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My Year at FDL: A Review

I thought it might be interesting to summarize the work I’ve done at FDL this past year. My output shrank in relation to prior years, due to conflicts with work and the inevitable slowing of the aging process, but I’m proud of what I’ve been able to bring FDL readers.

Torture protestors in orange jumpsuits with covered heads

Another year of drawing attention to torture and human rights abuses on Firedoglake.

Since I have posted at both MyFDL and The Dissenter, as well as contributing to Firedoglake Book Salon, I thought a personal post such as this might fit in best here.

While the following is not a complete listing of all my work here this year, it highlights those articles that involved original research or analysis.

In no particular order, the work I thought important included (first, at The Dissenter):

* Writing in-depth analysis of the frame-up of Ahmed Abu Ali, whose confession under torture was allowed in court, and how that was allowed to happen by cherry-picking the testimony of psychological experts

* Revealing that Obama never rescinded all the torture memos. One of these, written by Stephen Bradbury, was a spurious defense of the newly written Army Field Manual for interrogation and its “Appendix M” that allowed for psychological forms of torture.

* Provided a full examination of the Army report on the controversial death of Guantanamo detainee Adnan Latif. The only other comprehensive look at the Army’s report was by Jason Leopold at Al-Jazeera. (I wrote a separate article as well on Col. Bogdan at Guantanamo and his onerous search policy, which led to the detainees’ wide-spread hunger strike, and whose origins had to do with Latif’s death.)

* When US was pushing for military intervention in Syria because of a chemical weapon attack in that country’s civil war, I noted the US was not trustworthy, as they had a history of the US covering up large-scale biological and chemical warfare, a history that has a decades-long cover-up that is still only partially understood (see this recent blog post at my personal site). (This article was a good adjunct to the Foreign Policy article on how the US helped Iraq’s Saddam Hussein gas Iran.)

* Revealed a hitherto unremarked CIA/Psychological Strategy Board document that showed the U.S. was lying about claims it wanted independent investigations into the charges by China, North Korea and the USSR that the U.S. had used biological weapons during the Korean War. Moreover, the document hinted at other hidden U.S. war crimes, including possible use of chemical weapons in Korea as well. I can say that I’ve gotten a number of emails and engaged in discussions with multiple historians privately since release of this article, which seriously challenged not only U.S. histories written on the period, but again, like the other article mentioned one paragraph above, draws grave questions about the credibility of what the U.S. government says about WMD threats — I’ll have more to write about this very soon.

* My Dissenter article was the only press or blog report on the findings of a Georgetown professor that placed well-known and influential psychologist Martin Seligman into even greater contact with Mitchell and Jessen, who allegedly helped form the CIA’s torture program, than had been previously known.

* I also reported on a The Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) and the Open Society Foundations (OSF) report, released this year, which lambasted the U.S. medical and psychological establishments and the U.S. government for using medical professionals in the torture of prisoners. Their report highlighted two recommendations of issues that I’ve covered over the years at The Dissenter: the use of torture in the Army Field Manual, and the call for an investigation into the use of mefloquine on all Guantanamo prisoners.

— I’d add that early in 2013, I also published at MyFDL an exclusive inside look at the after-action report of a SERE team that had been inside the torture chambers at JSOC’s Camp Nama in Iraq. Releasing (with thanks to Michael Otterman) an otherwise unknown document, with emendations from one of the principals involved, that looked at a controversy within the military about how far abusive interrogation can go.

— Also at MyFDL, I reported on a DHS website posting that remarked upon the FBI’s “possible” funding of a domestic terrorist group; unanswered questions about an early 2013 Wikileaks posting of a supposed 2002 Camp Delta SOP manual (a release by Wikileaks that was widely reported but had not one analysis of contents besides mine); and my reproduction of a suppressed WWII-era Japanese torture instructions that was eerily similar to the U.S. torture instructions.

— Finally, I was thrilled to host the Firedoglake Book Salon for Allen Hornblum et al.’s book, Against Their Will: The Secret History of Medical Experimentation on Children in Cold War America

I’m glad to bring my work to FDL, and thanks to all here who supported it. While my work cannot match the day-in and day-out contributions of others here at FDL — and I especially point out Kevin Gostzola’s incredible work at The Dissenter — I believe that the original research into the topics I bring, I hopefully add something special for FDL readers.

Happy New Year!

Photo by Debra Sweet released under a Creative Commons license.

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Jeff Kaye

Jeff Kaye

Jeffrey Kaye is a psychologist in private practice in San Francisco, where he works with adults and couples in psychotherapy. He worked over 10 years professionally with torture victims and asylum applicants. Active in the anti-torture movement since 2006, he has his own blog, Invictus. He has published previously at Truthout, Alternet, and The Public Record.