trained rebels returned to Syria after completing an American
training course in Turkey, one of the commanders said to be with the group issued a statement dissociating the
fighters from the Pentagon program and saying that it would operate as an “independent faction.”
The statement triggered rumors that the group had defected to the al­Qaeda­linked Jabhat al­Nusra, fueled by
photographs posted on social media by Jabhat al­Nusra purportedly showing U.S. weapons that had been
handed over by the Pentagon graduates.
The new reports came as U.S. officials search for ways to retool the Pentagon’s $500 million training program,
which was supposed to prepare a reliable, moderate force to combat the Islamic State, but which has come to
symbolize the shortcomings of the Obama administration’s handling of Syria’s protected civil conflict.
At the Pentagon, Capt. Jeff Davis, a military spokesman, said that U.S. officials were in touch with members of
the U.S.­trained group, referred to as the New Syrian Force (NSF), and said reports that the fighters had joined
Jabhat al­Nusra were false.
“We have no information at all to suggest that that’s true,” Davis told reporters. He said photos posted by Jabhat
al­Nusra­affiliated Twitter accounts, which purported to show American weaponry provided by those fighters,
had been “repurposed.”
U.S. Central Command, which oversees the training program, took the unusual step of issuing a statement to
rebut the reports. “All coalition­issued weapons and equipment are under the positive control of NSF fighters,”
the statement said.
The whereabouts and affiliation of the fighters was thrown into doubt following the statement by Anas Obaid,
who was one of the leaders of the new group of Pentagon graduates. He said the group would continue to fight
the Islamic State, but not in coordination with the United States. He also said the group had disowned its parent
organization, Division 30, the larger rebel unit from which the Pentagon trainees have been drawn, and would
call themselves Atareb Rebels, after the town where they are based.
Division 30 issued a statement saying that the unit had been unable to contact Obaid and warned he would be
put on trial for “high treason” if the reports of his defection were true.
Charles Lister of the Doha­based Brookings Institution said it was possible the U.S.­trained fighters had been
intimidated by Jabhat al­Nusra or other groups into denying their U.S. affiliation. “In that area of northern
Aleppo, it’s Islamists who have dominance, so to come in as a U.S.­backed force, you are at a disadvantage to
start with,” he said.
Later, Division 30, on its Twitter feed, denied that any of its weapons had been handed over: “The handover of
weapons has not occurred — not a single piece of weaponry.”
Still, U.S. officials acknowledge that they have limited ability to track the movements of the U.S.­trained
fighters, who are not under American command and control, and their arms.
The program, which has produced fewer than 200 fighters so far, has been plagued by setbacks. After the first
round of training, some fighters were kidnapped by Jabhat al­Nusra; others were attacked, and the unit
dissolved.
Last week, Gen. Lloyd Austin III, the Centcom commander, said fewer than five U.S.­backed fighters were then
in Syria.
“If this second group has failed as dismally as the first, this could well be the nail in the coffin of the program,”
Lister said.

By Missy Ryan and Liz Sly September 23
Sly reported from Beirut. Thomas Gibbons­Neff contributed to this report.
Missy Ryan writes about the Pentagon, military issues, and national security for The Washington Post.

Find this story at 23 September 2015

Copyright https://www.washingtonpost.com/

Senior ex-general hints at CIA involvement in Balyoz coup plot case

Retired Gen. Bilgin Balanlı, who was among the 236 suspects acquitted in the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) coup-plot case, has said the United States or the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) could have had a finger in the coup case.

The CIA or the U.S.’ “deep state” could have been involved in the case, recalling the testimony of a suspect, who said in 2010 he and a former deputy had picked up a sack full of documents in 2007 to be used in the Balyoz coup plot case from an American senator and a retired Turkish major in Istanbul and taken it to Ankara, according to Balanlı.

Balanlı said the alleged military documents, which became evidence and began the investigation, contained terms the Turkish army did not use and which were known to be used in the U.S. Army.

“For example, we do not use the word ‘ocean’ when we talk about our seas. The term ‘ocean’ was used in some places of the Balyoz coup plot plan. I think that they could have translated this from an American plan,” said Balanlı.

Balanlı, who was the only four-star general on active duty who was a suspect in the coup-plot case, was in line to be appointed to Chief of the Air Staff in August 2011 if he had not been arrested and sent to jail just two months before. He spent two years in jail and was forced to retire.

Balanlı said even though government officials now say they have been deceived about the case they believed they could gain political benefit from the plot case at the time.

“We can say the government perceived they could politically benefit from the case. Maybe both an opinion was formed and they believed the information given to them within the plot. They believed the plotters very much. Now they say they were deceived,” said Balanlı, adding this was a weakness for the Turkish Republic with all its institutions.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said March 19, during his first speech as commander-in-chief at the War Colleges Command, that the “parallel structure” of state officials sympathetic to U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen “misled and deceived” Turkey through the Ergenekon and Balyoz coup-plot cases, claiming he had personally objected to the arrest of top commanders and officers.

Stating he had identified a formation dubbed the “parallel structure” by the government as a “gang” when he lodged a petition to the court during his first trial, Balanlı said it would be “naïve” not to think the “parallel structure” had also stationed its own people inside the army, as some of the documents about the suspects in the case contained information people outside of the military could not have known.

Balanlı said they had struggled on their own to tell the truth to the nation, disclaiming the General Staff and Chief of General Staff Necdet Özel’s contributions to winning the case.

“We made the struggle to enlighten the public and made the nation see the truth. If there is any honor in this matter then it is the honor of the people who have showed the courage to stand by us and the truth. I do not believe the General Staff has [made] any contributions to this,” said Balanlı.

Cansu Çamlıbel ISTANBUL
April/06/2015

Find this story at 6 April 2015

Copyright http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/

Exclusive: Congress probing U.S. spy agencies’ possible lapses on Russia

Senior U.S. lawmakers have begun probing possible intelligence lapses over Moscow’s intervention in Syria, concerned that American spy agencies were slow to grasp the scope and intention of Russia’s dramatic military offensive there, U.S. congressional sources and other officials told Reuters.

A week after Russia plunged directly into Syria’s civil war by launching a campaign of air strikes, the intelligence committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives want to examine the extent to which the spy community overlooked or misjudged critical warning signs, the sources said.

Findings of major blind spots would mark the latest of several U.S. intelligence misses in recent years, including Moscow’s surprise takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea region last year and China’s rapid expansion of island-building activities in the South China Sea.

Though spy agencies have sought to ramp up intelligence gathering on Russia since the crisis over Ukraine, they continue to struggle with inadequate resources because of the emphasis on counter-terrorism in the Middle East and the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, according to current and former U.S. officials.

A senior administration official, who also asked not to be identified, insisted that there were “no surprises” and that policymakers were “comfortable” with the intelligence they received in the lead-up to the Russian offensive.

Spy agencies had carefully tracked Russian President Vladimir Putin’s build-up of military assets and personnel in Syria in recent weeks, prompting White House criticism and demands for Moscow to explain itself.

But intelligence officers – and the U.S. administration they serve – were caught mostly off-guard by the speed and aggressiveness of Putin’s use of air power as well as a Russian target list that included U.S.-backed rebels, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“They saw some of this going on but didn’t appreciate the magnitude,” one of the sources told Reuters.

Russia’s sudden move to ramp up its military involvement in the Syria crisis has thrown Obama’s Middle East strategy into doubt and laid bare an erosion of U.S. influence in the region.

A shortage of reliable information and analysis could further hamper President Barack Obama’s efforts to craft a response on Syria to regain the initiative from Washington’s former Cold War foe.

BEHIND THE CURVE?

It is unclear how his administration could have reacted differently with better intelligence, though advance word of Putin’s attack plans might have allowed U.S. officials to warn the moderate Syrian opposition that they could end up in Russia’s line of fire.

Obama, who is reluctant to see America drawn deeper into another Middle East conflict, has shown no desire to directly confront Russia over its Syria offensive – something Moscow may have taken as a green light to escalate its operations.

Syrian troops and militia backed by Russian warplanes mounted what appeared to be their first major coordinated assault on Syrian insurgents on Wednesday and Moscow said its warships fired a barrage of missiles at them from the Caspian Sea, a sign of its new military reach.

Russia’s military build-up now includes a growing naval presence, long-range rockets and a battalion of troops backed by Moscow’s most modern tanks, the U.S. ambassador to NATO said.

The U.S. administration believes it now has a better understanding at least of Putin’s main motive – to do whatever it takes to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. But Washington remains uncertain exactly how much further Putin is willing to go in terms of deployment of advanced military assets, the U.S. officials said.

The lack of clarity stems in part from the limited ability of U.S. intelligence agencies to discern what Putin and a tightly knit circle of advisers are thinking and planning.

In a tense meeting with Putin at the United Nations early last week, Obama was not given any advance notice of Russia’s attack plans, aides said. Russian air strikes began two days later, including the targeting of CIA-trained “moderate” anti-Assad rebels, though Moscow insisted it only hit Islamic State insurgents.

“They did not expect the speed with which Putin ramped things up,” said Michael McFaul, Obama’s former ambassador to Moscow. “He likes the element of surprise.”

U.S. intelligence agencies did closely follow and report to policymakers Russian moves to sharply expand infrastructure at its key air base in Latakia as well as the deployment of heavy equipment, including combat aircraft, to Syria, officials said.

“We’re not mind readers,” the senior administration official said. “We didn’t know when Russia would fly the first sortie, but our analysis of the capabilities that were there was that they were there for a reason.”

However, several other officials said U.S. agencies were behind the curve in assessing how far the Russians intended to go and how quickly they intended to launch operations.

In fact, right up until a White House briefing given shortly after the bombing began, Obama press secretary Josh Earnest declined to draw “firm conclusions” on Russia’s strategy.

CONFUSION OVER RUSSIAN INTENT

One source suggested that U.S. experts initially thought the Russian build-up might have been more for a military “snap exercise” or a temporary show of force than preparations for sustained, large-scale attacks on Assad’s enemies.

Another official said that after initial review, congressional oversight investigators believe that “information on this was not moving quickly enough through channels” to policymakers.

And another source said there had been a “lag of a week” before agencies began voicing full-throated alarm about imminent Russian military operations.

The senior administration official said, however, that “I don’t think anybody here perceived a gap” in intelligence.

In their reviews of how U.S. intelligence handled the Syria build-up, officials said congressional intelligence committees would examine reports issued by the agencies and question officers involved in the process, according to congressional and national security sources. At the moment, no public hearings are planned, the officials said.

Though the senior administration official denied the intelligence community was paying any less attention to Syria, John Herbst, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, said that not enough intelligence assets had been devoted to analyzing Putin’s “aggressive policies”.

McFaul, who took the view that the Obama administration had been largely on top of the situation as Putin prepared his offensive, said that a faster or more precise intelligence assessment would probably have done little to change the outcome.

“What difference would it make if we had known 48 hours ahead of time?” asked McFaul, who now teaches at Stanford University in California. “There still wouldn’t have been any better options for deterring Putin in Syria.”

(Additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton and Roberta Rampton, Writing by Matt Spetalnick; editing by Stuart Grudgings)

Politics | Thu Oct 8, 2015 8:03am EDT Related:
BY MARK HOSENBALL, PHIL STEWART AND MATT SPETALNICK

Find this story at 8 October 2015

Copyright Thomson Reuters

US-trained Division 30 rebels ‘betray US and hand weapons over to al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria’

Pentagon-trained rebels are reported to have betrayed US and handed weapons over to Jabhat al-Nusra immediately after entering Syria

Pentagon-trained rebels in Syria are reported to have betrayed their American backers and handed their weapons over to al-Qaeda in Syria immediately after re-entering the country.
Fighters with Division 30, the “moderate” rebel division favoured by the United States, surrendered to the al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, a raft of sources claimed on Monday night.
Division 30 was the first faction whose fighters graduated from a US-led training programme in Turkey which aims to forge a force on the ground in Syria to fight against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
A statement on Twitter by a man calling himself Abu Fahd al-Tunisi, a member of al-Qaeda’s local affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, read: “A strong slap for America… the new group from Division 30 that entered yesterday hands over all of its weapons to Jabhat al-Nusra after being granted safe passage.
“They handed over a very large amount of ammunition and medium weaponry and a number of pick-ups.”

Abu Khattab al-Maqdisi, who also purports to be a Jabhat al-Nusra member, added that Division 30’s commander, Anas Ibrahim Obaid,had explained to Jabhat al-Nusra’s leaders that he had tricked the coalition because he needed weapons.
“He promised to issue a statement… repudiating Division 30, the coalition, and those who trained him,” he tweeted. “And he also gave a large amount of weapons to Jabhat al-Nusra.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a monitoring group, reported that seventy-five Division 30 fighters had crossed into Syria from Turkey early the day before with “12 four-wheel vehicles equipped with machine guns and ammunition”.
US Central Command confirmed about 70 graduates of the Syria “train and equip” programme had re-entered Syria with their weapons and equipment and were operating as New Syrian Forces alongside Syrian Kurds, Sunni Arab and other anti-Isil forces.
The latest disaster, if true, will be the second to befall the programme. Last month, after the first group of fighters re-entered, the militia was attacked and routed by Jabhat al-Nusra, which stormed its headquarters and kidnapped a number of its members.
At the weekend, the group’s chief of staff also resigned, saying the training programme was “not serious”.
In the statement, Lieutenant Colonel Mohammad al-Dhaher complained of insufficient numbers of trainees and fighters, inadequate supplies, and even “a lack of accuracy and method in the selection of Division 30’s cadres”.
The latest developments have only added to the scorn heaped on the much-criticized $500 million (£320m) program, which aimed to forge a 5,400-strong force of “moderate” rebels to combat Isil.
It has been hampered by problems almost from the outset, with rebels complaining of a laborious vetting process. The biggest point of contention is that they are only allowed to fight Isil, not the Assad regime, which is the principal enemy for most opposition groups.
Sept. 16, 2015, photo, U.S. Central Command Commander Gen. Lloyd Austin III, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington.

General Lloyd Austin told the Senate Armed Services Committee that only “four or five” US-trained rebels were still fighting the Islamic State

Last Wednesday, General Lloyd Austin, head of US Central Command, shocked leaders in the US Senate’s armed services committee when he said there were only handful of programme graduates still fighting inside Syria. “We’re talking four or five,” he said.

By Nabih Bulos, Amman5:22PM BST 22 Sep 2015

Find this story at 22 September 2015

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2015

THE DRONE PAPERS: THE ASSASSINATION COMPLEXSECRET MILITARY DOCUMENTS EXPOSE THE INNER WORKINGS OF OBAMA’S DRONE WARS

From his first days as commander in chief, the drone has been President Barack Obama’s weapon of choice, used by the military and the CIA to hunt down and kill the people his administration has deemed — through secretive processes, without indictment or trial — worthy of execution. There has been intense focus on the technology of remote killing, but that often serves as a surrogate for what should be a broader examination of the state’s power over life and death.
DRONES ARE A TOOL, not a policy. The policy is assassination. While every president since Gerald Ford has upheld an executive order banning assassinations by U.S. personnel, Congress has avoided legislating the issue or even defining the word “assassination.” This has allowed proponents of the drone wars to rebrand assassinations with more palatable characterizations, such as the term du jour, “targeted killings.”

When the Obama administration has discussed drone strikes publicly, it has offered assurances that such operations are a more precise alternative to boots on the ground and are authorized only when an “imminent” threat is present and there is “near certainty” that the intended target will be eliminated. Those terms, however, appear to have been bluntly redefined to bear almost no resemblance to their commonly understood meanings.

The first drone strike outside of a declared war zone was conducted more than 12 years ago, yet it was not until May 2013 that the White House released a set of standards and procedures for conducting such strikes. Those guidelines offered little specificity, asserting that the U.S. would only conduct a lethal strike outside of an “area of active hostilities” if a target represents a “continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons,” without providing any sense of the internal process used to determine whether a suspect should be killed without being indicted or tried. The implicit message on drone strikes from the Obama administration has been one of trust, but don’t verify.

Photo: The Intercept
Document
SMALL FOOTPRINT OPERATIONS 2/13Document
SMALL FOOTPRINT OPERATIONS 5/13Document
OPERATION HAYMAKERDocument
GEOLOCATION-WATCHLISTThe Intercept has obtained a cache of secret slides that provides a window into the inner workings of the U.S. military’s kill/capture operations at a key time in the evolution of the drone wars — between 2011 and 2013. The documents, which also outline the internal views of special operations forces on the shortcomings and flaws of the drone program, were provided by a source within the intelligence community who worked on the types of operations and programs described in the slides. The Intercept granted the source’s request for anonymity because the materials are classified and because the U.S. government has engaged in aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers. The stories in this series will refer to the source as “the source.”

The source said he decided to provide these documents to The Intercept because he believes the public has a right to understand the process by which people are placed on kill lists and ultimately assassinated on orders from the highest echelons of the U.S. government. “This outrageous explosion of watchlisting — of monitoring people and racking and stacking them on lists, assigning them numbers, assigning them ‘baseball cards,’ assigning them death sentences without notice, on a worldwide battlefield — it was, from the very first instance, wrong,” the source said.

“We’re allowing this to happen. And by ‘we,’ I mean every American citizen who has access to this information now, but continues to do nothing about it.”
The Pentagon, White House, and Special Operations Command all declined to comment. A Defense Department spokesperson said, “We don’t comment on the details of classified reports.”

The CIA and the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) operate parallel drone-based assassination programs, and the secret documents should be viewed in the context of an intense internal turf war over which entity should have supremacy in those operations. Two sets of slides focus on the military’s high-value targeting campaign in Somalia and Yemen as it existed between 2011 and 2013, specifically the operations of a secretive unit, Task Force 48-4.

Additional documents on high-value kill/capture operations in Afghanistan buttress previous accounts of how the Obama administration masks the true number of civilians killed in drone strikes by categorizing unidentified people killed in a strike as enemies, even if they were not the intended targets. The slides also paint a picture of a campaign in Afghanistan aimed not only at eliminating al Qaeda and Taliban operatives, but also at taking out members of other local armed groups.

One top-secret document shows how the terror “watchlist” appears in the terminals of personnel conducting drone operations, linking unique codes associated with cellphone SIM cards and handsets to specific individuals in order to geolocate them.

A top-secret document shows how the watchlist looks on internal systems used by drone operators.
The costs to intelligence gathering when suspected terrorists are killed rather than captured are outlined in the slides pertaining to Yemen and Somalia, which are part of a 2013 study conducted by a Pentagon entity, the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Task Force. The ISR study lamented the limitations of the drone program, arguing for more advanced drones and other surveillance aircraft and the expanded use of naval vessels to extend the reach of surveillance operations necessary for targeted strikes. It also contemplated the establishment of new “politically challenging” airfields and recommended capturing and interrogating more suspected terrorists rather than killing them in drone strikes.

The ISR Task Force at the time was under the control of Michael Vickers, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence. Vickers, a fierce proponent of drone strikes and a legendary paramilitary figure, had long pushed for a significant increase in the military’s use of special operations forces. The ISR Task Force is viewed by key lawmakers as an advocate for more surveillance platforms like drones.

The ISR study also reveals new details about the case of a British citizen, Bilal el-Berjawi, who was stripped of his citizenship before being killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2012. British and American intelligence had Berjawi under surveillance for several years as he traveled back and forth between the U.K. and East Africa, yet did not capture him. Instead, the U.S. hunted him down and killed him in Somalia.

Taken together, the secret documents lead to the conclusion that Washington’s 14-year high-value targeting campaign suffers from an overreliance on signals intelligence, an apparently incalculable civilian toll, and — due to a preference for assassination rather than capture — an inability to extract potentially valuable intelligence from terror suspects. They also highlight the futility of the war in Afghanistan by showing how the U.S. has poured vast resources into killing local insurgents, in the process exacerbating the very threat the U.S. is seeking to confront.

Read more
FIND, FIX, FINISH These secret slides help provide historical context to Washington’s ongoing wars, and are especially relevant today as the U.S. military intensifies its drone strikes and covert actions against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Those campaigns, like the ones detailed in these documents, are unconventional wars that employ special operations forces at the tip of the spear.

The “find, fix, finish” doctrine that has fueled America’s post-9/11 borderless war is being refined and institutionalized. Whether through the use of drones, night raids, or new platforms yet to be unleashed, these documents lay bare the normalization of assassination as a central component of U.S. counterterrorism policy.

“The military is easily capable of adapting to change, but they don’t like to stop anything they feel is making their lives easier, or is to their benefit. And this certainly is, in their eyes, a very quick, clean way of doing things. It’s a very slick, efficient way to conduct the war, without having to have the massive ground invasion mistakes of Iraq and Afghanistan,” the source said. “But at this point, they have become so addicted to this machine, to this way of doing business, that it seems like it’s going to become harder and harder to pull them away from it the longer they’re allowed to continue operating in this way.”

The articles in The Drone Papers were produced by a team of reporters and researchers from The Intercept that has spent months analyzing the documents. The series is intended to serve as a long-overdue public examination of the methods and outcomes of America’s assassination program. This campaign, carried out by two presidents through four presidential terms, has been shrouded in excessive secrecy. The public has a right to see these documents not only to engage in an informed debate about the future of U.S. wars, both overt and covert, but also to understand the circumstances under which the U.S. government arrogates to itself the right to sentence individuals to death without the established checks and balances of arrest, trial, and appeal.

Among the key revelations in this series:

HOW THE PRESIDENT AUTHORIZES TARGETS FOR ASSASSINATION

Read more
KILL CHAINIt has been widely reported that President Obama directly approves high-value targets for inclusion on the kill list, but the secret ISR study provides new insight into the kill chain, including a detailed chart stretching from electronic and human intelligence gathering all the way to the president’s desk. The same month the ISR study was circulated — May 2013 — Obama signed the policy guidance on the use of force in counterterrorism operations overseas. A senior administration official, who declined to comment on the classified documents, told The Intercept that “those guidelines remain in effect today.”

U.S. intelligence personnel collect information on potential targets, as The Intercept has previously reported, drawn from government watchlists and the work of intelligence, military, and law enforcement agencies. At the time of the study, when someone was destined for the kill list, intelligence analysts created a portrait of a suspect and the threat that person posed, pulling it together “in a condensed format known as a ‘baseball card.’” That information was then bundled with operational information and packaged in a “target information folder” to be “staffed up to higher echelons” for action. On average, it took 58 days for the president to sign off on a target, one slide indicates. At that point, U.S. forces had 60 days to carry out the strike. The documents include two case studies that are partially based on information detailed on baseball cards.

The system for creating baseball cards and targeting packages, according to the source, depends largely on intelligence intercepts and a multi-layered system of fallible, human interpretation. “It isn’t a surefire method,” he said. “You’re relying on the fact that you do have all these very powerful machines, capable of collecting extraordinary amounts of data and information,” which can lead personnel involved in targeted killings to believe they have “godlike powers.”

ASSASSINATIONS DEPEND ON UNRELIABLE INTELLIGENCE AND HURT INTELLIGENCE GATHERING

Read more
FIRING BLINDIn undeclared war zones, the U.S. military has become overly reliant on signals intelligence, or SIGINT, to identify and ultimately hunt down and kill people. The documents acknowledge that using metadata from phones and computers, as well as communications intercepts, is an inferior method of finding and finishing targeted people. They described SIGINT capabilities in these unconventional battlefields as “poor” and “limited.” Yet such collection, much of it provided by foreign partners, accounted for more than half the intelligence used to track potential kills in Yemen and Somalia. The ISR study characterized these failings as a technical hindrance to efficient operations, omitting the fact that faulty intelligence has led to the killing of innocent people, including U.S. citizens, in drone strikes.

The source underscored the unreliability of metadata, most often from phone and computer communications intercepts. These sources of information, identified by so-called selectors such as a phone number or email address, are the primary tools used by the military to find, fix, and finish its targets. “It requires an enormous amount of faith in the technology that you’re using,” the source said. “There’s countless instances where I’ve come across intelligence that was faulty.” This, he said, is a primary factor in the killing of civilians. “It’s stunning the number of instances when selectors are misattributed to certain people. And it isn’t until several months or years later that you all of a sudden realize that the entire time you thought you were going after this really hot target, you wind up realizing it was his mother’s phone the whole time.”

Within the special operations community, the source said, the internal view of the people being hunted by the U.S. for possible death by drone strike is: “They have no rights. They have no dignity. They have no humanity to themselves. They’re just a ‘selector’ to an analyst. You eventually get to a point in the target’s life cycle that you are following them, you don’t even refer to them by their actual name.” This practice, he said, contributes to “dehumanizing the people before you’ve even encountered the moral question of ‘is this a legitimate kill or not?’”

By the ISR study’s own admission, killing suspected terrorists, even if they are “legitimate” targets, further hampers intelligence gathering. The secret study states bluntly: “Kill operations significantly reduce the intelligence available.” A chart shows that special operations actions in the Horn of Africa resulted in captures just 25 percent of the time, indicating a heavy tilt toward lethal strikes.

STRIKES OFTEN KILL MANY MORE THAN THE INTENDED TARGET

Read more
MANHUNTING IN THE HINDU KUSH The White House and Pentagon boast that the targeted killing program is precise and that civilian deaths are minimal. However, documents detailing a special operations campaign in northeastern Afghanistan, Operation Haymaker, show that between January 2012 and February 2013, U.S. special operations airstrikes killed more than 200 people. Of those, only 35 were the intended targets. During one five-month period of the operation, according to the documents, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets. In Yemen and Somalia, where the U.S. has far more limited intelligence capabilities to confirm the people killed are the intended targets, the equivalent ratios may well be much worse.

“Anyone caught in the vicinity is guilty by association,” the source said. When “a drone strike kills more than one person, there is no guarantee that those persons deserved their fate. … So it’s a phenomenal gamble.”

THE MILITARY LABELS UNKNOWN PEOPLE IT KILLS AS “ENEMIES KILLED IN ACTION”

Read more
MANHUNTING IN THE HINDU KUSH The documents show that the military designated people it killed in targeted strikes as EKIA — “enemy killed in action” — even if they were not the intended targets of the strike. Unless evidence posthumously emerged to prove the males killed were not terrorists or “unlawful enemy combatants,” EKIA remained their designation, according to the source. That process, he said, “is insane. But we’ve made ourselves comfortable with that. The intelligence community, JSOC, the CIA, and everybody that helps support and prop up these programs, they’re comfortable with that idea.”

The source described official U.S. government statements minimizing the number of civilian casualties inflicted by drone strikes as “exaggerating at best, if not outright lies.”

THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE TARGETED FOR DRONE STRIKES AND OTHER FINISHING OPERATIONS

Read more
KILL CHAINAccording to one secret slide, as of June 2012, there were 16 people in Yemen whom President Obama had authorized U.S. special operations forces to assassinate. In Somalia, there were four. The statistics contained in the documents appear to refer only to targets approved under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, not CIA operations. In 2012 alone, according to data compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, there were more than 200 people killed in operations in Yemen and between four and eight in Somalia.

HOW GEOGRAPHY SHAPES THE ASSASSINATION CAMPAIGN

Read more
FIRING BLINDIn Afghanistan and Iraq, the pace of U.S. strikes was much quicker than in Yemen and Somalia. This appears due, in large part, to the fact that Afghanistan and Iraq were declared war zones, and in Iraq the U.S. was able to launch attacks from bases closer to the targeted people. By contrast, in Somalia and Yemen, undeclared war zones where strikes were justified under tighter restrictions, U.S. attack planners described a serpentine bureaucracy for obtaining approval for assassination. The secret study states that the number of high-value targeting operations in these countries was “significantly lower than previously seen in Iraq and Afghanistan” because of these “constraining factors.”

Even after the president approved a target in Yemen or Somalia, the great distance between drone bases and targets created significant challenges for U.S. forces — a problem referred to in the documents as the “tyranny of distance.” In Iraq, more than 80 percent of “finishing operations” were conducted within 150 kilometers of an air base. In Yemen, the average distance was about 450 kilometers and in Somalia it was more than 1,000 kilometers. On average, one document states, it took the U.S. six years to develop a target in Somalia, but just 8.3 months to kill the target once the president had approved his addition to the kill list.

INCONSISTENCIES WITH WHITE HOUSE STATEMENTS ABOUT TARGETED KILLING

Read more
KILL CHAINThe White House’s publicly available policy standards state that lethal force will be launched only against targets who pose a “continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons.” In the documents, however, there is only one explicit mention of a specific criterion: that a person “presents a threat to U.S. interest or personnel.” While such a rationale may make sense in the context of a declared war in which U.S. personnel are on the ground in large numbers, such as in Afghanistan, that standard is so vague as to be virtually meaningless in countries like Yemen and Somalia, where very few U.S. personnel operate.

While many of the documents provided to The Intercept contain explicit internal recommendations for improving unconventional U.S. warfare, the source said that what’s implicit is even more significant. The mentality reflected in the documents on the assassination programs is: “This process can work. We can work out the kinks. We can excuse the mistakes. And eventually we will get it down to the point where we don’t have to continuously come back … and explain why a bunch of innocent people got killed.”

The architects of what amounts to a global assassination campaign do not appear concerned with either its enduring impact or its moral implications. “All you have to do is take a look at the world and what it’s become, and the ineptitude of our Congress, the power grab of the executive branch over the past decade,” the source said. “It’s never considered: Is what we’re doing going to ensure the safety of our moral integrity? Of not just our moral integrity, but the lives and humanity of the people that are going to have to live with this the most?”

Jeremy Scahill
Oct. 15 2015, 1:57 p.m.

Find this story at 15 October 2015

Copyright https://theintercept.com/

German spy charged with treason for aiding CIA and Russia

Prosecutors have charged a German spy with treason, breach of official secrecy and taking bribes for allegedly providing secret documents to both the CIA and Russia’s intelligence agency. Prosecutors say Thursday Aug. 20, 2015, the 32-year-old man,handled mail and classified documents for Germany’s foreign intelligence agency BND. ( Stephan Jansen/dpa via AP)
BERLIN (AP) — A German spy who allegedly acted as a double agent for the United States and Russia has been charged with treason, breach of official secrecy and taking bribes, Germany’s federal prosecutors’ office said Thursday.

The 32-year-old, identified only as Markus R. due to privacy rules, is accused of offering his services to the CIA in early 2008 while working for Germany’s foreign intelligence agency BND. Documents he gave the U.S. spy agency would have revealed details of the BND’s work and personnel abroad, officials said.

“In doing so the accused caused serious danger to Germany’s external security,” prosecutors said in a statement. “In return the accused received sums amounting to at least 95,000 euros ($104,900) from the CIA.”

Shortly before his arrest in July 2014, Markus R. also offered to work for Russian intelligence and provided them with three documents, again harming Germany’s national security, prosecutors said.

The discovery that the CIA had allegedly been spying on its German counterpart caused anger in Berlin, adding to diplomatic tension between Germany and the United States over reports about U.S. surveillance of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone.

Following the arrest, the German government demanded the removal of the CIA station chief in Berlin.

Prosecutors said Markus R. would have had access to sensitive documents because his job involved handling mail and classified documents for the BND’s foreign operations department.

German weekly Der Spiegel reported that the 218 documents Markus R. allegedly passed to the CIA included a list of all BND agents abroad, a summary of an eavesdropped phone call between former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, as well as a draft counter-espionage strategy. A spokeswoman for the federal prosecutors’ office declined to comment on the report.

If convicted, Markus R. could face between one and 15 years in prison.

Associated Press By FRANK JORDANS
August 20, 2015 11:07 AM

Find this story at 20 August 2015
Copyright http://news.yahoo.com/

For American Psychological Association, National Security Trumped Torture Concerns

A new report disclosed by James Risen of the New York Times on Friday tells in greater detail than ever before the story of how members of the American Psychological Association colluded with the CIA when it came to the application of brutal interrogation techniques.

The report describes how repeated expressions of concern from within the CIA itself that psychologists had no place in the abusive treatment of detainees were brushed asided by leaders of what was supposed to be a highly ethical professional association. Psychologists with close ties to the CIA, in some cases even involving financial relationships, cited national security as the reason to ignore their fundamental oaths to do no harm.

As one example, when the CIA asked Melvin Gravitz, a long-time APA governance member and former CIA contractor, to weigh in on whether or not it was ethical for psychologists to participate in torturous interrogations in early 2003, he concluded that it was fine because ethics need to be “flexible” in the face of national security.

The report details Gravitz’s response, in a February 13, 2003 e-mail titled “Ethical Considerations in the Utilization of Psychologists in the Interrogation Process.”

Recently, some questions have been raised regarding the ethical implications of psychologists applying their skills by assisting in the interrogation process of certain persons who have been detained in the currently ongoing world-wide war against terrorism. . . .

The following comments are based upon a review of the principles of the Ethical Code as they may be relevant to certain psychological services rendered by Agency staff psychologists and contractors, all of whom are required by regulation to be licensed.622 In the interrogation of detainees, such services may include (1) acting as a consultant to officers who design and conduct interrogations, (2) acting as observers but not actually participating in the interrogations, and (3) participating in the interrogation process themselves.

The authors of the report write that “Gravitz identified a number of ethical standards that might be relevant to psychologists’ involvement in interrogations, including conflicts between ethics and law (Standard 1.02), conflicts between ethics and organizational demands (Standard 1.03), management of alleged or possible ethical violations, boundaries of competence, providing services in emergencies (Standard 2.02), bases for professional judgments (Standard 2.04),624 and cooperation with other professionals.”

Nevertheless, Gravitz concluded:

While the APA Ethics Code focuses primarily on concern for the individual (i.e., client or patient), it also recognizes that the psychologist has an obligation to the group of individuals, such as the Nation. The Ethics Code is in its essence a set of aspirations and guidelines, and these must be flexibly applied to the circumstances at hand.

The complaint Gravitz was asked to address was raised by the head of the CIA’s Office of Medical Services, Terrence DeMay, in late 2002, very early in the “enhanced interrogation program.”

DeMay was not the only naysayer. Multiple CIA officers questioned the morality of involving psychologists in the interrogations over the course of several years.

CIA psychologist Kirk Hubbard sent an inquiry in March 2004 to the APA Ethics Office, writing in an e-mail to the office’s director that his staff had “been discussing a problem that is experienced by both psychiatrists and psychologists alike…both specialties are being asked to provided consultation to law enforcement, the military, and other organizations that have a role in national security,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, some of what they are asked to do runs counter to [their] code of ethics.”

Andy Morgan, the CIA psychiatrist who first raised the issue with Hubbard, told the authors of the report that he was worried mental health professionals were being misled about their roles in interrogations. He said psychologists he knew working in Guantanamo Bay were “placed in roles that were different from what they had been told before deployment,” according to the report. He told the report’s authors he was worried psychologists might start becoming interrogators themselves.

Morgan’s concerns were dismissed by APA members who insisted that “the code” of ethics does not extend to matters of national security.

When CIA psychologist Kirk Kennedy also raised concerns that psychologists were involved in abusive tactics without scientific evidence of their effectiveness, his complaint was “received poorly,” according to a footnote in the report, and he decided to transfer out of the operational assessment division.

The new report was commissioned by the APA’s board, and was the result of an investigation led by David Hoffman, a lawyer with the firm Sidley Austin.

CIA torture techniques, which it called “enhanced interrogation,” included waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and other egregious practices, most extensively detailed in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s December 2014 “torture report.” The APA shielded the program, and enjoyed a “harmonious working relationship” that brought them money and media attention, according to the new report.

“The military and CIA’s insensitivity to professional medical and psychological ethics continues to this day,” says Katherine Hawkins, national security fellow at OpenTheGovernment.org told The Intercept. “If the medical and psychological community wants to make real amends for clinicians’ role in the torture program, they should put serious pressure on the U.S. government to change this.”

Jenna McLaughlin
July 14 2015, 3:13 p.m.

Find this story at 14 July 2015

Copyright https://firstlook.org/

Three senior officials lose their jobs at APA after US torture scandal

American Psychological Association framed the departures of its chief executive officer, deputy CEO and communications chief as ‘retirements’ and resignations

The torture scandal consuming the US’s premiere professional association of psychologists has cost three senior officials their jobs, part of a reckoning that reformers hope will lead to criminal prosecutions.

US torture doctors could face charges after report alleges post-9/11 ‘collusion’

As the American Psychological Association copes with the damage reaped by an independent investigation that found it complicit in US torture, the group announced on Tuesday that its chief executive officer, its deputy CEO and its communications chief are no longer with the APA.

All three were implicated in the 542-page report issued this month by former federal prosecutor David Hoffman, who concluded that APA leaders “colluded” with the US department of defense and aided the CIA in loosening professional ethics and other guidelines to permit psychologist participation in torture.

Despite rumors of the three oustings circulating for over a week, the APA framed the departures of longtime executive officials Norman Anderson and Michael Honaker as “retirements”. Rhea Farberman, who served as APA’s communications director for 22 years, “resigned”, the APA said in a statement.

While CEO Anderson’s retirement was scheduled before the Hoffman report was released, the APA stated: “Dr Anderson felt that moving up his retirement date to the end of 2015 would allow the association to take another step in the important process of organizational healing, and to facilitate APA’s continuing focus on its broader mission.”

Psychologist accused of enabling US torture backed by former FBI chief
Read more
Anderson, Honaker and Farberman join Stephen Behnke, the APA’s former ethics chief also implicated in torture, in the first wave of APA departures as the organization seeks to rebuild its credibility. Behnke has issued a combative statement threatening unspecified legal action.

“This is a major step toward reforming the APA and the profession,” said Stephen Soldz, a longtime APA critic on torture affiliated with Physicians for Human Rights.

“I hope it is only the beginning of change. The selection of the right CEO will be crucial.”

Soldz is part of a group pushing for the APA to refer the Hoffman report to the FBI and justice department for potential criminal inquiries. Thus far, the APA has committed to providing the report to the Senate committees overseeing the military and CIA, and a call to end all psychologist participation in US interrogation and detention operations is slated for APA consideration at a major conference next month.

Thus far, there is no indication from the justice department that it intends to revisit the politically fraught question of legal accountability for torture, which ended in 2012 without prosecutions. The defense department, which still assigns psychologists to Guantanamo Bay, has yet to comment; and the White House has stayed out of the fray.

Hoffman’s report identifies Behnke, a defense department contractor, as a chief culprit in maneuvering the APA toward loosening its opposition to torture while denying doing any such thing; and the departed APA officials as complicit.

Behnke undertook “extensive efforts to manipulate” the APA’s council of representatives “in an effort to undermine attempts to keep psychologists from being involved in national security interrogations”, Hoffman found. Other “APA officials involved with Behnke in these efforts included “Anderson, Honaker [and] Farberman”.

Nevertheless, Farberman insisted to the press that the APA had taken a consistent position against torture.

After the Guardian reported that the APA had declined to take action against a psychologist who participated in a brutal Guantanamo interpretation, Farberman told the Guardian: “A thorough review of these public materials and our standing policies will clearly demonstrate that APA will not tolerate psychologist participation in torture.”

It is unclear if the three officials are the APA’s last to leave. Barry Anton, the APA’s current president, is also listed in the “Key Players” section, as Anton is said to have “participated in the selection” of members of a critical task force on psychologist involvement in torture that was stacked with US defense department officials.

The APA will meet in Toronto beginning on 6 August for its annual convention, which former president Nadine Koslow told the Guardian she expected to be consumed with the issue of what reforms the organization must adopt in the wake of the Hoffman report.

Tuesday 14 July 2015 17.43 BST Last modified on Tuesday 14 July 2015 18.51 BST

Find this story at 14 July 2015

Find the report
© 2015 Guardian News and Media Limited