In yet another slap at civil libertarians and the rule of law, the Obama Administration has promoted the CIA officer responsible for one of the most embarrassing scandals of the Bush Administration: the kidnapping and abuse of Khaled el-Masri.
It remains one of the most embarrassing acts of abuse internationally and the officer was recommended for punishment. However, the Obama Administration decided to promote her to one of the top positions at the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center.
The article identifies the agent only by her middle name: Frances.
The article notes that, while the Administration and prior Administration quiet critics by saying that abusive officers are being investigated, they are often later promoted as in the case of two officers accused in the death of a prisoner in Afghanistan.
While the AP agreed to withhold last names, CIA spokesman George Little still called the AP’s decision to inform the public of the promotions and their first names as “nothing short of reckless.”
What is particularly striking is how such questions of discipline were reviewed and rejected by former CIA official Kyle “Dusty” Foggo — who was later imprisoned in an unrelated corruption case.
Of these cases the bungled and abusive case of el-Masri is the standout. El-Masri claimed to have been beaten, sodomized and drugged after his kidnapping but was barred from being able to sue over his treatment. Here is a copy of his complaint: El-Masri Complaint
While others doubted el-Masri was a terrorist, Frances pushed for his rendition despite her lack of field experience. After he was kidnapped and sent to Afghanistan, others continued to raise concerns that he was innocent and he notably held a German passport when the man who they were looking for was not a German citizen.
Even with growing proof that she had pushed for the kidnapping of an innocent man, Frances fought efforts to release him. It took five months to release him. Even the CIA inspector general found no basis for the rendition and even called the actions illegal. Also faulted was an attorney identified as Elizabeth for flawed legal analysis allowing these abuses to occur. My neighbor, former CIA director Michael Hayden, allowed a reprimand of the lawyer but blocked any disciplining of Frances. Notably, he himself has been named by civil libertarians for his participation in alleged crimes and he also claims that he was just following the legal advice of his lawyers. Thus, his actions reinforced his own personal claim of innocence.
By the way, Elizabeth was also promoted and is now legal adviser to the CIA’s Near East division. Thus, the lawyer (who advised that one of the most gruesome and outrageous abuses of the last decade could occur) has been promoted to give advice to the entire Near East division.
The decision of the Obama Administration to promote such officials is entirely consistent with the President’s policies of adopting and expanding Bush policies in the area while blocking public interest cases. It is also consistent with Obama’s assurance soon after his election that no CIA officer would be punished for torturing citizens or non-citizens. What he did not mention is that his Administration would promote officials involved in abuses.
The message is obvious for personnel in seeking advancement.
65 thoughts on “Obama Promotes CIA Officer Responsible For El-Masri Abuse”
On this blog I have been called a traitor, told to leave because, “I don’t share the views of others here”, told to leave and go back to “my Tea Party Candidates”, as well as called many, many other names. Fox is on Obama’s team. You are deceived by the oligarchy into thinking they work as anything other than a foil to Obama. They are there to fool Democrats and Republicans alike.
Real dissent, dissent that is thoughtful, fact based and based on ethical integrity is vilified by many on the left, including people on this blog. Fox isn’t dissent, it’s commercial/govt. propaganda. Big difference.
Well said. The Wise Old Men(and women) are indeed at the heart of the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about. We keep returning to the same “sages” who for some reason keep backing foreign dictators and turning a blind eye when they and us commit attrocities. The CIA is not part of the cure, they are a large part of the sickness.
You are correct that Bush and Cheney have both gone public in their admissions and it is quite disturbing that they are not in leg irons. You are also correct that President Obama seems determined to ignore their crimes. I am not sure fascism is on the way, but it is not good.
Just because we don’t agree on everything here does not mean that you have been “kicked out of the discourse”. Keep presenting your ideas.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kGasHGXSy4&w=480&h=390] Fox News expresses anti-Obama sentiments all day long. How can you say there is no dissent, Jill?
This is a link to the U.N.Convention Against Torture. It is the law of the land. Our government signed and ratified it and made our country accountable under its precepts. George W. Bush, via his autobiography, has admitted to violating the law. He is a war criminal. Obama has made a concious decision to allow these war criminals to go free and unchecked in every instance. Facism is on its way.
That was part of the consideration when I said: Today it takes a government or large organization to make one truly anonymous.
I’ve said it before, large groups are a threat to individual liberties, regardless of how they’re organized.
I’ve come to the conclusion that we need a serious shift in how we organize our society. We’re still running in 40 member tribe mode.
For me, the most important question is about we the people. We have tolerated the gutting of our Constitution. We support people who commit war crimes, torture, financial frauds which continue to decimate our economy. So we have to ask the question, Why?
During the presidential campaign Obama gave every clear indication of who he was. When he voted for FISA he showed he wanted unlawful executive power and that he would go to bat for corporations and the intelligence services at the expense of justice, the people and our Constitution. Without making harsh, self-hate filled judgments, we need to understand why such a clear action, which in every way exemplifies who Obama is, what he is now doing, was ignored by a vast majority of our population. If we do not examine how this occurred it will reoccur.
The group anonymous got e-mails on actions to be taken against Wikileaks. They include all kinds of manipulation towards the public and make for informative reading. (Find them at, http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/02/09-6
Further, there were those of us who tried to point to the problems with Obama. Many of us were kicked out of the discourse. That has certainly been my experience on this blog. When groups find them selves shutting down dissent, then there is a problem. Finally, we seem unwilling to hold our political class accountable. Pelosi took impeachment off the table. Obama protects and both he and Clinton actively promote and continue to hire war and financial criminals. You cannot have a functioning society where the populace allows a criminal class to run one’s nation. We must ask why they won’t allow this in Egypt but we will allow it here. Below is what happens when people demand accountability.
“Live blog Feb 10 – Egypt protests
By Al Jazeera Staff
2:07pm The security chief for the Egyptian city of Wadi al-Jadid (New Valley) was sacked and the police captain who ordered police to shoot at protesters was arrested and will be tried. At least five people were killed and dozens wounded in three days of clashes between police and citizens.
2:00pm The criminal court in Egypt has endorsed the decision of banning three former ministers from leaving the country and the government has also frozen their assets.”
MikeS, The Wise Old Men and Egypt, I read that torture is epidemic in Egypt and the police use it to clear even petty crimes. We backed Mubarak for 30 years and now give a nod to his VP, our partner in rendition and a known torturer.
I was thinking that as you wrote about the Old Wise Men that run our government and I suppose most governments. Are they evil?, Ignorant? I don’t think so. They are sociopaths. I can not persuade myself that anyone that has any moral sense could implement and maintain the policies we decry here. I also think that ignorance is off the table, the policies (and strongmen we support) are evil (in that there is always a ‘losing’ party) by nature, which would seem to make ignorance pretty hard to come by.
“Given the CIA involvement in the importation [of heroin], Nixon’s ascendancy and the behind the scenes power of the corporate establishment, I wonder how much of the decline of the movements came about because of the CIA’s activities?”
There are those that would say in response to your concern that as a policy or serendipity it worked to keep minorities disorganized and generally powerless for decades.
What does that say about the people hiring these fanatics?”
To me it says ignorance to the highest degree which is not being able to se beyond one’s own presuppositions. There is a Washington establishment of “Wise Old Men,” who are anything but wise, but have influenced US foreign affairs for many years. They are also par and parcel of the Military/Industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about. New administrations looks to these clowns, or are among them and allow them to shape or influence US foreign policy. Their patriotism and good will is taken for granted, while their lust for personal gain is ignored. The Washington Press Corp is either part of, or courtiers to these “wise men” and ensures them good publicity.
Are they evil? I think probably not. I think they are ignorant and in many cases stupid. They are so full of themselves an such egotists that they rationalize their own corruption and profiteering as their due for “good service” rendered.
As for Lotta’s point about drug running there was also Viet Nam where CIA planes shipped in heroin from the “Golden Triangle” as part of the deal to have the drug lords fight on our side. The coincidence of that with the destruction of the Anti-War and Civil Rights Movement in the late 60’s, as many potheads were introduced into the fog of heroin and thus became casualties of war. I watched with horror as good hippies I knew were drawn into the miasma. This was also helped by many of our Rock Idols dabbling in heroin. Given the CIA involvement in the importation, Nixon’s ascendancy and the
behind the scenes power of the corporate establishment, I wonder how much of the decline of the movements came about because of the CIA’s activities?
He is proposing to cut off energy funds for poor people who need it most.
2T, The CIA was trading favors with the mafia in Marseille immediately after WWII, the Mafia (Corsican- of French Connection fame) would break the labor strikes at the port and save France (and America) from the Communists and in turn the American government would not look closely at some particular ships and cargo coming from France to the US.
About 90% of the American drug trade in heroin came from this French connection. It is alleged that as an act of good faith the CIA flew some of the product into America in government planes to alleviate the storage problem the labor strikes were causing the Corsican’s. Ron paul doesn’t go nearly far enough in his denunciation of the CIA/drug connection.
Remember, when drugs are outlawed, only
the CIA, government, police, wealthy people, kids, minorities, students, housewives, businessmen,outlaws! will have drugs.
If the Wall of Ghost Data bothers you on the official and visible level like the CIA and other government agencies (which it should rightfully when used to cover crimes committed under the color of authority)?
Consider who runs and how many innocuous sounding businesses there are – free from any constraint – collecting and selling information about you.
From small shops with nondescript fronts to Facebook.
All of them operating not out of “national security interests”, but out of a simple profit motive.
The antacids are on the third shelf behind the aspirin.
Parkinson’s Third Law.
That would be unconstitutional. Everything that is not limited to the Congressional or Judicial branches falls under the Executive branch. The President is responsible for all of that branch no matter how little or great his actual power to control it.
Note: The CIA is listed under “Independent Agencies” at the bottom.
This is an awful thing.
The CIA needs to be taken OUT of the executive branch and put under direct control of congress. Then it needs to be dismantled. At a maximum it should be an analysis unit with no power to send drones, kidnap people, send people into rendition, or murder.
Get it out of the executive branch first where it is now gone rogue, untouchable, and a power unto its own. This much power corrupts. And this much power murders.
Remember, the CIA, Obama and Biden (Bush 41, Cheney, and Clinton) are all Council on Foreign Relations.
Ron Paul on the CIA (mostly in the first couple of minutes)
Technical problems hopefully are resolved….
it’s one thing to think of those who disagree with you as misinformed or even unpatriotic but when they began seeing dissent as evil the game changed.
and not for the better.
What does that say about the people hiring these fanatics?
In my opinion one of the best sources for understanding the CIA and how it operates is a novel. Norman Mailer wrote “Harlot’s Ghost” some years ago and it deal with the beginnings of the CIA through the Bay of Pigs invasion. It’s a great book and a pleasure to read. Mailer received too little acclaim for it. Since it’s a novel, written by a known leftist some of the facts may be artistic license. However, where I am positive he got it right is in the psychology of the characters. It describes a mentality that
believes in doing what is necessary to protect the US, in terms of the dangers THEY perceive. However, the problem is that they are caught in a mental state that doesn’t allow them to see their actions clearly. It’s not about good versus evil, but about a fanatic philosophy, unable to question itself, even in the presence of contradictory information.
Remember the Stanford Prison Experiment? Granting power without direct accountability ALWAYS leads to abuse, even from the most caring, decent, angelic people.
The first and most important remedy to this crisis is to outlaw anonymity for interrogators. When all interrogations are conducted publicly, with all persons involved acting openly, without masks or disguises, they will cease to think in terms of violating and hurting their detainees.
Oh, and by the way, they will get MUCH better results too.
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