In 2011 The Nation’s Jeremy Scahill presented a damning indictment of the CIA’s use of secret prisons in Somalia. The prisoners housed at the CIA facility, located underneath Somalia’s National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters, are suspected of being members of Shabab – a militant group that has pledged allegiance to al Qaeda. Many of the prisoners were snatched from the streets of Kenya and rendered to Somalia without trial or due process. In a Wednesday interview with Democracy Now, Scahill provides even more in depth information about the use of death squads and mercenary forces by the Obama administration.
Scahill compares what the Obama administration is doing, aiding dictators and right wing governments, to what the Reagan administration did in the 1980’s. According to Scahill the CIA had ratcheted down covert operations due the assassination scandals of previous years, but 9/11 changed all that. The world is now viewed as a battlefield and both the Bush and Obama administrations have given their military and intelligence apparatus the authority to deploy resources to areas all over the world in anticipation of future battles.
The Obama administration has also doubled down on the view of the executive branch as a dictatorship, allowing only minimal oversight by Congress. For example, there are three sets of kill lists, and a group of people who add names to that list, but there is no real Congressional oversight for the process or implementation of the drone assassination program.
Most stunning though is Scahill’s thorough outlining of how the CIA employs torture techniques on detainees around the world. High value targets are held incommunicado for months at a time while they’re being interrogated and the interrogators who have opposed these practices have been blackballed and even threatened. Journalists have not escaped imprisonment in these bed bug infested U.S. torture camps.
Watch the full interview: