CIA Torture Tapes

It’s not getting a lot of play in the corporate media here, beyond a few mentions, but it’s page 1 news all over the rest of the world:

Apparently, the CIA destroyed tapes of suspect interrogations. The videotapes showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terror suspects — including Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in CIA custody — to “severe interrogation techniques.” Several CIA officials have said (according to International Herald Tribune accounts) that they were destroyed in part because officers were concerned that tapes documenting controversial interrogation methods could expose agency officials to greater risk of legal jeopardy. The official CIA story is that the recordings were destroyed to protect the safety of undercover officers and because they no longer had intelligence value.

The Senate is planning an investigation, because it appears that the CIA destroyed potential evidence of criminal wrongdoing, and did so specifically to protect agency officials. This is HUGE.

Could be even bigger, though — In the book Why America Slept – The Failure to Prevent 9/11, published in 2003, Gerald Pozner wrote a chapter on the interrogation of Zubaydah. In it, he described the interrogation, with two active intelligence operatives as his sources. The CIA never made any comment on the book.

In the book, he talks about the fact that Zubaydah was fooled in a false-flag operation to believe that the Saudis held him, instead of the US. Instead of being afraid of the ‘Saudis,’ he demanded to talk to three Saudi princes (one, the nephew of the King, who happened to be in the U.S. on 9/11). He gave his interrogators the private cell phone numbers of all three princes, as well as the chief of Pakistan’s air force. Zubaydah, a top al Qaeda operative, said that these Saudi royals, and a top Pakistani military man, were his sponsors.

After the U.S. told the Saudis and Pakistanis of Zubaydah’s finger pointing, all four men had tragic ‘accidents.’

The King’s nephew died of complications from liposuction at the age of 43. A day later, the 41 year old Prince named by Zubaydah died in a one-car accident on his way to the funeral of the King’s nephew. The third named prince, age 25, died a week later of “thirst,” according to the Saudi Royal Court. And shortly after that, the chief of Pakistan’s air force died when his plane exploded with his wife and 15 of his top aides on board.

No shit.

And now the only evidence of that interrogation has been destroyed by the CIA.

Friday Music

A mix of new and old this week —

First up, one of my favorite songs, that few people know. This singer was a member of Berlin, but quit before the first album was released. Then, she got a deal at Island Records, in return for working as a janitor at the offices, and toured but never released a record. In 1985, she signed a deal with A&M, performed backing vocals for David + David on “Boomtown”, and then, finally, in 1988, released her debut album Union — and I fell in love with this track, based on the strength of her voice. This is what I think of when I hear the word “belt” in relation to singing. Toni Childs – “Don’t Walk Away.”

I grabbed a copy of Kate Nash’s debut album, Made of Bricks, this week. Listeners of Friday Music should know that I’ve been completely obsessed with Nash recently, loving everything I’ve heard from her so far. The album is no disappointment. Here are two tracks to demonstrate the coolness: Kate Nash – “Mouthwash”, more of her bouncy piano-based pop….and then the quirky almost-blues of Kate Nash – “Dickhead”, which, as you might guess from the title, features some not-safe-for-work language.

Another old song, which I first heard when it was released and my friends and I were raiding the record collection of one of my friend’s college-age brother, back in the early 80s. Later on, I would perform this song in a band at a couple of high-school parties. Marshall Crenshaw – “Someday, Someway.”

Nashville ‘alternative’ singer Alison Krauss and Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant have teamed up and released an album, Raising Sand, which manages to be blues, country, rock, folk, bluegrass and more, all at the same time. Brilliant stuff. Check out this vaguely rockabillyish track: Alison Krauss and Robert Plant – “Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On).”

More neo-retro from Daptone Records: Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings – “Keep On Looking.” I have got to get this album.

Lastly, a slice of total cool from Robbie Robertson, who released his debut solo album in 1987, eleven years after The Band had called it quits. Featuring musicians like Peter Gabriel and U2’s Adam Clayton sitting in, the album was great, but nothing on it struck me as much as this track: Robbie Robertson – “Somewhere Down The Crazy River.”