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Wednesday :: December 10, 2014

Pointless Denials of Torture Report Details

Dick Cheney, former CIA officials Michael Hayden and Jose Rodriguez, and even the $80 million contract psychologists claim details in the newly released Senate Torture Report are "hooey" and "a bunch of crap" or they didn't know about the use of the techniques like "rectal feeding" and the program worked.

Their protestations are pointless. This report is the latest, but certainly not the only report containing many of the same details they dispute.

Just one example: Take a look at the 2013 extensively sourced report by the Open Society Justice Initiative, Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition. (Interestingly, it accounts for 136 detainees who were subjected to CIA secret detention and/or extraordinary rendition operations, while the Senate Report lists only 119.)

I'll focus on just one of the "mistaken identity" detainees -- Khalid Sheikh al-Masri (also known as Khaled Sheikh el-Masri.) There are many reports about him, as well as court decisions, here and in Europe. [More...]

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Tuesday :: December 09, 2014

We Can Call It Torture Now

The U.S. Senate Select Committee's release of the 525 page summary (available here) of its 6,000 page report of the CIA's detention and interrogation program under the Bush Administration finally puts to rest the false claim that the United States does not torture. The report shows the CIA not only tortured, it lied about it.

The report names the 119 detainees held by the CIA in overseas black sites. 26 of them were detained due to mistaken identity or erroneous intelligence. Even today, some Republicans took to the airwaves to defend the CIA's actions.

The world is watching and wondering, where are the prosecutions? The United Nations Special Rapporteur on counter terrorism and human rights, Ben Emmerson, today issued this statement. [More..]

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Tuesday Open Thread

It's a dentist day for me in Boulder. Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Monday :: December 08, 2014

Time Magazine's Person of the Year

Time Magazine released its list of the 8 finalists for Person of the Year today. Here's the list (not from Time, because it has an auto play video.) Pretty lackluster. There are some odd choices, like Taylor Swift. And redundant ones, like Vladimir Putin, who was chosen in 2007 and 2012.

It's not a popularity contest. Time writes:

TIME's choices for Person of the Year are often controversial. Editors are asked to choose the person or thing that had the greatest impact on the news, for good or ill — guidelines that leave them no choice but to select a newsworthy — not necessarily praiseworthy — cover subject.

Time named Adolph Hitler "Person of the Year" in 1938 and Joseph Stalin twice, in 1939 and 1942. In 1979, it was Ayatollah Khomeini.

Since groups of persons are now eligible, how did ISIS not make the list?

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John Lennon: 34 Years Ago Tonight

Tonight is the 34th anniversary of the killing of John Lennon.

Here's one reason his passing has a special meaning for me and my son. I particularly like the post I wrote in 2010. And from my post in 2005

There are millions of people in this world whose lives were enriched by John Lennon, his persona and his music. He told his truth and it was the truth of an entire generation. His death was a tragedy, but his life was an inspiration.

[More...]:

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Heightened Alerts for Release of Torture Report

The U.S. is preparing for security risks with tomorrow's long-waited release of the summary of the Senate's Torture Report, a history of the Bush Administration and CIA's "Rendition, Detention and Interrogation" program. The Obama Administration is backing the release of the report. Thousands of U.S. marines around the world have been put on alert in anticipation of reaction to the details in the reports. What's being released is the 450 or so page summary of the 6,000 page report. (Background here.)

Reuters has a preview.Here are the previously published findings. The report concluded: [More...]

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Obama's Race Interview on BET

BET aired its interview with President Obama on race tonight. (Warning: video plays automatically.) It's called "BET News Presents: A Conversation with President Barack Obama."

More Ferguson grand jury documents were released today.

The ACLU responds to DOJ's new racial profiling guidelines. It also points out that allowing racial profiling near the border is a bad precedent.

Protests continue around the country.

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Sunday :: December 07, 2014

Sunday Night Open Thread

Homeland is back tonight, the Good Wife is not.
Our last open thread is full, here's a new one. All topics welcome.

Our open threads have been filling up much more quickly the past few weeks. They close automatically at 200 comments. So please don't be a blog-clogger. No one should have 20 or more comments in a single thread. And there's no need to take up a comment space just to say "wow" or "me too." Comments are for your thoughts and observations. An open thread just means you get to pick the topic you want to write about. Whether it's politics, what you cooked for dinner, TV, your pet, it's all fine.

As always, no name-calling (including calling others "trolls") and no personal attacks or profanity. TalkLeft welcomes all points of view. No one is a "troll" because they don't share your (or my) viewpoint. On the other hand, repetitive chatter -- making the same point over and over is objectionable, and those commenters will be limited to the number of times they can comment in a particular thread. If you want to have an extended conversation with a single commenter, please find another site for that. Open threads are not for extensive personal banter between two people. [More...]

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Pakistan Military Kills Al Qaeda Leader Indicted in U.S.

The Pakistani military announced it carried out a raid this weekend on an al Qaida hideout in South Waziristan, killing AQ leader Adnan G. el-Shukrijumah, a naturalized U.S. citizen indicted for terror crimes in the U.S.

Pakistan said it was their intelligence that led to the raid (not U.S. Intelligence.) Adnan G. el-Shukrijumah has been on the FBI's wanted list for a long time. In 2003, based on information obtained during the interrogation of 9/11 detainee Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, they searched for him from Florida to Morocco. In 2010, he was indicted in the Eastern District of New York as part of the Najibullah Zazi case involving a plan to attack the NY subway. He was also charged with planning to blow up a shopping mall in Manchester, England. [More...]

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6 Guantanamo Detainees Transferred to Uruguay

Six detainees at Guantanamo have been transferred to Uruguay. Four are from Syria, one is from Tunisia and one is Palestinian.

Their names: Jihad Diyab, Ahmed Adnan Ahjam, Ali Hussain Shaabaan and Omar Mahmoud Faraj, Abdul Bin Mohammed Abis Ourgy and Mohammed Tahanmatan.

136 detainees remain at Gitmo. 67 have been cleared for release. 13 have been transferred since November.

The President of Uruguay, Jose Mujica, said they are free to leave Uruguay at any time. He refused to agree to hold them for two years as requested by the U.S. In a letter to the U.S. he wrote:
[More...]

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How the Failed Yemen Raid Went Down

The Wall. St. Journal has an open access link to an article on how the failed Yemen rain went down.

ISIS has taken a town in Libya. The Guardian has an interesting article on how bad and frightening it is. Isis posts a series of pictures showing people in Anbar laughing and hanging out with the ISIS police. You can view the photos, which have no violence, here.. [More...]

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Saturday :: December 06, 2014

Saturday Open Thread

Four days to set up a brand new computer is a record for me. I've had so many battles with tech support at various companies I feel like I've been through a war zone.

After the hardware issues (most of which resulted from poor or inaccurate setup instructions), there are the software licensing issues when trying to re-install your programs on a new computer, particularly with Adobe (Acrobat Professional and Photoshop) Microsoft Office and Corel Wordperfect. I was lucky this time, and didn't have to buy new versions of any of them.

I have a few more installations to go (scanner, fax machine, labeling and postage machine) after which I will take all the boxes and my old computer out to my storage unit and hopefully be done by tomorrow.

In the meantime, here's a new open thread, all topics welcome.

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Friday :: December 05, 2014

NY Protesters Stage "Die In" at Apple Store and Macy's

The protests in New York over the grand jury's failure to indict the officer who killed Eric Garner and over-aggressive police conduct in general continue. Earlier tonight, about 100 protesters staged a "die in" at the Apple store on 59th & 5th (across from the Plaza Hotel and entrance to Central Park)and at Macy's at Herald Square and Grand Central Terminal.

In a surprising departure from previous nights, however, more than a hundred people stormed into an Apple Store on Central Park South and Fifth Avenue to stage a brief "die-in," sprawling on the floor of the crowded showroom as shoppers and employees watched. The group left without incident after about five minutes.

Similar demonstrations were staged at Macy's .... As they did at the Apple store, police stood by but allowed the protesters to briefly occupy both locations.

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Obama's New Racial Profiling Rules

Eric Holder will announce the Obama Administration's new racial profiling rules next week. There will be curbs on racial profiling by law enforcement, including the DEA.

Exempted will be most of the Department of Homeland Security (TSA, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Customs and Border Protection)which will still be allowed to use racial profiling at airports and at the border.

Apparently, the plan was also to ban DHS from racial profiling, but they objected and were for the most part exempted. [More...]

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Thursday :: December 04, 2014

Thursday Night Open Thread

I'm still setting up my new computer. I'm just about ready to turn it on for the first time.

Our last open thread is full, here's a new one. All topics welcome.

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