CIA criminality rewarded not punished

A classic case of America’s establishment protecting its own (via the Washington Post). It’s why the United State’s constant claims of “spreading democracy” around the world hasn’t even started at home: As John Brennan moved into the CIA director’s office this month, another high-level transition was taking place down the hall. A week earlier, a…

US-trained death squads in Iraq are our legacy

A remarkable documentary, by the Guardian and BBC Arabic, on the role of US-funded death squads in Iraq via torture skills honed in Latin America during the “dirty wars“. Powerful, explicit and brutal (though there are critics), such films are essential to challenge the spurious argument that the war was anything to do with freedom…

Bush tortured and Obama drones; discuss

Jane Mayer in the New Yorker teases out the issues: There are some disturbing similarities between the Obama white paper and the Bush torture memos. Both use slippery legal language to parse dark government programs. Both have been deliberately hidden from public and even congressional oversight. And both involve the blurring of C.I.A. and military…

Find me a country that isn’t complicit in US rendition

Damning new report (via Open Society) reveals the extent of nations desperate to help Washington break laws and morality post 9/11. When our leaders speak about believing in human rights, the best response is to laugh in their faces. Via the Guardian: The full extent of the… CIA‘s extraordinary… rendition… programme has been laid bare with the publication…

How #ZeroDarkThirty seduces viewers into supporting torture

Days after seeing Zero Dark Thirty I’m still thinking about its normalisation of torture. Rolling Stone’s great writer Matt Taibbi concurs in a stinging piece: Back to the “enhanced interrogation” in the first scene: conducted by chameleonic Australian actor Jason Clarke’s “Dan” character while Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain’s Maya character looks on, it’s shocking, horrific,…

Reflections on #ZeroDarkThirty

Last night I saw the Oscar-nominated film, Zero Dark Thirty. It’s a brilliantly made work, brutal, passionate, eerie, exciting and compelling. It’s also a shameless piece of CIA propaganda. It opens on 9/11 and frames many of the successful and failed terror attacks since then as part of one, big al-Qaeda plot, which is dishonest.…

Still dissecting the US-led torture regime post 9/11

We are still discovering the depth and extent of the crimes committed by the Americans in Iraq post 2003. I’m proud to call journalist Mike Otterman, mentioned below, a good friend. This report by Jeff Kaye on FireDogLake: Journalist Michael Otterman, author of the excellent book,… American Torture: From the Cold War to Abu Ghraib and…