Brennan rejects CIA torture claims in confident display at Senate hearing

Obama’s nominee for CIA director suggests he was misled over value of waterboarding and forcefully defends drones policy

The Guardian, By Chris McGreal, February 7

Washington – John Brennan denied at his Senate confirmation hearing as CIA director accusations that he played a central role in the agency’s torture of suspected terrorists, and suggested he was misled as a CIA senior official over the value of information obtained through waterboarding.

Brennan faced lengthy questioning over the CIA’s abduction and abuse of alleged terrorists at secret “black sites”, following a confidential 6,000-page Senate report that Brennan described as “very concerning and disturbing” in its evidence that the agency misrepresented and lied about the value of “enhanced interrogation techniques”.

Obama’s nomination to be CIA director also made a forceful defence of the White House’s drones policy, of which he has been a principal architect, saying that the public does not appreciate the “agony” the government goes through to avoid civilian deaths.

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  • America’s Global Torture Network

    TruthDig, By Robert Scheer, February 7

    The title, “Globalizing Torture,” says it all. This meticulous accounting of the network of torture chambers that the United States has authorized in more than 54 nations is a damning indictment that should make all of us in this country cringe with shame.

    The report is a product of the Open Society Foundations, funded by international financier and philanthropist George Soros, who, as a young Jew, suffered through the Nazi occupation of Hungary and emerged from that experience an uncompromising fighter for human rights. That his lifelong goal to “foster accountability for international crimes,” reflected in his organization’s mission statement, now includes our government is a condemnation as awful as it is deserved.

    When it comes to torture in the post 9/11 era, the record of the United States is so appalling that one must question our claimed abhorrence of the barbarism of other nations. In fact, the essence of our rendition program has been to outsource torture to those countries most sadistic in their use of “enhanced interrogation techniques.” That is flattery of a most twisted sort.

    For example, Syria, now universally condemned for its contempt for human life, was chosen as the site to torture Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen detained by U.S. authorities at John F. Kennedy Airport. The apology and financial compensation he received from Canadian officials is only one of three instances of governments apologizing, and that list does not include the United States.

    Open Society Foundations: Globalizing Torture

    Video at Democracy Now: Globalizing Torture: Ahead of Brennan Hearing, International Complicity in CIA Rendition Exposed

    Empty Wheel: John Brennan Decimates the Logic of Drone Program

    Charlie Pierce at Esquire: John Brennan Says High Mass

    It was like watching an exotic tribe worship in its native tongue. This was not America as it would recognize itself. This was the worship of a different god.

    Democracy Now! Kill List Exposed: Leaked Obama Memo Shows Assassination of US Citizens “Has No Geographic Limit”

    Mother Jones: Obama Released Bush’s Torture Memos. Why Not Release the Targeted-Killing Memos?

    If releasing the torture memos to the public was justified, it’s very hard to understand why Americans should be kept in the dark about the details of when, how and why their own government can mark them for death. As Wyden said on MSNBC Thursday morning, “Every American has the right to know when their government believes it’s allowed to kill them. I don’t think that, as one person said, is too much to ask.”

    Mr. Serwer! That’s not the question! Every American should be free from fear that their government will deprive them of their basic civil rights without due process!

    Emptywheel: Article II or AUMF? “A High Level Official” (AKA John Brennan) Says CIA Can Murder You

    MoJo, Serwer: Senator [Angus King, I-ME]: Let’s Have a Targeted Killing Court

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