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Archive for April, 2009

The CIA’s $1,000 a Day Specialists on Waterboarding, Interrogations

The New Focus on Two Retired Military Psychologists Called the ‘Architects’ of the CIA’s Techniques

According to current and former government officials, the CIA’s secret waterboarding program was designed and assured to be safe by two well-paid psychologists now working out of an unmarked office building in Spokane, Washington.

Bruce Jessen and Jim Mitchell, former military officers, together founded Mitchell Jessen and Associates.

Both men declined to speak to ABC News citing non-disclosure agreements with the CIA. But sources say Jessen and Mitchell together designed and implemented the CIA’s interrogation program.

Click here to see Jessen refusing to talk to ABC News.

“It’s clear that these psychologists had an important role in developing what became the CIA’s torture program,” said Jameel Jaffer, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.

Click here to see Mitchell refusing to talk to ABC News.

Former U.S. officials say the two men were essentially the architects of the CIA’s 10-step interrogation plan that culminated in waterboarding.

Associates say the two made good money doing it, boasting of being paid a $1,000 a day by the CIA to oversee the use of the techniques on top al Qaeda suspects at CIA secret sites.

MORE HERE

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William Fisher | Inter Press Service

NEW YORK, Apr 29 (IPS) – A coalition of 19 human rights, faith-based and justice organisations is calling on President Barack Obama to investigate torture they charge was sanctioned by the administration of former President George W. Bush.

The group, led by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), is proposing both a special prosecutor and an “independent, non-partisan commission to examine and report publicly on torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees in the period since September 11, 2001.”

The campaign’s call for accountability comes just days after the release of the Senate Armed Services Committee report on interrogation and torture and the Justice Department legal memos sanctioning torture and inhumane treatment.

Rev. Richard Killmer, executive director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, told IPS, “NRCAT supports both the establishment of an independent, non-partisan commission of inquiry to investigate the use of torture and a Department of Justice investigation for criminal culpability of those who authorised or carried out acts of torture. Each process is important and can be pursued independently.”

He added, “A commission will help us understand how the illegal interrogation policies came into effect and how they were implemented so that we can ensure that safeguards are in place to prevent future administrations from following the same path.”

“A criminal investigation will send the clear message that government officials cannot violate laws against torture without facing serious criminal sanctions. If we hope to end the practice of torture by agents of the United States once and for all, we must pursue both avenues.”

The coalition proposes a commission, “comparable in stature to the 9/11 commission,” to “look into the facts and circumstances of such abuses, report on lessons learned and recommend measures that would prevent any future abuses.”

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Rice Channels Nixon: Since The President Authorized Torture, That Makes It Legal

Think Progress- By Ali Frick at 9:40 am

Recently, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke with some students at Stanford University, where she is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institute. When a student asked whether Rice had authorized torture, she refused to take responsibility, saying only that she “conveyed the authorization of the administration.” She added that, “by definition,” once the president authorized “enhanced interrogations,” they were automatically legal:

Q: Is waterboarding torture?

RICE: The president instructed us that nothing we would do would be outside of our obligations, legal obligations under the Convention Against Torture. So that’s — And by the way, I didn’t authorize anything. I conveyed the authorization of the administration to the agency, that they had policy authorization, subject to the Justice Department’s clearance. That’s what I did.

Q: Okay. Is waterboarding torture in your opinion?

RICE: I just said, the United States was told, we were told, nothing that violates our obligations under the Convention Against Torture. And so by definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Convention Against Torture.

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Philip Markoff, Alleged Craigslist Killer, Had 16 Pairs Of Women’s Panties And 60 Pairs Of Flex-Cuffs In His Home

Huffington Post |  Nicholas Graham   |   04/29/09 08:51 PM

ABC New reports that police have discovered 16 pairs of women’s panties in the home of Philip Markoff, the man alleged to be the Craigslist killer. Along with the panties, the police found 60 pairs of flex-cuffs, which were presumably used to tie up his victims. Markoff has been accused of targeting escorts who advertised their services on Craigslist.

Read ABC News’ full report here.

It has recently come to light that Markoff was also using Craigslist to solicit sex from men and transsexuals. “The Today Show” interviewed a man who was contacted by Markoff for such purposes. Watch that report here.

For more details on Markoff, including photos and videos, click here.

For more information about his fiance Megan McAllister, click here.

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Obama Missouri Town Hall (LIVE VIDEO)

The Huffington Post |  Rachel Weiner   |   04/29/09 11:47 AM

President Obama holds a town hall in Arnold, Missouri (a suburb of St. Louis) on his 100th day in office.

Obama will return to Washington in the afternoon to prepare for a prime-time news conference this evening, his third since taking office.

Watch Obama live HERE

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FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2009 file photo, MSNBC talk show host Keith Olbermann attends the Defying Inequality Broadway concert, a celebrity benefit for equal rights, in New York. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer, file)

FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2009 file photo, MSNBC talk show host Keith Olbermann attends the "Defying Inequality" Broadway concert, a celebrity benefit for equal rights, in New York. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer, file)

Hannity Waterboard Offer: Olbermann Increases The Pressure

DAVID BAUDER | April 28, 2009 09:03 PM EST | AP

NEW YORK — The debate over torture is getting personal for two of cable TV’s prime-time hosts. After Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity made a seemingly impromptu offer last week to undergo waterboarding as a benefit for charity, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann leapt at it. He offered $1,000 to the families of U.S. troops for every second Hannity withstood the technique.

Olbermann repeated the offer on Monday’s show and said in an interview Tuesday that he’s heard no response. He said he’ll continue to pursue it.

“I don’t think he has the courage to even respond to this _ let alone do it,” Olbermann said.

Fox News Channel representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

The two men are on opposite poles of a debate that has preoccupied the worlds of talk TV and radio. Hannity says waterboarding is a fair and necessary interrogation technique for suspected terrorists; Olbermann calls it torture, says it’s ineffective and should not be done by Americans.

Charles Grodin was challenging Hannity on the issue on Fox last week, and asked whether he would consent to be waterboarded.

“Sure,” Hannity said. “I’ll do it for charity … I’ll do it for the troops’ families.”

It wasn’t exactly clear how serious the conversation was, since Grodin joked, “Are you busy on Sunday?” and Hannity laughed.

“I’ll let you do it,” Hannity said.

“I wouldn’t do it,” Grodin said. “I’ll hand you a towel when you come out of the shower.”

Olbermann’s offer was quick. Besides the $1,000 per second, Olbermann said he’d double it if Hannity acknowledges he feared for his life and admits that waterboarding is torture.

“The idea of putting somebody in a position they have volunteered for, for charity, to respond to their own unsupportable claims, is in many ways priceless,” Olbermann said.

MORE HERE

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