Showing posts with label US DEPT. OF JUSTICE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label US DEPT. OF JUSTICE. Show all posts

Monday, May 25

5G TERREMOTO FINANZIARIO

Un report della Brookings Institution di Washington DC ripercorre i rapporti fra Italia e Cina. Il M5S ha rapporti organici con Pechino, e il suo alleato al governo, il PD, non fa niente per raddrizzare il tiro.  5G e Golden Power? Le leggi non bastano, l'ultima parola è della politica “Giocando con il fuoco”. 

Il titolo del nuovo report della Brookings Institution, prestigioso think tank di Washington DC, sulla politica italiana e le sue scelte internazionali, è già un programma. Il nuovo paper è un riflettore acceso dagli Stati Uniti sulla special relationship fra Italia e Cina. 

O meglio, fra questa politica italiana e la Cina, se è vero che mai come negli ultimi due anni, con i governi Conte 1 e bis, l’Italia si è avvicinata al Dragone. Il Movimento Cinque Stelle è un caso di scuola per il think tank. 

“Con il recente governo Cinque Stelle-Lega, i rapporti fra Italia e Cina sono diventati un punto di discordia fra i partner della coalizione”. “La richiesta dei Cinque Stelle di un approccio alternativo alla politica estera, soprattutto vis-à-vis Paesi come Cina e Russia, si è tinta di un forte euro-scetticismo e di un più lieve anti-americanismo”.

La passione cinese del Movimento, scrive la visiting fellow Giovanna De Maio, è rimasta intatta nel passaggio da un governo all’altro. Ed è stata suggellata da una scelta del ministro degli Esteri Luigi Di Maio. Ovvero “trasferire le competenze per la promozione internazionale degli interessi delle aziende e dei brand italiani al ministero degli Affari Esteri”.

Il trasloco dell’ICE dal MISE alla Farnesina, così come la scelta di nominare capo di Gabinetto l’ex ambasciatore a Pechino Ettore Sequi, scrive Brookings, è “un segno che il M5S vuole un maggiore controllo sull’agenda economica italiana e assicurare continuità nell’apertura dell’Italia alla Cina”.

Se un merito si vuole proprio riconoscere alla posizione del M5S, è quello di essere chiara, inequivocabile. Lo stesso non si può proprio dire per i suoi partners di governo, il PD Nicola Zingaretti, l'IV di Matteo Renzi. 

Sul dossier cinese, al Nazareno, l’ambiguità regna sovrana. “Il PD, che ha sempre avuto una visione transatlantica della politica estera, è rimasto sostanzialmente in silenzio sul tema della Cina”.  “Il silenzio è probabilmente motivato dalla paura di destabilizzare ulteriormente un governo già precario”, sentenzia Brookings.

Un focus a parte è dedicato a una delle questioni più scottati dell’agenda di politica estera: la rete 5G

Quando si discute di 5G si parla di Sicurezza Nazionale, di Politica Estera e Difesa, di Politiche Industriali, di Politica Sanitaria, ecc... 

La rinascita dell'Italia passa anche da politiche tecnologiche lungimiranti capaci di coniugare le libertà politiche e civili con l'economia digitale più avanzata. Nessuno deve sottrarsi a questa sfida. L'analisi convincente di Mayer.

A differenza degli Stati Uniti e di altri Paesi democratici in Italia il processo di interazione tra Agenzie di Intelligence e decisori governativi è raramente oggetto di ricerca accademica e riflessione pubblica. 

Se non vogliamo che le disposizioni previste dalla Legge 124/2007 in materia di cultura della Sicurezza restino sulla carta non basta continuare con i road show lodevolmente promossi dal DIS nelle aule universitarie. 

Senza intaccare di un millimetro la massima segretezza e il massimo riserbo che devono caratterizzare l’intera attività del comparto, la fisiologica dialettica tra organismi di Intelligence e decisori politici è materia da approfondire anche nel nostro Paese come avviene in ogni democrazia matura.

Supponiamo che in sede CISR (Comitato Interministeriale per la Sicurezza della Repubblica) il dossier tecnico sul 5G sia interpretato diversamente da diverse componenti dell’esecutivo

Per esempio la componente A non dà troppo peso alle preoccupazioni espresse in sede tecnica (in merito alla protezione dei dati) perché essa ritiene prioritario attuare integralmente il memorandum per la Via della Seta siglato dal governo Conte 1 (telecomunicazioni incluse). 

La componente B, invece, é più prudente. Essa auspica che il “CISR tecnico” previsto dalla legge 124/2007 svolga un supplemento di istruttoria. Si tratta di capire se i desideri espressi della componente A (Telecom/Via della Seta siano compatibili con quanto previsto in materia di sicurezza cibernetica nazionale e telecomunicazioni) nell’ambito dell’Alleanza atlantica. 

In uno scenario ipotetico come quello che ho appena descritto i profili tecnici e quelli politici sono nitidamente distinti. Gli organismi di Intelligence – giustamente gelosi delle loro prerogative – devono dire come stanno le cose fornendo ai politici il massimo dei supporti informativi; il decisore politicoil Governo – (e ovviamente la sua maggioranza parlamentare) devono decidere.

Il futuro del 5G in Italia non, infatti, è materia che può restare chiusa nelle segrete stanze. Non stiamo parlando di garanzie funzionali, di fondi riservati, di protezioni delle fonti, di classifiche di segretezza, di segreto di Stato, di servizi collegati, di operazioni Humint, Sigint o quant’altro.

Inaugurando la fase due il presidente Conte è stato molto netto: “L’Italia che vogliamo è più verde, digitale e inclusiva”. Bene più digitale, ma come? Il 5G ha implicazioni strategiche di lungo periodo per il sistema Paese come sottolineato più volte anche in sede COPASIR

È decisivo per il futuro del Sistema Italia, per la protezione del suo grande patrimonio scientifico, tecnologico e industriale; è altrettanto determinante per evitare che il totalitarismo digitale promosso dai regimi illiberali eroda i principi democratici del nostro ordinamento costituzionale. 

Se posso permettermi un suggerimento al presidente del Consiglio – più che preoccuparsi di concentrare nelle sue mani le competenze previste dalla Legge 124 – dovrebbe da un lato potenziare il ruolo del CISR, dall’altro “stanare” i leader dei partiti della sua stessa maggioranza.

È davvero strano che Vito Crimi, Nicola Zingaretti, Matteo Renzi, Roberto Speranza non abbiano - tutt'oggi - niente da dire su una materia così importante. 

E il discorso non può peraltro limitarsi alla maggioranza; il presidente ha recentemente dichiarato “con le opposizioni noi abbiamo il dovere di proporre, di confrontarci, di dialogare”. 

Sarebbe interessante sapere cosa Matteo Salvini pensa delle politiche digitali della Russia? 

O cosa Forza Italia pensa del Social Credit System cinese? 

La rinascita dell’Italia passa anche da politiche tecnologiche lungimiranti capaci di coniugare le libertà politiche e civili con l’economia digitale più avanzata. Nessuno deve sottrarsi a questa sfida.

Come è noto gli USA ritengono un rischio l’accesso al 5G di aziende cinesi vicine al PCC (Partito Comunista Cinese). In una parola, Huawei, il campione della telefonia mobile di Shenzen coinvolto in una guerra senza esclusione di colpi con l’amministrazione Trump.

In Italia, l’azienda di Ren Zhengfei ha una presenza solida, e consolidata negli anni. Il governo ha di molto rafforzato la struttura normativa preposta alla protezione della rete con il Perimetro di sicurezza nazionale cibernetica, ma non ha valutato, come invece richiesto dal governo USA, un’esclusione diretta di Huawei.

L’idea, peraltro condivisa da altri Paesi UE, è che i rischi possano essere “mitigati” con interventi ad hoc

Non convince la Brookings, che scrive: “La natura complessa di questa tecnologia rivoluzionaria rende difficile fornire qualsiasi garanzia sulla sicurezza, a causa del rischio di una backdoor, nascosta da Huawei, per aver accesso ai dati”. 

“L’assenza di una strategia di lungo periodo e una strategia cinese espone davvero l’Italia ai rischi di un boomerang economico”, spiega il think tank. 

Dai takeover ventilati delle aziende italiane agli investimenti diretti esteri, il rischio che la Cina approfitti delle maglie aperte dalla crisi economica è tutt’altro che remoto. 

“In assenza di una risposta imponente e coordinata a livello europeo, l’Italia si affiderà sempre più alla Cina per gli investimenti e altra assistenza economica”. È un pericolo, in assenza di condizioni che, per il momento, non esistono.

“Senza una supervisione sostanziale e una strategia previdente del governo per proteggere i settori strategici – ma soprattutto senza stabilità politica e un approccio alla Cina coerente nel tempo – l’Italia rischia di finire sommersa dalla potenza economica e tecnologica cinese”. 

Gli strumenti normativi di screening degli investimenti in Italia ci sono, e sono “robusti”, spiega il report. Ma l’ultima parola spetta comunque alla politica

A differenza degli USA, non esiste un meccanismo di screening indipendente come il CFIUS (Committe on Foreign investments of the USA). “Nonostante l’ampiamento della legge sullo screening, la decisione di applicare il “golden power” è alla fine una decisione politica”.

Saturday, February 29

GIORNALISTI COMPRATI DA DECENNI

Il 13 gennaio 2017, è morto Udo Ulfkotte.A causa di un infarto cardiaco, apparentemente, sebbene l’immediata cremazione del corpo e l’assenza di un’autopsia non mancheranno di alimentare, proprio per lui che è sempre stato descritto come un teorico della cospirazione, gravi dubbi sulle reali cause della sua morte. 

Nato nel 1960 a Lippstadt in Vestfalia studiò diritto e scienze politiche all’Università di Friburgo dove ottenne il dottorato di ricerca con una dissertazione sulla politica americana e sovietica nel Medio Oriente

Nel 1986 entrò alla redazione della Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) dove fu per anni corrispondente dall’estero ed acquisì una profonda conoscenza di decine di Paesi, specie in Medio Oriente. 

In quegli anni, così riferì lo stesso Udo Ulfkotte in un’intervista a Russia Today e nel suo recente libro dedicato al tema, egli partecipò a un diffuso sistema di corruttela dei giornalisti tedeschi,indotti da prebende e pressioni a diffondere notizie la cui finalità non era tanto quella di raccontare la verità, quanto quella…di Alessandro Fusillo

Saturday, July 28

1991-2011 FASCISMO-ECONOMICO OVVERO BUGIE E SANGUE

Guai se la denuncia del nazi-fascismo, risuonata nel 70° anniversario della liberazione di Auschwitz, servisse a depistare l’opinione pubblica dall’altro più pericoloso FASCISCMO quello ECONOMICO, fondato, principalmente, sulla menzogna che giustifica i peggiori atti, terminando in sistematiche aggressioni a POPOLI E CULTURE, AUTOCTONE, DEL MONDO INTERO

Per esempio la Jugoslavia, rasa al suolo dopo la decisione della Germania, assieme al Vaticano (1991) di riconoscere i separatisti, cattolici, sloveni e croati: inaccettabile, per la nascente EUROZONA, la sopravvivenza di un grande Stato, multi-etnico, come la JUGOSLAVIA  e, con l’economia interamente in mani pubbliche. 

Per esempio la Libia, di Muhamar Gheddafi, travolta dopo una sua  decisione di costituire una Banca Centrale africana con  un'unica moneta in oro, alternativa al dollaro. 

E avanti così, dalla Siria all’Ucraina, fino alle contorsioni terrificanti del cosiddetto ISIS, fondato sulle unità di guerriglia addestrate dall’Occidente in Libia contro Gheddafi, poi smistate in Siria contro Assad e quindi dirottate in Iraq. Possiamo chiamarlo come vogliamo, dice John Pilger, ma è sempre fascismo-economico


«Se gli Stati Uniti e i loro vassalli non avessero iniziato la loro guerra di aggressione in Iraq nel 2003, quasi un milione di persone oggi sarebbero vive, e lo Stato Islamico non ci avrebbe fatto assistere alle sue atrocità», scrive Pilger in una riflessione ripresa dal “Come Don Chisciotte”. 


Se gli USA avessero esitato, disse Obama, la città di Bengasi «avrebbe potuto subire un massacro che avrebbe macchiato la coscienza del mondo». Peccato che Bengasi non sia mai stata minacciata da nessuno: «Era un’invenzione delle milizie SCIITE-islamiche che stavano per essere sconfitte dalle forze governative libiche».

I nuovi “mostri” sono «la progenie del fascismo-economico moderno, svezzato dalle bombe, dai bagni di sangue e dalle menzogne, che sono il teatro surreale conosciuto col nome di “informazione”». Infatti, «come durante il fascismo-economico degli anni ‘30 e ‘40, le grandi menzogne vengono trasmesse con la precisione di un metronomo grazie agli onnipresenti, ripetitivi media e la loro velenosa censura per omissione». 

In Libia, nel 2011 la NATO ha effettuato 9.700 attacchi aerei, più di un terzo dei quali mirato ad obiettivi civili, con strage di bambini. Bombe all’uranio impoverito, sganciate su Misurata e Sirte, bombardate a tappeto. Il massacro di Ghedaffi in diretta mondiale, da parte degli uomini del DGSE, mischiati tra la folla, «è stato giustificato con la solita grande menzogna: Ghedaffi stava progettando il “genocidio” del suo popolo». Al posto della verità: Ghedaffi stava denunciando Nicholas Sarkozy per corruzione

L'insignificante Barak Obama, premio Nobel per la pace disse che se gli USA, non fossere intervenuti immadiatamente, la città di Bengasi «avrebbe potuto subire un massacro che avrebbe macchiato la coscienza del mondo» 

Paradossalmente, avvene un ALTRO tragico fatto:" il, prevedibile, massacro dell'ambasciatore statunitense Chris Stevens e della sua scorta a Bengazi sotto la totale INERZIA della Casa Bianca e del Dipartimento di Stato. 

Peccato per il povero Stevens, ma Bengasi non è mai stata minacciata da nessuno: «Era una INFAME invenzione delle milizie islamiche sciite libiche che stavano per essere sopraffatte e sconfitte dalle forze governative tripolitane». Le milizie, aggiunge Pilger, dissero alla “Reuters” che ci sarebbe stato «un vero e proprio bagno di sangue, un massacro come quello accaduto in Ruanda». 

La menzogna, segnalata il 14 marzo 2011, ha fornito la prima scintilla all’inferno della NATO, definito da David Cameron come «intervento umanitario». Molti dei “ribelli” sciiti, segretamente armati e addestrati dalle SAS britanniche, sarebbero poi diventati ISIS, decapitatori di “infedeli”. 

In realtà, per Obama, Cameron e Sarkozy – scrive Pilger – il vero crimine di Gheddafi, come prima anticipato, fù l'imminente indipendenza economica della Libia dal franco francese e dal dollaro USA e la sua dichiarata intenzione di smettere di vendere in dollari USA le più grandi riserve di petrolio dell’Africa, minacciando così il petrodollaro, che è «un pilastro del potere imperiale MONDIALE DO CONTROLLO americano». 

«Era l’idea stessa ad essere intollerabile per gli Stati Uniti, che si preparavano ad “entrare” in Africa -gia nel 1999, corrompendo i governi africani con offerte di Clinton e Blair-collaborazione-militare».

Così, “liberata” la Libia, Obama «ha confiscato 30 miliardi di dollari dalla banca centrale libica, che Gheddafi aveva stanziato per la creazione di una banca centrale africana e per il dinaro africano, valuta basata sull’oro».

La “guerra umanitaria” contro la Libia aveva un modello vicino ai cuori liberali occidentali, soprattutto nei media, continua Pilger, ricordando che, nel 1999, Bill Clinton e Tony Blair inviarono la Nato a bombardare la Serbia, «perché, mentirono, affermando che i serbi stavano commettendo un “genocidio” contro l’etnia albanese della provincia secessionista del Kosovo»


Finiti i bombardamenti della NATO, con gran parte delle infrastrutture della Serbia in rovina – insieme a scuole, ospedali, monasteri e la televisione nazionale – le squadre internazionali di polizia scientifica scesero sul Kosovo per riesumare le prove del cosiddetto “olocausto”. L’FBI non riuscì a trovare una singola fossa comune e tornò a casa.

Il team spagnolo fece lo stesso, e chi li guidava dichiarò con rabbia che ci fu «una piroetta semantica delle macchine di propaganda di guerra». Un anno dopo, un tribunale delle Nazioni Unite sulla Jugoslavia svelò il conteggio finale dei morti: 2.788, cioè i combattenti su entrambi i lati, nonché i serbi e i rom uccisi dall'UCK. «Non c’era stato alcun genocidio.

L' "olocausto” jugoslavo è stato una menzogna».

L’attacco NATO era stato fraudolento, insiste Pilger, spiegando che «dietro la menzogna, c’era una seria motivazione: la Jugoslavia era un’indipendente federazione multietnica, unica nel suo genere, che fungeva da ponte politico ed economico durante la guerra fredda».

Attenzione: «La maggior parte dei suoi servizi e della sua grande produzione era di proprietà pubblica. Questo non era accettabile in una Comunità Europea in piena espansione, in particolare per la nuova Germania unita, che aveva iniziato a spingersi ad Est per accaparrarsi il suo “mercato naturale” nelle province jugoslave di Croazia e Slovenia». 

Sicché, «prima che  gli europei si riunissero a Maastricht nel 1991 a presentare i loro piani per la disastrosa Euro-Zona, un accordo segreto era stato approvato: la Germania avrebbe riconosciuto la Croazia». Quindi, «il destino della Jugoslavia era segnato».

La solita macchina stritolatrice: «A Washington, gli Stati Uniti si assicurarono che alla sofferente Pilger-economia jugoslava fossero negati prestiti dalla Banca Mondiale, mentre la NATO, allora una quasi defunta reliquia della guerra fredda, fu reinventata, CON PRONTEZZAcome tutore dell’ordine imperiale».

Nel 1999, durante una conferenza sulla “pace” in Kosovo a Rambouillet, in Francia, i serbi furono sottoposti alle tattiche ipocrite dei sopracitati tutori. «L’accordo di Rambouillet comprendeva un allegato B segreto, che la delegazione statunitense inserì all’ultimo momento».

La clausola esigeva che tutta la Jugoslavia – un paese con ricordi amari dell’occupazione nazista – fosse messa sotto occupazione militare, e che fosse attuata una “economia di libero mercato” con la privatizzazione di tutti i beni appartenenti al governo.

«Nessuno Stato sovrano avrebbe potuto firmare una cosa del genere», osserva Pilger. «La punizione fu rapida; le bombe della Nato caddero su di un paese indifeso. La pietra miliare delle catastrofi era stata posata

Seguirono le catastrofi dell’Afghanistan, poi dell’Iraq, della Libia, della Siria, e adesso dell’Ucraina. Dal 1945, più di un terzo dei membri delle Nazioni Unite – 69 paesi – hanno subito alcune o tutte le seguenti situazioni per mano del moderno fascismo-economico

Sono stati invasi decine e decine di governi, i loro legali rappresentanti rovesciati, i loro movimenti popolari soppressi, i risultati delle elezioni sovvertiti, la loro gente bombardata e le loro economie spogliate di ogni protezione, le loro società sottoposte a un assedio paralizzante noto come “sanzioni”. Lo storico britannico Mark Curtis stima il numero di morti in milioni

«Come giustificazione, in ogni singolo caso una grande, immensa, sporca menzogna è stata raccontata dalla centrale del fascismo-economico-mondiale.»

Thursday, December 11

BARAK OBAMA: "THE REVENGE" FOR LOST ELECTIONS

A long-awaited Senate report condemning torture by the Central Intelligence Agency has not even been made public yet, but former President George W. Bush’s team has decided to link arms with former intelligence officials and challenge its conclusions.

The report is said to assert that the C.I.A. misled Mr. Bush and his White House about the nature, extent and results of brutal techniques like waterboarding, and some of his former administration officials privately suggested seizing on that to distance themselves from the controversial program, according to people involved in the discussion. But Mr. Bush and his closest advisers decided that “we’re going to want to stand behind these guys,” as one former official put it.

Mr. Bush made that clear in an interview broadcast on Sunday. “We’re fortunate to have men and women who work hard at the C.I.A. serving on our behalf,” he told CNN’s Candy Crowley. “These are patriots and whatever the report says, if it diminishes their contributions to our country, it is way off base.”

These are “really good people and we’re lucky as a nation to have them,” he said.

Former intelligence officials, seeking allies against the potentially damaging report, have privately reassured the Bush team in recent days that they did not deceive them and have lobbied the former president’s advisers to speak out publicly on their behalf. The defense of the program has been organized by former C.I.A. leaders like George J. Tenet and Gen. Michael V. Hayden, two former directors, and John E. McLaughlin, a former deputy C.I.A. director who also served as acting director.

“Once the release occurs, we’ll have things to say and will be making some documents available that bear on the case,” Mr. McLaughlin said Sunday. Although he could not discuss details because of a nondisclosure agreement, in general he said the report “uses information selectively, often distorts to make its points, and as I recall contains no recommendations.”

General Hayden added that the former C.I.A. team objected to the Senate’s characterization of their efforts. “We’re not here to defend torture,” he said by email on Sunday. “We’re here to defend history.”

General Hayden appeared earlier on Sunday on “Face the Nation” on CBS News to say that any assertion that the C.I.A. “lied to everyone about a program that wasn’t doing any good, that beggars the imagination.”

Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., who ran the C.I.A. interrogation program, said Sunday that critics now assailing the agency were pressing it after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to do whatever it took to prevent a recurrence. “We did what we were asked to do, we did what we were assured was legal, and we know our actions were effective,” Mr. Rodriguez wrote in The Washington Post.

A Senate official, who asked not to be named before the release of the report, said Sunday that its authors were saving their response to General Hayden, Mr. Rodriguez and others until the report was public so that they could review the facts they gathered and let Americans make up their own minds.

According to those familiar with it, the 6,000-page report by the Senate Intelligence Committee takes a sharply critical view of the C.I.A.’s interrogation of terrorism suspects in the first years after the Sept. 11 attacks, questioning the efficacy of torture and revealing more details about the program. It also suggests C.I.A. officers in the field may have misled officials at headquarters.

Mr. Bush and his advisers have been largely quiet about the Senate report until now, and former intelligence officials worried whether the Bush team would defend them. Some former administration officials privately encouraged the president and his top advisers to use the report to disclaim responsibility for the interrogation program on the grounds that they were not kept fully informed.

But Mr. Bush and his inner circle rejected that suggestion. “Even if some officials privately believe they were not given all the facts, they feel it would be immoral and disloyal to throw the C.I.A. to the wolves at this point,” said one former official, who like others did not want to be identified speaking about the report before its release.

Another former official, who remains close to Mr. Bush, said the former president did not believe that the C.I.A. had misinformed him.

“The idea that George Tenet, John McLaughlin, Mike Hayden and Steve Kappes would knowingly mislead the president and the country is absurd,” the former official said. Mr. Kappes was another deputy C.I.A. director during the Bush era. “This was not a rogue program. And nobody in our administration is going to throw the C.I.A. over the side on this.”

The former officials said that neither Mr. Bush nor his advisers had been interviewed by the committee. William Burck, a former deputy White House counsel serving as a lawyer for Mr. Bush, was offered the opportunity to review the report on his behalf but only after it was written, at which point it was too late to offer meaningful input, former officials said. The offer at that point, they said, was declined.

The Senate official said the committee did not conduct interviews largely because of what was then a Justice Department criminal investigation, and said requests to coordinate interviews with the department had been rejected. But the official said the committee relied on transcripts of more than 100 previous interviews conducted by the C.I.A.’s inspector general.

The offer to Mr. Bush’s administration to review the report before its release was made by the Obama White House, not the committee, the official said, but the committee did not object other than to insist that whoever read it not disclose its contents before release.

The committee voted this year to release a declassified executive summary, and after months of negotiations over redactions, the committee’s chairwoman, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, had planned to finally make it public this week.

But Secretary of State John Kerry called Ms. Feinstein on Friday to warn that allies were concerned that its release could instigate violence and endanger Americans held captive by terrorist groups.

Critics of the program said the Senate should not postpone any longer. “Delaying release of the Senate report because of possible negative repercussions for national security is a red herring,” said Sarah Margon, the Washington director of Human Rights Watch. “Maintaining secrecy around a defunct torture program is the real liability as doing so denies us the right to debate what happened and make sure it is never repeated.”

Saturday, October 25

INVESTIGATION U.S. SENATE VS C.I.A. CONCERNING IRAQ

Contribute: Jonatham S. Landay, Ali Watkins and Marisa Taylor
McClatchy Washington BureauOctober 16, 2014 

READ HERE: "U.S. SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE REPORT ON C.I.A. DETENTION AND INTERROGATION PROGRAM".

A soon-to-be released Senate report on the CIA doesn’t assess the responsibility of former President George W. Bush or his top aides for any of the abuses of the agency’s detention and interrogation program, avoiding a full public accounting of one of the darkest chapters of the war on terror.

“This report is not about the White House. It’s not about the president. It’s not about criminal liability. It’s about the CIA’s actions or inactions,” said a person familiar with the document, who asked not to be further identified because the executive summary – the only part to that will be made public – still is in the final stages of declassification.

The Senate Intelligence Committee report also didn’t examine the responsibility of top Bush administration lawyers in crafting the legal framework that permitted the CIA to use simulated drowning called waterboarding and other interrogation methods widely described as torture, McClatchy has learned.

“It does not look at the Bush administration’s lawyers to see if they were trying to literally do an end run around justice and the law,” the person said.

As a result, the $40 million, five-year inquiry passed up what may be the final opportunity to render an official verdict on the culpability of Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney and other senior officials for the program, in which suspected terrorists were abducted, sent to secret overseas prisons, and subjected to the harsh interrogation techniques.

“If it’s the case that the report doesn’t really delve into the White House role, then that’s a pretty serious indictment of the report,” said Elizabeth Goitein, the co-director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty and National Security Program at the New York University Law School. “Ideally it should come to some sort of conclusions on whether there were legal violations and if so, who was responsible.”

At the same time, she said, the report still is critically important because it will give “the public facts even if it doesn’t come to these conclusions. The reason we have this factual accounting is not for prurient interest. It’s so we can avoid something like this ever happening again in the future.”

Several panel members have extolled the more than 6,000-page report as one of the most comprehensive examinations of an executive branch agency ever undertaken by Congress.

“There are more than 35,000 footnotes in the report,” Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., declared after the panel approved the final draft of the report in December 2012. “I believe it to be one of the most significant oversight efforts in the history of the United States Senate, and by far the most important oversight activity ever conducted by this committee.”

However, the Democratic-controlled committee apparently dropped a demand that the White House surrender some 9,400 documents related to the program, raising questions about Feinstein’s claim. The White House had refused to turn over the records for five years, citing “executive branch confidentiality interests.”

The specific details of the documents remain unknown. The CIA declined to comment. In a statement, Feinstein declined to discuss the report but said it was meticulous and the “definitive review of the program.”

The White House declined to comment on the contents of the committee’s report. “The president has made clear that the program that is the subject of the committee’s work is inconsistent with our values as a nation,” said national security spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan.

Meehan also said there were no updates on the documents the White House withheld from the panel’s review. “As we have discussed with the committee, during the course of the review, a small percentage of the total number of documents have been set aside because they raise executive branch confidentiality interests,” she said.

In voting in March 2009 to review the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation Program, the committee tailored the guidelines to focus the inquiry solely on the CIA, including how the agency “created, operated, and maintained its detention and interrogation program.”

“As an oversight document the main premise is about whether Congress was accurately and appropriately informed by the CIA,” said the person familiar with the report, one of several knowledgable sources who spoke to McClatchy. “The report will show that the CIA did not provide accurate information, and in some cases provided misleading information.”

The narrow parameters of the inquiry apparently were structured to secure the support of the committee’s minority Republicans. But the Republicans withdrew only months into the inquiry, and several experts said that the parameters were sufficiently flexible to have allowed an examination of the roles Bush, Cheney and other top administration officials played in a top-secret program that could only have been ordered by the president.

“It doesn’t take much creativity to include senior Bush officials in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s jurisdiction,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “It’s not hard to link an investigation into the CIA’s torture to the senior officials who authorized it. That’s not a stretch at all.”

It’s not as if there wasn’t evidence that Bush and his top national security lieutenants were directly involved in the program’s creation and operation.

The Senate Armed Services Committee concluded in a 2008 report on detainee mistreatment by the Defense Department that Bush opened the way in February 2002 by denying al Qaida and Taliban detainees the protection of an international ban against torture.

White House officials also participated in discussions and reviewed specific CIA interrogation techniques in 2002 and 2003, the public version of the Senate Armed Services Committee report concluded.

Several unofficial accounts published as far back as 2008 offered greater detail.

Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld relentlessly pressured interrogators to subject detainees to harsh interrogation methods in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, McClatchy reported in April 2009. Such evidence, which was non-existent, would have substantiated one of Bush’s main arguments for invading Iraq in 2003.

Other accounts described how Cheney, Rumsfeld, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and Secretary of State Colin Powell approved specific harsh interrogation techniques. George Tenet, then the CIA director, also reportedly updated them on the results.

“Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not judge this kindly,” Ashcroft said after one of dozens of meetings on the program, ABC News reported in April 2008 in a story about the White House’s direct oversight of interrogations.

News reports also chronicled the involvement of top White House and Justice Department officials in fashioning a legal rationale giving Bush the authority to override U.S. and international laws prohibiting torture. They also helped craft opinions that effectively legalized the CIA’s use of waterboarding, wall-slamming and sleep deprivation.

Even so, the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report doesn’t examine the responsibility of Bush and his top advisers for abuses committed while the program was in operation from 2002 to 2006, according to several people familiar with the 500-page document.

Their comments are bolstered by the report’s 20 main conclusions, which do not point to any wrongdoing outside of the CIA. Instead, the conclusions only mention the White House once, asserting that the CIA impeded effective White House oversight and decision-making.

“The report does not put responsibility with the White House,” said a second person familiar with the panel’s report. The conclusions, published by McClatchy in April, paint a picture of an intelligence agency that concocted and implemented the program on its own and sought to evade any oversight.

The report primarily focused on discerning whether the use of the harsh interrogation techniques gained valuable intelligence, concluding that they did not. The CIA has rejected that finding, contending that use of the techniques produced vital information.

The executive summary of the report condenses the narratives of 20 detainee cases.

In one instance, McClatchy learned, the Bush administration claimed that the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the 9/11 mastermind, led to the foiling of a terror plot against Los Angeles’ Library Tower. The study, however, concludes that that information could have been learned without using the harsh interrogatiom techniques on Mohammad, who was waterboarded 183 times.

The scope of the committee’s work was hamstrung by concerns that the investigation would be an open-ended political witch hunt.

“This issue has unfortunately become so politicized that this report might have been attacked as a political document if it had” delved into the White House, said Goitein. “That’s not the ideal outcome, but it’s an understandable calculus in my mind.”

Along with being handicapped by the political considerations, the panel confronted two prior Justice Department investigations that declined to assign criminal liability to any officials involved in the program. One probe was conducted under the Bush administration and the second under President Barack Obama.

Moreover, Obama opposed any further inquiry. Although he signed an executive order banning waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques soon after taking office, he also ruled out future prosecutions of those who participated in the program.

The extent of the Obama’s fury over the panel’s study was revealed in a memoir by former CIA Director Leon Panetta that was released this month. The president, he wrote, was livid that the CIA agreed in 2009 to give the committee access to millions of the agency’s highly classified documents.

“The president wants to know who the f--- authorized this release to the committees,” Panetta recalled then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel shouting at him. “I have a president with his hair on fire and I want to know what the f--- you did to f--- this up so bad!”

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation has been mired in controversy. Earlier this year, the agency was forced to admit it had improperly monitored the computers panel staff had used to construct the study. Meanwhile, the agency accused staff of removing classified information from a secure CIA facility without authorization. Both incidents resulted in warring criminal referrals to the Justice Department, which declined in July to further investigate.

The tensions over the investigation have continued to hold up the public release of the executive summary, which now has been delayed for nearly two years since the panel approved the final draft in December 2012.

The executive branch originally requested that 15 percent of the summary be redacted. McClatchy has learned that negotiations have reportedly progressed so that now roughly 5 percent will be blacked out of the summary’s public version, but there is no set date on when it will be released.

Contact: Email: jlanday@mcclatchydc.com; Twitter: @JonathanLanday. Email: mtaylor@mcclatchydc.com; Twitter: @marisaataylor. Email: awatkins@mcclatchydc.com; Twitter: @AliMarieWatkins.



Friday, March 7

REPORT: TERRORIST FRONT GROW UP

TERRORIST FRONT AL-NUSRA GROW UP

A Saudi Interior Ministry statement said King Abdullah approved the findings of a committee entrusted with identifying extremist groups referred to in a royal decree earlier last month. The decree punishes those who fight in conflicts outside the kingdom or join extremist groups or support them.

The king's decree followed the kingdom enacting a sweeping new counterterrorism law that targets virtually any criticism of the government. The Muslim Brotherhood has been targeted by many Gulf nations since the July 3 military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in Egypt, himself a Brotherhood member. Saudi Arabia has banned Brotherhood books from the ongoing Riyadh book fair and withdrew its ambassador from Qatar, a Brotherhood supporter, along with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Today's statement, carried by the official Saudi Press Agency, identified the other terrorist groups named as al-Qaida's branches in Yemen and Iraq, the Syrian al-Nusra Front, Saudi Hezbollah and Yemen's Shiite Hawthis. It said the law would apply to all the groups and organizations identified by the United Nations Security Council or international bodies as terrorists or violent groups. It said the law also would be applied to any Saudi citizen or a foreigner residing in the kingdom for propagating atheism or pledging allegiance to anyone other than the kingdom's leaders.

The counterterrorism law bans meetings of the groups inside or outside of the kingdom and covers comments made online or to media outlets. The unprecedented and harsh prison terms seem aimed at stemming the flow of Saudi fighters going to Syria, Yemen or Iraq. The Syrian civil war is believed to have drawn hundreds of young Saudis, worrying some in the kingdom that fighters could return radicalized and turn their weapons on the monarchy.

Influential Saudi clerics who follow the kingdom's ultraconservative religious Wahhabi doctrine encouraged youths to fight in the war and view it as a struggle between Syria's Sunni majority and President Bashar Assad's Alawite, Shiite-backed minority.

Saudi officials and some clerics have spoken out against young Saudis joining the war. However, the Saudi government backs some rebel opposition groups in Syria with weapons and aid. The new law is also believed to reflect pressure from the U.S., which wants to see Assad's overthrow but is alarmed by the rising influence of hard-line foreign jihadists — many of them linked to al-Qaida — among the rebels. 

U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to fly to Saudi Arabia and meet King Abdullah this month.

Meanwhile in Qatar, outspoken Egyptian cleric Youssef el-Qaradawi did not deliver his usual sermon on Friday. The reasons for his absence were not made immediately public. His past sermons, in which he publicly criticized the UAE and other Gulf countries for their support of Egypt's new government in its crackdown on the Brotherhood, led to outrage among Qatar's neighbors who saw the comments as an attack on their sovereignty.

Thursday, August 8

AL-QAEDA REPLACING ASSAD. U.S. DIRTY GAMES.

Acting CIA Director Michael Morell

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell said the prospect of the Syrian government being replaced by al-Qaeda his biggest worry.

The second-in-command of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) says that the toppling of Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria is the largest threat to United States National Security and may help al-Qaeda acquire chemical weapons.

And with al-Qaeda close to the action, Morell warned that they could pounce on the opportunity to gain Assad’s equipment. 

Morell’s statement is especially surprising considering America’s official position on the Syrian civil war. US President Barack Obama and his officials have repeatedly called Assad a "dictator" who is responsible for more than 92,000 lives lost in a bloody conflict between government forces and rebels - some of whom are openly affiliated with al-Qaeda.  

Should the current regime collapse without a stable government to step up to the plate, Morell said the warheads being held by Assad may end up in the hands of America’s adversaries.

The US remains embarked on a plan that would aid Syrian rebels by way of supplying them with arms. With al-Qaeda extremists entwined in that same war against Assad, however, one wrong turn could cause the US to accidentally equip its most feared enemy.

According to Morell, the Syrian government's weapons "are going to be up for grabs and up for sale" if Assad is ousted. Unless the US has a plan of attack ready for that moment, munitions and warheads currently controlled by Assad could end up in the hands of just about anyone.

With al-Qaeda increasing the scope of its operation in Syria, the US could have a whole new front in its war on terror. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 brought American troops to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and later to Iraq. In the decade-plus since, the US has launched drones over locales like Yemen and Somalia to take a stab at diminishing al-Qaeda’s presence. As hostilities increase in Syria, a new adversary could worsen the current situation. 
Given what the US has reported about the current Syrian government, al-Qaeda stands to collect all sorts of goodies if they can grab hold of Assad’s goods as well. The White House has insisted that Assad deployed chemical weapons on citizens during the civil war, and the opposition and government have both relied on whatever weapons they can collect in order to fight off their foes. That hostile environment is increasingly being populated by al-Qaeda extremists, and Morell says that’s not good for US security.

Notes: "Al-Qaeda has had its own victory as well. The dispersal of al-Qaeda is their victory... I don't remember a time when there have been so many National Security issues on the front burner as there are today, Michael Morell said".

Tuesday, August 6

AL-QAEDA'S LOCAL "FRANCHISES" ON THE WORLD

Somalia Harakat al-Shabaab. Offshoot of the Islamic Courts Union, which splintered after defeat in 2006 by the Somali transitional federal government. Describes itself as waging jihad against "enemies of Islam". Has kidnapped and killed foreign aid workers. Designated as a terrorist organisation by western governments. Of special concern to UK security services along with Nigeria's Boko Haram movement.

North Africa Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim). Formed when the Algerian Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat merged with al-Qaida in 2007. Active in Algeria, Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Libya. Involved in kidnappings and bombings. The In Amenas gas plant in the Algerian Sahara was seized by an AQIM faction in January.

Iraq Islamic State of Iraq. Al-Qaida branch established in 2006. Responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iraqis. By last year had reportedly doubled strength to about 2,500. Involved in recent spate of sectarian bombings. Hundreds of members freed in mass breakout from Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad last month.
Syria Jabhat al-Nusra. Founded in 2012. Announced merger with al-Qaida in Iraq. But leader Abu Mohammad al-Golani affirmed allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri. Devoted to fighting regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Not known to have been involved in attacks outside Syria. Western governments fear growth of jihadist extremism because of the crisis.

Exactly what danger is posed to US, British and French interests in Yemen is not public knowledge. But it comes as no surprise that the poorest country in the Arab world and the home of al-Qaida's most active local "franchise" is the apparent focus of the international terrorist alert that has led to the closure of western embassies across the Middle East.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) emerged in Yemen in 2007 after the organisation's effective defeat in neighbouring Saudi Arabia. It is the regular target of US drone strikes. Little is known about the links between it and al-Qaida central in Pakistan. But it is sustained by local factors including wild terrain, economic misery, tribal divisions and the weakness of the Yemeni state, battered by the Arab spring and the threat from secessionist movements.

AQAP is led by Nasser al-Wahayshi, a charismatic Yemeni jihadist who has created "a unified and cohesive militant organisation that has been involved not only in several transnational terrorist attacks but also in fighting an insurgency that has succeeded in capturing and controlling large areas of territory", according to Stratfor, an international security consultancy.

In recent weeks Wahayshi, 36, has reportedly been appointed to a senior al-Qaida position by Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's Egyptian successor. Wahayshi, who was Bin Laden's private secretary in Afghanistan, fled to Iran in 2001 and was extradited to Yemen in 2003. In 2006 he escaped from a prison in Sana'a in a mass breakout that did much to invigorate the country's violent extremists.

The group has been under heavy pressure over the past 18 months. Its fighters have been pushed back to desert hideouts from much of the territory they captured in southern Yemen. Despite these setbacks, they have continued publishing an English‑language online magazine called Inspire, a magnet for jihadists from Pakistan to Mali.

AQAP is monitored by Saudi intelligence as well as the CIA and MI6, which both have liaison officers in Sana'a and Riyadh. The Nigerian underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit in 2009, was radicalised in Yemen while claiming to be there studying Arabic. Earlier that year the group tried to assassinate the Saudi security chief, Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, with a bomb concealed on the attacker's body.

AQAP regularly attacks Yemeni security and intelligence officers, with more than 60 killed in the past two years, according to the country's interior ministry.

It was revealed in February that the CIA was secretly using an airbase in Saudi Arabia to conduct its drone assassination campaign in Yemen. Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks had earlier exposed the scale of US covert involvement.

Last week the Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, met Barack Obama in Washington. The two leaders "reaffirmed their commitment to a strong counter-terrorism partnership, discussing a range of efforts to counter the threat to both countries posed by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula", the White House said.