Thursday, April 23, 2009


Obama Plays Hamlet; Shredders Hum

by Ray McGovern Page 1 of 4 page(s)

Flickr Phoo by florriebassingbourn

Well, well. The New York Times has finally put a story together on the key role played by two faux psychologists in helping the Bush administration devise ways to torture people. We should, I suppose, be thankful for small favors.

Apparently, a NY Times exposé requires a 21-month gestation period. The substance of the Wednesday’s lead story on torture had already appeared in an article in the July 2007 issue of Vanity Fair.

Katherine Eban, a Brooklyn-based journalist who writes about public health, authored that article and titled it “Rorschach and Awe.” It was the result of a careful effort to understand the role of psychologists in the torture of detainees in Guantanamo.

She identified the two psychologists as James Elmer Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, who she reported were inexperienced in interrogations and “had no proof of their tactics’ effectiveness” but nevertheless sold the Bush administration on a plan to subject detainees to “psychic demolition”—essentially severing them from their personalities and scaring them “almost to death.”

"The aim of torture is to destroy a person as a human being, to destroy their identity and soul. It is more evil than murder... " -- Inge Genefke - (1938-) Danish Doctor & Human Rights Activist

In Wednesday’s Times, reporters Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti plow much of the same ground. Please don’t misunderstand. They deserve considerable praise for finally pushing their article past the Times’ timorous censors, but let’s not pretend the startling revelations are new.

The Times ought to allow the likes of Shane and Mazzetti to publish these stories when they are fresh. Alternatively, the once-known-as “newspaper of record” might at least report the findings of the likes of Eban, rather than ignoring them for nearly two years.

It’s pretty much all out there now, isn’t it? Not only the Times’ better-late-than-never exposé, but also:

-The (leaked) text of the report of the International Committee of the Red Cross on the torture of “high-value” detainees;

-The too-slick-by-half “legal opinions” under Department of Justice letterhead;

-The findings of the 18-month investigation by the Senate Armed Services Committee highlighting that it was President George W. Bush’s dismissal of Geneva (in his executive order of February 7, 2002) that “opened the door” to abuse of detainees.

The North/Gonzales Memorial Shredder

One issue of some urgency has been overlooked in the media, but probably not by those complicit in torture by the CIA and other parts of the government. That issue is the need to protect evidence from being shredded. There has been no sign that either Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair or CIA Director Leon Panetta has proscribed the destruction of documents/tapes/etc. relating to torture, while decisions on if and how to proceed are being worked out.

Many will remember how Oliver North (when the crimes of Iran-Contra were being uncovered) and Alberto Gonzales (when White House involvement in the Valerie Plame affair was becoming clearer) made such good use of the days of hiatus between the announced decision to investigate and the belated order to safeguard all evidence from destruction.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Can you say, "Police State"?

Vermont is a nice place to live, and I feel comfortable here, the below is not typical ... I hope.

Homepage > Local News

Feathery Fracas Lands Man In Court

South Burlington Man Charged For Inciting Pillow Fight

POSTED: 12:04 pm EDT April 21, 2009
UPDATED: 5:48 pm EDT April 21, 2009

The man police say organized an impromptu pillow fight in front of a Vermont mall is being dragged into court to face charges.Darin Cassler, 21, of South Burlington, Vt., was charged Friday by city police after he allegedly incited a pillow fight at the town center on Church Street. Police said his actions warranted a disorderly conduct charge.
The feathery fracas was organized by Cassler, police say, and included about 50 participants. A video of the pillow pounding appears on several Internet sites and shows about a two-minute scrum that began and ended with a whistle being blown.Click For Facebook Post On EventNot long after the whistle sounded ending the puffy clash, Cassler can be seen in video footage of the event being taken away by a police officer.The pillow fight was organized on the social networking site Facebook, which listed the following rules:
  • Bring a pillow and a container in which to conceal it.
  • Assemble on the street as if you were loitering, do not acknowledge anyone else participating.
  • Our host will shout 'pillow fight' and we will all spontaneously break into a big miasma of feathers and pillows.
  • Soft pillows only!
  • Swing lightly, many people will be swinging at once.
  • Do not swing at people without pillows or with cameras.
  • Remove glasses beforehand!
  • The event is free and appropriate for all ages.
  • Wait until the signal to begin.
  • This event is more fun with feathers!

  • Burlington pillow fight 2009 from geoff golder on Vimeo.Some are calling the event a "flash mob," which has been described as a group that organizes online and stages odd outside performances or events before quickly continues to investigate this story and will provide more information later Tuesday.Refresh this page often or check back here at for more on this story.

    Friday, April 17, 2009

    Which Countries allow dual citizenship?

    Click on image to make larger.

    The above was [found here]

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