Recruiting Informants: Framings, Expulsion, and Torture

Between this MoJo story from last week and this Telegraph story from today, it sure looks like the US and Brits have utterly dispensed with rule of law in hopes of recruiting informants.

Last week, Nick Baumann told the story of Yonas Fikre. While visiting family in Sudan, men purporting to be FBI (remember that CIA has repeatedly lied and said they were FBI since 9/11) pushed him to become an informant. When he refused, the Agents told him he had been put on the no-fly list. He then traveled to UAE, where he was detained (reportedly at the behest of the US, torture, and interrogated–in an effort, Fikre says, to elicit a false confession.

Meanwhile, the Telegraph tells of the process depicted by more of the documents liberated in Libya (I’m still wondering when the documents explaining how Ibn Sheikh al-Libi was suicided). In violation of laws prohibiting it, MI5 not only provided information to Libyans about Libyan refugees in the country, but set up meetings to try to coerce them to become informants.  If offering them citizenship didn’t work, the story describes, then they would prosecute them for meeting with the Libyan agents whose meeting they had set up.

The minutes suggest that MI5 preferred to use the carrot, rather than the stick, in inducing the target to start giving up information about his associates: ‘We might allow him to visit his family in Libya, then return to Britain. We could offer to help clear his name with Libyan authorities. We could offer to help with citizenship or residency. This could open the door to his co-operation. We could enter his office frequently, do business with him and open the door to further conversations.’

But if that didn’t work, then they could resort to coercion: ‘Libyan operatives could ask him [the target asylum seeker] about problems at home in Libya or in Britain.
‘They offer to help in return for giving information we want

about other targets. If he refuses, British police will arrest him and accuse him of associating with Libyan secret agents. He will be told that as a non-resident of Britain he could be deported if found guilty.’

At some point this isn’t about collecting intelligence anymore (particularly in the case of Fikre’s mosque, the Imam from which the FBI has probably sent 10 informants against without ever being able to make a case against him). It’s about instilling turning Muslim men into the puppets of the governments claiming to wage counter-terrorism campaigns.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

2 replies
  1. Frank33 says:

    Great Post, Spy versus Spy, which suggests “Bodyguard of Lies” as used in WWII. The British controlled, rather than capture, German spies. False information would hopefully be believed by the Germans. Now, our massive Government and privatized Espionage Establishment is doing the same, recruiting terrorists. Except, that the US Spymasters are the ones being fooled by those clever terrorists.. Of course, the CIA shut down every investigation of Al Qaeda.

    Al-Awlaki visited the Pentagon where he was or was not recruited as a Spy. Then Al-Awlaki was assassinated according to a Pentagon press release. David Headley, was an ISI spy, and either he was a L-e-T or Al Qaeda spy. The CIA cleared him of being a spy numerous times. He helped plan and investigate targets, including Mumbai. Abdulmutallab, Undie Bomber was not so much a spy, as a convenient patsy, and the Intelligence Community was following him around before his Christmas Day Bombing. The Intelligence authorities once again failed to stop this attack. They were rewarded with X-ray scanners at all airports and a new war in Yemen.

    My favorite double agent terrorist spy, that is being protected by the Intelligence Community is Ali Mohamed. Ali is the most dangerous man alive according to Patrick Fitzgerald. Ali was convicted, and then he has been set free, with a pension, because he was a Green Beret soldier.. Ali also helped move Bin Laden around. Perhaps he helped move him to Abottabad.

    Even though Ali is a liar and an accomplice to murder, he was cited in the famous Aug. 8 2001 PDB. The Intelligence Authorities used his claims without specifying that Ali was a murderer and terrorist, set free by the US Government. Who is the bigger liar, Tenet or Ali?

    All these Fails, but the Intelligence Community gets more and more power and less and less accountability.The double agents have been used, same as the False Torture Confessions, to create the Phony War on Terror.

    An Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) operative told – – service at the same time that bin Laden was planning to exploit the operative’s access to the U.S. to mount a terrorist strike…

    Two al-Qaeda members found guilty in the conspiracy to bomb our embassies in East Africa were U.S. citizens, and a senior EIJ member lived in California in the mid-1990s.

    Al Qaeda is just a criminal gang created by the CIA. Follow the money.

  2. Bill Michtom says:

    Should this:
    He then traveled to UAE, where he was detained (reportedly at the behest of the US, torture, and interrogated–in an effort

    look like this:
    He then traveled to UAE, where he was detained (reportedly at the behest of the US), tortured, and interrogated–in an effort”?

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