frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
Let's talk about tasers

Disturbing accounts of taser use and analysis by blogger Digby. This follows Digby's take on the Henry Louis Gates event, which had much to do with the discrepency between what citizens are legally allowed to do when talked to by cops, and police's own idea of what people are allowed to do (i.e., respect & comply or be tasered).

The Robert Dziekanski affair seems to have cooled off the RCMP somewhat in Canada, but unless there is actually legal restrictions or stringent activism shaming cops away from using tasers, we'll slowly edge back to what the situation was a year ago, and then more towards the current American situation.

[livejournal.com profile] bitchphd, from whom I got the link, also quoted from another article:
Wherever electric torture is depicted in the popular imagination, in movies like Lethal Weapon or Rambo, electric torture belongs to evil forces such as the Gestapo, French Fascists, cruel US Marines, the KGB, the Viet Cong, or Latin American Fascists. There is another story of electric torture, one that is in the grey patent documents. It follows on the trail of various devices created for the convenience of a democratic public: for the consumption of meat, for personal safety in the dark, and for airline safety. It culminates in a range of 'acceptable' torture devices such as tasers and stun guns to be found in our everyday life. This forgetfulness seems much in evidence in the civil rights histories which don't note the growing use of electric stun technology. We all remember how badly Rodney King was beaten by L.A. police but no one remembers how many times King was shocked and how much voltage he received.


So much garbage.
frandroid: INGSOC logo, from Orwell's 1984 (totalitarianism)
Waterboarding Used 266 Times on 2 Suspects [nytimes.com]

C.I.A. interrogators used waterboarding, the near-drowning technique that top Obama administration officials have described as illegal torture, 266 times on two key prisoners from Al Qaeda, far more than had been previously reported.

The 2005 memo also says that the C.I.A. used waterboarding 183 times in March 2003 against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The C.I.A. officers used waterboarding at least 83 times in August 2002 against Abu Zubaydah, according to a 2005 Justice Department legal memorandum. Abu Zubaydah has been described as a Qaeda operative.
Words fail me.


Op-Ed: The Torturers’ Manifesto [nytimes.com]

In one of the more nauseating passages, Jay Bybee, then an assistant attorney general and now a federal judge, wrote admiringly about a contraption for waterboarding that would lurch a prisoner upright if he stopped breathing while water was poured over his face. He praised the Central Intelligence Agency for having doctors ready to perform an emergency tracheotomy if necessary.

These memos are not an honest attempt to set the legal limits on interrogations, which was the authors’ statutory obligation. They were written to provide legal immunity for acts that are clearly illegal, immoral and a violation of this country’s most basic values.

It sounds like the plot of a mob film, except the lawyers asking how much their clients can get away with are from the C.I.A. and the lawyers coaching them on how to commit the abuses are from the Justice Department. And it all played out with the blessing of the defense secretary, the attorney general, the intelligence director and, most likely, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
[...]
That investigation should start with the lawyers who wrote these sickening memos, including John Yoo, who now teaches law in California; Steven Bradbury, who was job-hunting when we last heard; and Mr. Bybee, who holds the lifetime seat on the federal appeals court that Mr. Bush rewarded him with.

These memos make it clear that Mr. Bybee is unfit for a job that requires legal judgment and a respect for the Constitution. Congress should impeach him. And if the administration will not conduct a thorough investigation of these issues, then Congress has a constitutional duty to hold the executive branch accountable. If that means putting Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales on the stand, even Dick Cheney, we are sure Americans can handle it.

After eight years without transparency or accountability, Mr. Obama promised the American people both. His decision to release these memos was another sign of his commitment to transparency. We are waiting to see an equal commitment to accountability.

Please put Cheney on the stand. I want to see Fox News implode.

Speaking of which: But Can Obama Make the Trains Run on Time? [nytimes.com]

“Rhetorically, Republicans are having a very hard time finding something that raises the consciousness of the average voter,” said Saul Anuzis, a former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party who recently lost a bid to became national party chairman.

So Mr. Anuzis has turned to provocation with a purpose. He calls the president’s domestic agenda “economic fascism.”

“We’ve so overused the word ‘socialism’ that it no longer has the negative connotation it had 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago,” Mr. Anuzis said. “Fascism — everybody still thinks that’s a bad thing.”
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)


If Republicans block Eric Holden at Justice, I nominate Keith Olbermann as a backup!

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