Prisoner interrogations at Guantanamo Bay, the controversial US military detention center where guards have been accused of brutality and torture, have not prevented a single terrorist attack, according to a senior Pentagon intelligence officer who worked at the heart of the US war on terror. \nLieutenant Colonel Anthony Christino, who retired last June after 20 years in military intelligence, says that US President George W Bush and US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have "wildly exaggerated" their intelligence value. \nChristino's revelations, to be published this week in Guantanamo: America's War on Human Rights, by British journalist David Rose, are supported by three further intelligence officials. Christino also disclosed that the "screening process" in Afghanistan which determined whether detainees were sent to Guantanamo was "hopelessly flawed from the get-go." \nIt was performed by new recruits who had almost no training, and were forced to rely on incompetent interpreters. They were "far too poorly trained to identify real terrorists from the ordinary Taliban militia." \nAccording to Christino, most of the approximately 600 detainees at Guantanamo -- including four Britons -- at worst had supported the Taliban in the civil war it had been fighting against the Northern Alliance before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, but had had no contact with Osama bin Laden or al-Qaeda. \nFor six months in the middle of 2003 until his retirement, Christino had regular access to material derived from Guantanamo prisoner interrogations, serving as senior watch officer for the central Pentagon unit known as the Joint Intelligence Task Force-Combating Terrorism (JITF-CT). This made him responsible for every piece of information that went in or out of the unit, including what he describes as "analysis of critical, time-sensitive intelligence." \nIn his previous assignment in Germany, one of his roles had been to coordinate intelligence support to the US army in Afghanistan, at Guantanamo, and to units responsible for transporting prisoners there. \nBush, Rumsfeld and Major General Geoffrey Miller, Guantanamo's former commandant who is now in charge of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, have repeatedly claimed that Guantanamo interrogations have provided "enormously valuable intelligence," thanks to a system of punishments, physical and mental abuse and rewards for for cooperation, introduced by Miller and approved by Rumsfeld. \nIn a speech in Miami, Rumsfeld claimed: "Detaining enemy combatants ... can help us prevent future acts of terrorism. It can save lives and I am convinced it can speed victory." \nHowever, Christino says, General Miller had never worked in intelligence before being assigned to Guantanamo, and his system seems almost calculated to produce entirely bogus confessions. \nEarlier this year, three British released detainees, Asif Iqbal, Shafiq Rasul Rhuhel Ahmed, revealed that they had all confessed to meeting bin Laden and Mohamed Atta, leader of the Sept. 11 hijackers, at a camp in Afghanistan in 2000. All had cracked after three months isolated in solitary confinement and interrogation sessions in chains that lasted up to 12 hours daily. \nEventually, MI5 (British counter intelligence) proved what they had said initially -- that none had left the UK that year. The disclosures come on the eve of a House of Lords appeal on the fate of the foreign terrorist suspects held without trial in British prisons. \nTomorrow, the Lords will determine whether it was lawful for the government to opt out of the European Convention on Human Rights to allow for the detention of the men at Belmarsh and Woodhill prisons. It is widely believed that some of the men are held on evidence obtained from prisoners at Guantanamo. An officer from MI5 admitted under cross-examination by lawyers acting for the detainees that the British intelligence services would make use of information obtained under torture by foreign governments. \nA high court appeal in August found that it was lawful for the British government to use information obtained under torture by foreign governments to avert an imminent attack, but there was no evidence that it had done so in the case of the detainees held in British jails. \nSpeaking at a fringe meeting at the Labour party conference last week, Lord Chancellor Charlie Falconer backed the decision of the court but said it was "an almost impossible ethical question." \nWhile emphasizing that Britain repudiated the use of torture he said: "We cannot condone torture, but the basis of those incarcerations is protection of other people."
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Dark matter, mysterious invisible stuff that makes up most of the mass of galaxies, including the Milky Way, is confounding scientists again, with new observations of distant galaxies conflicting with the current understanding of its nature. Research published this week revealed an unexpected discrepancy between observations of dark matter concentrations in three massive clusters of galaxies encompassing trillions of stars and theoretical computer simulations of how dark matter should be distributed. “Either there is a missing ingredient in the simulations or we have made a fundamental incorrect assumption about the nature of dark matter,” Yale University astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan, a coauthor of