Report Details Dissent on Guantánamo Tactics

WASHINGTON – In 2002, as evidence of prisoner mistreatment at Guantánamo Bay began to mount, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents at the base created a “war crimes file” to document accusations against American military personnel, but were eventually ordered to close down the file, a Justice Department report revealed Tuesday.

The report, an exhaustive, 437-page review prepared by the Justice Department inspector general, provides the fullest account to date of internal dissent and confusion within the Bush administration over the use of harsh interrogation tactics by the military and the Central Intelligence Agency.

In one of several previously undisclosed episodes, the report found that American military interrogators appeared to have collaborated with visiting Chinese officials at Guantánamo Bay to disrupt the sleep of Chinese Muslims held there, waking them every 15 minutes the night before their interviews by the Chinese. In another incident, it said, a female interrogator reportedly bent back an inmate’s thumbs and squeezed his genitals as he grimaced in pain.

The report describes what one official called “trench warfare” between the F.B.I. and the military over the rough methods being used on detainees in Guantánamo Bay, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The report says that the F.B.I. agents took their concerns to higher-ups, but that their concerns often fell on deaf ears: officials at senior levels at the F.B.I., the Justice Department, the Defense Department and the National Security Council were all made aware of the F.B.I. agents’ complaints, but little appears to have been done as a result.

The report quotes passionate objections from F.B.I. officials who grew increasingly concerned about the reports of practices like intimidating inmates with snarling dogs, parading them in the nude before female soldiers, or “short-shackling” them to the floor for many hours in extreme heat or cold.

Such tactics, said one F.B.I. agent in an e-mail message to supervisors in November 2002, might violate American law banning torture.

More senior officials, including Spike Bowman, who was then the head of the national security law unit at the F.B.I., tried to sound the alarm as well.

“Beyond any doubt, what they are doing (and I don’t know the extent of it) would be unlawful were these enemy prisoners of war,” Mr. Bowman wrote in an e-mail message to top F.B.I. officials in July 2003.

Read moreReport Details Dissent on Guantánamo Tactics

Man Builds Electric Car for $4750, Costs $7 For Every 300 Miles

Also here the article (and the video) have been removed.

I have only found a bad but watchable replacement for the video.



YouTube

Source: NBC5

With gas pushing $4 per gallon, many people are looking for ways to save some green at the pump. One North Texas man found a way to help the environment and commute to work for just pennies a day.

David Murray may drive the quietest car in North Texas, powered only by a small electric motor, and not creating any emissions.

“The most common question I get is, ‘Is this an electric car?’ and then they’re like, “Is it a hybrid?’ Nope, it’s a real electric (car),” Murray said.

When his car is low on fuel, Murray simply plugs the power cord into the nearest outlet.

“Yeah, just plug it in here. Just a regular old extension cord,” Murray said.

The self-described computer geek from Kennedale bought the 1993 Eagle Talon from a junkyard for just $750.

“First thing I did when I got the car home was pull the engine out,” Murray said.

He then spent about $4,000 more to convert the gas-guzzler to run on electricity alone, doing all the work himself in his garage at home.

“I bought the electric motor and I was like well, I gotta figure out a way to couple it together with the original transmission,” he said.

The car can hit 55 mph, driving right past the high prices at gas stations.

“I hear people complain about them at work all the time. I just grin,” he said.

Murray spends just $7 per month on electricity to charge the batteries — enough to go about 300 miles.

“I don’t even look at the gas prices,” Murray said.

China: Police State 2.0 is Ready for Export

Excerpts from the long but excellent article:

“Over the past two years, some 200,000 surveillance cameras have been installed throughout the city. Many are in public spaces, disguised as lampposts.”

“The security cameras are just one part of a much broader high-tech surveillance and censorship program known in China as “Golden Shield.” The end goal is to use the latest people-tracking technology — thoughtfully supplied by American giants like IBM, Honeywell and General Electric — to create an airtight consumer cocoon:”

“Like everything else assembled in China with American parts, Police State 2.0 is ready for export to a neighborhood near you.”

“This is how this Golden Shield will work: Chinese citizens will be watched around the clock through networked CCTV cameras and remote monitoring of computers. They will be listened to on their phone calls, monitored by digital voice-recognition technologies. Their Internet access will be aggressively limited through the country’s notorious system of online controls known as the “Great Firewall.” Their movements will be tracked through national ID cards with scannable computer chips and photos that are instantly uploaded to police databases and linked to their holder’s personal data. This is the most important element of all: linking all these tools together in a massive, searchable database of names, photos, residency information, work history and biometric data. When Golden Shield is finished, there will be a photo in those databases for every person in China: 1.3 billion faces.”

“Here is a small sample of what the company (L-1) does: produces passports and passport cards for American citizens; takes finger scans of visitors to the U.S. under the Department of Homeland Security’s massive U.S.-Visit program; equips U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan with “mobile iris and multimodal devices” so they can collect biometric data in the field; maintains the State Department’s “largest facial-recognition database system”; and produces driver’s licenses in Illinois, Montana and North Carolina. In addition, L-1 has an even more secretive intelligence unit called SpecTal. Asked by a Wall Street analyst to discuss, in “extremely general” terms, what the division was doing with contracts worth roughly $100 million, the company’s CEO would only say, “Stay tuned.””

“It is L-1’s deep integration with multiple U.S. government agencies that makes its dealings in China so interesting: It isn’t just L-1 that is potentially helping the Chinese police to nab political dissidents, it’s U.S. taxpayers. The technology that Yao purchased for just a few thousand dollars is the result of Defense Department research grants and contracts going as far back as 1994, when a young academic named Joseph Atick (the research director Fordyce consulted on L-1’s China dealings) taught a computer at Rockefeller University to recognize his face.”
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Thirty years ago, the city of Shenzhen didn’t exist. Back in those days, it was a string of small fishing villages and collectively run rice paddies, a place of rutted dirt roads and traditional temples. That was before the Communist Party chose it – thanks to its location close to Hong Kong’s port – to be China’s first “special economic zone,” one of only four areas where capitalism would be permitted on a trial basis.

The theory behind the experiment was that the “real” China would keep its socialist soul intact while profiting from the private-sector jobs and industrial development created in Shenzhen. The result was a city of pure commerce, undiluted by history or rooted culture – the crack cocaine of capitalism. It was a force so addictive to investors that the Shenzhen experiment quickly expanded, swallowing not just the surrounding Pearl River Delta, which now houses roughly 100,000 factories, but much of the rest of the country as well.

Read moreChina: Police State 2.0 is Ready for Export

Lieberman Demands YouTube Censorship

Joe Lieberman, senator and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee chairman, wants to censor what you watch on Google and YouTube. Lieberman has sent a letter to Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, accusing the corporation of allowing “offensive material” on its site, namely “videos produced by al-Qaeda and other Islamist terrorist groups.” Joe wants these taken down immediately and demands Google “prevent them from reappearing.” No word if Schmidt has responded, but a letter sent by a bigwig commissar such as Lieberman is nothing to take lightly. Schmidt and his corporate lawyers have likely confabbed.

“Today, Islamist terrorist organizations rely extensively on the Internet to attract supporters and advance their cause. The framework for much of this Internet campaign is described in a bipartisan staff report released last week by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, which I am privileged to chair, titled Violent Islamist Extremism, the Internet, and the Homegrown Terrorist Threat,” writes Lieberman. “The report explains, in part, how al-Qaeda created and manages a multi-tiered online media operation that produces content intended to enlist followers in countries all over the world, including the United States. Central to this media campaign is the branding of content with an icon or logo to guarantee authenticity that the content was produced by al-Qaeda or allied organizations like al-Qaeda in Iraq, Ansar al-Islam (a.k.a Ansar al-Sunnah) or al-Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb.”

Or how about an “allied organization” such as the CIA, military intelligence or one of its cutouts? An expert computer analyst has presented evidence that so-called ‘Al-Qaeda’ tapes are routinely digitally doctored and has also unwittingly exposed an astounding detail that clearly indicates a Pentagon affiliated organization in the U.S. is directly responsible for releasing the videos,” Paul Joseph Watson wrote last August. Neal Krawetz, a researcher and computer security consultant, examined the image quantization table of a 2006 Ayman al-Zawahiri tape and made a fascinating discovery – al-Qaeda’s As-Sahab logo (supposedly the media arm of al-Qaeda) was placed on the tape at the same time as the IntelCenter logo. As it turns out, IntelCenter, notorious for releasing al-Qaeda videos, is run by Ben Venzke, former director of intelligence at a company called iDefense, a Verisign company. Jim Melnick, a senior military psy-op intelligence officer who worked directly for Donald Rumsfeld, is billed as iDefense’s director of threat intelligence. In short, there is a distinct possibility the al-Qaeda videos mentioned by Lieberman are fake.

Read moreLieberman Demands YouTube Censorship

30,000 Scientists Rejecting Global Warming Hypothesis

Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM)

Who: Dr. Arthur Robinson of the OISM

What: release of names in OISM “Petition Project”

When: 10 AM, Monday May 19

Where: Holeman Lounge at the National Press Club, 529 14th St., NW, Washington, DC

Why: The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM) will announce that more than 31,000 scientists have signed a petition rejecting claims of human-caused global warming. The purpose of OISM’s Petition Project is to demonstrate that the claim of “settled science” and an overwhelming “consensus” in favor of the hypothesis of human-caused global warming and consequent climate damage is wrong. No such consensus or settled science exists. As indicated by the petition text and signatory list, a very large number of American scientists reject this hypothesis.

It is evident that 31,072 Americans with university degrees in science – including 9,021 PhDs, are not “a few.” Moreover, from the clear and strong petition statement that they have signed, it is evident that these 31,072 American scientists are not “skeptics.”

CONTACT: Audrey Mullen, +1-703-548-1160, for the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine

/PRNewswire-USNewswire — May 15/

SOURCE Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine

Source: Street Insider

Laser Gunship Blasts Beams, Preps for ’08 Flight Test

Step by step, Boeing and the Defense Department are getting closer to flying a gunship that fires lasers, instead of bullets.

After years and years of development, Boeing’s Advanced Tactical Laser, a modified C-130H turbprop plane, last week fired its chemically-powered ray gun “in ground tests for the first time,” the company says in a statement.

The plane is supposed to be a prototype for a flying laser blaster that can “destroy, damage or disable targets with little to no collateral damage, supporting missions on the battlefield and in urban operations.”

If “it performs to spec,” Lew Page at the Register notes, the ATL could “take out targets such as individual vehicles or cellphone towers, silently and from as far as 18-20 kilometers. People in the vicinity of an ATL strike might not realize what had happened until well after the event, if at all. This could be especially handy for Boeing’s initial customer – the US military’s secretive Special Operations Command.”

Last year, in lab tests at Kirtland Air Force Base, the ATL’s laser was fired 50 times. By the end of 2008, the plane is scheduled to “fire the chemical laser in-flight at mission-representative ground targets… through a rotating turret that extends through the aircraft’s belly,” according to the company.

“Later this year, we will fire the laser in-flight at ground targets, demonstrating the military utility of this transformational directed energy weapon,” Scott Fancher, vice president of Boeing Missile Defense Systems, says.

It’ll certainly be a major day in ray gun history, if it happens. But the ATL relies on vats of toxic chemicals, to produce its laser blasts — which seriously limits its utility. So the military is hoping to get the integration, aiming, and beam-control kinks worked out with this chemical-powered ATL — and then switch over to electric lasers in the coming decade, to make for a more manageable airborne ray gun.

Read moreLaser Gunship Blasts Beams, Preps for ’08 Flight Test

Drug Cartels to Mexican Police: ‘Join Us or Die’

Drug cartels are sending a brutal message to police and soldiers in cities across Mexico: Join us or die.

The threat appears in recruiting banners hung across roadsides and in publicly posted death lists. Cops get warnings over their two-way radios. At least four high-ranking police officials were gunned down this month, including Mexico’s acting federal police chief.

Mexico has battled for years to clean up its security forces and win them the public’s respect. But Mexicans generally assume police and even soldiers are corrupt until proven otherwise, and the honest ones lack resources, training and the assurance that their colleagues are watching their backs. Here, the taboo on cop-killing familiar to Americans seems hardly to apply.

Police who take on the cartels feel isolated and vulnerable when they become targets, as did 22 commanders in the border city of Ciudad Juarez when drug traffickers named them on a handwritten death list left at a monument to fallen police this year. It was addressed to “those who still don’t believe” in the power of the cartels.

Of the 22, seven have been killed and three wounded in assassination attempts. Of the others, all but one have quit, and city officials said he didn’t want to be interviewed.

“These are attacks directed at the top commanders of the city police, and it is not just happening in Ciudad Juarez,” Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz said at the funeral of the latest victim, police director Juan Antonio Roman Garcia. “It is happening in Nuevo Laredo, in Tijuana, in this entire region,” he said. “They are attacking top commanders to destabilize the police force.”

The killings are in response to a crackdown launched by President Felipe Calderon, who has sent thousands of soldiers and federal police across the nation to confront the cartels. Drug lords have hit back by sending killers to attack police with hand grenades and assault rifles.

Police are increasingly giving up. Last week, U.S. officials revealed that three Mexican police commanders have crossed into the United States to request asylum, saying they are unprotected and fear for their lives.

Read moreDrug Cartels to Mexican Police: ‘Join Us or Die’

Police State 2008

Paul Craig Roberts, a Republican who worked in the Reagan administration, is predicting a 9-11 type of attack before the 2008 elections. If that occurs, Bush can declare martial law and begin arresting those who disagree with his foreign policy (based on Executive Orders recently issued by the Bush Administration that grant the president these powers and more.) Wild Stuff.

The original 28 minute audio clip was found at http://www.archive.org/details/71907T… under the heading “Open Source Audio”.

(This also confirms what I have written about in the “World Situation”. – The Infinite Unknown)

Barcelona: Unprecedented Emergency Plan to Alleviate a Drought in the City

This week, it began importing potable water by ship as part of a broader effort to meet needs. Its reservoirs are down to 20 percent capacity.

A ship loaded with drinking water is seen docked in the northern Spanish port of Barcelona as part of an unprecedented emergency plan to alleviate a drought in the city. The ship was carrying some 5.3 million gallons of water, roughly enough to satisfy a day’s requirements for 180,000 people. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
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With Spain’s average rainfall down 40 percent last year, many cities have restricted residents from filling their swimming pools or watering their lawns. But perhaps no municipality has developed such diverse and creative solutions as hard-hit Barcelona, which this week began a €44 million ($68 million) operation to bring in drinking water by ship.

On Tuesday, the first vessel – from the southern city of Tarragona – arrived in Barcelona’s port, where firemen discharged the ship’s 20 tanks into a pipeline linked to the city’s water distribution network. The next day, Barcelona residents were drinking Tarragona water from their taps.

The measure is designed to stave off a water crisis that has been building for some time and has reduced Barcelona’s reservoirs to 20 percent of their capacity.

“For the past four years, we’ve had a shortage of rain,” says Narcis Prat, a water expert at the University of Barcelona. “Now we have a shortage of water. Without significant rain, we only have enough to last until December.”

Professor Prat points out that the population of Spain’s second-largest city has grown by more than 1.5 million in the past 15 years, stretching limited resources further. That means the citizens’ “excellent” conservation habits aren’t enough, says Barcelona’s mayor, Jordi Hereu.

Read moreBarcelona: Unprecedented Emergency Plan to Alleviate a Drought in the City

U.S. Planning Big New Prison in Afghanistan

Some detainees have been held without charge for more than five years, officials said. As of April, about 10 juveniles were being held at Bagram, according to a recent American report to a United Nations committee.
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WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is moving forward with plans to build a new, 40-acre detention complex on the main American military base in Afghanistan, officials said, in a stark acknowledgment that the United States is likely to continue to hold prisoners overseas for years to come.

The proposed detention center would replace the cavernous, makeshift American prison on the Bagram military base north of Kabul, which is now typically packed with about 630 prisoners, compared with the 270 held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Until now, the Bush administration had signaled that it intended to scale back American involvement in detention operations in Afghanistan. It had planned to transfer a large majority of the prisoners to Afghan custody, in an American-financed, high-security prison outside Kabul to be guarded by Afghan soldiers.

But American officials now concede that the new Afghan-run prison cannot absorb all the Afghans now detained by the United States, much less the waves of new prisoners from the escalating fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

The proposal for a new American prison at Bagram underscores the daunting scope and persistence of the United States military’s detention problem, at a time when Bush administration officials continue to say they want to close down the facility at Guantánamo Bay.

Military officials have long been aware of serious problems with the existing detention center in Afghanistan, the Bagram Theater Internment Facility. After the prison was set up in early 2002, it became a primary site for screening prisoners captured in the fighting. Harsh interrogation methods and sleep deprivation were used widely, and two Afghan detainees died there in December 2002, after being repeatedly struck by American soldiers.

Read moreU.S. Planning Big New Prison in Afghanistan