Survivors of CIA torture describe homebrew electric chair used at Afghan black site


Lufti al-Arabi, a Tunisian man who was arrested in Pakistan while studying at university, spent 13 years in the CIA's notorious "Salt Pit" prison (AKA "Detention Site COBALT") in Afghanistan, enduring incredible, crippling torture, before finally being released without charge, comment, or compensation in 2015; in his first interview since his release, he tells Human Rights Watch about the inhumane tortures of the Salt Pit, including some tortures that were apparently omitted from the CIA's suppressed torture report to the US Senate. Read the rest

Done in your name: Survivors of CIA's torture-decade describe their ordeals


For nearly a decade, the CIA kidnapped people from over 20 countries, held them without trial or counsel, and viciously tortured them, sometimes to death -- but the only person to serve jail time for the program is the man who blew the whistle on it, and that's thanks in part to Obama's insistence that "Nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past." Read the rest

Microsoft sues US government for the right to tell you when the feds are reading your email


“We appreciate that there are times when secrecy around a government warrant is needed,” Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote in a blog post Thursday. “But based on the many secrecy orders we have received, we question whether these orders are grounded in specific facts that truly demand secrecy. To the contrary, it appears that the issuance of secrecy orders has become too routine.”

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Panama Papers reveal offshore companies were bagmen for the world's spies


What do you do if you're a spy and you want to make untraceable transfers of dirty money without having your funding of your country's nominal enemies exposed to the voters whose money you're spending? You hire Mossack Fonseca to open a numbered account in an offshore tax-haven, naturally. Read the rest

CIA borrowed school bus for training, left explosive material on board while bus carried kids


CIA personnel left “explosive training material” under the hood of a Loudoun County, Virginia school bus after performing training exercises using the school bus last week. That very same bus was then used to shuttle elementary and high school students to and from school on the following Monday and Tuesday with that explosive material still inside the engine compartment.

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Read a CIA manual on assassination


If you're searching for some uplifting bedtime reading, you might enjoy this e-book of a 1953 CIA report titled "A Study of Assassination," made public in 1997 as part of a Freedom of Information Act request. Here are a few choice nuggets:

Assassination is a term thought to be derived from "Hashish", a drug similar to marijuana, said to have been used by Hasan-ibn-Sabah to induce motivation in his followers, who were assigned to carry out political and other murders, usually at the cost of their lives.

It is here used to describe the planned killing of a person who is not under the legal jurisdiction of the killer, who is not physically in the hands of the killer, who has been selected by a resistance organization for death, and who has been sele cted by a resistance organization for death, and whose death provides positive advantages to that organization....


The essential point of assassination is the death of the subject. A human being may be killed in many ways but sureness is often overlooked by those who may be emotionally unstrung by the seriousness of this act they intend to commit. The specific technique employed will depend upon a large number of variables, but should be constant in one point: Death must be absolutely certain. The attempt on Hitler’s life failed because the conspiracy did not give this matter proper attention...


It is possible to kill a man with the bare hands, but very few are skillful enough to do it well.

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Apple-FBI crypto hearing was surprisingly hostile to FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey, 2014.  [REUTERS]

The House Judiciary committee hearing today titled, “The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans’ Security and Privacy” ended up being full of drama, and riveting moments of confrontation--along with a cavalcade of inept analogies for encryption and hardware security.

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CIA boss flips out when Ron Wyden reminds him that CIA spied on the Senate

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Remember when it looked like the Senate committee that oversees the CIA was writing the notorious CIA Torture Report, and caught the CIA searching their Senate bosses' files to find out what they knew? Read the rest

CIA: check out our UFO files!


BB pal Mitch Horowitz, noted author of esoteric and downright weird books, writes:

The CIA (the funniest guys ever!) is now taking a humorous approach to its UFO files, releasing reams of info and inviting people to play Agent Mulder for a day. It’s a clever PR move to head off a conspiracy-mania growing out of the X Files reboot. And, actually, it’s a good public service: The CIA has lots of public-domain images of flying saucers, which can save time and money for artists/writers/researchers who want flying saucer and boogodie-boogodie images.

"Take a Peek Into Our 'X-Files'" ( Read the rest

FBI's war on encryption is unnecessary because the Internet of Things will spy on us just fine


The war on encryption waged by the F.B.I. and other intelligence agencies is unnecessary, because the data trails we voluntarily leak allow “Internet of Things” devices and social media networks to track us in ways the government can access.

That's the short version of what's in “Don’t Panic: Making Progress on the ‘Going Dark’ Debate,” a study published today by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard.

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Negative Publicity: a book of paraphernalia from state kidnappings


Crofton Black is a British counterterrorism investigator who has spent years tracking down the detritus of extraordinary rendition -- a polite euphemism for the government practice of snatching people, flying them to a distant country, and torturing them. Read the rest

Clapper hacked: US Intelligence director’s personal e-mail and phone breached


The same entity that claims to be behind a recent hack of CIA Director John Brennan's personal email now claims to be behind a breach of the accounts of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence confirmed to Motherboard that Clapper had been targeted, and that the case has been forwarded to law enforcement.

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Recreating the CIA's "top secret" abstract painting collection

Artist Johanna Barron shows portions of her 2015 work of the Melzac Collection held by the CIA

In the 1980s, "controversial Republican art collector" Vincent Melzac donated 29 abstract paintings from the Washington Color School to the CIA, which now hang on the Agency's walls, but when asked for details about them, the CIA goes mum, claiming that the paintings are top secret. Read the rest

The DoJ won't let anyone in the Executive Branch read the CIA Torture Report


The Senate's 6,700 page, $40M report on the CIA's participation in torture has apparently never been read by a single member of the Executive Branch of the US Government, because the Department of Justice has ordered them all to stay away from it. Read the rest

Research files on El Salvador stolen from human rights group suing CIA over El Salvador

image: Reuters

Confidential research files on human rights abuses in El Salvador were stolen from a human rights organization in Washington state, just weeks after that same organization sued the CIA for refusing to release documents related to those very same abuses.

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Wikileaks hosting files from CIA director John Brennan's AOL account


Wikileaks has posted a collection of documents ganked from CIA director John Brennan's email account, which was reportedly hacked by a "teen stoner" earlier this week. Read the rest

FBI investigating ‘teen stoner hack’ of CIA Director John Brennan

John Brennan. Photo: Reuters

A pair of self-described teen stoner hackers say they breached an AOL account used by CIA Director John Brennan, the New York Post reported today.

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