Thursday 23 April '09 show

  • The FBI may well be the smoking gun in a positive sense in whole torture mess. The legislative branch have no police apart from within the Capitol, the executive branch executes laws, judiciary. In the executive branch headed by the president there are different divisions, e.g. DoD, domestic intelligence, police. The DoD was getting orders from senior officials about torture.
  • Clip: "As a matter of fact, in interviews in 1999 with respected journalist, and long time Bush family friend, Micky [David] Herskowitz, then Governor George Bush stated: ‘One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief. My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it. If I have a chance to invade, if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I’m going to have a successful presidency'." Cindy Sheehan, My Testimony for the Downing Street Memo Hearings, June 16 2005.
  • Article: A Victim's Description of Waterboarding. 1947 court proceedings in the trial of a World War II Japanese war criminal: Chinsaku Yuki. American prosecutor, Col. Keeley talking to Filipino lawyer Ramon Navarro, who was subjected to waterboarding.
  • Bumper Music: Paint It Black, Vanessa Carlton.
  • Bush wanting power through war. Waterboarding under SERE training. Was Alberto Gonzales was a SERE instructor for the USAF?
  • Article: Survivor recalls horrors of Cambodia genocide.
    ""it is severe torture. We could try it and see how we would react if we are choking under water for just two minutes. It is very serious." Van Nath.
  • Article: Waterboarding Is Torture - I Did It Myself, says US Advisor.
  • Article: A Review of the FBI's Involvement in and Observations of Detainee Interrogations in Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan, and Iraq, May 2008 (PDF).
  • James Comey was backed up by Robert Mueller, head of the FBI, at Ashcroft's bedside.
  • Bumper Music: Listen up!, The Gossip (video).
  • Article: The hospital room showdown. "Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey tells the tale of a remarkable attempt by the White House to bully John Ashcroft in his hospital bed... excerpt from testimony by former Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey to the Senate Judiciary Committee, May 15, 2007."

    "COMEY: It was Wednesday, March the 10th, 2004.

    SCHUMER: And how do you remember that date so well?

    COMEY: This was a very memorable period in my life; probably the most difficult time in my entire professional life. And that night was probably the most difficult night of my professional life. So it's not something I'd forget.

    SCHUMER: OK. Were you present when Alberto Gonzales visited Attorney General Ashcroft's bedside?

    COMEY: Yes.


    The attorney general was taken that very afternoon to George Washington Hospital, where he went into intensive care and remained there for over a week. And I became the acting attorney general.

    And over the next week -- particularly the following week, on Tuesday -- we communicated to the relevant parties at the White House and elsewhere our decision that as acting attorney general I would not certify the program as to its legality and explained our reasoning in detail, which I will not go into here. Nor am I confirming it's any particular program. That was Tuesday that we communicated that.

    The next day was Wednesday, March the 10th, the night of the hospital incident. And I was headed home at about 8 o'clock that evening, my security detail was driving me. And I remember exactly where I was -- on Constitution Avenue -- and got a call from Attorney General Ashcroft's chief of staff telling me that he had gotten a call...

    SCHUMER: What's his name?

    COMEY: David Ayers. That he had gotten a call from Mrs. Ashcroft from the hospital. She had banned all visitors and all phone calls. So I hadn't seen him or talked to him because he was very ill. And Mrs. Ashcroft reported that a call had come through, and that as a result of that call Mr. Card and Mr. Gonzales were on their way to the hospital to see Mr. Ashcroft.

    SCHUMER: Do you have any idea who that call was from?

    COMEY: I have some recollection that the call was from the president himself, but I don't know that for sure. It came from the White House. And it came through and the call was taken in the hospital.

    So I hung up the phone, immediately called my chief of staff, told him to get as many of my people as possible to the hospital immediately. I hung up, called Director Mueller and -- with whom I'd been discussing this particular matter and had been a great help to me over that week -- and told him what was happening. He said, "I'll meet you at the hospital right now."

    Told my security detail that I needed to get to George Washington Hospital immediately. They turned on the emergency equipment and drove very quickly to the hospital. I got out of the car and ran up -- literally ran up the stairs with my security detail.


    And so I raced to the hospital room, entered. And Mrs. Ashcroft was standing by the hospital bed, Mr. Ashcroft was lying down in the bed, the room was darkened. And I immediately began speaking to him, trying to orient him as to time and place, and try to see if he could focus on what was happening, and it wasn't clear to me that he could. He seemed pretty bad off.

    SCHUMER: At that point it was you, Mrs. Ashcroft and the attorney general and maybe medical personnel in the room. No other Justice Department or government officials.

    COMEY: Just the three of us at that point. I tried to see if I could help him get oriented. As I said, it wasn't clear that I had succeeded.

    I went out in the hallway. Spoke to Director Mueller by phone. He was on his way. I handed the phone to the head of the security detail and Director Mueller instructed the FBI agents present not to allow me to be removed from the room under any circumstances. And I went back in the room.


    I sat down in an armchair by the head of the attorney general's bed. The two other Justice Department people stood behind me. And Mrs. Ashcroft stood by the bed holding her husband's arm. And we waited.

    And it was only a matter of minutes that the door opened and in walked Mr. Gonzales, carrying an envelope, and Mr. Card. They came over and stood by the bed. They greeted the attorney general very briefly. And then Mr. Gonzales began to discuss why they were there -- to seek his approval for a matter, and explained what the matter was -- which I will not do.

    And Attorney General Ashcroft then stunned me. He lifted his head off the pillow and in very strong terms expressed his view of the matter, rich in both substance and fact, which stunned me -- drawn from the hour-long meeting we'd had a week earlier -- and in very strong terms expressed himself, and then laid his head back down on the pillow, seemed spent, and said to them, "But that doesn't matter, because I'm not the attorney general."

    SCHUMER: But he expressed his reluctance or he would not sign the statement that they -- give the authorization that they had asked, is that right?

    COMEY: Yes.


    SCHUMER: OK. Now, just a few more points on that meeting. First, am I correct that it was Mr. Gonzales who did just about all of the talking, Mr. Card said very little?

    COMEY: Yes, sir.

    SCHUMER: OK. And they made it clear that there was in this envelope an authorization that they hoped Mr. Ashcroft -- Attorney General Ashcroft would sign."

  • Quote:
    "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense."
    Amendment VI of the Constitution.
  • If torture works so well, why not torture Saddam to find WMD?
  • A Review of the FBI's Involvement in and Observations of Detainee Interrogations in Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan, and Iraq, May 2008 (PDF).

    B. Summary of OIG conclusions ...

    As part of our review, the OIG developed and distributed a detailed survey to over 1,000 FBI employees who had deployed to one or more of the military zones. Among other things, the OIG survey sought information regarding observations or knowledge of specifically listed interview or interrogation techniques and other types of detainee treatment, and whether the FBI employees reported such incidents to their FBI supervisors or others. The OIG also interviewed more than 230 witnesses and reviewed over 500,000 pages of documents provided by the FBI, other components of the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Defense (DOD). OIG employees made two trips to GTMO to tour the detention facilities, review documents, and interview witnesses, including five detainees held there. We also interviewed one released detainee by telephone. ...

    B. Summary of OIG conclusions

    Our report found that after FBI agents in GTMO and other military zones were confronted with interrogators from other agencies who used more aggressive interrogation techniques than the techniques that the FBI had successfully employed for many years, the FBI decided that it would not participate in joint interrogations of detainees with other agencies in which techniques not allowed by the BI were used.

    Our review determined that the vast majority of FBI agents complied with FBI interview policies and separated themselves from interrogators who used non-FBI techniques. In a few instances, FBI interrogators used or participated in interrogations during which techniques were used that would not normally be permitted in the United States. These incidents were infrequent and were sometimes related to the unfamiliar circumstances agents encountered in the military zones. They in no way resembled the incidents of detainee mistreatment that occurred at Abu Ghraib.

    However, FBI agents continued to witness interrogation techniques by other agencies that caused them concern. Some of these concerns were reported to their supervisors, which sometimes resulted in friction between FBI and the military over the use of these interrogation techniques on detainees. Some FBI agents’ concerned were resolved directly by the agents working with their military counterparts, while other concerns were never reported. Ultimately, however, the DOD made the decisions regarding which interrogation techniques could be used on the detainees in military zones. In our report, we describe the types of techniques that FBI employees reported to their supervisors.

    We also concluded that the FBI had not provided sufficient guidance to its agents on how to respond when confronted with military interrogators who used interrogation techniques that were not permitted by FBI policies.

    In sum, while our report concluded that the FBI could have provided clearer guidance earlier, and wil the FBI and DOJ could have pressed harder for resolution of FBI concerns about detainee treatment, we believe the FBI should be credited for its conduct and professionalism in detainee interrogations in the military zones and in generally avoiding participation in detainee abuse.

  • Bumper Music: Jai Ho Slumdog Millionaire Soundtrack.
  • Article: Report probes US custody deaths, 21 February 2006.
  • Video: Taxi to the Dark Side, about the innocent taxi driver from Afghanistan tortured to death by U.S. officials at Bagram Air Base.
  • The most successful techniques in World War II and according to the FBI are rapport-building techniques. They played chess with them.
  • Article: Fort Hunt's Quiet Men Break Silence on WWII, October 6, 2007.
    "For six decades, they held their silence. The group of World War II veterans kept a military code and the decorum of their generation, telling virtually no one of their top-secret work interrogating Nazi prisoners of war at Fort Hunt."
  • Article: Truth Extraction, Stephen Budiansky, June 2005.
    "Moran emphasized that a detailed knowledge of technical military terms and the like was less important than a command of idiomatic phrases and cultural references that allow the interviewer to achieve "the first and most important victory"—getting "into the mind and into the heart" of the prisoner and achieving an "intellectual and spiritual" rapport with him."
  • Article: Will Obama Reboot Capitalism Anew? by Thom Hartmann.
  • Perry Mason was successful, used psychology. Thom took a German exchange student to see "Schindler's List" in Atlanta soon after it came out; it had not hit home to him what they had done until then. Thom went to Dachau with his kids. wonder when day will come that a generation of Americans will walk through a museum at Bagram or Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo or one of the secret sites. And will there be a Schindler's list.
  • Article: Our Schlindler’s List? by Thom Hartmann.
  • Bumper Music: Shake It Up, The Cars.
  • The chat room is free and has people from different continents.
  • "Punishment was usually with a lash or with the strap. But ingenious guards sometimes devised other forms of torture. One method of "watering" a disorderly prisoner became quite notorious because of its dangerous consequences".

    The footnote said, "watering consisted of pouring a stream of water into the mouth of a convict stretched on his back. Much of it got into his lungs and at best it produced a fit of choking". 1935 "Penal Slavery and Southern Reconstruction." Journal of Negro History 20,2: 153-179.

  • They destroyed all the tapes of torture under the Bush Administration, so they cannot have got any good information? They have nobody telling them where WMD are. Is Dick Cheney lying about the effectiveness a breach of law? If there are indeed classified documents, his referencing them and telling what is in them is a violation of the law. Therefore they don't exist - there is no law abut lying about classified documents. During the build up of the law they gave classified information to Judith Miller and others and argued that by talking about it, they were declassifying it so it was not a crime, but he is no longer in office.
  • Call Congress.
  • Broken Laws, Broken Lives. Medical evidence of torture by the US. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR).
  • Read the Report: Broken Laws, Broken Lives. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR).
  • Bumper Music: You're the Voice, Heart (video).
  • Guest: successful advertiser spot: Jeffrey James, D.C., Westside Spine & Injury Center, Los Angeles. Mission Statement: "To establish a consistent high profile non-surgical spine care center by bringing together the most technological advancements in non-surgical back pain treatments from the medical community and a level of service rarely seen in health care practices today.We offer high tech solutions along with highly trained staff and service oriented attitudes at a fair price while conducting ourselves with the highest ethical standards, integrity and caring attitudes to both staff and patients alike."

    They have had a weekly show on KTLK AM1150 for 2 years. When Thom was 21 on his 3rd sky jump he broke his coccyx, crushed lumbar vertebra.

  • How many people tortured to get one piece of info? We got loads of bad info.
  • Guest: Norm Stamper, former Chief of Police, Seattle, WA; member of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition; Author of "Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Expose of the Dark Side of American Policing". Is it time to end the prohibition on pot? Thom's friend who made millions on drug testing kits. The drugs used to be readily available, like Coca Cola. Many police agree, but off the record. True life sentence, not death penalty.
  • Bumper Music: For What It's Worth, Buffalo Springfield (video).
  • Geeky science segment...
  • Article: Turmeric: India's 'Holy Powder' Finally Reveals Its Centuries-old Secret. Turmeric, curcumin.
  • Article: Sunscreen In A Pill: Dermatologists Discover Sun Protection Under The Sea.
    "Dermatologists recognize the benefits of a compound called astaxanthin. Found in red ocean plants and animals such as salmon, astaxanthin is the most effective and efficient free radical sponge in nature, which works to combat the free radicals created by skin exposed to ultraviolet rays. It is a powerful antioxidant that also reduces the pain and inflammation that occurs with sunburn. It is not a substitute for sunscreen, but a supplement provides the benefits of eating one to three pounds of salmon a day. ...

    UV rays can damage skin's DNA, increasing its risk of developing skin cancer. But dermatologists say that Bio Astin, also know as Astaxanthin, acts like a sponge absorbing UV rays. It also reduces pain and inflammation from sunburn. It's a powerful antioxidant, more than 500 times stronger than vitamin E and 10 times stronger than vitamin A.


    Thom takes granular dulse.

  • Article: Human Brains Make Their Own 'Marijuana'.
  • Article: Missing the Dark: Health Effects of Light Pollution.
    "Electric lighting has become an integral part of modern society. When such light is inefficient, annoying, or unnecessary, it is known as light pollution. Many environmentalists, naturalists, and medical researchers consider light pollution to be one of the fastest growing and most pervasive forms of environmental pollution. Moreover, a growing body of scientific research suggests light pollution can impair biologic functions in both humans and wildlife. Researchers are working to determine the extent and nature of associations between light pollution and human health effects such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression, and insomnia. ...

    The 24-hour day/night cycle, known as the circadian clock, affects physiologic processes in almost all organisms. These processes include brain wave patterns, hormone production, cell regulation, and other biologic activities. Disruption of the circadian clock is linked to several medical disorders in humans, including depression, insomnia, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, says Paolo Sassone-Corsi, chairman of the Pharmacology Department at the University of California, Irvine, who has done extensive research on the circadian clock. "Studies show that the circadian cycle controls from ten to fifteen percent of our genes," he explains. "So the disruption of the circadian cycle can cause a lot of health problems." ...

    When does nuisance light become a health hazard? Richard Stevens, a professor and cancer epidemiologist at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, Connecticut, says light photons must hit the retina for biologic effects to occur. "However, in an environment where there is much artificial light at night—such as Manhattan or Las Vegas—there is much more opportunity for exposure of the retina to photons that might disrupt circadian rhythm," he says. "So I think it is not only ‘night owls' who get those photons. Almost all of us awaken during the night for periods of time, and unless we have blackout shades there is some electric lighting coming in our windows. It is not clear how much is too much; that is an important part of the research now."

  • Article: VITAL SIGNS: PATTERNS; Night Owls Now Getting the Worms, December 22, 1998.
    "In a study of 1,229 men and women over 65, the researchers, from the Environmental Epidemiological Unit at Southampton General Hospital, found that owls were wealthier than larks. At least they showed the largest mean income, the greatest access to a car and the most indoor toilets."
  • Thom is a lark. They are closing in on the genes.
  • Bumper Music: Go to the Mirror Boy, The Who.
  • Clip: "Thank you, Mr. Know-It-All" June Foray (Rocket 'Rocky' J. Squirrel) from The Bullwinkle Show.
  • Bumper Music: The Mail Must Go Through, Larry Groce & The Disneyland Children's Sing Along Chorus (clip).
  • Article: Obama vows to push for credit card reform.
  • Article: Obama discusses credit cards and puts staff to sleep.
    "The White House pool report provides the play-by-play."

    One thing to note is that Summers appeared to be nodding off near the beginning of Obama’s remarks. And then he DID nod off, doing the head on the hand and then head falling off the hand thing. Photogs seemed to be having a field day. All other officials in the room appeared fully awake.

  • Article: Sean Hannity Offers To Be Waterboarded For Charity.
  • Thom offered to waterboard Sean Hannity for charity.
  • Somali pirates. Overfishing. Torture. Why was Pinochet doing it? Tool of social control. Bush for Iraq war.
  • Cheney and Rumsfeld were closely associated with the Nixon administration which condoned torture in Vietnam. Gonzales went to law school instead of doing the 3rd year of training, which would have included SERE training.
  • Bumper Music: The Love Boat theme, Jack Jones.
  • Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News on the Queen Mary 2, repeating the journey her father made. They were about 1500 miles from the Statue of Liberty. She put on Captain Trevor Lane. They are arriving in NY on 26 April, crossing Atlantic from Southampton. You make a crossing on a liner, you are not cruising on a cruiser. Cunard was the first company allowed to carry mail. The Queen Mary 2 is called the RMS QM2; she carried some mail on the maiden voyage, but does not usually. Ellen was meeting people from all over the country, they are talking about Iraq. The passengers are mainly English. 24,00 pounds of fruit consumed per crossing, the QM2 manages 31 feet per gallon. How many of our forefathers and mothers made the journey?
  • Winner of a signed book today is ricky47 for commenting on today's blog:

    My memory of Dachau in 1968, as a young American exchange student, was how absolutely normal the setting appeared. I expected a lead in like perhaps Jackson State Prison. Instead, getting off the train/bus from Munich it took a bit to find it. I found myself in a peaceful little village reminiscent of the American mid-west. I immediately understood Hannah Arendt’s comment on the banality of evil (Origins of Totalitarianism). We must be far more cautious of this than most would believe. The last 8 years have put us teetering on the edge of the slope. We need to drive home this point with criminal prosecution. While it may not be Nuremburg scale, it is only a matter of degree.


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