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Lights, Cameras, Mayhem!

Monday, April 20, 2009



The national media invades El Paso—and gets the story wrong.


By Melissa del Bosque
The Texas Observer


On March 25, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360° rolled into El Paso to report on Mexican drug-cartel violence. Cooper was one more in a recent wave of national news heavy hitters to parachute in, scare the pants off millions of viewers, then jet off to the next headline destination.

Dressed in military green, Cooper furrowed his brow and squinted solemnly into the camera as the lights of the international border checkpoint glimmered behind him. Guest Fred Burton, identified as a terrorism and security expert with Stratfor Global Intelligence, was beamed in from a studio in Austin to paint a menacing picture of Mexican cartels invading U.S. city streets. “It’s just a matter of time before it really spills over into the United States unless we shore up the border as best we can,” Burton warned.

By God, they’re coming to your neighborhood! Looking at another live feed from El Paso, listening to the breathless reports of violence and “expert” analysis about “spillover,” viewers could only assume that the city in which Cooper stood was under imminent assault.

That’s the reality these days for El Pasoans. Or rather, it’s the twisted perception created by border-warrior politicians and national news media, and foisted on Juarez’s relatively peaceful sister city. For El Pasoans and residents of nearby border towns, it might all be a mere oddity—maybe even worth a chuckle—if it didn’t mean the construction of 18-foot border walls, blustery talk about National Guard troop surges, and new resources for the disastrous war on drugs. While “troop surge,” “border wall,” and “drug war” might sound irresistibly sexy to politicians and pundits, it’s border residents who have to live with the fences and tanks and consequences....(Click for remainder.)

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Karl Rove, Twitter Creep

By Meghan McCain
The Daily Beast


Karl Rove follows me on Twitter. That’s creepy. I joined Twitter a few months ago; so far, it has been a liberating way to transition from political to personal blogging. It’s allowed me to share the less serious aspects and humorously uncensored moments of my life. But there’s also been a downside: I am now being followed by Karl Rove, and my local sheriff, and God knows how many other political pundits. We need to take Twitter back from the creepy people.

On the surface, Karl Rove’s Twitter feed intrigues me. Here’s a guy who for years has been perceived as some kind of inaccessible man-behind-the-curtain figure. And now he Tweets numerous times a day. I’ve never met him in person, which only makes our Twitter relationship even weirder. And to be honest, I find Rove’s Tweets boring. Sometimes he takes questions; other times he talks about his appearances on cable news and other shows. But he doesn’t say anything substantive. If I had to guess, I’d say Rove has a “ghost Twitterer” (as in a ghost writer) or an assistant updating his feed for him.

Oddly enough, Rove’s Tweets seem to reveal a softer side to him. Call it savvy marketing, but I find it disingenuous. And it’s a bit weird to think his people—not even Rove himself—are following me. I’d like to think it’s because they find what I’m saying entertaining, but I can’t help thinking they’re just trying to seem connected to young people....(Click for remainder.)

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Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Why the gun lobby should find itself squarely in Obama's sights.

By E.J. Dionne
The New Republic


WASHINGTON--Try to imagine that hundreds or thousands of guns including assault weapons were pouring across the Mexican border into Arizona, New Mexico and Southern California, arming criminal gangs who were killing American law enforcement officials and other U.S. citizens.

Then imagine the Mexican president saying, "Well, we would really like to do something about this, but our political system makes helping you very difficult." Wouldn't Mexico's usual critics attack that country's political system for corruption and ineptitude and ask: "Why can't they stop this lawlessness?"

That, in reverse, is the position President Obama was in last week when he visited Mexico. The Mexican gangs are able to use guns purchased in the United States because of our insanely permissive gun regulations, and Obama had to issue this unbelievably clotted, apologetic statement at a news conference with Mexican President Felipe Calderon:
I continue to believe that we can respect and honor the Second Amendment rights in our Constitution, the rights of sportsmen and hunters and homeowners who want to keep their families safe, to lawfully bear arms, while dealing with assault weapons that, as we know, here in Mexico, are helping to fuel extraordinary violence.  Violence in our own country as well. Now, having said that, I think none of us are under the illusion that reinstating that ban would be easy.
In other words: Our president can deal with all manner of big problems, but the American gun lobby is just too strong to let him push a rational and limited gun regulation through Congress....(Click for remainder.)

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Erin Go Broke

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times


“What,” asked my interlocutor, “is the worst-case outlook for the world economy?” It wasn’t until the next day that I came up with the right answer: America could turn Irish.

What’s so bad about that? Well, the Irish government now predicts that this year G.D.P. will fall more than 10 percent from its peak, crossing the line that is sometimes used to distinguish between a recession and a depression.

But there’s more to it than that: to satisfy nervous lenders, Ireland is being forced to raise taxes and slash government spending in the face of an economic slump — policies that will further deepen the slump.

And it’s that closing off of policy options that I’m afraid might happen to the rest of us. The slogan “Erin go bragh,” usually translated as “Ireland forever,” is traditionally used as a declaration of Irish identity. But it could also, I fear, be read as a prediction for the world economy.

How did Ireland get into its current bind? By being just like us, only more so. Like its near-namesake Iceland, Ireland jumped with both feet into the brave new world of unsupervised global markets. Last year the Heritage Foundation declared Ireland the third freest economy in the world, behind only Hong Kong and Singapore....(Click for remainder.)

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Hiding Jay Bybee

By Jeffrey Toobin
The New Yorker


The newest round of “torture memos” have just been released by the Department of Justice. I’m only just beginning to go through them, but I have a preliminary thought.

The first, and very chilling memo in the group is an analysis of the various techniques that were used by C.I.A. interrogators on Abu Zubaydah. The author of the memo, which is dated August 1, 2002, is Jay S. Bybee, who was the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel. Bybee concludes that all of these various techniques, including waterboarding, do not constitute torture under American or international law.

Bybee is generally the forgotten man in torture studies of the Bush era. The best known of the legal architects of the torture regime is John Yoo, who was a deputy to Bybee. For better or worse, Yoo has been a vocal defender of the various torture policies, and he remains outspoken on these issues. But whatever happened to his boss?

Today, Bybee is a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He was confirmed by the Senate on March 13, 2003—some time before any of the “torture memos” became public. He has never answered questions about them, has never had to defend his conduct, has never endured anywhere near the amount of public scrutiny (and abuse) as Yoo. It is an understatement to say that he has kept a low profile since becoming a judge....(Click for remainder.)

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Twitters from Texas

By Gail Collins
The New York Times


Let us pause to consider Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, and his feelings about seceding from the union.

This all started during the recent anti-tax protests. You undoubtedly saw the pictures of the demonstrations full of people wearing teabags or tricorner hats who kept comparing themselves to the founding fathers at the Boston Tea Party. True, when it comes to taxation without representation, they were slightly different from colonial New Englanders on the minor point of having representation. But let’s not be picky.

Have you ever noticed that the states where anti-tax sentiment is strongest are frequently the same states that get way more back from the federal government than they send in? Alaska gets $1.84 for every tax dollar it sends to Washington, which is a rate of return even Bernard Madoff never pretended to achieve. Yet there they were in Ketchikan waving “Taxed Enough Already!” signs and demanding an end to federal spending.

Also, have you noticed how places that pride themselves on being superpatriotic seem to have the most people who want to abandon the country entirely and set up shop on their own?...(Click for remainder.)

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Abusive Border Patrol Agents With Nun Chucks at NM Checkpoint

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Remembering the Nazis in Skokie

By Geoffrey R. Stone
The Huffington Post


Sunday morning marked the official opening of the Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie, Illinois. This striking new institution is dedicated to "preserving the legacy of the Holocaust by honoring the memories of those who were lost and by teaching universal lessons that combat hatred, prejudice and indifference."

The seeds of the Skokie Holocaust Museum were sown more than thirty years ago, when roughly thirty members of the Nazi Party of America sought to march in Skokie. The plan was for the marchers to wear uniforms reminiscent of those worn by the members of Hitler's Nazi Party, including swastika armbands, and to carry a party banner bearing a large swastika.

At the time of the proposed march in 1977, Skokie, a northern Chicago suburb, had a population of about 70,000 persons, 40,000 of whom were Jewish. Approximately 5,000 of the Jewish residents were survivors of the Holocaust. The residents of Skokie responded with shock and outrage. They sought a court order enjoining the march on the grounds that it would "incite or promote hatred against persons of Jewish faith or ancestry," that is was a "deliberate and willful attempt" to inflict severe emotional harm on the Jewish population in Skokie (and especially on the survivors of the Holocaust), and that it would incite an "uncontrollably" violent response and lead to serious "bloodshed."...(Click for remainder.)

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De-Nazify America-Part 3: Vindicate, Exonerate & Honor Those Who Fought 4 Freedom & The Rule of Law

By Paul Rosenberg
Open Left


One thing that makes Obama's Nuremberg defense of CIA torturers all the more morally repugnant is his failure to honor, promote, respect, speak out for and defend those who, in stark contrast, refused to go along with the Bush Administration's long march into the darkness of moral depravity. 

He has retained many members of Bush's military and intelligence teams, some who continue to fight fiercely against any sort of moral reckoning. But what of Major General Antonio Taguba, whom digby wrote of just yesterday?  From the Harvard Law Record article digby linked to:
Gen. Taguba: Accountability for torture does not stop at White House door
Andrew Kalloch


Major General Antonio Taguba called for an independent commission to investigate war crimes committed by senior members of the Bush Administration in remarks in Ames Courtroom on Tuesday, April 14. The event was sponsored by Physicians for Human Rights and the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School.

Taguba, who was pressured to resign by the Bush Administration in 2007 following the 2004 leak of his report detailing abuses by U.S. armed forces in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, declared in the preface of the 2008 Physicians for Human Rights publication "Broken Laws, Broken Lives," that, "there is no longer any doubt as to whether the [Bush] administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."
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Gay Marriage's Earned Victory

This is a pretty good commentary on the same-sex marriage debate, made all the more impressive by the fact that this is from the conservative NY Post.

Opponents to the Vermont law should hold their piece.

By Kyle Smith
The NY Post


Uh-oh. Now gays really, legitimately, democratically and completely non-sneakily have won the right to marry, in Vermont. Next thing you know gays preparing to wed will be everywhere, threatening our way of life by picking out china patterns in Bloomingdale's and bickering about where to seat Uncle Floyd at the reception.

News stories about the Vermont decision implicitly recognize that this one really counts, by emphasizing the fact that this is the first state to approve gay marriage through a legislature rather than impose it from the bench, where judges pretend the right has been there all along without previously being detected. Vermont has made the change the proper way, and it ought to be congratulated.

Those who chafe at the decision -- and the passage of Prop. 8 in California, which Obama carried by 24 points, suggests that the opposition is hardly limited to Republicans -- should reexamine their arguments.

Does the Bible forbid gay relationships? Maybe. But if God didn't want there to be gay people, He shouldn't have made them. Who seriously believes that being gay is any more of a choice than being black?

Besides, not even the most fervent Christian would want to live in a Biblocracy. Covet your neighbor's wife, or even his kitchen appliances, and go to jail? If that were government policy, how many informers would it need on the payroll to monitor the neighbors' comments about saucy Serena (or her Sub-Zero?) Does God's idea of civilization look like East Berlin in 1981?...(Click for remainder.)

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De-Nazify America--Part 2: Honor Those Who Struggled Against The Darkness. Protect Those Who Will

By Paul Rosenberg
Open Left


In comments yesterday, someone (I can't find it now) mentioned the case of Alyssa Peterson, one of the first female soldiers to die in Iraq, who committed suicide shortly after witnessing an interrogation session that was more a beating than anything else.

Peterson is emblematic of countless other Americans--in uniform and out--who were confronted with the imperative to torture and otherwise violate the moral and legal principles we are supposed to stand for, and who reacted by fighting back against that imperative.

It's known that PTSD is primarily a response to experiencing and participating in the infliction of violence on others.  It is primarily a conscience-based affliction, not a fear-based one.  And those who suffer from it all too often do take their lives, as Alyssa Peterson did, or else spend many dark days contemplating doing so.

Every single torturer who is given a pass by Obama's embrace of the Nuremberg Defense represents another insult another attack on those who did not willingly go along, whether or not they found a way to effectively remove themselves from becoming part of the machinery of evil. Every single torturer who is given a pass by Obama's embrace of the Nuremberg Defense represents another bullet in Alyssa Peterson's body, another insult to her honor, her integrity, and her good name....(Click for remainder.)

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Credit Where Credit is Due, But What's This "Enemies" BS?

By Dave Lindorff
Democrats.com


President Obama deserves credit for breaking the half-century-long taboo in American politics of dealing with Cuba, and meeting with Raul Castro, Cuba’s current leader. He also deserves credit for dealing in a friendly manner with Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

But what is this crap about “talking with” our enemies or with countries that have been “hostile” towards us?

It is certainly be true that America doesn’t like Communism, and doesn’t like having properties owned by its citizens taken over, which happened in the wake of the Cuban revolution, but nationalization is a right that many sovereign nations have exercised in their national interest, and besides that, what has Cuba ever done that would show it to be an enemy of the US?

Oh, there were those missiles that Castro was allowing the former Soviet Union to set up on Cuba’s shores back in 1962, but then that was only a tit for tat, because the US had already put nuclear-tipped Jupiter missiles in Turkey, aimed at the Soviet Union, and arguably the purpose of the missiles going to Cuba was to force the US to remove the Turkish-based missiles. In any event, Castro was acting less than two years after the US had backed an invasion of his island by soldiers who were seeking to overthrow his government.

Cuba has never attacked the US, never threatened the US, and never in fact was an enemy of the US, nor is it an enemy today. You want hostile? How about the role the US played in helping to fund the backers of a coup against the elected government of President Chavez, and the Bush administration’s hasty recognition of the coup leaders as
the new government after they captured and arrested President Chavez, in an embarrassing incident that eventually collapsed, with the popular restoration of Chavez to the Presidential Palace when rank and file soldiers refused to follow their right-wing leaders.

These are “enemies” or “hostile powers”?...(Click for remainder.)

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Former Torture Director Hayden Laughably Criticizes Obama

By CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN)  -- A former head of the CIA slammed President Obama on Sunday for releasing four Bush-era memos, saying the new president has compromised national security.

 Michael Hayden, who served as former President Bush's last CIA director from 2006 to 2009, said releasing the memos outlining terror interrogation methods emboldened terrorist groups such as al Qaeda.

"What we have described for our enemies in the midst of a war are the outer limits that any American would ever go to in terms of interrogating an al Qaeda terrorist. That's very valuable information," Hayden said during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday."

"By taking [certain] techniques off the table, we have made it more difficult -- in a whole host of circumstances I can imagine -- for CIA officers to defend the nation," he said.

But Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, said certain techniques should not have been allowed in the first place. McCaskill called them "a great recruitment tool for those who want to do harm to our country."

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel dismissed Hayden's assertion that releasing the memos had undermined U.S. intelligence efforts by giving al Qaeda critical new information.

"One of the reasons the president was willing to let this information out was that already the information was out," he said on ABC's "This Week."

"Go get the New York Review of Books. It's there."...(Click for remainder.)

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All This Has Happened Before

By Devilstower
Daily Kos


It took me until I was actually walking through the people gathered for a tea party event to realize that I've seen all this before. Walking around the knots of people and reading the mismatched signs, the groups I saw -- disaffected teens who were too timid to be actual skinheads but who had been working on their defiant scowl, elderly couples waving American flags who had a vague sense that the country had run off and left them, flat out weirdos with braided beards and muttonchops who looked as if they were dressed in the discards from an Army thrift store -- it all seemed eerily familiar.

And it was.  It was 1992.  All that was missing was a big eared guy and some flip charts.

This wasn't a tax protest or a conservative movement, it was the semi-regular Gathering of the Disaffected. Were they following a script first proposed by Rick Santelli with edits by Glenn Beck? Mostly. Were they shouting slogans from the Constitution Party? Yes. With a sprinkling of talking points for the Chamber of Commerce. They read any script put in front of them, cheered every speaker to take the stage. They swallowed up Campaign for Liberty and the John Birch Society with equal relish. Anyone who told them that The World is Not Right, Damn It and You're Not Getting A Fair Shake was welcome.

They were willing to believe that Obama had just passed the largest tax increase in history. That the president had put the nation at risk of attack. That he had managed to put the economy in a tailspin months ahead of taking office....(Click for remainder.)

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The Latest Manufactured Outrage

By Steve Benen
Washington Monthly


Having milked the Department of Homeland Security's report on potentially violent radicals for all it's worth, Republicans have a new manufactured outrage to play with.
Sen. John Ensign, R-Nevada, told CNN Sunday it was "irresponsible" for President Obama to been seen "laughing and joking" with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the Summit of the Americas on Friday.

"This is a person who is one of the most anti-American leaders in the entire world," Ensign told CNN's John King on State of The Union. "He is a brutal dictator and human rights violations are very, very prevalent in Venezuela. And you have to be careful."

"When you're talking about the prestige of the United States and the presidency of the United States, you have to be careful who you're seen joking around with," he also said.
I see. The U.S. president was photographed shaking hands with a foreign head of state, and an international gathering of hemispheric heads of state.

Quick, someone draw up articles before this monster strikes again.

Chances are, President Obama would like to improve relations with our adversaries, and shook Hugo Chavez's hand out of a sense of international diplomacy. The efforts appear to possibly be paying dividends -- Venezuela indicated yesterday that it is considering naming an ambassador to the United States....(Click for remainder.)

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Questions I'd Like 'Teabaggers' to Answer

By Matt Taibbi
Taibblog @ True/Slant


So as could be expected I was deluged with mail this weekend, most of it from outraged Michelle Malkin readers, and nearly all of whom sounded the same basic theme: that I was a bad, bad person for issuing ad hominem attacks and should be discredited for “not having my facts straight” and for being too much of a coward to “debate the real issues.”

Which is interesting, except that no one actually found an incorrect fact in anything I wrote, and no one seemed very interesting in debating any issues. Instead, about 99% of the mail I got focused on the name-calling and the “childish” sexual innuendoes. I would say that is my fault, that I should have known that once you start dropping sack onto another columnist’s face in public you can pretty much forgo any expectation of being taken seriously — except that when dealing with teabagger types, you know in advance you’re not going to be taken seriously anyway. So the incentive to be restrained in one’s response (particularly when the people you’re arguing with are running around screaming about the fascist threat with tea bags dangling absurdly from their hat-brims) is not particularly strong.

But the real reason nobody takes the teabaggers seriously is that they have no answers to several enormous holes in the parody of a protest argument they tried to make last week. I got nearly two hundred letters this weekend and not one of them had an answer for any of the following:

1. If you’re so horrified by debt and spending, where were your tea parties when George Bush was adding $4 trillion to the federal deficit?...(Click for remainder.)

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Colorado Transgender Woman's Slaying Tried as Hate Crime


Eric Bellamy / Associated Press
Allen Ray Andrade listens during opening arguments at his trial in Greeley, Colo., for the slaying of Angie Zapata. He could face life in prison for murder; the hate-crime charge carries just three years, but activists say it sends an important message.

The state is one of 11, along with the District of Columbia, that include gender identity as a protected class, but has not applied the statute before. Angie Zapata, 18, was killed in July.

By DeeDee Correll
The Los Angeles Times


Reporting from Greeley, Colo. -- To her sister, Angie Zapata was a teenage girl in every sense but the biological one.

She spent hours spraying her long hair into compliance with Aqua Net, painting her eyelashes with L'Oreal and her skin with Cover Girl. She combed discount stores for clothes that would emphasize her curves.

The effect was stunning. When the 18-year-old visited the store where her older sister, Monica, worked, men would make excuses to hover.

"This is my brother, Justin," Monica would tell them, "and my wannabe sister, Angie."

Always they were shocked, but often accepting, Monica said. Still, she felt uneasy for Angie, who had endured taunts since she was a little boy who begged to use her sister's lip gloss.

"I worried about her all the time," said Monica, 33, of Brighton, Colo.

In July, her fears proved valid. Concerned when she had not heard from Angie for several days, Monica went to her Greeley apartment and found her battered body on the floor....(Click for remainder.)

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John Boehner's War on Science

By Chris Mooney
The Intersection @ Discover


Through email channels, I just came upon this insane exchange between the current GOP House opposition leader and George Stephanopoulos from earlier today:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask you then about energy. We showed your statement on the president’s decision through the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases. Also, you’ve come out against the president’s proposal to cap-and-trade carbon emissions.

So what is the Republican answer to climate change? Is it a problem? Do you have a plan to address it?

BOEHNER: George, we believe that our — all of the above energy strategy from last year continues to be the right approach on energy. That we ought to make sure that we have new sources of energy, green energy, but we need nuclear energy, we need other types of alternatives, and, yes, we need American-made oil and gas.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But that doesn’t do anything when it comes to emissions, sir.

BOEHNER: When it comes to the issue of climate change, George, it’s pretty clear that if we don’t work with other industrialized nations around the world, what’s going to happen is that we’re going to ship millions of American jobs overseas. We have to deal with this in a responsible way.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what is the responsible way? That’s my question. What is the Republican plan to deal with carbon emissions, which every major scientific organization has said is contributing to climate change?

BOEHNER: George, the idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical. Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide. Every cow in the world, you know, when they do what they do, you’ve got more carbon dioxide. And so I think it’s clear…
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GOP Teaparty Hypocrisy

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The Lawyer and The Caterpillar

Torture is a complicated business, and the real world is never as neat as the imagined one.

By Michael Isikoff and Evan Thomas
Newsweek


In "1984," George Orwell's classic novel on the evils of totalitarianism, the agents of Big Brother break down the will of resisters by throwing them in a dreaded torture chamber known as Room 101. The idea behind Room 101 is to expose interrogation subjects to whatever they fear most. The protagonist in the novel, Winston Smith, fears rats. Confronted with a cage full of rats when he enters Room 101, Smith breaks down and betrays his lover, Julia, as an enemy of the state.

In the real world of a democracy struggling to deal with the threat of terrorism, torture is a much more complicated business. After 9/11 the CIA was under relentless pressure to break terror suspects in time to head off a second attack. In March 2002, the CIA captured Abu Zubaydah, believed then to be a high-level Qaeda mastermind. Abu Zubaydah apparently feared insects. Someone at the CIA came up with the idea—right out of "1984," it would seem—of putting him in a small, dark box and letting an insect crawl on him. But since this was America, and not Orwell's fantasy police state, the CIA first had to get permission from a lawyer at the Department of Justice. Parsing statutes against torture, the lawyer (Jay Bybee, then chief of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel) ruled that Abu Zubaydah's interrogators could not tell the suspect that the insect was venomous because, under the law, prisoners could not be threatened with imminent death. However, Abu Zubaydah could be placed in a "confinement box" with a harmless insect as long as he was told nothing about it. The CIA had proposed using a caterpillar.

In the end, nothing came of it. This particular method of "enhanced interrogation" was never used on Abu Zubaydah. He was, however, interrogated in other severe ways—"waterboarded" (simulated drowning), deprived of sleep for days, slammed into walls—methods discussed and approved at the highest levels of the White House. The catch is that Abu Zubaydah was not, in fact, a top Osama bin Laden lieutenant or even a senior member of Al Qaeda; he arranged logistics at the Afghan training camps. According to the FBI, which initially questioned him, most of the useful intelligence he shared came out before he was roughed up....(Click for remainder.)

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Obama Dismisses Criticism of Chavez Handshake

By Agence France-Presse
Via The Raw Story


PORT OF SPAIN — President Barack Obama defended on Sunday his amicable first encounter with Venezuelan leader and anti-US firebrand Hugo Chavez, which critics back home assailed as naiive and "irresponsible".

"It's unlikely that as a consequence of me shaking hands or having a polite conversation with Mr. Chavez that we are endangering the strategic interest of the United States," Obama told reporters at the close of a Summit of the Americas.

But, he stressed he still had concerns about Venezuela and Chavez's often heated rhetoric.

"I have great differences with Hugo Chavez on matters of economic policy and matters of foreign policy," Obama said.

"There have been instances in which we've seen Venezuela interfere with some of the countries that surround Venezuela in ways that I think are a source of concern," he added.

Obama and Chavez met here Friday at the opening of a 34-nation Americas summit and photos of the encounter showed the US leader smiling as he shook the Venezuelan's hand and patted him on the shoulder....(Click for remainder.)

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