The CIA turture report
04 Feb 2015
The Queen of Torture
Barely more than four weeks after its publication in the USA, the official report of the U.S. Senate about the Internment and Interrogation Program of the CIA is now released in German language as well. Although the published CIA Commission Report is just a fraction of the whole report with a lot of censorship, the more than 600 pages are probably the most important document of the year.
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Not because of the fact that the documentation of the cruel torture practices harms the image of the United States, which is from a global perspective at a historical low point anyway, but because the publication shows that even in the self-proclaimed bastion of human rights and democracy, there are indeed people who take their rights seriously and at least call for an efficient and democratic control of the Intelligence Operations. In that case the report should have consequences and those responsible should be held accountable. Who those people besides Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Tenet etc. exactly are can be revealed despite the censorship – and one of those is the “Queen of Torture”. “She had unusual great influence on the CIA. She was smart and assertive. And her trump card was the fact that she used to report to President Bush in person.” wrote Jane Mayer in 2008 about a leading manager of the “Alec-Station”, the Bin Laden-Department of the CIA. She didn‘t mention the name of the “tall red haired woman with the shiny red lipstick” yet, who not only was responsible for the abductions and “advanced interrogations” but also that the German citizen Khalid el-Masri had been abducted to an Afghan prison. She had also already been part of that CIA Unit that made it possible for the future “hijacker‘s” Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi to stay in San Diego undisturbed – despite that al-Midhar had been listed on the Terror Watchlist since 1998.  We summarized the “File al-Midhar” in “11.9.-Ten years after” as followed: The residence of his father in law in Jemen where he used to go in and out had been observed since 1998. He had been received by Omar Al-Bayoumi in California in 1991, a Saudi Arabian with connections to secret agency (in the Commission Report belittled mentioned that he would be an unlikely candidate for a secret relationship with Islamic extremists). He participated in an Al-Qaida Planning Meeting in Kuala Lumpur in January 2000 that had been recorded on tape by Malaysian secret agency and transmitted to U.S. authorities. He and his “study” colleagues in San Diego received monthly checks from the wife of the Saudi Arabian U.S. Ambassador prince Bandar. Al-Midhar and Al-Hazmi moved to the house of the FBI informant Abdussattar Shaikh in September 2000. After that Al-Midhar traveled to Jemen in October 2000 where the attack on the U.S. warship Cole took place for which the guests of the safehouse of his father in law as well as the participants of the Malaysia Meeting had been suspected to carry out. At the same time the highest ranked Terrorist Hunter of the FBI, John O’Neill, had been kept from investigating in Jemen and received an entry ban from Bush’s ambassador Barbara Bondine. Instead Khalid Al-Midhar received a fake entry visa for the USA in June 2001. (…) The author Lawrence Wright spoke to a few of the officials of the FBI unit I-49 that would have been responsible for Al-Midhar if they had known about his role. The fact that they never found out about that had something to do with the CIA wanting to protect Al-Midhar and Al-Hazmi because they hoped to recruit them both, so “at least half of the guys in the office” believe. Or, we added, that those “had already been recruited in Joint Venture with the Saudi Arabian colleagues – as informants (or as Agents Provocateurs?) at the ‘logistics center’ of Al-Qaida?” A speculation, admittedly, that based on the above mentioned events around the alleged “logistician” (Der Spiegel) of the 9/11 attacks was quite justified. “Surprisingly, even more than thirteen years later, none of the CIA has been held responsible publicly for that”, wrote Jane Mayer in “New Yorker” recently. Those responsible who held their “protecting hand” over the “hijackers” were climbing the career ladder in the CIA instead. Such as Alfreda Frances Bikowsky whose name, that became known by now, was held back by Mayer in her article. She gave her a terribly suitable title though: “The Queen of Torture”. After NBC and Glenn Greenwald revealed the identity of the agent (which had been known among journalists for some time), a difficulty with the now as well in German existing Commission Report became clear: Unlike the past Senate investigations about secret service activities that have been published, the names of the agents were not replaced by pseudonyms which makes it difficult to track the actions of individual persons and draw them for their wrongdoing to account. In the case of Mrs. Bikowsky it has been relatively easy because she already attracted attention multiple times before: the covering of the future 9/11 “hijacker” Al-Midhar, the first “waterboarding” meetings with the alleged 9/11 “mastermind” Khalid Sheikh Mohamed (KSM), for which she overzealously flew to a “black site” in Poland in March 2003, as well as the abduction and abuse of the German citizen Khalid El-Masri who she left in a prison in Afghanistan, even after it had been long clear that he was mistaken for an alleged Al-Qaida functionary with the same name. Furthermore – as conclusions of the senate from the report show – after the tortures haven’t brought any knowledge for the intelligence service, she mislead the U.S. congress at hearings about the “advanced interrogation methods” with success stories multiple times. Because of the case El-Masri, the representative of the Green Party in Germany, Christian Ströbele, called on the Federal Public Prosecutor to request the uncensored version of the Commission Report to inspect the criminal liability of Mrs. Bikowsky. The “European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights” pressed charges against the “Architects of Torture” George Tenet and Donald Rumsfeld among others on 17 December. The constitutionality which is cherished by the western community of values can only be established with prosecutions against those responsible. Since the “Queen of Torture” has a concrete name and a loading address, such investigations would be undoubtedly constitutionally necessary. Politically on the other hand it is to be expected that, like in the case of the violation of the fundamental rights by the NSA, the law would be more likely bend than followed. The long-time colleague of Ströbele in the parliamentary control committee for secret agencies, Wolfgang Neskovic, explained in his introduction of the Commission Report the legal implications that should be consequential by German and International Law regarding this investigation. If and where the criminal prosecution for the Commission Report will happen, will be a touchstone for that great good that is called constitutionality by the western “community of values”. Since the United States won’t hold those responsible accountable and the International Criminal Court that is responsible for international criminal law and crimes against humanity in Den Haag isn’t able to act because it isn’t acknowledged by the USA – along with countries as North Korea, Iran or Syria, that are apart from that placed on the “axis of evil” -, there are only the 41 European States that acknowledged the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court by now. They could initiate an investigation procedure in their home country – even if it’s about crimes between foreign citizens. That the torturing of people should remain outlawed and that the systematic torture ordered by the government is a crime against humanity that has to be punished – where such fundamental legally protected rights are questioned and crimes against those remain without consequences, there can hardly be a question of constitutionality. That’s why it seems rash to refer to the indeed existing constitutional state in the USA just because 560 of over 6000 pages Commission Report after years-long tug war between the parties have now been published in a strongly redacted form. As long as no consequences are being drawn from that, as long as the culprits are staying in exalted position, as long as they are being rewarded and distinguished for their actions – Mrs. Bikowsky was apparently able to afford an 825.000 Dollar villa near the CIA residence in Virginia in 2012 – but not being held accountable, there will be double standard instead of law and barbarism instead of civilization. But if the euphemistically “intensified interrogation” named torture methods haven’t brought any relevant insight for intelligence service and the investigate commission of the senate from which the by the CIA to those methods attributed “Anti-Terror Successes” couldn’t confirm a single one, so if those interrogations are not only utterly inhuman but also throughout ineffective, why were they carried out again and again then? The case of the “Queen of Torture” Alfreda Bikowsky and her double role before and after 11.09.2001 could cast a light on this question: Neither the protecting hand over the alleged 9/11 “logistics” Al-Midhar nor the 183 waterboarding torturing’s of the alleged 9/11 “mastermind” Khalid Sheik Mohamed were used for intelligence gathering. They were used for the creation of legends.
Profile photo of Mathias Bröckers

Mathias Bröckers

geboren 1954 ist ein deutscher freier Journalist, der vor allem für die taz und Telepolis schreibt. Ab 2001 hat er mehrere Bücher über den 11. September geschrieben.


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