About Half See CIA Interrogation Methods as Justified
December 15, 2014
PEW RESEARCH CENTER
FOR THE PEOPLE & THE PRESS
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
I'm not sure I can condemn some of those who deliberately kill American citizens in the name of justice.
Posted by Steve J. at 10:03 PM
The author of the "legal" justification for torture admits that many of the actions of the CIA are not covered by his memos:
John Yoo: If the Torture Report Is True, CIA Officers Are at Legal Risk
A surprising admission by an attorney who was instrumental in enabling the Bush Administration's brutal interrogation practices
Conor Friedersdorf Dec 16 2014, 6:00 AM ET
In a little-noticed CNN interview, John Yoo, a primary author of the torture memos, took a surprising position. Although the former Office of Legal Counsel lawyer isn't sure that the Senate torture report is accurate, he says that if all of the interrogation tactics it describes were really deployed by CIA officers, some of them broke the law and are vulnerable to prosecution. Here's a transcript of the exchange:
When you read this report and you read about the techniques that were used, forced rectal feeding, agency officials threatening to rape the mothers of prisoners, people with broken limbs being forced to stand for hours and hours, deprived of sleep for up to one week.
Doesn't that strike you as torture?
JOHN YOO Well, those are very troubling examples. They would not have been approved by the Justice Department. They were not approved by the Justice Department at the time. But I have to question whether they are true because I can't take the face value of the committee's report because there were no Republicans involved. You know, the investigations intelligence committee are traditionally bipartisan and the worst thing, from a lawyer's perspective, from my perspective, is the committee didn't interview any witnesses.
And so you have these reports but they never gave a chance -- gave a chance to the very participants of the people being accused to explain themselves. And so I will want to know more about what happened in any of these cases and to see what really happened. But I agree with you, if there were people who had to undergo what you have just described, none of those were approved by the Justice Department. I don't believe they're approved by the headquarters at CIA, too.
Instead what you had I think you was a lot of chaos and miscommunication going on in the very first months after 9/11 when both people in the White House, the executive branch and Congress, were demanding that the CIA become aggressive and get started on going after al Qaeda.
FAREED ZAKARIA: But, John, if you'd made a fair point that the Republican minority did not join in, and it would have given it more credence, but the practices that they're describing, as I understand it, are taken from the CIA's own accounts, are you saying that you think the committee has doctored those reports?
JOHN YOO: What I'm worried about -- and this is what -- don't take my word for it. This is what CIA ex-directors have been saying over the last few days and they appear in the CIA's own answer and in the minority report to the committee, that these were all cherry picked out of millions of documents and that we don't have the context to understand these are classified documents, of course, many of them, so we can't see the underlying documents. That's why we really need to rely in these kind of situation under being bipartisanship and a chance for people to appear and testify before the committee.
But I agree. Look, Fareed, I agree with you, if these things happened as they are described in the report, as you describe them, those were not authorized by the Justice Department. They were not supposed to be done and those people who did those are at risk legally because they were acting outside their orders.
Posted by Steve J. at 4:52 PM
Monday, December 15, 2014
Poltifact notes that Article III (AKA Section III. Treatment of persons in the power of a Party to the conflict) of all FOUR Geneva Conventions DOES apply to terrorists:
Article 75. FUNDAMENTAL GUARANTEES.
1. In so far as they are affected by a situation referred to in Article 1 of this Protocol, persons who are in the power of a Party to the conflict and who do not benefit from more favourable treatment under the Conventions or under this Protocol shall be treated humanely in all circumstances and shall enjoy, as a minimum, the protection provided by this Article without any adverse distinction based upon race, colour, sex, language, religion or belief, political or other opinion, national or social origin, wealth, birth or other status, or on any other similar criteria. Each Party shall respect the person, honour, convictions and religious practices of all such persons.
2. The following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any
place whatsoever, whether committed by civilian or by military agents:
(a) Violence to the life, health, or physical or mental well-being of persons, in particular:
(ii) Torture of all kinds, whether physical or mental;
(iii) Corporal punishment; and
(b) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment, enforced prostitution and any form of indecent assault;
(c) The taking of hostages;
(d) Collective punishments; and
(e) Threats to commit any of the foregoing acts.
Posted by Steve J. at 4:10 AM
Saturday, December 13, 2014
why can't the Democrats have a few representatives and especially a few senators who can make a big stink about some issue, someone as adamant as Ted Cruz, at least once in a while? Pres. Obama is pretty much a DLC Democrat so I don't expect all that much from him so someone besides Bernie Sanders needs to stand up for true liberal values.
Posted by Steve J. at 9:07 PM
Thursday, December 11, 2014
The Baggers are upset about the new campaign funding rules the House GOP put in the Cromnibus but they don't seem to care about the loosening of the Dodd-Frank bankster rules on derivatives. In fact, FOX News didn't mention the latter at all. According to a Lexis-Nexis search, the last mentions of Dodd-Frank were in 2011:
|Interview With Herman Cain|
Fox News Network, November 9, 2011 Wednesday, NEWS; Domestic, 1536 words, Greta Van Susteren
|Interview With Michele Bachmann|
Fox News Network, November 9, 2011 Wednesday, NEWS; Domestic, 1606 words, Greta Van Susteren
Posted by Steve J. at 11:52 PM
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
(h/t L. A. Horton)
The Bush Administration KNEW AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS that the CIA was using torture:
The Bush Administration KNEW AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS that the CIA was using torture:
Here, from page 33 of the Report, is the language establishing the above:UPDATE: Matt Osborne shared this link to a petition demanding the arrest of Cheney and Bush.
…drafted a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft asking the Department of Justice for “a formal declination of prosecution, in advance, for any employees of the United States, as well as any other personnel acting on behalf of the United States, who may employ methods in the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah that otherwise might subject those individuals to prosecution. The letter further indicated that “the interrogation team had concluded “that “the use of more aggressive methods is required to persuade Abu Zubaydah to provide the critical information we need to safeguard the lives of innumerable innocent men, women and children within the United States and abroad.” The letter added that these “aggressive methods” would otherwise be prohibited by the torture statute, “apart from potential reliance upon the doctrines of necessity or of self-defense.”They knew. And our government tortured anyway. Because they were crapping in their pants and afraid instead of protecting and defending the ethos of our country and its Founders.
Posted by Steve J. at 9:53 PM
This is morally disgusting:
Black, young and unarmed: The case of Cameron Tillman
Six weeks after Michael Brown's death, a police officer killed a black teen in Louisiana with no explanation
December 6, 2014 11:30AM ET
by Ranjani Chakraborty @ranjchak & Sheila MacVicar @Sheila_MacVicar
America Tonight | December 4, 2014
HOUMA, La. – Cameron Tillman, a high school freshman and talented athlete, with a 3.7 grade point average and no reputation for trouble, was shot dead on a Tuesday afternoon.
The house where Cameron died has been empty for about two years, and neighbors say local kids, with the knowledge of the owner, had been using it as an afterschool hangout.
The knock came a little before 5:30 p.m. The four other teens in the house say that when Cameron opened the door, police opened fire. A Terrebonne Parish deputy planted four bullets in Cameron’s 14-year-old body.
The police had received a 911 call about "armed men with guns" going into an abandoned home. The local sheriff said Cameron came to the door with a gun in his hand, but that was later changed to say a BB gun was found "in close proximity" to his body. The teens say the BB gun was on the table.
Cameron was alive for at least 45 minutes, according to the family's lawyer. But the police offered no medical assistance. The investigation is ongoing, but two months on, the four other boys in the house say they still haven't been interviewed.
Jerry Larpenter, the parish sheriff, called what happened a "freak accident," but hasn't explained the behavior of his deputies. The night of the shooting, he handed the case over to the Louisiana State Police to investigate.
Since then, the family and neighbors say the only contact they've had with investigators are search warrants issued for the boys demanding fingerprints and DNA samples.
Posted by Steve J. at 7:51 PM
I wish this got a lot more coverage because most people won't bother to look into the details of the budget the House passed.
UPDATE 1-Pelosi: Democrats will insist on changes to U.S. spending bill
Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:18pm EST
(Adds quote, comment from Van Hollen, background)
Dec 10 (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday that she was insisting that two controversial items be removed from a $1.1 trillion government spending bill unveiled on Tuesday that would avert a government shutdown.
Pelosi said Democrats were "deeply troubled" by provisions to halt planned restrictions on derivatives trading by large, federally insured banks and to expand tenfold the amount that individuals can donate to national political parties.
"These provisions are destructive to middle class families and to the practice of our democracy. We must get them out of the omnibus package," Pelosi said in a statement.
Representative Chris Van Hollen, another prominent House Democrat, said he would vote against the spending bill if it retains the two provision.
Democratic support is critical to passage of the spending measure in the House, as it was unclear whether Republicans could muster enough votes on their own for passage. Many conservatives oppose the bill, claiming it fails to deny funding for U.S. President Barack Obama's immigration order. (Reporting By David Lawder; Editing by Susan Heavey)
Posted by Steve J. at 4:47 PM
This is an add-on to an earlier post that offered one explanation for Tea Party & movement conservative anger. Based on admittedly anecdotal evidence, I suspect with widespread computerization of every day life has created a lot of frustration for millions of Americans who simply don't get the new way of interacting with the world. I also get frustrated with computers even though I've been working with them for about 35 years, so I expect someone who didn't grow up with them often faces seemingly inscrutable obstacles.
Posted by Steve J. at 12:08 AM
Monday, December 08, 2014
I think I've found one good way to use that hypothetical money: save American pension systems. The AP on Yahoo News has a few details:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Key lawmakers weighed legislation to permit a reduction of benefits for up to 1 million retirees at economically distressed multiemployer pension plans, officials said late Monday as Congress labored over a $1.1 trillion measure to keep the government operating past midnight Thursday.The officials said the goal of the secretive pension talks was to preserve benefits as much as possible and avert bankruptcies at troubled plans that could in turn endanger the stability of the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.
Posted by Steve J. at 7:18 PM
A candidate favored by the Kochs and their allies could potentially benefit from the full range activities of groups in the Koch network. The biggest presence is AFP, which spent $130 million in the midterms, with 550 paid staff, including 50 in Florida alone.
The LIBRE Initiative, a network-backed group aimed at Hispanics, has 40 staff at its Arlington, Virginia, headquarters and 40 field staff (25 of them part-time) in seven states. Generation Opportunity, the Kochs’ outreach arm for 18- to 34-year-olds, has 30 full-time, paid grass-roots staffers running boots-on-the-ground activism in 10 states. Concerned Veterans for America, another Koch-backed group based in Arlington, has 60 paid staff in 14 states.
Posted by Steve J. at 5:50 PM
Sunday, December 07, 2014
Since 2001, I've read and heard complaints about the lack of indignation in the Muslim world about the terror attacks of Islamic radicals so I would've thought this meeting would get a lot of US media attention but it didn't.
Muslim clerics meet in Iran to counter extremists
By ALI AKBAR DAREINI
November 23, 2014 1:39 PMn
QOM, Iran (AP) — Shiite and Sunni clerics from about 80 countries gathered in Iran's holy city of Qom on Sunday to develop a strategy to combat extremists, including the Islamic State group that has captured large parts of Iraq and Syria.
Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi, the chief organizer of the conference, appealed for consensus among Islam's two main branches, urging all Muslim clerics to work to discredit groups espousing extremism.
"Military attacks against this deviant group (IS) are necessary but insufficient. The roots of their violent ideology must be dried up. This is the job of Muslim scholars, to preach the true, moderate face of Islam and expose the ugly face of IS ideology," said Shirazi, a prominent Shiite cleric who has a large following in Iran and abroad.
Iraq's Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a Shiite, said the Islamic State group is the biggest threat to Islam. "They were created to undermine Islam and destroy Muslim societies. IS kills both Shiite and Sunni Muslims," he said.
Sunni scholar Abdolrahman Sarbazi, who leads Friday prayers in an area of southeastern Iran that is home to many Sunnis, said "Sunni Muslims also condemn the violent practices of takfiris, who are a threat to humanity." ''Takfiri" is an Arabic word for Islamic extremist.
Posted by Steve J. at 8:55 PM
Matthew Continetti wants us to believe that liberalism is a hoax but he fails to get the point of one of this examples of liberals making shit up:
The racist graffiti and Klan sightings that rocked the Oberlin campus in 2013 and served as the basis of an antiracism campaign were later revealed to be a left-wing “joke.”If you follow Continetti's link, you'll discover that the Oberlin incident was a right-wingers' hoax:
According to an Oberlin City police report, also obtained by HuffPost, one student said he was responsible for anti-Islam flyers, racist cards, a Nazi flag, and the pasting of the head of Oberlin's president onto a photo of Adolf Hitler.
"I'm doing it as a joke to see the college overreact to it as they have with the other racial postings that have been posted on campus," the student who was caught with anti-Islam posters told police, according to the Feb. 27 police report.
Posted by Steve J. at 8:22 PM
(h/t Jay Ackroyd)
LIberals have decided that it's time to give ALEC some competition:
LIberals have decided that it's time to give ALEC some competition:
Welcome to the State Innovation Exchange.
The State Innovation Exchange, SiX, is a new state focused “action tank” that combines the resources of three, previously independent state policy non-profits—the Progressive States Network (PSN); the American Legislative and Issue Campaign Exchange (ALICE); and the Center for State Innovation (CSI). SiX’s mission is to look beyond Washington interests to create and maintain a policy, communications, and political infrastructure focused on states and communities across the country and aimed at achieving long-term progressive policy gains. The ultimate goal of SiX is to construct an institution that will help to change the frame through which Americans see and discuss progressive issues.
The midterm elections only underscored the power deficit that progressives have at the state level. Conservatives now control nearly two-thirds of the legislatures and governorships across the country. They also have assembled an efficient network of organizations that has proven its ability to move laws that promote rollbacks in environmental and labor protections, restrictions on corporate liability, limitations on democratic funding of elections, and the privatization of an ever-widening range of public services. SiX plans to aggressively change this power dynamic and move a progressive agenda in the states that works for people, not corporations.
Posted by Steve J. at 5:54 PM
My first surprise was from Sean Davis and here's today's gem:
The Federal Government Has Quietly Frozen Spending Since 2009
The burden of government spending, relative to the economy’s productive sector, has been declining.
December 3, 2014 By Daniel J. Mitchell
Here’s a chart looking at annual federal spending since 2000. You’ll notice that spending skyrocketed from 2000-2009 (a time when libertarians were justifiably glum), but look at how the growth of government came to a screeching halt after 2009.
Office of Management and Budget data and Congressional Budget Office data. In fiscal year 2009, the federal government spent about $3.52 trillion. In fiscal year 2014 (which ended on September 30), the federal government spent about $3.50 trillion. In other words, there’s been no growth in nominal government spending over the past five years.
Posted by Steve J. at 12:22 PM
agreeing to come on the show is inexcusable because there's no way Landrieu could more votes out of this.
Dem Senator Hangs Up on Radio Host During Contentious Interview
by Josh Feldman | 2:54 pm, December 6th, 2014
Landrieu appeared on the radio with conservative host Jeff Crouere, who confronted her about her vote for Obamacare. The senator made it clear there were problems in the law, but she voted for it anyway.
But the interview was very contentious, with Landrieu telling Crouere rather sternly to let her finish at one point. When Crouere mentioned his tea party ties, Landrieu said, “I am really sorry you’re part of the tea party because they’re taking the country in the wrong direction.”
They kept going at it over Obamacare and whether it was actually President Obama‘s signature legislation (Landrieu argued it wasn’t), and Landrieu appeared to be cutting the interview off. She took one more question before saying, “Love you, man, love your family,” and hanging up.
Posted by Steve J. at 12:14 PM