Thursday, December 18, 2014

power structures at the urban level...,

ucsc |  Power structures at the city level are different from the national power structure. They are not junior editions of the national corporate community.

That's because local power structures are land-based growth coalitions. They seek to intensify land use. They are opposed by the neighborhoods they invade or pollute, and by environmentalists.

To the shock and dismay of land-based elites, the workers who poured into the cities between 1870 and 1920 challenged elite rule through Democratic Party machines and the Socialist Party. So the growth elites created a "good government" ideology and a set of "reforms" that literally changed the nature of local governments and took them out of the reach of the upstarts.

The theory presented here explains all the key case studies of the past, including the most important ones, such as Atlanta and San Francisco, and the one that had the most impact, political scientist Robert A. Dahl's study of New Haven, which turns out to be wrong on almost every key point.

The city-level pluralists (who have now morphed into public-choice theorists in some cases) have an inadequate theory of city power because they rely on classical free-market economics, ignore the fact that growth does not benefit everyone in the city, and downplay or ignore the genuine conflicts that exist between growth elites and neighborhoods. There is little or no concern with power in their theory.

Marxist theory fails at the local level because it does not take its own distinction between "exchange value" and "use value" seriously, focuses almost entirely on finance and industrial capital, treats neighborhood as a residual category (merely a place to reproduce the working class), and interprets every conflict as a "class conflict" even though the primary battle in cities is between land-based growth coalitions trying to increase "rents" and neighborhoods that are trying to defend their use values.


anthrobiopolitics |  The politics of death, termed ‘necropolitics’, is examined here through the work of several scholars, each of whom is interested in differently understanding the forms that death takes under biopower. Specifically, these works delve deeper into the question which asks, if biopolitics is about making live, then how do we explain the presence of so much death today? In the present neoliberal era of terror and insecurity, it seems that what we may be witnessing is a new, unprecedented form of biopolitical governmentality in which necropower, or the technologies of control through which life is strategically subjugated to the power of death (Mbembe 2003), operates significantly with and alongside technologies of discipline, and the power to make live, for an increasingly authoritarian politics which governs through economic, rather than social terms (Giroux 2006). In what follows, I review four pieces of scholarship that deal variously with death as a field of [bio]power, and attempt to highlight the differing conceptualizations of necropower they each focus upon. I ultimately conclude that, in reading these pieces together, we are drawn to the task of considering the powerful and generative ubiquity of “bare life” as a fundamental aspect of biopolitics in the contemporary neoliberal era of normalized insecurity and terror.

According to Achille Mbembe, “To exercise sovereignty is to exercise control over mortality and to define life as the deployment and manifestation of power” (2003:12). In his 2003 article, “Necropolitics”, Mbembe theorizes the enactment of sovereignty in cases where “the generalized instrumentalization of human existence and the material destruction of human bodies and populations” is the central project of power, rather than autonomy (p.14). Significantly, he takes up the philosophical project of conceptualizing the relationship between subjectivity and death as the roots of political sovereignty, and the particular form sovereign power’s enactment has taken through the historical process of linking together notions of modernity and terror. That is, taking seriously Schmitt and Agamben’s notion of sovereignty as the state of exception, we see through Mbembe’s work how Taussig’s wedding of reason and violence becomes extended and reformulated in the colonial contexts of late-modern forms of occupation, where endless states of terror are used to justify the “concatenation of multiple powers: disciplinary, biopolitical, and necropolitical” (p.29), for which military presence and regularized warfare increasingly leads to totalizing forms of domination over human lives within a given space, and one that is endlessly shifting.

rule of law: flanking giuliani, police union bosses, the hudson and manhattan institutes...,

wikipedia |  The War on Drugs has incarcerated disproportionately high numbers of African-Americans. However, the damage has compounded beyond individuals and their families to affect African-American communities as a whole.

African-American children are over-represented in juvenile hall and family court cases, and as a result, they are removed from their families in droves, and placed in the federal system.[15] This is due to two reasons.

First, the high incarceration rate has not ignored families: mothers and fathers are incarcerated as well. This leads to a lack of a parental (mother or father incarcerated) figure to provide a good role model and stabilize a household. The impacts on their children are severe. African-American youths are becoming highly involved in gangs in order to generate income for their families lacking a primary breadwinner; with the War on Drugs having made the drug trade lucrative, it is a far more profitable for them to work for a dangerous drug gang than at a safe entry-level job.[16] The second-hand consequences of this are African-American youths dropping out of school, being tried for drug-related crime, and acquiring AIDS at disparate levels.[16]

Second, the high incarceration rate has led to the juvenile justice system and family courts to use race as a negative heuristic in trials, leading to a reinforcing effect: as more African-Americans are incarcerated, the more the heuristic is enforced in the eyes of the courts.[15] This contributes to yet higher imprisonment rates among African-American children, and tearing apart already damaged families.

The high imprisonment rate has also led the police to target African-American communities at disparately high levels of surveillance, invading privacy rights of individuals without probable cause, and ultimately breeding a distrust for police among African American communities.[17] High numbers of African American arrests and charges of possession show that although the majority of drug users in the United States are white, African Americans are the largest group being targeted as the root of the problem.[17] A distrust of the police in African American communities seems like a logical feeling. Harboring these emotions can lead to a lack of will to contact the police in case of an emergency by members of African American communities, ultimately leaving many people unprotected. Disproportionate arrests in African American communities for drug-related offenses has not only spread fear but also perpetuated a deep distrust for government and what some call racist drug enforcement policy.

The War on Drugs also plays a negative role in the lives of women of color. In 1997, of women in state prisons for drug-related crimes, forty-four percent were Hispanic, thirty-nine percent were black, and twenty-three percent were white, quite different from the racial make up shown in percentages of the United States as a whole.[18] Statistics in England, Wales, and Canada are similar. Women of color who are implicated in drug crimes are “generally poor, uneducated, and unskilled; have impaired mental and physical health; are victims of physical and sexual abuse and mental cruelty; are single mothers with children; lack familial support; often have no prior convictions; and are convicted for a small quantity of drugs”.[18]

Additionally, these women typically have an economic attachment to, or fear of, male drug traffickers, creating a power paradigm that sometimes forces their involvement in drug-related crimes.[19] Though there are programs to help them, women of color are usually unable to take advantage of social welfare institutions in America due to regulations. For example, women’s access to methadone, which suppresses cravings for drugs such as heroin, is restricted by state clinics that set appointment times for women to receive their treatment. If they miss their appointment, (which is likely: drug-addicted women may not have access to transportation and lead chaotic lives), they are denied medical care critical to their recovery. Additionally, while women of color are offered jobs as a form of government support, these jobs often do not have childcare, rendering the job impractical for mothers, who cannot leave their children at home alone.[19]

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

aztec death whistle?...

REDUX: dangerous scumbag deconstruction - master class REDUX (originally posted 3/27/13 )

shameproject | Author of The Bell Curve; Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute

Charles Murray is one of the most influential right-wing ideological architects of the post-Reagan era. His career began in a secret Pentagon counterinsurgency operation in rural Thailand during the Vietnam War, a program whose stated purpose included applying counter-insurgency strategies learned in rural Thailand on America's own restive inner cities and minority populations. By the late 1970s, Charles Murray was drawing up plans for the US Justice Department that called for massively increasing incarceration rates. In the 1980s, backed by an unprecedented marketing campaign, Murray suddenly emerged as the nation's most powerful advocate for abolishing welfare programs for single mothers. Since then, Murray revived discredited racist eugenics theories "proving" that blacks and Latinos are genetically inferior to whites, and today argues that the lower classes are inferior to the upper classes due to breeding differences.

rule of law: war on drugs targetted and hurt black families because it was intended to!

socialistworker |  THE GRAND jury decisions not to indict Darren Wilson or Daniel Pantaleo in the murders of Mike Brown and Eric Garner has rightly sparked a nationwide discussion around the state of police violence against Black and Brown men and women in the U.S., as well as the systemic racism that runs through U.S. institutions.

A new vein to the mainstream discussion of police violence emerged recently during a press conference with Garner's widow, which pointed out how police brutality and mass incarceration are also issues of reproductive justice.

In a press conference on December 3, Esaw Garner, referring to the police officer who murdered her husband, said, "He's still feeding his kids, when my husband is six feet under, and I'm looking for a way to feed my kids now."

The concept of reproductive justice, as coined by the women of color-led organization SisterSong, is defined as follows:
The reproductive justice framework--the right to have children, not have children, and to parent the children we have in safe and healthy environments--is based on the human right to make personal decisions about one's life, and the obligation of government and society to ensure that the conditions are suitable for implementing one's decisions is important for women of color.
In a nation where the police, security guards or self-appointed vigilantes murder another Black man every 28 hours, Black families live in constant fear that their sons, fathers, husbands, partners and brothers will be the latest victim.

It is essential that we, as reproductive justice activists are present to make the argument that it is not enough to have the right to have children or terminate a pregnancy, but that true reproductive justice means being able to parent without fear your child will be murdered for playing with a toy gun in a public park or for going to the store to buy Skittles.

rule of law: I heard about your problems I feel bad for you son...,

thesmokingun |  The grand jury witness who testified that she saw Michael Brown pummel a cop before charging at him “like a football player, head down,” is a troubled, bipolar Missouri woman with a criminal past who has a history of making racist remarks and once insinuated herself into another high-profile St. Louis criminal case with claims that police eventually dismissed as a “complete fabrication,” The Smoking Gun has learned. 

In interviews with police, FBI agents, and federal and state prosecutors--as well as during two separate appearances before the grand jury that ultimately declined to indict Officer Darren Wilson--the purported eyewitness delivered a preposterous and perjurious account of the fatal encounter in Ferguson.

Referred to only as “Witness 40” in grand jury material, the woman concocted a story that is now baked into the narrative of the Ferguson grand jury, a panel before which she had no business appearing.

While the “hands-up” account of Dorian Johnson is often cited by those who demanded Wilson’s indictment, “Witness 40”’s testimony about seeing Brown batter Wilson and then rush the cop like a defensive end has repeatedly been pointed to by Wilson supporters as directly corroborative of the officer’s version of the August 9 confrontation. The “Witness 40” testimony, as Fox News sees it, is proof that the 18-year-old Brown’s killing was justified, and that the Ferguson grand jury got it right.

However, unlike Johnson, “Witness 40”--a 45-year-old St. Louis resident named Sandra McElroy--was nowhere near Canfield Drive on the Saturday afternoon Brown was shot to death.

Though prosecutors have sought to cloak the identity of grand jury witnesses, a TSG investigation has identified McElroy as “Witness 40.” A careful analysis of information contained in the unredacted portions of “Witness 40”’s grand jury testimony helped reporters identify McElroy and then conclusively match up details of her life with those of “Witness 40.”

TSG examined criminal, civil, matrimonial, and bankruptcy court records, as well as online postings and comments to unmask McElroy as “Witness 40,” the fabulist whose grand jury testimony and law enforcement interviews are deserving of multi-count perjury indictments.

Since the identities of grand jurors--as well as details of their deliberations--remain secret, there is no way of knowing what impact McElroy’s testimony had on members of the panel, which subsequently declined to vote indictments against Wilson. That decision touched off looting and arson in Ferguson, about 30 miles from the apartment the divorced McElroy shares with her three daughters.
* * *
Sandra McElroy did not provide police with a contemporaneous account of the Brown-Wilson confrontation, which she claimed to have watched unfold in front of her as she stood on a nearby sidewalk smoking a cigarette.

Instead, McElroy (seen at left) waited four weeks after the shooting to contact cops. By the time she gave St. Louis police a statement on September 11, a general outline of Wilson’s version of the shooting had already appeared in the press. McElroy’s account of the confrontation dovetailed with Wilson’s reported recollection of the incident.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

they saw it coming... and still, it didn't matter

Founders Documents, University of Chicago |

Amendment VIII

Document 13
Debate in Virginia Ratifying Convention
16 June 1788Elliot 3:447--48, 451--52
Patrick Henry: . . . Congress, from their general powers, may fully go into business of human legislation. They may legislate, in criminal cases, from treason to the lowest offence--petty larceny. They may define crimes and prescribe punishments. In the definition of crimes, I trust they will be directed by what wise representatives ought to be governed by. But when we come to punishments, no latitude ought to be left, nor dependence put on the virtue of representatives.

What says our [Virginia] bill of rights?--"that excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." Are you not, therefore, now calling on those gentlemen who are to compose Congress, to . . . define punishments without this control? Will they find sentiments there similar to this bill of rights? You let them loose; you do more--you depart from the genius of your country. . . .
In this business of legislation, your members of Congress will loose the restriction of not imposing excessive fines, demanding excessive bail, and inflicting cruel and unusual punishments. These are prohibited by your declaration of rights. What has distinguished our ancestors?--That they would not admit of tortures, or cruel and barbarous punishment.
But Congress may introduce the practice of the civil law, in preference to that of the common law. They may introduce the practice of France, Spain, and Germany--of torturing, to extort a confession of the crime. They will say that they might as well draw examples from those countries as from Great Britain, and they will tell you that there is such a necessity of strengthening the arm of government, that they must have a criminal equity, and extort confession by torture, in order to punish with still more relentless severity.  

We are then lost and undone.

purely unselfconscious overseer-union not-see goon self-destructs on national teevee...,

sbnation |  Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins took the field Sunday in a shirt reading "Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford III" in a gesture to bring light to officer-involved shootings in Ohio that have happened in the last three months. Now Cleveland Police Patrolman Union President Jeff Follmer is demanding an apology from the Browns for Hawkins' actions on Sunday. 

Follmer released a statement to NewsNet5 in Cleveland, directly asking for the organization to address the issue and referencing the police role in security at FirstEnergy Stadium.
"It's pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law. They should stick to what they know best on the field. The Cleveland Police protect and serve the Browns stadium and the Browns organization owes us an apology."
The statement comes two weeks after police in St. Louis demanded an apology from the Rams after a group of receivers took part in a "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" gesture referencing the shooting of Michael Brown during their introductions against the Oakland Raiders in Week 13.
Police in St. Louis claimed the organization apologized to them following that incident, which the team quickly denied. The Browns did not apologize for the shirt worn by Hawkins and supported the receiver in a statement given to NewsChannel 5 in Cleveland:
We have great respect for the Cleveland Police Department and the work that they do to protect and serve our city. We also respect our players' rights to project their support and bring awareness to issues that are important to them if done so in a responsible manner.

12 year old boy shot before he could comply with incompetent coward overseer loehman's orders

guardian |  The mother of a 12-year-old Ohio boy fatally shot by police who believed he was carrying a gun said on Monday he was never given a chance to follow officers’ orders.

Samaria Rice said in an interview with the Associated Press offices in New York that her son, Tamir Rice, was shot before he could comply with police who pulled up next to him on a Cleveland playground. A rookie officer fired within 2 seconds.

Tamir had an airsoft gun, which shoots nonlethal plastic pellets.

Rice said she wants the officer charged with murder and she called on authorities to make sure young officers don’t “ignore the training.”

Police say officers were responding to a call 22 November about someone possibly carrying a gun. They say Tamir didn’t respond to commands to raise his hands before officer Timothy Loehmann fired his weapon. The officers also meant to stop the patrol car farther from Tamir but the vehicle slid on the grass, the Cleveland police union has said.

Rice said she found out later that Tamir was handed the fake weapon by a girl at the playground. She said police put Tamir’s 14-year-old sister in handcuffs as she rushed to help her mortally wounded brother that day.

Rice’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, said that the two officers could have defused the situation – by talking to the boy from a distance instead of pulling up next to him on the grass and firing.

An internal Cleveland police investigation is underway and the results will be turned over to the local prosecutor, who will present them to a grand jury. The fatal encounter was caught on surveillance video.

pre-emptive overseer shooting of tamir rice ruled a homicide...,

slate |  The death of Tamir Rice, a black 12-year-old boy who was shot by a white police officer in Cleveland on Nov. 22, has been ruled a homicide. Medical examiner Thomas P. Gilson wrote in an autopsy report released on Friday that the cause of death was a “gunshot wound of the torso with injuries of major vessel, intestines and pelvis.”
From the Washington Post:
Officers had responded to a 911 call reporting a person pointing a gun—which turned out to be a toy pistol missing its orange safety cap. Video footage of the shooting shows Officer Timothy Loehmann, 26, shooting Tamir within seconds of arriving on the scene.
Rice died on Nov. 23, after being rushed to MetroHealth Medical Center. His family has filed a wrongful death suit. Loehmann struggled with firearms qualification training two years ago—a 2012 memo states that his handgun performance was “dismal.” He resigned from his previous police job after a superior recommended he be fired.

It took four minutes for Rice to receive medical attention, and when he did, it was not from Loehmann or his partner: A nearby FBI agent gave him mouth-to-mouth, according to
In a Dec. 4 release, the U.S. Department of Justice and the City of Cleveland agreed to police reform, after “finding a pattern or practice of excessive force.”

Monday, December 15, 2014

I tried to get out, but the money and the yayo pulled me back....,

thenation |  A central player in the Bush-Cheney’s torture program is Jose A. Rodriguez, who, according to The New York Times, was then the head of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center during the worst of the barbarity—the rectal hummus flushes, drills, dogs, broken limbs, sexual humiliation and assault, sleep deprivation, intense heat, intense cold, blood thinners, beatings and deaths from exposure. When agents in the field began sending e-mails to voice dismay, Rodriguez told them to shut up: “Strongly urge that any speculative language as to the legality of given activities or, more precisely, judgment calls as to their legality vis-√†-vis operational guidelines for this activity agreed upon and vetted at the most senior levels of the agency, be refrained from in written traffic (email or cable traffic).” “Such language is not helpful,” he said. Rodriguez was involved in an earlier scandal regarding Bush-Cheney torture, fingered for destroying “videotapes recording the interrogations of top al Qaeda operatives.”

Rodriguez was born in Puerto Rico and joined the CIA in 1976. Nineteen seventy-six was a key year in the evolution of the national security state—the high point of congressional efforts to rein in the imperial presidency (Gerald Ford was forced to sign his “no assassinations of foreign leaders’ pledge that year) and the start of the New Right’s efforts to build a workaround those regulations (i.e., Iran/Contra). Rodriguez spent most of his career in Latin America, bridging the Cold War and the war on drugs. His background is sketchy—there’s not too much public information on what he was doing where in Latin America and his autobiography is vague. According to the The Wall Street Journal, Rodriguez “is a product of what one former agency colleague called ‘the rough and tumble’ Latin American division, which was responsible for thwarting Russian aggression in that part of the world. That strategy eventually evolved into the Iran/Contra scandal.” The Latin American Division was thick into Iran/Contra, and Rodriguez was involved in Panama when Noriega was in charge, that is, at the height of the scandal. He was in Mexico in 1990, where he served as CIA station chief at the beginning of that country’s descent into narco-NAFTA madness.

After 9/11, he was tapped by the CIA to manage its torture program—even though he didn’t speak Arabic and had no experience in the Middle East. He apparently had other talents. Mark Mazzetti in the Times writes that he “won praise while in the job for an aggressive strategy to capture, detain and interrogate leaders of Al Qaeda.” Rodriguez’s promotion to a top slot in Washington’s torture program is a pretty stark example of Latin America’s serving as “empire’s workshop.” Elsewhere, I’ve given an overview of the torture techniques the United States helped work out in Latin America during the Cold War (as have others, including Patrice McSherry here). These included waterboarding, a technique called, in Spanish, “el submarino.” (After a 1992 investigation, the Pentagon destroyed copies of the seven infamous torture instruction manuals it had used to train Latin American allies; Marcy Wheeler, though, writes that Dick Cheney and his legal counsel, David Addington “saved the only known copies” for their personal files).

More recently, though, with the return of the Latin American left to political power, the region has refused to participate in Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld’s global torture archipelago, that is, its extraordinary rendition program, which implicated every region of the globe, even peace-loving Scandinavia, except South America.

As for Rodriguez, after he retired from the CIA he went private, walking through that “revolving door” that connects Langley to any one of those Virginia-based private security companies (Blackwater apparently recruited him, but he chose another firm). In any case, he is back in the public eye, writing one op-ed after another defending torture. “I know it worked,” he insists, contrary to critics who say that forced rectal flushing garnered no serviceable intelligence. He’s joined other former CIA officials to set up a webpage to push back on criticism:

in 1971 nixon declared an all-out war on drugs - millions of non-violent "offenders" are behind bars because of this "war"

Sunday, December 14, 2014

the world as it is vs the world as you would like it to be...,

theatlantic |  So why not punish them now?

If CIA officers did abhorrent things that even their waterboarding colleagues managed to avoid, exceeding the orders and legal strictures they were given, why haven't they been prosecuted for torture as a duly ratified treaty compels the U.S. to do? Why hasn't Brennan ever remedied the failure to hold those men accountable? Why has he allowed people even he regards as criminals to remain at the CIA?

The reason is that he does not believe the rule of law should apply to the CIA.

Dick Cheney, Michael Hayden, and Brennan make a big show of invoking the legal cover given by John Yoo and others, as if they respect the rule of law. But beneath the posturing, they oppose jailing CIA officers no matter what, perhaps because those officers know things that could put them in prison. Among torturers, there can be only one code: Stop Snitchin'. Do you think that I exaggerate? 

As The Week notes, the only person in jail over CIA torture is a man who tried to expose it.

In the end, Andrew Sullivan comes close to the mark. "There is no organization in the US government that exercises the kind of power the CIA does–over the presidency, Congress, and the media," he writes. "It is unimaginable that any other agency in government could commit war crimes, torture innocents, murder people, wreck this country’s moral standing… and yet escape any consequences... There is no other government agency that launches elaborate public relations campaigns to discredit and undermine its Senate oversight committee. There is no other organization whose head can tell blatant lies about spying on its overseers and receive the president’s wholehearted support. There is no other agency where you can murder someone already in your captivity and get away with it."

The head of the CIA can go on national television, acknowledge that some CIA officers tortured using "abhorrent" tactics, admit that those tactics went beyond their orders and the law, note that they were never held accountable... and then do nothing more. This is a man President Obama still wants to head the intelligence agency, perhaps because while Brennan may not know "where all the bodies are buried," he knows where they were droned to death on sometimes illegal Obama orders.

Lawlessness begets lawlessness begets lawlessness.

let's not forget this pioneering angel-faced campfire girl...., (now a secretive investment banker)

NYTimes |  The last time George Tenet was asked about torture on television, he sounded defiant and jabbed his finger in the air. The year was 2007, and Mr. Tenet, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, was promoting his memoir when a question about waterboarding came up while he was being interviewed on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”

“You know, the image that’s been portrayed is we sat around the campfire and said, ‘Oh boy, now we go get to torture people,’ ” Mr. Tenet said, growing angry as the newsman Scott Pelley challenged him on how the agency interrogated terrorism suspects. “We don’t torture people. Let me say that again to you, we don’t torture people. O.K.?”

This week the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a long-awaited report detailing the gruesome interrogation techniques employed by the C.I.A. on Mr. Tenet’s watch as well as the false claims the agency made about their effectiveness. But Mr. Tenet, now a managing director of a secretive New York investment bank, has been nowhere in public view, leaving it to one of his successors — Michael V. Hayden, who was much less involved with the brutal interrogation program — to serve as the C.I.A.’s most vocal defender.

While Mr. Hayden has been all over television this week, Mr. Tenet has responded only in writing. But they are working in concert; their disparate approaches are part of an orchestrated campaign by the two former directors — and a third, Porter J. Goss — to defend the agency they all worked for by attacking the report’s credibility.

Other former Bush administration officials — notably former Vice President Dick Cheney — have also defended the C.I.A., but Mr. Hayden, who served as C.I.A. director from 2006 to 2009 and whose folksy manner makes for lively quotes, has emerged as their smoothest — and most willing — spokesman.

“He’s always been a great communicator, he has a way of turning a phrase, he’s very energetic and willing to engage and we’re lucky to have him on our team,” said Bill Harlow, a former C.I.A. official who is acting as the spokesman for Mr. Tenet and helping coordinate the response effort. “When it comes to TV it’s hard to match him.”

current director of wrecked'em operations not about to discard $billions/generations of agency best practices...,

fp |  “I look back at the record and I see that this is a workforce that was trying to do the right thing,” Brennan said. But still, “I cannot say with certainty whether or not individuals acted with complete honesty,” he said about some officers who may have misled Congress and other U.S. officials. 

Brennan criticized the Senate committee for not interviewing CIA officials who ran the interrogation program when it functioned and instead relying only on memos and documents to compile the report.
Pressed by a reporter to answer if a future American president could turn to the now discredited techniques, Brennan said the CIA was out of the business of detentions.

“What happens in the future? The Army Field Manual is the established basis for interrogation,” Brennan said, referring to the September 2006 Army manual titled “Human Intelligence Collector Operations,” which prohibits “acts of physical or mental torture” meted out to captured prisoners. 

“We, the CIA are not in the detention program, we are not contemplating at all getting back into detention program, using any of those EITs. I defer to policymakers in [the] future,” Brennan said.

In 2009 when Obama ordered the closing of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, the agency gave up its formal role in interrogations. Obama also ordered the creation of the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group also known as HIG, which includes experts from several U.S. intelligence agencies but is overseen by the National Security Council.

In some areas, Brennan went further in acknowledging CIA missteps than he has before, particularly when it comes to letting specific CIA officers involved in the program off the hook. “We fell short when it came to holding some officers accountable for their mistakes,” he said.

The Senate report noted multiple instances where CIA leadership refused to punish officers who severely abused detainees, even when that behavior was specifically called out. “On two occasions in which the CIA inspector general identified wrongdoing, accountability recommendations were overruled by senior CIA leadership. In one instance, involving the death of a CIA detainee,” reads the report.

the history of cia interrogation from the cold war to the war on terror

democracynow |  AMY GOODMAN: Right, but also on prisoners, were there experiments?

ALFRED McCOY: There were some in prisons in the United States and also the Drug Treatment Center in Lexington, Kentucky. The Federal Drug Treatment Center in Lexington, Kentucky, had this. All of this research, all this very elaborate research —

AMY GOODMAN: On unwitting Americans?

ALFRED McCOY: Unwitting Americans, produced nothing, okay? What they found time and time again is that electroshock didn’t work, and sodium pentathol didn’t work, LSD certainly didn’t work. You scramble the brain. You got unreliable information. But what did work was the combination of these two rather boring, rather mundane behavioral techniques: sensory disorientation and self-inflicted pain.

And in 1963, the C.I.A. codified these results in the so-called KUBARK Counterintelligence Manual. If you just type the word "KUBARK" into Google, you will get the manual, an actual copy of it, on your computer screen, and you can read the techniques [ Read the report. But if you do, read the footnotes, because that’s where the behavioral research is. Now, this produced a distinctively American form of torture, the first real revolution in the cruel science of pain in centuries, psychological torture, and it’s the one that’s with us today, and it’s proved to be a very resilient, quite adaptable, and an enormously destructive paradigm.

Let’s make one thing clear. Americans refer to this often times in common parlance as "torture light." Psychological to torture, people who are involved in treatment tell us it’s far more destructive, does far more lasting damage to the human psyche than does physical torture. As Senator McCain said, himself, last year when he was debating his torture prohibition, faced with a choice between being beaten and psychologically tortured, I’d rather be beaten. Okay? It does far more lasting damage. It is far crueler than physical torture. This is something that we don’t realize in this country.
Now, another thing we see is those photographs is the psychological techniques, but the initial research basically developed techniques for attacking universal human sensory receptors: sight, sound, heat, cold, sense of time. That’s why all of the detainees describe being put in dark rooms, being subjected to strobe lights, loud music, okay? That’s sensory deprivation or sensory assault. Okay, that was sort of the phase one of the C.I.A. research. But the paradigm has proved to be quite adaptable.

Now, one of the things that Donald Rumsfeld did, right at the start of the war of terror, in late 2002, he appointed General Geoffrey Miller to be chief at Guantanamo, alright, because the previous commanders at Guantanamo were too soft on the detainees, and General Miller turned Guantanamo into a de facto behavioral research laboratory, a kind of torture research laboratory. And under General Miller at Guantanamo, they perfected the C.I.A. torture paradigm. They added two key techniques. They went beyond the universal sensory receptors of the original research. They added to it an attack on cultural sensitivity, particularly Arab male sensitivity to issues of gender and sexual identity.

And then they went further still. Under General Miller, they created these things called "Biscuit" teams, behavioral science consultation teams, and they actually had qualified military psychologists participating in the ongoing interrogation, and these psychologists would identify individual phobias, like fear of dark or attachment to mother, and by the time we’re done, by 2003, under General Miller, Guantanamo had perfected the C.I.A. paradigm, and it had a three-fold total assault on the human psyche: sensory receptors, self-inflicted pain, cultural sensitivity, and individual fears and phobia.

AMY GOODMAN: And then they sent General Miller to, quote, "Gitmo-ize" Abu Ghraib. Professor McCoy, we’re going to break for a minute, and then we’ll come back. Professor Alfred McCoy, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His latest book is called A Question of Torture: C.I.A. Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror.

AMY GOODMAN: We are talking to Alfred McCoy, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, author of a number of books. The Politics of Heroin: C.I.A. Complicity in the Global Drug Trade almost had him killed. Afterwards, the C.I.A. tried to have the book squelched, but ultimately it was published. Then A Question of Torture: C.I.A. Interrogation from the Cold War to the War On Terror is his latest book, and we’re talking about the history of torture. Continue with what you were saying, talking about the Biscuit teams, the use of psychologists in Guantanamo, and then Geoffrey Miller, going from Guantanamo to, quote, "Gitmo-ize" Abu Ghraib.

ALFRED McCOY: In mid-2003, when the Iraqi resistance erupted, the United States found it had no intelligence assets; it had no way to contain the insurgency, and they — the U.S. military was in a state of panic. And at that moment, they began sweeping across Iraq, rounding up thousands of Iraqi suspects, putting many of them in Abu Ghraib prison. At that point, in late August 2003, General Miller was sent from Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib, and he brought his techniques with him. He brought a CD, and he brought a manual of his techniques. He gave them to the M.P. officers, the Military Intelligence officers and to General Ricardo Sanchez, the U.S. Commander in Iraq.

In September of 2003, General Sanchez issued orders, detailed orders, for expanded interrogation techniques beyond those allowed in the U.S. Army Field Manual 3452, and if you look at those techniques, what he’s ordering, in essence, is a combination of self-inflicted pain, stress positions and sensory disorientation, and if you look at the 1963 C.I.A. KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation Manual, you look at the 1983 C.I.A. Interrogation Training Manual that they used in Honduras for training Honduran officers in torture and interrogation, and then twenty years later, you look at General Sanchez’s 2003 orders, there’s a striking continuity across this forty-year span, in both the general principles, this total assault on the existential platforms of human identity and existence, okay? And the specific techniques, the way of achieving that, through the attack on these sensory receptors.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

the integral role of sadistic medical libertines in preserving sham respectability and collective not-seeism...,

theatlantic |  The role of doctors in torture during the War on Terror has been pretty well excavated on the Defense Department side, but the CIA [has some exemptions] from Freedom of Information Act requests, so that’s remained hidden. Essentially the doctors and psychologists were built in to the entire torture system. They weren’t simply bystanders who were called in to respond when the system went off the rails. Some doctors apparently protested this. But they kept their protests inside [the CIA], they never went outside, which they should have done when they saw these types of abuses.

In general, doctors in torture have a couple roles. Number one, they design methods of torture that do not leave scars. For example, the so-called “rectal feeding” which is actually a medieval technique in which the intestines are inflated with a viscous material to cause intestinal pain. The docs are also involved in making sure that the prisoners who weren’t supposed to die didn’t die. The third thing doctors do is they falsify medical records and death certificates to conceal the injuries of torture. [Ed.: Miles has written on this in the context of Abu Ghraib.]

Doctors play a critical role in torture in regimes that don’t want to leave scars, and that includes the United States.

Beck: Why would people use medical knowledge and expertise learned to heal people for the opposite purpose?

Miles: It’s pretty interesting, I’m writing a book on just that question. The docs who get involved in this, number one, are careerists. They get involved for rank and career, and the regimes never coerce them, or extremely rarely coerce them. Instead what happens is the regimes treat them as some kind of elite.

colon doesn't absorb nutrients: rectal feeding/rehydration is simply rape torture

WaPo | One of the things that the CIA did, as exposed in the report, has been getting a fair amount of rotation in news reports about the report. Let the New York Times take it away:
In exhaustive detail, the report gives a macabre accounting of some of the grisliest techniques that the C.I.A. used to torture and imprison terrorism suspects. Detainees were deprived of sleep for as long as a week, and were sometimes told that they would be killed while in American custody. With the approval of the C.I.A.’s medical staff, some prisoners were subjected to medically unnecessary “rectal feeding” or “rectal hydration” — a technique that the C.I.A.’s chief of interrogations described as a way to exert “total control over the detainee.”
Seems like a strong material for a question to put before the ex-CIA director. So Tapper opened a discussion of “unauthorized” procedures, and cited rectal dehydration as an example. Away they went:

Hayden: No, stop! That was a medical procedure. That was done because of detainee health — that the people responsible there for the health of these detainees saw that they were becoming dehydrated. They had limited options in which to go do this. It was intravenous with needles, which would be dangerous with a non-cooperative detainee; it was through the nasal passages –

Tapper: Pureeing hummus and pine nuts and –

Hayden: Jake, I’m not a doctor and neither are you, but what I am told is this is one of the ways that the body is rehydrated; these were medical procedures. To give you a sense …

Tapper: You’re really defending rectal rehydration?

Hayden: What I’m defending is history. To give you a sense as to how this report was put together — this activity, which was done five times and each time for the health of the detainee, not part of the interrogation program, not designed to soften him up for any questioning.

not-seeism gone wild: why ken even try to pretend obama took a page from wrecked'em's patriot playbook?

theatlantic |  Former Vice President Dick Cheney, the de-facto leader of the national-security team that failed to stop the most successful terrorist attack in U.S. history, is taking to the airwaves to defend the Bush Administration's subsequent torture of prisoners.

His Fox News interview rewards close scrutiny.

Early on, interviewer Bret Baier says, "The Feinstein report suggests that President Bush was not fully briefed on the program and deliberately kept in the dark by the CIA."
Dick Cheney denies this.

"Not true," he says. "Read his book. He talks about it extensively in his memoirs. He was, in fact, an integral part of he program. He had to approve it before we went forward .... We did discuss the techniques. There was no effort on our part to keep him from that." Cheney goes on to declare that "the men and women of the CIA did exactly what we wanted to have them do in terms of taking on this program."

Got that? Bush was fully briefed, and the CIA did exactly what Bush and Cheney asked. But attentive viewers would notice that Cheney subsequently contradicts himself.

Later in the interview, Baier notes a particularly depraved tactic. "At one point, this report describes interrogators pureeing food of one detainee and then serving it in his anus," he says, "something the agency called 'rectal rehydration.' I mean, is that torture?" (More to the point, did Bush and Cheney know about that? Is it "exactly" what they asked the CIA to do?) "I don't know anything about that specific instance," Cheney said. "I can't speak to that. I guess the question is, what are you prepared to do to get the truth about future attacks against the United States. Now, that was not one of the authorized or approved techniques. There were 12 of them, as I recall. They were all techniques we used in training on our own people."

So suddenly the White House wasn't fully briefed and the CIA went beyond what was authorized, using tactics that weren't "exactly what we wanted to have them do," and that Cheney implies he can't speak to and has never known about before.

Perhaps Cheney did know about "rectal rehydration," but is too ashamed or fearful of prosecution to admit it now. Explicitly defending the anal rape of prisoners is a bit much even for him. Or perhaps he really is just hearing about the tactic.

Either way, he story doesn't hold together. He can't have it both ways. Either the CIA hid depraved, unapproved tactics, or Cheney was perfectly okay with subjecting prisoners to anal rape. Perhaps Chuck Todd can ask him about this glaring discrepancy Sunday on Meet the Press. Until then, there is reason to suspect that, whatever Cheney knew, he doesn't have a moral problem with the anal rape of prisoners, a conclusion I draw from a succinct exchange later in the interview:

Friday, December 12, 2014

learned helplessness the goal of dick wrecked'em's patriot games....,

NYTimes |  The dogs wouldn’t jump. All they had to do to avoid electric shocks was leap over a small barrier, but there they sat in boxes in a lab at the University of Pennsylvania, passive and whining.

They had previously been given a series of mild shocks and learned they could do nothing to stop them. Now, they had given up trying. In the words of the scientists, they had “learned helplessness.”

The release of a Senate report on interrogation techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency has revived interest in that study, one of the most classic experiments in modern psychology. It and others like it, performed in the 1960s, became the basis for an influential theory about depression and informed the development of effective talk therapies.
Nearly a half-century later, a pair of military psychologists became convinced that the theory provided a basis for brutal interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, that were supposed to eliminate detainees’ “sense of control and predictability” and induce “a desired level of helplessness,” the Senate report said. The architects of the C.I.A.'s interrogation program have been identified as James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen.

“My impression is that they misread the theory,” said Dr. Charles A. Morgan III, a psychiatrist at the University of New Haven who met Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Jessen while studying the effects of stress on American troops. “They’re not really scientists.”

One of the researchers who conducted the initial studies on dogs, the prominent psychologist Martin E. P. Seligman, said he was “grieved and horrified” that his work was cited to justify the abusive interrogations.

It is not the first time that academic research has been used for brutal interrogations, experts said. After the Second World War, the intelligence community began to study methods of interrogation, often financing outside psychiatrists and psychologists.

“A lot of the early work came out of psychoanalysis,” or Freudian thinking, said Steven Reisner, a psychologist in New York and co-founder of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology, which opposes the profession’s participation in coercive interrogations. “Studies of sensory deprivation and sleep deprivation induced a psychosis, in which people lost control of what they said and what they thought.” At that point they might begin to cooperate — or so the theory went, Mr. Reisner said.

while they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption..., 2 Peter 2:19

NYTimes |  For decades, officials at Bob Jones University told sexual assault victims that they were to blame for their abuse, and to not report it to the police because doing so would damage their families, churches and the university, according to a long-awaited independent report released Thursday.

Bob Jones, an evangelical Christian institution in Greenville, S.C., displayed a “blaming and disparaging” attitude toward abuse victims, according to 56 percent of the 381 current and former students and employees who replied to a confidential survey and said they had knowledge of how the university handled abuse cases. About half the 166 people surveyed who identified themselves as abuse victims said the university actively discouraged them from going to the police.
In interviews with investigators and in written comments, some respondents detailed hurtful, often startling treatment.
“I was abused from the ages of 6 to 14 by my grandfather,” one respondent said. “When I went for counseling I was told: ‘Did you repent for your part of the abuse? Did your body respond favorably?’ ” The person reported being told by a university official that going to the police “tore your family apart, and that’s your fault,” and “you love yourself more than you love God.”
Another person said that at Bob Jones, “abuse victims are considered ‘second-rate Christians.’ ” And another said that university staff consistently told victims “that they bore the sin of bitterness and that they should not report abusers.”

Some people quoted in the report said Bob Jones University had shattered their faith, along with their psyches. The university made God out to be “someone who turns his back when children are harmed and then mocks and shames the child further,” one said, while another said, “by the time I left B.J.U., I didn’t think God loved me at all.”

The investigators’ recommendations included taking unspecified action against the university’s chancellor, Bob Jones III, who was president from 1971 to 2005, a potentially explosive idea at an institution where the founding family’s authority has gone unquestioned.

patriots are hard men doing dirty deeds in the middle of the night...,

Richard "Wrecked'em" Cheney so perfected his exit intrusion techniques that he was able to both extract important information and to plant the seeds of new ideas into his subject's head, achieving the effect known as "gut feeling" 

A sultry woman's voice-over, purrs, "Some people call it torture. But discriminating patriots know it as...'Deep Pleasures."
"We take the most luscious of fruits, mixed with healthy humus and the freshest organic vegetables, pureed to a blaze of color and texture.

"Then, and only then, are you invited to lean over and allow gravity to brighten your day as you experience, "Deep Pleasure."

"CIA contractors do not 'torture'; they lovingly cajole. And remember, no humans were killed (well, maybe just a few) in our testing research."

moral posturing on torture just isn't good enough...,

chicagotribune |  This was not a single, forgivable instance of terrible action under duress. It was an elaborate and ongoing system. In thinking through the rights and wrongs, that matters. There's a difference between ordinary mass killing and building a concentration camp.

Knowing only as much as this — that torture is disgusting, that it didn't work, and that the standard line of justification doesn't apply — you could accept that torture might be allowable in certain imaginable circumstances and still deplore the CIA program. To reach that conclusion, you don't need to consider the further, indirect costs of what was done. Let's consider them anyway.

The program was shameful and therefore had to be hidden. Congress was lied to. This undermined the rule of law — a matter on which the U.S. prides itself and likes to lecture the world. Notions of constitutional accountability were trashed by plausible deniability and outright lies. The CIA acted as a law unto itself, partly because it was allowed to, even asked to. (Just do what it takes. Spare us the details.) The program, in other words, was an assault on the American idea of lawful government.

Above all, it eroded, and continues to erode, America's moral standing. I'm less concerned about the effects this has on U.S. soft power and allies' willingness to cooperate, real as those may be, than I am with the effect on how Americans see themselves. To prevail in the struggle against enemies such as Islamic State, we need to know we are better than they are. It's important, when we feel revulsion at the video-taped beheadings of innocent people, that we don't also need to wonder if we aren't as cruel or as capable of evil.

Moral advantage makes you stronger. More than that, if we aren't better than they are, how much would it matter if they won?