The U.S. government is still afraid to reveal the full extent of torture used on terror suspects in the years following the 9/11 attacks, but do the American people even care anymore?
A recent report by The New York Times explores the case of Majid Khan, a prisoner of the United States who plead guilty to being a courier for Al Qaeda. Khan is a Pakistani citizen who spent seven years in Baltimore before being kidnapped by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 2003, where he faced various forms of torture. Since Khan’s first court appearance in 2003, the U.S. government has sought to keep the details of his torture secret.
The Times reports:
“Seven years ago, when a former C.I.A. prisoner, Majid Khan, pleaded guilty at Guantánamo to being a courier for Al Qaeda, his lawyers were warned that any mention of the word “torture” would lead a court security officer to trigger a mute button so the public, listening on a 40-second delay, would not hear it.
This week the question of his treatment was front and center, this time in a pre-sentencing hearing. Mr. Khan’s lawyers asked a military judge on Monday to order prosecutors to produce evidence and witnesses about the secret prison network where the intelligence agency kept Mr. Khan incommunicado from March 2003 to September 2006.”
Khan’s case is only the latest in a battle between attorneys defending accused terrorists and both the CIA and the U.S. military. While th military now allows torture to be discussed without the 40-second delay, the battle now centers on how torture evidence can be gathered and whether or not it can be used in military tribunals at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The prosecutors cannot legally use evidence obtained via torture in the military court, but they are still reluctant to allow the details of the torture to become public. Khan’s attorneys are seeking data related to his torture so they may show his sentencing jury what exactly he was forced to endure.
During the Obama administration, some details of Mr. Khan’s torture at the hands of the CIA were made public. These include being beaten, hung naked without food for three days, kept in the dark for months on end, submerged into a tub of ice and water, and perhaps, most disturbing, being subjected to “rectal feeding.” As part of that process, the CIA shoved a blended mix of pasta, sauce, nuts, raisins, and hummus up Khan’s rectum after he went on a hunger strike. Khan’s lawyer David Nevin said the term rectal feeding, or rectal rehydration, “is a polite way of saying rape with the insertion of a foreign object into the rectum.”
The Times reports that Khan has agreed to a plea agreement and could be sentenced to 25 years. With credit for time served he could be released by 2037. Still, despite the potential plea deal, the military has prevented Khan’s attorneys from contacting former employees of the CIA black sites where Khan and other suspected terrorists have been held over the last two decades. The CIA has fought to keep secret the names of the employees and the locations of these black sites.
As we approach yet another anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the American people remain clueless as to the full extent of the torture, kidnapping, and killing carried out in the name of avenging those killed on September 11, 2001. Even worse, the psychologists who helped develop these sickening programs have been allowed to go free under secret deals. If the world is ever to heal from the tragedy of the 9/11 terror attacks, we must know the truth about what happened that day and we must know the truth about how the U.S. government and intelligence agencies violated international law when they chose to employ brutal, sick, and twisted methods of torture. Without these truths, the American people are simply living a lie.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.