The new report exposes the readiness of the American media to assist in clandestine operations, not only to cover up the evidence leaked by objecting officials, but to mislead and misinform the political leadership of the US and its allies
This article originally appeared at Dances with Bears
The report of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on CIA torture is long on details, very short on Russia.
There are just five references to Russia; all are footnotes to intelligence reports produced by several US government agencies for review by them all. Three footnotes refer to the notorious bomb attacks on apartment buildings in Moscow, Buynaksk, and Volgodonsk in September 1999, when 293 people were killed; 651 injured. There is one footnote referring to unidentified Russians offering Arabs anti-aircraft missiles, and one on Russian roulette. For the full CIA report, click.
The three references to the building explosions are of interest for what they don’t say. There is no revelation that the US Government secretly blames Vladimir Putin for plotting the bomb explosions to trigger the second Chechen war, his succession to the presidency, etc. – claims promoted by Russia- haters in the media, and by the arch hater and plotter himself, Boris Berezovsky. The footnotes refer to the apartment incidents as “Tall Buildings plotting” and “terrorist attacks”. No more, no less.
In the new report there is no reference to Ukraine, nor to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia or Estonia. That doesn’t mean the CIA wasn’t running elaborate clandestine operations in those countries. In the report, DETENTION SITE BLUE turns out to have been in Poland, where the then-President, Alexander Kwasniewski, now admits he authorized a secret rendition prison for CIA interrogations and torture – in exchange for a large sum of money. The precedent was set then for US purchase of Polish black ops. They have continued as exchanges of cash have been reported for use of Polish black sites for training of Ukrainian fighters. For more on those operations, read this.
The involvement of Lithuania is also reported in the hosting of a similar DETENTION SITE near Vilnius (right) code-named VIOLET. Details of what happened there can be found in a pending lawsuit against the Lithuanian government in the European Court of Human Rights. The Senate report claims that “medical issues resulted in the closing of DETENTION SITE VIOLET in Country [redacted] in 2006.”
Other CIA prisons are revealed in the Senate report by their code-names GRAY, GREEN, ORANGE, BLACK and BROWN. Locational references in the text have been redacted; they aren’t precise enough to match code-name to country. But international press reporting has already identified Ukraine and Latvia. Those eastern European countries, which took CIA cash for their participation in the Detention and Interrogation Programme a decade ago, turn out to be those countries now known to be involved in training and arming the so-called Ukrainian national guard battalions for the fighting in Donbass. The timing of this clandestine Ukrainian programme pre-dates the February 21 putsch which ousted then-President Victor Yanukovich.
Estonia has not been identified in the CIA prison programme. It has been officially identified as a location for medical treatment of Ukrainians wounded on the Kiev side in the civil war. An Estonian Foreign Ministry release claims the Ukrainians were “patients injured in the conflict” and “people injured in street violence”. The likelihood is that they were fighters, possibly non-Ukrainian mercenaries.
The new Senate committee report reaches another conclusion about the readiness of the American media to assist in clandestine operations, not only to cover up the evidence leaked by objecting officials, but to mislead and disinform the political leadership of the US and its allies.
The New York Times, Washington Post and NBC television are explicitly named by the Senate report as either gullible participants in CIA schemes to deceive the White House, Congress and public opinion, or else willing schemers in what one CIA official is reported to call a revival of the Office of War Information from the 1940s. No other media are identified for their role in propagandizing the CIA operations.
“The CIA’s Office of Public Affairs and senior CIA officials coordinated to share classified information on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program to select members of the media to counter public criticism, shape public opinion, and avoid potential congressional action to restrict the CIA’s detention and interrogation authorities and budget. These disclosures occurred when the program was a classified covert action program, and before the CIA had briefed the full
Committee membership on the program.”
The Senate committee investigators have left no record of how the CIA selected its journalists, and who they were. “The same CIA officer [deputy director of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center] explained to a colleague that “when the [Washington Post]/[New York] Times quotes ‘senior intelligence official,’ it’s us… authorized and directed by opa [CIA's Office of Public Affairs].’ Much of the information the CIA provided to the media on the operation of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program and the effectiveness of its enhanced interrogation techniques was inaccurate and was similar to the inaccurate information provided by the CIA to the Congress, the Department of Justice, and the White House.”
That was then. The significance of the conclusions of the Senate committee report is that the connivance of the New York Times, Washington Post, and NBC continues to this day. New York Times reporters don’t need to be waterboarded by the CIA to make frothing noises out of full mouths like this from David M. Herschenhorn: “The Kremlin has no small motivation to snicker over the uncomfortable position of the United States, given the incessant criticism that it has faced over the years regarding limitations on democracy and the rule of law in Russia.”