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Obama’s “Civil Detention System”

The Obama administration has said that it wants to create a “truly civil detention system.” Orwellian or earnest? Aarti Shahani founder of Families for Freedom and lead author of the Justice Strategies report, “Local Democracy on ICE” discusses the Obama administration’s plan and the closure of the T. Don Hutto detention center in Texas.

Will Holder Prosecute Architects of Torture Policy?

Is it possible that the Obama administration’s attempt to prosecute the crimes of the Bush administration could actually be worse than doing nothing? That’s what Andrew Sullivan concluded in response to an LA Times article suggesting that Holder will prosecute only those who went beyond the parameters outlined by the Bush administration torture memos. “This strikes me as the very very worst of all possible worlds,” writes Sullivan, “- the kind of split-the-difference pragmatism that will end up alienating everyone.”
Scott Horton, Contributing Editor at Harper’s Magazine, Vince Warren, Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Vijay Padmanabhan, former US State Department Lawyer and a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law on the Justice Department decision.
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The Agitator links to more taser atrocities

Police taser man in his bottom after arresting him

Warning: The following story contains graphic details:

BOISE - Two Boise Police officers have been disciplined by the Boise Police Department for "serious" policy violations after a complaint was filed that officers used excessive force during an arrest.

According to the Boise Community Ombudsman's report, in early 2009 police were dispatched to a house on a report of a fight between a man and a woman.

Police say they struggled to get inside the home to speak with the man. When police managed to get inside the home, the suspect was placed in handcuffs. The complainant alleged that he was Tased three times by police - once to his wrist, the second to the small of his back and the third to his buttocks.

Click the following link to listen to a police audio recording from the arrest.

The ombudsman's report states that the suspect was tased only two times after an investigation. One of those tases, however, was in the buttocks.

The use of force "was after he was handcuffed," said Ombudsman Pierce Murphy. "And it was in the most senstive, private areas, and accompanied by threatMORE

Gates Is Lucky Cambridge Doesn’t Tase

Henry Louis Gates is lucky Cambridge Police don’t use tasers. Anywhere else, it might have been different. Seriously, a quick Google News search of the last month alone reveals a barrage of police tasing incidents across the country one more barbaric than the other: grandmas, grandpas, the mentally ill, teens and even children. Some of these taser victims died. One (ok, in Australia) burst into flames, another was left with burns in his anus, and yet another, a 14-year-old girl, got it in the head — running away after a dispute with her mother over a cell phone (caution, graphic).
All — in varying degrees — needed to be “subdued” by police, and were. It is, after all, a most effective tool in that regard, especially when dealing with pregnant women, 16-year-olds with broken backs and 6-year-old boys. After reading news reports dating back to 2004 about the hyper-use of these 50,000-volt zap guns, it’s not difficult to imagine what might have happened if Gates were say, in Boise, and had hurled one more insult, used a few expletives, raised a hand or moved toward Officer James Crowley in a “threatening manner,” much like this guy, who was irate and scary, but nonetheless handcuffed and shackled, when he was Tasered in a Kentucky court on July 22.

When Reason wrote about Tasers in 2005, there were 6,000 law enforcement agencies employing Taser guns. The high-voltage weapons, according to the Amnesty International statistics in the report, “are used on unarmed suspects in 80 percent of the cases, for verbal non-compliance in 36 percent, and for cases involving ‘deadly assault’ only 3 percent of the time.” Today some 14,200 police departments use Tasers, along with countless school districts across the country. In Pennsylvania alone for example, Tasers were employed by police in 122 schools as of June.MORE
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Are you listening Americans? The press? The President? WHAT THE FUCK?????

Fer instance:
No criminal charges have ever been brought against any C.I.A. officer involved in the torture program, despite the fact that at least three prisoners interrogated by agency personnel died as the result of mistreatment. In the first case, an unnamed detainee under C.I.A. supervision in Afghanistan froze to death after having been chained, naked, to a concrete floor overnight. The body was buried in an unmarked grave. In the second case, an Iraqi prisoner named Manadel al-Jamadi died on November 4, 2003, while being interrogated by the C.I.A. at Abu Ghraib prison, outside Baghdad. A forensic examiner found that he had essentially been crucified; he died from asphyxiation after having been hung by his arms, in a hood, and suffering broken ribs. Military pathologists classified the case a homicide. A third prisoner died after an interrogation in which a C.I.A. officer participated, though the officer evidently did not cause the death. (Several other detainees have disappeared and remain unaccounted for, according to Human Rights Watch.)
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Hullabaloo points out:

Following up on my post last week about the shall we say, friendliness between the business and national security elites, here's a story from 2006 for the wtf files:

President George W. Bush has bestowed on his intelligence czar, John Negroponte, broad authority, in the name of national security, to excuse publicly traded companies from their usual accounting and securities-disclosure obligations. Notice of the development came in a brief entry in the Federal Register, dated May 5, 2006, that was opaque to the untrained eye.

Unbeknownst to almost all of Washington and the financial world, Bush and every other President since Jimmy Carter have had the authority to exempt companies working on certain top-secret defense projects from portions of the 1934 Securities Exchange Act. Administration officials told BusinessWeek that they believe this is the first time a President has ever delegated the authority to someone outside the Oval Office. It couldn't be immediately determined whether any company has received a waiver under this provision.


A trip to the statute books showed that the amended version of the 1934 act states that "with respect to matters concerning the national security of the United States," the President or the head of an Executive Branch agency may exempt companies from certain critical legal obligations. These obligations include keeping accurate "books, records, and accounts" and maintaining "a system of internal accounting controls sufficient" to ensure the propriety of financial transactions and the preparation of financial statements in compliance with "generally accepted accounting principles."MORE

Think of the possibilities...

Pam'ss House Blend:

Meantime, our Obama's response to 77 members of Congress sending him a letter to ask him to help repeal DADT?Pass the hot potato

ENDA has been been introduced into the house and it includes the transgender population this time

Our heterosexual privilege knapsack

NC:Anti-bullying bill passes -- awaits Gov. Perdue's signature

In the meantime:

Obama: No apology for CIA fucking up Chile Let us look forward! Ignore history!

Q The point being that almost no Latin American nation has been free from CIA -- bloody CIA intervention, Chile being a prime example, President Bachelet being one of its victims. Is it time for a historical apology?

Well, look, I think you answered your own question right at the beginning, which is I’m interested in going forward, not looking backward. I think that the United States has been an enormous force for good in the world. I think there have been times where we’ve made mistakes. But I think that what is important is looking at what our policies are today, and what my administration intends to do in cooperating with the region.MORE

It's a good thing we don't have rationing like all those horrible European countries or people wouldn't be able to get health care when they need it...

Glenn Greenwald:

The "Neda video," torture, and the truth-revealing power of images

Obama, the Right, an defendants Rights Remember that Supreme Court ruling that defendants have no constutional right to access states evidence and request a DNA to prove their innocence? Guess who supported this? Obama's DOJ.
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Police can tase you to get DNA

Raw Story reports:

A judge in Niagra County, New York, ruled Thursday that DNA evidence, obtained only after police applied a Taser to a suspect who refused to provide evidence against himself, may be used by the prosecution because the electric shock was not administered with malice. Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza, with this 17-page decision, becomes “the first judge in western civilization to say you can use a Taser to enforce a court order,” defense attorney Patrick Balkin said, according to The Niagara Gazette.
“Note that if Smith is guilty, he’s a pretty bad guy,” interjected The Buffalo News. “He’s charged with shooting a man in the groin after invading his ex-girlfriend’s home, tying up her two children and forcing her to take her to the home of the man he shot. He’s also charged with the shotgun-point robbery of a Niagara Falls gas station. DNA was found at both crime scenes.”
Smith, according to reports, had previously agreed to a court order for a DNA sample. But when authorities accidentally spoiled the sample, forcing them to return to the judge for a second order Sperrazza issued it without consulting the defense counsel, thinking the defendant would not mind.
“Smith did object, reportedly telling officers, ‘I ain’t giving it up. You’re going to have to tase me,’” added Buffalo News.
“Which they did, after consulting with a prosecutor, who either told them to use ‘the minimum force necessary’ (according to police testimony at last month’s court hearing) or ‘any means necessary’ (according to a police report written the day of the incident).”
After tasing Smith, a DNA swab was taken without consent.
“They have now given the Niagara Falls police discretion to Taser anybody anytime they think it’s reasonable,” Smith’s attorney said, according to a separate report in The Buffalo News. “Her decision says you can enforce a court order by force. If you extrapolate that, we no longer have to have child support hearings; you can just Taser the parent.”
In the decision’s text, Sperrazza cited a Wyoming case in which a judge ruled police acted legally when they tased a man in order to force him to open his hand relative to a search.
“The Court is certainly concerned that the purpose of the Taser was to inflict pain, and has seriously considered the argument of the defendant that a line is crossed when such government action is sanctioned,” she wrote. “This Court would immediately condemn and sanction the actions of the police if there was any indication that the Taser was used maliciously, or to an excessive extent, or with resulting injury. The Court is convinced by the evidence presented that the exact opposite of those factors was present in this case.
“The court would not advice the government to systematically utilize pain compliance as a standard tool in future similar circumstances, because of the intense scrutiny the use of such tactics would receive from this Court. However, this case is perhaps best described as the ‘perfect storm’ where the crimes being investigated were egregious, the evidence sought highly probative, the intrusion was minimal, and with a subject who steadfastly refused to comply with a lawful court Order. Further, the officers, armed with the Order issued, repeatedly sought the subject’s compliance, explored alternative methods of obtaining the sample, repeatedly warned the defendant of the consequences of his refusal and took steps to minimize the pain inflicted and the potential for injury. There was no malice or desire to injure the defendant.
The argument is very familiar to teh justification that we used to torture

Shocking Grandma

A great-grandmother from the Hill Country has taken on legal representation after being tasered and jailed for resisting arrest.

Last Monday, 72-year-old Kathryn Winkfein was driving home to Granite Schoals after her bi-weekly shopping trip to Austin when she was pulled over by a Travis County Constable deputy. According to authorities, she'd been doing 60 down a 45-mph construction zone on Highway 71 near Bee Creek.

The officer wrote out a ticket to Winkfein and asked her to sign the stub, explaining that her signature wasn't an admission of guilt, but rather a promise to show up for a future court appearance. Winkfein, allegedly belligerent over the matter, refused to sign and asked the officer to take her to jail.

Further exacerbating the situation, Winkfein then got out of her car and proceeded to direct a litany of choice curse words towards the officer, who at that point told her that she would indeed be going to jail. Winkfein became violent, according to the officer, leaving him no choice but to zap the elderly lady her with his taser.

Winkfein was sent to Travis County Jail and booked for resisting arrest and detention. When interviewed by Fox 7 News, she dismissed the official report as being untrue.

"I wasn't argumentative, I was not combative," she said. "This is a lie. All of this is a lie, pulled away from him I did not."

A spokesman for the Constable office backed up the behavior of the arresting officer, saying that the use of a taser on Winkfein was appropriate.

A List of people who have been killed by taser-wielding law enforcement (410 dead so far)

Tasered while Black
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We all know that the rightwing is being racist trash. But I'd like to look at Ms. Sotomayor from a liberal perspective. And frankly, I am not pleased. She seems to be a moderate, and the last thing that Supreme Court needs a freaking moderate.

Consider the following links:

Judge Sotomayor's opinion on civil cases

Will Sotomayor disappoint liberals

Will Sotomayor disappoint liberals part 2

A revealing anecdote about Sonia Sotomayor

Obama's Anti-Roberts

Sotomayer on the abortion war

Sotomayor Sides With the Cops: And persuades a Republican judge to go along with her.

Like I said, she's a moderate, who seems to be about to tip the court way too far to the right than I am at all comfortable with.
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Frontline - Putting children in jail for life

Interestingly enough, there was only one minority featured in this program. And I KNOW, that minorities have been hit a hell of a lot with these crazy sentencing laws. Aren't
t minorities sympathy-inducing enough? Funny that...
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Obama seeks halt to Guantanamo trials

GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) – Hours after taking office on Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama ordered military prosecutors in the Guantanamo war crimes tribunals to ask for a 120-day halt in all pending cases.

Military judges were expected to rule on the request on Wednesday at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, an official involved in the trials said.

The request would halt proceedings in 21 pending cases, including the death penalty case against five Guantanamo prisoners accused of plotting the September 11 hijacked plane attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

Prosecutors said in their written request that the halt was "in the interests of justice."

Obama has pledged to shut down the Guantanamo prison camp that was widely seen as a stain on the United States' human rights record and a symbol of detainee abuse and detention without charge under the administration of his predecessor, former President George W. Bush.MORE

WOOT!!!! Do I need to make this another tag?
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Torture prosecutions finally begin in the U.S.

While fiercely loyal establishment spokespeople such as The Washington Post's Ruth Marcus continue to insist that prosecutions are only appropriate for common criminals ("someone breaking into your house") but not our glorious political leaders when they break the law (by, say, systematically torturing people), the Bush administration has righteously decided that torture is such a grotesque and intolerable crime that political leaders who order it simply must be punished in American courts to the fullest extent of the law . . . . if they're from Liberia:
MIAMI (AP) -- U.S. prosecutors want a Miami judge to sentence the son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor to 147 years in prison for torturing people when he was chief of a brutal paramilitary unit during his father's reign.
Charles McArthur Emmanuel, also known as Charles "Chuckie" Taylor Jr. is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 9 by U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga. His conviction was the first use of a 1994 law allowing prosecution in the U.S. for acts of torture committed overseas.

Acts which, when ordered by Liberians, are "criminal torture" meriting life imprisonment magically become, when ordered by Americans, mere "aggressive interrogation techniques." And while not all of the "techniques" used by the Liberians were authorized by Bush officials ("hot clothes irons" and "biting ants shoveled onto people's bodies"), many of the authorized American techniques are classic torture tactics and resulted in the deaths of many detainees and the total insanity of many more.
Worse, AP -- with canine-like subservience -- mindlessly recites the Bush administration's excuses (Abu Ghraib was due to low-level rogue bad apples and "there has been no systematic mistreatment of detainees") without even mentioning the ample evidence proving how false those government claims are. That's standard American "journalism" for you: "Our Government says X, and even if it's false and even if it's intensely disputed, we'll just leave it at that." Doing anything more -- as NBC News' David Gregory pointed out -- is "not their role."MORE
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International Criminal Court and Opposition to the Court

Arthur N.R. Robinson, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, talks about the historical aspects of the attempts and the unified action of the international community to establish rules of behavior and the need for an International Criminal Court. Then, Executive Director of the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, John Burroughs, talks about the opposition that the George Bush administration has shown toward the International Criminal Court and the specific criticisms that have been levied against the ICC and the impact of this opposition to the ICC on global and American security. Series: Voices [2/2003] [Public Affairs] [Show ID: 7070]

Oncology 101 and Colon Cancer in 2008

Dr. Andrew Ko of the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center explores how research and advances in technologies are impacting clinical care of colon cancer. Ko's research is in the development of new treatment strategies, including molecularly targeted therapies, for patients with gastrointestinal malignancies. Series: UCSF Mini Medical School for the Public [8/2008] [Health and Medicine] [Show ID: 14831]


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