Archive for the ‘torture’ tag
Wikileaks has released more documents, this time about Guantanamo, detailing how hundreds of innocent people (including elderly and handicapped people and children,) are being detained, and a journalist has been imprisoned for over six years. Allison talks about the different ways these damning documents are being framed by the media.
Jamie thinks he’s dying from heat bumps. Also, Ross Douthat, an adult, still believes in hell. The US government bans poker while still funding multiple wars, and next they might be coming for your porn.
Allison continues to blog at The Nation. Share her articles on Facebook and Twitter! Latest post: Gov. Christie Goes To War With Working Families.
Bradley Manning was stripped and left naked in his cell for seven hours, which is a familiar CIA tactic used to teach “learned helplessness.” Jamie talks about Charlie Sheen, and the sexist way the media — and Americans — engage in Schadenfreud. Allison discusses the establishment media’s rhetoric when discussing pro-democratic forces, and what differentiates a “terrorist” from a “freedom fighter.” But mainly, this is the episode in which Allison finally gets a pony.
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BoingBoing features a neat little tool that allows readers to create their own New York Times torture-euphemism headline. Some examples:
Detainees suffered unusual concept gathering inquiries
Reports indicate rigorous imploration inquests
Toll of war includes tribulating discussion diagnostics
Logs show intensified stress remonstrations
Check it out here.
I write a lot about tasers on this blog – usually from the victim’s perspective – but tasering is dangerous business all around, even for the police officers doing the electrocuting.
Three South Carolina Highway Patrol officers have been hurt in Taser training incidents this year.
One of the three is still not on the job and drawing workers’ compensation for injuries, said S.C. Department of Public Safety director Mark Keel.
Richland Sheriff Leon Lott chose to undergo tasering because he, wisely, wanted to see what he was asking his deputies to do. Unsurprisingly, the experience was not pleasant. In fact, it sounds torturous.
“It is the most pain I ever felt in my life, from my head to my toes and everything — and I mean everything — in between. I felt like my muscles were going to explode,” Lott said.
Tasers are frequently depicted as a “safe” tool for population control, but because society has been desensitized to the presence of these weapons, police have begun to use tasers with alarming regularity. As a result, we’re hearing more and more stories of people being killed and/or seriously injured. Pregnant women, the elderly, minors, the mentally ill, and people with heart problems have all been victims of overzealous tasering.
Even ostensibly healthy people are vulnerable to this kind of legal torture.
On the season premiere of Real Time with Bill Maher, former governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, explained that war criminal, Dick Cheney, cannot be prosecuted even though Cheney confessed to war crimes on ABC News.
I’m paraphrasing Spitzer’s words (I can’t find the transcript or video online, but if someone sends it to me, I’ll include his exact phrasing in an update,) but he essentially said that once Cheney received the blessing of a lawyer to facilitate the culture of torture, he eliminated the possibility that he would ever be held accountable for his actions.
Scott Horton explains how this plausible deniability thing works:
When he was informed that CIA seniors believed their palette of techniques went as far as the law allowed, Cheney, drawing on the skills of his counsel David Addington and White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, arranged to have John Yoo craft a memorandum (the infamous torture memo) to overrule the CIA and its counsel. It was not a situation in which they proposed and he accepted, but rather one in which he cajoled and pressured them to accept torture techniques, enlisting the Justice Department in the process. Those are the facts; Cheney has, of course, contrived a paper trail that provides him cover and that carefully elides his decisive role in the process from the outset. Throughout his career he has been a master manipulator who gets his results without leaving behind a clean set of fingerprints.
See how that works? Cheney comes up with the idea, and then has Yoo, the lawyer, give him legal cover.
While haunting the nation’s airwaves this past Sunday, Darth Vader dropped The Bomb: he supports repealing DADT.
“The society has moved on,” Cheney said. “It’s partly a generational question.”
Progressives and liberals — as you might expect — reacted like battered puppies. They poked their heads out from under the couch — quizzical, slightly trembling. Really? Are we buds now?
But just in case anyone was confused about who this man is, or where he stands on the great moral and legal issues of our time, Cheney also called his former boss (haha) soft on terrorism:
Former Vice President Dick Cheney says he disagreed with the Bush administration’s release of prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention center and with the decision to subject terrorists to criminal courts.
Cheney says he opposed the Bush administration decision to charge shoe bomber Richard Reid in criminal court rather than declare him an enemy combatant and hold him in military custody.
The Obama administration continued its commitment to transparency this week by unleashing Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, to not-so-subtly guilt the UK for a British court’s decision to make public the allegations that Binyamin Mohamed was mistreated while detained under U.S. control in Pakistan.
Here’s the full text of the national intelligence director’s statement: “The protection of confidential information is essential to strong, effective security and intelligence cooperation among allies. The decision by a United Kingdom court to release classified information provided by the United States is not helpful, and we deeply regret it. The United States and the United Kingdom have a long history of close cooperation that relies on mutual respect for the handling of classified information. This court decision creates additional challenges, but our two countries will remain united in our efforts to fight against violent extremist groups.”
That’s a nice diplomatic, mutually beneficial relationship ya’ got there…be a shame if anything happened to ‘er.
If you want to see exactly why the mainstream media sucks, check out this glorious clip from Chuck Todd’s (sigh) new MSNBC show, The Daily Rundown. The guest is Mark Whitaker, Washington Bureau Chief for NBC, and as co-host Savannah Guthrie sycophantically adds in the last few seconds of the segment, their boss.
Let us marvel at the rich tapestry of opinions embedded in this thorough 4-minute examination of what Guthrie adorably calls “terror politics.” Whitaker makes several confusing statements that warrant a closer examination.
Savannah Guthrie: Let’s move on to terror politics. This has very much been in the news. Assuming the administration believes it’s right on the policy, for example, that KSM should be tried in civilian court as opposed to military commissions, are they getting the politics wrong here? It doesn’t seem like anyone is coming out on their side and forcefully defending these decisions.
Mike Whitaker: Well, first of all, just on the legal issue, frankly, I think they’re a little bit confused because on the one hand they’re saying that the argument for trying Khalid Shiekh Mohammad in a civilian court is that it gives it more legitmacy. Well, what’s the legitimacy come from? It basically comes from the presumption of innocence. Meanwhile, you have Gibbs and Holder, and so forth, guaranteeing a conviction. I’ve been told-
John Kiriakou, the former CIA operative who gained international fame by affirming the Neo-Conservative wet dream that waterboarding quickly unloosens the tongues of hard-core terrorists, now says he didn’t know what he was talking about. In fact, he wasn’t even in the room during the Zubaydah torture sessions.
Ya see, the information he provided wasn’t so much first-hand experience as water cooler gossip. Kiriakou first claimed waterboarding worked in “thirty to thirty-five seconds,” which is a lie. Zubaydah was waterboarded over 83 times, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times.
Then, Kiriakou reveals on the next-to-last page of his new memoir that he wasn’t even in the room when these interrogations took place.
“Now we know,” Kiriakou says, “that Zubaydah was waterboarded eighty-three times in a single month, raising questions about how much useful information he actually supplied.”
The Supreme Court has refused to hear a suit seeking accountability for Guantanamo torture. (h/t Digby) SCOTUS received an assist from the Obama White House, which had asked the court not to hear the case.
Today, the United States Supreme Court refused to review a lower court’s dismissal of a case brought by four British former detainees against Donald Rumsfeld and senior military officers for ordering torture and religious abuse at Guantánamo. The British detainees spent more than two years in Guantanamo and were repatriated to the U.K. in 2004.
The Obama administration had asked the court not to hear the case. By refusing to hear the case, the Court let stand an earlier opinion by the D.C. Circuit Court which found that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a statute that applies by its terms to all “persons” did not apply to detainees at Guantanamo, effectively ruling that the detainees are not persons at all for purposes of U.S. law. The lower court also dismissed the detainees’ claims under the Alien Tort Statute and the Geneva Conventions, finding defendants immune on the basis that “torture is a foreseeable consequence of the military’s detention of suspected enemy combatants.” Finally, the circuit court found that, even if torture and religious abuse were illegal, defendants were immune under the Constitution because they could not have reasonably known that detainees at Guantanamo had any Constitutional rights.
Obama’s DoJ concurs, using an old strategy employed by the Bush administration.