Archive for torture

GottaLaff on Nicole Sandler: The News Has Been Cancelled - Audio

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If an event happens - say systematic torture - and no news outlet reports it, did it happen?

From the RadioOrNot website:

There is no more news. There’s infotainment and speculation and opinion and lots of made-up shit all masquerading as “news,” but make no mistake, the news has been canceled.

Today’s “news” casts on TV are anything but the objective, fact-based reports on the day’s events they used to be. A Washington Post obituary of “60 Minutes” Creator Don Hewittgets to the reason that the actual news can no longer be found on your television set:

GottaLaff is a regular contributor to the site and has been for several years.

Here's the podcast:

The News Has Been Canceled…and That’s the Way it Is

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Torture worse than waterboarding: Inside the Senate report on CIA interrogations

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Did you know that waterboarding was the "least worst" method of torture used on high-value detainees by the CIA under the Bush administration's watch?

My dear friend and one of the best investigative reporters out there, Jason Leopold, went on Nicole Sandler's radio show just before my weekly spot. He's a tough act to follow, especially when he reveals what the corporate "news" media won't touch with a ten-foot ad buy. Which is why you haven't heard about the "not legally authorized" torture "techniques" that will likely turn many American stomachs once details are finally (if ever) made public.

Now, because Jason has made such good and plentiful use of the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act), he is being called a "FOIA terrorist" and has had to deal with considerable blowback from some very powerful people in very powerful places. IMHO, the reason they feel so "terrorized" is that they're scared to death of Jason's reporting and the truths he brings to light.

Here are a few excerpts from Jason's Al Jazeera America piece:

A still-classified report on the CIA's interrogation program established in the wake of 9/11 sparked a furious row last week between the agency and Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein. Al Jazeera has learned from sources familiar with its contents that the committee's report alleges that at least one high-value detainee was subjected to torture techniques that went beyond those authorized by George W. Bush's Justice Department.

Two Senate staffers and a U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the information they disclosed remains classified, told Al Jazeera that the committee's analysis of 6 million pages of classified records also found that some of the harsh measures authorized by the Department of Justice had been applied to at least one detainee before such legal authorization was received. They said the report suggests that the CIA knowingly misled the White House, Congress and the Justice Department about the intelligence value of detainee Zain Abidin Mohammed Husain Abu Zubaydah when using his case to argue in favor of harsher interrogation techniques. [...]

Even before accessing the documents, committee staffers received crucial information in a briefing from former FBI agent Ali Soufan in early 2008, according to Al Jazeera’s sources. Soufan — who now runs a private security and intelligence consultancy — told the staffers that he had kept meticulous notes about the methods used by a psychologist under CIA contract to interrogate Abu Zubaydah at a CIA black site in Thailand after his capture in Pakistan in March of 2002. Soufan's account, the staffers say, shows that torture techniques were used on Abu Zubaydah even before some had been sanctioned as permissible by the Bush administration. [...]

Two Senate staffers told Al Jazeera that the Panetta documents question the Bush administration claims about the efficacy of Abu Zubaydah’s torture, and the staffers noted that some of the techniques to which he was subjected early in his captivity had not yet been authorized.

Jason explained that the previously undisclosed torture methods made waterboarding seem like the least ghastly practice by comparison... and perhaps that's why the public focus was (intentionally) on waterboarding. See the shiny, inhumane keys? Now move along.

You can hear Jason talk about these revelations in his own words here (podcast). And please read his entire Al Jazeera post here. Where you will not read, hear, or see any references to Jason Leopold's reporting is in the corporate "mainstream" media. Maybe we can all use our social media skills to force the press into covering his work. Wouldn't that be novel?

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"Well, Senator Feinstein, how does it feel?"

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Senator Feinstein Dianne Feinstein CIA

Today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, Senator Feinstein Hypocrisy Edition, because our voices matter:

Re "CIA denies Senate spying claim," March 12

Anyone who fails to appreciate the supreme irony of Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-Calif.) righteous indignation over the CIA's alleged spying on and undermining of the Senate Intelligence Committee (of which Feinstein is chair) has not been paying attention.

For years, she has been one of the intelligence community's most steadfast champions, deflecting criticism of the surveillance state, attacking whistle-blowers and justifying nearly every abuse. Her tenure at the spy community's ultimate oversight body, tasked with safeguarding the public interest, has seen that institution perform as something between a star chamber and a cheerleading squad.

Only when the monster she helped create might have turned against her does she seem to remember something called the Constitution. Is it any wonder that Congress is held in utter contempt by the people?

Mark McCormick

Los Angeles

***

In January, a Times news article described Feinstein as "a key defender of the National Security Agency's data tracking program." Now, just two months later, Feinstein is riled up about the national security apparatus, but only because she believes it turned a jaundiced eye on Senate staffers.

Well, Senator Feinstein, how does it feel?

Frankly, I believe she and her supporters should be ashamed of her hypocrisy. Of course, this includes The Times, which endorsed Feinstein in 2012, stating clearly that "endorsing her for another term is an easy call."

Paul Marsden

Garden Grove

***

Feinstein's committee found documents showing that President Bush's torture program was far more barbaric than previously revealed and far less effective than claimed. This controversy is really about the CIA hiding potential crimes from Feinstein's committee.

CIA Director John Brennan endorsed torture and rendition under Bush. As director, he has kept the lid on the truth. He should be fired.

The Senate Intelligence Committee report needs to be declassified, and if the U.S. won't pursue possible war criminals, the International Criminal Court should.

But under Bush, the U.S. refused to be under the court's jurisdiction. The Obama administration has since renewed a relationship with the court, but Senate ratification is needed for the ICC to do what no one in this country has the stomach to do.

It is the president's job to ask the Senate for ratification. Shame on us all if he does not.

Richard Green

San Clemente

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Gay Defenders Are Wrong This Time

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Gay Vigilantes
Vigilantism is wrong. It doesn't matter what the cause or stand they are acting upon, the commission of any activity driven by revenge or hate cannot be tolerated.

Usually we hear stories of retribution or mob thinking and it's sadly over a cause or belief that means something to us. A group of bullies or toughs take on a weaker opponent. It's most often racially charged, religiously motivated, politically infused, hate driven mob mentality that launches these actions. This story is the same, but a bit different. It's coming from an angle that you usually don't hear about. It's defenders of an underdog. They took it on themselves to become aggressors, and justly, they have to be called out on it.

Sticking up for someone's rights is admirable but only when it doesn't cross the line into lawlessness. The details come from Raw Story.

Four underage teens — three boys and one girl — in Portland, Oregon were arrested on kidnapping and assault charges after they allegedly lured a bully into a shed and tortured him for calling a classmate “gay.”

According to the arrest report, the ring-leader was a 14-year-old boy who was upset that the victim had called another student “gay” on Facebook. The other attackers were similarly perturbed, and believed that their actions would be “an act of revenge.”

KATU TV, in Oregon, has this story and the gruesome details:

Sadly, had these assailants acted in a rational sense, reporting it to authorities, there probably wouldn't have been any action taken. It would most likely have been dismissed as kids just goofing on other kids. But we'll never know. These four attackers committed horrific crimes. No matter their intentions nor the motivations, this was wrong.

Too often the shoe is on the other foot -- just look at Russia and their anti-gay stance. Under the guise of Russian law, civil rights and human rights are being trampled. LGBT citizens are being beaten, humiliated and worse, even killed. But as evil and wrong as that is, so is the flip side of this argument. As a pro LGBT supporter, it's isolated incidents like this that can give ammunition to the very large, anti-gay movement. I hope this isn't a flash point in Oregon, or anywhere else, that ignites into something much bigger and more hateful.

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Cops Force Medical Anal Rape Upon Suspects - Three Separate Cases

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Leo K-9 dogLeo K-9 Dog

What is it with New Mexico? THE DAILY BEAST:

Horrific as the story is, it is not unique. In fact, it is one of three anal probing lawsuits to make headlines out of New Mexico this week. Each case has the same elements: an alert from a trained detector dog (in two of the same cases, the same dog, Leo), followed by an invasive cavity search and, ultimately, a complete lack of any found drugs. Attorneys and civil-rights activists are appalled. And in the wake of a recent Supreme Court decision mandating that alerts from trained detector dogs be “probable cause” that narcotics are present, the litigation has put new scrutiny on the reliability of drug-sniffing dogs.

Two weeks ago I wrote a post about this before the latest case surfaced. You can check the shocking video out here. In that case the  police medically raped an innocent man, expose him to dangerous radiation, humiliating anal finger and foreign object probes, a surgical procedure and multiple forced enemas. Ultimately the accused was found to be clean -- in more ways than one. He had done nothing wrong but roll through a stop sign. That made him a victim of medical anal rape.

Now comes this case. A New Mexico resident, (see the connection there) a US citizen, was returning home through El Paso from a shopping day trip in Mexico. A drug sniffing dog indicated the women might be carrying drugs. That's the last sane part of this story.

She was stripped naked, asked to spread her genitalia, and cough.Federal agents pressed their fingers in her vagina and anus,” says Laura Schauer Ives, the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union in New Mexico who is now representing the woman in a case that will be formally filed in the next few weeks. Despite the fact that nothing was revealed, and in the absence of a search warrant, the officials continued their search. The woman was transported to University Medical Center in El Paso, where authorities subjected her to a bio-manual cavity search of her anus and vagina, an extensive search of her bowel movement, and eventually, a CT scan.

Hello! Is this America?

First off, we have rights. If the police think there's a violation of the law, then within reason, they can search you. But after that, they need to justify anything more. How humiliating this must have been for this woman as well as the two men in the previous other cases to be medically, anally raped. And how illegal all of this must be for the federal agents. I hope they get their asses handed to them -- after they've been passed around for everyone else to probe.

This "forced" sh** has got to stop.

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter: @Linzack

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Where Am I And When?

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Satellite Image of Camp 25 in North Korea

Here’s some startling facts gleaned from Hunter Stewart’s article found on HuffPo that got me thinking: Where Am I and When?

The government of this foreign country set up a labor camp housing between 30,000 to 50,000 prisoners, most of whom were suspected of being disloyal to the regime or were related to people who had shown disloyalty.

After a currency devaluation  a food shortage caused a "large number of prisoners" to perish – let’s call it what it was, they were starved to death.

The camp was forced to shut down with an estimated 7,000-8,000 surviving prisoners transferred to other labor camps. Trains holding inmates were seen departing the area at night, heading south.

That still leaves many thousands of prisoners unaccounted for. Their fates are unknown for the time being, as information from inside the so-called Hermit Kingdom often takes years to leak to the outside world, if it gets out at all.

So, where am I and when?

Hold on, here’s one more clue:

(This country’s) leaders have never publicly admitted that the prison labor camps exist, even though as many as 200,000 people are thought to languish inside them, subjected to long hours of coerced labor, malnutrition, beatings, rapes and executions.

Okay. You have enough clues. Time to answer where and when?

Now if your guess was Nazi Germany during the 1940’s, congratulations. You know your history. But you’re only partly right.

This particular set of details is happening right now – 2013 and not in Syria. In North Korea.

We look back now at the Holocaust in horror and rightfully so. It’s going on in North Korea as I write. Where did these thousands of missing people go?

I think we know, but are choosing not to. If we’re considering a “shot across the bow” in Syria, with approximately 1500 innocent people gassed, then what, under the same guidelines, should we be doing in North Korea?

"Never Again" was first used in the Swedish documentary about the Holocaust called "Mein Kampf," directed by Erwin Leiser and produced in 1961.

The narrator's final words, over a general shot of Auschwitz, are, "It must never happen again -- never again."

Are we turning our backs on those fateful words about that blackest of stains on history? Where's the UN on these atrocities? Where's the US and its Syria-like outrage? Where's your anger? We can't police the world. Syria is a civil war. North Korea is a despotic dictatorship. Please use your voice and speak up for those who can't.

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US Makes Torture Victims Pay To Be… Tortured

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In America, when does the pursuit of justice cross the line? How about when it awards legal fees to companies that illegally tortured victims. And who are they making pay for the privilege to be abused? The surviving prisoners.

HuffPo Politics:

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered four Iraqis who were imprisoned at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison to pay nearly $14,000 in legal fees to defense contractor CACI, an Arlington, Va.-based company that supplied interrogators to the U.S. government during the Iraq War.

Foreign nationals, captured and shipped to ABU GHRAIB were held and tortured by the Bush regime. To allow for deniability for possible accusations of war crimes, they farmed out the actual torture to sub-contractors, companies like CACI, an Arlington, Va.-based company that supplied interrogators to the U.S. government during the Iraq War.

In the unlikely case the accused (never provided with a lawyer or a hearing/trial) enemy combatants survived, some chose to petition the US government, suing them for violations of the Geneva conference – international law. All cases were all summarily denied.

A little over a month after winning the dismissal this summer, CACI requested that the former prisoners be ordered to pay $15,580 to cover the company's legal expenses.

Lawyers for the Iraqis disputed that their clients should pay CACI's bills, partly because the Iraqis had "very limited financial means, even by non-U.S. standards, and dramatically so when compared" to CACI, according to a court filing. Moreover, they wrote, the initial claims against CACI, involving "serious claims of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and war crimes were dismissed on very close, difficult -- and only recently arguable -- grounds."

CACI claims non of it’s employees participated in torture. If that’s true, why were they hired? What did they provide as services that the assigned US troops couldn't have legally done? And why did the courts refuse to hear these cases, to at least give the illusion of fairness to the process.

Watch this video and you’ll see just how corrupt this justice system is, both under Bush and under Obama.

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