Photo by: joanneleon.
The Byrds - Turn Turn Turn (To Everything There Is A Season)
News & Opinion
Death of British spy found padlocked in bag was accidental: British police
(Reuters) - A British spy, whose naked, decomposing body was found padlocked in a bag in his bathtub, probably died accidentally on his own, police said on Wednesday, rejecting conspiracy theories that his bizarre death was the work of foreign agents.
In May last year, a coroner concluded that Gareth Williams, who was working for Britain's external intelligence service MI6 when he was found dead at his home in August 2010, was probably killed unlawfully by another person.
His spy background and the fact that expensive, unworn women's clothes were found at his flat provoked a wide range of "weird and wonderful" theories, London Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said, but further investigations now suggested it was more likely he had not been murdered.
"Most probably, it was an accident," Hewitt told reporters. "I'm convinced that Gareth's death was in no way linked to his work."
Fury of spy in the bag's family: As police dismiss MI6 man's death as an accident, parents insist coroner was right and their son WAS unlawfully killedThis event was held at Fordham Law last night. The first 13 minutes is just crowd noise before the event begins. I hope someone transcribes Schneier's entire talk because he did a great job of boiling it all down. I'll transcribe a few key things that he said but it's well worth listening to. All of the talks are worth listening to. Greenwald focused on countering the notorious meme of "If I haven't done anything wrong it doesn't matter if the govt. is eavesdropping on me." Ariel Dorfman talks about his experience in Chile as a cautionary tale. James Bamford talks about the history of the NSA. Schneier talks about some of the things that we know so far and about solutions. All of them, to some extent, talk about what needs to be done in the informing and persuading efforts. The Q&A segment is good too. They spend some of that time talking about whether they are optimistic or pessimistic about the possibility of fixing this or improving the situation.
- Gareth Williams found dead in his Central London flat in August 2010
- 31-year-old's death was ruled to be 'probably' foul play by a coroner
- But Scotland Yard announced that he seems to have locked himself in bag
- Family believe he was killed and refuse to accept result of investigation
- They accuse MI6 of allowing circumstances of death to be 'covered up'
Police also found evidence that Mr Williams looked at bondage websites and visited transvestite clubs and gay bars – but they could not identify a single sexual partner.
The family raised concerns about how such material appeared to be being leaked to the media – so fuelling speculation that Mr Williams was a transvestite who was the victim of a sex game that went wrong.
During the inquest Dr Wilcox concluded that Mr Williams was not a transvestite and that his collection of women’s clothes were probably gifts for friends.
She dismissed claims that Mr Williams had entered the sports bag seeking sexual gratification.
The coroner said: ‘I wonder what the motive was for the release of this material to the media. I wonder whether this was an attempt by a third party to intimate a sexual motive.’
Bruce Schneier: "It seems clear that a lot of this is voyeurism and not really useful."
Schneier re: reining in the NSA: "You haven't heard this argument yet but you will: 'If we rein in the NSA, China will win'. Fundamentally that is an arms race argument. It's a zero sum argument, us or them. That's the wrong argument. We have to get everyone to understand that a secure internet is in everyone's best interest. An internet where nobody can eavesdrop is better for all of us than an internet where everyone can eavesdrop. Once you do that a zero sum game becomes a positive sum game and we know how to deal with this. I mean, it's hard, but it becomes no harder than money laundering and nuclear proliferation or human trafficking. I mean, all those conventional very hard problems where at least we basically know where we have to go. A secure internet is in everyone's interest. I believe we'll eventually win, this 'protecting is more important than eavesdropping' debate. It'll take a generation or so but we do have to solve this for the U.S. government, other governments, cyber criminals, rogue actors. Security is important because there are a lot of bad actors out there."
Note that last sentence turns the terror terror terror argument around on the security hawks. Only a relative few people are making this argument that the things the NSA is doing is making our personal data more vulnerable to the (other) bad actors out there. Not only are they working with the private sector to make ways to do exploits, they are demanding that tech and telecom companies create back doors that can be used by (other) bad actors. They've created this huge trove of data that they store and it's pretty obvious that they are not very good at securing their own data from their own employees or auditing what they are doing with it. Manning and Snowden are the obvious evidence of that, and so are the LOVEINT incidents that were self-reported, and I don't think anyone believes those are the only cases. Massive amounts of data are vacuumed up under other authorities, including presidential directive 12333 that have no oversight requirements that we know of. Then there's foreign governments who relentlessly try to (and succeed) hack into government and DoD networks.
Many thousands of contractors also have authority to get to this and other data on govt. networks. That's not counting the FBI, CIA and other govt. agencies who get some of this NSA data passed on to them. The fusion centers share some of that intelligence with local law enforcement too. I think that's done via the Counterterrorism Center data base. Huge amounts of data on are being collected and stored in different places. Keith Alexander said that the NSA is not keeping dossiers on hundreds of millions of Americans. That was clearly another deceitful word play or an outright lie. And then there's cybersecurity, the latest obsession, in which the intelligence community wants to have even more authority to share out that data with private corporations in exchange for them sharing more with the government, all in the name of protecting the country from hackers.
Money is pouring into cybersecurity contracts and every defense contractor and his brother are trying to pass themselves off as IT security experts now. We've seen the seminars advertised on how to become a hacker and get government contracts. You can't teach network security or hacking in a set of classes or seminars. But the govt. gold diggers will do that. Not only that, we also know that our govt. is paying money to real hackers out there and has created a black market for the exploits, security holes that they find in various widely used software. So who is to say that these hackers haven't found their way into the NSA, FBI, CIA, Homeland Security data bases? Our govt. is now encouraging that kind of activity and instead of prosecuting the perpetrators we're paying them. You can be sure that we won't find out about the exploits to govt. networks. That's the kind of thing that would be highly classified as a matter of national security. So who even knows how many times our personal data has been breached? There's a market for that kind of data.
Last but not least, the intelligence community admits that they're much better at offense than defense when it comes to cybersecurity. And it's more exciting. One of the Snowden documents released early on set out some cybersecurity goals and initiatives, signed by President Obama, and if I remember correctly, most if not all of them were attacks not defense. So it's pretty clear where the bulk of the efforts are focused. There's just a massive, obsessive effort to "collect it all" and get rich while doing it or after retiring from govt. service (and by that I mean get rich the legal way -- that doesn't even count the inevitable corrupt ways of achieving wealth and power with these kinds of operations). It's simply impossible to believe that a trove of information and knowledge like that would not be exploited for greed and power by those who are in a position to get away with it and given the highly secret nature of the work until now, it's even harder to believe. What's perhaps even worse is the notion, in a supposedly democratic society, of political animals gaining access to information that could be used to advantage themselves in elections. As many have said, this kind of power is not compatible with democracy.
They're Watching Us: So What? -- An Evening Assessing the Dangers of the New Surveillance Powers
With James Bamford, Ariel Dorfman, Glenn Greenwald, Bruce Schneier
Is the same surveillance that is meant to protect us from danger also harming us?
Are the NSA programs Edward Snowden has revealed inhibiting the way we think, speak, create, and interact? And what about the parallel universe of private sector spying and data mining?
Join luminaries from the fields of literature, technology, media, and policy for a discussion of what we know—and don't yet know—about how surveillance is reshaping our public and private lives.
Presented by PEN American Center in partnership with the ACLU and the Center on National Security at Fordham Law.
Shorter Jim Comey: When I was GC of Lockheed we wouldn't share info abt being hacked bc we didn't want to lose govt contracts.— emptywheel (@emptywheel) November 14, 2013
This is a really interesting read.
After 30 Years of Silence, the Original NSA Whistleblower Looks Back
The four-story brownstone at 141 East 37th Street in Manhattan has no remarkable features: a plain building on a quiet tree-lined street in the shadow of the Empire State Building. In the summer of 1920, Herbert O. Yardley, a government codebreaker, moved in with a gang of math geniuses and began deciphering intercepted Japanese diplomatic telegrams. This was the Black Chamber, America's first civilian code-breaking agency. From this was born the American surveillance state, and eventually the sprawling National Security Agency, which you may have heard about recently.
I was standing on the sidewalk outside the building, on a sweltering summer Friday afternoon, waiting to meet a man named Perry Fellwock, also once known as Winslow Peck. Four decades ago, Fellwock became the NSA's first whistleblower, going to the press to explain the spy agency's immense scope and mission to a public that had barely been allowed to know such an organization existed. His revelations in the radical magazine Ramparts were picked up by the front page of the New York Times. He went on to be a key player in the turbulent anti-surveillance movement of the 1970s, partnering with Norman Mailer and becoming the target of CIA propaganda. But today he's a semi-retired antiques dealer living in Long Island, as obscure as the Black Chamber once was.
"They never thought anybody would ever be able to write about them," said the journalist James Bamford, who has written three books on the NSA, including the first definitive account of the Agency, 1982’s Puzzle Palace. "At the time it was an agency that sort of existed apart from the rest of the government, almost."
And there, in 1972, was a rogue analyst, some kid in his 20s, describing the NSA's business down to the colors of the badges worn at its headquarters. Winslow Peck claimed that the NSA had broken all of the Soviets' codes, that the government's official account of the Vietnam War was a lie, and that the agency was guilty of salacious corruption:Quite a few people in NSA are into illegal activities of one kind or another. It's taken to be one of the fringe benefits of the job. You know, enhancing your pocketbook. Smuggling. People inside NSA got involved with the slave trade.
If J. Edgar had biometrics: state repression isn't new, but technology raises the stakesA pretty intimate profile of David Miranda. I assume that Greenwald approves since he sent out the link on Twitter.
Journalist Seth Rosenfeld’s 2012 book "Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power" is required reading for anyone who wants to understand how deep these currents of authoritarian power run in the United States.
Using hundreds of thousands of pages of original source material, Rosenfeld describes how J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI conspired with elected officials, university administrators, newspapers, and local police agencies to crush student movements at UC Berkley in the 1960s. The book, the product of a 30-year FOIA war against the bureau – which reportedly shelled out nearly a million dollars to protect its shameful secrets in a legal battle stretching across four separate lawsuits – offers a detailed and damning portrait of how the worst assaults on democratic freedoms fester and metastasize in the dark.
‘Subversives’ lays bare an organization purportedly established to promote the rule of law as primarily concerned with subverting it in the service of entrenched political and economic interests. Anyone who doubts that warrantless or suspicionless surveillance is used to wield political control in the defense of the status quo – as opposed to ‘protecting public safety’ -- will encounter a necessary if bruising education in its pages. Among other lessons, readers learn that the patriarch of the modern FBI was fundamentally disinterested in the rule of law, unless it could be wielded to crush his opponents.
David Miranda Is Nobody’s Errand BoyNYT editorial. I find it to be a bit ironic, but a good article.
When Glenn Greenwald’s 28-year-old Brazilian partner was detained in London this summer while transporting documents related to the bombshell Edward Snowden story, many assumed he was unfairly roped into a situation he didn’t understand. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
David Miranda and I are debating whether or not to take off our shirts in the middle of a throbbing dance floor inside the heart of gay Rio de Janeiro. Silvery blue lights and men the size of sparrows swirl around us as we gauge the euphoria of the crowd. “It’s not that kind of party, honey!” Miranda shouts hoarsely over the Brazilian dance mix of Ke$ha’s “Die Young.”
We opt instead to gulp the night air. We pound our cocktails and bound out of the split-level nightclub to chat and smoke on the cracked Portuguese-style pavement. A thin white man in his mid-thirties with birdy lips, piss-water blonde hair, and uncool jeans follows us out the door. Miranda and I bullshit with some fellow revelers on the patio: a pudgy art dealer, a redhead, and a bespectacled line cook who has a “thing” for Rhoda Morgenstern. The man with the bird lips lingers close by. Miranda, 28, dusky, pillow mouthed, chiseled, with dark wine eyes, is too fine a specimen not to be cruised tonight, but Bird Lips is standing a little too close and appears, by the jutting of his chin and the self-conscious tilt of his head, to be eavesdropping on our conversation.
Miranda and I shoot each other a wary glance and move back inside. Just as we are about to lose ourselves in a Cher dubstep-banger, Bird Lips perches behind us, unmoving, and begins to stare. We traverse the dance floor; he follows.
British Press Freedom Under Threat
These alarming developments threaten the ability of British journalists to do their jobs effectively. Britain’s press has long lacked the freedoms enjoyed by American newspapers. Now it appears they are less free from government interference than journalists in Germany, where Der Spiegel has published material from the Snowden leaks without incurring government bullying.
The global debate now taking place about intelligence agencies collecting information on the phone calls, emails and Internet use of private citizens owes much to The Guardian’s intrepid journalism. In a free society, the price for printing uncomfortable truths should not be parliamentary and criminal inquisition.
David Dayen: FHFA Will Secure Up to $28 Billion From Banks in Its MBS LawsuitFinally, some momentum on TPP, and it looks like that's mostly due to a document published by Wikileaks, the same organization that has been criminalized and barred from accepting credit card transactions. Congress seems to be up in arms and I really hope they start to reconsider their stance on whistleblowers and Wikileaks, get a spine and do something to counter the Obama administration's war on whistleblowers and journalism.
An analysis at Bloomberg Law puts some numbers down that I hadn’t seen all in one place previously. The headline effort is to pin down what other banks being sued by the FHFA over mortgage-backed securities passed to Fannie and Freddie with poor underwriting will have to pay, given the standard set by the JPMorgan Chase settlement for $4 billion.
GE Capital, Citi, Wells Fargo and UBS have already settled with FHFA in this case. The UBS deal was made public; it was $885 million, slightly above the JPMorgan benchmark (about 14 cents on the dollar). Wells disclosed in a regulatory filing that they paid $335 million. We can safely assume the Citi and GE settlements are in the ballpark of 12-14 cents on the dollar. The Wall Street Journal calculated the numbers based on a 13-cent expectation a few weeks ago. Overall, these numbers feel pretty accurate, as early leaks of the proposed Bank of America settlement are in line with the 12-cent figure. Adding everything up, you find that FHFA can expect to recoup anywhere between $24.5 billion and $28 billion from the 17 banks. That’s in cash, not some fake headline number with a significantly diminished value.
See the link for a chart of this. The discrepancies are almost identical: with rare exceptions, every bank claimed between 10-18% of second homes in the loan portfolios, when in reality the number was between 21-18%; similarly, the banks claimed between 28-38% of the loans had LTVs above 80%, when the numbers were between 53-63%. So this is further proof that the breakdown in lending standards and the level of duplicity was not only widespread, but very precisely widespread
Thanks to WikiLeaks, We See Just How Bad TPP Trade Deal is for Regular People
Among the many betrayals of the Obama administration is its overall treatment of what many people refer to as "intellectual property" – the idea that ideas themselves and digital goods and services are exactly like physical property, and that therefore the law should treat them the same way. This corporatist stance defies both reality and the American Constitution, which expressly called for creators to have rights for limited periods, the goal of which was to promote inventive progress and the arts.
In the years 2007 and 2008, candidate Obama indicated that he'd take a more nuanced view than the absolutist one from Hollywood and other interests that work relentlessly for total control over this increasingly vital part of our economy and lives. But no clearer demonstration of the real White House view is offered than a just-leaked draft of an international treaty that would, as many had feared, create draconian new rights for corporate "owners" and mean vastly fewer rights for the rest of us. ...
Congress has shown little appetite for restraining the overweening power of the corporate interests promoting this expansion. With few exceptions, lawmakers have repeatedly given copyright, patent and trademark interests more control over the years. So we shouldn't be too optimistic about the mini-flurry of Capitol Hill opposition to the treaty that emerged this week. It's based much more on Congress protecting its prerogatives – worries about the treaty's so-called "fast track" authorities, giving the president power to act without congressional approval – than on substantive objections to the document's contents.
That said, some members of Congress have become more aware of the deeper issues. The public revolt against the repugnant "Stop Online Piracy Act" two years ago was a taste of what happens when people become more widely aware of what they can lose when governments and corporate interests collude. ...
Thanks to WikiLeaks, we now have at least partial transparency. The more you know about the odious TPP, the less you'll like it – and that's why the administration and its corporate allies don't want you to know.
TPP Exposed: WikiLeaks Publishes Secret Trade Text to Rewrite Copyright Laws, Limit Internet Freedom
TPP Leak Confirms the Worst: US Negotiators Still Trying to Trade Away Internet Freedoms
After years of secret trade negotiations over the future of intellectual property rights (and limits on those rights), the public gets a chance to looks at the results. For those of us who care about free speech and a balanced intellectual property system that encourages innovation, creativity, and access to knowledge, it’s not a pretty picture. ...
The leaked text, from August 2013, confirms long-standing suspicions about the harm the agreement could do to users’ rights and a free and open Internet. From locking in excessive copyright term limits to further entrenching failed policies that give legal teeth to Digital Rights Management (DRM) tools, the TPP text we’ve seen today reflects a terrible but unsurprising truth: an agreement negotiated in near-total secrecy, including corporations but excluding the public, comes out as an anti-user wish list of industry-friendly policies. ...
The document Wikileaks has published contains nearly 100 pages of bracketed text—meaning it includes annotated sections that are proposed and opposed by the negotiating countries. The text is not final, but the story it tells so far is unmistakable: United States negotiators (with occasional help from others) repeatedly pushing for restrictive policies, and facing only limited opposition, coming from countries like Chile, Canada, New Zealand, and Malaysia. ...
The latest TPP leak confirms our longstanding fears about these negotiations. The USTR is pushing for regulations that would, for the most part, put the desires of major content and patent owners over the needs of the public. No wonder the negotiators want to keep the process secret.
Leaked Documents Reveal Obama Administration Push for Internet Freedom Limits, Terms That Raise Drug Prices in Closed-Door Trade Talks
Secret documents published today by WikiLeaks and analyzed by Public Citizen reveal that the Obama administration is demanding terms that would limit Internet freedom and access to lifesaving medicines throughout the Asia-Pacific region and bind Americans to the same bad rules, belying the administration’s stated commitments to reduce health care costs and advance free expression online, Public Citizen said today.
The leak shows the United States seeking to impose the most extreme demands of Big Pharma and Hollywood, Public Citizen said, despite the express and frequently universal opposition of U.S. trade partners. Concerns raised by TPP negotiating partners and many civic groups worldwide regarding TPP undermining access to affordable medicines, the Internet and even textbooks have resulted in a deadlock over the TPP Intellectual Property Chapter, leading to an impasse in the TPP talks, Public Citizen said.
The Obama administration’s proposals are the worst – the most damaging for health – we have seen in a U.S. trade agreement to date. The Obama administration has backtracked from even the modest health considerations adopted under the Bush administration,” said Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s global access to medicines program. “The Obama administration’s shameful bullying on behalf of the giant drug companies would lead to preventable suffering and death in Asia-Pacific countries. And soon the administration is expected to propose additional TPP terms that would lock Americans into high prices for cancer drugs for years to come.”
“It is clear from the text obtained by WikiLeaks that the U.S. government is isolated and has lost this debate,” Maybarduk said. “Our partners don’t want to trade away their people’s health. Americans don’t want these measures either. Nevertheless, the Obama administration – on behalf of Big Pharma and big movie studios – now is trying to accomplish through pressure what it could not through persuasion.”
The Bipartisan Fight Against Secret Trade Deals
The United States is currently writing new deals with 11 other Pacific Rim countries and with the European Union. These deals will lead to more pressure to frack for shale gas, increase potentially unsafe seafood imports, privatize our municipal water systems and privatize our food safety inspection system. ...
In the past week strong bipartisan opposition to Fast Track has emerged on Capitol Hill. Four different letters were sent by Members of Congress to President Obama expressing their opposition to Fast Track—in total 185 Members of Congress have spoken up against it, including 158 Democrats and 27 Republicans.
Make sure Congress votes no. Take action today and tell your Member of Congress to “Vote No on Fast Track”.
Americans’ personal data shared with CIA, IRS, others in security probe
U.S. agencies collected and shared the personal information of thousands of Americans in an attempt to root out untrustworthy federal workers that ended up scrutinizing people who had no direct ties to the U.S. government and simply had purchased certain books.
Federal officials gathered the information from the customer records of two men who were under criminal investigation for purportedly teaching people how to pass lie detector tests. The officials then distributed a list of 4,904 people – along with many of their Social Security numbers, addresses and professions – to nearly 30 federal agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, the CIA, the National Security Agency and the Food and Drug Administration.
Although the polygraph-beating techniques are unproven, authorities hoped to find government employees or applicants who might have tried to use them to lie during the tests required for security clearances. Officials with multiple agencies confirmed that they’d checked the names in their databases and planned to retain the list in case any of those named take polygraphs for federal jobs or criminal investigations.
It turned out, however, that many people on the list worked outside the federal government and lived across the country. ... Moreover, many of them had only bought books or DVDs from one of the men being investigated and didn’t receive the one-on-one training that investigators had suspected. In one case, a Washington lawyer was listed even though he’d never contacted the instructors. Dozens of others had wanted to pass a polygraph not for a job, but for a personal reason: The test was demanded by spouses who suspected infidelity.
The unprecedented creation of such a list and decision to disseminate it widely demonstrate the ease with which the federal government can collect and share Americans’ personal information, even when there’s no clear reason for doing so.
Over 3,000 US prisoners serving life without parole for non-violent crimes
The ACLU's report, A Living Death, chronicles the thousands of lives ruined and families destroyed by the modern phenomenon of sentencing people to die behind bars for non-violent offences. It notes that contrary to the expectation that such a harsh penalty would be meted out only to the most serious offenders, people have been caught in this brutal trap for sometimes the most petty causes. ...
The report's author Jennifer Turner states that today, the US is “virtually alone in its willingness to sentence non-violent offenders to die behind bars.” Life without parole for non-violent sentences has been ruled a violation of human rights by the European Court of Human Rights. The UK is one of only two countries in Europe that still metes out the penalty at all, and even then only in 49 cases of murder. ...
Again, the offences involved can be startlingly petty. Drug cases itemised in the report include a man sentenced to die in prison for having been found in possession of a crack pipe; an offender with a bottle cap that contained a trace of heroin that was too small to measure; a prisoner arrested with a trace amount of cocaine in their pocket too tiny to see with the naked eye; a man who acted as a go-between in a sale to an undercover police officer of marijuana – street value $10.
Occupy Wall Street activists buy $15m of Americans' personal debt
Rolling Jubilee spent $400,000 to purchase debt cheaply from banks before 'abolishing' it, freeing individuals from their bills
A group of Occupy Wall Street activists has bought almost $15m of Americans' personal debt over the last year as part of the Rolling Jubilee project to help people pay off their outstanding credit.
Rolling Jubilee, set up by Occupy's Strike Debt group following the street protests that swept the world in 2011, launched on 15 November 2012. The group purchases personal debt cheaply from banks before "abolishing" it, freeing individuals from their bills.
By purchasing the debt at knockdown prices the group has managed to free $14,734,569.87 of personal debt, mainly medical debt, spending only $400,000.
"We thought that the ratio would be about 20 to 1," said Andrew Ross, a member of Strike Debt and professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University. He said the team initially envisaged raising $50,000, which would have enabled it to buy $1m in debt.
"In fact we've been able to buy debt a lot more cheaply than that."
National defense is supported by a "single payer" system. Why can't health care be that way?Yesterday was a very busy news day. I hope to have time to bring some more important stories about torture and Guantanamo tomorrow.
National defense, i.e. the military, is a single payer system. We seem to have no problem with that. The government pays and private firms make the tanks, bombs, planes and ships.
Why can't we make national health care, for everybody, a single payer system? ...
Does the government require citizens to buy "defense insurance?" No, it just pays for everyone's defense.
Blue Ribbon Task Force Says Army Field Manual on Interrogation Allows Torture, Abuse
A report by a multidisciplinary task force, made up largely of medical professionals, ethicists and legal experts, has called on President Obama to issue an executive order outlawing torture and other abusive techniques currently in use in the military's Army Field Manual on interrogations. The Task Force, which wrote the report for The Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) and the Open Society Foundations (OSF), has also called on the Department of Defense to rewrite the Army Field Manual in accordance with such an executive order.
The recommendation for action on the Army Field Manual (AFM) was the second finding and recommendation in the report (PDF):The president has issued an executive order prohibiting the use of torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, and has repudiated Justice Department legal memoranda authorizing its use. However, the Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations, which binds both military and CIA interrogators, permits methods of interrogation that are recognized under international law as forms of torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. Such methods include sleep deprivation, isolation, and exploitation of fear.Besides recommending that the Department of Defense (DoD) revise the AFM itself, the Task Force report calls for the United States to "accede to the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, which requires the creation of an independent domestic monitoring body for the purpose of preventing torture against individuals in custody." ...
A lot has been made in recent years about how the New York Times is reticent to use the word "torture" to describe what is under any common sense or legal definition torture. That is certainly a disgraceful adaptation to the U.S. government's policies on interrogation, which include Bush and Cheney's outright advocacy of torture to the Obama administration's refusal to investigate or hold accountable those who tortured. ...
[T]he Obama administration is itself involved in torture, from its approval of extraordinary rendition to the documented operation of detention centers, ostensibly under the administration of allied forces, where torture takes place. (See this 2011 report in The Nation by Jeremy Scahill about CIA torture sites in Somalia.) Other accusations of torture by agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation exist as well.
Stop Watching Us.
Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest
Student debt at $1 trillion and rising, pushing size of subprime market pre-crisis. pic.twitter.com/wwzm6XKkYl— Yves Smith (@yvessmith) November 14, 2013
Bill Black:The Department of Justice’s Willful Blindness to the Willful Blindness of CEOs (Steve Cohen Edition... http://t.co/...— Yves Smith (@yvessmith) November 15, 2013
Wolf Richter: NSA Spying Crushes US Tech Companies in Emerging Markets (“An Industry Phenomenon,” Says Cisco’s... http://t.co/...— Yves Smith (@yvessmith) November 15, 2013
After 150 years, Pa. newspaper apologizes for panning Gettysburg Address: http://t.co/...— Yahoo (@Yahoo) November 15, 2013
How does @USTradeRep make so many technical mistakes in TPP? Maybe should hire a lawyer to check on stuff you get from lobbyists.— James Love (@jamie_love) November 14, 2013
NSA and GCHQ can exploit any target using packet injection—and universal encryption may be our best defense. https://t.co/...— EFF (@EFF) November 14, 2013
If the Streisand Effect is more attention on X due to efforts to censor it, is the Grey Effect boosting book sales via smearing its author?— autumnal kade (@onekade) November 14, 2013
Obama at news conf and now in Cleveland cautioning public health care reform is going to be tougher, take longer than he expected.— Jim Acosta (@JimAcostaCNN) November 14, 2013
Video shows Virginia man being tasered by police for 42 seconds straight in Fredericksburg http://t.co/...— Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek) November 14, 2013
Redditor explains why giving every citizen a guaranteed min. income of $22K would be cheaper than existing welfare— David Seaman (@d_seaman) November 14, 2013
Reddit Politics with a new explainer of why it still bans a bunch of sites (National Review, ThinkProgress, etc) http://t.co/...— Amanda Terkel (@aterkel) November 14, 2013
"When Shaun Donovan offered handouts about a housing subsidy pgm, Obama jabbed, “I see you were that kid in school.” http://t.co/...— David Dayen (@ddayen) November 14, 2013
Hahaha, stupid HUD secretary, trying to explain housing policy to people who cared more about foaming the runway for the banks!— David Dayen (@ddayen) November 14, 2013
DiFi’s Circular Defense of the Phone Dragnet’s Legality Proves It Is IllegalNovember 14, 2013
In doc in which DiFi tacitly admits all of Congress didn't get notice on dragnet, she uses 3 docs that say it's legal bc Congress got notice— emptywheel (@emptywheel) November 14, 2013
888,000 sq. miles of forest disappeared in the last decade. Watch it happen: http://t.co/...— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) November 14, 2013
A disturbing case that deserves more attention: Boston cops charge two journalists with felonies for doing their jobs http://t.co/...— Freedom of the Press (@FreedomofPress) November 14, 2013
I guess maybe DOJ is gonna have to prosecute John Brennan and That Source over at TSA after all.— emptywheel (@emptywheel) November 14, 2013
Michael Chessum was apparently arrested in London today simply for organising a protest. Sickening, worrying https://t.co/...— Laurie Penny (@PennyRed) November 14, 2013
State AG: Convictions From Stop-And-Frisk Low http://t.co/...— NY1 News (@NY1headlines) November 14, 2013
Pope Francis: Anti-fracking activist? http://t.co/...— ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) November 14, 2013
Appeals Court Rejects Judge Scheindlin's Request To Refute Allegations Of Partiality And… http://t.co/...— techdirt (@techdirt) November 14, 2013
This will be appealed, so Chin's op unlikely to be precedent. But if affirmed, 2d & 9th Cirs. will have a broad transformative use doctrine.— Brad Greenberg (@bradagreenberg) November 14, 2013
"Don't let the Internet become the Splinternet" is a nice replacement for the "don't Balkanize the Internet" line, which is obscure to many.— Kevin Bankston (@KevinBankston) November 14, 2013
The Byrds - Mr Tambourine Man