CIA Report Admits Agency Had Wrong Man, But Imprisoned Him Anyway

A newly released internal CIA report has revealed how the agency arrested, imprisoned and interrogated German citizen Khalid El-Masri at a secret prison in Afghanistan, even though the CIA knew he was not the man they had been looking for. The report chronicles how the CIA seized El-Masri after Macedonian agents accused him of being a member of al-Qaeda traveling on a false passport. Yet no one from the CIA even looked at El-Masri’s passport for the first three months of his imprisonment, at which point agents determined his passport was real and that there was, as CIA agents wrote, “no basis to justify the continued detention of al-Masri.” Yet the agency continued to hold El-Masri for months because it could not decide on an “exit strategy.” Finally, CIA agents dumped him in Albania and told him to go home. El-Masri says he was tortured while imprisoned by the CIA. He is seeking an apology from the U.S. government.

— source | 2016

Nullius in verba


Sister Dianna Ortiz, Who Survived Torture by U.S.-Trained Guatemalan Military, Dies at 62

Sister Dianna Ortiz, a Catholic nun and outspoken opponent of torture, has died of cancer at the age of 62. In 1989, Sister Dianna Ortiz was abducted by members of Guatemala’s U.S.-trained military from the compound where she worked. Twenty-four hours later, she escaped. But within that brief period, her body had been burned with cigarettes, and she’d been raped, beaten and forced to torture a woman who was already near death. In her memoir, “The Blindfold’s Eyes: My Journey from Torture to Truth,” Ortiz wrote about U.S. complicity in Guatemala’s repressive political system and the torture and murder of more than 150,000 Guatemalans. In 2002, she spoke with Democracy Now! in our firehouse studio.

Sister Dianna Ortiz: “I really call on the American people: Please, do whatever you can to prevent torture from destroying and shattering more lives. Our government talks about ending the war on terrorism. Torture is a form of terrorism. So, that’s my plea.”

— source | Feb 22, 2021

Nullius in verba

Torture is news but it’s not new

When I first went to report the American war against Vietnam, in the 1960s, I visited the Saigon offices of the great American newspapers and TV companies, and the international news agencies.

I was struck by the similarity of displays on many of their office pinboards. “That’s where we hang our conscience,” said an agency photographer.

There were photographs of dismembered bodies, of soldiers holding up severed ears and testicles and of the actual moments of torture. There were men and women being beaten to death, and drowned, and humiliated in stomach-turning ways. On one photograph was a stick-on balloon above the torturer’s head, which said: “That’ll teach you to talk to the press.”

The question came up whenever visitors caught sight of these pictures: why had they not been published? A standard response was that newspapers would not publish them, because their readers would not accept them. And to publish them, without an explanation of the wider circumstances of the war, was to “sensationalise”.

At first, I accepted the apparent logic of this; atrocities and torture by “us” were

— source | john pilger | 7 May 2004

Nullius in verba