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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 07:39 AM
Number of posts: 44,602

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"May The Best Spock Win"

Chicago's Black Site Detainees Speak Out



On Tuesday, The Guardian’s Spencer Ackerman reported on the “equivalent of a CIA black site” operated by police in Chicago. When computer program analyst Kory Wright opened the story, he told me, “I immediately recognized the building” — because, the Chicago resident says, he was zip-tied to a bench there for hours in an intentionally overheated room without access to water or a bathroom, eventually giving false statements to try and end his ordeal.

A friend of Wright’s swept up in the same police raid described his own brutal treatment at the facility, known as Homan Square, including attacks to his face and genitals. The experiences of the two men line up with the way defense attorneys described the “black site” warehouse to Ackerman: as a place where detainees were held off the books, without access to lawyers, while being beaten or shackled for long periods of time.

Wright claims that nine years ago, he spent “at least six hours” at the Homan facility on his 21st birthday. He says that he was never read his Miranda rights, and that his arrest was not put into the police system until after his ordeal was over. Wright was reminded of the facility again this week when he noticed a tweet from a writer he admires, The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates, linking to Ackerman’s story. Ackerman compared Homan Square to the network of shadowy torture centers built by the CIA across the Middle East — but focused “on Americans, most often poor, black and brown,” rather than on purported overseas terrorists.

Also unlike CIA black sites, Homan Square wasn’t a completely furtive enterprise. Several lawyers and anti-police brutality advocates with whom I spoke knew that suspects were routinely detained at Homan. The facility houses many of the police department’s special units, including the anti-gang and anti-drug task forces, along with the evidence-retrieval unit. Once suspects arrived at Homan, they did not have to be booked immediately, at least not as far as the police department was concerned, according to the people with whom I spoke. In fact, it was possible that a suspect’s arrest report wouldn’t show that he or she had ever been to Homan. Further, police could detain individuals at Homan for hours, or disappear them, before shipping them off to a district station for processing.


The Government Refuses to Prove Snowden Damaged National Security (Gizmodo/Vice)


Official Reports on the Damage Caused by Edward Snowden's Leaks Are Totally Redacted

But explicit details about the alleged damage Snowden caused, identified in the 39-page report as "grave," were omitted from that document as well. In fact, the existence of the DIA's report had been unknown until the White House secretly authorized the declassification of select portions of it so two Republican lawmakers could undercut the media narrative painting Snowden as a heroic whistleblower.


The Government Refuses to Prove Snowden Damaged National Security

Kate Knibbs
Today 3:54pm

Did Edward Snowden actually damage national security? There's no way in hell to tell from official documents released to the press—they've been thoroughly redacted to the point of uselessness.

- snip -

The idea that Snowden has jeopardized national security and the lives of troops is the linchpin for arguments that the ex-NSA contractor is a treasonous villain, not a whistleblower. That's why Vice sought out proof of this jeopardy in government documents:

In response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) recently released to VICE News more than 100 pages of internal reports prepared by a task force made up of two dozen DIA analysts that examined the alleged damage to national security resulting from Snowden's leaks.

The pages are largely blanked out (save for the Vice watermark slapped on to let everyone know that Vice knows how to file an FOIA). They reveal nothing about the impact of Edward Snowden's decision to reveal information about widespread state surveillance programs targeting wide swathes of the population or than the fact that there were internal documents about it.

- snip -

The only ways these documents could be more redacted is if they were simply not released.

If the Snowden leaks have caused grave damage to national security, it'd make sense if the government wanted proof of the damage in the public view, to back up its assessment that Snowden should be punished for his crimes, to back up the assessment that his actions were treasonous. The party line here is that the government can't reveal more because any additional information will screw up national security even further. (Yet it selectively leaked parts of a report to Congress to shore up anti-Snowden sentiment.)

Here's another option: The government isn't revealing more because doing so would run counter to the narrative that Snowden's decision hurt Americans more than it helped them. It is awfully strange that absolutely none of the specific ways that Snowden has damaged national security can even be summarized without fueling terrorists. Obviously ongoing threats need to be treated with sensitivity, but the breadth of this No Explanation edict is hard to swallow.


BREAKING: Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

Source: Associated Press

AP: White House has informed Senate that President Obama has vetoed Keystone XL pipeline bill

Defying GOP, Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

Update at 3:37 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama has vetoed a Republican bill forcing construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The White House sent notice of the veto to the Senate on Tuesday, shortly after the bill was received at the White House. It's the third veto of Obama's presidency.

The move puts a freeze on a top GOP priority, at least for now. It also reasserts Obama's authority over a project that's become a flashpoint in the national debate about climate change.

Congressional Republicans may try to override Obama's veto, but have yet to show they can muster the two-thirds majority in both chambers that they would need. Sen. John Hoeven, the bill's chief GOP sponsor, says Republicans are about four votes short in the Senate and need about 11 more in the House.

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/congress-sends-keystone-bill-obama-plans-veto-29181671

(Another) Former CBS News Colleague Calls O'Reilly's Combat Claim 'Absurd' (Charles Krause)

Source: Media Matters

Former CBS News Colleague Calls O'Reilly's Combat Claim "Absurd"

Blog ››› 1 hour and 9 minutes ago ››› JOE STRUPP

Another one of Bill O'Reilly's former colleagues at CBS News is casting doubt on his claims that he reported from a "combat situation" in Buenos Aires during the Falklands War.

- snip -

He also recalls O'Reilly being there for a short period of time and not having "any significant role in our coverage of the war."

"I don't recall him doing any major story that anybody remembers and he was there a very short time, then he was recalled, I don't know why," Krause said. "He wasn't a team player and people thought he was grandstanding, basically."

- snip -

CNN's Brian Stelter on Sunday reported that seven of O'Reilly's former colleagues who reported from Buenos Aires refuted his claims. Media Matters has identified several additional instances in which O'Reilly suggested his reporting had been from a combat zone.

Krause, a former Washington Post reporter who had lived in Buenos Aires for three years prior to the war, said O'Reilly's claims are wrong.

"That's absurd because Buenos Aires was Buenos Aires," Krause said about the war zone claim in an interview Sunday. "It was just like it always was, there was very little evidence of the war in Buenos Aires. The war was being fought thousands of miles away."

- snip -

"The only danger that we were in was we were staying at the Sheraton Hotel, which was this massive, modern tower overlooking the city. We were in no danger whatsoever," he said. "Except for people who had never been there before and didn't speak Spanish and might have felt a little bit odd. I had lived in Buenos Aires, there wasn't any particular danger. After the U.S. supported Britain there were some anti-American demonstrations a little bit and if you went out it was better not to advertise the fact you were American."

Read more: http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/02/23/former-cbs-news-colleague-calls-oreillys-combat/202624

TOM TOMORROW: Quick! What's Your Opinion?

DAILY KOS LINK: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/02/23/1365576/-Cartoon-Quick-What-s-your-opinion

Poitras Accepts Oscar for 'Citizenfour:' "We lose our ability to check the powers in control..."

“Citizenfour” director Laura Poitras thanked whistleblowers and journalists who are “exposing truth” during her acceptance speech after winning the Academy Award for Best Documentary, Feature on Sunday.

“Disclosures that Edward Snowden reveals don’t only expose a threat to our privacy, but to our democracy itself. When the most important decisions being made that affect all of us are being made in secrecy, we lose our ability to check the powers in control,” Poitras said with Glenn Greenwald at her side. “Thank you to Edward Snowden for his courage, and for the many other whistleblowers. I share this with Glenn Greenwald and the other journalists who are exposing truth. Thank you.”

'Citizenfour' Wins Best Documentary at the 30th Film Independent Spirit Awards

Gov. Walker Says He Doesn't Know If Obama Loves His Country

Source: Associated Press

Gov. Walker says he doesn't know if Obama loves his country

FEB. 21, 2015 12:19 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin says he doesn't know whether President Barack Obama loves America.

The possible 2016 White House candidate says he's not qualified to judge Obama's patriotism — he's never asked the president about it.

Earlier in the week, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said at fundraiser for Walker that Obama doesn't love his country.

Walker — who's in Washington for a weekend meeting of governors — tells The Associated Press: "You should ask the president what he thinks about America."

Walker also said, "I've never asked him so I don't know."

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/b3d6f4ed5c8e4d85a67ea83f5f967b61/gov-walker-says-he-doesnt-know-if-obama-loves-his-country

What a sleazy slime ball. Why'd you get kicked out of college, Walker?

Phone chipmaker Gemalto probes report of hacking by U.S., UK spies

Source: Reuters

Phone chipmaker Gemalto probes report of hacking by U.S., UK spies

Fri Feb 20, 2015 4:20am EST

PARIS (Reuters) - Gemalto said on Friday it was investigating a report U.S. and British spies had hacked its systems to steal the privacy-protecting encryption keys in the chips it makes for mobile phones.

Citing documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the report said the hack allowed the agencies to monitor a large portion of voice and data mobile communications around the world without permission from governments and telecom companies.

Gemalto's shares sank as much as 10 percent in huge volumes in early trading after the news website Intercept reported the hack by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

"We take this publication very seriously and will devote all resources necessary to fully investigate and understand the scope of such sophisticated techniques," the company said in a statement.

The hack by the National Security Agency (NSA) and UK's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) allowed the agencies to monitor a large portion of voice and data mobile communications around the world without permission from governments and telecom companies, according to the report.

Read more: http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN0LO0K720150220
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