Friday, 29 June 2018

Junior Mordor's role in rendition and torture of terrorism suspects

UK tolerated 'inexcusable' treatment of detainees by US after 9/11, damning official report finds

 'There was no understanding in the government of rendition and no clear policy – or even recognition of the need for one,' MPs say

• On 232 occasions UK intelligence officers were found to have continued supplying questions to foreign agencies between 2001 and 2010, despite knowing or suspecting a prisoner was being tortured or mistreated.
• On 198 occasions, UK intelligence officers received information from a prisoner they knew was being mistreated.
• In a further 128 cases, foreign intelligence bodies told UK intelligence agencies prisoners were being mistreated.
• MI5 or MI6 offered to help fund at least three rendition operations.
• The agencies planned or agreed to a further 28 rendition operations.
• They provided intelligence to assist with a further 22 rendition operations.
• Two MI6 officers consented to mistreatment meted out by others. Only one of these incidents has been investigated by police.
• In a further 13 cases, UK intelligence officers witnessed an individual being tortured or mistreated.
• MI5, MI6 and the military conducted up to 3,000 interviews of prisoners held at Guantánamo.
• No attempt is being made to find out whether guidelines introduced by the coalition government in 2010 are helping to prevent the UK’s intelligence agencies from continuing to be involved in human rights abuses.
• The UK breached its commitment to the international prohibition of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
• On at least two occasions ministers made “inappropriate” decisions.
• Jack Straw authorised payment of “a large share of the costs” of the rendition of two people in October 2004.
• A further Scotland Yard investigation must be considered.
The Guardian

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Pot meets Kettle meets Pot

U.S. withdraws from U.N. Human Rights Council

Nikki Haley, contender for the title of Mordor's most despicable ambassador to the UN of all times

The United States will withdraw from the U.N. Human Rights Council, an entity it has long accused of being biased against Israel and giving cover to rights-abusing governments, the Trump administration announced on Tuesday.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, announced the decision, a move that essentially reverts the U.S. to the stance it took during the George W. Bush administration, which declined to join the council. Haley and Pompeo‘s announcement came a day after the U.N.’s human rights chief, in a speech to the council, criticized President Donald Trump’s immigration policy decisions that have led his administration to separate families apprehended after entering the U.S. illegally.
“For too long the Human Rights Council has been a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias,“ Haley said.
On the other hand, Israel, a major ally of the US, praised Washington's "courageous" move.


Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Former ICE head: separated kids may never see parents again

Migrant parents separated from their kids after crossing the border may end up losing their kids for good, according to the former head of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“Permanent separation. It happens,” John Sandweg, who ran the agency under President Obama, told NBC News.

Adults are typically deported from the US quickly while children are low priority — and may just ultimately stay in the US as wards of the state or even wind up being adopted, he explained.

“You could easily end up in a situation where the gap between a parent’s deportation and a child’s deportation is years,” Sandweg said.

“You could be creating thousands of immigrant orphans in the US that one day could become eligible for citizenship when they are adopted.”

ICE subsequently released a statement saying Sedweg’s assessment is “not accurate.”

“There are no termination of parental rights as a result of the separation and most children in [Office of Refugee Resettlement] custody are released to a sponsor who is either a parent, close relative or family friend,” said spokeswoman Liz Johnson.

“A parent who is ordered removed may request that his or her minor child accompany them. If the parent chooses to have his or her children accompany him or her, ICE accommodates, to the extent practicable, the parent’s efforts to make provisions for their children.”

The Trump administration says kids are only being separated temporarily from their parents while the adults are prosecuted under its new “zero tolerance” policy on border crossing.

But because the parents are in the custody of Homeland Security and the kids are quickly handed over to Health and Human Services Department, keeping track of both “is more difficult than it sounds,” Sandweg says.

Some parents have already been deported to their home countries while their kids remain in the US, according to a New York Times report — which cited the case of a mom sent to back Guatemala after being separated from her 8-year-old son.


Saturday, 9 June 2018

Olde Musix: Train (Sisters of Mercy)

Let the speakers crackle and burn!

Take a last decision and the cars to move it

Past information

Tunnel vision and the scars to prove it

Everybody got a reservation

Far beyond the black horizon

Beyond the things you know

Everybody got a destination

Everybody got a place to go

Take a walk downtown to where the victims go

Take your shadow to the end to the very last window

Everybody got friends got shot upside and over down the line

Everybody got assignations

I got mine

Take a one way ticket to the main attraction

Cut a hole between the ground and sky

Take a railway track to a chain reaction

Cross my heart and take a ride

Far beyond the black horizon

Beyond the things you know

Everybody got a destination

Everybody got a place to go


Thursday, 7 June 2018

San Fran: Harm Reduction v. Idiocy (guess who wins?)

Residents of San Francisco have voted for ignorance, to support lies and to uphold the right to do the stupidest things possible – consigning a safer product to the bin and revisit the failed approach of prohibition. Nearly 70% have voted to support a ban on flavoured eliquids.

The media framed it, as was the desire of those campaigning for the ban, as a battle between Big Tobacco Vs. former New York mayor and billionaire philanthropist Michael Bloomberg – with immoral public health groups also campaigning with Bloomberg for an outcome least beneficial to the health of the public.
The vote obtained 46,452 votes from people with common sense, decency and an enlightened view of harm reduction. Their goal was crushed by the massed ranks of stupid, numbering 100,580 (68.41%).
In total, the nigh-on criminal nonsense-and-hysteria campaign waged by anti-vape activists cost $4.2-million, with $1.8-million coming from Bloomberg.
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ resident idiot Matthew Myers lied to the end: “San Francisco's ground-breaking law stands, and will stop the tobacco industry from targeting kids, African Americans and other populations with menthol and candy flavoured products, as the industry has done for far too long.”
The Truth Initiative has produced some pro-vaping papers recently. Increasingly representing a bi-polar organisation, it added: “Flavours play a significant role in drawing youth and young adults to tobacco products. San Francisco voters have made the wise choice to ban all flavours, including menthol, to protect their peers and improve public health.”’s Guy Bentley said: “Shameless demagogues rejoice in taking away the freedom of others.”
Carl Phillips warned of a continued drift towards feudalism, and pointed out that the vote represented: “bad news from the perspective of vapour product sales, human rights, and fundamental health ethics.”
Vaping 360’s Jim McDonald warns that Chicago is now looking at introducing a similar ban. The Vapour Technology Association is reporting that the New York senate is preparing to vote to ban all juice flavours except tobacco and menthol.

Planet of the Vapes.

Monday, 4 June 2018

A very English Scandal

The story begins in 1960s Britain, a time when Preston says the leaders of the main political parties were "dull plain-looking men without any kind of noticeable charisma".
Jeremy Thorpe was different.
"He was young, he was good-looking, he was charismatic, he had a very beguiling air of mischief about him which was almost an unknown thing at the time," Preston says.
But Thorpe was also a risk taker. While a sitting MP, he had a series of affairs with men — at a time when homosexual acts were still a crime and could lead to a jail sentence.
In the early 1960s he met an 18-year-old stablehand named Norman Josiffe.
"They talked for a bit and Thorpe said, 'If you're ever in any trouble, come and see me at the House of Commons', and gave him his card.
"It so happened that Josiffe had a tremendous falling out with his employer shortly afterwards, he then had a nervous breakdown, his life basically imploded.
"So he went to see Thorpe. To some degree to throw himself on Thorpe's mercy."
Thorpe and Josiffe had an affair, but when the relationship broke off things spiralled out of control.
Josiffe, who was by now known as Norman Scott, struggled to find work and battled depression.
He blamed many of his hardships on Thorpe and told police about their relationship, handing over copies of personal letters as evidence.
Thorpe decided it was time to silence his former lover.
By now he was leader of the Liberal Party and had ambitions of being the next prime minister of Britain — and he could not let those ambitions be destroyed by his past.
"And he siphoned 10,000 pounds out of the Liberal Party funds to pay this unbelievably inept hitman to try and kill Scott.
"However the hitman only succeeded in killing Scott's dog, Rinka.
"The hitman it turned out had a dog phobia.
"He was called Chicken Brain, with some justification, by his friends.
"He shot the dog, then the gun jammed, and he drove off into the night."
The police turned up to the scene and Scott once more "poured out his story", blaming his misfortune on Thorpe's mistreatment of him.

Full story.


Friday, 1 June 2018

Threat Inflation: American Muslim Terrorism

To help put the attacks in context, USA TODAY’s Greg Toppo talked to Kurzman, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of several books on Islam, the Middle East and terrorism, including the 2011 book The Missing Martyrs: Why There Are So Few Muslim Terrorists.
Q: In 2016, how likely is it that an American will be killed by a terrorist, Muslim or non-Muslim?
A: Fortunately, terrorism has been very rare in the United States. Thus far in 2016, there have been three acts of violent extremism by Muslim-Americans, by my count, resulting in 49 deaths, all of whom were killed in the shooting at a nightclub in Orlando in June. This is the highest death toll from Islamic terrorism that the country has experienced since 2001. There is no comparable count of non-Muslim terrorism in the United States, but the total is also very low. Terrorism frightens people far out of proportion to the actual number of victims — indeed, that is its primary goal: to create a sense of terror.
Q: You note that since Sept. 11, 2001, 118 people in the United States have been killed by terror attacks perpetrated by Muslim-Americans. Yet in the same 15-year period, more than 230,000 Americans have been murdered, mostly by their fellow Americans. Why the disproportionate response to terrorism?
A: The United States has a zero-tolerance policy for Islamic terrorism, which is quite different from our attitude toward other forms of violence. The country has committed billions of dollars and amended our civil liberties in order to combat terrorism, and many politicians want to go even further.
Q: This may seem like a naive question, but why the “zero-tolerance” policy for Islamic terrorism, but not for much more pervasive kinds of violence?
A: The country has become fixated on incidents of Islamic terrorism — we consume non-stop coverage and seek out more on social media. Other forms of violence have to be particularly noteworthy in order to attract this level of attention. One reason for this discrepancy may be the concerted political campaign to demonize Muslim-Americans as a political wedge issue, which has led anti-Islamic attitudes to increase in recent years, even as the trauma of 9/11 has receded.
Q: You’ve said that the likelihood of being killed by a Muslim in the United States is lower than the likelihood that one could be killed for being Muslim. Why is this not a point that we hear Muslim-American leaders making?
A: So far this year, three Muslim-Americans have been killed for being Muslim — two men outside a mosque in New York and one man killed by a neighbor in Tulsa — for a rate of approximately one in 1 million. The rate of Americans killed by Muslim-American extremists so far this year — 49 fatalities in a population of more than 300 million — is approximately one in 6 million. This fear of backlash violence against Muslim-Americans, the overwhelming majority of whom have nothing to do with terrorism, is very much on the mind of Muslims in the United States, both leaders and community members.
Q: If terror attacks are so rare, as you say, how should our leaders respond, both politically and practically? What place should terrorism, and preparedness for it, have in public life?
A: I would like to see an evidence-based approach to terrorism, in which our policies are calibrated to the actual scale of the problem. This would be similar to our approach to public health and other fields of public safety, where we devote more resources to the biggest threats. It is hard for politicians to achieve proportionality with terrorism, however, because any rollback of our post-9/11 security posture would make them vulnerable to criticism when the next incidents occur, as they inevitably will. They will only re-assess our posture when public opinion becomes more resilient, puts this violence in perspective, and relaxes the fixation on terrorist incidents.

USA Today