• When Israel Bombed AP’s Gaza Office

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    Wednesday was Nakba Day—the day commemorating the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians with the creation of Israel, in 1948—but there was another anniversary worth remembering. The day a foreign country bombed the offices of a major U.S. press outlet, accusing it, without evidence, of harboring terrorists. And a significant portion of the US media spun the story to support the foreign country.

    On May 15, 2021, as part of its “Operation Guardian of the Walls” military campaign in Gaza, Israel bombed the Associated Press offices’ building, based on the still evidence-free claim that the AP headquarters “housed Hamas”. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the week prior, IDF bombed two other office buildings that “housed more than a dozen international and local media outlets.”



    Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) gave the tenants of the al-Jalaa Building in Gaza—which included AP, other news agencies including Al-Jazeera, and residential homes—a stern warning. IDF informed them they had one hour to evacuate their homes before the building would be bombed by Israeli missiles. Sixty minutes and three Israeli missiles later, the 12-story building was leveled to the ground.

    The IDF posted a short vague statement that provided no evidence for their claim the building was being used by terrorists but made sure to repeat the term “Hamas terror organization” four times, in just four sentences—five times if you count “Hamas military intelligence” in the headline.



    The AP’s CEO at the time, Gary Pruitt, said the news agency had been in the building for 15 years and “we have had no indication Hamas was in the building or active in the building.”

    So could Israel have been lying? Well, retired US Army colonel and former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, Lawrence Wilkerson seems to think so.



    Let me let me preface these remarks with I never, never, ever believe Israeli figures. I’ve been in the government too long to know that the Israelis are patent liars in their intelligence community, in their propaganda community, certainly, and in their leadership. They are inveterate liars. Let me say that again. They are liars. So you can’t believe anything that comes out of Jerusalem. It’s all propaganda.

    The fact that Israel lied to the international press just one week prior about a fake ground invasion, to trick Hamas into giving up their positions, doesn’t help Israel’s case. On the contrary, it clearly shows that Israel puts military victory over truth, and has no respect for the press.



    Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus claimed that “Hamas used the building for a military intelligence office and weapons development” but “could not provide evidence” to back up the claims without “compromising” intelligence efforts.

    This “trust me I have the evidence” bullshit is reminiscent of the false narrative that fueled the 2003 Iraq War and the more recent Trump/Russia hoax. Such a pathetic cover story is enough to make most conservatives cringe but ultimately, many conservatives were tricked into celebrating anti-American terrorism—the bombing of civilian infrastructure that housed an American news outlet.

    A pro-Israel disinformation campaign, attempting to justify the bombing, began at the Washington Free Beacon before spreading across conservative media. The Republican-aligned Beacon has a history of lying and smear campaigns. It was founded by Bil Kristol, famous for helping the Bush admin lie America into the disastrous Iraq War. It went on to fund the Fusion GPS anti-Trump research that would later, under Democrat tutelage, hire Christopher Steele, a crucial source of the Trump/Russia investigation hoax, and more recently, the Beacon reported the Jewish girl “Stabbed in the Eye” hoax as fact.

    On the same day of the AP building bombing, the Beacon published an “exclusive” to defend IDF’s missile attack on the American press in Gaza. It cited two sources: (1) a Twitter post of Beacon contributor Noah Pollak, and (2) an old article published seven years prior in 2014 by Matti Friedman, a former AP reporter, and former IDF soldier.

    Pollack’s Twitter post cited an anonymous source he described as, “a well-placed friend in the IDF,” claiming that the AP office building “contained multiple Hamas operations & offices including weapons manufacturing and military intelligence,” adding that, “The building also housed an Islamic Jihad office. And AP’s local reporters knew about it.”



    “This info will come out soon,” he said.



    Yes, that’s right. He said, “This info will come out soon.” Over three years later now, “this info” supporting his claims still hasn’t come out.

    That alone is enough to completely discredit Pollak. But he’d already proven himself uncredible. He ran the Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) (another “clown show” created by Kristol) which even the President of the Anti-Defanation League—not exactly an anti-Israel organization—called “misleading, distorted, inaccurate”. He was also caught leading an astroturfed pro-Israel counterprotest on a college campus. (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?)

    Nevertheless, Pollak’s completely unsubstantiated claims were published immediately by the usual suspects—Fox News, Newsmax, New York Post, etc. The Republican party-aligned outlets also followed the Beacon’s lead, citing its second source, Friedman’s 2014 article.

    Like Pollak, Friedman also had a “well-placed friend” who “suggests there were indeed Hamas offices” in the AP building.




    Oh boy, another anonymous “friend”! Despite sounding so sure of his “intimately familiar with military decision-making” friend’s secret information, Friedman also wrote on Twitter that “Contrary to what I’ve seen attributed to me today, I didn’t write [in 2014] that Hamas operated out of the same building, and don’t know if that’s true”.




    The media citing Friedman typically omitted this. And I couldn’t help but notice that the media sharing his 2014 piece in The Atlantic accusing the AP of bias, and the piece itself failed to mention his own bias—his years of service in the IDF, and his “slightly rosier view of the IDF”, according to The Times of Israel.

    Now pause for just a moment to ponder how insane it is—even if all of Friedman’s disputed 2014 claims were true—to rely on an article written in 2014 by an IDF vet, who worked at AP in 2006-2011, to justify the IDF bombing Associated Press in 2021, for which the IDF itself provided no evidence to justify.

    This is the following 2014 excerpt that made the media rounds after the 2021 bombing:

    “The AP staff in Gaza City would witness a rocket launch right beside their office, endangering reporters and other civilians nearby—and the AP wouldn’t report it, not even in AP articles about Israeli claims that Hamas was launching rockets from residential areas. (This happened.) Hamas fighters would burst into the AP’s Gaza bureau and threaten the staff—and the AP wouldn’t report it. (This also happened.) Cameramen waiting outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City would film the arrival of civilian casualties and then, at a signal from an official, turn off their cameras when wounded and dead fighters came in, helping Hamas maintain the illusion that only civilians were dying. (This too happened; the information comes from multiple sources with firsthand knowledge of these incidents.)”

    AP’s Director of Media Relations Paul Colford said Friedman’s story was “filled with distortions, half-truths and inaccuracies”, arguing that Israel challenged the AP with as many dangerous obstacles as Hamas and that AP covered both sides of the conflict.

    [Friedman’s] arguments have been filled with distortions, half-truths and inaccuracies…

    Like other media covering this story, we dealt with numerous obstacles, including Hamas intimidation, Israeli military censorship, anti-media incitement on both sides of the border, Hamas rocket fire and intense Israeli airstrikes that made it dangerous and difficult to get around Gaza during the fighting.

    Courageous AP staffers worked around the clock in Gaza, often at the risk of great personal harm. Intense Israeli airstrikes literally shook the high-rise building housing the AP’s office. Two AP employees were ultimately killed in Gaza, and a third critically wounded and maimed. Our body of work included images and stories about Hamas rocket fire from civilian areas, the suffering of the residents of southern Israel living under the threat of rocket, mortar and tunnel-based attacks, Hamas’ summary executions of suspected collaborators, the fears of Gazans to criticize the group, Hamas’ use of civilian areas for cover and the devastation wreaked on Gazan civilians by Israeli airstrikes and artillery attacks.

    Colford confirmed that armed militants entered AP’s offices in the early days of the 2008-2009 Gaza War to intimidate AP but said that AP did not give in to the intimidation.

    Regarding a few specific issues that Mr. Friedman has raised most recently:

    The AP published numerous photos and TV footage of rockets being launched from Gaza City. AP’s Josef Federman and Hamza Hendawi collaborated on an investigation into Hamas’ use of civilian areas for rocket launches, comparing maps obtained from Israeli military intelligence to facts on the ground.

    In the early days of the war, armed militants entered the AP’s offices in Gaza to complain about a photo showing the location of a specific rocket launch. The AP immediately contacted Hamas, which insisted the men did not represent the group. The photo was not withdrawn and the men were never heard from again. Subsequent videos similarly showed rocket launches from within the urban area. Such intimidation is common in trouble spots. The AP does not report many interactions with militias, armies, thugs or governments. These incidents are part of the challenge of getting out the news — and generally not themselves news.

    The Beacon’s “exclusive” was just the beginning. The “trust us we have secret evidence” disinformation campaign continued as the pro-Israel media eagerly forwarded another empty Israeli government claim, from a nameless “senior diplomatic source”, who told the Jerusalem Post of “smoking gun” evidence that Hamas was using the same Gaza building as AP.

    “We showed [the US] the smoking gun proving Hamas worked out of that building,” a senior diplomatic source said. “I understand they found the explanation satisfactory.”

    What evidence? Who exactly did they “show”? I guess we’ll never know!

    If there’s a satisfactory explanation for why IDF bombed an American news agency, you’d think Israel and the US might want to make that known. But they haven’t.

    Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu repeated the claim of secret “smoking gun” evidence on CBS’s Face the Nation, saying, “We share with our American friends all that intelligence”.

    Hmmm. Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken appear friendly…

    But no, Blinken said he “had not seen any evidence”.

    When asked the next day if he’d received any evidence, Blinken didn’t quite confirm receiving anything. He said, “Um…uh…it’s my understanding that uh, we’ve uh, uh received uh, some further information through, uh, uh intelligence channels.” The only thing he actually confirmed was that it’s “not something that [he] can comment on.”

    WAPO: Yesterday you said the US requested an explanation from Israel about its bombing of a high rise building containing U.S. and foreign media offices. Have you received anything? And what’s your assessment of that?

    BLINKEN: Um. We uh. Did uh. Seek uh. Further information from, uh, Israel on this question. Uh, it’s my understanding that uh, we’ve uh, uh received uh, some further information through, uh, uh intelligence channels. And that’s not something that, that I can comment on.



    Click here to watch the video

    The following month, in June 2021, Israel’s Channel 12 news reported that IDF Lieutenant-General Aviv Kohavi said that the AP’s journalists drank coffee with Hamas each morning in the building’s cafeteria, whether they knew it or not. The AP called the comments “patently false”, noting “there was not even a cafeteria in the building”. Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz told AP that the IDF General was speaking figuratively. However, Gantz, like all the Israeli officials before him, offered AP no evidence to support IDF’s bombing of the news agencies.

    Gantz said Israel has shared its intelligence with the U.S. government. But he indicated that Israel has no intention of making the information public, saying it did not want to divulge its sources.

    As usual, the propaganda was not limited to conservative media. The Democrat Party-aligned television network CNN platformed IDF Spokesperson, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus. Asked, “Can you show us the evidence?” Cornicus replied, “That’s in process, and I’m sure that, in due time, that information will be presented.”

    It’s due time to come to grips with the reality that there is no evidence to justify the attack. Israel bombed an American news agency (with an American bomb), and the American government continues to cover for Israel and continues to fund continued death and destruction in Gaza.

    *

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    All images in this article are from the author
    When Israel Bombed AP’s Gaza Office All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the Translate Website button below the author’s name (only available in desktop version). To receive Global Research’s Daily Newsletter (selected articles), click here. Click the share button above to email/forward this article to your friends and colleagues. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter and subscribe to our Telegram Channel. Feel free to repost and share widely Global Research articles. Global Research Wants to Hear From You! *** Wednesday was Nakba Day—the day commemorating the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians with the creation of Israel, in 1948—but there was another anniversary worth remembering. The day a foreign country bombed the offices of a major U.S. press outlet, accusing it, without evidence, of harboring terrorists. And a significant portion of the US media spun the story to support the foreign country. On May 15, 2021, as part of its “Operation Guardian of the Walls” military campaign in Gaza, Israel bombed the Associated Press offices’ building, based on the still evidence-free claim that the AP headquarters “housed Hamas”. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the week prior, IDF bombed two other office buildings that “housed more than a dozen international and local media outlets.” Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) gave the tenants of the al-Jalaa Building in Gaza—which included AP, other news agencies including Al-Jazeera, and residential homes—a stern warning. IDF informed them they had one hour to evacuate their homes before the building would be bombed by Israeli missiles. Sixty minutes and three Israeli missiles later, the 12-story building was leveled to the ground. The IDF posted a short vague statement that provided no evidence for their claim the building was being used by terrorists but made sure to repeat the term “Hamas terror organization” four times, in just four sentences—five times if you count “Hamas military intelligence” in the headline. The AP’s CEO at the time, Gary Pruitt, said the news agency had been in the building for 15 years and “we have had no indication Hamas was in the building or active in the building.” So could Israel have been lying? Well, retired US Army colonel and former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, Lawrence Wilkerson seems to think so. Let me let me preface these remarks with I never, never, ever believe Israeli figures. I’ve been in the government too long to know that the Israelis are patent liars in their intelligence community, in their propaganda community, certainly, and in their leadership. They are inveterate liars. Let me say that again. They are liars. So you can’t believe anything that comes out of Jerusalem. It’s all propaganda. The fact that Israel lied to the international press just one week prior about a fake ground invasion, to trick Hamas into giving up their positions, doesn’t help Israel’s case. On the contrary, it clearly shows that Israel puts military victory over truth, and has no respect for the press. Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus claimed that “Hamas used the building for a military intelligence office and weapons development” but “could not provide evidence” to back up the claims without “compromising” intelligence efforts. This “trust me I have the evidence” bullshit is reminiscent of the false narrative that fueled the 2003 Iraq War and the more recent Trump/Russia hoax. Such a pathetic cover story is enough to make most conservatives cringe but ultimately, many conservatives were tricked into celebrating anti-American terrorism—the bombing of civilian infrastructure that housed an American news outlet. A pro-Israel disinformation campaign, attempting to justify the bombing, began at the Washington Free Beacon before spreading across conservative media. The Republican-aligned Beacon has a history of lying and smear campaigns. It was founded by Bil Kristol, famous for helping the Bush admin lie America into the disastrous Iraq War. It went on to fund the Fusion GPS anti-Trump research that would later, under Democrat tutelage, hire Christopher Steele, a crucial source of the Trump/Russia investigation hoax, and more recently, the Beacon reported the Jewish girl “Stabbed in the Eye” hoax as fact. On the same day of the AP building bombing, the Beacon published an “exclusive” to defend IDF’s missile attack on the American press in Gaza. It cited two sources: (1) a Twitter post of Beacon contributor Noah Pollak, and (2) an old article published seven years prior in 2014 by Matti Friedman, a former AP reporter, and former IDF soldier. Pollack’s Twitter post cited an anonymous source he described as, “a well-placed friend in the IDF,” claiming that the AP office building “contained multiple Hamas operations & offices including weapons manufacturing and military intelligence,” adding that, “The building also housed an Islamic Jihad office. And AP’s local reporters knew about it.” “This info will come out soon,” he said. Yes, that’s right. He said, “This info will come out soon.” Over three years later now, “this info” supporting his claims still hasn’t come out. That alone is enough to completely discredit Pollak. But he’d already proven himself uncredible. He ran the Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) (another “clown show” created by Kristol) which even the President of the Anti-Defanation League—not exactly an anti-Israel organization—called “misleading, distorted, inaccurate”. He was also caught leading an astroturfed pro-Israel counterprotest on a college campus. (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?) Nevertheless, Pollak’s completely unsubstantiated claims were published immediately by the usual suspects—Fox News, Newsmax, New York Post, etc. The Republican party-aligned outlets also followed the Beacon’s lead, citing its second source, Friedman’s 2014 article. Like Pollak, Friedman also had a “well-placed friend” who “suggests there were indeed Hamas offices” in the AP building. Oh boy, another anonymous “friend”! Despite sounding so sure of his “intimately familiar with military decision-making” friend’s secret information, Friedman also wrote on Twitter that “Contrary to what I’ve seen attributed to me today, I didn’t write [in 2014] that Hamas operated out of the same building, and don’t know if that’s true”. The media citing Friedman typically omitted this. And I couldn’t help but notice that the media sharing his 2014 piece in The Atlantic accusing the AP of bias, and the piece itself failed to mention his own bias—his years of service in the IDF, and his “slightly rosier view of the IDF”, according to The Times of Israel. Now pause for just a moment to ponder how insane it is—even if all of Friedman’s disputed 2014 claims were true—to rely on an article written in 2014 by an IDF vet, who worked at AP in 2006-2011, to justify the IDF bombing Associated Press in 2021, for which the IDF itself provided no evidence to justify. This is the following 2014 excerpt that made the media rounds after the 2021 bombing: “The AP staff in Gaza City would witness a rocket launch right beside their office, endangering reporters and other civilians nearby—and the AP wouldn’t report it, not even in AP articles about Israeli claims that Hamas was launching rockets from residential areas. (This happened.) Hamas fighters would burst into the AP’s Gaza bureau and threaten the staff—and the AP wouldn’t report it. (This also happened.) Cameramen waiting outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City would film the arrival of civilian casualties and then, at a signal from an official, turn off their cameras when wounded and dead fighters came in, helping Hamas maintain the illusion that only civilians were dying. (This too happened; the information comes from multiple sources with firsthand knowledge of these incidents.)” AP’s Director of Media Relations Paul Colford said Friedman’s story was “filled with distortions, half-truths and inaccuracies”, arguing that Israel challenged the AP with as many dangerous obstacles as Hamas and that AP covered both sides of the conflict. [Friedman’s] arguments have been filled with distortions, half-truths and inaccuracies… Like other media covering this story, we dealt with numerous obstacles, including Hamas intimidation, Israeli military censorship, anti-media incitement on both sides of the border, Hamas rocket fire and intense Israeli airstrikes that made it dangerous and difficult to get around Gaza during the fighting. Courageous AP staffers worked around the clock in Gaza, often at the risk of great personal harm. Intense Israeli airstrikes literally shook the high-rise building housing the AP’s office. Two AP employees were ultimately killed in Gaza, and a third critically wounded and maimed. Our body of work included images and stories about Hamas rocket fire from civilian areas, the suffering of the residents of southern Israel living under the threat of rocket, mortar and tunnel-based attacks, Hamas’ summary executions of suspected collaborators, the fears of Gazans to criticize the group, Hamas’ use of civilian areas for cover and the devastation wreaked on Gazan civilians by Israeli airstrikes and artillery attacks. Colford confirmed that armed militants entered AP’s offices in the early days of the 2008-2009 Gaza War to intimidate AP but said that AP did not give in to the intimidation. Regarding a few specific issues that Mr. Friedman has raised most recently: The AP published numerous photos and TV footage of rockets being launched from Gaza City. AP’s Josef Federman and Hamza Hendawi collaborated on an investigation into Hamas’ use of civilian areas for rocket launches, comparing maps obtained from Israeli military intelligence to facts on the ground. In the early days of the war, armed militants entered the AP’s offices in Gaza to complain about a photo showing the location of a specific rocket launch. The AP immediately contacted Hamas, which insisted the men did not represent the group. The photo was not withdrawn and the men were never heard from again. Subsequent videos similarly showed rocket launches from within the urban area. Such intimidation is common in trouble spots. The AP does not report many interactions with militias, armies, thugs or governments. These incidents are part of the challenge of getting out the news — and generally not themselves news. The Beacon’s “exclusive” was just the beginning. The “trust us we have secret evidence” disinformation campaign continued as the pro-Israel media eagerly forwarded another empty Israeli government claim, from a nameless “senior diplomatic source”, who told the Jerusalem Post of “smoking gun” evidence that Hamas was using the same Gaza building as AP. “We showed [the US] the smoking gun proving Hamas worked out of that building,” a senior diplomatic source said. “I understand they found the explanation satisfactory.” What evidence? Who exactly did they “show”? I guess we’ll never know! If there’s a satisfactory explanation for why IDF bombed an American news agency, you’d think Israel and the US might want to make that known. But they haven’t. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu repeated the claim of secret “smoking gun” evidence on CBS’s Face the Nation, saying, “We share with our American friends all that intelligence”. Hmmm. Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken appear friendly… But no, Blinken said he “had not seen any evidence”. When asked the next day if he’d received any evidence, Blinken didn’t quite confirm receiving anything. He said, “Um…uh…it’s my understanding that uh, we’ve uh, uh received uh, some further information through, uh, uh intelligence channels.” The only thing he actually confirmed was that it’s “not something that [he] can comment on.” WAPO: Yesterday you said the US requested an explanation from Israel about its bombing of a high rise building containing U.S. and foreign media offices. Have you received anything? And what’s your assessment of that? BLINKEN: Um. We uh. Did uh. Seek uh. Further information from, uh, Israel on this question. Uh, it’s my understanding that uh, we’ve uh, uh received uh, some further information through, uh, uh intelligence channels. And that’s not something that, that I can comment on. Click here to watch the video The following month, in June 2021, Israel’s Channel 12 news reported that IDF Lieutenant-General Aviv Kohavi said that the AP’s journalists drank coffee with Hamas each morning in the building’s cafeteria, whether they knew it or not. The AP called the comments “patently false”, noting “there was not even a cafeteria in the building”. Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz told AP that the IDF General was speaking figuratively. However, Gantz, like all the Israeli officials before him, offered AP no evidence to support IDF’s bombing of the news agencies. Gantz said Israel has shared its intelligence with the U.S. government. But he indicated that Israel has no intention of making the information public, saying it did not want to divulge its sources. As usual, the propaganda was not limited to conservative media. The Democrat Party-aligned television network CNN platformed IDF Spokesperson, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus. Asked, “Can you show us the evidence?” Cornicus replied, “That’s in process, and I’m sure that, in due time, that information will be presented.” It’s due time to come to grips with the reality that there is no evidence to justify the attack. Israel bombed an American news agency (with an American bomb), and the American government continues to cover for Israel and continues to fund continued death and destruction in Gaza. * Note to readers: Please click the share button above. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter and subscribe to our Telegram Channel. Feel free to repost and share widely Global Research articles. All images in this article are from the author
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  • 'We broke into IDF, hold quarter of a million documents,' hacker group Anonymous claims.

    Pro-Palestinian hackers allege that after penetrating the Justice Ministry, they now possess 20 gigabytes of data, including nearly a quarter-million documents related to the Israeli military.
    https://www.jpost.com/international/article-797925
    'We broke into IDF, hold quarter of a million documents,' hacker group Anonymous claims. Pro-Palestinian hackers allege that after penetrating the Justice Ministry, they now possess 20 gigabytes of data, including nearly a quarter-million documents related to the Israeli military. https://www.jpost.com/international/article-797925
    WWW.JPOST.COM
    'We broke into IDF, hold quarter of a million documents,' hacker group Anonymous claims
    Pro-Palestinian hackers allege that after penetrating the Justice Ministry, they now possess 20 gigabytes of data, including nearly a quarter-million documents related to the Israeli military.
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  • 21st Century Holocaust #Anonymous #Anonymiss #OpIsrael
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  • #OpIsrael 7 April - by #Anonymous
    #FreePalestine 🏽
    #OpIsrael is an annual coordinated CyberAttack where hacktivists attack Israeli government and even private websites. The inaugural campaign was launched in 2013 by Anonymous on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day
    The campaign has since been held annually
    #Anonymous
    #OpIsrael 7 April - by #Anonymous #FreePalestine 🇵🇸 ✌️🏽 #OpIsrael is an annual coordinated CyberAttack where hacktivists attack Israeli government and even private websites. The inaugural campaign was launched in 2013 by Anonymous on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day The campaign has since been held annually #Anonymous
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  • Ukrainian ‘Caliphate’: What the West prefers not to notice when blaming ISIS for the terrorist attack in Moscow
    Kiev’s connections with terrorist groups and Islamists are recognized even in the West. Could Ukrainians be behind the massacre in Crocus City Hall?

    Jonas E. Alexis, Senior EditorMarch 27, 2024

    VT Condemns the ETHNIC CLEANSING OF PALESTINIANS by USA/Israel

    $ 280 BILLION US TAXPAYER DOLLARS INVESTED since 1948 in US/Israeli Ethnic Cleansing and Occupation Operation; $ 150B direct "aid" and $ 130B in "Offense" contracts
    Source: Embassy of Israel, Washington, D.C. and US Department of State.

    On March 22, Russia suffered one of the worst terrorist attacks in recent history, in the course of which 137 people were killed and 182 others were injured. The four terrorists who carried out the attack chose one of the largest exhibition and concert venues in the country, Crocus City Hall, in the city of Krasnogorsk on the outskirts of Moscow, which hosts large events every day.

    Even though the investigation is still ongoing, the West has already claimed that the Islamic State (IS) is responsible for the tragedy. This was first reported by some media outlets, including Reuters and CNN, and was later picked up by Western officials. For example, on Monday, this was stated by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

    However, when we compare this terrorist attack with other IS attacks, we notice more differences than similarities.

    How IS kills

    On that fateful Friday night, a concert by Picnic, a St. Petersburg rock band, was supposed to take place in Crocus City Hall. This fact gave rise to comparisons with the horrible terrorist attack in France in November 2015. Back then, terrorists broke into the Bataclan Theater in Paris, where a concert of the US band Eagles of Death Metal was taking place. IS claimed responsibility for the crime, which left 89 people dead.

    Weapon of mass distraction: Is the West scapegoating Islamic State over Moscow attack?

    Read more

    Weapon of mass distraction: Is the West scapegoating Islamic State over Moscow attack?

    In those years, IS became increasingly active throughout the world – but this was actually a sign of its decline. In its heyday, IS didn’t urge its supporters to carry out terrorist attacks, but instead called on them to “fulfill the hijrah” – i.e., move to the territories controlled by the organization. Over ten years ago, this was quite easy to do, since part of the Syrian border with Turkey was controlled by the jihadists, which allowed people to freely cross it and join their ranks.

    However, as the terrorists lost many of their territories, their rhetoric changed. Through its information resources, IS urged its followers to commit terrorist acts in places where they lived. This caused an upsurge in violence in Europe: a wave of terror swept through France, Belgium, Germany, the UK, and other countries. In Russia, the North Caucasus became a point of tension.

    The strategy was simple – anyone who supported the jihadists, wherever they lived, could record a video with an oath of allegiance to the “caliph,” send it via an automated feedback bot, and then commit a terrorist act. Often it was only the perpetrator who died, but for IS, this didn’t matter – it only cared about being mentioned in connection with the terrorist activity, which is why the organization occasionally took responsibility for crimes that it had nothing to do with.

    The terrorist attack in Krasnogorsk, however, doesn’t match this straightforward strategy usually adopted by IS. In fact, the choice of a rock concert as the site of the terrorist attack is almost the only common feature between this attack and other acts of terror it has committed.

    What preceded the events at Crocus City Hall

    Four people who had not previously known each other were recruited to carry out the terrorist attack. One of them, Shamsidin Fariduni, was in Türkiye in February, and from there he flew to Russia on March 4. He spent at least ten days in Türkiye and investigators are currently determining who he communicated with while there.

    According to unofficial information, he met with a certain “Islamic preacher” in Istanbul. However, it is also known that the terrorists corresponded with the “preacher’s assistant.” According to Fariduni, this anonymous person sponsored and organized the terrorist attack.

    RT

    After arriving in Russia, Fariduni visited Crocus City Hall on March 7 in order to see the site where the crime was to be committed. From this, we may conclude that the attack was to take place soon after his arrival from Türkiye. On the same day, the US embassy in Russia warned its citizens to avoid large gatherings “over the next 48 hours” due to possible attacks by extremists.

    The next concert at Crocus City Hall was given by the singer Shaman, who is known for his patriotism. However, his concert on Saturday, March 9 passed without incident. In the following days, there were other performances at the venue, but apparently the terrorists were forced to adjust their plans.

    As a result, they chose the concert by the band Picnic, scheduled for March 22. Although this band is not as popular as Shaman, it is also known for its patriotic stance and for donating funds for the needs of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine.

    ‘The Moscow terror attack was an inside job!’ The strange and twisted world of the West’s political and media Russia haters

    Read more

    ‘The Moscow terror attack was an inside job!’ The strange and twisted world of the West’s political and media Russia haters

    What happened afterwards

    None of the terrorists planned to “join the Houris in paradise,” as is usual for IS followers. After shooting people in Crocus City Hall and setting the building on fire, they did not attack the special forces which arrived at the scene and instead got in a car and fled from Moscow. Neither did they wear “suicide belts” – a characteristic detail of IS followers who are ready to die after committing their crime.

    Another detail which is uncharacteristic for IS is the monetary reward promised to the terrorists. The payment was supposed to be made in two installments – before and after the attack. The terrorists had already received the first payment, amounting to 250,000 rubles ($2,700).

    The most important detail is the location where the terrorists were detained. Traffic cameras allowed intelligence services to monitor where they were headed. They were eventually detained on the federal highway M-3 Ukraine – a route which used to connect Russia and Ukraine but lost much of its international importance after the deterioration of relations between the two countries in 2014, and particularly after the start of Russia’s military operation in 2022.

    The terrorists were detained after passing the turn to route A240, which leads to Belarus. At that moment, it became obvious that there was only one place where they could be headed: Ukraine.

    Despite the fact that the terrorists were armed, only one of them, Mukhammadsobir Fayzov, put up resistance. All of the terrorists were detained alive, which was most likely an order given to the security forces involved in the operation. However, as we mentioned above, the terrorists themselves did not want to die.

    RT

    Moreover, they knew where to go to save their lives: to the Ukrainian border. Later, in his address to the nation, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that a “window” for passage had been opened for them on the Ukrainian side.

    This, too, is uncharacteristic for IS, since someone who carries out a terrorist act, especially an outsider, is always considered “disposable.” Even if he makes it out alive, no one will help him. Moreover, in earlier years, IS usually didn’t take responsibility for an attack if the perpetrator remained alive, as this could harm him during the investigation. However, later the organization no longer cared about this due to the deplorable state in which it found itself.

    All this comes down to the fact that compared to other attacks carried out by IS in the past few years, this one is strikingly different when it comes to the level of preparation, detailed planning, and financial compensation.

    Dmitry Trenin: The American explanation for the Moscow terror attack doesn’t add up

    Read more

    Dmitry Trenin: The American explanation for the Moscow terror attack doesn’t add up

    What does Ukraine have to do with it?

    Having already mentioned Ukraine several times, we must note its links with terrorists. Since 2015, it has been known that the Security Service of Ukraine tried to recruit radical Islamists with the goal of carrying out sabotage and terrorist attacks, etc. on Russian territory. Ukraine’s intelligence services were also active among the terrorists in Syria. This cooperation was marked in particular by the arrival in Ukraine of Chechen terrorist Rustam Azhiev, who served in the International Legion controlled by the Main Directorate of Intelligence of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry.

    Azhiev participated in the second Chechen campaign against the Russian Armed Forces and eventually fled to Türkiye. In 2011, he moved to Syria, where he headed the terrorist group Ajnad Al-Kavkaz. Under his command, the militants participated in hostilities against the Syrian Armed Forces and were noted for terrorist attacks directed against civilians. Azhiev operated side-by-side with groups that are recognized as terrorist organizations not only in the United States, but throughout the world. The main ally of Ajnad Al-Kavkaz was Jabhat Al-Nusra in Syria.

    Over time, the Russian Armed Forces and Syrian Armed Forces liberated territories from terrorists and significantly reduced their supply base. As a result, Azhiev and his associates became involved in contract killings, extortion, torture, and racketeering. In 2019, Azhiev even had to publicly apologize for the actions of his associates, who kidnapped the wrong person.

    The terrorists had been “unemployed” for several years when in 2022, Azhiev and his associates were approached by Ukrainian intelligence services through an intermediary – field commander Akhmed Zakayev. Azhiev and his associates took part in combat operations against the Russian Armed Forces and as a reward, Azhiev was given a Ukrainian passport.

    RT

    In 2024, led by Azhiev, the terrorists participated in an attack on border settlements in Belgorod Region. In a video, Azhiev publicly admitted that the purpose of the operation was to destabilize the situation in Russia before and during the presidential elections. This was confirmed by the fact that the attacks stopped right after the elections.

    After the terrorist attack in Crocus City Hall, the Austrian newspaper Heute discovered another link between Ukraine and radical Islamists. According to the publication, which cites information from intelligence services, many suspected terrorists had entered the EU from Ukraine. For example, in December 2023, a Tajik citizen and his wife, along with an accomplice, were detained in Vienna. They were preparing an attack on St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The couple had come to the EU from Ukraine in February 2022.

    ***

    Ukraine is the place of residence not only for many terrorists, but also IS administrators and those who sympathize with the terrorists. Some of these people are actively involved in raising funds for imprisoned IS fighters in Syria and Iraq. Some of this money goes to purchasing food and medicines. But quite often, it is spent on buying weapons to carry out attacks inside prisons, and for bribing guards. Since some of the terrorists are officially “employed” in Ukraine’s Defense Ministry and others work for the Security Service of Ukraine, they can both push their employers to organize a terrorist attack or do so on their own, without formally consulting the authorities. Currently, one of the versions is that an employee of the Ukrainian intelligence services could’ve been hiding under the guise of the “preacher’s assistant.”



    Moreover, Kiev has prior experience in carrying out terrorist acts on Russian territory – both directly, as in the case of Daria Dugina, and through intermediaries, as in the case of Vladlen Tatarsky. Therefore, using radical Islamists, such as IS followers, to carry out terrorist attacks fully corresponds to Ukraine’s strategy, which comes down to inflicting maximum damage on Russia and its residents.


    ATTENTION READERS

    We See The World From All Sides and Want YOU To Be Fully Informed
    In fact, intentional disinformation is a disgraceful scourge in media today. So to assuage any possible errant incorrect information posted herein, we strongly encourage you to seek corroboration from other non-VT sources before forming an educated opinion.

    About VT - Policies & Disclosures - Comment Policy
    Due to the nature of uncensored content posted by VT's fully independent international writers, VT cannot guarantee absolute validity. All content is owned by the author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images are the full responsibility of the article author and NOT VT.

    https://www.vtforeignpolicy.com/2024/03/krainian-caliphate-what-the-west-prefers-not-to-notice-when-blaming-isis-for-the-terrorist-attack-in-moscow/
    Ukrainian ‘Caliphate’: What the West prefers not to notice when blaming ISIS for the terrorist attack in Moscow Kiev’s connections with terrorist groups and Islamists are recognized even in the West. Could Ukrainians be behind the massacre in Crocus City Hall? Jonas E. Alexis, Senior EditorMarch 27, 2024 VT Condemns the ETHNIC CLEANSING OF PALESTINIANS by USA/Israel $ 280 BILLION US TAXPAYER DOLLARS INVESTED since 1948 in US/Israeli Ethnic Cleansing and Occupation Operation; $ 150B direct "aid" and $ 130B in "Offense" contracts Source: Embassy of Israel, Washington, D.C. and US Department of State. On March 22, Russia suffered one of the worst terrorist attacks in recent history, in the course of which 137 people were killed and 182 others were injured. The four terrorists who carried out the attack chose one of the largest exhibition and concert venues in the country, Crocus City Hall, in the city of Krasnogorsk on the outskirts of Moscow, which hosts large events every day. Even though the investigation is still ongoing, the West has already claimed that the Islamic State (IS) is responsible for the tragedy. This was first reported by some media outlets, including Reuters and CNN, and was later picked up by Western officials. For example, on Monday, this was stated by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. However, when we compare this terrorist attack with other IS attacks, we notice more differences than similarities. How IS kills On that fateful Friday night, a concert by Picnic, a St. Petersburg rock band, was supposed to take place in Crocus City Hall. This fact gave rise to comparisons with the horrible terrorist attack in France in November 2015. Back then, terrorists broke into the Bataclan Theater in Paris, where a concert of the US band Eagles of Death Metal was taking place. IS claimed responsibility for the crime, which left 89 people dead. Weapon of mass distraction: Is the West scapegoating Islamic State over Moscow attack? Read more Weapon of mass distraction: Is the West scapegoating Islamic State over Moscow attack? In those years, IS became increasingly active throughout the world – but this was actually a sign of its decline. In its heyday, IS didn’t urge its supporters to carry out terrorist attacks, but instead called on them to “fulfill the hijrah” – i.e., move to the territories controlled by the organization. Over ten years ago, this was quite easy to do, since part of the Syrian border with Turkey was controlled by the jihadists, which allowed people to freely cross it and join their ranks. However, as the terrorists lost many of their territories, their rhetoric changed. Through its information resources, IS urged its followers to commit terrorist acts in places where they lived. This caused an upsurge in violence in Europe: a wave of terror swept through France, Belgium, Germany, the UK, and other countries. In Russia, the North Caucasus became a point of tension. The strategy was simple – anyone who supported the jihadists, wherever they lived, could record a video with an oath of allegiance to the “caliph,” send it via an automated feedback bot, and then commit a terrorist act. Often it was only the perpetrator who died, but for IS, this didn’t matter – it only cared about being mentioned in connection with the terrorist activity, which is why the organization occasionally took responsibility for crimes that it had nothing to do with. The terrorist attack in Krasnogorsk, however, doesn’t match this straightforward strategy usually adopted by IS. In fact, the choice of a rock concert as the site of the terrorist attack is almost the only common feature between this attack and other acts of terror it has committed. What preceded the events at Crocus City Hall Four people who had not previously known each other were recruited to carry out the terrorist attack. One of them, Shamsidin Fariduni, was in Türkiye in February, and from there he flew to Russia on March 4. He spent at least ten days in Türkiye and investigators are currently determining who he communicated with while there. According to unofficial information, he met with a certain “Islamic preacher” in Istanbul. However, it is also known that the terrorists corresponded with the “preacher’s assistant.” According to Fariduni, this anonymous person sponsored and organized the terrorist attack. RT After arriving in Russia, Fariduni visited Crocus City Hall on March 7 in order to see the site where the crime was to be committed. From this, we may conclude that the attack was to take place soon after his arrival from Türkiye. On the same day, the US embassy in Russia warned its citizens to avoid large gatherings “over the next 48 hours” due to possible attacks by extremists. The next concert at Crocus City Hall was given by the singer Shaman, who is known for his patriotism. However, his concert on Saturday, March 9 passed without incident. In the following days, there were other performances at the venue, but apparently the terrorists were forced to adjust their plans. As a result, they chose the concert by the band Picnic, scheduled for March 22. Although this band is not as popular as Shaman, it is also known for its patriotic stance and for donating funds for the needs of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine. ‘The Moscow terror attack was an inside job!’ The strange and twisted world of the West’s political and media Russia haters Read more ‘The Moscow terror attack was an inside job!’ The strange and twisted world of the West’s political and media Russia haters What happened afterwards None of the terrorists planned to “join the Houris in paradise,” as is usual for IS followers. After shooting people in Crocus City Hall and setting the building on fire, they did not attack the special forces which arrived at the scene and instead got in a car and fled from Moscow. Neither did they wear “suicide belts” – a characteristic detail of IS followers who are ready to die after committing their crime. Another detail which is uncharacteristic for IS is the monetary reward promised to the terrorists. The payment was supposed to be made in two installments – before and after the attack. The terrorists had already received the first payment, amounting to 250,000 rubles ($2,700). The most important detail is the location where the terrorists were detained. Traffic cameras allowed intelligence services to monitor where they were headed. They were eventually detained on the federal highway M-3 Ukraine – a route which used to connect Russia and Ukraine but lost much of its international importance after the deterioration of relations between the two countries in 2014, and particularly after the start of Russia’s military operation in 2022. The terrorists were detained after passing the turn to route A240, which leads to Belarus. At that moment, it became obvious that there was only one place where they could be headed: Ukraine. Despite the fact that the terrorists were armed, only one of them, Mukhammadsobir Fayzov, put up resistance. All of the terrorists were detained alive, which was most likely an order given to the security forces involved in the operation. However, as we mentioned above, the terrorists themselves did not want to die. RT Moreover, they knew where to go to save their lives: to the Ukrainian border. Later, in his address to the nation, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that a “window” for passage had been opened for them on the Ukrainian side. This, too, is uncharacteristic for IS, since someone who carries out a terrorist act, especially an outsider, is always considered “disposable.” Even if he makes it out alive, no one will help him. Moreover, in earlier years, IS usually didn’t take responsibility for an attack if the perpetrator remained alive, as this could harm him during the investigation. However, later the organization no longer cared about this due to the deplorable state in which it found itself. All this comes down to the fact that compared to other attacks carried out by IS in the past few years, this one is strikingly different when it comes to the level of preparation, detailed planning, and financial compensation. Dmitry Trenin: The American explanation for the Moscow terror attack doesn’t add up Read more Dmitry Trenin: The American explanation for the Moscow terror attack doesn’t add up What does Ukraine have to do with it? Having already mentioned Ukraine several times, we must note its links with terrorists. Since 2015, it has been known that the Security Service of Ukraine tried to recruit radical Islamists with the goal of carrying out sabotage and terrorist attacks, etc. on Russian territory. Ukraine’s intelligence services were also active among the terrorists in Syria. This cooperation was marked in particular by the arrival in Ukraine of Chechen terrorist Rustam Azhiev, who served in the International Legion controlled by the Main Directorate of Intelligence of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry. Azhiev participated in the second Chechen campaign against the Russian Armed Forces and eventually fled to Türkiye. In 2011, he moved to Syria, where he headed the terrorist group Ajnad Al-Kavkaz. Under his command, the militants participated in hostilities against the Syrian Armed Forces and were noted for terrorist attacks directed against civilians. Azhiev operated side-by-side with groups that are recognized as terrorist organizations not only in the United States, but throughout the world. The main ally of Ajnad Al-Kavkaz was Jabhat Al-Nusra in Syria. Over time, the Russian Armed Forces and Syrian Armed Forces liberated territories from terrorists and significantly reduced their supply base. As a result, Azhiev and his associates became involved in contract killings, extortion, torture, and racketeering. In 2019, Azhiev even had to publicly apologize for the actions of his associates, who kidnapped the wrong person. The terrorists had been “unemployed” for several years when in 2022, Azhiev and his associates were approached by Ukrainian intelligence services through an intermediary – field commander Akhmed Zakayev. Azhiev and his associates took part in combat operations against the Russian Armed Forces and as a reward, Azhiev was given a Ukrainian passport. RT In 2024, led by Azhiev, the terrorists participated in an attack on border settlements in Belgorod Region. In a video, Azhiev publicly admitted that the purpose of the operation was to destabilize the situation in Russia before and during the presidential elections. This was confirmed by the fact that the attacks stopped right after the elections. After the terrorist attack in Crocus City Hall, the Austrian newspaper Heute discovered another link between Ukraine and radical Islamists. According to the publication, which cites information from intelligence services, many suspected terrorists had entered the EU from Ukraine. For example, in December 2023, a Tajik citizen and his wife, along with an accomplice, were detained in Vienna. They were preparing an attack on St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The couple had come to the EU from Ukraine in February 2022. *** Ukraine is the place of residence not only for many terrorists, but also IS administrators and those who sympathize with the terrorists. Some of these people are actively involved in raising funds for imprisoned IS fighters in Syria and Iraq. Some of this money goes to purchasing food and medicines. But quite often, it is spent on buying weapons to carry out attacks inside prisons, and for bribing guards. Since some of the terrorists are officially “employed” in Ukraine’s Defense Ministry and others work for the Security Service of Ukraine, they can both push their employers to organize a terrorist attack or do so on their own, without formally consulting the authorities. Currently, one of the versions is that an employee of the Ukrainian intelligence services could’ve been hiding under the guise of the “preacher’s assistant.” Moreover, Kiev has prior experience in carrying out terrorist acts on Russian territory – both directly, as in the case of Daria Dugina, and through intermediaries, as in the case of Vladlen Tatarsky. Therefore, using radical Islamists, such as IS followers, to carry out terrorist attacks fully corresponds to Ukraine’s strategy, which comes down to inflicting maximum damage on Russia and its residents. ATTENTION READERS We See The World From All Sides and Want YOU To Be Fully Informed In fact, intentional disinformation is a disgraceful scourge in media today. So to assuage any possible errant incorrect information posted herein, we strongly encourage you to seek corroboration from other non-VT sources before forming an educated opinion. About VT - Policies & Disclosures - Comment Policy Due to the nature of uncensored content posted by VT's fully independent international writers, VT cannot guarantee absolute validity. All content is owned by the author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images are the full responsibility of the article author and NOT VT. https://www.vtforeignpolicy.com/2024/03/krainian-caliphate-what-the-west-prefers-not-to-notice-when-blaming-isis-for-the-terrorist-attack-in-moscow/
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    Ukrainian ‘Caliphate’: What the West prefers not to notice when blaming ISIS for the terrorist attack in Moscow
    Kiev’s connections with terrorist groups and Islamists are recognized even in the West. Could Ukrainians be behind the massacre in Crocus City Hall?
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  • John H. Bryan - Law Student ARRESTED | Then Quickly RELEASED!

    https://thecivilrightslawyer.com/2024/03/25/law-student-arrested-then-quickly-released/

    #FourthAmendment #ReasonableSuspicion #Ballance #Gaines #AnonymousTip #WeGotACall #PapersCheck #FailureToIdentify #DefundThePolice #PoliceMisconduct #SearchAndSeizure #WrongfulArrest #NewMexico #CivilRights #Law
    John H. Bryan - Law Student ARRESTED | Then Quickly RELEASED! https://thecivilrightslawyer.com/2024/03/25/law-student-arrested-then-quickly-released/ #FourthAmendment #ReasonableSuspicion #Ballance #Gaines #AnonymousTip #WeGotACall #PapersCheck #FailureToIdentify #DefundThePolice #PoliceMisconduct #SearchAndSeizure #WrongfulArrest #NewMexico #CivilRights #Law
    THECIVILRIGHTSLAWYER.COM
    Law Student ARRESTED | Then Quickly RELEASED! - The Civil Rights Lawyer
    A New Mexico law student, who has already been featured in an Audit the Audit Youtube video for cops harassing him at the entrance to his dorm room, has now been arrested in another unrelated incident. However, once the supervisor showed up, the student was quickly released with an apology. They ended up arguing back and forth on Fourth Amendment law. Who was right?
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  • https://naturalnews.com/2023-12-01-anonymous-airline-pilot-exposes-chemtrail-operation-uk.html
    https://naturalnews.com/2023-12-01-anonymous-airline-pilot-exposes-chemtrail-operation-uk.html
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  • Screams without proof: questions for NYT about shoddy ‘Hamas mass rape’ report
    Max Blumenthal and Aaron Maté
    January 10, 2024

    After dismantling a New York Times front page feature alleging “a broader pattern of gender-based violence on Oct. 7” by Hamas, The Grayzone is demanding answers of the paper for its journalistic malpractice.

    The following was submitted to New York Times editors and lead author, Jeffrey Gettleman.

    The Grayzone has identified serious issues with the credibility of key sources quoted in the New York Times’ December 28 story, “Screams Without Words: How Hamas Weaponized Sexual Violence on October 7.” Authored by Jeffrey Gettleman, Anat Schwartz, and Adam Sella, the article purports to prove “a broader pattern of gender-based violence on Oct. 7” than even Israeli authorities have been willing to allege . However, the Times report is marred by sensationalism, wild leaps of logic, and an absence of concrete evidence to support its sweeping conclusion.

    The Times has come under fire from family members of Gal Abdush, the so-called “girl in the black dress” who features as Exhibit A in Gettleman and company’s attempt to demonstrate a pattern of rape by Hamas on October 7. Not only have Abdush’s sister and brother-in-law each denied that she was raped, the former has accused the Times of manipulating her family into participating by misleading them about their editorial angle. Though the family’s comments have sparked a major uproar on social media, the Times has yet to address the serious breach of journalistic integrity that its staff is accused of committing.


    The Israeli police have also issued a statement since the publication of the Times’ article asserting that they themselves are unable to locate eyewitnesses of rape on October 7, or to connect the testimonies published by outlets like the Times with anything remotely resembling evidence.

    We call on the New York Times to publicly address the comments by the Abdush family accusing Times reporters of misleading them and lying about the circumstances of her death. The Times must also address the statement issued by Israel’s police subsequent to the article’s publication and explain why Gettleman and his co-authors apparently omitted it.

    Further, we demand a response to our thoroughly sourced debunking of testimony by key witnesses quoted in the story, as well as the documented record of discredited claims and ethically dubious activity by those same witnesses.

    We have provided several questions for your consideration. If you are unable to furnish responses which satisfactorily address the issues we have raised about the credibility of your article, we believe it must be retracted in full.


    Family of “the girl in the black dress” accuses NYT of having “invented” rape claim

    You write, “Based largely on the video evidence — which was verified by The New York Times — Israeli police officials said they believed that [Gal] Abdush was raped, and she has become a symbol of the horrors visited upon Israeli women and girls during the Oct. 7 attacks.”

    However, the sister of Gal Abdush, Miral Alter, stated in a January 2 Instagram comment that “she was not raped… There was no proof that there was rape, it was only a video.” She also pointed out that the timeline between Gal’s last message to the family and the time of her reported murder made it impossible for a rape to occur: “How in 4 minutes [were] they also raped and burned [?]”

    Alter concluded, “the New York Times that came to us indicated that they wanted to do a story in memory of Gal and Nagy [her husband] and that’s why we approved. If we knew that it was a headline like rape slaughter, we would never agree. Never.”

    Is Alter’s statement accusing you of misleading her family true? And why have you ignored her comments bluntly stating that her sister had not been raped? Did you and Alter ever discuss your theory that Abdush was the victim of a sexual assault?

    Gal Abdush’s brother-in-law has also spoken out against the claims contained in your article. In a January 4 interview with Israel’s Channel 13, Nissim Abdush denied that Gal had been raped, insisting that it would have been impossible given her husband was present with her at the time. “The media invented it,” he stated. Nissim Abdush also accused the international press – presumably referring to you – of resorting to sensationalism in place of evidence-based journalism. Finally, he lamented that the false claims of his sister-in-law’s rape were harmful to the psychological health of her orphaned children.

    Once again, why have you failed to incorporate statements by a family member of Gal Abdush explicitly contradicting key claims in your article?

    Eti Bracha, the mother of Gal Abdush, told Israel’s YNet she was first told that her daughter had been raped when she was contacted by you. “We didn’t know about the rape at first, we only knew when the New York Times reporter contacted us. They said they cross-examined the evidence and said that Gal had been sexually assaulted. Until now we don’t know what exactly happened,” added the mother.

    Is it normal journalistic protocol to influence a family’s perspective of a loved one’s killing, when the crime remains unsolved? How did the New York Times obtain evidence which the Bracha-Abdush family had not yet seen? And what evidence existed beyond the video mentioned in your article?

    There are more issues with your reporting on the killing of Gal Abdush. You claim that a video of Abdush filmed on October 8 by someone named Eden Wessely “went viral, with thousands of people responding, desperate to know if the woman in the black dress [was] their missing friend, sister or daughter.”

    However, as the independent outlet Mondoweiss pointed out, you “did not link to the video but released a distant, indistinct image from it that revealed nothing.” Mondoweiss questions how you “confirmed the existence of these responses since Wessely’s Instagram account has been banned, and she created a new account in mid-December.”

    Further, as Mondoweiss noted, “There is currently no trace of the video on the internet despite the [NY Times] claim that it ‘went viral.’ Moreover, the Israeli press, despite reporting on hundreds of stories about the October 7 victims, never mentioned ‘the woman in the black dress’ even once previous to the December 28 story.”

    So where is the video that you claimed “went viral”? If it contained such powerful evidence of sexual violence, why was it not featured in your article? And how did you confirm the thousands of responses to the video by people supposedly demanding information about “the woman in the black dress”?

    Israeli police “failed to connect the acts with the victims”

    Haaretz reported on January 4, “The police are having difficulty locating victims of sexual assault from the Hamas attack, or people who witnessed such attacks, and decided to appeal to the public to encourage those who have information on the matter to come forward and give testimony. Even in the few cases in which the organization collected testimony about sexual offenses committed on October 7, it failed to connect the acts with the victims who were harmed by them.”

    Why are the Israeli police struggling to find witnesses of sexual assault which your paper confidently described on October 7 as so widespread that it demonstrated “a pattern?”

    Israeli police “key witness” quoted by Times made impossible claims; evidence is elusive

    You describe a 24-year-old accountant identified as “Sapir” as “one of the Israeli police’s key witnesses.”

    Yet one of Sapir’s key claims undermines the rest of her testimony. According to the Times, “she saw three other women raped and terrorists carrying the severed heads of three more women.”

    Given that no record exists of women being beheaded on October 7, why did you include this claim from Sapir? Does such an assertion not undermine her credibility and raise doubts about the rest of her testimony? And why, at minimum, did you not mention that there is no forensic evidence to support Sapir’s claim?

    According to Haaretz, “investigators were unable to identify the women who, according to the testimony of [Sapir] and other eyewitnesses, were raped and murdered.” Israeli Police Superintendent Adi Edry told the paper, “I have circumstantial evidence, but ultimately my duty is to find evidence that supports her testimony and to find the victims’ identity. At this stage I don’t have those specific corpses.”

    Why did the New York Times fail to interview Edry and other investigators about Sapir’s testimony, and demand corroborating evidence to support the supposed witness’s lurid claims of gang rape, mutilation and mass beheadings? How do Edry’s statements to Haaretz reflect on Sapir’s reliability?

    You also neglected to note a glaring discrepancy between Sapir’s claims to you and in previous accounts. Sapir is the only known female witness who claims to have seen sexual violence on Oct. 7th. Her story – and that of another male “witness,” Yura, who was with her – has radically changed.

    On Nov. 8th, Haaretz reported that a female witness – almost certainly Sapir – claimed that she saw men in fatigues bend one woman over, shoot her in the head, and mutilate her body.

    Her friend who was hiding with her — all but certainly Yura — then claims he “didn’t see the rape,” but that Sapir “told him at the time what she saw.”

    Fast forward to Dec. 28th, and Sapir and Yura tell the NYT a completely new tale:

    According to Sapir, there is now not one woman victim, but two women. And now no one is shot. The first woman was bent over and repeatedly knifed in the back when she flinched. The second woman was raped, had her breast cut off, and the terrorists supposedly played with the breast. Then she saw three severed heads.

    And whereas Yura previously did not witness the rape, he now – according to the NYT – says he “described seeing a woman raped and killed.”

    So at this point, according to these “witnesses,” there is not one but two female rape victims. And there is no longer a mere shooting, but a breast mutilation, knifing, and three severed heads. What’s more, the male “witness” now suddenly remembers seeing a rape after not seeing one the first time he told the story.

    Why did you ignore these glaring discrepancies from your own “witnesses”? If these are somehow different witnesses, why did you neglect to interview them or even mention their existence?

    Testimony by supposed paramedic debunked by official records, previous record of lying to media

    You write, “A paramedic in an Israeli commando unit said that he had found the bodies of two teenage girls in a room in Be’eri. One was lying on her side, he said, boxer shorts ripped, bruises by her groin. The other was sprawled on the floor face down, he said, pajama pants pulled to her knees, bottom exposed, semen smeared on her back.”

    You report that the paramedic conveniently “kept moving and did not document the scene.” However, “neighbors of the two girls killed — who were sisters, 13 and 16 — said their bodies had been found alone, separated from the rest of their family.”

    That paramedic appears to be the same source CNN relied on in its own special report accusing Hamas of a systematic and deliberate campaign of rape on October 7. He is a supposed paramedic from Israeli Air Force Special Tactics rescue unit 669 identified only as “G.” And like your other sources, he has proven to be an unreliable, if not deeply dishonest, witness.

    The closest match to the teenage girls described by “G” is Yahel and Noiya Sharabi, who were 13 and 16, respectively. But according to the Times of Israel, the girls’ bodies were “found in an embrace” with their mother, and not “alone, separated from the rest of the family,” as stated by the anonymous neighbors you quoted.

    Israeli media has also reported, “Lianne and Yahel [Sharabi] could only be identified through DNA samples. Noiya was identified through her teeth only two days ago.”

    How was the paramedic “G” able to detect semen on one of the girls, and bruises on the other, and view their states of undress, if their bodies were, in fact, burned beyond recognition?

    Why did you not cross check the anonymous, supposed paramedic’s testimony with evidence from the scene?

    “G,” was previously interviewed by the right-wing Republic TV of India. In that appearance, he described in a distinctive Brooklyn accent how his “teammate” found “a baby, perhaps not even more than a year old, with multiple points stabbed all over his body and tossed into the garbage.”


    This was a clear falsehood, as only one baby was recorded among the dead on October 7: Mila Cohen, who was accidentally shot, not stabbed, and who was not found in any garbage can.

    Why did the documented record of fabrication by “G” not lead you to question his testimony? Did you vet “G” to verify that he was actually on the ground in Kibbutz Be’eri when he said he was? How do you know he was a paramedic with an Israeli special forces unit, and not an Israeli intelligence operative?

    Times’ key “eyewitness” changed story multiple times, did not mention rape in initial testimony

    Similar issues of credibility arise when considering the testimony you collected from an Israeli special forces veteran and mercenary named Raz Cohen.

    Since his first interview on October 9, Cohen has altered his testimony several times.

    Cohen told the NYT he personally witnessed a white van filled with Hamas militants pull up a mile from the Nova music festival, gather over a woman, and gang rape her: “I saw the men standing in a half circle around her. One penetrates her. She screams. I still remember her voice, screams without words.” He said they then butchered the woman with knives.

    When Cohen was interviewed on October 9 about the attack on the music festival, however, he did not mention any act of sexual assault committed by Hamas militants. See here and here.

    A day later, Cohen began to introduce vague suggestions of sexual assault into his testimony, but did not indicate that he witnessed any such acts taking place: “The terrorists captured women and hurt them in any way possible, and when they were done with them, they started butchering them in front of their friends,” Cohen told an Israeli publication.

    Cohen was also interviewed by Canada’s CBC on October 10, but was not quoted about witnessing any rape. The same day, Cohen offered lurid new details to PBS, claiming that “the terrorists” not only slaughtered women after raping them on October 7, but engaged in necrophilia as well: “The terrorists, people from Gaza, raped girls. And after they raped them, they killed them, murdered them with knives, or the opposite, killed — and after they raped, they — they did that.”

    Testimony he provided to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on October 11 differed slightly, and remained vague: “We see from there a lot of people and girls screaming and murdered by knives. And the girls, the terrorists rape them,” he stated abruptly and without apparent emotion.

    By this point, no Israeli media had reported that any rapes occurred on October 7.

    Cohen quickly fell off the media’s radar. He would not be heard from again until you interviewed him. The novel testimony he delivered to you raises serious questions about his credibility, and that of your newspaper’s editorial standards.

    How and why did Cohen’s story transform so dramatically over time, providing explosive new details at a moment of political urgency for the army in which he served? Was it plausible that a group of hardened Hamas commandoes suddenly paused their surprise attack, which was focused on taking as many captives as quickly as possible, stood in a circle and gang raped a woman, one after another, while Israeli forces mobilized to attack them? Why did Hamas militants use knives to kill their victims, as Cohen alleged, when they carried rifles and grenades? Why did he drop his earlier allegation of necrophilia when speaking to the Times? And why did he mention seeing “a lot of people and girls” being raped to the ABC on October 11, but alter his testimony to refer specifically to a single female victim when interviewed by the Times?

    Perhaps most importantly, why did Cohen’s friend, Shoam Gueta, who took shelter with him on October 7, not describe witnessing a gang rape when interviewed by the Times?

    There is also the issue of Cohen’s odd behavior during the October 7, and in its aftermath. Would someone who claimed to have witnessed a horrific gang rape and mass murder have been taking selfies of himself smiling and making the trademark Hawaiian “shaka” hand gesture? And if that source appeared in an October 7-themed fashion show to gain celebrity and potential profit off their experience at the Nova music festival, would that not also raise questions about their credibility? Because that is precisely what Raz Cohen did.


    Times’ “rescuer” source has established pattern of lying, embellishment; works for group with documented history of sexual abuse, corruption

    You prominently feature testimony by Yossi Landau, Southern Commander of the ZAKA organization. For critical background on Landau and his organization, we refer you to Max Blumenthal’s December 6 investigation for The Grayzone, “Scandal-stained Israeli ‘rescue’ group fuels October 7 fabrications.”

    Were you aware, as The Grayzone documented, that Landau’s previous claims of having seen beheaded babies and a fetus cut from a dead woman’s womb on October 7 have been discredited not only by the Israeli newspaper by Haaretz, but by the Biden White House, which retracted the president’s claim that he had seen photographs of beheaded babies? In fact, only one baby is recorded among those killed on October 7, which means any claim to have seen multiple dead babies must be dismissed out of hand.

    Were you aware that failing to provide photographic evidence to back up his dubious testimony, Yossi Landau has said that those who question his claims “should be killed”?

    Why did you not mention ZAKA’s lack of coronary credentials, which makes it unqualified to provide forensic evidence? And why were Times readers not informed of ZAKA’s active relationship with the Israeli military?

    Were you aware that the founder and longtime leader of ZAKA attempted suicide in 2021 after facing multiple charges of rape of youth of both genders, and that Israeli media published reams of reports documenting corruption and theft of donations by ZAKA leadership?

    Taken together with Landau’s well-established pattern of lying about October 7 atrocities, the organization’s record of high-level corruption and malfeasance should have raised bright red flags for any journalistic professional.


    NY Times report larded with innuendo that proves nothing

    The Times states that women were “shot in the vagina” on October 7. Did this occur during combat, as many women were serving as active duty soldiers on base as part of the Gaza Division at the time? Were they shot in other parts of their body as well? How does this prove your confidently stated assertion that rape occurred on a systematic level on October 7?

    You also write of a “woman’s corpse that emergency responders discovered in the rubble of a besieged kibbutz with dozens of nails driven into her thighs and groin.” In what way did this support your conclusion of a “pattern of gender based violence” on October 7? Did a Hamas militant meticulously drive nails into a woman’s pelvic region before bringing an entire home down on her? Or were the nails actually part of furniture, drywall or other parts of the housing structure which collapsed on the female victim? The latter instance would seem far more plausible, as such injuries are now commonly witnessed – though never detailed by the Times – in the Gaza Strip, where thousands of civilians have been killed by the Israeli military in their homes with heavy munitions.

    Finally, who or what was responsible for reducing parts of a kibbutz to rubble? Did Hamas militants armed only with automatic rifles and RPG launchers have the capacity to destroy entire homes? Or was the female Israeli casualty described in your article, in fact, a victim of friendly fire from an Israeli tank shell or Hellfire missile?

    The public now knows that many Israeli noncombatants were killed by their country’s military on October 7. They know this largely thanks to the work of The Grayzone and other independent outlets. We were initially attacked for our work, but now Israeli media is demanding answers as well. Major legacy media organizations like yours continue to ignore serious political scandals like these while pursuing factually-challenged, shamefully unethical journalistic efforts aimed at legitimizing the Israeli government’s public relations objectives.

    https://thegrayzone.com/2024/01/10/questions-nyt-hamas-rape-report/
    Screams without proof: questions for NYT about shoddy ‘Hamas mass rape’ report Max Blumenthal and Aaron Maté January 10, 2024 After dismantling a New York Times front page feature alleging “a broader pattern of gender-based violence on Oct. 7” by Hamas, The Grayzone is demanding answers of the paper for its journalistic malpractice. The following was submitted to New York Times editors and lead author, Jeffrey Gettleman. The Grayzone has identified serious issues with the credibility of key sources quoted in the New York Times’ December 28 story, “Screams Without Words: How Hamas Weaponized Sexual Violence on October 7.” Authored by Jeffrey Gettleman, Anat Schwartz, and Adam Sella, the article purports to prove “a broader pattern of gender-based violence on Oct. 7” than even Israeli authorities have been willing to allege . However, the Times report is marred by sensationalism, wild leaps of logic, and an absence of concrete evidence to support its sweeping conclusion. The Times has come under fire from family members of Gal Abdush, the so-called “girl in the black dress” who features as Exhibit A in Gettleman and company’s attempt to demonstrate a pattern of rape by Hamas on October 7. Not only have Abdush’s sister and brother-in-law each denied that she was raped, the former has accused the Times of manipulating her family into participating by misleading them about their editorial angle. Though the family’s comments have sparked a major uproar on social media, the Times has yet to address the serious breach of journalistic integrity that its staff is accused of committing. The Israeli police have also issued a statement since the publication of the Times’ article asserting that they themselves are unable to locate eyewitnesses of rape on October 7, or to connect the testimonies published by outlets like the Times with anything remotely resembling evidence. We call on the New York Times to publicly address the comments by the Abdush family accusing Times reporters of misleading them and lying about the circumstances of her death. The Times must also address the statement issued by Israel’s police subsequent to the article’s publication and explain why Gettleman and his co-authors apparently omitted it. Further, we demand a response to our thoroughly sourced debunking of testimony by key witnesses quoted in the story, as well as the documented record of discredited claims and ethically dubious activity by those same witnesses. We have provided several questions for your consideration. If you are unable to furnish responses which satisfactorily address the issues we have raised about the credibility of your article, we believe it must be retracted in full. Family of “the girl in the black dress” accuses NYT of having “invented” rape claim You write, “Based largely on the video evidence — which was verified by The New York Times — Israeli police officials said they believed that [Gal] Abdush was raped, and she has become a symbol of the horrors visited upon Israeli women and girls during the Oct. 7 attacks.” However, the sister of Gal Abdush, Miral Alter, stated in a January 2 Instagram comment that “she was not raped… There was no proof that there was rape, it was only a video.” She also pointed out that the timeline between Gal’s last message to the family and the time of her reported murder made it impossible for a rape to occur: “How in 4 minutes [were] they also raped and burned [?]” Alter concluded, “the New York Times that came to us indicated that they wanted to do a story in memory of Gal and Nagy [her husband] and that’s why we approved. If we knew that it was a headline like rape slaughter, we would never agree. Never.” Is Alter’s statement accusing you of misleading her family true? And why have you ignored her comments bluntly stating that her sister had not been raped? Did you and Alter ever discuss your theory that Abdush was the victim of a sexual assault? Gal Abdush’s brother-in-law has also spoken out against the claims contained in your article. In a January 4 interview with Israel’s Channel 13, Nissim Abdush denied that Gal had been raped, insisting that it would have been impossible given her husband was present with her at the time. “The media invented it,” he stated. Nissim Abdush also accused the international press – presumably referring to you – of resorting to sensationalism in place of evidence-based journalism. Finally, he lamented that the false claims of his sister-in-law’s rape were harmful to the psychological health of her orphaned children. Once again, why have you failed to incorporate statements by a family member of Gal Abdush explicitly contradicting key claims in your article? Eti Bracha, the mother of Gal Abdush, told Israel’s YNet she was first told that her daughter had been raped when she was contacted by you. “We didn’t know about the rape at first, we only knew when the New York Times reporter contacted us. They said they cross-examined the evidence and said that Gal had been sexually assaulted. Until now we don’t know what exactly happened,” added the mother. Is it normal journalistic protocol to influence a family’s perspective of a loved one’s killing, when the crime remains unsolved? How did the New York Times obtain evidence which the Bracha-Abdush family had not yet seen? And what evidence existed beyond the video mentioned in your article? There are more issues with your reporting on the killing of Gal Abdush. You claim that a video of Abdush filmed on October 8 by someone named Eden Wessely “went viral, with thousands of people responding, desperate to know if the woman in the black dress [was] their missing friend, sister or daughter.” However, as the independent outlet Mondoweiss pointed out, you “did not link to the video but released a distant, indistinct image from it that revealed nothing.” Mondoweiss questions how you “confirmed the existence of these responses since Wessely’s Instagram account has been banned, and she created a new account in mid-December.” Further, as Mondoweiss noted, “There is currently no trace of the video on the internet despite the [NY Times] claim that it ‘went viral.’ Moreover, the Israeli press, despite reporting on hundreds of stories about the October 7 victims, never mentioned ‘the woman in the black dress’ even once previous to the December 28 story.” So where is the video that you claimed “went viral”? If it contained such powerful evidence of sexual violence, why was it not featured in your article? And how did you confirm the thousands of responses to the video by people supposedly demanding information about “the woman in the black dress”? Israeli police “failed to connect the acts with the victims” Haaretz reported on January 4, “The police are having difficulty locating victims of sexual assault from the Hamas attack, or people who witnessed such attacks, and decided to appeal to the public to encourage those who have information on the matter to come forward and give testimony. Even in the few cases in which the organization collected testimony about sexual offenses committed on October 7, it failed to connect the acts with the victims who were harmed by them.” Why are the Israeli police struggling to find witnesses of sexual assault which your paper confidently described on October 7 as so widespread that it demonstrated “a pattern?” Israeli police “key witness” quoted by Times made impossible claims; evidence is elusive You describe a 24-year-old accountant identified as “Sapir” as “one of the Israeli police’s key witnesses.” Yet one of Sapir’s key claims undermines the rest of her testimony. According to the Times, “she saw three other women raped and terrorists carrying the severed heads of three more women.” Given that no record exists of women being beheaded on October 7, why did you include this claim from Sapir? Does such an assertion not undermine her credibility and raise doubts about the rest of her testimony? And why, at minimum, did you not mention that there is no forensic evidence to support Sapir’s claim? According to Haaretz, “investigators were unable to identify the women who, according to the testimony of [Sapir] and other eyewitnesses, were raped and murdered.” Israeli Police Superintendent Adi Edry told the paper, “I have circumstantial evidence, but ultimately my duty is to find evidence that supports her testimony and to find the victims’ identity. At this stage I don’t have those specific corpses.” Why did the New York Times fail to interview Edry and other investigators about Sapir’s testimony, and demand corroborating evidence to support the supposed witness’s lurid claims of gang rape, mutilation and mass beheadings? How do Edry’s statements to Haaretz reflect on Sapir’s reliability? You also neglected to note a glaring discrepancy between Sapir’s claims to you and in previous accounts. Sapir is the only known female witness who claims to have seen sexual violence on Oct. 7th. Her story – and that of another male “witness,” Yura, who was with her – has radically changed. On Nov. 8th, Haaretz reported that a female witness – almost certainly Sapir – claimed that she saw men in fatigues bend one woman over, shoot her in the head, and mutilate her body. Her friend who was hiding with her — all but certainly Yura — then claims he “didn’t see the rape,” but that Sapir “told him at the time what she saw.” Fast forward to Dec. 28th, and Sapir and Yura tell the NYT a completely new tale: According to Sapir, there is now not one woman victim, but two women. And now no one is shot. The first woman was bent over and repeatedly knifed in the back when she flinched. The second woman was raped, had her breast cut off, and the terrorists supposedly played with the breast. Then she saw three severed heads. And whereas Yura previously did not witness the rape, he now – according to the NYT – says he “described seeing a woman raped and killed.” So at this point, according to these “witnesses,” there is not one but two female rape victims. And there is no longer a mere shooting, but a breast mutilation, knifing, and three severed heads. What’s more, the male “witness” now suddenly remembers seeing a rape after not seeing one the first time he told the story. Why did you ignore these glaring discrepancies from your own “witnesses”? If these are somehow different witnesses, why did you neglect to interview them or even mention their existence? Testimony by supposed paramedic debunked by official records, previous record of lying to media You write, “A paramedic in an Israeli commando unit said that he had found the bodies of two teenage girls in a room in Be’eri. One was lying on her side, he said, boxer shorts ripped, bruises by her groin. The other was sprawled on the floor face down, he said, pajama pants pulled to her knees, bottom exposed, semen smeared on her back.” You report that the paramedic conveniently “kept moving and did not document the scene.” However, “neighbors of the two girls killed — who were sisters, 13 and 16 — said their bodies had been found alone, separated from the rest of their family.” That paramedic appears to be the same source CNN relied on in its own special report accusing Hamas of a systematic and deliberate campaign of rape on October 7. He is a supposed paramedic from Israeli Air Force Special Tactics rescue unit 669 identified only as “G.” And like your other sources, he has proven to be an unreliable, if not deeply dishonest, witness. The closest match to the teenage girls described by “G” is Yahel and Noiya Sharabi, who were 13 and 16, respectively. But according to the Times of Israel, the girls’ bodies were “found in an embrace” with their mother, and not “alone, separated from the rest of the family,” as stated by the anonymous neighbors you quoted. Israeli media has also reported, “Lianne and Yahel [Sharabi] could only be identified through DNA samples. Noiya was identified through her teeth only two days ago.” How was the paramedic “G” able to detect semen on one of the girls, and bruises on the other, and view their states of undress, if their bodies were, in fact, burned beyond recognition? Why did you not cross check the anonymous, supposed paramedic’s testimony with evidence from the scene? “G,” was previously interviewed by the right-wing Republic TV of India. In that appearance, he described in a distinctive Brooklyn accent how his “teammate” found “a baby, perhaps not even more than a year old, with multiple points stabbed all over his body and tossed into the garbage.” This was a clear falsehood, as only one baby was recorded among the dead on October 7: Mila Cohen, who was accidentally shot, not stabbed, and who was not found in any garbage can. Why did the documented record of fabrication by “G” not lead you to question his testimony? Did you vet “G” to verify that he was actually on the ground in Kibbutz Be’eri when he said he was? How do you know he was a paramedic with an Israeli special forces unit, and not an Israeli intelligence operative? Times’ key “eyewitness” changed story multiple times, did not mention rape in initial testimony Similar issues of credibility arise when considering the testimony you collected from an Israeli special forces veteran and mercenary named Raz Cohen. Since his first interview on October 9, Cohen has altered his testimony several times. Cohen told the NYT he personally witnessed a white van filled with Hamas militants pull up a mile from the Nova music festival, gather over a woman, and gang rape her: “I saw the men standing in a half circle around her. One penetrates her. She screams. I still remember her voice, screams without words.” He said they then butchered the woman with knives. When Cohen was interviewed on October 9 about the attack on the music festival, however, he did not mention any act of sexual assault committed by Hamas militants. See here and here. A day later, Cohen began to introduce vague suggestions of sexual assault into his testimony, but did not indicate that he witnessed any such acts taking place: “The terrorists captured women and hurt them in any way possible, and when they were done with them, they started butchering them in front of their friends,” Cohen told an Israeli publication. Cohen was also interviewed by Canada’s CBC on October 10, but was not quoted about witnessing any rape. The same day, Cohen offered lurid new details to PBS, claiming that “the terrorists” not only slaughtered women after raping them on October 7, but engaged in necrophilia as well: “The terrorists, people from Gaza, raped girls. And after they raped them, they killed them, murdered them with knives, or the opposite, killed — and after they raped, they — they did that.” Testimony he provided to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on October 11 differed slightly, and remained vague: “We see from there a lot of people and girls screaming and murdered by knives. And the girls, the terrorists rape them,” he stated abruptly and without apparent emotion. By this point, no Israeli media had reported that any rapes occurred on October 7. Cohen quickly fell off the media’s radar. He would not be heard from again until you interviewed him. The novel testimony he delivered to you raises serious questions about his credibility, and that of your newspaper’s editorial standards. How and why did Cohen’s story transform so dramatically over time, providing explosive new details at a moment of political urgency for the army in which he served? Was it plausible that a group of hardened Hamas commandoes suddenly paused their surprise attack, which was focused on taking as many captives as quickly as possible, stood in a circle and gang raped a woman, one after another, while Israeli forces mobilized to attack them? Why did Hamas militants use knives to kill their victims, as Cohen alleged, when they carried rifles and grenades? Why did he drop his earlier allegation of necrophilia when speaking to the Times? And why did he mention seeing “a lot of people and girls” being raped to the ABC on October 11, but alter his testimony to refer specifically to a single female victim when interviewed by the Times? Perhaps most importantly, why did Cohen’s friend, Shoam Gueta, who took shelter with him on October 7, not describe witnessing a gang rape when interviewed by the Times? There is also the issue of Cohen’s odd behavior during the October 7, and in its aftermath. Would someone who claimed to have witnessed a horrific gang rape and mass murder have been taking selfies of himself smiling and making the trademark Hawaiian “shaka” hand gesture? And if that source appeared in an October 7-themed fashion show to gain celebrity and potential profit off their experience at the Nova music festival, would that not also raise questions about their credibility? Because that is precisely what Raz Cohen did. Times’ “rescuer” source has established pattern of lying, embellishment; works for group with documented history of sexual abuse, corruption You prominently feature testimony by Yossi Landau, Southern Commander of the ZAKA organization. For critical background on Landau and his organization, we refer you to Max Blumenthal’s December 6 investigation for The Grayzone, “Scandal-stained Israeli ‘rescue’ group fuels October 7 fabrications.” Were you aware, as The Grayzone documented, that Landau’s previous claims of having seen beheaded babies and a fetus cut from a dead woman’s womb on October 7 have been discredited not only by the Israeli newspaper by Haaretz, but by the Biden White House, which retracted the president’s claim that he had seen photographs of beheaded babies? In fact, only one baby is recorded among those killed on October 7, which means any claim to have seen multiple dead babies must be dismissed out of hand. Were you aware that failing to provide photographic evidence to back up his dubious testimony, Yossi Landau has said that those who question his claims “should be killed”? Why did you not mention ZAKA’s lack of coronary credentials, which makes it unqualified to provide forensic evidence? And why were Times readers not informed of ZAKA’s active relationship with the Israeli military? Were you aware that the founder and longtime leader of ZAKA attempted suicide in 2021 after facing multiple charges of rape of youth of both genders, and that Israeli media published reams of reports documenting corruption and theft of donations by ZAKA leadership? Taken together with Landau’s well-established pattern of lying about October 7 atrocities, the organization’s record of high-level corruption and malfeasance should have raised bright red flags for any journalistic professional. NY Times report larded with innuendo that proves nothing The Times states that women were “shot in the vagina” on October 7. Did this occur during combat, as many women were serving as active duty soldiers on base as part of the Gaza Division at the time? Were they shot in other parts of their body as well? How does this prove your confidently stated assertion that rape occurred on a systematic level on October 7? You also write of a “woman’s corpse that emergency responders discovered in the rubble of a besieged kibbutz with dozens of nails driven into her thighs and groin.” In what way did this support your conclusion of a “pattern of gender based violence” on October 7? Did a Hamas militant meticulously drive nails into a woman’s pelvic region before bringing an entire home down on her? Or were the nails actually part of furniture, drywall or other parts of the housing structure which collapsed on the female victim? The latter instance would seem far more plausible, as such injuries are now commonly witnessed – though never detailed by the Times – in the Gaza Strip, where thousands of civilians have been killed by the Israeli military in their homes with heavy munitions. Finally, who or what was responsible for reducing parts of a kibbutz to rubble? Did Hamas militants armed only with automatic rifles and RPG launchers have the capacity to destroy entire homes? Or was the female Israeli casualty described in your article, in fact, a victim of friendly fire from an Israeli tank shell or Hellfire missile? The public now knows that many Israeli noncombatants were killed by their country’s military on October 7. They know this largely thanks to the work of The Grayzone and other independent outlets. We were initially attacked for our work, but now Israeli media is demanding answers as well. Major legacy media organizations like yours continue to ignore serious political scandals like these while pursuing factually-challenged, shamefully unethical journalistic efforts aimed at legitimizing the Israeli government’s public relations objectives. https://thegrayzone.com/2024/01/10/questions-nyt-hamas-rape-report/
    THEGRAYZONE.COM
    Screams without proof: questions for NYT about shoddy 'Hamas mass rape' report - The Grayzone
    After dismantling a New York Times front page feature alleging “a broader pattern of gender-based violence on Oct. 7” by Hamas, The Grayzone is demanding answers of the paper for its journalistic malpractice. The following was submitted to New York Times editors and lead author, Jeffrey Gettleman. The Grayzone has identified serious issues with the credibility of key sources quoted in the New York Times’ December 28 story, “Screams Without Words: How Hamas Weaponized Sexual Violence on October 7.” Authored […]
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  • The Cyber Threat Intelligence League
    Claudio RestaJanuary 18, 2024

    VT Condemns the ETHNIC CLEANSING OF PALESTINIANS by USA/Israel

    $ 280 BILLION US TAXPAYER DOLLARS INVESTED since 1948 in US/Israeli Ethnic Cleansing and Occupation Operation; $ 150B direct "aid" and $ 130B in "Offense" contracts
    Source: Embassy of Israel, Washington, D.C. and US Department of State.

    There is a vast plan for global censorship by US and British military contractors:



    US military contractor Pablo Breuer (left), UK defense researcher Sara-Jayne “SJ” Terp (center), and Chris Krebs, former director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (DHS-CISA)

    – Documents received by investigative journalists Michael Shellenberger, Alex Gutentag and Matt Taibbi from an anonymous but “highly credible” whistleblower reveal new details about how the US censorship industrial complex – a network of more than 100 government agencies, private companies, universities and organizations non-profit – seeks to control and criminalize “wrong thinking”.
    – The documents describe how modern digital censorship programs were created and the various roles of the military, US intelligence agencies, civil society organizations and commercial media.
    They also describe the methods and techniques used, such as the creation and use of “sock puppet” accounts to spy on and direct online discussions and propagate desired narratives, and the discrediting of dissidents “as a necessary prerequisite for requiring censorship in their comparisons.”
    – Documents show that the weaponization of the financial sector originated with the Cyber Threat Intelligence League (CTIL), which specifically sought to get banks to “cut off financial services to individuals organizing gatherings or events.”
    – CTIL files also show that there was a clear intent to circumvent the First Amendment by outsourcing censorship to the private, non-governmental sector. According to the informant, “the ethic was that if we get away with it, it’s legal.”

    Documents received by investigative journalists Michael Shellenberger, Alex Gutentag and Matt Taibbi from an anonymous but “highly credible” whistleblower reveal new details about how the US censorship industrial complex – a network of more than 100 government agencies, private companies, universities and non-profit organizations – regulates and criminalizes “wrong thinking”.


    as Ursula Van der Leyen, the president of European Commission since 2019,

    stated at the WEF in Davos on January 17th, 2023 similar censorship are the most urgent and necessary policies (!) and will be implemented everywhere

    They describe the activities of an “anti-disinformation” group called the Cyber Threat Intelligence League, or CTIL, which officially began as a volunteer project of data scientists and defense and intelligence veterans, but whose tactics over time appear to have been absorbed into multiple official projects, including those of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

    The CTI League documents provide missing answers to key questions not addressed in the Twitter Files and Facebook Files. Together, they offer a complete picture of the rise of the “anti-disinformation” industry, or what we have called the Censorship Industrial Complex.”

    The documents describe how modern digital censorship programs were created and the various roles of the military, US intelligence agencies, civil society organizations and commercial media.

    They also describe the methods and techniques used, such as the creation and use of “sock puppet” accounts to spy on and direct online discussions and propagate desired narratives, the discrediting of dissidents, and the deliberate weaponization of the financial industry against them .

    According to the whistleblower, the CTIL was also involved in the creation of a counter-disinformation project to “avoid a repeat of 2016”, a reference to Brexit and Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the elections, two situations in which the democratic processes have actually won.

    As Jimmy Dore noted, it wasn’t about preventing the circulation of false information.

    It was about ensuring that no political outsider could ever enter the Oval Office again.

    The instruction to prevent a repeat of 2016 was a direct call to undermine, if not eliminate, the process of free and fair elections.

    Importantly, the documents admit that censorship efforts against Americans must be carried out by private sector partners, because the government does not have “legal authority” to do so.

    The new series of documents and videos reveals that 2019 was a pivotal year for the censorship industrial complex. According to Public, it was then that “US and British military and intelligence contractors, led by a former British defense researcher, Sara-Jayne ‘SJ’ Terp, developed the blanket censorship framework.”



    These contractors became co-leaders of CTIL, whose original founders were a former Israeli intelligence official, Ohad Zaidenberg, the person responsible of Microsoft security Nate Warfield, Chris Mills, another Microsoft security official, and Marc Rogers, the head of security operations at the hacker convention DEF CON.

    According to media reports , these highly trained and in-demand professionals have made the altruistic decision to offer their services to help billion-dollar hospitals with their cybersecurity, for free and with no strings attached. It wasn’t a believable cover story then, and it certainly hasn’t gotten any better.

    Within a month of CTIL’s founding in March 2020, this supposedly entirely volunteer group had grown to 1,400 “invitation-only” members in 76 countries and entered into an official partnership with Cybersecurity and Information Security Agency (CISA) of the United States Department of Homeland Security. As reported by Public:

    Parallel censorship agencies

    In spring 2020, CISA also created the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) – a consortium composed of the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO), the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public, the Atlantic’s Digital Forensic Research Lab Council and from Graphika (a social media analytics company) – and outsourced what would otherwise have been illegal and unconstitutional censorship.

    During the 2020 election cycle, EIP and CISA worked with the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) and the DHS-supported Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC) to influence and monitor political discussions online. EIP coordinated the removal of unwanted content using a real-time chat application shared by DHS, EIP, and social media companies.

    At the same time, CTIL monitored and reported anti-blockade views on social media. A “law enforcement” channel was created specifically to spy on and monitor social media users posting anti-lockdown hashtags. CTIL even kept a printout detailing their Twitter biographies.

    According to Public, the CTIL has also “engaged in offensive operations to influence public opinion, discussing ways to promote ‘counter-messaging,’ co-opting hashtags, diluting unfavorable messaging, creating sock puppet accounts, and infiltrating private groups by invitation.” In February 2021, the EIP was renamed the Virality Project, at which point its censorship focus shifted from elections to COVID-related issues.

    Government infiltration and takeover

    Although CTIL member Bonnie Smalley responded to a Public question by saying that CTIL has “nothing to do with the government,” the evidence shows otherwise. At least a dozen government employees working with DHS, the FBI, and CISA were also active members of CTIL.

    According to the whistleblower, CTIL’s goal “was to become part of the federal government.” Terp’s plan called for the creation of “MisinfoSec communities” that would include the federal sector, and documents show that this goal was achieved. In April 2020, Chris Krebs, then director of CISA, also publicly announced the agency’s partnership with CTIL.

    The audience continues:“The documents also show that Terp and his colleagues, through a group called the MisinfoSec Working Group, which included Renee DiResta, head of research at the Stanford Internet Observatory, created a censorship, influence and counter-disinformation strategy called

    Adversarial Misinformation and Influence Tactics and Techniques (AMITT).

    SJ on X: "AMITT (Adversarial Misinformation and Influence Tactics and Techniques) includes the left-of-boom misinformation activities that are often missed by other analyses, where ”left of boom” covers activity before an incident

    They wrote AMITT by adapting a cybersecurity framework developed by MITER… Terp then used AMITT to develop the DISARM framework, which the World Health Organization then used to “counter anti-vaccination campaigns across Europe.”

    A key component of Terp’s work through CTIL, MisinfoSec and AMITT has been to bring the concept of “cognitive security” to the fields of cybersecurity and information security…

    The ambitions of the 2020 pioneers of the censorship industrial complex went far beyond simply requiring Twitter to place a warning label on tweets or blacklist individuals.

    The AMITT framework calls for discrediting people as a necessary prerequisite for requiring censorship of them. Invite influencers to train to spread messages. And he invites us to try to convince banks to cut financial services to individuals who organize demonstrations or events.”

    The arming of the financial sector was born with the CTIL

    Now we know where this financial sector weapon comes from. It originated with the CTIL, which hspecifically sought to induce banks to “cut financial services to individuals who organize rallies or events”.

    Clearly, as my case and that of many others demonstrates, even banks and online payment processors have been tricked into cutting off services to people who simply expressed opposing views. It’s not just demonstration organizers who are being targeted.

    Under the cover of altruism

    Although CTIL officials have repeatedly stressed that the organization was founded on purely altruistic principles, the clear goal of its leaders was to “build support for censorship among national security and cybersecurity institutions,” writes Public, and they built that support by promoting Terp’s idea of “cognitive safety.”

    The choice of the term “cognitive safety” takes on a rather sinister flavor in light of Dr. Michael Nehls’ findings that over the past four years there has been what appears to be an intentional effort to destroy autobiographical memory function in the public’s brain , thus facilitating mass indoctrination and inhibiting personal will and critical thinking.vast plan for global censorship by US and British military contractors

    The Indoctrinated Brain - By Michael Nehls (hardcover) : Target

    He presents his thesis in the book “The Indoctrinated Brain: How to Successfully Fend Off the Global Attack on Your Mental Freedom”, published in mid-December 2023.

    The whistleblower material clearly reveals that sophisticated military tactics have been turned against the American public, powerful psychological tools – the same tools that, according to Nehls, can literally alter the biological functions of the brain.

    Public cites a MisinfoSec report in which “the authors called for placing censorship efforts within ‘cybersecurity,’ while acknowledging that ‘disinformation security’ is entirely different from cybersecurity. They wrote that the third pillar of the “information environment”, after physical and cyber security, should be the “cognitive dimension”.

    Indeed, your mind – your cognition, your very ability to think independently – is the battlefield of today’s war, as Nehls proposes in his book. The scary part is that the tools used have the power to reprogram who we are.

    We are indeed “hackable animals,” as proposed by Yuval Noah Harari, and the censorship industrial complex has already hacked the brain structure of billions of people over the past four years. Gutentag also talks about it in an article dated December 3, 2023:”What was once considered a “conspiracy theory”, according to which military and intelligence forces manipulated public opinion through inorganic interventions, has now been confirmed .

    Our study of the censorship industrial complex has exposed a far-reaching plan to subvert the democratic process and engage in activities that have a basis in military techniques and that amount to attempts at thought or mind control.”

    ”It’s legal if we can get away with it”

    The CTIL files also demonstrate that there was a clear intent to circumvent the First Amendment by outsourcing censorship to the private, non-governmental sector.

    According to the informant:“The ethos was if we get away with it, it’s legal, and there were no First Amendment problems because we have a ‘public-private partnership’ – that’s the word they used to mask these problems. Private individuals can do things that public officials cannot do, and public officials can provide leadership and coordination.”

    Good news, bad news

    ”The good news is that more and more information is coming out about the U.S. government’s illegal outsourcing of censorship, and with it, legal challenges that pose roadblocks to this circumvention of the Constitution.

    The three activists also achieved other victories. In August 2022, DHS was forced to shut down the Disinformation Governance Board due to public backlash. CISA also deleted information about its national censorship work from its website and dismantled its Misinformation, Disinformation, and Malinformation (MDM) subcommittee.

    The federal government’s Select Subcommittee on Armaments is also continuing its search for the truth and will (hopefully) use all the power at its disposal to put an end to the abuses. Its latest report, “The Weaponization of ‘Disinformation’ Pseudo-Experts and Bureaucrats: How the Federal Government Partnered with Universities to Censor Americans’ Political Speech” was released on November 6, 2023.

    Unfortunately, there is a global effort underway not only to normalize, but also to legalize this type of censorship by third parties.

    In short, they are trying to restructure the censorship industry “away from a top-down government-led model” to a “competitive brokerage model” in which “content management” (read censorship) is simply outsourced to third-party organizations.

    In this way, a “legal” market for disinformation compliance is created, while the government can claim to have nothing to do with controlling the information. In essence, we are witnessing the emergence of organized corporate censorship.

    There is no clear solution to this threat other than to continue to oppose all efforts to legalize, standardize and normalize censorship. Vocally oppose, refuse to use intermediaries like NewsGuard, and boycott any company or organization that uses intermediaries or engages in censorship of any kind.”

    Claudio Resta was born in Genoa, Italy in 1958, he is a citizen of the world (Spinoza), a maverick philosopher, and an interdisciplinary expert, oh, and an artist, too.

    Grew up in a family of scientists where many sciences were represented by philosophy to psychoanalysis, from economics to history, from mathematics to physics, and where these sciences were subject to public display by their subject experts family members, and all those who they were part of could participate in a public family dialogue/debate on these subjects if they so wished. Read Full Bio

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    About VT - Policies & Disclosures - Comment Policy
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    https://www.vtforeignpolicy.com/2024/01/the-cyber-threat-intelligence-league/
    The Cyber Threat Intelligence League Claudio RestaJanuary 18, 2024 VT Condemns the ETHNIC CLEANSING OF PALESTINIANS by USA/Israel $ 280 BILLION US TAXPAYER DOLLARS INVESTED since 1948 in US/Israeli Ethnic Cleansing and Occupation Operation; $ 150B direct "aid" and $ 130B in "Offense" contracts Source: Embassy of Israel, Washington, D.C. and US Department of State. There is a vast plan for global censorship by US and British military contractors: US military contractor Pablo Breuer (left), UK defense researcher Sara-Jayne “SJ” Terp (center), and Chris Krebs, former director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (DHS-CISA) – Documents received by investigative journalists Michael Shellenberger, Alex Gutentag and Matt Taibbi from an anonymous but “highly credible” whistleblower reveal new details about how the US censorship industrial complex – a network of more than 100 government agencies, private companies, universities and organizations non-profit – seeks to control and criminalize “wrong thinking”. – The documents describe how modern digital censorship programs were created and the various roles of the military, US intelligence agencies, civil society organizations and commercial media. They also describe the methods and techniques used, such as the creation and use of “sock puppet” accounts to spy on and direct online discussions and propagate desired narratives, and the discrediting of dissidents “as a necessary prerequisite for requiring censorship in their comparisons.” – Documents show that the weaponization of the financial sector originated with the Cyber Threat Intelligence League (CTIL), which specifically sought to get banks to “cut off financial services to individuals organizing gatherings or events.” – CTIL files also show that there was a clear intent to circumvent the First Amendment by outsourcing censorship to the private, non-governmental sector. According to the informant, “the ethic was that if we get away with it, it’s legal.” Documents received by investigative journalists Michael Shellenberger, Alex Gutentag and Matt Taibbi from an anonymous but “highly credible” whistleblower reveal new details about how the US censorship industrial complex – a network of more than 100 government agencies, private companies, universities and non-profit organizations – regulates and criminalizes “wrong thinking”. as Ursula Van der Leyen, the president of European Commission since 2019, stated at the WEF in Davos on January 17th, 2023 similar censorship are the most urgent and necessary policies (!) and will be implemented everywhere They describe the activities of an “anti-disinformation” group called the Cyber Threat Intelligence League, or CTIL, which officially began as a volunteer project of data scientists and defense and intelligence veterans, but whose tactics over time appear to have been absorbed into multiple official projects, including those of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The CTI League documents provide missing answers to key questions not addressed in the Twitter Files and Facebook Files. Together, they offer a complete picture of the rise of the “anti-disinformation” industry, or what we have called the Censorship Industrial Complex.” The documents describe how modern digital censorship programs were created and the various roles of the military, US intelligence agencies, civil society organizations and commercial media. They also describe the methods and techniques used, such as the creation and use of “sock puppet” accounts to spy on and direct online discussions and propagate desired narratives, the discrediting of dissidents, and the deliberate weaponization of the financial industry against them . According to the whistleblower, the CTIL was also involved in the creation of a counter-disinformation project to “avoid a repeat of 2016”, a reference to Brexit and Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the elections, two situations in which the democratic processes have actually won. As Jimmy Dore noted, it wasn’t about preventing the circulation of false information. It was about ensuring that no political outsider could ever enter the Oval Office again. The instruction to prevent a repeat of 2016 was a direct call to undermine, if not eliminate, the process of free and fair elections. Importantly, the documents admit that censorship efforts against Americans must be carried out by private sector partners, because the government does not have “legal authority” to do so. The new series of documents and videos reveals that 2019 was a pivotal year for the censorship industrial complex. According to Public, it was then that “US and British military and intelligence contractors, led by a former British defense researcher, Sara-Jayne ‘SJ’ Terp, developed the blanket censorship framework.” These contractors became co-leaders of CTIL, whose original founders were a former Israeli intelligence official, Ohad Zaidenberg, the person responsible of Microsoft security Nate Warfield, Chris Mills, another Microsoft security official, and Marc Rogers, the head of security operations at the hacker convention DEF CON. According to media reports , these highly trained and in-demand professionals have made the altruistic decision to offer their services to help billion-dollar hospitals with their cybersecurity, for free and with no strings attached. It wasn’t a believable cover story then, and it certainly hasn’t gotten any better. Within a month of CTIL’s founding in March 2020, this supposedly entirely volunteer group had grown to 1,400 “invitation-only” members in 76 countries and entered into an official partnership with Cybersecurity and Information Security Agency (CISA) of the United States Department of Homeland Security. As reported by Public: Parallel censorship agencies In spring 2020, CISA also created the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) – a consortium composed of the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO), the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public, the Atlantic’s Digital Forensic Research Lab Council and from Graphika (a social media analytics company) – and outsourced what would otherwise have been illegal and unconstitutional censorship. During the 2020 election cycle, EIP and CISA worked with the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) and the DHS-supported Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC) to influence and monitor political discussions online. EIP coordinated the removal of unwanted content using a real-time chat application shared by DHS, EIP, and social media companies. At the same time, CTIL monitored and reported anti-blockade views on social media. A “law enforcement” channel was created specifically to spy on and monitor social media users posting anti-lockdown hashtags. CTIL even kept a printout detailing their Twitter biographies. According to Public, the CTIL has also “engaged in offensive operations to influence public opinion, discussing ways to promote ‘counter-messaging,’ co-opting hashtags, diluting unfavorable messaging, creating sock puppet accounts, and infiltrating private groups by invitation.” In February 2021, the EIP was renamed the Virality Project, at which point its censorship focus shifted from elections to COVID-related issues. Government infiltration and takeover Although CTIL member Bonnie Smalley responded to a Public question by saying that CTIL has “nothing to do with the government,” the evidence shows otherwise. At least a dozen government employees working with DHS, the FBI, and CISA were also active members of CTIL. According to the whistleblower, CTIL’s goal “was to become part of the federal government.” Terp’s plan called for the creation of “MisinfoSec communities” that would include the federal sector, and documents show that this goal was achieved. In April 2020, Chris Krebs, then director of CISA, also publicly announced the agency’s partnership with CTIL. The audience continues:“The documents also show that Terp and his colleagues, through a group called the MisinfoSec Working Group, which included [Renee] DiResta, head of research at the Stanford Internet Observatory, created a censorship, influence and counter-disinformation strategy called Adversarial Misinformation and Influence Tactics and Techniques (AMITT). SJ on X: "AMITT (Adversarial Misinformation and Influence Tactics and Techniques) includes the left-of-boom misinformation activities that are often missed by other analyses, where ”left of boom” covers activity before an incident They wrote AMITT by adapting a cybersecurity framework developed by MITER… Terp then used AMITT to develop the DISARM framework, which the World Health Organization then used to “counter anti-vaccination campaigns across Europe.” A key component of Terp’s work through CTIL, MisinfoSec and AMITT has been to bring the concept of “cognitive security” to the fields of cybersecurity and information security… The ambitions of the 2020 pioneers of the censorship industrial complex went far beyond simply requiring Twitter to place a warning label on tweets or blacklist individuals. The AMITT framework calls for discrediting people as a necessary prerequisite for requiring censorship of them. Invite influencers to train to spread messages. And he invites us to try to convince banks to cut financial services to individuals who organize demonstrations or events.” The arming of the financial sector was born with the CTIL Now we know where this financial sector weapon comes from. It originated with the CTIL, which hspecifically sought to induce banks to “cut financial services to individuals who organize rallies or events”. Clearly, as my case and that of many others demonstrates, even banks and online payment processors have been tricked into cutting off services to people who simply expressed opposing views. It’s not just demonstration organizers who are being targeted. Under the cover of altruism Although CTIL officials have repeatedly stressed that the organization was founded on purely altruistic principles, the clear goal of its leaders was to “build support for censorship among national security and cybersecurity institutions,” writes Public, and they built that support by promoting Terp’s idea of “cognitive safety.” The choice of the term “cognitive safety” takes on a rather sinister flavor in light of Dr. Michael Nehls’ findings that over the past four years there has been what appears to be an intentional effort to destroy autobiographical memory function in the public’s brain , thus facilitating mass indoctrination and inhibiting personal will and critical thinking.vast plan for global censorship by US and British military contractors The Indoctrinated Brain - By Michael Nehls (hardcover) : Target He presents his thesis in the book “The Indoctrinated Brain: How to Successfully Fend Off the Global Attack on Your Mental Freedom”, published in mid-December 2023. The whistleblower material clearly reveals that sophisticated military tactics have been turned against the American public, powerful psychological tools – the same tools that, according to Nehls, can literally alter the biological functions of the brain. Public cites a MisinfoSec report in which “the authors called for placing censorship efforts within ‘cybersecurity,’ while acknowledging that ‘disinformation security’ is entirely different from cybersecurity. They wrote that the third pillar of the “information environment”, after physical and cyber security, should be the “cognitive dimension”. Indeed, your mind – your cognition, your very ability to think independently – is the battlefield of today’s war, as Nehls proposes in his book. The scary part is that the tools used have the power to reprogram who we are. We are indeed “hackable animals,” as proposed by Yuval Noah Harari, and the censorship industrial complex has already hacked the brain structure of billions of people over the past four years. Gutentag also talks about it in an article dated December 3, 2023:”What was once considered a “conspiracy theory”, according to which military and intelligence forces manipulated public opinion through inorganic interventions, has now been confirmed . Our study of the censorship industrial complex has exposed a far-reaching plan to subvert the democratic process and engage in activities that have a basis in military techniques and that amount to attempts at thought or mind control.” ”It’s legal if we can get away with it” The CTIL files also demonstrate that there was a clear intent to circumvent the First Amendment by outsourcing censorship to the private, non-governmental sector. According to the informant:“The ethos was if we get away with it, it’s legal, and there were no First Amendment problems because we have a ‘public-private partnership’ – that’s the word they used to mask these problems. Private individuals can do things that public officials cannot do, and public officials can provide leadership and coordination.” Good news, bad news ”The good news is that more and more information is coming out about the U.S. government’s illegal outsourcing of censorship, and with it, legal challenges that pose roadblocks to this circumvention of the Constitution. The three activists also achieved other victories. In August 2022, DHS was forced to shut down the Disinformation Governance Board due to public backlash. CISA also deleted information about its national censorship work from its website and dismantled its Misinformation, Disinformation, and Malinformation (MDM) subcommittee. The federal government’s Select Subcommittee on Armaments is also continuing its search for the truth and will (hopefully) use all the power at its disposal to put an end to the abuses. Its latest report, “The Weaponization of ‘Disinformation’ Pseudo-Experts and Bureaucrats: How the Federal Government Partnered with Universities to Censor Americans’ Political Speech” was released on November 6, 2023. Unfortunately, there is a global effort underway not only to normalize, but also to legalize this type of censorship by third parties. In short, they are trying to restructure the censorship industry “away from a top-down government-led model” to a “competitive brokerage model” in which “content management” (read censorship) is simply outsourced to third-party organizations. In this way, a “legal” market for disinformation compliance is created, while the government can claim to have nothing to do with controlling the information. In essence, we are witnessing the emergence of organized corporate censorship. There is no clear solution to this threat other than to continue to oppose all efforts to legalize, standardize and normalize censorship. Vocally oppose, refuse to use intermediaries like NewsGuard, and boycott any company or organization that uses intermediaries or engages in censorship of any kind.” Claudio Resta was born in Genoa, Italy in 1958, he is a citizen of the world (Spinoza), a maverick philosopher, and an interdisciplinary expert, oh, and an artist, too. Grew up in a family of scientists where many sciences were represented by philosophy to psychoanalysis, from economics to history, from mathematics to physics, and where these sciences were subject to public display by their subject experts family members, and all those who they were part of could participate in a public family dialogue/debate on these subjects if they so wished. Read Full Bio Latest Articles (2023-Present) Archived Articles (2019-2022) ATTENTION READERS We See The World From All Sides and Want YOU To Be Fully Informed In fact, intentional disinformation is a disgraceful scourge in media today. So to assuage any possible errant incorrect information posted herein, we strongly encourage you to seek corroboration from other non-VT sources before forming an educated opinion. About VT - Policies & Disclosures - Comment Policy Due to the nature of uncensored content posted by VT's fully independent international writers, VT cannot guarantee absolute validity. All content is owned by the author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images are the full responsibility of the article author and NOT VT. https://www.vtforeignpolicy.com/2024/01/the-cyber-threat-intelligence-league/
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    The Cyber Threat Intelligence League
    There is a vast plan for global censorship by US and British military contractors: US military contractor Pablo Breuer (left), UK defense researcher Sara-Jayne “SJ” Terp (center), and Chris Krebs, former director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (DHS-CISA) – Documents received by investigative journalists Michael Shellenberger, Alex Gutentag...
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  • TORTURE AT ABU GHRAIB
    From the archive

    Seymour Hersh

    An Iraqi who was told he would be electrocuted if he fell off the box.
    I am on vacation this week but thought it would be useful to republish a painful story I did two decades ago for the New Yorker about a group of US army soldiers who went out of control amid a war in Iraq that, so they were told, was being waged against the terrorism that struck America on 9/11. What the GIs did then are what any army does in war when hating and fearing the enemy is encouraged and runs through the ranks, from the lowest level grunts to the senior generals. It takes a special leader, as you will read about below, who confounds his superiors by not covering up the crimes of his soldiers and their most senior officers, and does so knowing that his career is over. Would that there were such fearless leaders in the Middle East today.

    In the era of Saddam Hussein, Abu Ghraib, twenty miles west of Baghdad, was one of the world’s most notorious prisons, with torture, weekly executions, and vile living conditions. As many as fifty thousand men and women—no accurate count is possible—were jammed into Abu Ghraib at one time, in twelve-by-twelve-foot cells that were little more than human holding pits.

    In the looting that followed the regime’s collapse, last April, the huge prison complex, by then deserted, was stripped of everything that could be removed, including doors, windows, and bricks. The coalition authorities had the floors tiled, cells cleaned and repaired, and toilets, showers, and a new medical center added. Abu Ghraib was now a U.S. military prison. Most of the prisoners, however—by the fall there were several thousand, including women and teen-agers—were civilians, many of whom had been picked up in random military sweeps and at highway checkpoints. They fell into three loosely defined categories: common criminals; security detainees suspected of “crimes against the coalition”; and a small number of suspected “high-value” leaders of the insurgency against the coalition forces.

    Last June, Janis Karpinski, an Army reserve brigadier general, was named commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade and put in charge of military prisons in Iraq. General Karpinski, the only female commander in the war zone, was an experienced operations and intelligence officer who had served with the Special Forces and in the 1991 Gulf War, but she had never run a prison system. Now she was in charge of three large jails, eight battalions, and thirty-four hundred Army reservists, most of whom, like her, had no training in handling prisoners.

    General Karpinski, who had wanted to be a soldier since she was five, is a business consultant in civilian life, and was enthusiastic about her new job. In an interview last December with the St. Petersburg Times, she said that, for many of the Iraqi inmates at Abu Ghraib, “living conditions now are better in prison than at home. At one point we were concerned that they wouldn’t want to leave.”

    A month later, General Karpinski was formally admonished and quietly suspended, and a major investigation into the Army’s prison system, authorized by Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sanchez, the senior commander in Iraq, was under way. A fifty-three-page report, obtained by The New Yorker, written by Major General Antonio M. Taguba and not meant for public release, was completed in late February. Its conclusions about the institutional failures of the Army prison system were devastating. Specifically, Taguba found that between October and December of 2003 there were numerous instances of “sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses” at Abu Ghraib. This systematic and illegal abuse of detainees, Taguba reported, was perpetrated by soldiers of the 372nd Military Police Company, and also by members of the American intelligence community. (The 372nd was attached to the 320th M.P. Battalion, which reported to Karpinski’s brigade headquarters.) Taguba’s report listed some of the wrongdoing:

    Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees; pouring cold water on naked detainees; beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair; threatening male detainees with rape; allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell; sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick, and using military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance actually biting a detainee.

    There was stunning evidence to support the allegations, Taguba added—“detailed witness statements and the discovery of extremely graphic photographic evidence.” Photographs and videos taken by the soldiers as the abuses were happening were not included in his report, Taguba said, because of their “extremely sensitive nature.”

    The photographs—several of which were broadcast on CBS’s “60 Minutes 2” last week—show leering G.I.s taunting naked Iraqi prisoners who are forced to assume humiliating poses. Six suspects—Staff Sergeant Ivan L. Frederick II, known as Chip, who was the senior enlisted man; Specialist Charles A. Graner; Sergeant Javal Davis; Specialist Megan Ambuhl; Specialist Sabrina Harman; and Private Jeremy Sivits—are now facing prosecution in Iraq, on charges that include conspiracy, dereliction of duty, cruelty toward prisoners, maltreatment, assault, and indecent acts. A seventh suspect, Private Lynndie England, was reassigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, after becoming pregnant.

    The photographs tell it all. In one, Private England, a cigarette dangling from her mouth, is giving a jaunty thumbs-up sign and pointing at the genitals of a young Iraqi, who is naked except for a sandbag over his head, as he masturbates. Three other hooded and naked Iraqi prisoners are shown, hands reflexively crossed over their genitals. A fifth prisoner has his hands at his sides. In another, England stands arm in arm with Specialist Graner; both are grinning and giving the thumbs-up behind a cluster of perhaps seven naked Iraqis, knees bent, piled clumsily on top of each other in a pyramid. There is another photograph of a cluster of naked prisoners, again piled in a pyramid. Near them stands Graner, smiling, his arms crossed; a woman soldier stands in front of him, bending over, and she, too, is smiling. Then, there is another cluster of hooded bodies, with a female soldier standing in front, taking photographs. Yet another photograph shows a kneeling, naked, unhooded male prisoner, head momentarily turned away from the camera, posed to make it appear that he is performing oral sex on another male prisoner, who is naked and hooded.

    Such dehumanization is unacceptable in any culture, but it is especially so in the Arab world. Homosexual acts are against Islamic law and it is humiliating for men to be naked in front of other men, Bernard Haykel, a professor of Middle Eastern studies at New York University, explained. “Being put on top of each other and forced to masturbate, being naked in front of each other—it’s all a form of torture,” Haykel said.

    Two Iraqi faces that do appear in the photographs are those of dead men. There is the battered face of prisoner No. 153399, and the bloodied body of another prisoner, wrapped in cellophane and packed in ice. There is a photograph of an empty room, splattered with blood.

    The 372nd’s abuse of prisoners seemed almost routine—a fact of Army life that the soldiers felt no need to hide. On April 9th, at an Article 32 hearing (the military equivalent of a grand jury) in the case against Sergeant Frederick, at Camp Victory, near Baghdad, one of the witnesses, Specialist Matthew Wisdom, an M.P., told the courtroom what happened when he and other soldiers delivered seven prisoners, hooded and bound, to the so-called “hard site” at Abu Ghraib—seven tiers of cells where the inmates who were considered the most dangerous were housed. The men had been accused of starting a riot in another section of the prison. Wisdom said:

    SFC Snider grabbed my prisoner and threw him into a pile. . . . I do not think it was right to put them in a pile. I saw SSG Frederick, SGT Davis and CPL Graner walking around the pile hitting the prisoners. I remember SSG Frederick hitting one prisoner in the side of its [sic] ribcage. The prisoner was no danger to SSG Frederick. . . . I left after that.

    When he returned later, Wisdom testified:

    I saw two naked detainees, one masturbating to another kneeling with its mouth open. I thought I should just get out of there. I didn’t think it was right . . . I saw SSG Frederick walking towards me, and he said, “Look what these animals do when you leave them alone for two seconds.” I heard PFC England shout out, “He’s getting hard.”

    Wisdom testified that he told his superiors what had happened, and assumed that “the issue was taken care of.” He said, “I just didn’t want to be part of anything that looked criminal.”

    The abuses became public because of the outrage of Specialist Joseph M. Darby, an M.P. whose role emerged during the Article 32 hearing against Chip Frederick. A government witness, Special Agent Scott Bobeck, who is a member of the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division, or C.I.D., told the court, according to an abridged transcript made available to me, “The investigation started after SPC Darby . . . got a CD from CPL Graner. . . . He came across pictures of naked detainees.” Bobeck said that Darby had “initially put an anonymous letter under our door, then he later came forward and gave a sworn statement. He felt very bad about it and thought it was very wrong.”

    Questioned further, the Army investigator said that Frederick and his colleagues had not been given any “training guidelines” that he was aware of. The M.P.s in the 372nd had been assigned to routine traffic and police duties upon their arrival in Iraq, in the spring of 2003. In October of 2003, the 372nd was ordered to prison-guard duty at Abu Ghraib. Frederick, at thirty-seven, was far older than his colleagues, and was a natural leader; he had also worked for six years as a guard for the Virginia Department of Corrections. Bobeck explained:

    What I got is that SSG Frederick and CPL Graner were road M.P.s and were put in charge because they were civilian prison guards and had knowledge of how things were supposed to be run.

    Bobeck also testified that witnesses had said that Frederick, on one occasion, “had punched a detainee in the chest so hard that the detainee almost went into cardiac arrest.”

    At the Article 32 hearing, the Army informed Frederick and his attorneys, Captain Robert Shuck, an Army lawyer, and Gary Myers, a civilian, that two dozen witnesses they had sought, including General Karpinski and all of Frederick’s co-defendants, would not appear. Some had been excused after exercising their Fifth Amendment right; others were deemed to be too far away from the courtroom. “The purpose of an Article 32 hearing is for us to engage witnesses and discover facts,” Gary Myers told me. “We ended up with a C.I.D. agent and no alleged victims to examine.” After the hearing, the presiding investigative officer ruled that there was sufficient evidence to convene a court-martial against Frederick.

    Myers, who was one of the military defense attorneys in the My Lai prosecutions of the nineteen-seventies, told me that his client’s defense will be that he was carrying out the orders of his superiors and, in particular, the directions of military intelligence. He said, “Do you really think a group of kids from rural Virginia decided to do this on their own? Decided that the best way to embarrass Arabs and make them talk was to have them walk around nude?”

    In letters and e-mails to family members, Frederick repeatedly noted that the military-intelligence teams, which included C.I.A. officers and linguists and interrogation specialists from private defense contractors, were the dominant force inside Abu Ghraib. In a letter written in January, he said:

    I questioned some of the things that I saw . . . such things as leaving inmates in their cell with no clothes or in female underpants, handcuffing them to the door of their cell—and the answer I got was, “This is how military intelligence (MI) wants it done.” . . . . MI has also instructed us to place a prisoner in an isolation cell with little or no clothes, no toilet or running water, no ventilation or window, for as much as three days.

    The military-intelligence officers have “encouraged and told us, ‘Great job,’ they were now getting positive results and information,” Frederick wrote. “CID has been present when the military working dogs were used to intimidate prisoners at MI’s request.” At one point, Frederick told his family, he pulled aside his superior officer, Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Phillabaum, the commander of the 320th M.P. Battalion, and asked about the mistreatment of prisoners. “His reply was ‘Don’t worry about it.’ ”

    In November, Frederick wrote, an Iraqi prisoner under the control of what the Abu Ghraib guards called “O.G.A.,” or other government agencies—that is, the C.I.A. and its paramilitary employees—was brought to his unit for questioning. “They stressed him out so bad that the man passed away. They put his body in a body bag and packed him in ice for approximately twenty-four hours in the shower. . . . The next day the medics came and put his body on a stretcher, placed a fake IV in his arm and took him away.” The dead Iraqi was never entered into the prison’s inmate-control system, Frederick recounted, “and therefore never had a number.”

    Frederick’s defense is, of course, highly self-serving. But the complaints in his letters and e-mails home were reinforced by two internal Army reports—Taguba’s and one by the Army’s chief law-enforcement officer, Provost Marshal Donald Ryder, a major general.

    Last fall, General Sanchez ordered Ryder to review the prison system in Iraq and recommend ways to improve it. Ryder’s report, filed on November 5th, concluded that there were potential human-rights, training, and manpower issues, system-wide, that needed immediate attention. It also discussed serious concerns about the tension between the missions of the military police assigned to guard the prisoners and the intelligence teams who wanted to interrogate them. Army regulations limit intelligence activity by the M.P.s to passive collection. But something had gone wrong at Abu Ghraib.

    There was evidence dating back to the Afghanistan war, the Ryder report said, that M.P.s had worked with intelligence operatives to “set favorable conditions for subsequent interviews”—a euphemism for breaking the will of prisoners. “Such actions generally run counter to the smooth operation of a detention facility, attempting to maintain its population in a compliant and docile state.” General Karpinski’s brigade, Ryder reported, “has not been directed to change its facility procedures to set the conditions for MI interrogations, nor participate in those interrogations.” Ryder called for the establishment of procedures to “define the role of military police soldiers . . . clearly separating the actions of the guards from those of the military intelligence personnel.” The officers running the war in Iraq were put on notice.

    Ryder undercut his warning, however, by concluding that the situation had not yet reached a crisis point. Though some procedures were flawed, he said, he found “no military police units purposely applying inappropriate confinement practices.” His investigation was at best a failure and at worst a coverup.

    Taguba, in his report, was polite but direct in refuting his fellow-general. “Unfortunately, many of the systemic problems that surfaced during [Ryder’s] assessment are the very same issues that are the subject of this investigation,” he wrote. “In fact, many of the abuses suffered by detainees occurred during, or near to, the time of that assessment.” The report continued, “Contrary to the findings of MG Ryder’s report, I find that personnel assigned to the 372nd MP Company, 800th MP Brigade were directed to change facility procedures to ‘set the conditions’ for MI interrogations.” Army intelligence officers, C.I.A. agents, and private contractors “actively requested that MP guards set physical and mental conditions for favorable interrogation of witnesses.”

    Taguba backed up his assertion by citing evidence from sworn statements to Army C.I.D. investigators. Specialist Sabrina Harman, one of the accused M.P.s, testified that it was her job to keep detainees awake, including one hooded prisoner who was placed on a box with wires attached to his fingers, toes, and penis. She stated, “MI wanted to get them to talk. It is Graner and Frederick’s job to do things for MI and OGA to get these people to talk.”

    Another witness, Sergeant Javal Davis, who is also one of the accused, told C.I.D. investigators, “I witnessed prisoners in the MI hold section . . . being made to do various things that I would question morally. . . . We were told that they had different rules.” Taguba wrote, “Davis also stated that he had heard MI insinuate to the guards to abuse the inmates. When asked what MI said he stated: ‘Loosen this guy up for us.’ ‘Make sure he has a bad night.’ ‘Make sure he gets the treatment.’ ” Military intelligence made these comments to Graner and Frederick, Davis said. “The MI staffs to my understanding have been giving Graner compliments . . . statements like, ‘Good job, they’re breaking down real fast. They answer every question. They’re giving out good information.’ ”

    When asked why he did not inform his chain of command about the abuse, Sergeant Davis answered, “Because I assumed that if they were doing things out of the ordinary or outside the guidelines, someone would have said something. Also the wing”—where the abuse took place—“belongs to MI and it appeared MI personnel approved of the abuse.”

    Another witness, Specialist Jason Kennel, who was not accused of wrongdoing, said, “I saw them nude, but MI would tell us to take away their mattresses, sheets, and clothes.” (It was his view, he added, that if M.I. wanted him to do this “they needed to give me paperwork.”) Taguba also cited an interview with Adel L. Nakhla, a translator who was an employee of Titan, a civilian contractor. He told of one night when a “bunch of people from MI” watched as a group of handcuffed and shackled inmates were subjected to abuse by Graner and Frederick.

    General Taguba saved his harshest words for the military-intelligence officers and private contractors. He recommended that Colonel Thomas Pappas, the commander of one of the M.I. brigades, be reprimanded and receive non-judicial punishment, and that Lieutenant Colonel Steven Jordan, the former director of the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center, be relieved of duty and reprimanded. He further urged that a civilian contractor, Steven Stephanowicz, of CACI International, be fired from his Army job, reprimanded, and denied his security clearances for lying to the investigating team and allowing or ordering military policemen “who were not trained in interrogation techniques to facilitate interrogations by ‘setting conditions’ which were neither authorized” nor in accordance with Army regulations. “He clearly knew his instructions equated to physical abuse,” Taguba wrote. He also recommended disciplinary action against a second CACI employee, John Israel. (A spokeswoman for CACI said that the company had “received no formal communication” from the Army about the matter.)

    “I suspect,” Taguba concluded, that Pappas, Jordan, Stephanowicz, and Israel “were either directly or indirectly responsible for the abuse at Abu Ghraib,” and strongly recommended immediate disciplinary action.

    The problems inside the Army prison system in Iraq were not hidden from senior commanders. During Karpinski’s seven-month tour of duty, Taguba noted, there were at least a dozen officially reported incidents involving escapes, attempted escapes, and other serious security issues that were investigated by officers of the 800th M.P. Brigade. Some of the incidents had led to the killing or wounding of inmates and M.P.s, and resulted in a series of “lessons learned” inquiries within the brigade. Karpinski invariably approved the reports and signed orders calling for changes in day-to-day procedures. But Taguba found that she did not follow up, doing nothing to insure that the orders were carried out. Had she done so, he added, “cases of abuse may have been prevented.”

    General Taguba further found that Abu Ghraib was filled beyond capacity, and that the M.P. guard force was significantly undermanned and short of resources. “This imbalance has contributed to the poor living conditions, escapes, and accountability lapses,” he wrote. There were gross differences, Taguba said, between the actual number of prisoners on hand and the number officially recorded. A lack of proper screening also meant that many innocent Iraqis were wrongly being detained—indefinitely, it seemed, in some cases. The Taguba study noted that more than sixty per cent of the civilian inmates at Abu Ghraib were deemed not to be a threat to society, which should have enabled them to be released. Karpinski’s defense, Taguba said, was that her superior officers “routinely” rejected her recommendations regarding the release of such prisoners.

    Karpinski was rarely seen at the prisons she was supposed to be running, Taguba wrote. He also found a wide range of administrative problems, including some that he considered “without precedent in my military career.” The soldiers, he added, were “poorly prepared and untrained . . . prior to deployment, at the mobilization site, upon arrival in theater, and throughout the mission.”

    General Taguba spent more than four hours interviewing Karpinski, whom he described as extremely emotional: “What I found particularly disturbing in her testimony was her complete unwillingness to either understand or accept that many of the problems inherent in the 800th MP Brigade were caused or exacerbated by poor leadership and the refusal of her command to both establish and enforce basic standards and principles among its soldiers.”

    Taguba recommended that Karpinski and seven brigade military-police officers and enlisted men be relieved of command and formally reprimanded. No criminal proceedings were suggested for Karpinski; apparently, the loss of promotion and the indignity of a public rebuke were seen as enough punishment.

    After the story broke on CBS last week, the Pentagon announced that Major General Geoffrey Miller, the new head of the Iraqi prison system, had arrived in Baghdad and was on the job. He had been the commander of the Guantánamo Bay detention center. General Sanchez also authorized an investigation into possible wrongdoing by military and civilian interrogators.

    As the international furor grew, senior military officers, and President Bush, insisted that the actions of a few did not reflect the conduct of the military as a whole. Taguba’s report, however, amounts to an unsparing study of collective wrongdoing and the failure of Army leadership at the highest levels. The picture he draws of Abu Ghraib is one in which Army regulations and the Geneva conventions were routinely violated, and in which much of the day-to-day management of the prisoners was abdicated to Army military-intelligence units and civilian contract employees. Interrogating prisoners and getting intelligence, including by intimidation and torture, was the priority.

    The mistreatment at Abu Ghraib may have done little to further American intelligence, however. Willie J. Rowell, who served for thirty-six years as a C.I.D. agent, told me that the use of force or humiliation with prisoners is invariably counterproductive. “They’ll tell you what you want to hear, truth or no truth,” Rowell said. “ ‘You can flog me until I tell you what I know you want me to say.’ You don’t get righteous information.”

    Under the fourth Geneva convention, an occupying power can jail civilians who pose an “imperative” security threat, but it must establish a regular procedure for insuring that only civilians who remain a genuine security threat be kept imprisoned. Prisoners have the right to appeal any internment decision and have their cases reviewed. Human Rights Watch complained to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that civilians in Iraq remained in custody month after month with no charges brought against them. Abu Ghraib had become, in effect, another Guantánamo.

    As the photographs from Abu Ghraib make clear, these detentions have had enormous consequences: for the imprisoned civilian Iraqis, many of whom had nothing to do with the growing insurgency; for the integrity of the Army; and for the United States’ reputation in the world.

    Captain Robert Shuck, Frederick’s military attorney, closed his defense at the Article 32 hearing last month by saying that the Army was “attempting to have these six soldiers atone for its sins.” Similarly, Gary Myers, Frederick’s civilian attorney, told me that he would argue at the court-martial that culpability in the case extended far beyond his client. “I’m going to drag every involved intelligence officer and civilian contractor I can find into court,” he said. “Do you really believe the Army relieved a general officer because of six soldiers? Not a chance.”

    https://open.substack.com/pub/seymourhersh/p/torture-at-abu-ghraib?r=29hg4d&utm_medium=ios&utm_campaign=post
    TORTURE AT ABU GHRAIB From the archive Seymour Hersh An Iraqi who was told he would be electrocuted if he fell off the box. I am on vacation this week but thought it would be useful to republish a painful story I did two decades ago for the New Yorker about a group of US army soldiers who went out of control amid a war in Iraq that, so they were told, was being waged against the terrorism that struck America on 9/11. What the GIs did then are what any army does in war when hating and fearing the enemy is encouraged and runs through the ranks, from the lowest level grunts to the senior generals. It takes a special leader, as you will read about below, who confounds his superiors by not covering up the crimes of his soldiers and their most senior officers, and does so knowing that his career is over. Would that there were such fearless leaders in the Middle East today. In the era of Saddam Hussein, Abu Ghraib, twenty miles west of Baghdad, was one of the world’s most notorious prisons, with torture, weekly executions, and vile living conditions. As many as fifty thousand men and women—no accurate count is possible—were jammed into Abu Ghraib at one time, in twelve-by-twelve-foot cells that were little more than human holding pits. In the looting that followed the regime’s collapse, last April, the huge prison complex, by then deserted, was stripped of everything that could be removed, including doors, windows, and bricks. The coalition authorities had the floors tiled, cells cleaned and repaired, and toilets, showers, and a new medical center added. Abu Ghraib was now a U.S. military prison. Most of the prisoners, however—by the fall there were several thousand, including women and teen-agers—were civilians, many of whom had been picked up in random military sweeps and at highway checkpoints. They fell into three loosely defined categories: common criminals; security detainees suspected of “crimes against the coalition”; and a small number of suspected “high-value” leaders of the insurgency against the coalition forces. Last June, Janis Karpinski, an Army reserve brigadier general, was named commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade and put in charge of military prisons in Iraq. General Karpinski, the only female commander in the war zone, was an experienced operations and intelligence officer who had served with the Special Forces and in the 1991 Gulf War, but she had never run a prison system. Now she was in charge of three large jails, eight battalions, and thirty-four hundred Army reservists, most of whom, like her, had no training in handling prisoners. General Karpinski, who had wanted to be a soldier since she was five, is a business consultant in civilian life, and was enthusiastic about her new job. In an interview last December with the St. Petersburg Times, she said that, for many of the Iraqi inmates at Abu Ghraib, “living conditions now are better in prison than at home. At one point we were concerned that they wouldn’t want to leave.” A month later, General Karpinski was formally admonished and quietly suspended, and a major investigation into the Army’s prison system, authorized by Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sanchez, the senior commander in Iraq, was under way. A fifty-three-page report, obtained by The New Yorker, written by Major General Antonio M. Taguba and not meant for public release, was completed in late February. Its conclusions about the institutional failures of the Army prison system were devastating. Specifically, Taguba found that between October and December of 2003 there were numerous instances of “sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses” at Abu Ghraib. This systematic and illegal abuse of detainees, Taguba reported, was perpetrated by soldiers of the 372nd Military Police Company, and also by members of the American intelligence community. (The 372nd was attached to the 320th M.P. Battalion, which reported to Karpinski’s brigade headquarters.) Taguba’s report listed some of the wrongdoing: Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees; pouring cold water on naked detainees; beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair; threatening male detainees with rape; allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell; sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick, and using military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance actually biting a detainee. There was stunning evidence to support the allegations, Taguba added—“detailed witness statements and the discovery of extremely graphic photographic evidence.” Photographs and videos taken by the soldiers as the abuses were happening were not included in his report, Taguba said, because of their “extremely sensitive nature.” The photographs—several of which were broadcast on CBS’s “60 Minutes 2” last week—show leering G.I.s taunting naked Iraqi prisoners who are forced to assume humiliating poses. Six suspects—Staff Sergeant Ivan L. Frederick II, known as Chip, who was the senior enlisted man; Specialist Charles A. Graner; Sergeant Javal Davis; Specialist Megan Ambuhl; Specialist Sabrina Harman; and Private Jeremy Sivits—are now facing prosecution in Iraq, on charges that include conspiracy, dereliction of duty, cruelty toward prisoners, maltreatment, assault, and indecent acts. A seventh suspect, Private Lynndie England, was reassigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, after becoming pregnant. The photographs tell it all. In one, Private England, a cigarette dangling from her mouth, is giving a jaunty thumbs-up sign and pointing at the genitals of a young Iraqi, who is naked except for a sandbag over his head, as he masturbates. Three other hooded and naked Iraqi prisoners are shown, hands reflexively crossed over their genitals. A fifth prisoner has his hands at his sides. In another, England stands arm in arm with Specialist Graner; both are grinning and giving the thumbs-up behind a cluster of perhaps seven naked Iraqis, knees bent, piled clumsily on top of each other in a pyramid. There is another photograph of a cluster of naked prisoners, again piled in a pyramid. Near them stands Graner, smiling, his arms crossed; a woman soldier stands in front of him, bending over, and she, too, is smiling. Then, there is another cluster of hooded bodies, with a female soldier standing in front, taking photographs. Yet another photograph shows a kneeling, naked, unhooded male prisoner, head momentarily turned away from the camera, posed to make it appear that he is performing oral sex on another male prisoner, who is naked and hooded. Such dehumanization is unacceptable in any culture, but it is especially so in the Arab world. Homosexual acts are against Islamic law and it is humiliating for men to be naked in front of other men, Bernard Haykel, a professor of Middle Eastern studies at New York University, explained. “Being put on top of each other and forced to masturbate, being naked in front of each other—it’s all a form of torture,” Haykel said. Two Iraqi faces that do appear in the photographs are those of dead men. There is the battered face of prisoner No. 153399, and the bloodied body of another prisoner, wrapped in cellophane and packed in ice. There is a photograph of an empty room, splattered with blood. The 372nd’s abuse of prisoners seemed almost routine—a fact of Army life that the soldiers felt no need to hide. On April 9th, at an Article 32 hearing (the military equivalent of a grand jury) in the case against Sergeant Frederick, at Camp Victory, near Baghdad, one of the witnesses, Specialist Matthew Wisdom, an M.P., told the courtroom what happened when he and other soldiers delivered seven prisoners, hooded and bound, to the so-called “hard site” at Abu Ghraib—seven tiers of cells where the inmates who were considered the most dangerous were housed. The men had been accused of starting a riot in another section of the prison. Wisdom said: SFC Snider grabbed my prisoner and threw him into a pile. . . . I do not think it was right to put them in a pile. I saw SSG Frederick, SGT Davis and CPL Graner walking around the pile hitting the prisoners. I remember SSG Frederick hitting one prisoner in the side of its [sic] ribcage. The prisoner was no danger to SSG Frederick. . . . I left after that. When he returned later, Wisdom testified: I saw two naked detainees, one masturbating to another kneeling with its mouth open. I thought I should just get out of there. I didn’t think it was right . . . I saw SSG Frederick walking towards me, and he said, “Look what these animals do when you leave them alone for two seconds.” I heard PFC England shout out, “He’s getting hard.” Wisdom testified that he told his superiors what had happened, and assumed that “the issue was taken care of.” He said, “I just didn’t want to be part of anything that looked criminal.” The abuses became public because of the outrage of Specialist Joseph M. Darby, an M.P. whose role emerged during the Article 32 hearing against Chip Frederick. A government witness, Special Agent Scott Bobeck, who is a member of the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division, or C.I.D., told the court, according to an abridged transcript made available to me, “The investigation started after SPC Darby . . . got a CD from CPL Graner. . . . He came across pictures of naked detainees.” Bobeck said that Darby had “initially put an anonymous letter under our door, then he later came forward and gave a sworn statement. He felt very bad about it and thought it was very wrong.” Questioned further, the Army investigator said that Frederick and his colleagues had not been given any “training guidelines” that he was aware of. The M.P.s in the 372nd had been assigned to routine traffic and police duties upon their arrival in Iraq, in the spring of 2003. In October of 2003, the 372nd was ordered to prison-guard duty at Abu Ghraib. Frederick, at thirty-seven, was far older than his colleagues, and was a natural leader; he had also worked for six years as a guard for the Virginia Department of Corrections. Bobeck explained: What I got is that SSG Frederick and CPL Graner were road M.P.s and were put in charge because they were civilian prison guards and had knowledge of how things were supposed to be run. Bobeck also testified that witnesses had said that Frederick, on one occasion, “had punched a detainee in the chest so hard that the detainee almost went into cardiac arrest.” At the Article 32 hearing, the Army informed Frederick and his attorneys, Captain Robert Shuck, an Army lawyer, and Gary Myers, a civilian, that two dozen witnesses they had sought, including General Karpinski and all of Frederick’s co-defendants, would not appear. Some had been excused after exercising their Fifth Amendment right; others were deemed to be too far away from the courtroom. “The purpose of an Article 32 hearing is for us to engage witnesses and discover facts,” Gary Myers told me. “We ended up with a C.I.D. agent and no alleged victims to examine.” After the hearing, the presiding investigative officer ruled that there was sufficient evidence to convene a court-martial against Frederick. Myers, who was one of the military defense attorneys in the My Lai prosecutions of the nineteen-seventies, told me that his client’s defense will be that he was carrying out the orders of his superiors and, in particular, the directions of military intelligence. He said, “Do you really think a group of kids from rural Virginia decided to do this on their own? Decided that the best way to embarrass Arabs and make them talk was to have them walk around nude?” In letters and e-mails to family members, Frederick repeatedly noted that the military-intelligence teams, which included C.I.A. officers and linguists and interrogation specialists from private defense contractors, were the dominant force inside Abu Ghraib. In a letter written in January, he said: I questioned some of the things that I saw . . . such things as leaving inmates in their cell with no clothes or in female underpants, handcuffing them to the door of their cell—and the answer I got was, “This is how military intelligence (MI) wants it done.” . . . . MI has also instructed us to place a prisoner in an isolation cell with little or no clothes, no toilet or running water, no ventilation or window, for as much as three days. The military-intelligence officers have “encouraged and told us, ‘Great job,’ they were now getting positive results and information,” Frederick wrote. “CID has been present when the military working dogs were used to intimidate prisoners at MI’s request.” At one point, Frederick told his family, he pulled aside his superior officer, Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Phillabaum, the commander of the 320th M.P. Battalion, and asked about the mistreatment of prisoners. “His reply was ‘Don’t worry about it.’ ” In November, Frederick wrote, an Iraqi prisoner under the control of what the Abu Ghraib guards called “O.G.A.,” or other government agencies—that is, the C.I.A. and its paramilitary employees—was brought to his unit for questioning. “They stressed him out so bad that the man passed away. They put his body in a body bag and packed him in ice for approximately twenty-four hours in the shower. . . . The next day the medics came and put his body on a stretcher, placed a fake IV in his arm and took him away.” The dead Iraqi was never entered into the prison’s inmate-control system, Frederick recounted, “and therefore never had a number.” Frederick’s defense is, of course, highly self-serving. But the complaints in his letters and e-mails home were reinforced by two internal Army reports—Taguba’s and one by the Army’s chief law-enforcement officer, Provost Marshal Donald Ryder, a major general. Last fall, General Sanchez ordered Ryder to review the prison system in Iraq and recommend ways to improve it. Ryder’s report, filed on November 5th, concluded that there were potential human-rights, training, and manpower issues, system-wide, that needed immediate attention. It also discussed serious concerns about the tension between the missions of the military police assigned to guard the prisoners and the intelligence teams who wanted to interrogate them. Army regulations limit intelligence activity by the M.P.s to passive collection. But something had gone wrong at Abu Ghraib. There was evidence dating back to the Afghanistan war, the Ryder report said, that M.P.s had worked with intelligence operatives to “set favorable conditions for subsequent interviews”—a euphemism for breaking the will of prisoners. “Such actions generally run counter to the smooth operation of a detention facility, attempting to maintain its population in a compliant and docile state.” General Karpinski’s brigade, Ryder reported, “has not been directed to change its facility procedures to set the conditions for MI interrogations, nor participate in those interrogations.” Ryder called for the establishment of procedures to “define the role of military police soldiers . . . clearly separating the actions of the guards from those of the military intelligence personnel.” The officers running the war in Iraq were put on notice. Ryder undercut his warning, however, by concluding that the situation had not yet reached a crisis point. Though some procedures were flawed, he said, he found “no military police units purposely applying inappropriate confinement practices.” His investigation was at best a failure and at worst a coverup. Taguba, in his report, was polite but direct in refuting his fellow-general. “Unfortunately, many of the systemic problems that surfaced during [Ryder’s] assessment are the very same issues that are the subject of this investigation,” he wrote. “In fact, many of the abuses suffered by detainees occurred during, or near to, the time of that assessment.” The report continued, “Contrary to the findings of MG Ryder’s report, I find that personnel assigned to the 372nd MP Company, 800th MP Brigade were directed to change facility procedures to ‘set the conditions’ for MI interrogations.” Army intelligence officers, C.I.A. agents, and private contractors “actively requested that MP guards set physical and mental conditions for favorable interrogation of witnesses.” Taguba backed up his assertion by citing evidence from sworn statements to Army C.I.D. investigators. Specialist Sabrina Harman, one of the accused M.P.s, testified that it was her job to keep detainees awake, including one hooded prisoner who was placed on a box with wires attached to his fingers, toes, and penis. She stated, “MI wanted to get them to talk. It is Graner and Frederick’s job to do things for MI and OGA to get these people to talk.” Another witness, Sergeant Javal Davis, who is also one of the accused, told C.I.D. investigators, “I witnessed prisoners in the MI hold section . . . being made to do various things that I would question morally. . . . We were told that they had different rules.” Taguba wrote, “Davis also stated that he had heard MI insinuate to the guards to abuse the inmates. When asked what MI said he stated: ‘Loosen this guy up for us.’ ‘Make sure he has a bad night.’ ‘Make sure he gets the treatment.’ ” Military intelligence made these comments to Graner and Frederick, Davis said. “The MI staffs to my understanding have been giving Graner compliments . . . statements like, ‘Good job, they’re breaking down real fast. They answer every question. They’re giving out good information.’ ” When asked why he did not inform his chain of command about the abuse, Sergeant Davis answered, “Because I assumed that if they were doing things out of the ordinary or outside the guidelines, someone would have said something. Also the wing”—where the abuse took place—“belongs to MI and it appeared MI personnel approved of the abuse.” Another witness, Specialist Jason Kennel, who was not accused of wrongdoing, said, “I saw them nude, but MI would tell us to take away their mattresses, sheets, and clothes.” (It was his view, he added, that if M.I. wanted him to do this “they needed to give me paperwork.”) Taguba also cited an interview with Adel L. Nakhla, a translator who was an employee of Titan, a civilian contractor. He told of one night when a “bunch of people from MI” watched as a group of handcuffed and shackled inmates were subjected to abuse by Graner and Frederick. General Taguba saved his harshest words for the military-intelligence officers and private contractors. He recommended that Colonel Thomas Pappas, the commander of one of the M.I. brigades, be reprimanded and receive non-judicial punishment, and that Lieutenant Colonel Steven Jordan, the former director of the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center, be relieved of duty and reprimanded. He further urged that a civilian contractor, Steven Stephanowicz, of CACI International, be fired from his Army job, reprimanded, and denied his security clearances for lying to the investigating team and allowing or ordering military policemen “who were not trained in interrogation techniques to facilitate interrogations by ‘setting conditions’ which were neither authorized” nor in accordance with Army regulations. “He clearly knew his instructions equated to physical abuse,” Taguba wrote. He also recommended disciplinary action against a second CACI employee, John Israel. (A spokeswoman for CACI said that the company had “received no formal communication” from the Army about the matter.) “I suspect,” Taguba concluded, that Pappas, Jordan, Stephanowicz, and Israel “were either directly or indirectly responsible for the abuse at Abu Ghraib,” and strongly recommended immediate disciplinary action. The problems inside the Army prison system in Iraq were not hidden from senior commanders. During Karpinski’s seven-month tour of duty, Taguba noted, there were at least a dozen officially reported incidents involving escapes, attempted escapes, and other serious security issues that were investigated by officers of the 800th M.P. Brigade. Some of the incidents had led to the killing or wounding of inmates and M.P.s, and resulted in a series of “lessons learned” inquiries within the brigade. Karpinski invariably approved the reports and signed orders calling for changes in day-to-day procedures. But Taguba found that she did not follow up, doing nothing to insure that the orders were carried out. Had she done so, he added, “cases of abuse may have been prevented.” General Taguba further found that Abu Ghraib was filled beyond capacity, and that the M.P. guard force was significantly undermanned and short of resources. “This imbalance has contributed to the poor living conditions, escapes, and accountability lapses,” he wrote. There were gross differences, Taguba said, between the actual number of prisoners on hand and the number officially recorded. A lack of proper screening also meant that many innocent Iraqis were wrongly being detained—indefinitely, it seemed, in some cases. The Taguba study noted that more than sixty per cent of the civilian inmates at Abu Ghraib were deemed not to be a threat to society, which should have enabled them to be released. Karpinski’s defense, Taguba said, was that her superior officers “routinely” rejected her recommendations regarding the release of such prisoners. Karpinski was rarely seen at the prisons she was supposed to be running, Taguba wrote. He also found a wide range of administrative problems, including some that he considered “without precedent in my military career.” The soldiers, he added, were “poorly prepared and untrained . . . prior to deployment, at the mobilization site, upon arrival in theater, and throughout the mission.” General Taguba spent more than four hours interviewing Karpinski, whom he described as extremely emotional: “What I found particularly disturbing in her testimony was her complete unwillingness to either understand or accept that many of the problems inherent in the 800th MP Brigade were caused or exacerbated by poor leadership and the refusal of her command to both establish and enforce basic standards and principles among its soldiers.” Taguba recommended that Karpinski and seven brigade military-police officers and enlisted men be relieved of command and formally reprimanded. No criminal proceedings were suggested for Karpinski; apparently, the loss of promotion and the indignity of a public rebuke were seen as enough punishment. After the story broke on CBS last week, the Pentagon announced that Major General Geoffrey Miller, the new head of the Iraqi prison system, had arrived in Baghdad and was on the job. He had been the commander of the Guantánamo Bay detention center. General Sanchez also authorized an investigation into possible wrongdoing by military and civilian interrogators. As the international furor grew, senior military officers, and President Bush, insisted that the actions of a few did not reflect the conduct of the military as a whole. Taguba’s report, however, amounts to an unsparing study of collective wrongdoing and the failure of Army leadership at the highest levels. The picture he draws of Abu Ghraib is one in which Army regulations and the Geneva conventions were routinely violated, and in which much of the day-to-day management of the prisoners was abdicated to Army military-intelligence units and civilian contract employees. Interrogating prisoners and getting intelligence, including by intimidation and torture, was the priority. The mistreatment at Abu Ghraib may have done little to further American intelligence, however. Willie J. Rowell, who served for thirty-six years as a C.I.D. agent, told me that the use of force or humiliation with prisoners is invariably counterproductive. “They’ll tell you what you want to hear, truth or no truth,” Rowell said. “ ‘You can flog me until I tell you what I know you want me to say.’ You don’t get righteous information.” Under the fourth Geneva convention, an occupying power can jail civilians who pose an “imperative” security threat, but it must establish a regular procedure for insuring that only civilians who remain a genuine security threat be kept imprisoned. Prisoners have the right to appeal any internment decision and have their cases reviewed. Human Rights Watch complained to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that civilians in Iraq remained in custody month after month with no charges brought against them. Abu Ghraib had become, in effect, another Guantánamo. As the photographs from Abu Ghraib make clear, these detentions have had enormous consequences: for the imprisoned civilian Iraqis, many of whom had nothing to do with the growing insurgency; for the integrity of the Army; and for the United States’ reputation in the world. Captain Robert Shuck, Frederick’s military attorney, closed his defense at the Article 32 hearing last month by saying that the Army was “attempting to have these six soldiers atone for its sins.” Similarly, Gary Myers, Frederick’s civilian attorney, told me that he would argue at the court-martial that culpability in the case extended far beyond his client. “I’m going to drag every involved intelligence officer and civilian contractor I can find into court,” he said. “Do you really believe the Army relieved a general officer because of six soldiers? Not a chance.” https://open.substack.com/pub/seymourhersh/p/torture-at-abu-ghraib?r=29hg4d&utm_medium=ios&utm_campaign=post
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