Truthout Stories http://truth-out.org Thu, 18 Dec 2014 10:25:49 -0500 en-gb The Frack Oil Salesman http://truth-out.org/art/item/28080-the-frack-oil-salesman http://truth-out.org/art/item/28080-the-frack-oil-salesman ]]> laurenayo@gmail.com (Lauren Walker) Art Thu, 18 Dec 2014 10:03:24 -0500 Declaring War on Heroin http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/28078-declaring-war-on-heroin http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/28078-declaring-war-on-heroin

In a handout photo, 53 pounds of herion, seized from a New York-based drug organization by the Drug Enforcement Administration. More heroin has already been seized by authorities here in 2014 than in any year since 1991, part of a well-documented nationwide rise in heroin use that has seen New York once again become a conduit for suppliers. (DEA via The New York Times)In a handout photo, 53 pounds of herion, seized from a New York-based drug organization by the Drug Enforcement Administration. More heroin has already been seized by authorities here in 2014 than in any year since 1991, part of a well-documented nationwide rise in heroin use that has seen New York once again become a conduit for suppliers. (Photo: DEA via The New York Times)

Even as officials eschew "drug war" language, many states' actions in response to the heroin panic have taken the same old tack. Overwhelming, well-publicized evidence that mandatory minimums do not reduce crime has apparently been cast aside in the swirl of the heroin scare.

In a handout photo, 53 pounds of herion, seized from a New York-based drug organization by the Drug Enforcement Administration. More heroin has already been seized by authorities here in 2014 than in any year since 1991, part of a well-documented nationwide rise in heroin use that has seen New York once again become a conduit for suppliers. (DEA via The New York Times)In a handout photo, 53 pounds of herion, seized from a New York-based drug organization by the Drug Enforcement Administration. More heroin has already been seized by authorities here in 2014 than in any year since 1991, part of a well-documented nationwide rise in heroin use that has seen New York once again become a conduit for suppliers. (Photo: DEA via The New York Times)

Want to support Truthout and double your impact? Click here to make a donation that will be matched dollar-for-dollar - but only if we meet our matching grant goal in time!

An era has ended: The term "war on drugs" has become passé. Instead of trumpeting the "just say no" mantra of decades past, elected officials now rattle off the rhetoric - and sometimes even the policy recommendations - of decriminalization activists, using phrases like "public health issue" and "holistic approach." President Obama's 2014 Drug Control Strategy pointed to treatment and prevention as top priorities, downplaying the role of law enforcement and putting "war on drugs" in quotes. On the policy front, marijuana laws are loosening in many states, substantive sentencing reform bills are making their way through Congress, and the president may soon grant clemency to thousands of long-serving drug prisoners. At least 29 states are taking steps to roll back the harsh mandatory sentences that have lent fuel to the mass incarceration of millions of people of color and poor people over the past 30 years.

These changes have not always translated into decreased arrests - in fact, marijuana arrests remain at historically high levels, with people of color (and particularly black people) shouldering an immensely disproportionate amount of the burden, despite similar rates of drug use among racial groups.

Moreover, a glaring exception to the trend toward relaxing drug laws has surfaced in the last year: When it comes to heroin, policymakers have hit the drug war battlefield with renewed vigor. From the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman to reports of heroin use doubling in New York to a slew of headlines warning of increased opiate use among white suburban youth, news of a heroin "epidemic" has spread fast, and it has translated into a contagion of harsh drug policy.

Even as officials eschew "drug war" language, many states' actions in response to the heroin panic have taken the same old tack. In Louisiana, where Gov. Bobby Jindal said last year that "substance abuse treatment instead of incarceration is a more effective treatment," the governor signed a bill that substantially increases the mandatory minimum prison term for distribution or "possession with intent to distribute" heroin. Overwhelming, well-publicized evidence that mandatory minimums do not reduce crime - and instead result in the brutal warehousing of large numbers of black and brown people, along with vast expenditures of state dollars - has apparently been cast aside in the swirl of the heroin scare. In Virginia, where the governor recently celebrated Recovery Month (September) by extolling the virtues of treatment and disclosure, heroin arrests have more than doubled over the past five years. And New York's Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared his own plans to "turn the tide on this [heroin] epidemic," signing into law a package of addiction treatment bills… and a slate of "strengthened" drug penalties.

Why the panic - and why the kneejerk punitive reaction?

The number of people who report using heroin has increased sharply over the past ten years, and in the wake of Hoffman's death last year, mass media have seized on that trend as an "epidemic." However, users have actually decreased in the past year, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Plus, as Columbia University's Dr. Carl Hart points out, most heroin users are not addicted to the substance, and the vast majority of overdose deaths occur when people combine heroin with other drugs, as in the case of Hoffman. Yet rather than expanding access to practical drug education (for example, informing people of the danger of combining heroin with other drugs), efforts - even those involving treatment - have been centered in the criminal legal system, following a longtime pattern in which "cracking down" on a health problem means involving police and targeting communities of color.

The heroin battle cry echoes a very familiar logic: Instead of focusing on pragmatic steps to protect public health, it frames "cracking down" on drugs as a morality-based mission. In 1986, Nancy Reagan announced, in the lead-up to a proposal that would intensify drug policing, "There is no moral middle ground… For the sake of our children, I implore each of you to be unyielding and inflexible in your opposition to drugs." On a parallel note, an Illinois police chief recently declared, "If we allow any kind of possession of heroin to be a misdemeanor, shame on our society.'" The sponsor of the recently enacted Tennessee law that criminalizes mothers who've used illicit drugs during their pregnancy (so far, mostly targeting opiate users), called the law a "velvet hammer" and erroneously warned that the lives of babies born to addicted mothers are "totally destroyed," replicating the mantras used during the "crack baby" panic to justify the separation of many predominantly black mothers from their babies in the 1980s and '90s. (Longitudinal studies have since disproven assumptions about "crack babies"; fetal alcohol syndrome, it turns out, is far more serious.)

Nowadays, many have abandoned the no-moral-middle-ground position when it comes to marijuana - now widely viewed as the "good drug" - but the rush for the "velvet hammer" is still embedded in our cultural backbone, ready for deployment when crisis seems to strike. The words "epidemic" and "scourge," once used for crack, have now easily resurfaced to apply to heroin, and so have the penalties to match.

Responses to the heroin panic often also echo classic "tough on crime" refrains that have long driven the mass arrest and incarceration of people of color and the poor. For example, a Delaware police chief has initiated a plan modeled on New York's notoriously racist "broken windows" policing practices, in which people - usually black and Latino people - are arrested for tiny infractions like riding bicycles on the sidewalk or jumping subway turnstiles. (The tragic effects of the "broken windows" mentality can be witnessed in the killing of Eric Garner by Staten Island cops, on suspicion of selling loose cigarettes.) The Delaware police chief told the local newspaper that in order to combat increased heroin use, "What we're doing is broken windows on steroids." Police in Medina, Ohio, recently unveiled a "broken windows" campaign to crack down on offenses like loitering and littering, in an effort, they say, to curb heroin possession and sales.

And so, although both facts and public opinion now firmly discourage the punitive approach (two out of three Americans oppose the prosecution of heroin possession, and a majority support a shift away from mandatory minimums), the past few months have demonstrated that when it comes to drug scares, our leaders have not moved beyond their reflexive reach for policing and prison.

Meanwhile, despite the Obama administration's talk of emphasizing treatment and prevention, crucial public health measures continue to be neglected. A key example is the prohibition on financial support for needle exchange programs: Aside from a brief period between 2009 and 2011, these initiatives have been banned from receiving federal funding for the past 25 years. Needle exchange drastically reduces the incidence of HIV transmission among injection drug users, it's endorsed by the World Health Organization as a lifesaver for both users and their families, and it costs taxpayers many times less than HIV treatment. (Conversely, a recent study indicates that arresting HIV-positive drug users actually heightens risks of overdosing and spreading the disease.) Syringe exchange programs also save lives by training clients in confronting overdose situations, and by providing easier, more informed access to treatment. These steps are proven to reduce heroin-related harm - unlike upping mandatory sentences for distribution crimes, or arresting kids for bicycling on the sidewalk.

The "war on drugs" metaphor may have been withdrawn from official circulation, but the prisoners are still being taken and the casualties are still mounting. We can't just start putting "drug war" in quotes and absolve ourselves of responsibility for the carnage. We need to peel back years of social conditioning that have instilled an impulse to run for the criminal legal system whenever the drug alarm strikes. And we must also challenge that alarmism itself - a phenomenon that has stoked decades of racist policy, sent millions to prison and torn apart millions of families.

If we are truly committed to ending the drug war, we must not let our intoxication with "epidemics" - and our entrenched drug war morality myths - trump our responsibility to humanity.

]]>
Opinion Thu, 18 Dec 2014 09:15:35 -0500
Boots on the Ground: The Best Solution to Disaster Response on Our Waterways http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/28075-boots-on-the-ground-the-best-solution-to-disaster-response-on-our-waterways http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/28075-boots-on-the-ground-the-best-solution-to-disaster-response-on-our-waterways

Disasters on our waterways have been occurring at an unprecedented rate in a climate of lax government regulations. In February, 140,000 tons of toxic coal ash sludge and wastewater leaked into North Carolina's Dan River, highlighting why boots on the ground activism is crucial.

Pete Harrison (L) of Waterkeeper Alliance and Justin Quinlivan of Yadkin Riverkeeper on the scene responding to the Dan River coal ash spill. (Photo: Brian Williams of Dan River Basin Association)Pete Harrison (L) of Waterkeeper Alliance and Justin Quinlivan of Yadkin Riverkeeper on the scene responding to the Dan River coal ash spill. (Photo: Brian Williams of Dan River Basin Association)

Want to support Truthout and double your impact? Click here to make a donation that will be matched dollar-for-dollar - but only if we meet our matching grant goal in time!

Disasters on our waterways have been occurring at an unprecedented rate in a climate of lax government regulations. In February, 140,000 tons of toxic coal ash sludge and wastewater leaked into North Carolina's Dan River, highlighting why boots on the ground activism is crucial.

Over the course of 2014, a series of unprecedented disasters have unfolded on our nation's waterways, contaminating drinking water supplies and endangering the public health and safety of communities. When a chemical used to wash coal (4-methylcyclohexane methanol, or MCHM) leaked into the Elk River in West Virginia from a storage facility on January 9, 2014, more than 300,000 residents were left without water to drink. As MCHM is not listed in the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) public database of toxic chemicals and is not federally regulated, this incident showcased just how vulnerable we all are to facing a similar fate due to lax state and federal environmental protections that allow many facilities and chemicals to evade scrutiny.

The rapidly increasing volume of toxic, volatile crude oil transported by rail and barge has upped the ante on the risk of future accidents even more. A McClatchy analysis of federal data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration showed that more oil was spilled from rail cars in 2013 than in the prior 40 years combined.

And the list goes on. In February 2014, a collapsed storm water pipe released 140,000 tons of toxic coal ash sludge and wastewater into the Dan River in North Carolina, a public drinking water supply for downstream communities like Danville, Virginia. State regulators and Duke Energy, the company responsible for the spill, waited more than 24 hours before notifying the public that it had happened. Adding insult to injury, just weeks after this catastrophic spill, it was discovered that Duke Energy had deliberately and illegally dumped 61 million gallons of coal ash into the Cape Fear River.

As the threats increase, heightened advocacy continues for protections and regulations that will safeguard our precious waterways and communities. However, more needs to be done than crossing our fingers and hoping for the best that a disaster doesn't strike again before necessary action is taken. As part of the solution, Waterkeeper Alliance has launched a rapid response program based on a proven protocol in responding to and remediating some of the nation's worst waterway disasters. Waterkeeper Alliance staff and local Waterkeepers provided on-the-ground support, water quality testing and advocacy for the Dan River incident and again in Lynchburg, Virginia, when a train carrying volatile Bakken crude oil derailed and exploded, spilling an estimated 50,000 gallons of oil into the James River. In past years, Waterkeepers have responded to Hurricanes Floyd and Sandy and the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Deploying a highly trained team of advocates and experts by boat and aircraft to assess a situation, test the water, document the impact and rapidly share information with the media and the public allows those on the ground to work quickly to amplify the voice of effected communities. The truth about the impacts and dangers is dispersed in real time, ensuring that polluters and government officials don't have the opportunity to downplay or cover up the threat. The response team then advocates for the waterway and affected communities until a cleanup plan is implemented. This requires a myriad of advocacy actions, including filing lawsuits and pursuing legislative remedies.

As a result of rapid response work by Waterkeeper Alliance and North Carolina Waterkeepers on the Dan River, Duke Energy has agreed to clean up not only the spill site, but also three other sites with leaking coal ash ponds in Asheville, Charlotte and Wilmington. Results of the Dan River spill were used to support litigation and successfully secure removal of coal ash ponds at other sites so that those communities and waterways are protected from additional coal ash disasters.

Throughout history, the biggest wins for the environment have been the result of citizens advocating for their rights. From the historic Storm King Mountain settlement to the passage of the Clean Water Act, to the founding of Waterkeeper Alliance itself, it is boots on the ground activism that ends up bringing about sorely needed change, and it is that same spirit that will carry us through defending our waterways in this climate of complicity by our government agencies that we live in today. As always, the people are the way forward and the last line of defense when communities are under assault from polluters.

]]>
Opinion Thu, 18 Dec 2014 00:00:00 -0500
Red Love: Toward Racial, Economic and Social Justice http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/28072-red-love-toward-racial-economic-and-social-justice http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/28072-red-love-toward-racial-economic-and-social-justice

Racism is exacerbated by a capitalist production process that teaches us that some people have a God-given right to pursue their economic and social interests without regard for other people's right to thrive, free of fear for their own survival. The antidote is red love.

Let the fight for justice begin!

November 28, 2014: Black Lives Matter mach in New York City, NY. (Photo: The All-Nite Images)November 28, 2014: Black Lives Matter mach in New York City. (Photo: The All-Nite Images)

Want to support Truthout and double your impact? Click here to make a donation that will be matched dollar-for-dollar - but only if we meet our matching grant goal in time!

Racism is exacerbated by a capitalist production process that teaches us that some people have a God-given right to pursue their economic and social interests without regard for other people's right to thrive, free of fear for their own survival. The antidote is red love.

The Slaughter-Bench of Race

It seems that it is an everlasting open hunting season in the United States and the kills are Black men. The senseless killing of unarmed Black young man Michael Brown by a White police officer and the grand jury's decision to allow the officer to walk without facing a trial through a faltering prosecutorial process (that aims to defend when the target of indictment is a police officer) has brought Ferguson, Missouri, and other communities across the country to their feet in loud and incendiary protest.

Approximately 50 protesters on a 120-mile march from Ferguson to Jefferson City decrying the shooting death of Brown were met with counter-protesters all along the route. Especially stomach-churning was the reception given to the protesters in the sleepy hollow of Rosebud, where the caterwauling and public scouring was most intense as 200 residents screeched at the protesters to "go home and get jobs" along a route littered with 40-ounce beer bottles, watermelons, Confederate flags and fried chicken, and where at least one concerned citizen was wearing a makeshift white hood, redolent of the vile knights of the "Invisible Empire."

With the growing confidence among White police officers that Black men are fair game for killing without consequences, how many more of our Black children's lives will we lose?

While the corporate media has suggested that the violent response by some protesters - property damage and looting in some instances - diminishes the authentic call for "change" - i.e., a demilitarization of the police, improved police-community relations, urban job creation, increased sensitivity training regarding race among police force recruits - it is hard to ignore the storied observation by Frantz Fanon that violence is oftentimes the only possible response by communities that have lived through centuries of violence - slavery, joblessness, poverty, police profiling, the school-to-prison pipeline and a military-industrial complex that thrives upon the deaths and killing of Black and Brown young men.

In the wake of this blow to the Black community, we have seen a string of similar White police killings of unarmed Black men and an unwillingness to indict them. These include the killing of Eric Garner who was caught on video repeating the words, "I can't breathe," 11 times as a New York Police Department officer had him in a chokehold that has been banned by the NYPD for years; the killing of Rumain Brisbon in Phoenix, Arizona; the killing of a 12-year-old boy, Tamir Rice, who was holding a toy gun in a park and shot within two seconds of police arriving on the scene; and the killing of Akai Gurley, a young man who was fatally shot by a rookie NYPD officer in a dark public housing stairwell in Brooklyn. With the growing confidence among White police officers that Black men are fair game for killing without consequences, how many more of our Black children's lives will we lose?

In the cases of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Akai Gurley, the police did not make any effort to assist their dying victims. In the case of Gurley, the officers who shot him - in true "cover your ass fashion" - decided to text their union representative while ignoring calls from the police and medics. Six and a half minutes went by before they finally radioed for assistance. It wasn't until a detective and FBI agent arrived at the scene of the Tamir Rice slaying that the victim received any first aid. In Eric Garner's case, numerous police officers stared at his unconscious handcuffed body for seven crucial minutes instead of performing urgent CPR or frantically seeking professional medical assistance. In the case of Michael Brown, we know that his body lay lifeless on a Ferguson street for four hours before it was carted off to the local morgue. While some have attempted to justify police killings of Black men as a function of the job demand for quick decisions and their own survival instincts, this unconscionable and merciless failure to attempt to save these men's lives, points to something much deeper.

Astonishingly, we are now hearing backlash against protesters that Black men must be suicidal since they are acting in ways that are surely to get them killed. It seems no matter what the circumstance, the narratives shift in order to maintain the sanctity of the White cop. The institutionalized and pretentious discourse of conservative talk show hosts now includes remarks to the effect of: "If Garner can say 'I can't breathe' 11 times, then he can breathe" (obviously these self-proclaimed "critics" don't realize that being pinned down by police may prevent lungs from re-expanding, forcing out the functional reserve capacity of air while the expiratory reserve volume - which is not oxygenated and basically exists as carbon dioxide gas - still permits vocalization). This vicious insensitivity from the frenetic ranks of these racist prodigies have ripped away any cosmetic prostheses hiding the seething subterranean animus of the White population who have inherited a historical proclivity to blame Blacks for their own suffering and who continue to do so with an increasingly smug impunity.

Protesters are demanded to show restraint in a country that has shown no restraint in killing Black communities and other communities of color - physically, psychologically and economically.

Given the rancid history of racial violence in the United States, should we be aghast at the audacity of White police officers who continue to shoot first and show little restraint prior or remorse after, and at the imperviousness of prosecutors and grand juries that see only through the dominant lens, justifying the growing epidemic of Black killings by White cops as a "natural" reaction to fearing for their lives? Protesters are demanded to show restraint in a country that has shown no restraint in killing Black communities and other communities of color - physically, psychologically and economically. While we do not advocate for violence, we understand how centuries of pain and humiliation can result in a pent-up rage that eventually explodes.

More recently, African-Americans face the grim new reality of moving from the super-exploited sector of the working class to being even more marginalized as capitalists switched from drawing on Black labor in favor of Latino/a immigrant labor as a super-exploited workforce. As a result of increased structural marginalization, African-Americans are subject to what William Robinson describes as "heightened disenfranchisement, criminalization, a bogus 'war on drugs,' mass incarceration and police and state terror, seen by the system as necessary to control a superfluous and potentially rebellious population."

Racism is not a natural phenomenon, but one that has been produced within each and every institution of our society. Racism is exacerbated through a capitalist production process that teaches us that some people have a God-given right to pursue their own economic and social interests with little regard for the right of every human being and other living organism to thrive in the world free of fear for their own survival and with dignity and freedom. Racism stems from a world that has lost its ability to recognize its social nature and absolute need to love one another. While we must work to make people safe today, we must also consider the long-term goal of anti-racist struggle, which in our view is one and the same as class struggle, such that a new world order, one free from class and founded on love, interdependence, social responsibility, equality and freedom can thrive.

It is glaringly evident that despite the current fanaticism with post-al theories in the social factory known as the academy, racism continues to be an endemic and pervasive cancer. Made to justify slavery and the economic disparity and hierarchical structure of our society, human beings were "marked for labor" through a process of racialization (Monzó and McLaren, in press). The plantation owner defined what it meant to be human in their own socially constructed White image and attributed subhuman characteristics - less intelligence, less morality, less beauty - to the racialized Other as a means to justify their exploitation.

We must seek to fight against not only the consequences of our exploitation but against the architect of hate that is killing our children - capitalism and the inherent greed that it breeds for the purpose of value production and wealth accumulation.

The impressive gains to social justice made through the efforts of Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and the many women and men of all colors who have fought with them, before them and since them are continually and egregiously being rolled back through a prison-industrial complex and a school-to-prison pipeline that has re-established the horrific race-based slavery of our country's past, making visible the clear internal relation between race and class. Thus, as we move forward in this critical time when our blood boils at the recurring and unabashed White-on-Black violence and a judicial process that legitimizes it, we must seek to fight against not only the consequences of our exploitation but against the architect of hate that is killing our children - capitalism and the inherent greed that it breeds for the purpose of value production and wealth accumulation.

The monstrosity of racism and its most atrocious consequence - structural genocide - have been evidenced through the mass and social media at a world scale in the past few weeks. But these are not new phenomena, although we fear they may become even more engrained in our structures of state power now that White cops across the country are learning that they can easily kill a Black man with impunity. Racism has procured an enormous death toll over centuries as a result of police brutality, wrongful imprisonment, and from the many associated ills that come with poverty and the dehumanization that people of color experience daily. Through the exclusion from "rights" afforded to the dominant class, including the right to own property, the robbery of wages during slavery, and the exclusion from and denial of educational opportunities, communities of color have been relegated to a working class status while Whites have retained a legacy of privilege, wealth and power. This is evident in the staggering disparities between Whites and people of color across a spectrum of factors including wealth and poverty, educational achievement, housing and neighborhood trends, media representations and the political arena.

Although racism affects all communities of color in the United States and across the world, its manifestation of hate has differed between particular communities and must be understood in its specificity. Racialization has become so ingrained in our subconscious that even when we understand that it is a social construction, we continue to engage with race as an actual characteristic of human beings. Its endemic nature stems from its tie to skin color and physical features that are defined in contrast to those perceived as White. As such, the Black community has been historically "demonized" as an "angry, dangerous and criminal" people in contrast to the self-proclaimed humanity of the White man (and woman). Reports by police officers who shot these Black men suggest that they perceived them as having some sort of superhuman strength and being physically much larger than they actually were (police stated that 12-year-old Tamir Rice was about 20 years old). Such exaggerations could make sense given the societal depiction of Black men as prone to violence and dangerous. However, even if fear were a motivating cause, it should be crystal clear that fear of the Black man is racist and an aspect of racism.

James Loewen (2005) has uncovered an often forgotten aspect of our history of racism: the existence of sundown towns - towns where Blacks and other people of color were pushed out in an attempt to create all-white communities. These were towns that either explicitly posted signs telling African-Americans to stay off public streets after sundown or used other informal means of letting them know they were unwelcome. Hundreds of sundown towns were spawned by the incubus of racial prejudice across the United States between the 1890s and 1940s and peaked in the 1970s (although some still exist). Black Americans (as well as other people of color) found on the streets after sundown were often subject to harassment, arrest and even murder. On his website, Loewen deliberates that the historical demographic shifts in Ferguson suggest that it may have been in the process of becoming a sundown town. Although Ferguson did not reach the status of a sundown town (it never had city ordinances nor posted signs for people of color to stay off the streets), Loewen points to other strategies in place for keeping Blacks out, including policing of "driving while Black," realtor steering and blocking the main road (with chains) to Missouri's first Black town, Kinlock (Wright, 2000).

In the fascist tradition that Karl Marx warned would take hold upon significant threat from the popular masses against capital, the militarization of civil society is becoming the "normal" response to protests perceived to be "unmanageable."

Not surprisingly, Loewen shows that between 1940 and 1960, Ferguson's White population grew by almost 400 percent and its Black population was cut by 60 percent. During the same period, the Black population of the St. Louis metropolitan area doubled, from just under 150,000 to just under 300,000. Loewen points out that sundown towns were instrumental in creating the inner city "ghettos" - forgotten swamplands of poverty densely populated by people of color - surrounded by White middle and upper-middle-class suburbs that we see across the United States today. This history suggests the possibility of a deeply entrenched racism in sundown towns where people of color remain buried in the dank catacombs of the judicial and criminal justice systems. That prosecutors fail to indict on White cop killings of Black Americans, when statistics show only 11 cases out of 162,000 did not bring indictments in 2010 (the last year for which data is available), is astounding and yet believable given this history (Casselman, 2014).

If proof need be adduced, further evidence of this entrenched racism can be found in the police responses to protests in Ferguson both at the time of the shooting and more recently after the grand jury verdict. The use of military tactics on civilians suggests the same ideological distancing from the "enemy" to which soldiers are indoctrinated in order to assure their complete and unquestioned loyalty to their commanding officers, even when orders may seem inhuman. In the fascist tradition that Karl Marx warned would take hold upon significant threat from the popular masses against capital, the militarization of civil society is becoming the "normal" response to protests perceived to be "unmanageable." The slaughter-bench of history awaits its next victims on the mean streets of communities of color and no water cannons will be powerful enough to wash clean its bloodstains from our collective memory of civil rights struggle. The aerosol prescriptions and ritualized piety of mainstream "food fair" multiculturalism fed to our teacher educators will never vanquish the blight of capitalism or uncover the unholy alliance between racism and modes and relations of capitalist production.

We have seen these tactics playing out in the protests related to the killing of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. Is it a coincidence that these are both Black men and that attacks on protesters took place in communities predominantly of color? Where better to begin to institute the coercive threat of a fully militarized police against our own people than in the communities of color perceived "expendable" (Monzó, McLaren, & Rodriguez, in press)? Indeed, William Robinson argues that Black men in the United States are being replaced as the hyper-exploited worker by immigrants from Latin America and suggests that this may make Black men seem expendable to capitalist production.

That communities of color are heavily targeted for police brutality and imprisonment, and suffer disproportionately the tortured realities of poverty, joblessness, loss of educational opportunities, militarization and most of society's social ills is undeniable. Indeed according to the Pew Research Center, White households currently have 13 times the net worth of Black households and while income levels in the past decade fell 9 percent for people of color, they fell 1 percent only for Whites. Furthermore, in the last year, only 47.4 percent of people of color were homeowners, whereas 73.9 percent of whites owned homes. Indeed, recent Sony financial documents leaked by hackers reveal a racial and gender disparity among that corporation's 17 top paid employees, which make more that 1 million per year - 15 of them were White men. This is what racism is and what it does.

Obviously, the ills the Black community faces are intricately tied to economic exploitation and to the fact that communities of color overwhelmingly make up proportionally the largest number of workers throughout the globe in the service of the capitalist class. This aspect of the problem is rarely highlighted and when it is, it is inverted to appear as though the economic disparities experienced by communities of color are a result of a racist society that does not grant them the opportunities necessary to rise above the "ghetto" rather than the effects of a capitalist system that sees no bounds to the destruction and immiseration it creates in the service of the capitalists who spin lies that assure their own reproduction without remorse. The deception is woven through all our institutions, but especially through corporate media, which answer first and foremost to capital and thus rarely link race and class together. A focus on race is safe - for capital.

We believe that anti-racist struggle and class struggle are one and the same fight - the struggle for a world founded on love, on the ability to see the worth of every human being and all living organisms simply because they are.

A focus on race and race relations alone, severed from its dialectical relation to class, suggests that the problem is attitudinal, that what needs to change is for "Whites" to learn to accept, value and respect those who are different from themselves. Economic conditions under capitalism must always be obscured, lest people begin to understand that the so-called freedom of the market does not change the fact that capitalism rests on a social relation of domination and exploitation and that it requires continual immiseration through the extraction of surplus value that most heavily afflicts communities of color. A focus on race and race relations continues to popularize the myth that race exists (even though it is well known in the scientific community that race has no biological validity), which is what the capitalists want since it was "invented" (Callinicos, 1993) to support capitalist production and continues to serve as one of the most powerful ideological tools to sustain it.

We do not, as some critics of Marxism contend, place racism at the back burner after class or suggest it plays a secondary role in importance, or reduce it to class. We recognize that racism exists and is killing our children of color and destroying our communities of color and understand this phenomenon as it was created through an intricate system of White dominance. We also understand that ideational factors stemming from the subjective experiences of people play an important role in the White racism that criminalizes, imprisons and kills our Black and Brown male youth and relegates women of color across the world to the most abominable working conditions that exist. One of us is a Latina immigrant and I recognize fully the impact that racialization has had on my life as such. I live and breathe the chilling fear that my son could one day come face to face with those who may believe him to be a threat to society and will shoot to kill without a second's hesitation and without any fear of retribution (legal or otherwise).

We do believe, however, that the fight against racism must be conjoined with class struggle. Indeed, we believe that anti-racist struggle and class struggle are one and the same fight - the struggle for a world founded on love, on the ability to see the worth of every human being and all living organisms simply because they are, because they exist and thus merit the right to develop with every possibility for respect, dignity, equality and freedom. We contend with conviction that as long as we live in a capitalist society, indeed a global world run by the transnational capitalist class, racism will continue to exist because it has served effectively as the structural, cultural and psychological justification for the existence of class hierarchies.

Further, we denounce on moral and ethical grounds - through our unapologetically egalitarian claim that the irreducible and indispensable core of humanity rests upon the promotion of justice - the idea that the horrific conditions of inequality and slave labor that capitalism produces would be acceptable under conditions of racial equality, that famine, homelessness, death and destruction would be made more palatable if it afflicted White communities to an extent equal to how they currently afflict communities of color. To us, social conditions of exploitation and hate are not acceptable for any human being and thus our fight must engage capitalism and its tenacity in producing varying ways in which we learn to hate each other to compete for perceived limited resources, which is designed to keep us divided and unable to rise up collectively against capital. What we need is a revolution that will break down our capitalist social relations and deliver us into a socialist alternative where a new human being can emerge with the socialist consciousness - the ability to truly love one another as an aspect of our human nature as social and interdependent beings.

Red Love

Under capitalism, love has become a term that people are almost afraid or embarrassed to utter. It is seen as a weakness, something that as human beings we cannot control, something that allows us to become vulnerable to the injustices of those who are presumed to love us. Its ultimate proclamation is an economic contract that secures each individual's interests (in capital terms) in the event of divorce. Under capitalism, everything is a commodity to be had, owned and controlled. Within the family, women and children are often seen as property and treated as subordinates. The family is, thus, a microcosm of the larger society's social relations of production and an important context for understanding relations of domination and subordination, and the values necessary for maintaining capitalist production, such as individualism, a strong work ethic, meritocracy, and the belief in competition and ownership.

Our capitalist society removes the human potential to truly love by turning it into an agreed upon contract that diminishes risk and thus places our own needs and desires above that of the loved Other.

In the working-class family, women, through childbirth and rearing, produce what Karl Marx termed the special commodity - labor power or the capacity to labor which determines value. Thus, women, their bodies and the ways they relate to the world, must be controlled through a patriarchal structure that becomes complicit with the interests of capital. A family structure that creates the conditions of possibility for true love - a love between an intimate couple and their children or other family members that is based upon mutual respect, equality, creative labor and social responsibility for each other within the family - sows a seed for a love that seeks to know the Other, that cannot conceive of violating an Other, that recognizes each person's own development as a function of the Other and that validates the Other's differences. This type of love cannot be found within capitalism. Rather it can only spawn from a socialist alternative, a society free of capitalist social relations such that notions of equality, freedom and love are the foundation of how family members interact. Within this socialist family, racism and other forms of domination and exploitation have no place, and cannot be bred.

According to Erich Fromm (1956), love is not something that we "fall into" but an activity that we engage in for the purpose of resolving the anxiety we as humans feel through our awareness of our separateness by uniting with an Other. For Fromm, loving is a source of power; the desire to give freely simply because we can and chose to (rather than as a source of obligation or false giving) suggests our capacity. Loving also involves intimate knowledge of the Other and a celebration of them as they are (in their difference from us) and a caring for and personal desire to respond to their needs (being responsible). Loving, according to Fromm, is productive labor in that it breeds the power to create, to give birth, to something new that has inherent value; for it is the product of loving. According to Fromm, this need to overcome our separateness and aloneness is a human necessity without which we would go insane. In Fromm's (1956) words:

. . . mature love is union under the condition of preserving one's integrity, one's individuality. Love is an active power in [wo]man; a power which breaks through the walls which separate [wo]man from his fellow [wo]men, which unites him with others; love makes him overcome the sense of isolation and separateness, yet it permits him to be himself to retain his integrity. In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two. (p. 19)

Our capitalist society removes the human potential to truly love by turning it into an agreed upon contract that diminishes risk and thus places our own needs and desires above that of the loved Other. Alain Badiou (2009) conceptualizes love as moving beyond the self-focused moment of ecstasy experienced in sex. He explains: "In love . . . you go to take on the other, to make her or him exist with you, as he or she is . . . [It] is a quest for truth . . . from the perspective of difference (p. 19-23)." Herein lies the potential for not only understanding, but for celebrating difference; for it provides the basis for knowledge and understanding the world - both necessary for affirming our uniquely human capacity as well as for our survival as a species. Although Badiou rejects the notion that love is synonymous with revolution, (hate, he argues, is also an aspect of revolution), he proposes that communism has the potential to free us up for the possibility of love and the possibilities that this emotion engenders in society.

In a like vein, Alexandra Kollontai argued for a red love that was not a binding material contract but in root and seed "a new communist sexual morality of free, open and equal relations of love and comradeship" (Ebert, 2014, para. 16). Kollontai argued that love was a social concern determined by material conditions. In Kollontai's (1921) words:

Love is a profoundly social emotion. Love is not in the least a private matter concerning only the two loving persons: love possesses an uniting element which is valuable to the collective.

This is because learning and making the choice to love in this way creates a foundation for social justice outside of one's immediate interests. That is, to create a social universe outside of value production grounded in an interculturalism, respect for diversity and a "régimen de desarrollo" that fosters "el buen vivir" by requiring all of us to exercise social responsibility in the communities in which we live and labor.

Our struggle to end racism then must be closely aligned with our struggle against patriarchy and capitalism. We must work toward the goal of creating a world free of exploitation for everyone, a world in which each individual can thrive alongside their comrades and feel the joy of living connected with others who we love and with whom we share a vision for a socialist world. As human beings, we are the makers of history and therefore, we must understand that we can transform our world into this vision but we must begin today. It begins with choosing love instead of hate, choosing to embrace the Other and to see the world with them. It begins with standing up to regain our humanity and our potential to love one another as human beings. Only then can we become a scourge of the rich and powerful, who choose hate as their modus operandi, turning the Other into a repository for their own political and racial animosity and who are more disturbed by the sight of a Black man in a White neighborhood than by poverty, structural inequality and entrenched policies and practices of racial injustice.

In our struggle for social justice, the backbone of our exigency is doing justice to justice. There should be no abiding inequality in ownership of capital, and the recalcitrant resistance of anti-racists to implicate capitalism in the production of racism must be overcome. Capitalism is compatible with the charity approaches to poverty that liberals and left liberals champion. Seekers of justice should have little faith in charity (social spending), which treats the symptoms of capitalism and instead should fight for social justice, fighting for a transformation of society in which charity is unnecessary because value production has been rooted out. The first step we must take is to stand up with our Black brothers and sisters, recognizing that their survival and triumph against this onslaught of hate is a necessary condition of our own survival as human beings, evidence of our ability to reclaim our humanity. Let the fight for justice begin!

References

Badiou, A. (2009). In praise of love. The New Press.

Callinicos, A. (1993). Race and class. London: Bookmarks.

Ebert, T. (2014). Alexandra Kollontai and red love. Solidarity: A socialist, feminist, anti-racist organization. Retrieved http://www.solidarity-us.org/node/1724

Kollontai, A. (1921). Theses on communist morality in the sphere of marital relations. Retrieved https://www.marxists.org/archive/kollonta/1921/theses-morality.htm

Casselman, B. (2014). It's incredibly rare for a Grand Jury to do what Ferguson's just did. http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/ferguson-michael-brown-indictment-darren-wilson/

Fromm, E. (1956). The art of loving. Harper & Row.

Loewen, J.W. (2005). Sundown towns: A hidden dimension of American racism. New York: Touchstone.

Monzó, L.D. & McLaren, P. (in press). Marked for labor: Latina bodies and transnational capital - A Marxist feminist critical pedagogy. In C.R. Monroe (Ed.), Race and colorism in education. New York: Routledge.

Monzó, L.D., McLaren, P., & Rodriguez, A. (in press). Deploying guns to expendable communities: Bloodshed in Mexico, US imperialism and transnational capital - A call for revolutionary critical pedagogy. Cultural Studies/Critical Methodologies.

Wright Sr., J.A. (2000). Kinloch: Missouri's first all Black town. Chicago, Il: Arcadia Publishing.

]]>
Opinion Thu, 18 Dec 2014 00:00:00 -0500
A Warren Run Would Change Everything http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/28071-a-warren-run-would-change-everything http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/28071-a-warren-run-would-change-everything

Senador Elizabeth Warren. (Tim Galloway / The New York Times)Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (Photo: Tim Galloway / The New York Times)

Over the past few weeks, Elizabeth Warren has emerged as a leader of progressives on Capitol Hill.

She led the charge against the part of the CRomnibus that gutted our financial regulations, and she is still fighting the White House over its nomination of bankster Antonio Weiss as Undersecretary of Domestic Finance in the Treasury Department.

But while those of us on the left are thrilled that Sen. Warren is coming into her own as a voice for change in Washington, the right, well, isn't so thrilled. In fact, it's downright terrified.

See more news and opinion from Thom Hartmann at Truthout here.

During an episode of "Outnumbered" yesterday, Fox So-Called News host Melissa Francis said that as far as Wall Street was concerned, Elizabeth Warren was "the devil" and then warned that her populist message could be a big winner in 2016.

Melissa's right to be scared, because Elizabeth Warren represents one of - if not the biggest - threat to Republicans winning the presidency in 2016.

Warren is, essentially, a populist, and if there was one good sign from this year's midterm elections it's that Americans of all stripes, even those living in red states, support a populist agenda.

If Elizabeth Warren were to run for president on a populist platform, it could help the Democratic Party reclaim the so-called "red states."

But a Warren presidential run wouldn't just be good for the Democratic Party, it would be good for the entire country because it would change how we talk about politics.

Like Teddy Roosevelt before her, Warren doesn't just take the fight across the aisle, she also sticks up to those people within her own party who do more for special interests than they do for everyday people.

Her fight against part of a government spending bill that was supported by most of Democratic leadership and the White House was a great example of this kind of "no party" populism.

For Warren, it's not about left vs. right; it's about insiders vs. outsiders. That's a really important point, and it's the single most important reason why she should become our president in 2016.

In her memoir Fighting Chance, Warren quotes Larry Summers as telling her that when people get Washington, they have a choice: they can either be insiders or outsiders.

"Outsiders," Summers explained, "can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don't listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People — powerful people — listen to what they have to say."

Summers' message here was clear: If you want to get things in done in Washington, you have to follow the rules and avoid ruffling people's feathers. But if we've learned anything over the past few weeks, it's that Larry Summers, as has been the case at virtually every consequential moment in his entire career, was totally and completely wrong.

By speaking out about Antonio Weiss and the government spending CRomnibus bill, Elizabeth Warren is proving that being an outsider works.

She's proving that populism cuts across the left-right divide.

She's proving that acting like an outsider rearranges the debate so that it's about "us vs. them," with "us" being the American people and "them" being the insiders and special interest groups that use government to pad their pockets.

An Elizabeth Warren presidential run would give us a chance to have a national conversation about these issues. And even if she didn't make it out of the primaries, our country would be a lot healthier for having had that discussion than having not had it.

Sen. Warren has said again and again that she's not going to run for president in 2016. But that's the exact same thing a junior Illinois senator named Barack Obama said back in 2006, and look where he is now.

It's time for a real national conversation about populism and democracy. Go to MoveOn.org to tell Sen. Elizabeth Warren that you want her to run for president.

]]>
Opinion Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:00:07 -0500
Stickup Kid http://truth-out.org/news/item/28065-stickup-kid http://truth-out.org/news/item/28065-stickup-kid ]]> News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 12:27:49 -0500 After Duo Created CIA Torture Methods, Did World's Largest Group of Psychologists Enable Abuses? http://truth-out.org/news/item/28063-after-duo-created-cia-torture-methods-did-world-s-largest-group-of-psychologists-enable-abuses http://truth-out.org/news/item/28063-after-duo-created-cia-torture-methods-did-world-s-largest-group-of-psychologists-enable-abuses

As a psychologist identified as the "architect" of the CIA's torture program admits he personally waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, we look at allegations that the American Psychological Association — the largest association of psychologists in the world — secretly colluded with U.S. abuses. Speaking to Vice News, retired Air Force psychologist James Mitchell confirmed for the first time he personally waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Mitchell was hired to help create the interrogation program along with his partner, Dr. Bruce Jessen. The Senate report says Mitchell and Jessen were paid $81 million to help design the CIA's torture methods, including some of the most abusive tactics. The Senate's findings come as the American Psychological Association has launched a review to determine whether its leadership also played a role in CIA torture. The APA's probe was prompted by revelations from Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times investigative reporter James Risen. In his new book, "Pay Any Price," Risen reveals how after the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, the APA formed a task force that enabled the continued role of psychologists in the torture program. There has been a deep division within the APA's policy on interrogations for years. Unlike the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association, the APA never prohibited its members from being involved in interrogations.

We are joined by two guests: Steven Reisner, a founding member of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology and psychological ethics adviser to Physicians for Human Rights; and Alfred McCoy, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of "A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror," as well as "Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation."

TRANSCRIPT:

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AARON MATÉ: A retired Air Force psychologist identified as the "architect" of the CIA's torture program has confirmed for the first time he personally waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. James Mitchell told Vice News, quote, "Yes, I waterboarded KSM. I was part of a larger team that waterboarded a small number of detainees." Mitchell also reportedly waterboarded Abu Zubaydah at a secret CIA black site in Thailand. Mitchell was hired to help create the interrogation program along with his partner, Bruce Jessen, another psychologist. The Senate report says Mitchell and Jessen were paid $81 million to help design the CIA's torture methods, including some of the most abusive tactics. The pair had no prior experience in interrogation.

AMY GOODMAN: Defending his role last week, James Mitchell said the abuse of prisoners is preferable to the Obama administration's ongoing drone war that claims civilian lives. He was speaking to Vice News.

JAMES MITCHELL: To me, it seems completely insensible that slapping KSM is bad, but sending a Hellfire missile into a family's picnic and killing all the children and, you know, killing Granny and killing everyone is OK, for a lot of reasons. One of the reasons is: What about that collateral loss of life? And the other is, is that if you kill them, you can't question them.

AARON MATÉ: As Mitchell defends his part in the torture program, the American Psychological Association has launched a review to determine whether its leadership played a role. The APA's probe was prompted by revelations in the new book, Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War, by Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist James Risen. The book reveals how after the Abu Ghraib torture scandal the APA formed a task force that enabled the continued role of psychologists in the torture program. One APA official wrote an email expressing gratitude to an intelligence official for influencing the decision, saying, quote, "Your views were well represented by the very carefully selected task force members."

AMY GOODMAN: There has been a deep division within the American Psychological Association's policy on interrogations for years. Unlike the American Medical Association and the smaller APA, the American Psychiatric Association, the APA, the American Psychological Association, which is the largest association of psychologists in the world, never prohibited its members from being involved in interrogations.

We're joined right now by two guests. We're going first to Steven Reisner, founding member of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology and psychological ethics adviser to Physicians for Human Rights. His latest piece for Slate is called "CIA on the Couch: Why there would have been no torture without the psychologists."

Well, Steven Reisner, it's great to have you back on Democracy Now! You also, years ago, ran for president of the APA, and your major plank was to stop involvement with torture. Your campaign, along with many hundreds of psychologists within the APA, has been going on for years. You now say that the torture could not have gone on without your colleagues, the psychologists?

STEVEN REISNER: Unfortunately, yes, that is true. The Bush administration's Justice Department created a legal rationale for torture that required the presence of psychologists and medical professionals. And so, on one hand, for legal cover, there had to be psychologists present. On the other hand—and even more horrifying for members of my profession—the torture regime itself was created at the CIA by these two psychologists, Mitchell and Jessen, and in the Department of Defense psychologists were involved in creating the torture program and in overseeing it from the beginning to the end.

AARON MATÉ: Talk about the role of Mitchell and Jessen, these two contractors paid $81 million to come up with these tactics that were used—basically created the program.

STEVEN REISNER: Well, these two psychologists were sought out by the CIA because the CIA had been—had found this manual, which they called a resistance manual, an al-Qaeda resistance manual. And in it, the al-Qaeda operatives are taught how to handle their imprisonment to not give up too much information. So someone had the idea that our own resistance trainers, psychologists, might have something to say about that manual. This seems to have been an opportunity for Mitchell and Jessen. They were resistance trainers who had been part of a program to basically torture our own soldiers to try to teach them to resist. So, the two of them got the manual, they wrote about it, and they claimed that they had special expertise, because of their resistance training, to break the resistance of al-Qaeda members.

AMY GOODMAN: And talk about how significant they were and the response by the American Psychological Association to what they were doing. It wasn't also just the two of them. They started the program. They got tens of millions of dollars for it.

STEVEN REISNER: Well, they created this torture program and justified it. They did the assessment of the prisoners, they did the torture itself, and then they did the evaluation of how well the torture worked. The level of conflict of interest and their self-promotion is horrendous. And it started a kind of virus of putting psychologists in these roles of overseeing and directing enhanced interrogations. And what happened very early on is that the professional—the American Psychological Association decided that it was going to do its part by bringing researchers together with operatives to make those interrogations more effective, on the one hand, and to find a way to permit psychologists to be present, according to—by changing its ethical policy, on the other hand.

AMY GOODMAN: Let's go to Vice News, go back to the Vice News interview with one of the two psychologists who helped create the CIA's program. James Mitchell was asked if the so-called EITs, enhanced interrogation techniques, were designed to get actionable intelligence. This was what he said.

JAMES MITCHELL: It was to facilitate getting actionable intelligence by making a bad cop, that was bad enough that the person would engage with a good cop. I would be stunned if they found any kind of evidence to suggest that EITs, as they were being applied, yielded actionable intelligence.

AARON MATÉ: That's James Mitchell, architect of the tactics used in the CIA torture program, speaking to Vice News. We're going to be joined now by Alfred McCoy, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He's the author of A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror and Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation. Professor McCoy, can you talk about the role of Mitchell and Jessen in this torture program?

ALFRED McCOY: Well, they were the latest in a long history of American and Canadian psychologists helping the CIA design its interrogation protocols. This is an extraordinarily long history that goes back to 1951, when the CIA, in alliance with British and Canadian psychologists, set out to crack the code of human consciousness. And they worked with a very famous Canadian psychologist named Donald O. Hebb. And he conducted a series of experiments from 1951 to '54 that discovered the basic concept of sensory deprivation or sensory disorientation, which, when you read the Senate report, that is the core of the CIA's tactics.

These were originally developed for offensive uses, for us to break down captured Soviet spies. Then, in 1955, some 30 pilots returned as prisoners of war from North Korea, and they had been tortured. They gave statements, some of them, on Radio Beijing, alleging falsely that the United States had engaged in germ warfare. One of the pilots, a Marine Corps aviator, was put on trial. He was court-martialed. And at the end of this very sad saga, President Eisenhower ordered that all American military personnel at risk of capture by the enemy should be conditioned to resist torture. And this was the origin in the U.S. Air Force of the survival, evasion, escape, resistance doctrine, OK, which was using these psychological torture techniques, flipping them and using them defensively to train our personnel to resist enemy interrogation.

During the long years of the Cold War, the CIA propagated the offensive techniques among our allies worldwide. We trained SAVAK in Iran. We ran the Phoenix Program in South Vietnam. We trained Latin American militaries in the doctrine of torture. And as the Cold War wound up in the 1980s, the CIA did a review, repudiated the doctrine, developed a policy of not using coercive techniques. The Defense Department recalled the training manuals from Latin American militaries, under Defense Secretary Dick Cheney. These manuals were destroyed, and it was all over.

Now, when 9/11 struck, the only place where these techniques resided within the bowels of the U.S. bureaucracy was in the SERE doctrine. And so, it's quite logical that the CIA turned to two former U.S. Air Force SERE trainers and got them to, again, reverse-engineer the defensive doctrine into an offensive doctrine, using these psychological torture techniques against al-Qaeda and terrorist suspects.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you tell us what KUBARK is?

ALFRED McCOY: Sure. KUBARK was the distillation of the CIA's decade of research into these psychological torture techniques. All that work, that first of all developed sensory deprivation or sensory disorientation, and then parallel work done by two researchers at Cornell University Medical School—they found that the KGB's most effective torture technique was not brutal beating, but self-inflicted pain. And these two basic doctrines of sensory disorientation and self-inflicted pain were encoded in something called the KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation Manual in 1963. KUBARK was then the CIA's cryptonym for itself. So, the real title of the manual was the CIA's Counterintelligence Interrogation Manual. And that manual and those techniques were propagated worldwide for the next 30 years among U.S. allies in Latin America, the Middle East, North Africa, Iran, and particularly South Vietnam.

AMY GOODMAN: We're going to break and then come back to this discussion. In our last segment, we're going to be talking with former Senator Mike Gravel. He's calling on Colorado outgoing Senator Mark Udall to read into the Congressional Record the full Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA's involvement with torture. But before we do that, we've got lots to cover with Professor Alfred McCoy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Dr. Steven Reisner. Stay with us.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: Our guests are Professor Al McCoy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Steven Reisner, who formerly ran for president of the American Psychological Association. He's a founding member of the Coalition for Ethical Psychology. I want to turn to a part of a [ 2007 ] Democracy Now! broadcast from San Francisco on a vote by the American Psychological Association's Council of Representatives to reject a proposal to ban psychologists from participating in interrogations at Guantánamo Bay and elsewhere. This meeting in San Francisco at this time was incredibly contentious. Many APA members wanted to reject the resolution, even though it was about to be approved. Democracy Now! was filming. One by one, these psychologists took to the stage to voice their outrage.

DAN AALBERS: My name is Dan Aalbers, and I am just another psychologist who thinks that the moral issue of our time has landed at our doorstep. ... We have made an enormous mistake, and I think it's not only did we do the wrong thing morally, we did not act in our best interests. We are now standing against the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, the British Psychological Society, numerous human rights organizations, the U.N., the Council of Europe. And this detention and interrogation policy is going to go down. And once it does go down, we will find that we have secured the best cabin on the Titanic. Thank you.

NANCY WECKER: Hi, my name is Nancy Wecker. I'm in private practice in San Francisco. I just want to propose a conflict that we have. It's like we're embedded in the military, you know, like the journalists who are embedded in the war. That's our problem.

AMY GOODMAN: Not long after the town hall meeting had begun, the APA's public affairs officer approached Democracy Now! and told us to stop filming. She said we could only tape 10 minutes and that we had passed our time limit. I got on the microphone and told the people gathered at the meeting what was happening.

AMY GOODMAN: Excuse me, just [inaudible] a point of procedure. We're told that reporters are only allowed to record for 10 minutes, and Pamela Willenz of the APA said that she will call security on us now, because we're going to be recording for more than 10 minutes. So I was wondering if there could be any sense of the meeting, or a rationale, since this is a town hall meeting, for not being allowed to record for more than 10 minutes.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: We want to vote.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: Can we vote to allow recording at the town hall meeting? Can we all vote to allow recording?

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: Can we vote to allow recording?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: We want the press to witness this.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: Can everyone who approves of allowing the reporters to record please raise your hand?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: OK, folks, the recording will continue through the session.

AMY GOODMAN: And with that, we continued taping the town hall meeting. APA members were outspoken about their concerns. Retired Bay Area psychologist Carter Mehl criticized the APA leadership for not bringing the issue of interrogations to the forefront.

DR. CARTER MEHL: Why are we being secretive? I understand why the CIA needs to be secretive. We are a public organization. And I would like someone from APA leadership to explain their rationale, why they thought a town meeting like this should be cut off, that the press should be excluded after 10 minutes. I would really like to know. I'm trying to understand. That is my problem, is what is the leadership coming from? Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: This was a meeting of the American Psychological Association. It was in 2007. Now, before this kind of speak-out, at the formal meeting, psychologist Jean Maria Arrigo stood on the dais before this standing-room crowd at the annual APA meeting. This came two years after she participated in an APA panel known as the PENS Task Force that concluded psychologists working in interrogations play a, quote, "valuable and ethical role." Arrigo criticized the findings and make-up of the panel.

JEAN MARIA ARRIGO: Six of the 10 members were highly placed in the Department of Defense, as contractors and military officers. For example, one was the commander of all military psychologists. Their positions on two key items of controversy in the PENS report were predetermined by their DOD employment, in spite of the apparent ambivalence of some. These key items were: (a) the permissive definition of torture in U.S. law versus the strict definition in international law, and, second, participation of military psychologists in interrogation settings versus nonparticipation. Those are the two principal issues. And because of their employment, they have to decide the way they do.

AMY GOODMAN: That was the psychologist Jean Maria Arrigo. She was part of this PENS Task Force—and PENS stands for Psychological Ethics and National Security—the original whistleblower on this report that's on this committee, that's now being cited with James Risen reporting on the emails that came out around this. Steven Reisner, if you could talk more about her role and what has now been revealed about this critical PENS meeting. Speaking of secrecy around this meeting, Jean Maria Arrigo talked about, in the meeting, her natural tendency was to begin taking notes. She was invited to be on this panel. And another member of the panel turned to her and said, "You will put your notes down now."

STEVEN REISNER: Right. It's probably the only task force in APA history where the members were forbidden from taking notes. So, Jean Maria was a part of this task force because she's an oral historian in military and national security intelligence. But she suspected, rather quickly, that the task force had been brought together for some purpose that wasn't communicated to all the members, but had only been understood by the military-connected members. But she was sworn to secrecy. And she kept that secrecy pretty much until she had a conversation with myself and a few other of us who were questioning the task force. And I mentioned to her that I had just learned that the head of the APA Practice Directorate, Russ Newman, was married to a BSCT in Guantánamo and that that was not—

AMY GOODMAN: Explain what "BSCT" is.

STEVEN REISNER: A BSCT is a behavioral science consultant. The BSCTs at Guantánamo oversaw the interrogations. That was the part of the role, the essential role, that psychologists played in this whole process. And I had mentioned that because General Kiley was a guest at that convention, and he had mentioned that to a group of us. And Jean Maria kind of turned white, and she said, "One of the secrets that I was asked to keep was that Russ Newman was a guiding force at that task force. And we didn't know that his wife was a BSCT at Guantánamo." So she said that now that this is revealed, "that I was basically duped. I'm going to reveal all that took place at that meeting, because I think that that meeting had some—that it was a duplicitous meeting, that the APA was colluding with the CIA and the Pentagon." It turns out that she was very prescient, because Jim Risen's book gives us the smoking gun to validate what Jean Maria suspected at the time.

AARON MATÉ: So the APA is now probing this, probing this task force that worked with the CIA. Why do you think they would have done this in the first place?

STEVEN REISNER: Would have done which? Probe or agree?

AARON MATÉ: Why they would have colluded with the CIA to enable the program?

STEVEN REISNER: Well, we've all been wondering about that. The American Psychological Association has deep, long-standing connections with the Department of Defense and the intelligence agencies. In fact, the Department of Defense was the first government agency to really recognize the important roles that psychologists play. A huge number of psychologists work for the Department of Defense at the VAs and in the military itself, so—but also, some very key members of the American Psychological Association governance have always had ties to military contracts. There are members of the governance who run an organization called HumRRO, which is a—which has itself tens of millions of dollars of Pentagon contracts to supply psychological expertise to the Pentagon. So there's all kinds of unfortunate overlap and conflicts of interest that seem to press the APA to support military policy uncritically and sometimes, perhaps, behind the scenes.

]]>
News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:52:01 -0500
Mike Gravel to Sen. Mark Udall: Make Full Torture Probe Public Like I Did With Pentagon Papers http://truth-out.org/news/item/28062-mike-gravel-to-senator-mark-udall-make-full-torture-probe-public-like-i-did-with-pentagon-papers http://truth-out.org/news/item/28062-mike-gravel-to-senator-mark-udall-make-full-torture-probe-public-like-i-did-with-pentagon-papers

On the Senate floor last week, outgoing Democratic Sen. Mark Udall called for a purge of top CIA officials implicated in the torture program and cover-up, including current Director John Brennan. But as he enters the final days of his Senate term, Udall is facing calls to take action of his own. The Senate findings released last week amount to only a fraction of the full report — 480 heavily redacted pages out of more than 6,000 pages total. The White House has blocked the report's full release in deference to the CIA's wishes. That's sparked demands that Udall invoke a rarely used congressional privilege and make the report public. There is precedent for him to follow: In 1971, then-Alaska Senator Mike Gravel entered more than 4,000 pages of the 7,000-page Pentagon Papers into the Senate record, insisting the public had a right to know the truth behind the Vietnam War. More than four decades later, Gravel joins us to talk about his historic action and why he is now calling on Udall to follow in his footsteps with the full Senate report on CIA torture.

TRANSCRIPT:

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AARON MATÉ: On the Senate floor last week, outgoing Democratic Senator Mark Udall called for a purge of top CIA officials implicated in the torture program and cover-up, including current director John Brennan. In stark language, Udall accused the CIA of lying.

SEN. MARK UDALL: The CIA has lied to its overseers in the public, destroyed and tried to hold back evidence, spied on the Senate, made false charges against our staff, and lied about torture and the results of torture. And no one has been held to account. ... There are right now people serving in high-level positions at the agency who approved, directed or committed acts related to the CIA's detention and interrogation program. It's bad enough not to prosecute these officials, but to reward or promote them and risk the integrity of the U.S. government to protect them is incomprehensible. The president needs to purge his administration of high-level officials who were instrumental to the development and running of this program.

AARON MATÉ: As Senator Udall urges President Obama to fire John Brennan, Udall himself faces calls to take action of his own. The Senate findings released last week amount to only a fraction of the full report—480 heavily redacted pages out of more than 6,000 pages total. The White House has blocked release of the full report so far, backing the CIA's wishes. That's sparked demands that Udall invoke a rarely used congressional privilege and make the report public. Using the absolute free speech rights for members of Congress, Udall could read the torture report into the Congressional Record. And with his term about to expire after losing re-election, Udall has not ruled that out, saying he will, quote, "keep all options on the table."

AMY GOODMAN: There is a precedent for Senator Udall to enter the torture report into the public record. In 1971, after The New York Times published portions of the Pentagon Papers, the Nixon administration tried to block the release of further details. But a junior senator from Alaska named Mike Gravel insisted the public had a right to know the truth behind the war. He then read more than 4,000 pages of the 7,000-page document into the Senate record—well, not exactly read. He did, though, put them into the Congressional Record. Senator Gravel spoke to the media about his decision.

SEN. MIKE GRAVEL: When I came into possession of these papers, I looked around, and nobody in government had done anything. The only thing that was being done in government was an effort to stifle and hide this stuff. And it just dawned on me that somebody—if we're going to have any faith at all in our institutions, somebody from government's got to be—got to have the same resolve, the same feelings for stopping the killing as Ellsberg did, as the Post did, as The New York Times did, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, as all these...

Not only myself, because the people who released this were bureaucrats. They're all bureaucrats, the people that we disparage so often. They weren't elected officials, they were bureaucrats. And they had much less risk than I have. The risk that I have is being expulsed from the Senate. ...

Tonight, right now, we have these documents. We have them under the most stringent circumstances imaginable. Mr. President, Mr. Congressman, there is no ... the people must know the full story of what has occurred over the past 20 years within their government. The story is a terrible one. It is replete with duplicity, connivance against the public and public officials. I know of nothing in our history to equal it for extent of failure and extent of loss, in all aspects of the term.

AMY GOODMAN: That's Senator Mike Gravel in 1971 taking advantage of congressional privilege to disclose the contents of the Pentagon Papers that were then kept secret. Well, today, four decades later, former Senator Gravel is among those calling on Senator Mark Udall to follow in his footsteps and enter the full Senate report on CIA torture into the Congressional Record. Former Senator Gravel joins us now from San Francisco. He's the former senator from Alaska, serving from 1969 to 1981.

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Senator Gravel. You putting this into the record meant, for the first time, though the Times had reported on it and The Washington Post had reported on the Pentagon Papers, that the full Pentagon Papers were now available to the public. Can you talk about what you're asking Senator Udall to do now, as he leaves the Senate, having been defeated in Colorado?

MIKE GRAVEL: Well, he may have the opportunity getting his hands on the full report. He doesn't have to read it into the Senate record. It's already in the Senate record, because it's the record of a committee. So you don't have to duplicate that. What he has to do is exercise the speech and debate clause, take this record of 6,000 pages, put a press release describing why he's doing it, and release it to the public. It's that simple.

Most members of Congress, unfortunately, don't fully understand that there's three functions that representatives have to perform. One is to inform the public. Two is to legislate. And three is to have oversight. And so, what we have with the release of this document, or the summary, was an oversight. This is—they conducted oversight, and they released it to the public. Madison, Jefferson, James Wilson, George Washington all felt—all felt the most important function of representation was to inform the people as to what their government is doing. And so, this is all that the Feinstein committee has done thus far, but we need to see the entire record so that it could be probed.

I'll give you an example. I'm very concerned about the egregious corruption that has brought about the incarceration of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. Now, does her name show up in the 150 names that are in the summary? Or in the several thousand names? Because she has been put in jail because—when she's not a terrorist. And she suffered five years of rendition at the hands of the American government and the Pakistani government, who was paid off with bonuses for that.

Amy, let me touch upon the arguments that are made with respect to the report that's already been released, and that is very simply that this is partisan. Well, it's not partisan. The study began in the committee with both the Democrats and Republicans. But when the Republican leadership began to see what was unfolding, well, they withdrew. They withdrew their staff people working on the documents. Now, what are the documents? And this goes to the issue, "Well, they didn't interview us." Well, you're going to interview these people? Do you think they're going to tell you the truth? These documents are internal emails, communications, that really indict themselves in the wrongdoing. And that's what the documents show. So, now, when we talk about the partisanship, it's not the partisanship. This is not a Democratic deal. This is a very simple, straightforward, under the Constitution, reporting to the American people what their government has done.

And the dialogue that just took place before I came on just shows the level of debasement—debasement—of the American morality that's taken place over the years with—we're not talking about people off the street doing this, we're talking about elites that are deeply involved with the military debasing our morality. And then the comment is, "Well, there's no reaction from the American people." There's no way for the people to react until Election Day. And by that time, it's too confused.

AARON MATÉ: Well, Senator Gravel—

MIKE GRAVEL: So, all I can say is—

AARON MATÉ: —going back to your decision in 1971 to speak out, I imagine that you were under pressure to not take the action that you did. What factored into your decision, and how did you prepare?

MIKE GRAVEL: Well, I didn't have to prepare. When I was 23 years old, I was a top-secret control officer in the Communications Intelligence Service. Now, back then, we wiretapped and opened people's mail wantonly. This was in Europe. Now, move forward, I'm now 42 years old, and I'm in the United States Senate. Nixon sends over the Pentagon Papers to the Senate and to the House.

AMY GOODMAN: We have 15 seconds, Senator Gravel.

MIKE GRAVEL: It's put in a room, under armed guard. And a senator—no staff members allowed, but a senator can't go in—and even taking notes. Now, at 42 and a United States senator, I can't do that, but when I was 23, I could do that wantonly. I mean, it just shows you how silly we are trapped in this unbelievable culture of secrecy that is in the military and has permeated through the rest of our culture.

AMY GOODMAN: Mike Gravel—

MIKE GRAVEL: Example, what's been talked about recently.

AMY GOODMAN: We have to wrap here, but we're going to do part two with you, and we're going to post it online at democracynow.org. Mike Gravel is the former U.S. senator from Alaska, best known for his release of the Pentagon Papers. He's calling on Mark Udall to do something similar, the senator from Colorado, the outgoing senator, is to get the Senate Intelligence Committee full thousands of pages into the Congressional Record.

That does it for our show. Happy birthday to Renée Feltz. I'll be speaking tonight in Washington, D.C., at Busboys and Poets at 5:30. Check our website.

]]>
bethania@truthout.org (Bethania Palma) News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:41:26 -0500
Year in Review: Part 1 http://truth-out.org/art/item/28061-year-in-review-part-1 http://truth-out.org/art/item/28061-year-in-review-part-1 ]]> laurenayo@gmail.com (Lauren Walker) Art Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:26:12 -0500 How the CIA Covered Up Its Lie on Torture and bin Laden http://truth-out.org/news/item/28060-how-the-cia-covered-up-its-lie-on-torture-and-bin-laden http://truth-out.org/news/item/28060-how-the-cia-covered-up-its-lie-on-torture-and-bin-laden

The Senate torture report reveals how senior CIA officials concealed the agency's false account of its torture program, focused on Osama bin Laden's courier and used the film Zero Dark Thirty to popularize its own line while suppressing evidence that contradicted it.

Men crowd onto the top of an adjacent building to get a view of the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy Seals two days before, in Abbottabad, Pakistan, May 4, 2011. A report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Dec. 9, 2014 discredits the often-repeated notion that the torture of detainees was instrumental in locating bin Laden. (Warrick Page/The New York Times)Men crowd onto the top of an adjacent building to get a view of the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy Seals two days before, in Abbottabad, Pakistan, May 4, 2011. A report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Dec. 9, 2014 discredits the often-repeated notion that the torture of detainees was instrumental in locating bin Laden. (Warrick Page/The New York Times)

Will Truthout’s mission continue in 2015 and beyond? That depends on you. Make a tax-deductible donation now to sustain our work!

The Senate Intelligence Committee's torture report sheds new light on how the CIA created and then continued to protect its false claim that it found Osama bin Laden in part because of its abusive interrogation tactics.

The report presents detailed evidence based on reviewing millions of pages of CIA documents that the identification of bin Laden's courier who was eventually found to be living with the al-Qaeda leader in the Abbottabad compound had nothing to do with the CIA torture program.

And in revealing the new details about what the CIA knew and when it knew, the report documents for the first time the extraordinary mendacity of the CIA's senior managers in seeking to hide the truth from Congress, senior cabinet officers and the public.

From the moment bin Laden was killed, the CIA launched a determined new campaign to convince Congress and the public that its torture program had been key to locating bin Laden - and that the agency's operations people had tracked him down by a series of operations in which one operation yielded clues that brought still others and led ultimately to Abbottabad. That campaign ultimately extended to using the popular film Zero Dark Thirty to promote the agency's justification for torture.

The same day as the raid in Abbottabad, the CIA deputy director, Michael Morell, briefed the Senate Intelligence Committee, and two days later CIA director Leon Panetta himself led a second such briefing. In both briefings, the CIA asserted that interrogation of CIA detainees with "enhanced interrogation techniques" had "played a substantial role" in developing the intelligence that led to bin Laden, according to the committee report.

But the report shows that, contrary to the agency's claim, the CIA's abusive interrogation methods did not produce any information on bin Laden's courier, Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, that did not become available from another authoritative source through traditional interrogation methods.

The CIA rebuttal, currently posted on its website, presents the argument the agency had been making for years: that al-Qaeda operative Ammar al-Baluchi, "after undergoing EITs, was the first detainee to reveal that Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti served as a courier for messages from Bin Ladin after Bin Laden had departed Afghanistan."

The CIA statement claims the information obtained from al-Baluchi by its "enhanced" interrogation methods "prompted CIA to re-question other detainees on Abu Ahmad's role, to review previous reporting in light of this information, and to increase the focus of Abu Ahmad's role in our questioning." In combination with other information, it said, the information allowed the agency to ultimately "determine his true name and location."

That CIA argument became the dominant popular understanding of the relationship between the CIA's torture tactics and the intelligence on al-Qaeda and bin Laden when it was transferred to the silver screen in the 2012 film Zero Dark Thirty, which won Academy Award nominations for best picture and best screenplay.

Whatever personal views film director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal may have had about the CIA torture program, the film followed the CIA script on the issue of greatest importance to the agency. That was hardly coincidental. Boal confirmed that he had gotten "first-hand accounts" of the process of tracking the courier from those who were involved. Administration officials acknowledged that Boal had been given access to White House, Pentagon and CIA officials - including the real-life CIA officer depicted in the film. Those meetings ensured Zero Dark Thirty would tell a story that suited the interests of those seeking to protect the CIA's reputation.

The film begins with a scene showing a detainee bloodied from being beaten and strung up on ropes that is followed by another scene of the detainee being waterboarded. Significantly, the torture victim in the film is named "Ammar." The filmmakers could not have known to call the character "Ammar" without being told by the real-life "Maya" or other CIA officials, because Ammar al-Baluchi's name had never been published.

Maya, the female CIA officer in the movie who witnesses the torture of Ammar, appears to experience revulsion to it, but then shakes off her initial reaction and reaffirms her determination to get bin Laden - through torture if necessary.

Left alone with Ammar, who pleads for her to stop the torture, Maya tells him, "You can help yourself by being truthful." Later, after Maya has tried to trick Ammar into revealing the name of bin Laden's courier, he yields the information under torture. And although the courier had come under different names, according to the movie, it was Ammar's identification of al-Kuwaiti that motivated Maya to pursue that figure over the next few years.

Thanks to the Senate report, we now know that Bigelow and Boal swallowed a CIA account that used its torture of Ammar al-Baluchi to buttress its argument that the torture program played a role in recognizing the importance of bin Laden's courier, Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti.

The Senate torture report confirms that the CIA did indeed torture Ammar al-Baluchi from May 17, 2003, to May 20, 2003, and that he did tell his interrogators under torture that al-Kuwaiti was bin Laden's courier. But it also reveals what the CIA and Zero Dark Thirty never acknowledged - that, on May 19, 2003, al-Baluchi insisted that he had fabricated the information he had given them about al-Kuwaiti the previous day.

The report shows that al-Baluchi told his interrogators that a brother of al-Kuwaiti was to take over courier duties for Osama bin Laden. Then in June 2003, al-Baluchi said there were rumors that al-Kuwaiti was a courier.  Finally, in January 2004, he retracted all his previous testimony and claimed that al-Kuwaiti was never a courier for bin Laden, because he was too young and inexperienced.

Even more important, however, the report shows how the CIA sought to prevent the Senate Intelligence Committee from learning that the most reliable intelligence on al-Kuwaiti actually came from an al-Qaeda detainee named Hassan Ghul during interrogation immediately after being captured in Iraqi Kurdistan in January 2004 before he was in the custody of the CIA. A footnote in the report quotes former CIA targeting officer Nada Bakos recounting how Ghul provided the critical information on Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti to Kurdish officials in a free-flowing conversation in a Kurdish safehouse where he was under no coercion.

According to the CIA documents cited by the Senate report, Ghul even told his Kurdish interrogators that al-Kuwaiti and bin Laden would probably be living in the same place. That in itself would have been sufficient to focus the CIA's bin Laden team on finding al-Kuwaiti.

The report also made it clear that there was no reason to torture Ghul. Nevertheless, the CIA's torture program managers insisted on torturing Ghul as soon as he was in their custody without even giving him a chance to talk freely. The interrogators subjected him to extreme sleep deprivation and a "hanging position" that caused him "mild paralysis," as CIA reports described it. In the end, CIA reports show, Ghul provided no additional information on al-Kuwaiti.

And when the Senate committee finally learned about Ghul's volunteering the crucial information about al-Kuwaiti after being picked up in Kurdistan and asked the CIA about it in October 2013, the agency pretended it knew nothing about it. "We have not identified any information in our holdings suggesting that Hassan Gul [sic] first provided information on Abu Ahmad while in [foreign] custody," according to the agency's response.

The CIA response was the most recent move in what we now know was a simple strategy for deceiving Congress and the White House: The officials who had been in charge of the program had used the elementary bureaucratic trick of withholding documents that would contradict the interests of the agency in question and claim upon further questioning that they did not find any such documents. The officials responsible for maintaining the fiction could not have anticipated that a former agency officer who knew the truth would ever speak out publicly and destroy what had appeared to be a successful cover-up.

]]>
News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 12:05:10 -0500