Saturday, December 03, 2005

Reality TV: Watch U.S.-Funded Private Contractors Kill Iraqis Like Dogs 

(London) Independent, Nov. 27:

Watch the Video

A "trophy" video appearing to show security guards in Baghdad randomly shooting Iraqi civilians has sparked two investigations after it was posted on the internet, the Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

The video has sparked concern that private security companies, which are not subject to any form of regulation either in Britain or in Iraq, could be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent Iraqis.

The video, which first appeared on a website that has been linked unofficially to Aegis Defence Services, contained four separate clips, in which security guards open fire with automatic rifles at civilian cars. All of the shooting incidents apparently took place on "route Irish", a road that links the airport to Baghdad.

The road has acquired the dubious distinction of being the most dangerous in the world because of the number of suicide attacks and ambushes carried out by insurgents against coalition troops. In one four-month period earlier this year it was the scene of 150 attacks.

In one of the videoed attacks, a Mercedes is fired on at a distance of several hundred yards before it crashes in to a civilian taxi. In the last clip, a white civilian car is raked with machine gun fire as it approaches an unidentified security company vehicle. Bullets can be seen hitting the vehicle before it comes to a slow stop.

There are no clues as to the shooter but either a Scottish or Irish accent can be heard in at least one of the clips above Elvis Presley's Mystery Train, the music which accompanies the video. ...

[read more]

Friday, December 02, 2005

Terrorist Screening Records System 

Federal Register, Dec. 2:

The Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI), is issuing a final rule exempting a new system of
records entitled the Terrorist Screening Records System (TSRS)
(JUSTICE/FBI-019) from subsections (c)(3) and (4); (d)(1), (2), (3),
and (4); (e)(1), (2), (3), (5), and (8); and (g) of the Privacy Act,
pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j) and (k). The FBI published a system of
records notice for JUSTICE/FBI-019 and a proposed rule implementing
these exemptions on July 28, 2005, at 70 FR 43661 and 43715. The listed
exemptions are necessary to avoid interference with the law
enforcement, intelligence, and counterterrorism functions and
responsibilities of the FBI and the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC).
This document addresses public comments on both the proposed rule and
the system of records notice.

DATES: This final rule is effective January 3, 2006.

[read more]

The Other Novak 

New York Times, Dec. 2:

A conversation between Karl Rove's lawyer and a journalist for Time magazine led Mr. Rove to change his testimony last year to the grand jury in the C.I.A. leak case, people knowledgeable about the sequence of events said Thursday.

Mr. Rove's lawyer, Robert D. Luskin, spoke in the summer or early fall of 2004 with Viveca Novak, a reporter for Time magazine. In that conversation, Mr. Luskin heard from Ms. Novak that a colleague at Time, Matthew Cooper, might have interviewed Mr. Rove about the undercover C.I.A. officer at the heart of the case, the people said.

Time reported this week that the prosecutor in the case, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, has summoned Ms. Novak to testify about a conversation she had with Mr. Luskin, but provided no explanation of what Mr. Fitzgerald might be looking for. The account provided Thursday by people with knowledge of the discussions between Ms. Novak and Mr. Luskin suggests that Mr. Fitzgerald is still trying to determine whether Mr. Rove was fully forthcoming with investigators and whether he altered his grand jury testimony about his dealings with reporters only after learning that one, Mr. Cooper, might identify him as a source. ...

[read more]

Dozens of "Ghost Detainees" Held by U.S. 

Human Rights Watch, Dec. 1:

The United States is holding at least twenty-six persons as “ghost detainees” at undisclosed locations outside of the United States, Human Rights Watch said today, as it released a list naming some of the detainees. The detainees are being held indefinitely and incommunicado, without legal rights or access to counsel.

President Bush speaks about bringing terrorists to justice, yet not one of these suspects has actually been brought to justice
John Sifton, terrorism and counterterrorism researcher for Human Rights Watch

Many of the detainees listed are suspected of involvement in serious crimes, including the September 11, 2001 attacks; the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania; and the 2002 nightclub bombings in Bali, Indonesia. One of the detainees listed was indicted in U.S. federal court for his role in the 1998 embassy bombings. None of the other detainees has been charged with any crime. Officials in the U.S. government, speaking anonymously to journalists, have suggested that some detainees have been tortured or otherwise seriously mistreated in custody.

“President Bush speaks about bringing terrorists to justice, yet not one of these suspects has actually been brought to justice,” said John Sifton, terrorism and counterterrorism researcher for Human Rights Watch. “The Bush administration has severely compromised the chances of prosecuting terrorist suspects by holding them illegally, and reportedly subjecting some of them to torture and other mistreatment.” ...

[read more]

CIA Routed Secret Prisoners Through England and Germany 

Guardian, Dec. 1:

The transatlantic row over the secret transfer of terror suspects by the Bush administration took a new twist yesterday when it emerged that more than 300 flights operated by the CIA had landed at European airports.

According to flight logs seen by the Guardian, Britain was second only to Germany as a transit hub for the CIA, which stands accused of operating a covert network of interrogation centres in eastern Europe. Several European governments have launched urgent investigations into whether clandestine CIA flights were used in the aftermath of September 11 to transfer Islamist prisoners to third countries where they could be interrogated beyond the reach of international law. ...

[read more]

EU Reacts to Secret CIA Prisons on Its Turf 

Christian Science Monitor, Nov. 30:

A gathering storm of outrage will greet Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice when she visits Europe next week amid allegations that the CIA has been using airports and military bases across the Continent to secretly transport and detain terrorist suspects.
Six countries have launched judicial investigations, Europe's top human rights watchdog has begun a probe, and the European Union has formally asked Washington to clarify reports that the Central Intelligence Agency's network of clandestine jails extends to Europe.

"There is a profound shock among the public that some [European] governments seem to have been in collusion with the CIA in assisting them to have individuals disappear into black holes," says Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert at the Swedish National Defense College. ...

[read more]

Crying Wolf: Media Disinformation and Death Squads in Occupied Iraq 

Centre for Research on Globalization, Canada, Nov. 10:

by Max Fuller

... A key figure in the development of the Special Police Commandos was James Steele, a former US Army special forces operative who cut his teeth in Vietnam before moving on to direct the US military mission in El Salvador at the height of that country’s civil war. Steele was responsible for selecting and training the small units (or death squads) who were boasted to have inflicted 60% of the casualties caused in that ‘counterinsurgency’ campaign (Manwaring, El Salvador at War, 1988, p 306-8). Principally, the tens of thousands of victims were civilians. ...

[read more]

U.S. Behind Iraqi Death Squads 

Oped News, Dec. 2:

Max Fuller has written the most disturbing and thought provoking article of the year. In his “Crying Wolf: Media Disinformation and Death Squads in Occupied Iraq”,(Global Research) Fuller painstakingly lays out the details and documentation to prove that the United States intelligence agencies are behind the vast incidents of murder and torture being carried out in Iraq today. If Fuller’s thesis is correct, then the War on Terror, that mighty engine of imperial carnage, is nothing more than a public relations scam intended to enlist public support for an unpopular conflict. ...

[read more]

Independent Media Ahead of the Curve in Reporting Secret CIA Prisons 

St. Louis Indy Media, Nov. 18:

On Friday, November 18, a group of peace activists from St. Louis, North Carolina, and Chicago entered the property and Aero Contractors near Smithfield, NC, to deliver an indictment of their illegal activities. The indictment accuses Aero of providing planes and pilots for the CIA's program of extraordinary rendition that flies terror suspects to locations where they will likely be tortured.

Other members of the group held signs along Route 70 during rush hour traffic to alert commuters to Aero's activities. Copies of the indictment are being delivered throughout the day to members of the Johnston County Council and Johnston County Airport Commission urging them to take action to put an end to Aero's illegal activities. ...

[read more]

LA Times Scoop on Lincoln Group 

Los Angeles Times, Nov. 30:

by Mark Mazzetti and Borzou Daragahi

As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq.

The articles, written by U.S. military "information operations" troops, are translated into Arabic and placed in Baghdad newspapers with the help of a defense contractor, according to U.S. military officials and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Many of the articles are presented in the Iraqi press as unbiased news accounts written and reported by independent journalists. The stories trumpet the work of U.S. and Iraqi troops, denounce insurgents and tout U.S.-led efforts to rebuild the country. ...

[read more]

Origin of the Lincoln Group 

Corporate Watch, Nov. 30:

It's tough to follow the history of Lincoln Group, a contractor that won a $100 million contract with the Special Operations Command to assist with psychological operations. The common denominator to the firm's history is Christian Bailey, listed on its Web site as executive vice president, capital markets. After graduating from Oxford University in England in the 1990s, Bailey moved to the San Francisco area around 1998, and in 1999, founded Express Action, an e-commerce company he apparently later sold. In the Nov. 15, 2002, issue of HedgeWorld Daily News, Bailey was identified as the founder and chairman of a New York-based hedge fund called Lincoln Asset Management. On March 1, 2003, the Alternative Investment News reported that Lincoln Asset Management had an initial $100 million in commitments to underwrite a leveraged buyout fund to acquire defense and intelligence companies. ...

[read more]

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