A DECLASSIFIED DoD Inspector General’s report obtained by Truth-Out titled “Investigation of Allegations of the Use of Mind-Altering Drugs to Facilitate Interrogations of Detainees” reveals information for the first time about interrogations at Guantanamo. The impetus of the investigations and Truth-Out’s FOIA request was a Washington Post article in 2008. An excerpt from that story:
Former U.S. intelligence officials have acknowledged using sedatives to subdue some terrorism suspects as they were being transported from one facility to another, but likewise insist that drugs were never used as interrogation tools. “Any suggestion that the agency’s enhanced interrogation techniques included the administration of drugs is simply wrong,” said a senior intelligence official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing secrecy concerns.
Several former military and intelligence officials familiar with the detention program said they were unaware of any systematic use of drugs to manipulate behavior. Alberto J. Mora, a former Navy general counsel who opposed the Bush administration’s decision to use aggressive interrogation tactics, said he recalled no discussions about the use of drugs.
But Mora said he understood why some detainees are concerned. “They knew they were being injected with something, and it is clear from all accounts that some suffered severe psychological damage,” Mora said.
It’s important to emphasize that the Post‘s reporting came in April 2008, while Pres. George W. Bush was still in office. Barack Obama had campaigned on closing Gitmo, but it became politically untenable as far as the White House was concerned. At the time Pres. Obama was sworn in, a Democratic Congress had the power to investigate the situation and the Bush administration’s policies. For political reasons, which was stated often, Democrats, led by the newly elected Pres. Obama, chose to look forward, not backward, instead of doing their jobs, which was to investigate allegations that under the Bush administration the United States had engaged in wholly unethical treatment of detainees, holding those responsible accountable no matter where the truth would lead. Read Scott Horton’s investigative reports from 2010 if you need reminding what went on under Pres. Bush’s watch, which Democrats chose to ignore.
The now declassified DoD report found “no evidence that the DoD authorized the use of mind-altering drugs to facilitate interrogation,” however, the opposing reality is that they “note that some detainees received ongoing medication with psychoactive drugs (for treatment of diagnosed medical conditions) which could impair an individual’s ability to provide accurate information.” The report also states that some who were receiving these drugs were interrogated.
The use of language is a form of art.
Leonard Rubenstein, a medical ethicist at Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights and the former president of Physicians for Human Rights, said, “this practice adds another layer of cruelty to the operations at Guantanamo.”
“The inspector general’s report confirms that detainees whose mental deterioration and suffering was so great as to lead to psychosis and attempts at self-harm were given anti-psychotic medication and subjected to further interrogation,” said Rubenstein, who reviewed a copy of the report for Truthout. “The problem is not simply what the report implies, that good information is unlikely to be obtained when someone shows psychotic symptoms, but the continued use of highly abusive interrogation methods against men who are suffering from grave mental deterioration that may have been caused by those very same methods.”
Shayana Kadidal, the senior managing atty of the Guantanamo Project at the Center for Constitutional Rights, said the report, which he also reviewed, “reinforces that the interrogation system at Guantanamo was a brutal system.”
More about the super-secret (and genuinely scary) Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, courtesy of Public Citizen. The TPP pact is a world-wide "corporate coup d'état"A characterization of the super-secret TPP from Lori Wallach, writing in The Nation (my emphasis and paragraphing throughout):The TPP has been cleverly misbranded as a trade agreement (yawn) by its corporate...
Even after the NAACP took the same step 10 days later, some still perpetuated the myth that most African Americans, particularly more religious people, opposed marriage equality.
ThinkProgress spoke with two African American church leaders at the annual NAACP conference in Houston about same-sex marriage. Sabu Williams, president of the Okaloosa County (Florida) NAACP and a Baptist deacon, explained that “we don’t condone discrimination, period.” Williams continued: “How can we as an organization, and even we as a people, condone discrimination against anybody on any reason, and we say that that’s justified based on our spiritual beliefs?”
Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP and a protestant pastor, noted the difference between some churches’ beliefs and laws in society as a whole. “What I found is we have clergy who theologically and culturally and spiritually are heterocentric when it comes to marriage, but constitutionally and legally they refuse to be homophobic,” he explained.
When the United States Olympic Team enters the Games’ opening ceremony at Olympic Stadium in London, it will be outfitted in official uniforms designed by Ralph Lauren. And though the 530 men and women who make up the team are the best athletes the country has to offer, the same cannot be said for the uniforms they’ll be wearing.
That’s because Ralph Lauren manufactured each piece of the uniform, from the unique hat to the designer jacket to the shoes, in China:
The classic American style was crafted by designer Ralph Lauren. But just how American is it? [...]
Every item in those uniforms? Made overseas.
Watch the ABC News report:
The U.S. Olympic Committee didn’t exactly have an explanation for why its uniforms were made in China. “The U.S. Olympic team is privately funded and we’re grateful for the support of our sponsors,” the committee told ABC News. “We’re proud of our partnership with Ralph Lauren, an iconic American company.”
Outsourcing practices like those used by companies like Ralph Lauren have resulted in the loss of 2.8 million jobs to China since 2001, and the apparel and accessories and textile industries were among the hardest hit. China is notorious for its lack of labor standards — its workers often toil for long hours for low pay in horrendous working conditions. But even with American workers struggling to regain a foothold after millions of jobs were lost in the Great Recession, Ralph Lauren and the U.S. Olympic Team think its more important to make more money than make their products in the United States.
Mitt Romney has found a new spin for the resounding chorus of boos he triggered at the NAACP on Wednesday. At a fundraiser in Montana that night, Romney boasted about the boos to a very different crowd, saying: “If they want more stuff from the government, tell them to go vote for the other guy–more free stuff. But don?t forget nothing is really free.”
Given Romney’s fraught history with the organization–Mother Jones reported yesterday on his antagonistic relationship with the Boston NAACP while governor–invoking the “welfare queen” stereotype against NAACP members who support Obamacare is tone deaf, if not a deliberate attempt to stoke conservative resentment against so-called government freeloaders.
The “free stuff” comment is a mantra Romney uses often. Just last month, in a speech to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), Romney scoffed, “Everybody likes free stuff, but there is no free stuff.”
The Rachel Maddow Blog cites several more examples:
A few months ago, for example, the GOP presidential hopeful responded to questions about contraception access by saying, “If you’re looking for free stuff you don’t have to pay for, vote for the other guy.” Soon after, Romney complained that Obama is trying to buy students’ political support by offering them “free stuff.”
There is a pattern to this. If you’re a woman who wants access to preventive care you might not otherwise be able to afford, Romney sees you as wanting “free stuff.” If you’re a young student who can’t afford higher-ed tuition, Romney assumes you expect “free stuff.”
And if you’re an African American supporter of the NAACP who wants your family to have access to affordable health care, Romney suspects you’re just looking for “free stuff.”
Of course, no one will receive free health insurance under Obamacare; the law makes health care more affordable for working and middle class families through tax credits. But everyone pays into the system to ensure that the government does not have to pick up the tab of the uninsured.
Under increasing pressure from top Democrats to disclose what's kept Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. off the job for more than a month, the congressman's office issued a statement Wednesday saying he is being treated for a "mood disorder" at an inpatient center.
Even as Jackson's camp tried to tamp down widespread speculation ? denying chatter that Jackson was being treated for alcohol or drug abuse ? an array of questions was left unanswered. It remains unclear what specific psychiatric problem Jackson is being treated for, where he's being treated and when he'll get out.
In keeping with the secrecy that has surrounded Jackson since his medical leave from Congress was announced, the office's statement came from a doctor who went unnamed, citing health privacy reasons.
Don't know what 'mood disorder' means in this particular case; don't really think it's any of our business, either. I do note that Rep. Jackson's office wanted to be very clear that he was not being treated for substance abuse, which I think was what many of us assumed by the cryptic nature of the announcements. And it's not as if he's not facing enough stressors to topple even the most healthy person: he's currently under investigation for ethics violations for his role in the Blagojevich scandal and there's always the rumors of infidelity and how that plays with his family. But personal issues aside, illness is illness. Insofar as Jackson is concerned, I hope he is on the path to wellness and feels up to returning to his duties soon.
But what makes this newsworthy to me is more the oddly disloyal reaction of his fellow Democrats, like Dick Durbin and Steny Hoyer, demanding that a hospitalized colleague come forward and 'fess up his condition. Why? Where is the compassion? Where is the comity of fellow party members? When Mark Kirk suffered a stroke, he entered the hospital under an assumed name and hasn't appeared for a vote since January, something for which House leadership has been understanding. Republicans notoriously will circle the wagons and protect their own, even in the case of clear wrongdoing (I'm looking at you, David Vicker and Dick Cheney), but Democrats will discard their own like a used tissue even in a case where it's a treatable medical condition.
– In deflecting criticism of his efforts to close factories, fire thousands of American workers and send their jobs overseas, Mitt Romney has said repeatedly that he left the investment firm Bain Capital in 1999, and played no role in several job-killing decisions made by the company. But as the Boston Globe reports, new documents show that Romney was listed as Chairman and CEO a full three years longer than his campaign claims.
– The number of people filing for initial weekly jobless claims fell to a four year low last week, reports CNN.
– Mississippi’s last remaining abortion clinic, which has been targeted by Republican lawmakers in the state capital, will remain open for business after a judge granted a temporary restraining order against compliance with a law that would have forced the clinic to close.
– Four states have ballot initiatives up for a vote this November on the issue of marriage equality, and the latest polling — in those states and nationwide — provide the clearest evidence yet that same sex marriage is now a mainstream value [click through for the full infographic]:
– Chances are, you’ve already seen Mitt Romney get booed, heckled, jeered and laughed at during his bumbling speech at the NAACP national convention yesterday, but you may not have seen some of the individual reactions to Romney’s remarks:
– And finally: Inserting pauses for laughter or applause or boos (see above) into the text of your speech can be a good way to ensure you don’t talk over the audience response. But if you’re going to do that, you had better remember not to repeat those instructions aloud.
Republicans, who have called for budget cutbacks, wasted over $50 million trying and failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
The House GOP, by some estimates, spent up to 89 hours debating or voting on repeal of Obamacare. Though every effort has been fruitless, it’s cost a pretty penny. The Huffington Post calculates how much it would cost at just 80 hours of debate:
CBS’ Nancy Cordes reported Wednesday that Republicans’ many fruitless attempts at repealing the Affordable Care Act have taken up at least 80 hours of time on the House floor since 2010, amounting to two full work weeks. As the House, according to the Congressional Research Service, costs taxpayers $24 million a week to operate, those two weeks amounted to a total cost of approximately $48 million.
That $50 million spent blowing hot air could have provided subsidies for about 4,500 families of four in the exchanges, or one year of foodstamps for 31,131 people.
This is particularly ironic considering the GOP’s heated cries of “waste” about the Affordable Care Act, a law that is actually expected to reduce the deficit (by a small margin) and help millions of Americans.
by Auden Schendler
Fracking isn?t only happening in the gas fields. Because of the never before seen and almost impossible to grok (or solve) problem of climate change, fracking is happening all over the environmental movement.
Moms are fighting kids. Boards are fighting staff. Nonprofits are fighting each other. Left is fighting right and left. Republicans are getting sick of their weird and lame leaders, like Romney, Gingrich, and McCain who clearly understood climate science until they didn?t understand it, and are spinning off on their own to fix the thing.
Just this year, I supported state legislation on a key climate issue?capturing methane from coal mines?and was opposed by an NGO I?m on the board of, and another one I?ve supported for years. In fact, I was fighting all my colleagues and friends in the environmental world?except for those who agreed with me.
Just last week I hiked with my friend Pete McBride, a green too, who didn?t quite agree with me on a local hydroelectric project. And last week, the business I work for partnered with a coal mine to protect climate. To quote Steve Austin: ?I can?t hold her, she?s breaking up! She?s breaking up!? Or as Vince Lombardi pointedly asked: ?What the hell is going on out here?!!?
What?s going on out here is that Boulder and Colorado Springs recently looked like bad movie sets: They?ve been on fire. Sea level rise is accelerating. Temperature records are getting destroyed. Greenland?s ice sheet is destabilizing. The jackass in the local paper who keeps writing that we haven?t warmed since 1998 has finally shut his pie hole. People are eying the dry brush in their yards with a combination of paranoia and terror. Climate change might as well be called GAME change: it?s disruptive innovation all on its own. And it?s a monster.
The International Energy Agency, those staid, dusty scriveners, recently said the planet is on a perfect trajectory for 11 degrees F warming by 2100. Doesn?t matter what you believe: That kind of warming won?t be ?good for us? (as at least one simpleton at National Review has argued) or is simply ?an engineering problem? as ExxonMobil?s Rex Tillerson idiotically claimed the other day. When your house is underwater or blown away, or if a country?s crops fail, or if Malaria kills your five year old girl, it?s not an ?engineering problem.?
It?s that stark nature of the problem that has us eating each other alive. Look at me?I?m losing all decorum in this essay! In Aspen, CO, old school enviros who helped create the wilderness movement are fighting pitched battles against other environmentalists who support a 1 MW microhydro plant that would generate 8% of the city?s power. ?Protect the stream!? They yell. Climate activists, including the mayor, are fighting back, arguing that you lose the river anyway if you don?t solve climate. Somebody?s got to lead because everywhere is somebody?s backyard.
And if Aspen?as a center of wealth and influence that can afford to try stuff and share those stories?can?t lead, then it might as well throw in the towel and default to just doing conspicuous consumption. Solving climate is going to hurt. We?re going to break things. And we?re starting with our relationships, friendships, and old alliances. There is a kernel of hope in this, and it’s that whenever an issue become so large it starts to cost you friendships, that means it’s front and center in the public conversation. Civil Rights. Gay Marriage. Remember that taxation without representation split Ben Franklin from his son. And once a topic gets into the public blood, it’s on its way to resolution.
Alliances will be the first to go, fracked forever or sometimes replaced by weird new bedfellows, like the kind of date you might pick up at the Star Wars bar. This month, as I mentioned, my business inked a deal to capture methane vented from a coal mine?one of the largest point sources greenhouse gases in Colorado?to make electricity. The power produced is triple carbon negative because methane is 23 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas and this project destroys it. Our partner is a coal mine that carries membership in the Colorado Mining Association, which is a state climate denial machine that on its website cites a Fox report called ?Global Warming: The Great Delusion.? Uncomfortable? Hells yes. But desperate times call for desperate measures. It’s a whole new world.
Auden Schendler is Vice President of Sustainability at Aspen Skiing Company.
Right-wing media are amplifying attacks on President Obama over his recent dismissal of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez as a threat to the United States, while ignoring that experts are in agreement with Obama.
In an interview with a Miami television station on Wednesday, Obama said, "We're always concerned about Iran engaging in destabilizing activity around the globe." He added, "But overall, my sense is that what Mr. Chavez has done over the last several years has not had a serious national security impact on us."
In response, Republicans, including presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), attacked Obama for downplaying the threat of Chávez and suggested that he is weak on national security.
Experts, however, have offered assessments that support Obama's remarks. In a statement to The Miami Herald, Riordan Roett, the director of Western Hemisphere Studies and the Latin American Studies Program at John Hopkins' School of Advanced International Studies, dismissed the criticism as "just pure electoral politics."