Strange: New Republican Chair Of Senate Intelligence Committee Wants Torture Report Returned

In a bizarre attempt to rewrite history, the new chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, wrote to President Obama with an odd request: He wants the Dianne Feinstein Senate Intelligence Committee torture report back.

“Mr. Burr sent a letter last week to the White House saying that his Democratic predecessor, Senator Dianne Feinstein, should never have transmitted the entire 6,700-page report to numerous departments and agencies within the executive branch — and requested that all copies of the report be ‘returned immediately,’ according to people who have seen the letter.

“The Intelligence Committee publicly released only the report’s executive summary. But Congress has since changed hands, and the committee is now controlled by Republican lawmakers like Mr. Burr who have long opposed the committee’s detention investigation, which they said was a partisan effort to discredit the C.I.A. and the Bush administration.

It is a bizarre episode in which the right-wing senator is attempting to rewrite history by asking for the torture reports back to supposedly “bury” them.

New York Times:

“Mr. Burr’s unusual letter to Mr. Obama might have been written with an eye toward future Freedom of Information Act lawsuits.

“Congress is not subject to such requests, and any success he has in getting the Obama administration to return all copies of the Senate report to the Intelligence Committee could hinder attempts to someday have the report declassified and released publicly.

The Times stated, “A spokeswoman for Mr. Burr did not return a request seeking comment on the letter. A White House spokesman declined to comment on how the Obama administration planned to respond.”

According to the New York Times, the director of the Federation of American Scientists project on government secrecy, Steven Aftergood, said he could recall no analogous case of the Senate’s trying to get the executive branch to return a document.

Dutch Court Prevents Man’s Extradition To U.S. Over Torture Concerns

According to Reuters, a Dutch court on Tuesday blocked the extradition of a man accused of having fought against U.S. troops in Afghanistan.  They said it could not be ruled out that the CIA had been involved in his torture after his arrest in Pakistan.

Dutch court documents showed the suspect, a Dutch-Pakistani dual citizen named Sabir Khan, was tortured after his arrest by Pakistan’s ISI security service.

The man faces charges in New York of a conspiracy to commit murder and of supporting al Qaeda.

War Crimes Case Filed in Germany Against Architects Of Torture Program


Democracy Now

A human rights group in Berlin, Germany, has filed a criminal complaint against the architects of the George W. Bush administration’s torture program. The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights has accused former Bush administration officials, including CIA Director George Tenet and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, of war crimes, and called for an immediate investigation by a German prosecutor.

Washington Post Seems To Endorse Torture

On January 5th, the Washington Post published an article titled “Democrats Lose The Torture Debate,” which was written by Marc A. Thiessen.

Thiessen writes, “As we begin 2015, we can take solace that the ‘torture’ debate is finally behind us. But before we close the book on six sordid years of Democratic demagoguery and investigations, let the record show that the opponents of the CIA interrogation program were completely and utterly defeated.

“Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who chairs the Senate intelligence committee, launched a six-year, 6,000-page, $40 million investigation into the CIA interrogation program, with the goal of convincing Americans that a) the program did not work and that b) enhanced interrogations were wrong and should never again be permitted.

Thiessen then claims: “She failed on all counts.”

The Post then justifies it’s stance on torture with its own internal poll.

He states that the poll shows that “The vast majority agree with the CIA that these techniques were necessary and justified. A majority think that Feinstein should never have released her report. And — most importantly — 76 percent said they would do it again to protect the country.”

Thiessen explains that Americans were asked, “Looking ahead, do you feel that torture of suspected terrorists can often be justified, sometimes justified, rarely justified or never justified?”

He then claims that the word “torture” is a “loaded word” and therefore claims that such techniques as waterboarding, “rectal feeding,” and “rectal rehydration” do not constitute torture. Thiessen would likely prefer the CIA-sanctioned term “EIT,” or “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques.”

According to the WaPo poll, 17 percent replied they would support using the techniques “often,” 40 percent “sometimes” and 19 percent “rarely.” Only 20 percent said the techniques should “never” be justified.

Little Known War Crimes In Ukraine

Groups of right-wing Ukrainian nationalists have been committing executions in the rebel-held territories of Eastern Ukraine, according to a report from Amnesty International.  Evidence emerged last September in the local media of volunteer militias beheading their victims.

According to Newsweek, armed volunteers who refer to themselves as the Aidar battalion “have been involved in widespread abuses, including abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, theft, extortion, and possible executions”, Amnesty said.

The organization has also published a report detailing similar alleged atrocities committed by pro-Russian militants, highlighting the brutality of the conflict which has claimed over 3,000 lives.

Amnesty’s statement came before images of what appeared to be the severed heads of two civilians’ started circulating on social media, identified by Russian news channel NTV as the heads of rebel hostages.

Shortly after, Kiev-based news network Pravilnoe TV reported that it had spoken with one of the mothers of the victims who confirmed her son was a rebel, captured during fighting in Donetsk.

She said she had received her son’s head in a wooden box in the mail, blaming nationalist volunteers for her son’s death. Newsweek has not been able to verify the report independently.

There are over 30 pro-nationalist, volunteer battalions similar to Aidar, such as Ukraina, DND Metinvest and Kiev 1, all funded by private investors.

The Aidar battalion is publicly backed by Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi, who also funds the Azov, Donbas, Dnepr 1, Dnepr 2 volunteer battalions, operating under orders from Kiev. Last spring Kolomoyskyi offered a bounty of $10,000 of his own money for each captured Russian “saboteur.”

Russia is calling for an international investigation into the discovery of the burial sites of those allegedly executed.

The top authority at Russia’s presidential human rights council, Mikhail Fedotov, called on the authorities to do everything to “ensure an independent international probe” and “let international human rights activists and journalists” gain access to the site in Eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

The burial sites are near the Kommunar mine, 60 kilometers from Donetsk, and were discovered by self-defense forces.

Four bodies have been exhumed, including those of three women. Their hands were tied, at least one of the bodies was decapitated, self-defense fighters said.

The four bodies were found in September. Self-defense forces believe there might be other burials in the area.

More:

http://rt.com/news/190228-mass-burial-discovered-ukraine/