How Bad Can It Get News #2

Even when government officials purposely subject an innocent person to brutal torture, they enjoy full immunity.

By Glenn Greenwald

November 04, 2009 “Salon” — It’s not often that an appellate court decision reflects so vividly what a country has become, but such is the case with yesterday’s ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Arar v. Ashcroft (.pdf). Maher Arar is both a Canadian and Syrian citizen of Syrian descent. A telecommunications engineer and graduate of Montreal’s McGill University, he has lived in Canada since he’s 17 years old. In 2002, he was returning home to Canada from vacation when, on a stopover at JFK Airport, he was (a) detained by U.S. officials, (b) accused of being a Terrorist, (c) held for two weeks incommunicado and without access to counsel while he was abusively interrogated, and then (d) was “rendered” — despite his pleas that he would be tortured — to Syria, to be interrogated and tortured. He remained in Syria for the next 10 months under the most brutal and inhumane conditions imaginable, where he was repeatedly tortured. Everyone acknowledges that Arar was never involved with Terrorism and was guilty of nothing. I’ve appended to the end of this post the graphic description from a dissenting judge of what was done to Arar while in American custody and then in Syria.

/snip/

And one in six youngsters said they thought Auschwitz was a Second World War theme park while one in 20 said the Holocaust was a celebration at the end of the war.

The survey for a veterans’ charity also found one in 10 thought the SS stood for Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven, and one in 12 believed the Blitz was a European clean-up operation following the Second World War.

/snip/

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans receiving food stamp assistance soared above 36 million for the first time in August, the eighth month in a row that enrollment set a record, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Wednesday.

/snip/

Over the years, the American Central Intelligence Agency has gained a reputation for being the most far-reaching, sophisticated, and effective government intelligence agency on the planet. At the same time, the CIA has also become known for its incredible paranoia and propensity to undertake costly, sometimes illegal, and often downright absurd projects in the name of gaining an edge on the competition. From spy cats to psychic hippies, the following are ten of the weirdest spy programs the government has proposed and funded over the years.

/snip/

If people were pissed off about AIG’s temporary decline and permanent bonuses, CIT’s bankruptcy ought to enrage them.

The giant lender to businesses is heading for a quick in-and-out in bankruptcy court, and when it emerges, taxpayers will be the ones who have gotten the ol’ in-out: CIT won’t have to repay its $2.33 billion TARP bailout.

/snip/

 

We’ve been trying to figure out what, if any, preparations Wall Street has been taking to guard against H1N1.

For the most part, the banks have been coy about their activities.

But as noted on The Today Show this morning, several banks have been among the early recipients of H1N1 vaccine, allowing them to get ahead of hospitals in some instances.

The story was originally broken by BusinessWeek this week.

/snip/

By Daniel Tencer
Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 — 3:31 pm

The CIA relied on intelligence based on torture in prisons in Uzbekistan, a place where widespread torture practices include raping suspects with broken bottles and boiling them alive, says a former British ambassador to the central Asian country.

Craig Murray, the rector of the University of Dundee in Scotland and until 2004 the UK’s ambassador to Uzbekistan, said the CIA not only relied on confessions gleaned through extreme torture, it sent terror war suspects to Uzbekistan as part of its extraordinary rendition program.

“I’m talking of people being raped with broken bottles,” he said at a lecture late last month that was re-broadcast by the Real News Network. “I’m talking of people having their children tortured in front of them until they sign a confession. I’m talking of people being boiled alive. And the intelligence from these torture sessions was being received by the CIA, and was being passed on.”

/snip/

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