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Longwood Gardens Orchid Extravaganza 2012
Longwood Gardens. March, 2012. Photo credit: joanneleon
The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists. That is why they invented Hell.

-- Bertrand Russell


"This is the guidebook to getting false confessions".  Unbelievable cruelty -- to get false confessions.  Jason Leopold says that page 33 of the manual is missing and DoD doesn't know where it is.  McClatchy newspapers got this via FOIA.

The National Security Committee Knew They Were Going to Get FALSE Confessions from Torture

As his article shows, Condi Rice and several high level Bush officials were briefed at a key meeting in May 2002 and in several follow-up National Security Council meetings on a number of torture techniques the CIA would eventually (and had, to some extent–I’ll have more to say about this in a follow-up) integrated into its torture program.The JPRA document used in the meeting makes it clear the the point of these techniques is to train students to resist “political exploitation” (see page 6; elsewhere the document talks about media exploitation).

[ ... ]

Thus, as Steven Kleinman notes for today’s article, Condi and others were shown what amounts to a how to manual on false confessions before they approved techniques from it for use with Abu Zubaydah and other detainees.

   Air Force Col. Steven Kleinman, a career military intelligence officer recognized as one of the DOD’s most effective interrogators as well a former SERE instructor and director of intelligence for JPRA’s teaching academy, said he immediately knew the true value of the PREAL manual if employed as part of an interrogation program.

    “This is the guidebook to getting false confessions, a system drawn specifically from the communist interrogation model that was used to generate propaganda rather than intelligence,” Kleinman said in an interview. “If your goal is to obtain useful and reliable information this is not the source book you should be using.”

More about the torture memo.
EXCLUSIVE: "Guidebook to False Confessions": Key Document John Yoo Used to Draft Torture Memo Released

One of the key documents handed out to Bush officials at this meeting, and at Principals Committee sessions chaired by Rice that took place between May and July 2002, was a 37-page instructional manual that contained detailed descriptions of seven of the ten techniques that ended up in the legal opinion widely referred to as the "torture memo," drafted by Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) attorney John Yoo and signed by his boss, Jay Bybee, three months later. According to Rice, Yoo had attended the Principals Committee meetings and participated in discussions about Zubaydah's torture.

[ ... ]

A US counterterrorism official and an aide to one of the Bush officials who participated in Principals Committee meetings in May 2002, however, confirmed to Truthout last week that the PREAL manual was one of several documents the CIA obtained from JPRA that was shared with Rice and other Principals Committee members in May 2002, the same month the CIA officially took over Zubaydah's interrogation from the FBI. As National Security Adviser to President George W. Bush, Rice chaired the meetings.

Rice and Bellinger have denied ever seeing a list of SERE training techniques. But in 2008, they told the Senate Armed Services Committee, which conducted an investigation into treatment of detainees in custody of the US government, that they recalled being present at White House meetings where SERE training was discussed.

Swarm of tornadoes rip through Dallas-Fort Worth
(Reuters) - Up to a dozen tornadoes skipped through the densely populated Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas on Tuesday, ripping apart homes, tossing tractor-trailer trucks into the air and injuring at least 17 people, but there were no reported deaths.

Ten to 12 tornadoes touched down during a massive storm that brought chaos from high winds, rain and hail to the nation's fourth most populous metropolitan area, said National Weather Service meteorologist Jesse Moore.

[ ... ]

Authorities were amazed that no one was killed given the intensity of the storm, the number of tornadoes and the population density of the area.

Mexican plan for Gulf deepwater wells sparks new worries

MEXICO CITY — Two years after the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, Mexico's state oil company is about to test its hand at drilling at extraordinary depths in the Gulf of Mexico.

If all goes as planned, Petroleos de Mexico, known as Pemex, will deploy two state-of-the-art drilling platforms in May to an area just south of the maritime boundary with the United States. One rig will sink a well in 9,514 feet of water, while another will drill in 8,316 feet of water, then deeper into the substrata.

Pemex has no experience drilling at such depths. Mexico's oil regulator is sounding alarm bells, saying the huge state oil concern is unprepared for a serious deepwater accident or spill. Critics say the company has sharply cut corners on insurance, remiss over potential sky-high liability.

Premarkets: Stocks to fall after Fed's comments
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks were poised to open lower Wednesday, with anxiety lingering after Federal Reserve policy makers indicated that no new stimulus is likely.
Some investors had been hoping the Fed would move toward another round of quantitative easing, a prospect that now appears dim following Tuesday's release of minutes from last month's meeting.
The Wild, Off the Mark Arguments Against the Volcker Rule
Sen. Jeff Merkley

Big banks are formulating a host of arguments -- wild, off the mark arguments -- aimed at dismantling the Volcker Rule firewall between loan-making, customer-serving banks and high-risk hedge funds.

That firewall is essential for a stable banking system. When hedge funds blow up, and they regularly do, one doesn't want them taking out our loan-making system that is so vital to our families and businesses.

MF Global, for example, blew up just a few months ago due to big bets on currency markets. But those bad bets didn't damage our banking system, because MF Global wasn't part of a bank.

A better world, one intentional act of kindness at a time

So why was Friedman, the former president of an employee benefits company, handing out bouquets and carrying a card that reads "Intentional Acts of Kindness"?

[ ... ]

First on his to-do list? Write a book. Disciplined and dogged, he wanted to get down in writing the values that have guided him in the business world. He wrote Fundamentally Different in a matter of months.

And as 2012 was dawning, Friedman made a firm promise to himself: Every day of the year, he would purposefully, not randomly, perform an act of kindness. It was an anthem from the author Leo Buscaglia: "Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring." Every night, he would blog about the day's experience (

Police Pepper-Spray Santa Monica College Students

Mobs of students disrupt a Board of Trustees meeting upset over a highly controversial plan to offer pricier classes. Trustee calls the use of pepper spray a "black eye" on the college. Administrators will launch an investigation.

Human Trafficking Victims: 2.4 Million People Across The Globe Are Trafficked For Labor, Sex

UNITED NATIONS -- The U.N. crime-fighting office said Tuesday that 2.4 million people across the globe are victims of human trafficking at any one time, and 80 percent of them are being exploited as sexual slaves.

Yuri Fedotov, the head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, told a daylong General Assembly meeting on trafficking that 17 percent are trafficked to perform forced labor, including in homes and sweat shops.

He said $32 billion is being earned every year by unscrupulous criminals running human trafficking networks, and two out of every three victims are women.

Fighting these criminals "is a challenge of extraordinary proportions," Fedotov said.

At least 3 NATO troops killed in Afghanistan

CBS News) At least three Western troops were killed Wednesday by an explosion in northern Afghanistan, NATO confirmed, as a provincial police chief in the northwest of the country told CBS News that a suicide attack left four Americans dead.

A suicide bomber killed four U.S. troops, four Afghan police officers and several civilians in an attack at a park in the northwestern province of Faryab, the provincial police chief tells CBS News Kabul bureau chief Fazul Rahim.

Only one shooter likely in Kandahar killings, Afghan investigator says

KABUL, Afghanistan — The chief Afghan investigator in last month's slayings of 17 civilians says there's strong evidence that only one killer was involved, a view that puts him at odds with Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai.

Afghan army chief Gen. Sher Mohammad Karimi, whom Karzai sent to Kandahar to investigate the massacre, told McClatchy that two survivors he interviewed offered credible accounts that the killings were the act of a lone person.

Afghanistan and US 'close to night raid deal'
Agreement would give lead role to Afghan forces, as raid footage shows innocent family looking shocked and frightened.

NATO footage of one such raid, which was filmed in the Sarobi district east of Kabul, shows family members looking shocked and frightened as their home is searched by soldiers and a man is questioned.

No charges were brought as a result of the raid and the family were entirely innocent.

The deal is expected to help clear the way for a broader strategic partnership agreement that will govern the US presence in Afghanistan once Afghan forces take full responsibility for security by the end of 2014.

Militias with tanks and artillery.
Government fails to halt western Libya militia clash
(Reuters) - Rival militias in western Libya attacked each other with heavy weapons for a third day on Tuesday, a local official said, after the government, struggling to impose its authority on the volatile country, failed to persuade the two sides to stop.

[ ... ]

He said representatives from the national army had tried to broker a ceasefire on Monday, but it did not hold.

"We stopped firing but Al-Jumail and Regdalin did not stop the bombing, so we received orders to attack," said Sofian.

Clashes in rival towns kill 22 people in Libya
Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib said he, along with his defense minister and chief of staff, met with elders from Zwara on Tuesday, and will later meet with tribal leaders from Ragdalein to discuss a cease-fire and reconciliation.

"We will send forces from the defense and interior ministries to resolve the issue, stop both sides, and be in the middle to quell the violence," el-Keib said. "I am very optimistic."

Iraq's reconciliation conference postponed

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's parliament speaker says the nation's long-awaited reconciliation conference has been postponed because of "mounting differences" among rival political groups.
Osama al-Nujaifi said on Wednesday that the conference has been postponed indefinitely and that holding it under current circumstances would only complicate matters. He did not elaborate.

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