CIA black-site torture survivors sue shrinks who made $85M overseeing CIA torture program


James Mitchell and John "Bruce" Jessen are psychologists who took in almost $85 million in CIA contracts to design and oversee torture programs used on CIA prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and around the world. The contracts ran from from 2001 to 2010. The ACLU is representing Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, and Gul Rahman, three of the prisoners who were tortured at CIA black sites. Rahman was murdered by his torturers and the ACLU is representing his estate. Read the rest

CIA boss John Brennan drafted this never-sent apology letter to senators over the CIA hacking

Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan.
“The CIA accidentally released a document to me under FOIA and then asked that I refrain from posting it,” says VICE reporter Jason Leopold. He declined their request.

Star Trekkin' was a brilliantly bad novelty song


This 1987 nightmare achieved immense commercial success in the UK and Australia. I've just listened to it for the first time in a couple of decades, and found it genuinely difficult to get through. What's interesting is that you can tell from the name, the GIF and my description that this is an amazingly unpleasant experience—and yet you will watch it anyway! [YT]

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Police officer who tortured this handcuffed man had prior record of attacking people


In 2009, Colorado police officer Mark Magness broke an innocent man's arm during an illegal fireworks investigation. Magness pled guilty, but the police department didn't fire him.

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John Oliver commissions Helen Mirren to narrate an audiobook of the CIA Torture Report

Despite a hard-fought battle to publish the CIA Torture Report, very few people have read it, including some of the report's starring villains. Read the rest

Senators demand CIA boss admit he lied about hacking torture committee

It's one thing for the CIA to hack the Senate committee investigating Bush-era torture, but then director John Brennan told a bald-faced lie, under oath, to the Senate Intelligence Committee (his bosses!) about it. Read the rest

DOJ tells judges they don't get a say in whether information is classified

DOJ lawyer Catherine Dorsey: "We don’t think there is a First Amendment right to classified documents" -- she was seeking to suppress evidence of force-feeding torture in Gitmo. Read the rest

First-hand reports of torture from Homan Square, Chicago PD's "black site"

In the wake of last week's revelations about Homan Square, the off-the-books "black site" where Chicago PD disappear prisoners for violent, aggressive interrogation, four of the site's victims have come forward to describe the highly racialized human rights abuses at the secret site. Read the rest

Chicago Police Department maintains "black site" for illegal detention and torture

Homan Square is the Chicago Police Department's "secure site" where people as young as 15 are detained without charge and without access to counsel, subject to beatings that result in head wounds, and, in one case, death. Read the rest

Use Facebook while in South Carolina jail, go to solitary for 37 years

Prisons have a legitimate interest in controlling contraband, but in South Carolina, using social media from behind bars is a Class I offense, carrying stiffer penalties than murder, escape and hostage-taking. Read the rest

Macedonia helped CIA kidnap and torture a German they mistook for a terrorist

Macedonia kidnapped a German citizen called Khalid al-Masri (previously, previously) and sent him to the CIA, mistaking him for a similarly named terror suspect; the CIA tortured him in Afghanistan and held him even after they realized they had the wrong name. Read the rest

Physicians: “Anal feeding” of prisoners is sexual assault, has no medical use

U.S. Army Military Police escort a detainee to his cell during in-processing to the temporary detention facility at Camp X-Ray in Naval Base Guantanamo Bay (Reuters)

What a sad world we live in, when a coalition of medical professionals has to issue a press release announcing this most obvious of obvious observations about so-called “anal feeding” of war-on-terror detainees. Read the rest

Humane interrogation works 4 times better than torture

Terrorism suspects were four times more likely to confess "when interrogators struck a neutral and respectful stance," according to a study published this year.

This isn't just theoretical, either. One former U.S. Army interrogator told PRI this week that he was able to break through to an Iraqi insurgent over a shared love of watching the TV show 24 on bootleg DVDs.

"He acknowledged that he was a big fan of Jack Bauer," he told PRI. "We made a connection there that ultimately resulted in him recanting a bunch of information that he had said in the past and actually giving us the accurate information because we had made that connection."

But as Olga Khazan points out in her Atlantic story, torture isn't about getting useful information. It's about punishment:

In another study highlighted by BPS, regular people were found to be more supportive of torture if they were told the suspect was a terrorist—but not because they thought the suspect had more information. Their support for torture, in other words, was rooted on a desire for payback, not intelligence.

Study finds that confessions are four times more likely when interrogators adopt a respectful stance toward detainees and build rapport, instead of torturing Read the rest

Cheney insists rectal feeding was for medical reasons, not torture

The former US vice president was on TV this weekend to defend the Bush administration torture program that he oversaw. His argument was that the 9/11 terrorists were the real torturers and therefore how dare anyone say the US's “enhanced interrogation techniques” were wrong?

He swatted away evidence contained in the Senate intelligence committee report into the CIA programme that a suspect later found to be innocent froze to death having been shackled naked to a cell wall, and that detainees were rectally infused with food, refusing to accept a torture definition for either example.

“Torture to me is an American citizen on a cell phone making a last call to his four young daughters shortly before he burns to death on the upper levels of the Trade Center in New York City on 9/11,” Cheney said.

“There’s a notion that there’s moral equivalence between what the terrorists did and what we do, and that’s absolutely not true. We were very careful to stay short of torture.”

Cheney insists 'rectal feeding' was for medical reasons, not torture Read the rest

Why it matters whether or not torture works

Part of the debate about the CIA Torture Report is whether torture works as a means of gathering useful intelligence; scholarly work has long held that it doesn't. Read the rest

Feds given deadline to subpoena NYT reporter over CIA leak

A U.S. judge orders the government to decide by next Tuesday if they're going to force New York Times reporter James Risen to testify, once and for all.

Senate IP address vandalizes Wikipedia to scrub "torture" from CIA torture report

An anonymous editor at -- registered to the US Senate -- has repeatedly attempted to scrub the word "torture" from the Wikipedia entry from Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture. Read the rest

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