Source: British territory used for US terror interrogation

Almost two years have passed since President George W. Bush publicly acknowledged the existence of a CIA program in which agency-leased aircraft fly terror suspects between secret prisons and interrogation sites around the world. “This program has helped us to take potential mass murderers off the streets before they have a chance to kill,” the President said on Sept. 6, 2006. Since that admission, the White House has declined to elaborate or comment further on the program’s specifics, although multiple reports have surfaced regarding the existence of secret facilities in Poland and Romania.

According to a former senior American official, it appears another locale can be added to the international roster of interrogation sites — one both more obscure and potentially more controversial than the alleged sites in Poland and Romania. The source tells TIME that, in 2002 and possibly 2003, the U.S. imprisoned and interrogated one or more terrorist suspects on Diego Garcia, an island in the Indian Ocean controlled by the United Kingdom.

PHR demands trans-Atlantic investigation and International Red Cross access to all detainees in US custody

Physicians For Human Rights calls on the House and Senate committees on Intelligence and Armed Services to hold CIA Director Hayden and senior Bush Administration officials accountable. PHR also calls on Parliament to determine what current Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, current Foreign Secretary David Miliband, former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, and other members of the Privy Council knew about US detention activities at Diego Garcia and when they knew it.

Since the publication of its landmark report in 2005 documenting the use of torture against detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Break Them Down: Systematic Use of Psychological Torture by US Forces, PHR has been a leading voice in the effort to end the use of abusive interrogation techniques during interrogations of detainees held by the US military and intelligence services. PHR published in June the report Broken Laws, Broken Lives: Medical Evidence of US Torture and its Impact, an analysis of medical and psychological evaluations of detainees held at US detention facilities in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The thirty-year war, revisited

What is the most realistic description of the conflict the United States launched after the attacks of 11 September 2001? As the seventh anniversary of this founding event approaches, and with no end to the conflict in sight, leading analysts are seeking to consign the formerly potent notions of the “war on terror” (or its sobering successor the “long war”) to early retirement. Some offer in their place a focus on “counter-terrorism”, implying opposition to the idea that a “battlefield solution” to the military campaign is possible. A new report by the RAND Corporation, for example, concludes that “the U.S. approach to countering al Qa’ida has focused far too much on the use of military force. Instead, policing and intelligence should be the backbone of U.S. efforts” (see Seth G Jones & Martin C Libicki, How Terrorist Groups End: Lessons for Countering al Qa’ida, RAND Corporation, July 2008).

Apparent suicide in anthrax case

A top government scientist who helped the FBI analyze samples from the 2001 anthrax attacks has died in Maryland from an apparent suicide, just as the Justice Department was about to file criminal charges against him for the attacks, the Los Angeles Times has learned.

Bruce E. Ivins, 62, who for the last 18 years worked at the government’s elite biodefense research laboratories at Ft. Detrick, Md., had been informed of his impending prosecution, said people familiar with Ivins, his suspicious death and the FBI investigation.

Ivins, whose name had not been disclosed publicly as a suspect in the case, played a central role in research to improve anthrax vaccines by preparing anthrax formulations used in experiments on animals.

A combat troop withdrawal from Iraq?

Iraqi officials said Thursday that they were close to finalizing a new security arrangement that would set out the goal of withdrawing all U.S. combat troops from the country, while stopping short of establishing a strict timetable for their departure.

The pact would outline a conditional time frame for Iraqi troops to take charge of the country and U.S. combat troops to be withdrawn, according to Iraqi officials familiar with the talks.

The Iraqis said the new arrangement would allow Prime Minister Nouri Maliki to claim that he has enshrined the principle of an American withdrawal, a key demand for a government eager to show independence from Washington while keeping the flexibility to extend the U.S. military presence if security deteriorates.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader may be in Afghanistan

The leader of the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq and several of his top lieutenants have recently left Iraq for Afghanistan, according to group leaders and Iraqi intelligence officials, a possible further sign of what Iraqi and U.S. officials call growing disarray and weakness in the organization.

U.S. officials say there are indications that al-Qaeda is diverting new recruits from going to Iraq, where its fighters have suffered dramatic setbacks, to going to Afghanistan and Pakistan, where they appear to be making gains.

Pakistanis aided attack in Kabul, U.S. officials say

American intelligence agencies have concluded that members of Pakistan’s powerful spy service helped plan the deadly July 7 bombing of India’s embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, according to United States government officials.

The conclusion was based on intercepted communications between Pakistani intelligence officers and militants who carried out the attack, the officials said, providing the clearest evidence to date that Pakistani intelligence officers are actively undermining American efforts to combat militants in the region.

The American officials also said there was new information showing that members of the Pakistani intelligence service were increasingly providing militants with details about the American campaign against them, in some cases allowing militants to avoid American missile strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Israel and Hizballah ready to rumble?

Ever since they fought to a tie in their 2006 clash in southern Lebanon, Israel and Hizballah have assumed they will tangle again. And the date of their rematch may be drawing closer if some of the rhetoric on both sides is to be believed.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, on a trip to the United States this week, has been warning officials that Hizballah’s rocket arsenal has “doubled, if not tripled” since the end of the month-long war in the summer of 2006, during which the militia of the Shi’ite movement fired thousands of rockets into the Jewish State. “Israel considers this to be a real and serious danger,” Barak said.

But Hizballah has complaints of its own, this week accusing Israel of repeatedly violating Lebanese sovereignty on land, sea and particularly in its airspace, which is breached almost daily by Israeli jets and reconnaissance drones.

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