Tag Archives: torture

Lock ‘Em Up, Dano

Welcome to Boston, Mr. Rumsfeld. You Are Under Arrest.

By Ralph Lopez, WarIsACrime.org, 20 September 2011

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been stripped of legal immunity for acts of torture against US citizens authorized while he was in office.   The 7th Circuit made the ruling in the case of two American contractors who were tortured by the US military in Iraq after uncovering a smuggling ring within an Iraqi security company.  The company was under contract to the Department of Defense.   The company was assisting Iraqi insurgent groups in the “mass acquisition” of American weapons.  The ruling comes as Rumsfeld begins his book tour with a visit to Boston on Wednesday, and as new, uncensored photos of Abu Ghraib spark fresh outrage across Internet.  Awareness is growing that Bush-era crimes went far beyond mere waterboarding.

Torture Room, Abu Ghraib

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told reporters in 2004 of photos withheld by the Defense Department from Abu Ghraib, “The American public needs to understand, we’re talking about rape and murder here…We’re not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience. We’re talking about rape and murder and some very serious charges.”  And journalist Seymour Hersh says: “boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has.”

Rumsfeld resigned days before a criminal complaint was filed in Germany in which the American general who commanded the military police battalion at Abu Ghraib had promised to testify.  General Janis Karpinskiin an interview with Salon.com was asked: “Do you feel like Rumsfeld is at the heart of all of this and should be held completely accountable for what happened [at Abu Ghraib]?”

Karpinski answered: “Yes, absolutely.”  In the criminal complaint filed in Germany against Rumsfeld, Karpinskisubmitted 17 pages of testimony and offered to appear before the German prosecutor as a witness.  Congressman Kendrick Meek of Florida, who participated in the hearings on Abu Ghraib, said of Rumsfeld: “There was no way Rumsfeld didn’t know what was going on. He’s a guy who wants to know everything.”

And Major General Antonio Taguba, who led the official Army investigation into Abu Ghraib, said in his report:

“there is no longer any doubt as to whether the [Bush] administration has committed war crimes. The only question is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”

Abu Ghraib Prisoner Smeared with Feces

Amazingly, the two American contractors in the 7th Circuit decision were known by the military to be working undercover for the FBI, to whom they had reported witnessing the sale of U.S government munitions to Iraqi rebel groups.  The FBI in Iraq had vouched for Vance and Ertel numerous times before they nevertheless disappeared into military custody.  They were held at Camp Cropper in Iraq where the two were tortured, one for 97 days, and the other for six weeks.

In a puzzling and incriminating move, Camp Cropper base commander General John Gardner ordered Nathan Ertel released on May 17, 2006, while keeping Donald Vance in detention for another two months of torture.  By ordering the release of one man but not the other, Gardner revealed awareness of the situation but prolonged it at the same time.

It is unlikely that Gardner could act alone in a situation as sensitive as the illegal detention and torture of two Americans confirmed by the FBI to be working undercover in the national interest, to prevent American weapons and munitions from reaching the hands of insurgents, for the sole purpose of using them to kill American troops.  Vance and Ertel suggest he was acting on orders from the highest political level.

The forms of torture employed against the Americans included “techniques” which crop up frequently in descriptions of Iraqi and Afghan prisoner abuse at Bagram, Guantanamo, and Abu Ghraib.  They included “walling,” where the head is slammed repeatedly into a concrete wall, sleep deprivation to the point of psychosis by use of round-the-clock bright lights and harsh music at ear-splitting volume, in total isolation, for days, weeks or months at a time, and intolerable cold.

The 7th Circuit ruling is the latest in a growing number of legal actions involving hundreds of former prisoners and torture victims filed in courts around the world.  Criminal complaints have been filed against Rumsfeld and other Bush administration officials in Germany, France, and Spain.  Former President Bush recently curbed travel to Switzerlanddue to fear of arrest following criminal complaints lodged in Geneva.  “He’s avoiding the handcuffs,” Reed Brody, counsel for Human Rights Watch, told Reuters.

And the Mayor of London threatened Bush with arrest for war crimes earlier this year should he ever set foot in his city, saying that were he to land in London to “flog his memoirs,” that “the real trouble — from the Bush point of view — is that he might never see Texas again.”

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Chief-of-Staff Col. Lawrence Wilkerson surmised on MSNBC earlier this year that soon, Saudi Arabia and Israel will be “the only two countries Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest will travel too.”

Abu Ghraib: Dog Bites

What would seem to make Rumsfeld’s situation more precarious is the number of credible, former officials and military officers who seem to be eager to testify against him, such as Col. Wilkerson and General Janis Karpinsky.

In a signed declaration in support of torture plaintiffs in a civil suit naming Rumsfeld in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, Col. Wilkerson, one of Rumsfeld’s most vociferous critics,  stated: “I am willing to testify in person regarding the  content of this declaration, should that be necessary.”  That declaration, among other things, affirmed that a documentary on the chilling murder of a 22-year-old Afghan farmer and taxi driver in Afghanistan was “accurate.”  Wilkerson said earlier this year that in that case, and in the case of another murder at Bagram at about the same time, “authorization for the abuse went to the very top of the United States government.”

Dilawar

The young farmer’s name was Dilawar.  The New York Times reported on May 20, 2005:

“Four days before [his death,] on the eve of the Muslim holiday of Id al-Fitr, Mr. Dilawar set out from his tiny village of Yakubi in a prized new possession, a used Toyota sedan that his family bought for him a few weeks earlier to drive as a taxi.

On the day that he disappeared, Mr. Dilawar’s mother had asked him to gather his three sisters from their nearby villages and bring them home for the holiday. However, he needed gas money and decided instead to drive to the provincial capital, Khost, about 45 minutes away, to look for fares.”

Dilawar’s misfortune was to drive past the gate of an American base which had been hit by a rocket attack that morning.  Dilawar and his fares were arrested at a checkpoint by a warlord, who was later suspected of mounting the rocket attack himself, and then turning over randam captures like Dilawar in order to win trust.

The UK Guardian reports:

“Guards at Bagram routinely kneed prisoners in their thighs — a blow called a “peroneal strike”…Whenever a guard did this to Dilawar, he would cry out, “Allah! Allah!” Some guards apparently found this amusing, and would strike him repeatedly to show off the behavior to buddies.

One military policeman told investigators, “Everybody heard him cry out and thought it was funny. … It went on over a 24-hour period, and I would think that it was over 100 strikes.””

Dilawar was shackled from the ceiling much of the time, with his feet barely able to touch the ground.  On the last day of his life, after 4 days at Bagram, an interpreter who was present said his legs were bouncing uncontrollably as he sat in a plastic chair. He had been chained by the wrists to the top of his cell for much of the previous four days.

The New York Times reported that on the last day of his life, four days after he was arrested:

“Mr. Dilawar asked for a drink of water, and one of the two interrogators, Specialist Joshua R. Claus, 21, picked up a large plastic bottle. But first he punched a hole in the bottom, the interpreter said, so as the prisoner fumbled weakly with the cap, the water poured out over his orange prison scrubs. The soldier then grabbed the bottle back and began squirting the water forcefully into Mr. Dilawar’s face.

“Come on, drink!” the interpreter said Specialist Claus had shouted, as the prisoner gagged on the spray. “Drink!”

At the interrogators’ behest, a guard tried to force the young man to his knees. But his legs, which had been pummeled by guards for several days, could no longer bend. An interrogator told Mr. Dilawar that he could see a doctor after they finished with him. When he was finally sent back to his cell, though, the guards were instructed only to chain the prisoner back to the ceiling.

“Leave him up,” one of the guards quoted Specialist Claus as saying.”

The next time the prison medic saw Dilawar a few hours later, he was dead, his head lolled to one side and his body beginning to stiffen.  A coroner would testify that his legs “had basically been pulpified.” The Army coroner, Maj. Elizabeth Rouse, said: “I’ve seen similar injuries in an individual run over by a bus.” She testified that had he lived, Dilawar’s legs would have had to be amputated.

Despite the military’s false statement that Dilawar’s death was the result of “natural causes,” Maj. Rouse marked the death certificate as a “homicide” and arranged for the certificate to be delivered to the family.  The military was forced to retract the statement when a reporter for the New York Times, Carlotta Gall, tracked down Dilawar’s family in Afghanistan and was given a folded piece of paper by Dilawar’s brother.  It was the death certificate, which he couldn’t read, because it was in English.

The practice of forcing prisoners to stand for long periods of time, links Dilawar’s treatment to a memo which bears Rumsfeld’s own handwriting on that particular subject.  Obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request, the memo may show how fairly benign-sounding authorizations for clear circumventions of the Geneva Conventions may have translated into gruesome practice on the battlefield.

The memo, which addresses keeping prisoners “standing” for up to four hours, is annotated with a note initialed by Rumfeld reading: “”I stand for 8–10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?”  Not mentioned in writing anywhere is anything about accomplishing this by chaining prisoners to the ceiling.  There is evidence that, unable to support his weight on tiptoe for the days on end he was chained to the ceiling, Dilawars arms dislocated, and they flapped around uselessly when he was taken down for interrogation.  The National Catholic Reporter writes “They flapped like a bird’s broken wings”

Contradicting, on the record, a February 2003 statement by Rumfeld’s top commander in Afghnanistan at the time, General Daniel McNeill, that “we are not chaining people to the ceilings,” is Spc. Willie Brand, the only soldier disciplined in the death of Dilawar, with a reduction in rank.  Told of McNeill’s statement, Brand told Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes: “Well, he’s lying.”  Brand said of his punishment: “I didn’t understand how they could do this after they had trained you to do this stuff and they turn around and say you’ve been bad”

Exhibit: A sketch by Sgt. Thomas V. Curtis, a former Reserve M.P. sergeant, showing how Dilawar was chained to the ceiling of his cell

Exhibit: Dilawar Death Certificate marked “homicide”

Exhibit: Rumsfeld Memo: “I stand 10 hours a day.  Why only 4?”

Dilawar’s daughter and her grandfather

Binyam, Genital-Slicing

Binyam Mohamed was seized by the Pakistani Forces in April 2002 and turned over to the Americans for a $5,000 bounty.  He was held for more than five years without charge or trial in Bagram Air Force Base, Guantánamo Bay, and third country “black” sites.

In his diary he describes being flown by a US government plane to a prison in Morocco. He writes:

“They cut off my clothes with some kind of doctor’s scalpel. I was naked. I tried to put on a brave face. But maybe I was going to be raped. Maybe they’d electrocute me. Maybe castrate me…

One of them took my penis in his hand and began to make cuts. He did it once, and they stood still for maybe a minute, watching my reaction. I was in agony. They must have done this 20 to 30 times, in maybe two hours. There was blood all over. “I told you I was going to teach you who’s the man,” [one] eventually said.

They cut all over my private parts. One of them said it would be better just to cut it off, as I would only breed terrorists. I asked for a doctor.”

I was in Morocco for 18 months. Once they began this, they would do it to me about once a month. One time I asked a guard: “What’s the point of this? I’ve got nothing I can say to them. I’ve told them everything I possibly could.”

“As far as I know, it’s just to degrade you. So when you leave here, you’ll have these scars and you’ll never forget. So you’ll always fear doing anything but what the US wants.”

Later, when a US airplane picked me up the following January, a female MP took pictures. She was one of the few Americans who ever showed me any sympathy. When she saw the injuries I had she gasped. They treated me and took more photos when I was in Kabul. Someone told me this was “to show Washington it’s healing”.

The obvious question for any prosecutor in Binyam’s case is: Who does “Washington” refer to?  Rumfeld?  Cheney?  Is it not in the national interest to uncover these most depraved of sadists at the highest level?  US Judge Gladys Kessler, in her findings on Binyam made in relation to a Guantanamo prisoner’s petition, found Binyam exceedingly credible.  She wrote:

“His genitals were mutilated. He was deprived of sleep and food. He was summarily transported from one foreign prison to another. Captors held him in stress positions for days at a time. He was forced to listen to piercingly loud music and the screams of other prisoners while locked in a pitch-black cell. All the while, he was forced to inculpate himself and others in plots to imperil Americans. The government does not dispute this evidence.”

Obama: Torturers’ Last Defense

The prospect of Rumsfeld in a courtroom cannot possibly be relished by the Obama administration, which has now cast itself as the last and staunchest defender of the embattled former officials, including John Yoo, Alberto Gonzalez, Judge Jay Bybee, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, and others.  The administration employed an unprecedented twisting of arms in orer to keep evidence in a lawsuit which Binyam had filed in the UK suppressed, threatening an end of cooperation between the British MI5 and the CIA.  This even though the British judges whose hand was forced puzzled that the evidence “contained “no disclosure of sensitive intelligence matters.”  The judges suggested another reason for the secrecy requested by the Obama administration, that it might be “politically embarrassing.”

The Obama Justice Department’s active involvement in seeking the dismissal of the cases is by choice, as the statutory obligation of the US Attorney General to defend cases against public officials ends the day they leave office.  Indeed, the real significance of the recent court decisions, one by the 7th Circuit and the other a DC federal court, may be the clarification the common misconception that high officials are forever immune for crimes committed while in office, in the name of the state.  The misconception persists despite just a moment of thought telling one that if this were true, Hermann Goering, Augusto Pinochet, and Charles Taylor would never have been arrested, for they were all in office at the time they ordered atrocities, and they all invoked national security.

Judge Kessler’s findings point to yet another even more alarming aspect of the Bush-era crimes for which Rumsfeld is now being pursued for his part, if that is possible.  And that is the emerging evidence that the tortures perpetrated were not designed to protect national security at all, but to obtain false confessions in order to score propaganda points for the War on terror.

Andy Worthington writes that:

“As it happens, one of the confessions that was tortured out of Binyam is so ludicrous that it was soon dropped…The US authorities insisted that Padilla and Binyam had dinner with various high-up members of al-Qaeda the night before Padilla was to fly off to America. According to their theory the dinner party had to have been on the evening of 3 April in Karachi … Binyam was  meant to have dined with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, Sheikh al-Libi, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Jose Padilla.” What made the scenario “absurd,” as [Binyam’s lawyer pointed out, was that “two of the conspirators were already in U.S. custody at the time — Abu Zubaydah was seized six days before, on 28 March 2002, and al-Libi had been held since November 2001.””

The charges against Binyam were dropped, after the prosecutor, Lieutenant Colonel Darrel Vandeveld, resigned. He told the BBC later that he had concerns at the repeated suppression of evidence that could prove prisoners’ innocence.

The litany of tortures alleged against Rumsfeld in the military prisons he ran could go on for some time.  The new photographic images from Abu Ghraib make it hard to conceive of how the methods of torture and dehumanization could have possibly served a national purpose.

The approved use of attack dogs, sexual humiliation, forced masturbation, and treatments which plumb the depths of human depravity are either documented in Rumsfeld’s own memos, or credibly reported on.

The UK Guardian writes:

“The sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison was not an invention of maverick guards, but part of a system of ill-treatment and degradation used by special forces soldiers that is now being disseminated among ordinary troops and contractors who do not know what they are doing, according to British military sources.

The techniques devised in the system, called R2I – resistance to interrogation – match the crude exploitation and abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad.

One former British special forces officer who returned last week from Iraq, said: “It was clear from discussions with US private contractors in Iraq that the prison guards were using R2I techniques, but they didn’t know what they were doing.””

Torture Now Aimed at Americans

The worst of the worst is that Rumsfeld’s logic strikes directly at the foundations of our democracy and the legitimacy of the War on Terror.  The torture methods studied and adopted by the Bush administration were not new, but adopted from the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape program (SERE) which is taught to elite military units.  The program was developed during the Cold War, in response to North Korean, Chinese, and Soviet Bloc torture methods.  But the aim of those methods was never to obtain intelligence, but to elicit false confessions.  The Bush administration asked the military to “reverse engineer” the methods, i.e. figure out how to break down resistance to false confessions.

In the 2008 Senate Armed Services Committee report which indicted high-level Bush administration officials, including Rumsfeld, as bearing major responsibility for the torture at Abu Gharib, Guantanamo, and Bagram, the Committee said:

“SERE instructors explained “Biderman’s Principles” – which were based on coercive methods used by the Chinese Communist dictatorship to elicit false confessions from U.S. POWs during the Korean War – and left with GTMO personnel a chart of those coercive techniques.”

The Biderman Principles were based on the work of Air Force Psychiatrist Albert Biderman, who wrote the landmark “Communist Attempts to Elecit False Confessions from Air Force Prisoners of War,” on which SERE resistance was based.  Biderman wrote:

“The experiences of American Air Force prisoners of war in Korea who were pressured for false confessions, enabled us to compile an outline of methods of eliciting compliance, not much different, it turned out, from those reported by persons held by Communists of other nations.  I have prepared a chart showing a condensed version of this outline.”

The chart is a how-to for communist torturers interested only in false confessions for propaganda purposes, not intelligence.  It was the manual for, in Biderman’s words, “brainwashing.”  In the reference for Principle Number 7, “Degradation,” the chart explains:

“Makes Costs of Resistance Appear More Damaging to Self-Esteem than Capitulation; Reduces Prisoner to “Animal Level…Personal Hygiene Prevented; Filthy, Infested Surroundings; Demeaning Punishments; Insults and Taunts; Denial of Privacy”

Appallingly, this could explain that even photos such as those of feces-smeared prisoners at Abu Ghraib might not, as we would hope, be only the individual work of particularly demented guards, but part of systematic degradation authorized at the highest levels.

Exhibit: Abu Ghraib, Female POW

This could go far toward explaining why the Bush administration seemed so tone-deaf to intelligence professionals, including legendary CIA Director William Colby, who essentially told them they were doing it all wrong.  A startling level of consensus existed within the intelligence community that the way to produce good intelligence was to gain the trust of prisoners and to prove everything they had been told by their recruiters, about the cruelty and degeneracy of America, to be wrong.

But why would the administration care about what worked to produce intelligence, if the goal was never intelligence in the first place?  What the Ponzi scheme of either innocent men or low-level operatives incriminating each other  DID accomplish, was produce a framework of rapid successes and trophies in the new War on Terror.

And now, American contractors Vance and Ertel show, unless their are prosecutions, the law has effectively changed and they can do it to Americans. Jane Mayer in the New Yorker describes a new regime for prisoners which has become coldly methodical, quoting a report issued by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, titled “Secret Detentions and Illegal Transfers of Detainees.”  In the report on the CIA paramilitary Special Activities Division detainees were “taken to their cells by strong people who wore black outfits, masks that covered their whole faces, and dark visors over their eyes.”

Mayer writes that a former member of a C.I.A. transport team has described the “takeout” of prisoners as “a carefully choreographed twenty-minute routine, during which a suspect was hog-tied, stripped naked, photographed, hooded, sedated with anal suppositories, placed in diapers, and transported by plane to a secret location.

A person involved in the Council of Europe inquiry, referring to cavity searches and the frequent use of suppositories, likened the treatment to “sodomy.” He said, “It was used to absolutely strip the detainee of any dignity. It breaks down someone’s sense of impenetrability.”

Of course we have seen these images before, in the trial balloon treatment of Jose Padilla, the first American citizen arrested and declared “enemy combatant” in the first undeclared war without end.  The designation placed Padilla outside of his Bill of Rights as an American citizen even though he was arrested on American soil.  Padilla was kept in isolation and tortured for nearly 4 years before being released to a civilian trial, at which point according to his lawyer he was useless in his own defense, and exhibited fear and mistrust of everyone, complete docility, and a range of nervous facial tics.

Jose Padilla in Military Custody

He was convicted by a Miami jury and sentenced to 17 more years.  As of this writing, on Sept. 19, an appeals court has thrown out Padilla’s sentence as “too lenient” and has sent it back for reconsideration.

Rumsfeld’s avuncular “golly-gee, gee-whiz”  performances in public are legendary.  Randall M. Schmidt, the Air Force Lieutenant General appointed by the Army to investigate abuses at Guantanamo, and who recommended holding Rumsfeld protege and close associate General Geoffrey Miller “accountable” as the commander of Guantanamo, watched Rumfeld’s performance before a House Committee with some interest. “He was going, ‘My God! Did I authorize putting a bra and underwear on this guy’s head and telling him all his buddies knew he was a homosexual?’ ”

But General Taguba said of Rumsfeld: “Rummy did what we called ‘case law’ policy —- verbal and not in writing. What he’s really saying is that if this decision comes back to haunt me I’ll deny it.”

Taguba went on: “Rumsfeld is very perceptive and has a mind like a steel trap. There’s no way he’s suffering from C.R.S.—Can’t Remember Shit.”

Miller was the general deployed by Rumfeld to “Gitmo-ize” Abu Ghraib in 2003 after Rumfeld had determined they were being too “soft” on prisoners.  He said famously in one memo “you have to treat them like dogs.”  General Karpinski questioned the fall of Charles Graner and Lyndie England as the main focus of low-level “bad apple” abuse in the Abu Ghraib investigations.  “Did Lyndie England deploy with a dog leash?” she asks.

Exhibit: Dog deployed at Abu Ghraib, mentally-ill prisoner

Abu Ghraib prisoner in “restraint” chair, screaming “Allah!!”

Rumfeld’s worry now is the doctrine of Universal Jusrisdiction, as well as ordinary common law.  The veil of immunity stripped in civil cases would seem to free the hand of any prosecutor who determines there is sufficient evidence that a crime has been committed based on available evidence.  A grand jury’s bar for opening a prosecution is minimal.  It has been said “a grand jury would indict a ham sandwich.”  Rumsfeld, and the evidence against him, would certainly seem to pass this test.

The name Dilawar translates to English roughly as “Braveheart.”  Let us pray he had one to endure the manner of death.  But the more spiritual may believe that somehow it had a purpose, to shock the world and begin the toppling of unimaginable evil among us.  Dilawar represented the poorest of the poor and most powerless, wanting only to pick up his three sisters, as his mother had told him to, for the holiday.  The question now is whether Amerians will finally draw a line, as the case against Rumsfeld falls into place and becomes legally bulletproof.

As Rumfeld continues his book tour and people like Dilawar are remembered, it is not beyond the pale that an ambitious prosecutor, whether local, state, or federal, might sense the advantage.  It is perhaps unlikely, but not inconceivable, that upon landing at Logan International Airport on Wed., Sept. 21st, or similarly anywhere he travels thereafter, Rumsfeld could be greeted with the words: “Welcome to Boston, Mr. Secretary.  You are under arrest.”

Massachusetts District Attorneys Who Can Indict Rumsfeld, Please Email them this post and call them.

County
Name
Address
Berkshire     District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter
Berkshire     Elected November 2006
Berkshire     OFFICE ADDRESS:     P.O. Box 973
Berkshire     888 Purchase Street
Berkshire     New Bedford, MA 02741
Berkshire     PHONE:     (508) 997-0711
Berkshire     FAX:     (508) 997-0396
Berkshire     INTERNET ADDRESS:     http://www.bristolda.com
Berkshire     Acushnet, Attleborough, Berkley, Dartmouth, Dighton, Easton, Fairhaven, Fall River, Freetown, Mansfield, New Bedford, North Attleborough, Norton, Raynham, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Somerset, Swansea, Taunton, Westport

Bristol     District Attorney David F. Capeless
Bristol     Appointed March 2004
Bristol     Elected November 2004
Bristol     OFFICE ADDRESS:     7 North Street
Bristol     P.O. Box 1969
Bristol     Pittsfield, MA 01202-1969
Bristol     PHONE:     (413) 443-5951
Bristol     FAX:     (413) 499-6349
Bristol     Internet Address:     http://www.mass.gov/…
Bristol     Adams, Alford, Becket, Cheshire, Clarksburg, Dalton, Egremont, Florida, Great Barrington, Hancock, Hinsdale, Lanesborough, Lee, Lenox, Monterey, Mount Washington, New Ashford, New Marlborough, North Adams, Otis, Peru, Pittsfield, Richmond, Sandisfield, Savoy, Sheffield, Stockbridge, Tyringham, Washington, West Stockbridge, Williamstown, Windsor

Cape & Islands     District Attorney Michael O’Keefe
Cape & Islands     Elected November 2002
Cape & Islands     OFFICE ADDRESS:     P.O.Box 455
Cape & Islands     3231 Main Street
Cape & Islands     Barnstable, MA 02630
Cape & Islands     PHONE:     (508) 362-8113
Cape & Islands     FAX:     (508) 362-8221
Cape & Islands     INTERNET ADDRESS:     http://www.mass.gov/…
Cape & Islands     Aquinnah (formerly Gay Head), Barnstable, Bourne, Brewster, Chatham, Chilmark, Dennis, Eastham, Edgartown, Falmouth, Gosnold, Harwich, Mashpee, Nantucket, Oak Bluffs, Orleans, Provincetown, Sandwich, Tisbury, Truro, Wellfleet, West Tisbury, Yarmouth

Essex     District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett
Essex     Elected November 2002
Essex     OFFICE ADDRESS:     Ten Federal Street
Essex     Salem, MA 01970
Essex     PHONE:     (978) 745-6610
Essex     FAX:     (978) 741-4971
Essex     INTERNET ADDRESS:     http://www.mass.gov/…
Essex     Amesbury, Andover, Beverly, Boxford, Danvers, Essex, Georgetown, Gloucester, Groveland, Hamilton, Haverhill, Ipswich, Lawrence, Lynn, Lynnfield, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Marblehead, Merrimac, Methuen, Middleton, Nahant, Newbury, Newburyport, North Andover, Peabody, Rockport, Rowley, Salem, Salisbury, Saugus, Swampscott, Topsfield, Wenham, West Newbury

Hampden     District Attorney Mark Mastroianni
Hampden     Elected 2010
Hampden     OFFICE ADDRESS:     Hall of Justice
Hampden     50 State Street
Hampden     Springfield, MA 01103
Hampden     PHONE:     (413) 747-1000
Hampden     FAX:     (413) 781-4745
Hampden     Agawam, Blandford, Brimfield, Chester, Chicopee, East Longmeadow, Granville, Hampden, Holland, Holyoke, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Monson, Montgomery, Palmer, Russell, Southwick, Springfield, Tolland, Wales, West Springfield, Westfield, Wilbraham

Middlesex     District Attorney Gerard T. Leone, Jr.
Middlesex     Elected November 2006
Middlesex     OFFICE ADDRESS:     15 Commonwealth Avenue
Middlesex     Woburn, MA 01801
Middlesex     PHONE:     (781) 897-8300
Middlesex     FAX:     ((781) 897-8301
Middlesex     INTERNET ADDRESS:     http://www.middlesexda.com
Middlesex     Acton, Arlington, Ashby, Ashland, Ayer, Bedford, Belmont, Billerica, Boxborough, Burlington, Cambridge, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Concord, Dracut, Dunstable, Everett, Framingham, Groton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hudson, Lexington, Lincoln, Littleton, Lowell, Malden, Marlborough, Maynard, Medford, Melrose, Natick, Newton, North Reading, Pepperell, Reading, Sherborn, Shirley, Somerville, Stoneham, Stow, Sudbury, Tewksbury, Townsend, Tyngsborough, Wakefield, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland, Westford, Weston, Wilmington, Winchester, Woburn

Norfolk     District Attorney Michael Morrissey
Norfolk     Elected 2010
Norfolk     OFFICE ADDRESS:     45 Shawmut Ave.
Norfolk     Canton, MA 02021
Norfolk     PHONE:     (781) 830-4800
Norfolk     FAX:     (781) 830-4801
Norfolk     INTERNET ADDRESS:     http://www.mass.gov/…
Norfolk     Avon, Braintree, Brookline, Canton, Cohasset, Dedham, Dover, Foxborough, Franklin, Holbrook, Medfield, Medway, Millis, Milton, Needham, Norfolk, Norwood, Plainville, Quincy, Randolph, Sharon, Stoughton, Walpole, Wellesley, Westwood, Weymouth, Wrentham

Northwestern     District Attorney David Sullivan
Northwestern     Elected 2010
Northwestern     HAMPSHIRE OFFICE ADDRESS:     One Gleason Plaza
Northwestern     Northampton, MA 01060
Northwestern     PHONE:     (413) 586-9225
Northwestern     FAX:     (413) 584-3635
Northwestern     FRANKLIN OFFICE ADDRESS:     13 Conway Street
Northwestern     Greenfield, MA 01301
Northwestern     PHONE:     (413) 774-3186
Northwestern     FAX:     (413) 773-3278
Northwestern     WEBSITE:
Northwestern     http://www.mass.gov/da/northwestern
Northwestern     Amherst, Ashfield, Athol, Belchertown, Bernardston, Buckland, Charlemont, Chesterfield, Colrain, Conway, Cummington, Deerfield, Easthampton, Erving, Gill, Goshen, Granby, Greenfield, Hadley, Hatfield, Hawley, Heath, Huntington, Leverett, Leyden, Middlefield, Monroe, Montague, New Salem, Northampton, Northfield, Orange, Pelham, Plainfield, Rowe, Shelburne, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Southampton, Sunderland, Ware, Warwick, Wendell, Westhampton, Whately, Williamsburg, Worthington

Plymouth     District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz
Plymouth     Appointed November 2001
Plymouth     Elected November 2002
Plymouth     OFFICE ADDRESS:     32 Belmont Street
Plymouth     Brockton, MA 02303
Plymouth     PHONE:     (508) 584-8120
Plymouth     FAX:     (508) 586-3578
Plymouth     INTERNET ADDRESS:     http://www.mass.gov/…
Plymouth     Abington, Bridgewater, Brockton, Carver, Duxbury, East Bridgewater, Halifax, Hanover, Hanson, Hingham, Hull, Kingston, Lakeville, Marion, Marshfield, Mattapoisett, Middleborough, Norwell, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Rochester, Rockland, Scituate, Wareham, West Bridgewater, Whitman

Suffolk     District Attorney Daniel F. Conley
Suffolk     Appointed January 2002
Suffolk     Elected November 2002
Suffolk     OFFICE ADDRESS:     One Bulfinch Place
Suffolk     Boston, MA 02114
Suffolk     PHONE:     (617) 619-4000
Suffolk     FAX:     (617) 619-4009
Suffolk     INTERNET ADDRESS:     http://www.mass.gov/…
Suffolk     Boston, Chelsea, Revere, Winthrop    

Worcester     District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr.
Worcester     Elected November 2006
Worcester     OFFICE ADDRESS:     Courthouse – Room 220
Worcester     2 Main Street
Worcester     Worcester, MA 01608
Worcester     PHONE:     (508) 755-8601
Worcester     FAX:     (508) 831-9899
Worcester     INTERNET ADDRESS:     http://www.worcesterda.com

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Blowback

Blowback: Exposing the CIA’s Secrecy and Censorship

By Hannah Gurman, Foreign Policy in Focus, September 3, 20111

From the coups that ousted Mohammed Mossadeq, Jacobo Arbenz, and Salvador Allende in the Cold War to the waterboarding of suspected terrorists in the Global War on Terror, the CIA has built a solid reputation as an extralegal agent of international sabotage and murder. Since the agency’s creation in 1947, successive U.S. presidents and their national security advisors have furthered this reputation, using the CIA for dirty work and then denying any wrongdoing in public, while the truth waits for decades until files are declassified. The agency did not declassify the documentary proof of its involvement in the 1973 assassination of Allende until 2003, and its internal analysis of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion was not released until August 2, 2011, more than 50 years after the event. There is an age-old tradition of push and pull between the national security establishment, which insists on secrecy, and transparency advocates and the public, which has a right to hold its leaders accountable for their use and abuse of executive power in matters of foreign policy.

In recent months, the Obama administration appears to be tinkering with the established script, although not fundamentally departing from it. Since the killing of Osama Bin Laden in May, it has increasingly put the CIA into the public spotlight, underscoring the agency’s central role in the administration’s evolving counter-terror strategy. Killing a member of al-Qaeda is far more palatable to most Americans than killing a democratically elected leader of a country that posed no threat to U.S. security. Thus, recent news of the CIA’s unmanned “precision strikes” against top al-Qaeda operatives might appeal to the sizeable segment of the U.S. public that no longer supports the idea of a large-scale ground war but still believes in a militarized approach to the Global War on Terror.

At the same time, however, the CIA continues to engage in its established tradition of suppressing information that would damage it or the administration’s reputation. This information deserves public attention, precisely because it points to a link between the agency’s activities and the proliferation of al-Qaeda, directly undermining the argument being advanced by the Obama administration.

Obama is not the first president to enlist the CIA in attempts to justify his policies in the War on Terror. In January 2003, George W. Bush gave his now infamous State of the Union address in which he claimed that British intelligence had found evidence that Iraq had attempted to obtain uranium from Africa. We all know how that story turned out. By 2004, the Valerie Plame scandal had become engrained in the public imagination, and Bush could no longer use the CIA to gain public support for his policies in Iraq or, for that matter, in Afghanistan. As the years went by and bin Laden remained at large, interviews with former CIA agents, including Michael Scheuer, who headed intelligence operations aimed at capturing the al Qaeda leader, lambasted the administration’s systematic failure to heed the advice of intelligence experts. Bush’s brief attempt to publicly exploit the CIA collapsed under the weight of mutual distrust and the realities of the CIA’s marginalization.

Obama’s emphasis on the central role of the CIA in his counter-terror strategy is intended in part to underscore the difference between his approach and that of his predecessor. The president’s May 1 speech announcing the death of bin Laden linked the success of the mission to the centrality of the CIA, suggesting a direct contrast with the Bush administration: “Shortlyafter taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al-Qaeda.” Obama made a point of crediting the intelligence community, along with the Special Forces that carried out the operation: “Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work, nor know their names. But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.”

While the CIA does not officially acknowledge its drone campaign in Pakistan, the Obama administration has continued to credit the agency in successful operations against al-Qaeda’s top leadership, including the August 22 killing of its second-in-command, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman. Without referring directly to the CIA, Obama’s remarks about the upcoming tenth anniversary of 9/11 suggest a counter-terror strategy that is low on ground troops and heavy on CIA drone and Special Forces operations. “We’re taking the fight to al-Qaeda, ending the war in Iraq and starting to bring our troops home from Afghanistan.”

These efforts to publicize the CIA’s recent accomplishments should not be confused with a broader effort to achieve transparency. When it comes to withholding and censoring information about its tactics, it’s still business as usual at the CIA. On August 25, The New York Times reported that the agency censored large portions of a forthcoming book by former FBI agent, Ali H. Soufan. Soufan claims that the CIA withheld information from the FBI about the presence of two known terrorists in the United States who later participated in the 9/11 hijackings. The book also details the CIA’s adoption of increasingly brutal interrogation tactics after 9/11.

Although much of this information has already been published in congressional hearings and reports, as well as the memoirs of other officials, the agency has long attempted to keep as much of it as possible under wraps. In 2005, it destroyed at least two videotapes documenting such interrogations, including that of Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in CIA custody after 9/11. Such activities in the months immediately before and after 9/11 might be dismissed as ancient history. But the CIA-controlled drone war on al Qaeda is currently in full swing in Pakistan. The administration has been quick to publicize the success of these efforts. But because the drone campaign remains officially secret, the CIA does not release the full data on casualties.

In June, Obama’s chief counter-terrorism advisor, John Brennan, told the press that strikes against al-Qaeda operatives in the Af-Pak region are “exceptionally precise and surgical” and bragged that “there hasn’t been a single collateral death” in the last year. Brennan’s laughable claim is contradicted by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which recently released the conclusions of its in-depth investigation of civilian casualties in the drone campaign in Pakistan. The Bureau reported that there have been 295 drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004 (243 of them during the Obama administration) with the total number of people killed between 2,309 and 2,880, including 392-783 civilians —82 in 2010 and 47 in 2011.

Instead of owning up to these figures, which come from respected news outlets, NGOs, and eye-witness accounts, the CIA has attempted to discredit the study, accusing its sources of having links to the Pakistani intelligence service (ISI) and making vague accusations about the study’s methodology. On its website, the Bureau provides a comprehensive explanation of its approach, which itself contrasts with the CIA’s refusal to detail the source and logic of its arguments. As this example suggests, Obama’s counter-terrorism advisors would like to have it both ways: they want to highlight the achievements of the CIA in order to gain public support for the administration’s strategy but at the same time deny the public the information it would need in order to assess that strategy.

The Obama administration will likely follow a similar tack with respect to the drone campaigns targeting al-Qaeda leaders outside of the Af-Pak region — in North and West Africa, as well as the Middle East. In June, outgoing CIA director Leon Panetta publicly confirmed reports that the agency’s drone campaign had extended into Yemen, Somalia, and North Africa, framing these developments as a critical part of the progress being made against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). But as evidence of civilian casualties in these campaigns emerges, the agency will continue to resort to its established code of secrecy.

As long as the CIA exists, it will never be a transparent organization. But as with WikiLeaks and other debates about transparency, the issue ultimately is not about secrecy itself. Rather, it is about the substance of the secrets being kept and how they compare to the official line about the progress being made in the war against al-Qaeda.

According to the official narrative of the Obama administration, drone strikes, night raids, and other targeted attacks carried out by the CIA and Special Forces are the solution to winning the war against al-Qaeda, which will in turn curb the broader threat of radical anti-American/anti-Western Islamist movements. This narrative only makes a modicum of sense if you leave out precisely the kind of information that the CIA is keeping secret.

During the Bush administration, critics of the CIA’s interrogation tactics, including John McCain, argued that any short-term “gains” produced by the torture of terrorism suspects would in the long-run be far outweighed by the damage to the U.S. reputation, only benefitting organizations like al-Qaeda.

The same argument could and is being made about the current CIA drone strikes in Pakistan, where most studies show the local populace has an overwhelmingly negative perception of the campaign. The lawsuit of Pakistani journalist Kahrim Khan against the CIA for the deaths of his relatives in a drone attack is just the most visible example of the anti-American animus fueled by the drone campaign.

Some of the staunchest criticism of the official narrative comes from former members of the U.S. intelligence community who question the increasing obsession with killing al-Qaeda officials and with the drone campaigns used to do the job. In an August 14 op-ed in The New York Times, former director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair wrote, “Qaeda officials who are killed by drones will be replaced. The group’s structure will survive and it will still be able to inspire, finance and train individuals and teams to kill Americans.” Meanwhile, “As the drone campaign wears on, hatred of America is increasing in Pakistan.”

Because such arguments do not disclose official secrets, but rather common sense, the CIA has no power to censor them. Thus, in a devastating piece in The National Interest, Michael Scheuer, who knows more about al-Qaeda than just about anyone in the West, rails against the Obama administration’s triumphalism over the death of bin Laden. “Al-Qaeda’s indispensable, long-term and utterly reliable ally,” he writes, is “Washington’s interventionist foreign policy,” which “remains the group’s true center of gravity. It is a galvanizing force which cannot be harmed, let alone destroyed, until U.S. leaders in politics, the media, religion (especially evangelical Protestants), the military and the academy begin to accept the truth; that is, the United States government is hated by most Muslims for what it does in the Islamic world, and not for how Americans think and behave at home.”

Scheuer’s analysis is what the intelligence community refers to as “blowback.” Former intelligence analyst Chalmers Johnson, in a 2000 book of that title, warned against the “unanticipated consequences of unacknowledged acts in other people’s countries.” According to this logic, the CIA’s ramped-up role in the war against al-Qaeda may ultimately do more to sustain than defeat the enemy.

The CIA goes to any length to ensure its shady dealings remain in the dark. But there’s nothing its selective censors can do to erase the human cost of blowback.

Hannah Gurman is an assistant professor at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus.

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Colonia Dignidad

The Torture Colony

In a remote part of Chile, an evil German evangelist built a utopia whose members helped the Pinochet regime perform its foulest deeds

By Bruce Falconer, American Scholar, n.d.

Deep in the Andean foothills of Chile’s central valley lives a group of German expatriates, the members of a utopian experiment called Colonia Dignidad. They have resided there for decades, separate from the community around them, but widely known and admired, and respected for their cleanliness, their wealth, and their work ethic. Their land stretches across 70 square miles, rising gently from irrigated farmland to low, forested hills, against a backdrop of snowcapped mountains. Today Colonia Dignidad is partially integrated with the rest of Chile. For decades, however, its isolation was nearly complete. Its sole connection to the outside world was a long dirt road that wound through tree farms and fields of wheat, corn, and soybeans, passed through a guarded gate, and led to the center of the property, where the Germans lived in an orderly Bavarian-style village of flower gardens, water fountains, and cream-colored buildings with orange tile roofs. The village had modern apartment complexes, two schools, a chapel, several meetinghouses, and a bakery that produced fresh cakes, breads, and cheeses. There were numerous animal stables, two landing strips, at least one airplane, a hydroelectric power station, and mills and factories of various kinds, including a highly profitable gravel mill that supplied raw materials for numerous road-building projects throughout Chile. On the north side of the village was a hospital, where the Germans provided free care to thousands of patients in one of the country’s poorest areas.

All this was made possible by one man, a charismatic, Evangelical preacher named Paul Schaefer, who founded the community and who, until several years ago, remained very much in charge. Tall, lean, and of strong build, with thin gray hair and a glass eye, Schaefer lived most of his adult life in Chile but possessed only a rudimentary knowledge of Spanish; like his followers, he spoke primarily in German. Although the colonos of Colonia Dignidad dressed in traditional German peasant clothes—the men in wool pants and suspenders, the women in homemade dresses and headscarves—Schaefer wore newer, more modern clothes that denoted his stature. His manner was serious; he seldom smiled. The effect only deepened the sense of mystery that surrounded him.

Few outsiders ever gained access to the Colonia while its reclusive leader remained in power. An old Chilean newsreel, however, filmed at Schaefer’s invitation in 1981, provides a rare picture of life inside the community, a utopia in full and happy bloom. The footage shows a bucolic paradise of sunshine and verdant fields set among clean, fast-flowing rivers and snowy peaks. Its German inhabitants improve the land and work their trades. A carpenter assembles a new chair for the Colonia’s school. A woman in a white apron bakes German-style torts and pastries in the kitchen. Teenaged boys clear a new field for planting. Children laugh and splash in a lake. Schaefer himself, wearing a white suit and brown aviator sunglasses, takes the camera crew on a tour. Standing next to the Colonia’s flour mill, he extols the quality of German machinery. “We bought this mill in Europe,” he says in broken Spanish. “It is 60 years old, but we have not had to do any repairs on it.” Even today, this remains one of the only known recordings of his voice. It is crisp and baritone. Back outside, Schaefer leads the television crew to a petting zoo, where the reporter feeds chunks of bread to baby deer and plays with the colonos’ collection of pet owls. The newsreel concludes with a performance by a 15-piece chamber orchestra composed of young, female colonos in flowing white skirts and colorful blouses. The music is beautiful and expertly played.

These images were a reflection of Colonia Dignidad as Schaefer wanted it to be seen. Today, a quarter century later, with Schaefer gone and his utopia open to visitors for the first time, it looks much the same. On a recent trip to Chile, I made the four-hour drive south from Santiago. The village remains an oasis of German tidiness, with blooming flower gardens and perfectly tended copses of willows and pines. As I walked through it, there were very few people on the streets, and those I encountered smiled politely, then quickly retreated indoors. They did not invite conversation. I was reminded of what a Chilean friend, a journalist, had told me as I prepared for my visit. “You will get the uneasy feeling of crossing into some sort of twilight zone,” he had said. “You will see the way they dress, their haircuts. It’s like going back in time to Germany in the 1940s. Even though it is easier to talk to the colonos than it was a few years ago, things are still a long way from being ‘normal.’ Most of them are still quite afraid of speaking openly.”

The truth, so unlikely in this setting, is that Colonia Dignidad was founded on fear, and it is fear that still binds it together. Investigations by Amnesty International and the governments of Chile, Germany, and France, as well as the testimony of former colonoswho, over the years, managed to escape the colony, have revealed evidence of terrible crimes: child molestation, forced labor, weapons trafficking, money laundering, kidnapping, torture, and murder. Orchestrated by Paul Schaefer and his inner circle of trusted lieutenants, much of the abuse was initially directed inward as a means of conditioning the colonos to obey Schaefer’s commands. Later, after General Augusto Pinochet’s military junta seized power in Chile, the violence spilled onto the national stage. Schaefer, through an informal alliance with the Pinochet regime, allowed Colonia Dignidad to serve as a torture and execution center for the disposal of enemies of the state. The investigations continue. In the months preceding my visit, police found two large caches of military-grade weapons buried inside the compound. Parts of cars had also been unearthed, their vehicle identification numbers traced back to missing political dissidents. Even as I stood in Schaefer’s house drinking apple juice, elsewhere on the property a police forensics unit was excavating a mass grave thought to contain the decomposed remains of dozens of political prisoners.

Colonia Dignidad perpetuated itself through a complex system of social controls. The pilgrims thought of themselves as an extended family based not on blood, but on absolute devotion to Schaefer. They called him “The Permanent Uncle.” Schaefer himself had selected the title and drilled into his disciples a definition of family he found in the Bible. “Who are my mother and father?” he liked to say. “Those that do the work of God.”

Schaefer offered his flock the possibility of a pure existence in the service of God. All that was required was the regular confession of sin. His followers proved eager to unload their guilt, and confession—personally received by Schaefer in a practice he called “Seelesorge,” or “care of the soul”—became the vehicle for their salvation. The pilgrims confessed to him in a variety of forums. Schaefer would summon them in small groups each day to discuss their sins; public confessions were heard at lunch and dinner; and, on Sundays, the entire community assembled for prayer and confession in a meeting hall adjacent to Schaefer’s house.

Within that family, people were divided into groups by age and gender, each with its own flag and insignia. A boy born inside the Colonia would spend the first years of life not with his parents (who themselves lived apart from each other) but with nurses in the hospital as one of “The Babies.” At six, he would graduate to a group called “The Wedges” and from there, at 15, to “The Army of Salvation.” By his mid-30s he would become one of “The Elder Servants,” a status he would retain until, at 50, he was ready to join “The Comalos,” a term that has no obvious meaning. Girls progressed through a similar series of groups, including “The Dragons,” “The Field Mice,” “The Women’s Group,” and “The Grannies.”

Group members lived together, six or more to a room, in dormitory-type buildings. They had few individual possessions: pajamas, a set of work clothes, a set of leisure clothes, and a week’s supply of underwear. Everything else, including their shoes, was kept locked away in a closet. Each morning, the colonos would assemble with their respective groups in the cafeteria for a breakfast of milk and bread with jelly. Then it was off to work, the men to the plants, mills, and craft shops, the women to less skilled jobs in the henhouse, the stables, and the kitchen. Some women were also assigned as nurses in the hospital. Both men and women labored together in the fields.

The days were productive. Schaefer exhorted his colonos to righteous sacrifice, frequently reciting the words “Arbeit ist Gottesdienst” (“Work is divine service”). Large signs attached to garden trellises and decorative iron latticework inside the Colonia reinforced the message with pious declarations like “Supreme Judge, We Await Thee” and “We Withstand the Pain for the Sake of Dignity.” The pilgrims worked 12 hours a day, often longer, with a short break for lunch. It was taken as a point of pride that they expected no payment for their labor, but gave it willingly for the good of the community. Their success with industry and agriculture provided the financial means necessary to fuel their philanthropic mission.

Given such high ideals, it is hardly surprising that the centerpiece of Schaefer’s utopia was a charity hospital. A gray, two-story building with unadorned windows and a tapered tile roof, the hospital stood on the far side of the village from the entry gate, with 65 beds, a maternity ward, and sterile operating rooms. Funded in part by state subsidies, its quality of care was excellent—the hospital was always busy and over the years provided full and recurring treatment for 26,000 people. The colonos sent buses or hired the few locals with cars to collect patients from their isolated villages. Sometimes entire families would arrive at once. The maternity ward was especially popular, as the hospital continued to supply local women with four and half pounds of powdered milk every month for the first six years of a child’s life. To this day, pictures of some of the thousands of Chilean babies born there remain posted on the wall of the reception area.

Paul Schaefer was born in 1921 in the quiet town of Troisdorf, near the Dutch border of Germany. He was a poor student, so clumsy that one day, while using a fork to untie a stubborn shoelace, he accidentally gouged out his right eye. It is said that Schaefer tried to join the elite Nazi SS corps a few years later, but was rejected because of this infirmity. Although he spent the war as a nurse in a German field hospital in occupied France, later in life he claimed that his glass eye was the result of a war wound.

After Germany’s surrender, Schaefer worked for a short time in the Evangelical Free Church as a youth leader, but he was fired when suspicion arose that he had somehow mistreated the boys in his care. He struck out on his own as a solo preacher, roaming the German countryside dressed in lederhosen, strumming an acoustic guitar, and encouraging all who would listen to confess their sins. Schaefer was a gifted speaker with a powerful charisma that, according to one colono who first met him at a prayer meeting in 1952, radiated from his body like beams of light. Within a few years, Schaefer had attracted several hundred followers and founded an orphanage outside of Troisdorf for war widows and their children, many of whom were impoverished refugees from East Prussia who had fled the Soviet occupation. Schaefer told them they were God’s chosen and that their destiny had been predetermined, offering them the sense of security they craved as they struggled to mend their lives. Those who joined the congregation agreed to pay 10 percent of their income to Schaefer and to confess daily.

Schaefer’s first experiment in community building did not end well. The mothers of two young boys living in the orphanage charged that he had molested their children, an accusation taken seriously enough for local judicial authorities to issue a warrant for his arrest. Schaefer fled to the Middle East, where, with two trusted lieutenants, he searched for a place to relocate his congregation. Soon after, he came into contact with the Chilean ambassador to Germany, who, unaware of Schaefer’s legal troubles, invited him to Chile.

A faded black-and-white photograph shows Schaefer stepping off the plane in Santiago in January 1961 in a long black winter coat and matching fedora, smiling faintly. Within a year, using funds collected from his congregation back in Germany, Schaefer bought an abandoned 4,400-acre ranch several hundred miles south of Santiago, which he and some 10 original settlers from Germany began to rebuild. By the end of 1963, an initial group of approximately 230 Germans—the bulk of Schaefer’s congregation—had emigrated from Europe to the newly named Colonia Dignidad (“dignity colony”). Two more waves of German pilgrims followed, in 1966 and 1973, most belonging to the 15 families that formed the core of Schaefer’s following. Over the years, the community expanded further through the adoption of Chilean children from impoverished local families. These Chilean colonos learned to speak German and became full members of the community.

In Germany, Schaefer’s congregation had been a loose gathering of devotees who lived on their own in scattered towns and villages. In Chile, that distance was closed, and Schaefer rapidly consolidated control. First, there could be no secrets. Private conversations were forbidden. “If two are gathered,” he often said, “they are under the Devil. If three are gathered, they are under Jesus.” Second, everything had to be confessed: whether the sin was in thought or in deed, he had to be informed. Third, no one could leave the property without Schaefer’s permission. Any violation, or perceivedviolation, of these rules would be punished.

All of this begged the question: why would so many people have chosen to subordinate themselves to Schaefer’s will? How did he achieve such power over them? In Santiago in early 2006, I spoke with Dr. Neils Biedermann, a Chilean psychiatrist, who, in association with the German Embassy, had been making monthly trips to Colonia Dignidad to study the psychology of its inhabitants. He offered observations from his work. “Everything was done to further the religion,” he explained. “Like in any sect, the colonos had a spiritual leader in Paul Schaefer, to whom they formed a strong attachment. There was a complex network of emotional connections in the Colonia. It was not a concentration camp system in which prisoners tend to think of themselves as individuals. It was a community, and the children suffered most of all.” The pilgrims may have come to Chile for their religion, but once there they became prey to a brutal and relentless cult of personality. “The older colonos punished the younger ones under orders from Schaefer,” Biedermann continued. “They were also the ones who were supposed to educate them. This involved keeping them away from their families, keeping them active all day, and principally keeping them obedient and disciplined. They did whatever they needed to do, including psychopharmacology and electroshock.” Over time, physical coercion became less necessary as the social system became rooted in the psyche of the individual.

Schaefer reinforced his power through an elaborate system of mutual betrayal. Members of the community were encouraged to confess not only to him, but to one another. Acolono who heard the sinful confession could expect to be rewarded—typically with a reprieve of his own sins—if he informed Schaefer of the offense.

Every day at lunch and dinner, members of the community were expected to write the names of sinners on a blackboard near the entrance to the cafeteria. After everyone was seated, Schaefer would take his place at a small table facing the group, and, while his minions ate, he’d read through a microphone the names listed on the board. Each sinner was required to stand up and confess. To deny wrongdoing was a great offense, and the prudent among them became adept at inventing sins on the spot.

According to Schaefer’s teachings, women were temptresses whose sexuality, if uncontrolled, would drive men wild with desire and lead them to stray from God. Schaefer considered sexual intercourse a tool of the Devil. To protect men from corruption, he created in the Colonia an environment of minimal temptation. Women lived and worked separately from men. They wore ugly homemade dresses, so baggy that almost no trace of the female form remained visible. They rolled their long hair into tight, passion-proof buns, and the endless days spent toiling in the workshops or in the fields further depressed their frustrated libido.

But even then, men and women found ways of getting together. They still felt lust. They fell in love. Nature would not be denied so completely. When romantic relationships did develop, Schaefer decided their course. Sometimes he permitted couples to marry and, occasionally, to have children. More often he did not. When a man asked Schaefer for permission to marry, he entered into a game of sexual roulette. Schaefer might grant the request but then require that he be the one to select the bride. This seldom worked in the man’s favor, for the women Schaefer chose were almost always well beyond childbearing years. If, despite these elaborate precautions, a woman somehow managed to get pregnant, Schaefer would isolate her from the community until she gave birth. Afterwards she returned to work, while nurses in the hospital cared for her child. By Schaefer’s design, pregnancy was uncommon. To this day, no one knows why he discouraged couples from having children. What seems clear is that he did not care if the community endured after he was gone. Only about 60 children were born in the Colonia in the 30-odd years he spent at its helm; between 1975 and 1989, there were no births at all.

For Schaefer and his pilgrims, evil manifested itself most tangibly in the scourge of international communism. It should be remembered that they were Germans, many of whom had suffered terrible losses as the Russians swept through eastern Germany on their way to Berlin. Fear of a Soviet attack on Western Europe was, for many, the deciding factor in their choice to follow Schaefer to Chile. Their fearful worldview was heightened by their isolation: their only source of information about the outside world was faked television news spliced together from old footage, depicting a world overcome by war, famine, and death.

To assure the defense of his utopia, Schaefer organized a paramilitary unit of several dozen men, trained in military tactics and martial arts. On some Saturday nights, a shrill alarm would summon them to a meeting. As one former unit member later testified to German government investigators, once the troops were assembled, Schaefer would enter the room and say, without apparent irony, “Good evening, Comrades,” to which those present were required to respond, “Good evening, General.” If the reply came late or lacked sufficient enthusiasm, Schaefer grew upset. Each man was required by regulation to carry a sidearm. Schaefer checked the weapons carefully to make sure that they were loaded and had their safeties on. Any man who failed the inspection lost his right to carry a gun. With any urgent business related to Soviet world domination resolved, the men dispersed into the night, searching the darkness for communists.

The outer perimeter of Colonia Dignidad was marked by eight-foot fences topped with barbed wire, which armed groups of men patrolled day and night with German shepherd and doberman attack dogs. Guards in observation posts equipped with shortwave radios, telephones, binoculars, night vision equipment, and telephoto cameras scanned the landscape for intruders. These were, of course, imaginary. But if invaders were to succeed in getting through the perimeter, they would come upon a second tier of inner defenses: strands of copper wire hidden around the village, which, if stepped on, triggered a silent alarm. Doors and windows in most buildings were equipped with armored shades that could be drawn shut in the event of an invasion. Dormitories were outfitted with alarms and surveillance cameras, and the entire village sat atop an extensive network of tunnels and underground bunkers. When the alarm sounded, as it frequently did during practice drills, men belonging to the security force grabbed their rifles and waited on their doorsteps for instructions.

With no genuine external enemies to fight, Schaefer and his most trusted lieutenants turned their energies inward. The practice of confession provided them with plenty of people to punish. The guilty were starved, threatened with dogs, or beaten—sometimes by Schaefer himself, more often by others acting on his orders. The harshest treatment was reserved for those who, for one reason or another, Schaefer simply did not like. He called them “the rebels.” They could be identified by their clothing: the men wore red shirts and white trousers, the women potato sacks over their long dresses. The othercolonos despised them, usually without knowing why.

One such rebel was a Chilean colono named Franz Baar, adopted by the Germans at 10. By the time he was a teenager, Schaefer singled him out as a troublemaker. As Baar now remembers it, a group of men approached him one day while he was working in the carpentry shop and accused him of stealing the keys to one of the dormitories. When Baar denied it, he was beaten unconscious with electrical cables—his skull broken—and loaded into an ambulance. He awoke some time later in the Colonia’s hospital, where he would remain as a prisoner for the next 31 years.

Baar was kept in an upstairs section of the hospital never seen by the local Chileans who sought treatment there. As he later described to me, his days began with a series of intravenous injections, after which the nurses brought him bread and a plate with 12 to 15 different pills. Once satisfied that he was properly medicated, nurses delivered his clothes and shoes, hidden from him to reduce the likelihood of escape. After he dressed, a security detail escorted him to his job at the carpentry shop. Baar worked on heavy machines in a cramped space. The injections and pills slowed his movements and made him clumsy. Today, scar tissue on his forearms maps the places where the electric saws bit into his flesh. Baar was forced to work late into the night, sometimes until 3 A.M. He was not permitted to eat with the rest of the community. Instead, his meals were delivered to him at the carpentry shop, where he devoured them in isolation.

A still worse punishment awaited in rooms nine and 14 of the hospital, where Baar and other colonos unfortunate enough to draw the full measure of Schaefer’s fury were subjected to shock treatments. A female physician worked the machines, her manner detached and clinical. Patients were strapped down and fitted with crowns attached by wires to a voltage machine. Baar told me how the doctor seemed to enjoy watching him suffer. “She kept asking me questions,” he said. “I heard what she was saying and wanted to respond, but I couldn’t. She was playing with the machine and asking, ‘What do you feel? Are you feeling something?’ She wanted to know what was happening to me as she adjusted the voltage.”

Escape was difficult, even for those not held in the hospital. A rebel named Wolfgang Mueller tried to escape on three separate occasions. Twice—once in 1962, and again in 1964—he fled to the home of a Chilean family in a nearby town, and twice members of the Colonia’s security force found him there and brought him back. Both times, Mueller was beaten and forcibly sedated. On his third and final escape attempt in 1966, he made it as far as Santiago, where he received police protection and sought refuge in a German Embassy safe house. On orders from Schaefer, 15 colonos stormed the house in an attempt to recapture him. After a fistfight with police, they fled. Soon after, Mueller left Chile and found safety in Germany, where, despite his repeated accusations against Schaefer, government officials took no action. Mueller remains there today and operates a small nonprofit organization to combat the abuse of children by religious sects.

At the opposite end of the social spectrum from the rebels was a group of boys Schaefer affectionately called his “sprinters.” If Schaefer wanted to speak with someone working in a remote corner of the property, he sent a sprinter off to summon him. Schaefer trained his sprinters to assist in even the most mundane of personal tasks, like helping him to put his shoes on or holding the phone to his ear as he spoke. No job was too small. For the boys lucky enough to be chosen, the position brought pride and power.

But this special status was also a source of trouble for them. It was an open secret that Schaefer was a pedophile, just as the authorities had accused him of being long before in Germany. He enjoyed taking sprinters along during his daily tour of the Colonia. Because zippers were inconvenient, their uniforms included loose-fitting athletic shorts with an elastic waistband. He allowed his favorite sprinters to stay overnight in his room in a child-size bed set up alongside his own, sometimes sleeping with two or more sprinters at once. His routine, it later emerged, included feeding them sedatives, washing them with a sponge, and sexual manipulation.

All challengers to Schaefer’s authority—real or imagined—were rooted out and destroyed. No one inspired greater love and admiration among the children of the Colonia than Santa Claus. It is said that in the days shortly before Christmas one year in the mid-1970s, Schaefer gathered the Colonia’s children, loaded them onto a bus, and drove them out to a nearby river, where, he told them, Santa was coming to visit. The boys and girls stood excitedly along the riverbank, while an older colono in a fake beard and a red and white suit floated towards them on a raft. Schaefer pulled a pistol from his belt and fired, seeming to wound Santa, who tumbled into the water, where he thrashed about before disappearing below the surface. It was a charade, but Schaefer turned to the children assembled before him and said that Santa was dead. From that day forward, Schaefer’s birthday was the only holiday celebrated inside Colonia Dignidad.

The Colonia was, in effect, a state within a state, and Schaefer aggressively expanded the reach of his territory. Its original 4,400 acres ultimately grew to some 32,000. The expansion was not always peaceful. In a particularly brutal case, Schaefer seized control over a small chapel and several acres of church lands that lay adjacent to the Colonia’s entrance. The nuns who lived there were determined to stay, but the colonos stole their animals, cut off their water supply, flooded their latrines, fired off guns, and shined bright lights into their windows at night. They beat young children on their way to catechism, surrounded the chapel in barbed wire, and circulated fake videos of the nuns participating in orgies with priests. Finally they set fire to the nuns’ house and watched while it burned to the ground. Schaefer then claimed the church’s land as his own.

He had a favorite saying: “Every man has his price.” And, in an impoverished country like Chile, that price was well within Schaefer’s means. He selected his friends for their strategic value and lavished the most important of them with gourmet cakes and cheeses, money, cars, and free vacations. He seldom failed to get what he wanted.

On September 11, 1973, the right-wing military junta of Augusto Pinochet seized power in Chile, toppling the socialist government of Salvador Allende in a bloody coup that left the former president dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. In the chaotic days that followed, scattered groups of Allende’s supporters fought isolated street battles against Pinochet’s soldiers, but the resistance was short-lived. Within a week, the entire country was under military control. The new regime declared a state of emergency, suspended the constitution, disbanded congress, banned political parties, and imposed strict censorship on the press—all in the name of turning back Allende’s socialist experiment and rescuing the country from international communism.

Despite his early success, Pinochet was convinced that underground networks of leftist plotters remained. In the months following the coup, at least 45,000 people were rounded up and hauled off to makeshift detention centers for interrogation. There are no reliable statistics for how many thousands were tortured, but, by year’s end, more than 1,500 people had been killed. In June 1974, Pinochet created the National Intelligence Directorate (DINA)—a secret police force, separate from the rest of Chile’s intelligence establishment and loyal only to him, designed to hunt down and eliminate his political enemies. DINA agents routinely kidnapped regime opponents and delivered them to secret torture and execution centers located throughout Chile—including Colonia Dignidad.

Germany and Chile enjoyed a long history of military cooperation, reaching back to the late 19th century, when Prussian officers from the renowned Kreigsakademie in Berlin oversaw the modernization of the Chilean army. A mutual respect developed and persisted through World War II, during which the young Lieutenant Pinochet, fresh of out of military school, openly sympathized with the Nazis and became “enchanted by Rommel,” as he later admitted. Drawing as it did on this history, the connection between the colonos and the Pinochet regime was classically symbiotic. Paul Schaefer needed political allies and protection for his eccentric community; Pinochet’s agents needed discreet services and a secure base of operations.

Colonia Dignidad, according to a former DINA agent assigned there in the mid-1970s, maintained powerful radio equipment, facilitating communication between DINA commanders in Chile and their agent saboteurs and assassins stationed abroad. In 2005, Michael Townley, an American expatriate and former DINA officer implicated in several high-profile assassinations and bombings, testified to a Chilean judge that the Colonia had also housed a secret laboratory, where government scientists developed chemical weapons. Schaefer’s primary contribution to Pinochet’s operations, however, came in the instruction of DINA agents in the science of torture. Soon after the coup, arrested political dissidents began to disappear into Colonia Dignidad.

One who survived is Luis Peebles, a 60-year-old psychiatrist at a public hospital in a working-class neighborhood of Santiago. In early 2006, we sat down together in an empty office in the hospital, where he described the week he spent as a political prisoner in Colonia Dignidad in February 1975. Peebles had been the commander of a clandestine anti-Pinochet militia until his capture by government soldiers. Initially jailed at a naval base in the coastal city of Concepción, he remembers how, early one Sunday morning, several plainclothes agents arrived at the base, bound his hands and feet, blindfolded him, and stuffed wet cotton into his ears. They forced him into the back of a truck and drove for several hours. Along the way, Peebles tried to piece together his location. He felt the truck turn off the highway and slow onto a dirt road. There was the strong odor of cow manure. Peebles thought he heard the muffled sounds of birds and flowing water. When the truck finally stopped, he took a deep breath. The air was clean.

He was taken to an underground cellar that smelled of linoleum and wood polish, stripped to his underwear and fastened down with leather straps to an iron bed frame. His blindfold was replaced with a leather cap that came down over his eyes. It had a chinstrap that held his jaw firmly in place and earflaps equipped with metal wires. More wires were taped to his ankles, thighs, chest, throat, anus, and genitals, all hooked into a voltage machine. The first session lasted six hours. As Peebles was being shocked, his torturers sometimes beat him with a rubber cattle prod that emitted still more electric currents. They stabbed him with needles that caused his skin to itch. They put out their cigarettes on his body and applied a sticky substance to his eyes and mouth; sometimes, if he screamed, they shoved it down his throat.

His interrogator wanted to know the identities of regime opponents and the locations of weapons caches, but for long periods there were no questions at all. An older man, directing the others, spoke with a strange accent that Peebles first understood to be Brazilian or Portuguese, but later recognized as German. “He was teaching them how to do their job,” Peebles told me. “He was saying, ‘You have to do it slowly. You have to push here.’ Once or twice he punched me very hard below the belt. He realized that they weren’t doing anything to me down there, so he said, ‘You should also do it here,’ and he started beating me.” As he was being shocked, Peebles thrashed around violently. His muscles tensed and his struggling caused the bed frame to buckle almost in two. Sometimes his blinders slipped out of place, allowing him brief glimpses of his surroundings. There were egg cartons and potato sacks on the walls, presumably to absorb the sound of his screams. At one point, he caught a glimpse of the older man who was directing his torture. He had tan skin, sunken eyes, and thin lips. “He gave the impression of being a hard man,” Peebles remembered.

In the following days, as his torture continued, Peebles lost all sense of time. He fell in and out of consciousness. At times, he believed he was going mad. He thought he was going to die. When he asked for a blanket, his torturers doused him with warm water, quickly followed by cold water. When not being tortured, Peebles was kept in a cell about 20 paces down a corridor, blindfolded and strapped to a metal grate. He received no food or water for what must have been several days. When he was finally fed, it was what his torturers called “pig food”—a dense mass served in a rusty can. The smell turned his stomach. He ate it anyway. At night, he tried to sleep, but his guards kept him awake. He heard the steady hum of an electric generator. Above the noise, he could hear footsteps upstairs. He came to believe that he was being held in a basement of some kind, maybe underneath a cafeteria or a restaurant.

Eventually the torture stopped. Peebles’ clothes were returned—laundered and neatly folded—and his captors drove him back to the naval base in Concepción. Several months later, he was released and he fled to Europe. Over the next few years, as rumors of Colonia Dignidad’s alliance with the Pinochet government emerged, he came to suspect that he had been tortured there. He told his story to the German chapter of Amnesty International, which, in 1977, used his testimony, together with that of other torture survivors, to produce a 60-page report called “Colonia Dignidad: A German Community in Chile—A Torture Camp for the dina.” Schaefer’s lawyers immediately filed libel charges in a German court, initiating a legal battle that would prevent distribution of the Amnesty report until late 1997. Meanwhile, Peebles settled in Brussels, where he continued to speak out on his own. In 1980, he was visited by a German reporter named Gero Gemballa, who was preparing a television documentary about the Colonia. He showed Peebles several reels of videotape he had obtained. They appeared to be home movies shot by the colonos themselves. The footage went on for hours, but one of the images, as soon as he saw it, focused Peebles’s attention. It was a fleeting shot of Schaefer, the “hard man” who had supervised his torture. Years later, after Pinochet left power, Peebles drew a map of the bunker where he had been tortured and gave it to a Chilean judge who was investigating Colonia Dignidad’s human rights abuses. The judge reported back that Peebles description closely matched a bunker uncovered inside the Colonia, even down to the paneling on the walls. Over the years, more survivors stepped forward, claiming that they too had been tortured in Colonia Dignidad. In 1991, having studied the allegations, Chile’s National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation concluded “that a certain number of people apprehended by the DINA were really taken to Colonia Dignidad, held prisoner there for some time, and that some of them were subjected to torture, and that besides DINA agents, some of the residents there were involved in these actions.”

Contract torturing was not the worst of Schaefer’s collusion with the Pinochet regime: executions, perhaps of entire groups of prisoners, were sometimes carried out. No bodies have ever been found, but some remorseful DINA agents have talked. One, testifying in a German court on behalf of Amnesty International, said that he visited the Colonia to deliver a prisoner to a man known as “the Professor,” one of Schaefer’s pseudonyms. While the agent sat down to a formal dinner, the prisoner was led away by the Professor and several other Germans. After a while, the Professor returned, accompanied by a black German shepherd. “On entering,” the agent said, “he made a gesture using both arms, which, according to my way of thinking, meant the prisoner was dead.”

In truth, no one knows how many people were killed inside Colonia Dignidad. One former colono recently told Chilean government investigators that, on Schaefer’s orders, he once drove a busload of 35 political prisoners up into the Colonia’s wooded hills and left them in an isolated spot by the side of a dirt road. As he drove back down alone, he heard machine gun fire echoing through the forest. No bodies were ever recovered. According to at least one former high-ranking colono, the bodies of executed prisoners were exhumed in 1978, burned to ash, and dumped in the river. Others claim that the dead were buried in individual graves scattered about the hills and valleys. All that seems certain is that many of the prisoners who went into Colonia Dignidad were never seen again.

Over the years, there have been numerous attempts to investigate Colonia Dignidad, most compromised from the start by Schaefer’s network of protectors within the Chilean political and judicial establishment. In 1968, the Chilean government sent a parliamentary delegation to investigate Wolfgang Mueller’s accusation that he had been tortured there. Schaefer entertained the politicians with children’s choirs and gourmet food, and the delegation ultimately determined, after minimal deliberation, that Mueller’s allegations were unfounded. Later, in 1982, the German government, following evidence collected by Amnesty International, issued a request to the Pinochet government for cooperation in a joint investigation of Schaefer’s community. The request was denied, as were two others in 1985 and 1988. Only after Pinochet left power in 1990 did Schaefer’s support system begin to collapse. The new government, headed by Patricio Aylwin, a former senator and longtime opponent of Paul Schaefer, revoked the Colonia’s status as a nonprofit, charitable organization, cut off state funding for the hospital, and initiated a financial audit of the colony’s businesses. The colonos fought back with protest rallies and hunger strikes.

Despite the growing public controversy, little changed inside Colonia Dignidad. Schaefer carried on without interruption. He launched a new educational initiative called the “Intensive Boarding School,” a kind of immersion program, in which select local Chilean students were invited to live, work, and study in the Colonia until they reached the age of 18. Local families proved eager to participate. The program seemed like a good thing—at least to the parents—until, in the winter of 1996, a 12-year-old student named Cristobal Parada smuggled a secret note to his mother. He wrote, “Take me out of here. He raped me.” She managed to rescue him at considerable risk to Cristobal and herself and drove him to a nearby medical clinic, where a physician verified that the boy had been raped. Cristobal’s mother feared that the local police would be of no use, or, worse, that they would return her son to the Germans. She fled with Cristobal to the anonymity of the capital, where she sought out the chief of Chile’s national detective force, a man named Luis Henriquez.

A proud and seasoned professional, Henriquez had, in his 25 years on the force, been exposed to the darker aspects of human nature. In the early 1970s, he had served as one of Allende’s bodyguards and was there, inside the presidential palace, when Allende had committed suicide. In a country rife with conspiracies, Henriquez held a rigid belief in facts. “The truth has only one version,” he liked to say. “There are no different truths.” His was an unsophisticated view of the world, but, notably, one uncorrupted by Schaefer’s influence.

In mid-August 1996, a judge in Santiago issued a warrant for Schaefer’s arrest on charges of child abuse, asking Henriquez to execute it. Inside the Colonia that summer, life went on as before. The investigation taking form in far-off Santiago remained invisible to Schaefer and his followers. Local children continued to visit on weekends and holidays, the Intensive Boarding School remained in session, and, by all accounts, Schaefer continued to enjoy the sexual pleasures of his sprinters. The pattern was interrupted only when word of the arrest warrant reached Schaefer and his lieutenants. A meeting was called on August 20, 1996, to discuss what should be done. Schaefer seemed badly shaken. As the colonos discussed how to proceed, he kept his head down and never spoke a word. Shortly thereafter, he disappeared into the Colonia’s network of subterranean bunkers and tunnels. It is widely believed that he was there, underground, when, on November 30, 1996, Henriquez muscled his way into Schaefer’s utopia for the first time.

Henriquez had hoped to capture Schaefer by surprise. He went in with 30 armed policemen in a caravan, but as his team made its way up the long dirt road, it was spotted by the Colonia’s lookouts, who gave warning. The caravan busted through a sequence of gates and only slowed as it approached the village itself. Henriquez had given orders to his men, should they come under fire, not to retreat, but to move deeper into the village for cover. To his surprise, resistance was minimal.

“The colonos were like zombies, or maybe like robots,” Henriquez would later recall, “They were machines: on/off, on/off, on/off. They didn’t change moods like normal people.” Though Schaefer’s followers were generally subdued, at times they became aggressive, and, in a few cases, they physically assaulted the police. Henriquez assumed these outbursts signaled that they were getting close to Schaefer, but in the end, Henriquez and his police went home empty-handed.

Over the years, Henriquez conducted more than 30 raids on the Colonia, always with the same goal in mind: to capture Schaefer. Theories abounded as to where he might be. The colonos insisted he was dead. Others claimed he was hiding in the underground tunnels. Still others were convinced he had fled the country. Henriquez came to believe that Schaefer remained in the Colonia for some time after that initial raid. “I have no doubt,” he told me, “that sometimes we were just seconds from catching him.”

No one knows when Schaefer actually left Colonia Dignidad. Some say it was 1997, others later than that. What is clear is that at some point in the late 1990s, he fled the area, never to return. The curious thing is that very little changed afterward. The colonoscontinued to live life as they had under Schaefer’s rule, redirecting their allegiance to one of his senior lieutenants. In time, they attempted a democratic experiment, electing a council of leaders to manage their affairs. But under pressure from the older pilgrims, those most loyal to Schaefer, the council soon disintegrated, and the colony was left without a formal hierarchy, under the de facto leadership of a small group of colonos who managed the community’s businesses. Meanwhile, Henriquez continued to conduct his raids, even after he knew Schaefer had fled. “We couldn’t just say openly that he had left, that he was no longer there, because we needed a reason to remain there looking for all the other parts of the investigation,” Henriquez explained. “There was a lot more that we needed to find out.”

As time passed, some colonos eventually cooperated with the investigators, showing them where the files on Pinochet’s political enemies were kept, leading them to underground bunkers and tunnels, and giving the locations of weapons caches and mass graves. Although the graves had been emptied, investigators did find several car engines and side panels from vehicles that belonged to political dissidents who had disappeared.

In July 2005, police unearthed Schaefer’s collection of military weaponry. The stockpiles, buried in at least three different locations, included some 92 machine guns, 104 semi-automatic rifles, 18 antipersonnel mines, 18 cluster grenades, 1,893 hand grenades, 67 mortar rounds, 176 kilograms of tnt, and an unspecified number of rocket launchers, surface-to-air missiles, and telescopic sights. Also found were German-language instruction manuals and large quantities of ammunition. According to investigators, many of the weapons were of World War II vintage. Others, such as the grenades and the machine guns, appeared to have been produced in the Colonia’s own facilities.

Acting on a tip from one of the colonos, investigators moved Schaefer’s bed and lifted up an area rug to access a trap door hidden among the floorboards. Underneath, in a small chamber, was an assortment of what one of the police officers described to me as Schaefer’s “fantasy weapons”—three pencils that could shoot .22 caliber rounds, two equipped to fire darts, a dart-shooting camera, and several shootable walking canes. Schaefer was getting to be an old man by the time he fled. Among the other weapons, police found a walker capable of delivering an electric shock of 1,200 volts.

I met Luis Henriquez in January of 2006 at a hotel bar in Santiago as I was preparing for my first trip to Colonia Dignidad. He is an old man now, with gray hair and thick glasses, and retired from the police force in 2003. “All of these people have been mutilated in more ways than one,” he warned me. “They have no individual will. They have no individual power. They have no sense of sexuality. The younger ones may be able to change the way they think, but not the older ones. They’re sending their kids to school, and they’re trying to be normal, but it’s just another performance for them. They think only in terms of friends and enemies. In many ways, they will think of you as an enemy who is coming to stick his nose where he should not.” In the persona of a colono, he said, “‘We’re clever at performing. We shall give him cake and apple juice. We shall be nice to him although we know he is our enemy.’’ That’s the way they will probably relate to you.”

Traffic passes freely through what used to be the Colonia’s outermost gate—its imposing white metal trellis left to rust against a collection of boulders by the side of the road. Farther on stands a reception house, where an elderly German woman dutifully records visitors’ names before waving them through. A dirt road winds through a field of soybeans and arrives at Schaefer’s former residence. It is now a guesthouse, used to entertain visitors. A group of young colonos invite me into the living room for sugar cookies, and, as Henriquez had predicted, glasses of homemade apple juice. Organic, no preservatives, they tell me, with insistent, uncomfortable grins. The conversation revolves around new plans for improvements to the Colonia—a micro-power generation plant, a methane gas plant, and a home for the elderly. Another initiative, already under way, is to develop tourism. For a price, outsiders could now hunt for rabbits in Paul Schaefer’s woods or fish for salmon in the river where Santa Claus went under. I set off for the village restaurant to meet the tourism director, a Chilean named Victor Briones, said to have been one of Schaefer’s sprinters.

A fair-skinned man in his late 20s with a round face, Briones offers me coffee as we sit down together, just upstairs from the bunker where Luis Peebles had been tortured years before. He tells me that the Colonia had already welcomed vacationers from Chile, Brazil, Argentina, and the United States. The volume remains modest, but he is optimistic. Traffic is expected to increase, he says, with the opening of a new, nationally funded hiking trail that will pass through Colonia Dignidad. He appears to have mixed feelings about this. “We want security,” he says, “security in every aspect.” I ask him how he intends to control the story of the colony’s history, how members would respond to questions about hidden weapons, Pinochet, pedophilia, torture, and mass graves. He tells me flatly that he is training a group of colonos to serve as tour guides. Did he mean they would gloss over the truth? He says, no, they would tell the truth, and would emphasize that the young people in the Colonia were innocent of any wrongdoing.

Briones’s insistence on the innocence of youth was a tacit condemnation of the old. In Santiago, I had been told about a controversial letter written by a group of newly marriedcolonos and addressed to the older generation. The letter, read aloud at a community meeting the previous spring, described the darker aspects of life under Paul Schaefer—the sexual abuse, the torture, the perversion of religion into a control mechanism. It represented the colonos’ first real attempt at an open conversation about their past and the question of responsibility: “Our parents have got to understand that they fall into the web of blame, because as individuals they did not have the strength or the nerve to oppose the dictatorship of Paul Schaefer. Regrettably, they became accustomed to obeying orders and instructions like it was natural, and they left aside consideration, peaceful meditation, reason, and conscience. They contributed to the undermining of their own human dignity.” The letter was not well received. The older colonos did not appreciate being singled out, and a rift was opened between young and old that has yet to mend.

I am invited to a monthly community meeting, a formal, ritualized affair still held in the room where Schaefer took confessions. Programs, distributed at the door, list the topics to be discussed. Inside, I find the chairs neatly arranged into five long rows before a wooden podium with a microphone. There is to be a celebration later in the evening in honor of a group of young colonos who have just graduated from college—the first generation to do so. Several dozen champagne bottles are arranged on a makeshift bar in the back of the room. I take a seat in the last row and watch the colonos file in. Most are elderly Germans, who come in using canes, walkers, and wheelchairs. The younger generation is a mix of Germans and Chileans, whose young children play hide-and-seek through the crowd. Several shake my hand as they squeeze past on the way to their seats. The sun is sinking below the mountains outside, but the room is sweltering, so the doors and windows are opened wide. By the time things get under way, promptly at 8:15 P.M., swarms of mosquitoes have moved in to feed.

The business portion of the meeting is dispatched with German efficiency. One of the new leaders takes the podium and suggests that the time has come to return the small church seized from the nuns to its rightful owners. “It’s important to understand that we will be giving it back, not giving it up,” he says, fixing his gaze on the older colonos in the room. An uncomfortable silence erupts. Several people shift in their chairs, but there are no objections. It is as close as anyone came that night to mentioning Paul Schaefer.

There is a short break, after which recent college graduates—newly minted nurses, accountants, and engineers—take turns thanking the community for its generosity. The Colonia had paid their tuitions in the hope that some might choose to live and work there after graduation. With so many of the initial pilgrims old and weak, the return of the younger generation has become a matter of survival.

A party follows the speeches. A young man tells me that he and several friends were out until 4 A.M. the night before singing karaoke in a local bar. There is talk of purchasing a karaoke machine for the Colonia. I wander over to the dessert table, stocked with cookies and German cakes. A young woman is handing out frozen coffees topped with whipped cream. I take one and find a perch near an old piano in the corner. Someone taps me on the shoulder. It is a grandfatherly German man, short and overweight but powerfully built, with a leathery face and sparse white hair. He gives his name as Heinrich Hempel. He seems like a kindly man. Later, I learn that he had been one of Schaefer’s enforcers. In return for his loyalty, Schaefer had allowed him to marry, and his son is among the group of college graduates being honored that night. Hempel confides that during World War II, as the Soviets were pushing through Eastern Europe, his family had been forced out of East Prussia and thrown into a Soviet labor camp in Poland. They spent five years there, under terrible conditions. His brother and sister froze to death in the snow. He describes the high fences that had surrounded the camp in Poland and draws them in my notebook with coils of razor wire at their base. He tells me that after his release, he had gone to Germany and joined Schaefer’s congregation. I ask him why he had moved to Chile. He thinks for a moment, smiles, and says, “I came here to do five years of charity work. But then I forgot how to leave.”

Four years ago, Carola Fuentes, a Chilean television journalist, visited Franz Baar, the man who had been held for 31 years, and his wife, Ingrid, in Chiloé, a remote island off of Chile’s southern coast, accessible only by ferry, where the newlywed couple had settled after escaping the Colonia the previous year. Fuentes was in the early stages of an investigation of Colonia Dignidad, and a lawyer in Santiago representing Cristobal Parada and other abused boys in a class action suit against Schaefer had recommended that she speak with the Baars. The couple told Fuentes that high-ranking colonos had been making frequent trips to Argentina, and that Schaefer was almost certainly there, perhaps near Buenos Aires. They also noted that when Schaefer went underground, several of his favorite nurses and bodyguards went with him. If any of those people could be located, there was a good chance he would be found.

Fuentes spent the next 13 months tracking down leads. Chilean authorities had information suggesting that Schaefer was in Buenos Aires, but, due to tense relations with their counterparts in Argentina, they could not be sure. As a journalist, Fuentes required no official permission to work in Argentina. Guided by frustrated Chilean officials, she followed the trail of evidence until it led her to a townhouse in an expensive gated community near Buenos Aires. She believed that Schaefer was inside, and notified the police. A 24-member SWAT team surrounded the townhouse on the morning of March 10, 2005, but was forced to wait most of the day for an Argentine judge to issue a warrant for Schaefer’s arrest. When the warrant finally arrived around 3 P.M., the SWAT team burst through the front door with Fuentes and her camera crew in tow. Inside they found three German men and two women—the bodyguards and nurses that the Baars had predicted would be with Schaefer. The police put them to the floor and asked if Schaefer was in the house. They said he was and pointed to the bedroom. Fuentes followed the policemen across the hallway with her camera. She later described the scene: “I saw this old guy, very lost in space, lying on the bed. He was absolutely not dangerous. I remembered what the Baars had told me. He didn’t match the image of this bad, evil guy.” Schaefer did not resist arrest. As he was being hauled away in handcuffs, Schaefer only groaned and quietly mumbled a question over and over: “Why? Why?”

Paul Schaefer was extradited to Chile aboard a military transport plane several days after his arrest and placed in a maximum-security prison in Santiago. In May 2006, he was convicted of child molestation and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He received an additional seven-year sentence in August 2006 for weapons violations, and three for torture. Further prosecution is being considered on charges of forced labor, tax evasion, kidnapping, torture, and possibly murder. Schaefer is 86 and confined to a wheelchair. His health is poor and he is attended full-time by a nurse, but his mental condition seems to have improved: “He was cold and arrogant,” said one of the judges who interrogated him for several hours in Santiago. “Every so often he would call in the nurse to check his blood pressure. When I asked him questions, he pretended not to hear.”

At one of Schaefer’s first interrogations, an orderly wheeled Schaefer into the room and pushed him to an empty spot beside Luis Peebles. Their arms touched. The judge asked Schaefer if he remembered the man sitting next to him. Schaefer turned and, with his one good eye, looked Peebles up and down. After a pause, he said, yes, he did remember him: Wasn’t he a lawyer who had once worked for the Colonia? “No,” Peebles responded. “I was once a guest in your home. You were very unkind. I never did anything to you or the Colonia, so why were you so cruel to me?” Schaefer went silent. Suddenly he began to have trouble understanding Spanish.

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Will Europe ‘Fess Up?

Council of Europe demands truth on CIA ‘black sites’

By the CNN Wire Staff, September 5, 2011

(file photo) Thomas Hammarberg, the human rights commissioner for the Council of Europe.
(file photo) Thomas Hammarberg, the human rights commissioner for the Council of Europe.

Paris (CNN) — The human rights commissioner for the Council of Europe urged countries that have hosted secret CIA prisons to come clean Monday, as the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches.

Thomas Hammarberg said Poland, Romania and Lithuania were among at least seven countries that hosted “black sites” for “enhanced interrogation” during the “war on terror.”

“Darkness still enshrouds those who authorized and ran the black sites on European territories,” he said. “The full truth must now be established and guarantees given that such forms of co-operation will never be repeated.”

CIA officials have acknowledged the rendition program, but refused to discuss details and denied violating any laws. Efforts to challenge the agency and get details about it in U.S. courts have been turned aside.

Hammarberg’s statement comes as documents seized from Moammar Gadhafi’s compound in Libya shed light on the program of extraordinary rendition, or questioning of terror suspects in third-party countries where U.S. law does not apply.

CNN saw a March 6, 2004, CIA letter to Libyan officials about Abdel Hakim Belhaj, a former jihadist with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and now a senior commander in the anti-Gadhafi forces.

It concerned the Malaysian government’s arrest of Abdullah al-Sadiq, Belhaj’s nom de guerre for his rendition. A CIA officer said the man and his pregnant wife were being placed on a commercial flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to London via Bangkok and then onto Libya.

“We are planning to arrange to take control of the pair in Bangkok and place them on our aircraft for a flight to your country,” the officer wrote.

Belhaj fought for the Taliban in Afghanistan, but left after their fall in 2001 and was arrested in Malaysia in 2004. After some questioning by the CIA, he was sent back to Libya and jailed.

The Council of Europe’s Hammarberg said the CIA had held “high-value detainees,” including alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, in Poland, between 2002 and 2003.

The Polish site closed and a new secret prison opened in Romania in 2003, Hammarberg charged, and existed for over two years. Lithuania also hosted two sites, he said.

Polish prosecutors and Lithuanian lawmakers have investigated the phenomenon, but Romania has shown “little genuine will to uncover the whole truth,” Hammarberg charged.

“Effective investigations are imperative and long overdue,” he said.

Neither the CIA, Romania nor Lithuania immediately responded.

Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it would not comment while prosecutors in the country are still investigating.

The Council of Europe is a 47-member group that promotes democracy and human rights on the continent.

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Libyan Rebel Commander’s American Memories

Libya rebel commander contends was tortured, rendered by CIA

By Laura Rozen The EnvoySep 2, 2011|

The top Libyan rebel military commander in Tripoli, Abdel Hakim Belhaj, dropped something of a bombshell in an interview with the New York Times yesterday: In  2004, he said, two CIA agents tortured him in Thailand and then “rendered” him to Libya. From that point on, he maintains, he was held in solitary confinement for the next six years.

“Yes, [Belhaj] said, he was detained by Malaysian officials in 2004 on arrival at the Kuala Lumpur airport, where he was subjected to extraordinary rendition on behalf of the United States, and sent to Thailand,” the New York Times‘ Rod Norland writes. “In Bangkok, Mr. Belhaj said, he was tortured for a few days by two people he said were CIA agents, and then, worse, they repatriated him to Libya, where he was thrown into solitary confinement for six years.”

Now, Belhaj heads the Libyan rebels’ military committee for restoring order in the capital of Tripoli.

A spokeswoman for the CIA told The Envoy Thursday the agency declined to comment on Belhaj’s allegations.

But the allegations point to the challenge facing Western diplomatic officials in Libya: How much does the West know about the influential faction of the Libyan rebels with past Islamist jihadi ties? And how will such ties affect the effort to safeguard U.S. interests in a post-Gadhafi Libya?

The scholar Omar Ashour summed up the dilemma in an article this week informed by his interview with Belhaj last year: “Does his prominent role mean that jihadists are set to exploit the fall of Qadhafi’s regime?”

Belhaj, known as “Abu Abdullah al-Sadiq” in jihadi circles, is the previous commander of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), “a jihad organization with historical links to al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Egyptian al-Jihad organization,” Ashour, an academic at the University of Exeter and Brookings Doha Center, explained in an article at Foreign Policy this week.

The paramilitary Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, established in 1990, “led a three-year, low-level insurgency … in eastern Libya and tried three times to assassinate Qadhafi in 1995 and 1996,” Ashourwrote. After Gadhafi mostly crushed the group in 1998, “most of its leaders and members fled and joined forces with the Taliban in Afghanistan,” where they pledged loyalty to Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and subsequent U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, “Belhaj and most of the LIFG leaders fled that country as well, only to be arrested in 2004 by the CIA and then handed over to Qadhafi’s regime, following interrogations in Thailand and Hong Kong,” writes Ashour. Belhaj was then imprisoned in Libya for six years in brutal conditions. Following his release in 2010, he participated in several “reconciliation” conferences between the Gadhafi regime and anti-Gadhafi Islamist militants, spearheaded by Gadhafi’s son and onetime heir apparent Seif al-Islam. Ashour attended those panels as an observer.

Last week, Belhaj led the rebels’ seizure of Gadhafi’s Tripoli compound. But as Belhaj exulted that “the tyrant fled,” he also “repeatedly called for enhancing security, protecting property, ending vendettas, and building a new Libya,” Ashour observed.

In his interview with the Times yesterday, Belhaj stressed that despite his group’s past ties with the Taliban, it is now entirely focused on liberating Libya from Gadhafi’s control, and is no longer advancing the cause of global jihad.

“We focused on Libya and Libya only,” Belhaj told the Times. “Our goal was to help our people. We didn’t participate in or support any action outside of Libya. We never had any link with Al Qaeda, and that could never be. We had a different agenda; global fighting was not our goal.”

As for his six-year confinement and Libya and the CIA rendition preceding it, Belhaj told his Times interviewers that he’s not looking to exact revenge.

“Definitely it was very hard, very difficult,” Belhaj told the Times, but added, “Now we are in Libya, and we want to look forward to a peaceful future. I do not want revenge.”

Still, he added, he wouldn’t mind seeing his interrogators face legal proceedings: “If one day there is a legal way, I would like to see my torturers brought to court.”

UPDATEMore documents revealing CIA and MI6 cooperation with the Libyan intelligence service emerged with the search of former Libyan intelligence chief Moussa Koussa’s Tripoli office by reporters and a Human Rights Watch researcher.  See this article from the Wall Street Journal’s Siobhan Gorman: “Tripoli files show CIA working with Libya,” and this from the New York Times, “Files note close CIA ties to Gadhafi intelligence unit.”

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Corporate Collaborators

How US firms profited from torture flights

Court documents illustrate how US contracted out secret rendition transportation to a network of private companies

 and guardian.co.uk, August 31, 2011

A Gulfstream executive jet

Court documents show how a network of US private companies profited from rendition operations. Photograph: Alamy

The scale of the CIA‘s rendition programme has been laid bare in court documents that illustrate in minute detail how the US contracted out the secret transportation of suspects to a network of private American companies.

The manner in which American firms flew terrorism suspects to locations around the world, where they were often tortured, has emerged after one of the companies sued another in a dispute over fees. As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the mass of invoices, receipts, contracts and email correspondence – submitted as evidence to a court in upstate New York – provides a unique glimpse into a world in which the “war on terror” became just another charter opportunity for American businesses.

As a result of the case, the identities of some of the corporations involved in the rendition programme have been disclosed for the first time, along with the names of some of the executives who knew the purpose of the flights.

One unintended consequence may be that some of those corporations and individuals are now at risk of being sued in proceedings brought on behalf of the al-Qaida and Taliban suspects who were the victims of the programme.

The New York case concerns Sportsflight, an aircraft broker, and Richmor, an aircraft operator. Sportsflight entered into an arrangement to make a Gulfstream IV executive jet available at $4,900 an hour rather than the market rate of $5,450. A crew was available to fly at 12 hours’ notice. The government wanted “the cheapest aircraft to fulfil a mission”, Sportsflight’s owner, Don Moss, told the court. But it was the early days of the rendition programme, and business was booming: the court heard that Sportsflight told Richmor: “The client says we’re going to be very, very busy.”

Invoices submitted to the court as evidence tally with flights suspected of ferrying around individuals who were captured and delivered into the CIA’s network of secret jails around the world. Some of the invoices present in stark detail the expense claims that crew members were submitting on their secret journeys, down to £3 biscuits and £30 bottles of wine.

One Gulfstream jet has been identified as the aircraft that rendered an Egyptian cleric known as Abu Omar after CIA agents kidnapped him in broad daylight in Milan in February 2003 and took him to Cairo, where he says he was tortured.

Another invoice, for $301,113 relating to a series of flights over eight days that took the Gulfstream jet on an odyssey through Alaska, Japan, Thailand, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, tallies with the rendition of Encep Nuraman, the leader of the Indonesian terrorist organisation Jemaah Islamiyah, better known as Hambali.

Other invoices follow flights that appear to have been involved in the rendition of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the man said to have masterminded the 9/11 attacks. After being captured in 2003, Mohammed disappeared into the CIA’s secret prisons, where he was waterboarded 183 times in just one month, according to a US justice department memo. The invoices also show the aircraft flying in and out of Bucharest, where one of the CIA’s secret prisons is now known to have been located. On one occasion, the court heard, the jet flew direct from a European airport to Guantánamo. The court heard that in October 2004 the aircraft’s tail number was changed, to N227SV, after the US government discovered that its movements were being tracked. The following March the aircraft was publicly linked to the Abu Omar rendition.

The documents were discovered by staff at the legal charity Reprieve. Its legal director, Cori Crider, said: “These documents reveal how the CIA’s secret network of torture sites was able to operate unchecked for so many years. They also reveal what a farce it was that the CIA managed to get the prisoners’ torture claims kicked out as secret, while all of the details of its sinister business were hiding in plain sight.”

Richmor was providing the aircraft for DynCorp, a private military company, which was acting on behalf of the CIA. The bills for the operation passed through Sportsflight and a second aircraft broker, Capital Aviation. Portions of DynCorp were sold by its parent company in 2005. The entity that was sold became known as DynCorp International.

The aircraft’s ultimate owner was Phillip Morse, an American businessman with substantial sporting interests who was subsequently appointed vice-chairman of Fenway Sports Group, the company that owns Liverpool FC. In between rendition flights the aircraft was used to fly the Boston Red Sox baseball team.

The court documents make only passing reference to the human cargo being transported. Enough details of the rendition programme generally have now been disclosed to know that men on these flights were usually sedated through anal suppositories before being dressed in nappies and orange boiler suits, then hooded and muffled and trussed up in the back of the aircraft. The precise conditions in which suspects were transported on Richmor flights are not known.

Richmor’s president, Mahlon Richards, told the court that the aircraft carried “government personnel and their invitees” (pdf). “Invitees?” queried the judge, Paul Czajka. “Invitees,” confirmed Richards. They were being flown across the world because the US government believed them to be “bad guys”, he said. Richmor performed well, Richards added. “We were complimented all the time.” “By the invitees?” asked the judge. “Not the invitees, the government.”

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A Criminal Life

10 Reasons Dick Cheney’s New Book Belongs in the Crime Section (And What You Can Do to Get it There)

By Medea Benjamin, AlterNet, August 29, 2011

Former Vice President Dick Cheney was given a multi-million contract to write a book about his political career. According to Cheney’s media hype, the book, called In My Time, will have“heads exploding all over Washington.” The Darth Vader of the Bush administration offers no apologies and feels no remorse. But peace activists around the country are stealthily gearing up to visit bookstores, grab a stack of books, and deposit them where they belong—the Crime Section.

Here are ten of Cheney’s many offenses to inspire you to move Cheney’s book, and to insert these bookmarks explaining why the author of In My Time should be “doin’ time.”

1.   Cheney lied; Iraqis and U.S. soldiers died. As Vice President, Cheney lied about (nonexistent) weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein’s (nonexistent) ties to the 9/11 attack as a way to justify a war with a country that never attacked us. Thanks to Cheney and company, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and over 4,000 American soldiers perished in a war that should never have been fought.
2.   Committing War Crimes in Iraq. During the course of the Iraq war, the Bush/Cheney administration violated the Geneva Conventions by targeting civilians, journalists, hospitals, and ambulances, and using illegal weapons, including white phosphorous, depleted uranium, and a new type of napalm.
3.   War profiteering. U.S. taxpayers shelled out about three trillion dollars for the Bush/Cheney wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—a major factor in our nation’s present economic meltdown. But Cheney and his cronies at Halliburton made out like bandits, getting billions in contracts for everything from feeding troops in Iraq to constructing the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan to building the infamous Guantanamo prison. Cheney was CEO of Halliburton from 1995-2000, leaving for the VP position with a $20 million retirement package, plus millions in stock options and deferred salary. Before the Iraq War began, Halliburton was 19th on the U.S. Army’s list of top contractors; with Cheney’s help, by 2003 it was number one—increasing the value of Cheney’s stocks by over 3,000%.

4.   Violating basic rights. Cheney shares responsibility for holding thousands of prisoners without charges and without the fundamental right to the writ of habeas corpus, and forkeeping prisoners hidden from the International Committee of the Red Cross.  He sanctioned kidnapping people and simply rendering them to secret overseas prisons. His authorization of the arbitrary detention of Americans, legal residents, and non-Americans–without due process, without charges, and without access to counsel–was in gross violation of U.S. and international law. A fan of indefinite detention in Guantanamo, Cheney writes in his book that he has been “happy to note” that President Obama failed to honor his pledge to close the Guantánamo prison.

5.   Advocating torture. Cheney was a prime mover behind the Bush administration’s decision to violate the Geneva Conventions and the U.N. Convention Against Torture and to break with decades of past practice by the U.S. military by supporting “enhanced interrogation techniques.” This led to hundreds of documented cases in Iraq and Afghanistan of abuse, torture and homicide. The torture included the practice known as “water-boarding,” a form of simulated drowning. After World War II, Japanese soldiers were tried and convicted of war crimes in US courts for water-boarding. The sanctioning of abuses from the top trickled down, as the whole world saw in the photos from Abu Ghraib, becoming a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda and sullying the reputation of our nation.

6.   Trying to prolong the Afghan war. Not content with the damage he caused as VP, Cheney continues to encourage more grist for the war machine. In his book he criticizesPresident Obama’s decision to withdraw, by September 2012, the 33,000 additional troops Obama sent to Afghanistan in 2009. He has also cautioned Obama not to pull out all the troops from Afghanistan at the planned date of 2014. “I don’t think we need to run for the exits,” he told Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace.

 7.   Abusing executive privilege: Cheney used executive privilege to refuse to comply with over a dozen Congressional subpoenas related to improper firing of Federal attorneys, torture, election violations and exposing—for political retribution–the identity of Valerie Plame, a covert CIA operative working on sensitive WMD proliferation.

8.   Spying on us. Cheney was the mastermind behind the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program that spied on thousands, perhaps millions of American citizens on American soil. This massive government interference with personal phone calls and emails was in violation of FISA (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act), the Federal Telecommunications Act, and 4th Amendment of the Constitution.

9.   Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. When Cheney was CEO of Halliburton, the company skirted the law against investing in Iran by using a phony offshore subsidiary. Once VP, however, Cheney advocated bombing Iran. “I was probably a bigger advocate of military action than any of my colleagues,” Cheney said in response to questions about whether the Bush administration should have launched a pre-emptive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities prior to handing over the White House to Barack Obama. Cheney thinks Obama is too soft on Iran, and has said that the only way for diplomacy with Iran to work is if Obama also threatens to bomb the country. Negotiations are “bound to fail unless we are perceived as very credible” in threatening military action against Iran, he said. It seems that wars with Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, plus drone attacks in Pakistan and Yemen, are not enough to satisfy Cheney’s war addiction. But wait, there’s more….

10. Favored bombing Syria—and North Korea—instead of negotiating. One of the key anecdotes in Cheney’s memoir is his recollection of a session with the National Security Council in 2007, when he advised Bush to bomb a suspected Syrian nuclear reactor site. “After I finished,” he writes, “the president asked, ‘Does anyone here agree with the vice president?’ Not a single hand went up around the room.” Luckily, Cheney’s advice was dismissed in favor of a diplomatic approach (although the Israelis bombed the site in September 2007). As for North Korea, in his book, Cheney calls former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice naive for trying to forge a nuclear weapons agreement with North Korea.

Enough? Since President Obama is not interested in holding Cheney accountable, the least we can do is show our disgust by dumping his books in the Crime section and inserting thisbookmark. And if you happen to be lucky and catch one of Cheney’s book signings, bring along a pair of handcuffs.

Medea Benjamin is cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK:Women for Peace.

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