Torture book by Spokane psychologist is MIA

Shawn Vestal: Torture book by Spokane psychologist is MIA

As the lawyers, government, torturers and tortured wrestle over state secrets in the case against two psychologists who ran an $81 million torture enterprise from Spokane, an odd question has emerged.

What happened to James Mitchell’s book? Continue reading

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Voices From the Ground: Abu Ghraib Torture Survivors Speak in Geneva

The United Nations Human Rights Council is underway in Geneva, with diplomats and experts covering such important topics as the rights of indigenous peoples, enforced disappearance, and the critical human rights situations in Burundi, Ukraine, and Yemen. Too often, though, the voices of those most directly impacted by the policies of the powerful – whether States, corporations, or other non-State actors – are not part of the discussion.

This session, though, the voices and accounts of two survivors of torture at Abu Ghraib echoed through the Palais des Nations, as the faces of some of the Iraqi detainees graced the walls. The two survivors, Salah Hassan and Ali Shallal Abbas, traveled to Geneva at the invitation of the UN Working Group on Mercenaries to share their accounts both of the cruel treatment they suffered at the U.S.-run detention center and their efforts for justice and accountability. Continue reading

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Bodies of evidence: psychologists and the CIA torture scandal

Antonio Melechi examines how enhanced interrogation techniques came to be introduced at War on Terror ‘black sites’

September 29, 2016
Cracked photograph of man's back during torture/interrogation
Source: Getty/Alamy montage

In the summer of 1975, in the weeks before President Gerald Ford dodged the first of two assassination attempts, the Rockefeller Commission issued a report into the Central Intelligence Agency’s illegal surveillance of home-grown subversives. Prompted by The New York Times’ reporting of the agency’s involvement in opening the mail and tapping the phones of anti-Vietnam War protesters and civil rights activists, the 300-page report uncovered little new information. However, it did find something equally worrying: a paper trail cataloguing the large number of American psychologists whose research had been secretly funded by the CIA. Continue reading

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SIGAR Report Shows Electrifying Afghanistan is Power Struggle for the Ages

SIGAR Report Shows Electrifying Afghanistan is Power Struggle for the Ages

09/27/2016
By Rod Walton
EL&P Senior Editor

A battle wages at the original center of the War on Terror, one actually meant to enlighten and elevate the poorest of the oppressed poor but likely lining the pockets of the most corrupt on the front lines.

Much of Afghanistan is still in the dark, even 15 years after the 9/11 attacks sparked a concurrent U.S. invasion and revitalization plan which has spent billions while suffering untold delays due to equal doses of conflict, corruption and, sometimes, construction.

The first chapter of a report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) is focused on the “power struggle” in electrifying the country amidst age-old violence and upheaval. This part of the July report received little attention at first glance but we at Electric Light & Power are revisiting it after SIGAR earlier this month released the first of its “Lessons Learned” updates indicating the entire reconstruction effort has fallen victim to repeated breakdowns in one of the world’s most corrupt political systems. Continue reading

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Dogs of war: Who are the British mercenaries roaming Africa accused of ‘war crimes’?

Dogs of war: Who are the British mercenaries roaming Africa accused of ‘war crimes’?

By Elsa Buchanan
February 6, 2016 08:00 GMT

Mercenaries in Somalia
A Somali man who makes a living as a ‘gun for hire’ secures an alley in a market near a wall scribbled with graffiti on 13 August 2011ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images

In the 15 years since the declaration on the war on terror, UK private military and security companies (PMSCs) have made billions of dollars in contracts awarded by British and foreign governments, as well as other private companies. Continue reading

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Inside the (Not So) Secret Armies of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Inside the (Not So) Secret Armies of Operation Iraqi Freedom

For a moment, I felt what it is to be an American civilian contractor in Iraq.

By Tucker Carlson

Sep 9, 2016

Originally published in the March 2004 issue.

About a hundred yards into Iraq, we stopped to pick up weapons. A half dozen Kurds in white Citroëns met us in a trash-strewn lot just over the border from Kuwait. They were unloading the guns onto the trunk of one of their cars as we pulled up. The pile amounted to a small armory: German MP5 submachine guns, AK-47s newly liberated from the Iraqi army, 9mm Beretta pistols, and dozens of magazines of ammunition.

Just a few feet away, American soldiers stood by the side of the highway directing convoys of fuel trucks heading north. They must have noticed the cluster of men in plain clothes arming themselves with automatic weapons. They didn’t acknowledge it. No one demanded to see our identification or weapons permits. No one even asked what we were doing. By local standards, what we were doing was normal. Only a moron drives to Baghdad unarmed. Continue reading

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Ex-DynCorp Worker Asks 5th Circ. To Rethink Venue Rejection

Ex-DynCorp Worker Asks 5th Circ. To Rethink Venue Rejection

Law360, Washington (August 10, 2016, 5:25 PM EDT) — A former DynCorp employee urged the full Fifth Circuit to reconsider a panel’s decision to reject class action allegations that the company cheated him and others of overtime pay and benefits earned on a Kuwaiti logistics contract for the U.S. Army, arguing the provision to resolve disputes in Kuwait should be void.
The petition from Jonathan Barnett said the appeals panel’s original July decision wrongly held that the clause to adjudicate disputes in Kuwait should govern the case. According to his argument, the federal standards for forum non conveniens motions — which DynCorp won at the trial court — and Texas state law should prevent the agreement from having any effect. Continue reading

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Subcontractor Sabotage Cost $74M, Suit Says

Subcontractor Sabotage Cost $74M, Suit Says

Law360, Washington (July 18, 2016, 4:30 PM EDT) — A military support company hit its subcontractor with a $74 million lawsuit Friday in Virginia federal court for allegedly sabotaging the company’s federal professional services contract, stealing trade secrets and poaching employees to win a rebid for the work.
According to Patriot Group International Inc., subcontractor Janus Global Operations LLC caused the government to eliminate PGI’s remaining award term and PGI to lose out on over $74.2 million in revenue.

The suit accuses Janus of breach of contract, misuse and misappropriation of trade secrets, common-law conspiracy and tortuous interference. The trade secrets abuse violated the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 and Virginia’s Business Conspiracy Act, the complaint says. Continue reading

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Patriot Group International to Assist Northcom With Aerial ISR Platforms

Patriot Group International to Assist Northcom With Aerial ISR Platforms

NavyC5ISRPatriot Group International has secured potential five-year, $26.5 million contract to support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aerial detection and monitoring operations of the U.S. Northern Command.

The company said Tuesday it will provide manned ISR aircraft platforms to Northcom as well as perform flight operations, maintenance, contractor logistics support and intelligence analysis at various domestic and international locations. Continue reading

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Security Co. Fights Doc Request In Blackwater FCA Row

Security Co. Fights Doc Request In Blackwater FCA Row

Law360, Washington (September 9, 2016, 1:53 PM EDT) — Blackwater successor Academi on Thursday pushed back on expanded discovery of False Claims Act allegations that the company falsified firearms qualifications for contractors providing U.S. Department of State security in Afghanistan, claiming that documents sought from third parties would exponentially multiply the case.
Since winning expanded discovery on the FCA allegations earlier in the summer, former marksmen Lyle Beauchamp and Warren Shepherd have pushed for more documents from third parties such as fellow State Department contractor Triple Canopy. Triple Canopy and Academi have both pushed back on requests for firearms training scorecards, and last month Triple Canopy filed a motion to quash the document requests, claiming that they run too far afield from the actual issues in the case. Continue reading

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