Posts filed under ‘Torture’

Think “Animal Planet” is About Animals? Think Again

Have you ever watched “Animal Planet” and had the feeling that what you were watching wasn’t, at its core, about animals?  Me too.

Animal Planet via Wikipedia

Here’s an article Mother Jones published today about that very issue:

Drugs, Death, Neglect: Behind the Scenes at Animal Planet  —  Our Exclusive Investigation Reveals How Animals Suffer on the Network’s Top Reality Show.

Which leads me to my quote of the day, even though I don’t have a quote of the day category here on ye ol’ blog:

“We’re not looking to be a natural history channel,” Animal Planet group president Marjorie Kaplan told the New York Times in 2008. “We’re looking to be an entertainment destination.” The network recently aired two documentary-style programs purporting to present evidence that mermaids are real.


I don’t look to Animal Planet to be “a natural history channel” but I do look to them to be a channel that cares about animals.  Read the Mother Jones article.  Not only don’t they care about animals, they’re willing to kill them in order to add drama to their shows.

I guess we should take them at their word:  “We’re looking to be an entertainment destination” and here in the good ol’ U.S. of A., killing animals is entertaining.  Check your local listings.


January 21, 2014 at 9:05 PM Leave a comment

What It’s Like to be Force Fed

From The Guardian:

As Ramadan begins, more than 100 hunger-strikers in Guantánamo Bay continue their protest. More than 40 of them are being force-fed. A leaked document sets out the military instructions, or standard operating procedure, for force-feeding detainees. In this four-minute film made by Human Rights organisation Reprieve and Bafta award-winning director Asif Kapadia, US actor and rapper Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def), experiences the procedure.

July 8, 2013 at 7:12 AM Leave a comment

GOP Senator Jokes About Waterboarding

Alternate title:  Why They Hate Us

Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) made a regrettable “joke” today during the confirmation hearing for CIA director-nominee John Brennan:

Richard Burr 2-7-13

(Image via C-SPAN)

I’m going to try to be brief because I notice you’re on your fourth glass of water and I don’t want to be accused of waterboarding you.

See the video here.

Oh wow.  So funny.  Hah.  Hah. Hah.  ROFLAMO.


This is waterboarding (begins at 2:32) and it isn’t funny senator(s)!

February 7, 2013 at 6:34 PM Leave a comment


In a sane world, Condoleezza Rice would be in The Hague.

(Via AFP / Getty / Justin Sullivan)


August 29, 2012 at 9:10 PM Leave a comment

Constitutional Lawyer Obama Hates Whistleblowers

A quickie post:

The law-breaking telecoms who received retroactive immunity from Congress, the interrogators who tortured prisoners, the officials who gave the orders, the attorneys who authored the torture memos, and the CIA agents who destroyed the interrogation tapes have not been held professionally accountable, much less been charged with crimes. National security and intelligence whistleblowers have become the glaring exception to the Obama administration’s mantra of “looking forward, not backward.”  If you committed crimes under the guise of national security and the war on terrorism, you will not be held criminally liable, but if you blow the whistle on crimes, you risk criminal prosecution under the Espionage Act.

Learn more here about what Obama’s doing.  He’s worse than Bush when it comes to prosecuting people who expose corruption.

I thought he would encourage that, because he said he would:

I didn’t add an “Obama — Don’t Count on my Vote” category to this blog on a whim.



April 10, 2012 at 9:10 PM Leave a comment

Imagine Being Tortured Every Day for Nine Years

Imagine this:

Today marks the 31st anniversary of the massacre at Syria’s infamous Tadmor Prison. In 1980, hundreds of political prisoners were killed there after a failed assassination attempt on then-president Hafez al-Assad. Following the massacre, the prison was used as a tool of fear to quell opposition to the regime. And many of its prisoners were university students.

Tadmor is closed now, but the prison’s dark legacy lives on in the memories of those who survived the brutal torture there.

One of these survivors is Chicagoan Bara Sarraj. In 1984, Bara was a college student in Damascus when he was arrested and taken to Tadmor, where he was tortured almost daily for the next nine years. Now a transplant immunologist at Northwestern University’s School of Medicine, Bara recently sat down and wrote about his time in the prison. He’s posted his memoir online in Arabic, and has graciously shared his story with us.

Listen to Dr. Sarraj’s story here.


June 27, 2011 at 4:24 PM Leave a comment

Sorry Wingers, Bush Wasn’t Instrumental in the Death of bin Laden

Adam Sewer over at ThePlumLine eviscerates the Republican argument that torture and Bush’s “policies” were at the heart of the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden (emphasis added):

What is notable however, is that the major distinction between Obama and Bush that has formed the basis of GOP criticism of Obama — the President’s rejection of torture — has proven so decisively wrongheaded. Conservatives attempting to attribute successfully killing bin Laden to torture are merely attempting to take credit for what President Bush pointedly failed to do. Far from yielding the necessary intelligence, the two al Qaeda suspects who were waterboarded pointedly resisted identifying the courier whose activities lead to the U.S. discovering Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts. The pro-torture argument ignores the obvious — that if torture was so effective, bin Laden would have been dead long ago. Bin Laden was found through years of painstaking intelligence gathering, not through the barbarous methods supported by many Bush apologists.

One cannot discount how shattering the Obama administration’s killing of Bin Laden has been to the self-image of conservatives who have convinced themselves of that the fight against al Qaeda hinges not just on torture, but on how many times the president says the word “terrorism,” or on Obama’s refusal to engage in juvenile expressions of American toughness.

While we’re far from the moment where terrorism ceases to be a threat, what torture apologists fear most now is a future in which al Qaeda is destroyed without the U.S. embracing the war-on-terror “dark side” that’s become central to their identity. Indeed, having rejected torture, Obama has nevertheless lead the country to its greatest victory in the fight against al Qaeda.

The part I highlighted is the elephant in the room.  If torture was/is so effective, why wasn’t bin Laden killed or captured years ago?  Too bad the “liberal media” isn’t asking that of the parade of former Bush people who’ve been on teevee for the last week selling their line of bull.

May 9, 2011 at 2:18 PM Leave a comment

Somebody Waterboarded Donald Rumsfeld

Looks like Donald Rumsfeld got a dressing down by GOP spinmeisters for telling the truth:


Rumsfeld on Monday:

Rumsfeld: Bin Laden Info From Gitmo Detainees Was Not Obtained Through ‘Harsh Treatment’ Or ‘Waterboarding’

“The United States Department of Defense did not do waterboarding for interrogation purposes to anyone. It is true that some information that came from normal interrogation approaches at Guantanamo did lead to information that was beneficial in this instance. But it was not harsh treatment and it was not waterboarding.”

Rumsfeld today:

Rumsfeld Flip-Flops: Now Says Harsh Interrogation Of Detainees Was ‘Critically Important’ In Bin Laden’s Death

I’m told there was some confusion today on some programs…suggesting that I indicated that no one who was waterboarded at Guantanamo provided any information on this. That’s just not true. What I said was no one was waterboarded at Guantanamo by the U.S. military…Three people were waterboarded by the CIA…and then later brought to Guantanamo. In fact, as you point out, the information that came from those individuals was critically important.“

What’s going on here is that Republicans are trying to lay a historical foundation — albeit inaccurate — so the Bush administration’s illegal use of torture harsh interrogation is thought of as something that lead directly to the capture and death of Osama bin Laden, thus justifying it.

May 4, 2011 at 1:04 PM Leave a comment

Jane Hamsher Harassed and Detained by Military Brass at Quantico


Jane Hamsher is with David House who is trying to visit Pvt. Bradley Manning at Quantico today while carrying a petition with 42,000 signatures requesting humane treatment for Manning. The military isn’t making it easy at all and detained Jane and David for two hours. We’re publishing her tweets as well as David House’s tweets here as a post in case you haven’t been able to follow them on Twitter @JaneHamsher and @DavidMHouse.

More on the concern for Bradley Manning here.


January 23, 2011 at 3:30 PM 1 comment

Hillary Clinton – the U.S. Crushes Citizen Activism Too

Hillary Clinton chastised several countries — the usual suspects today for “crushing” their citizens’ activism:

Intolerant governments across the globe are “slowly crushing” activist and advocacy groups that play an essential role in the development of democracy, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Saturday.

She cited a broad range of countries where “the walls are closing in” on civic organizations such as unions, religious groups, rights advocates and other nongovernmental organizations that press for social change and shine a light on governments’ shortcomings.

Among those she named were Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Venezuela, China and Russia.

Meanwhile, this report was released three days ago:  Rise in Political Spying Across United States.

More context:

August, 2008 — Denver, Colorado — Democratic convention:  Police Force Back DNC Protesters.

September, 2008 — St. Paul, Minnesota — Republican convention:  Police Prepare for More Protests.

Hillary Clinton is playing the typical Washington game here — not only with the global community but with the citizens of the United States.  It’s called something like pretend you’re better than everyone else.  Well we aren’t Hillary — everyone knows it — and it’s time to fess up.

The United States is “slowly crushing” its citizen activists too.  Yes, we’re joining the likes of Zimbabwe, the Congo and Ethiopia and the “walls are closing in” here as well.

So please.  Cut the holier than thou crap.

July 3, 2010 at 8:16 PM Leave a comment

Waterboarding Isn’t Waterboarding When We Do It

This study, released in April and conducted by four Harvard University students, is stunning and incredibly revealing as to how the “liberal media” sold its soul (and the soul of the country) while covered for George W. Bush:

The current debate over waterboarding has spawned hundreds of newspaper articles in the last two years alone. However, waterboarding has been the subject of press attention for over a century. Examining the four newspapers with the highest daily circulation in the country, we found a significant and sudden shift in how newspapers characterized waterboarding. From the early 1930s until the modern story broke in 2004, the newspapers that covered waterboarding almost uniformly called the practice torture or implied it was torture: The New York Times characterized it thus in 81.5% (44 of 54) of articles on the subject and The Los Angeles Times did so in 96.3% of articles (26 of 27). By contrast, from 2002‐2008, the studied newspapers almost never referred to waterboarding as torture. The New York Times called waterboarding torture or implied it was torture in just 2 of 143 articles (1.4%). The Los Angeles Times did so in 4.8% of articles (3 of 63). The Wall Street Journal characterized the practice as torture in just 1 of 63 articles (1.6%). USA Today never called waterboarding torture or implied it was torture. In addition, the newspapers are much more likely to call waterboarding torture if a country other than the United States is the perpetrator. In The New York Times, 85.8% of articles (28 of 33) that dealt with a country other than the United States using waterboarding called it torture or implied it was torture while only 7.69% (16 of 208) did so when the United States was responsible. The Los Angeles Times characterized the practice as torture in 91.3% of articles (21 of 23) when another country was the violator, but in only 11.4% of articles (9 of 79) when the United States was the perpetrator.

Read the whole thing — Torture at Times:  Waterboarding in the Media — (it’s a pdf file) here.

June 30, 2010 at 4:14 PM Leave a comment

A Moment of “Unspeakable National Shame”

From Jonathan Turley:

Dick Cheney came out this weekend in an interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl to proclaim “I was a big supporter of waterboarding.” It is an astonishing public admission since waterboarding is not just illegal but a war crime. It is akin to the Vice President saying that he supported bank robbery or murder-for-hire as a public policy.

The ability of Cheney to openly brag about his taste for torture is the direct result of President Barack Obama blocking any investigation or prosecution of war crimes. For political reasons, Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have refused to carry out our clear obligations under international law to prosecute for such waterboarding.


Cheney’s statement should be a moment of unspeakable national shame.


February 15, 2010 at 1:22 PM Leave a comment

American Soldier Waterboards His 4-Year-Old Daughter

Joshua Tabor, a soldier at a base in Tacoma, Washington, flew into a rage after his daughter was unable to recite her ABC’s:

A U.S. soldier has been accused of ‘waterboarding’ his four-year-old daughter because she couldn’t recite the alphabet.

Joshua Tabor admitted to police that he used the CIA torture technique because he was so angry.

As his daughter ‘squirmed’ to get away, Tabor said he submerged her face – upwards – three or four times until the water was lapping around her forehead and jawline.

Tabor, 27, admitted to investigators that his daughter was terrified of water and he had deliberately chosen the punishment.

February 7, 2010 at 3:13 PM 1 comment

The Anatomy of the Death of An Obama Promise

The fall of Greg Craig.

This is an article about how the Obama administration essentially succumbed to pressure from the Republicans not to release photos of suspected terrorists being tortured in U.S. custody or to quickly close Guantanamo.  The most shocking thing is that Obama and Rahm, et al., were totally caught off guard by the GOP outcry and when it happened, they didn’t have a a plan as to how to deal with it, so they just caved.

Obama needed to regain control quickly, and he started by jettisoning liberal positions he had been prepared to accept — and had even okayed — just weeks earlier. First to go was the release of the pictures of detainee abuse. Days later, Obama sided against Craig again, ending the suspension of Bush’s extrajudicial military commissions. The following week, Obama pre-empted an ongoing debate among his national-security team and embraced one of the most controversial of Bush’s positions: the holding of detainees without charges or trial, something he had promised during the campaign to reject.

November 23, 2009 at 4:22 PM Leave a comment

Shades of Josef Mengele

A new report suggests  that CIA doctors experimented on detainees.

September 3, 2009 at 9:42 AM Leave a comment

Propaganda is an Insidious, Subtle Thing

Example:  Keith Olbermann aired a segment tonight about Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to appoint a special prosecutor (that’s another post) to investigate Bush-era CIA interrogations torture.  One of the detainees who figures prominently in the investigation and who figured prominently in Olbermann’s segment was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.  You’ve seen his picture a thousand times.  That’s the picture Olbermann used.

He’s a monster, right?

But I remember seeing this picture of Mohammed years ago:


It’s notable that our media — even the “liberals” amongst us —  continue to portray people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed  in the worst light possible.

August 24, 2009 at 1:03 PM Leave a comment

The U.S. Isn’t the Light in the Darkness Anymore

There was a time when people who were tortured held out some hope that the torture would be exposed and the United States would step in and stop it.  Not anymore.

We not only let ourselves down when we condoned torture, but we let people around the world down.  They have no one to turn to now.

July 9, 2009 at 5:50 AM Leave a comment

Turning Back the Police State

The Supreme Court ruled today that it is illegal to strip search a 13 year old.  Hallelujah!  A classmate falsely accused the poor kid of “having the equivalent of two Advils” her possession.

What I wonder is how and why this made it all the way to the Supreme Court in the first place.

June 25, 2009 at 4:21 AM Leave a comment

Red State Commenter: Killing George Tiller Was the “Ethical Thing to Do”

Red State is one of the most popular conservative websites.  The comment was made on this thread:  BREAKING:  Kansas Abortionist Shot, Killed at Church.

Here’s a screen shot:

Red State 5-31

Our legal system “steal[s] the oxygen from moral vigilantism”?  This is what we’re up against folks.

May 31, 2009 at 4:54 PM Leave a comment

More Photos of the Barbarism That Took Place in Iraq

More of the photos that President Obama doesn’t want the world to see.  (Warning:  They’re graphic.)

One gets the impression that nobody was in charge over there.  Or, that the people who were, were monsters.

May 28, 2009 at 10:44 AM Leave a comment

Waterboarding is Like Surfing

It’s like “Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys.”

That would be Erich “Mancow” Muller’s impression of waterboarding — per his appearance on Countdown tonight — before he experienced it first-hand and came to see it as torture.


May 26, 2009 at 9:13 PM Leave a comment

Are You Spooked?

I’m watching a re-run of Hardball w/Chris Matthews while I wait for  Keith Olbermann to come on.  The discussion is about “who won” the “dual” between President Obama and President Cheney  (I am so sick of this I could scream!).  Matthews insinuates that Cheney “won” because “the nation is spooked right now.”

Are you spooked?  I’m sure as hell not but maybe I should be. Come Tuesday I might be dead; hacked to death over the weekend — ripped to shreds in my own home while listening in horror to my husband and dogs being shredded too — because I live within miles of the SuperMax prison where,

notable terrorists like  9/11 conspirator Zacharias Massoui [and] the 1993 World Trade Center planner Ramzi Youssef, ‘shoe bomber’ Richard Reid


My God.  Is the “liberal media” going to push gullible, ignorant Americans over the edge into insanity again?  As it did after 9/11?

May 22, 2009 at 7:59 PM Leave a comment

Mark Penn Should Go to Work for Fox News

“Democratic strategist” Mark Penn, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton and the guy who is widely credited with driving Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign over a cliff, penned an op-ed for today’s Politicio in which he said that Nancy Pelosi has “caused a split within Democratic ranks at a time when party unity is essential.”  Needless to say, Republicans have gotta be lovin’ that!

Thanks Mark.  You should go to work for Fox “News.”  They love “Democratic strategists” like you — “strategists” who do more to help Republicans than Democrats.

May 20, 2009 at 6:49 PM Leave a comment

It’s No Secret That the CIA Lies

The wingers are having a fake hissy fit over Nancy Pelosi’s assertion that the CIA “mislead” her when it briefed congress about the torture techniques it was using during the Bush administration.  They claim she’s being disrespectful and unpatriotic but their outrage can only be sustained if the “liberal media” and the American people forget the CIA’s relatively recent history of “misleading” government officials, which is out there, in plain sight.

May 20, 2009 at 5:28 PM Leave a comment


The “liberal media” has taken us on a circuitous journey from this:  George W. Bush, November 7, 2005:  “We do not torture.”  To this:  Joe Scarborough this morning:  “If you have any evidence that [torture] is not effective, let me know right now!”

Again, the issue isn’t whether torture works.  The issue is whether the Bush administration interrogated people using methods that were against both national and international law.  Period.

May 19, 2009 at 11:45 AM Leave a comment

Note to Nancy Pelosi: Use the Word Lie

Nancy Pelosi refused to use the word lie today when she said that the CIA gave her “inaccurate and misleading information” and “mislead the Congress of the United States” when they briefed she and others on “torture techniques” in September of 2002.

Break the barrier Nancy.  They lied.  Say it.  Use that word.

May 14, 2009 at 8:49 PM Leave a comment

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