The word out of Langley, Virginia, is that although the Central Intelligence Agency fought hard against the Senate Intelligence Committee’s release of its report on the agency’s torture or “enhanced interrogation” operations against “high-value detainees,” that report is said to be mild compared to the internal review of such practices ordered by CIA Director Leon Panetta after he assumed control of the agency in 2009.
Although the CIA went as far as hacking into the Senate Intelligence Committee’s computers to ascertain what information it possessed on CIA torture tactics and operations under the agency’s “rendition and interrogation” program, the Panetta Review contains much more lurid details of the torture tactics employed by the CIA. Among the 870 pages removed from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s computers were several containing classified information from the Panetta Review.
As shocking as were the tactics of “rectal rehydration,” i.e., forcing food and water into the rectums and colons of detainees who were said to have gone on hunger strikes, and threatening to sexually mutilate the children of detainees, including crushing the testicles of young boys, the Panetta Review goes even further in describing what torture tactics were employed. The torture sessions were carried out by foreign security agencies employed by the CIA to interrogate prisoners renditioned by the agency from third countries. For example, the torture tactics employed by the security services of Syria, Kenya, and Ethiopia are, according to the Panetta Review, even worse than the tactics used by U.S. Army jailers at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad and the CIA tactics used at several “black sites.”
The tactics described in the Taguba Report, prepared by Army General Antonio Taguba, describe prisoners being sodomized by plastic glow sticks, male guards raping female and male prisoners, prisoners being forced to roll around in human feces, and male prisoners being forced to masturbate in front of guards. WMR has learned from senior officers present at Abu Ghraib that some of this torture was not only observed but directed by Israeli intelligence personnel.
In June 2013, Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research Philip Goldberg sent a classified letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee warning it that disclosure of third party detention and interrogation details “could endanger American diplomats and harm foreign relations.” Obviously, Goldberg was not so concerned about disclosing Syria’s role in the CIA’s torture program since he and other neocons in the administration were actively supporting Syrian rebels attempting to depose the Assad government.
In January 2014, CIA Director John Brennan, an architect of the CIA rendition and interrogation program during the George W. Bush administration, warned the Senate Intelligence Committee that its staffers were believed to have “illegally” obtained copies of the Panetta Review. Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein warned Brennan to cease investigating her committee for allegedly obtaining classified information on the agency’s torture program because it violated the separation of powers clause in the U.S. Constitution. Brennan ignored Feinstein and ordered his acting inspector general, Robert Eatinger, to file a criminal report with the Department of Justice regarding the Senate’s spying on the CIA!
On March 11, 2014, Feinstein accused the CIA of violating “the Fourth Amendment, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as Executive Order 12333, which prohibits the CIA from conducting domestic searches or surveillance.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ordered the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms to investigate the CIA’s espionage on the Intelligence Committee’s computers. On July 31, 2014, Brennan, worried that the Panetta Review details might leak, admitted to the CIA’s spying on the Senate committee’s computers. The Department of Justice has failed to prosecute any of the CIA officials, including Brennan, who lied to Congress and covered up details of the agency’s torture program.
WMR has reported in the past that the sexual torture and humiliation of prisoners at Abu Ghraib; Guantanamo Bay; Afghanistan’s “Salt Pit” or Detention Site COBALT, north of Kabul; Stare Kiejkuty or Detention Site BLUE in northeastern Poland; and Detention Site BLACK at the Mihail Kogalniceanu airbase in Romania were video-streamed via an encrypted link to Vice President Dick Cheney’s office in the Old Executive Office Building, next to the White House, where Cheney and selected individuals amused themselves by watching live torture sessions, including sexual abuse. Some of the video-streaming of torture was, according to our sources, viewed not only by Cheney but by his close friend and confidante Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Vice Presidential Chief of Staff David Addington, and Vice Presidential counsel I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.
A fire that broke out inside an “electrical closet” on December 19, 2007, destroyed the live streaming black boxes used to pipe the torture sessions into the vice president’s office. The fire, which was reportedly caused by arson ordered by Cheney’s staff, destroyed all evidence of the video-streaming of the torture sessions.
As shocking as the revelations were in the Senate Intelligence Committee and Taguba reports about U.S. sexual and other humiliation torture practices, the Panetta Review contains details of the practices used by the security services of third countries like Syria.
One of the reasons why the CIA is intent on overthrowing the Bashar al-Assad government is the techniques its security service employed against prisoners delivered for interrogation by the CIA. These include the use of ancient Arab torture methods, most notably the “Black Slave” or al ‘Abd al-Aswad. The technique employs a metal chair in which the torture victim is strapped naked to a chair and a red-hot metal skewer is inserted into the anus. Another technique used the medieval “Solomon’s Chair,” where a torture victim is seated on a chair fitted with metal spikes.
On behalf of the CIA, Kenyan, Ugandan, Malawian, and Rwandan interrogators in their home countries employed the standard East African “three-piece tie” measure, which entails tying a detainee’s arms behind his or her back until the elbows meet. The technique results in not only extreme pain but can lead to death from gangrene, rupture of the breastbone, and asphyxiation. Many of the torture sessions were carried out in interrogation facilities in Addis Ababa and Nairobi. The Ethiopians used an apartment in Addis Ababa as one torture facility.
The security services of Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Jordan were also used to torture renditioned CIA detainees. Some of the practices employed by these agencies included electric nodes placed on a victim’s genitals, nipples, and feet.
WMR has learned that some of the third party torture sessions, while not video-streamed to the United States, were taped and many of the tapes were later illegally destroyed by the CIA. The tapes, said to number at least 150, included torture sessions conducted at Detention Center GREEN in Thailand. Justice Department special prosecutor John Durham, tasked with investigating the 2005 destruction of the torture tapes, declined to prosecute anyone in the CIA for their destruction. Shortly after becoming president, Barack Obama visited Langley and told as assembly of CIA employees that they need not fear any prosecutions by his administration for torture.
Although the Panetta Review is highly critical of waterboarding, which was advocated by the CIA’s “Torture Queen,” Alfreda Frances Bikowsky, it is the condemnation of third party torture techniques that has the agency determined to keep the review from being publicly disclosed “at all costs.”
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
Copyright © 2014 WayneMadenReport.com
Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).