Released yesterday, a U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Report states that “The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of ‘a few bad apples’ acting on their own. The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees”.
The U.S. Senate report said that it was a Presidential Order signed by George W. Bush on 7 February 2002 that opened the door to “aggressive techniques” for interrogations — or, to what became torture.
Continue reading Now, a U.S. Senate report shows how Pentagon contributed to CIA torture
Abu Zubaydah “suffered an injury during capture” — he “sustained a wound during capture which is being treated”, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), Jay Bybee, wrote in a memo dated 1 August 2002, yet authorization was given to torture him anyway. One torture contemplated — but apparently not used — was placing one of more insects, which Abu Zubayda would have been told were stinging insects, into a confinement box with him: “you have informed us that he appears to have a fear of insects”, according to an analysis of the Bybee memo by Jason Leopold.
Continue reading Abu Zubaida – CIA had a plan to place him in confinement box with insects
Dr. Zvi Sela, a kibbutznik, teacher, psychologist, police interrogator, participant in torture [see his own account, below], and writer, makes some riveting revelations in an interview with Kobi Ben-Shimon published in Haaretz this weekend. The interview was about his recently-published third novel, which doesn’t really matter for the purposes of this posting, and which is apparently in Hebrew anyway.
Sela explains, in the interview, how he became a writer: ” ‘In prison I met a former Mossad [espionage agency] man, who spied for Russia, was caught in the early 1990s and released a few years ago. In the Israel Prison Service he was known as ‘Mr. X.’ One of the ways they drove him crazy was to put him into solitary confinement, without a television or radio, completely alone. Not even the warder spoke to him; he just threw him his food tray. I found the man touching. My conversations with him were very personal, and through him things surfaced in me’. The encounter with ‘Mr. X’ opened new worlds for Sela. Writing is a lifetime journey for him” …
The Haaretz story says that “From the mid-1970s until the end of the 1990s, he [Sela] held a variety of positions at the Israel Police, including chief of detectives in the Sharon District, head of intelligence-gathering at national headquarters, commander of an intelligence officers’ course, drugs and intelligence advisor to the minister of police, and chief of police in Hadera. His last position with the police (1995-1998) was as chief intelligence officer of the Israel Prisons Service, in which capacity Sela was in charge of collecting criminal and security information” Sela now works at home as a private therapist and is a consultant to the municipalities of Netanya, Or Akiva and Ramat Hasharon.
The most interesting revelations in the interview with Haaretz concern the late Hamas leader — executed in a targetted assassination by an Israeli missile fired as he left a mosque near his home in Gaza in his wheelchair following dawn prayers. Sela, according to the Haaretz story, “held two-hour weekly meetings over a three-year period with Sheikh Ahmed Yassin when the Hamas founder was incarcerated in Israel…
Continue reading Zvi Sela in Haaretz: "Israel could have made peace with Hamas under Yassin"