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Obama Supports DNA Sampling Upon Arrest

Obama Supports DNA Sampling Upon Arrest

Wired
March 10, 2010

Josh Gerstein over at Politico sent Threat Level his piece underscoring once again President Barack Obama is not the civil-liberties Knight In Shining Armor many were expecting.

Gerstein posts a televised interview of Obama and John Walsh of America’s Most Wanted. The nation’s chief executive extols the virtues of mandatory DNA testing of Americans upon arrest, even absent charges or a conviction. Obama said, “It’s the right thing to do” to “tighten the grip around folks” who commit crime.

When it comes to civil liberties, the Obama administration has come under fire for often mirroring his predecessor’s practices surrounding state secrets, the Patriot Act and domestic spying. There’s also Gitmo, Jay Bybee and John Yoo.

Now there’s DNA sampling. Obama told Walsh he supported the 18 states, including the federal government, that have varying laws requiring compulsory DNA sampling of individuals upon an arrest for crimes ranging from misdemeanors to felonies. The data is lodged in state and federal databases, and has fostered as many as 200 arrests nationwide, Walsh said.

The American Civil Liberties Union claims DNA sampling is different from mandatory, upon-arrest fingerprinting that has been standard practice in the United States for decades.

A fingerprint, the group says, reveals nothing more than a person’s identity. But much can be learned from a DNA sample, which codes a person’s family ties, some health risks, and, according to some, can predict a propensity for violence.

The ACLU is suing California to block its voter-approved measure requiring saliva sampling of people picked up on felony charges. Authorities in the Golden State are allowed to conduct so-called “familial searching” — when a genetic sample does not directly match another, authorities start investigating people with closely matched DNA in hopes of finding leads to the perpetrator.

Wondering whether DNA sampling is legal?

The courts have already upheld DNA sampling of convicted felons based on the theory that the convicted have fewer privacy rights. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that when conducting intrusions of the body during an investigation, the police need so-called “exigent circumstances” or a warrant. That alcohol evaporates in the blood stream is the exigent circumstance to draw blood from a suspected drunk driver without a warrant.

 



Obama Protecting Bush’s “Testicle Crusher” Attorney

Obama Protecting Bush’s “Testicle Crusher” Attorney

San Francisco Chronicle
December 8, 2009

The Obama administration has asked an appeals court to dismiss a lawsuit accusing former Bush administration attorney John Yoo of authorizing the torture of a terrorism suspect, saying federal law does not allow damage claims against lawyers who advise the president on national security issues.

Such lawsuits ask courts to second-guess presidential decisions and pose “the risk of deterring full and frank advice regarding the military’s detention and treatment of those determined to be enemies during an armed conflict,” Justice Department lawyers said Thursday in arguments to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

Other sanctions are available for government lawyers who commit misconduct, the department said. It noted that its Office of Professional Responsibility has been investigating Yoo’s advice to former President George W. Bush since 2004 and has the power to recommend professional discipline or even criminal prosecution.

The office has not made its conclusions public. However, The Chronicle and other media reported in May that the office will recommend that Yoo be referred to the bar association for possible discipline, but that he not be prosecuted.

Yoo, a UC Berkeley law professor, worked for the Justice Department from 2001 to 2003. He was the author of a 2002 memo that said rough treatment of captives amounts to torture only if it causes the same level of pain as “organ failure, impairment of bodily function or even death.” The memo also said the president may have the power to authorize torture of enemy combatants.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vt1-eWU2Ii0

 



CIA Secret Torture Facility Found at Horse Riding Academy

EXCLUSIVE: CIA Secret ‘Torture’ Prison Found at Fancy Horseback Riding Academy in Lithuania

ABC
November 19, 2009

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doJ9rUQt5h8

The CIA built one of its secret European prisons inside an exclusive riding academy outside Vilnius, Lithuania, a current Lithuanian government official and a former U.S. intelligence official told ABC News this week.

Where affluent Lithuanians once rode show horses and sipped coffee at a café, the CIA installed a concrete structure where it could use harsh tactics to interrogate up to eight suspected al-Qaeda terrorists at a time.

“The activities in that prison were illegal,” said human rights researcher John Sifton. “They included various forms of torture, including sleep deprivation, forced standing, painful stress positions.”

Lithuanian officials provided ABC News with the documents of what they called a CIA front company, Elite, LLC, which purchased the property and built the “black site” in 2004.

 



KSM’s children tortured with insects

KSM’s children tortured with insects

Raw Story
April 17, 2009

Bush Administration memos released by the White House on Thursday provide new insight into claims that American agents used insects to torture the young children of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

In the memos, released Thursday, the Bush Administration White House Office of Legal Counsel offered its endorsement of CIA torture methods that involved placing an insect in a cramped, confined box with detainees. Jay S. Bybee, then-director of the OLC, wrote that insects could be used to capitalize on detainees’ fears.

The memo was dated Aug. 1, 2002. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s children were captured and held in Pakistan the following month, according to a report by Human Rights Watch.

While an additional memo released Thursday claims that the torture with insects technique was never utilized by the CIA, the allegations regarding the children would have transpired when the method was authorized by the Bush Administration.

At a military tribunal in 2007, the father of a Guantanamo detainee alleged that Pakistani guards had confessed that American interrogators used ants to coerce the children of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed into revealing their father’s whereabouts.

The statement was made by Ali Khan, the father of detainee Majid Khan, who gave a detailed account of his son’s interrogation at the hands of American guards in Pakistan. In his statement, Khan asserted that one of his sons was held at the same place as the young children of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

“The Pakistani guards told my son that the boys were kept in a separate area upstairs and were denied food and water by other guards,” the statement read. “They were also mentally tortured by having ants or other creatures put on their legs to scare them and get them to say where their father was hiding.” (A pdf transcript is available here)

Khan’s statement is second-hand. But the picture he paints of his son’s interrogation at the hands of American interrogators is strikingly similar to the accounts given by numerous other detainees to the International Red Cross. The timing of the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s son — then aged seven and nine — also meshes with a report by Human Rights Watch, which says that the children were captured in September 2002 and held for four months at the hands of American guards.

“According to eyewitnesses, the two were held in an adult detention center for at least four months while U.S. agents questioned the children about their father’s whereabouts,” the report said.

The use of insects isn’t mentioned in a recently leaked International Red Cross report, in which Red Cross officials questioned detainees about their treatment at the hands of US forces and ultimately judged them to have been tortured. A second memo released Thursday, dated May 10, 2005, says the CIA told the White House insects were never actually used in interrogations.

“We understand that — for reasons unrelated to any concerns that it might violate the [criminal] statute — the CIA never used the technique and has removed it from the list of authorized interrogation techniques,” Steven Bradbury, a principal deputy assistant attorney general, wrote in a footnote.

It’s worth noting, however, that the Red Cross was denied access to individuals held at CIA black sites. Khan’s son, Majid, was among those President Bush moved from the CIA’s secret prison network to Guantanamo Bay.

The techniques Khan says were employed against his son also match those approved in the Bybee memo.

“What I can tell you is that Majid was kidnapped from my son Mohammed’s [not related Khalid Sheikh Mohammed] house in Karachi, along with Mohammed, his wife, and my infant granddaughter,” Khan said in his military tribunal statement. “They were captured by Pakistani police and soldiers and taken to a detention center fifteen minutes from Mohammed’s house. The center had walls that seemed to be eighty feet high. My sons were hooded, handcuffed, and interrogated. After eight days of interrogation by US and Pakistani agents, including FBI agents, Mohammed was allowed to see Majid.

“Majhid looked terrible and very, very tired,” Khan continued. “According to Mohammed, Majid said that the Americans tortured him for eight hours at a time, tying him tightly in stressful positions in a small chair until his hands, feet and mind went numb. They re-tied him in the chair every hour, tightening the bonds on his hands and feet each time so that it was more painful. He was often hooded and had difficulty breathing. They also beat him repeatedly, slapping him in the face, and deprived him of sleep. When he was not being interrogated, the Americans put Majid in a small cell that was totally dark and too small for him to lie down in or sit in with his legs stretched out. He had to crouch. The room was also infested with mosquitoes. The torture only stopped when Majid agreed to sign a statement that he was not even allowed to read.”

Later in his statement, Khan alleges that the Pakistani guards revealed other abuses by American agents.

“The Americans also once stripped and beat two Arab boys, ages fourteen and sixteen, who were turned over by the Pakistani guards at the detention center,” he said. “These guards told my son that they were very upset at this and said the boys were thrown like garbage onto a plane to Guantanamo. Women prisoners were also held there, apart from their husbands, and some were pregnant and forced to give birth in their cells. According to Mohammed, one woman also died in her cell because the guards could not get her to a hospital quickly enough. This was most upsetting to the Pakistani guards.”

One blogger notes, “The first indications the children may have been tortured were reported in Ron Suskind’s 2006 book The One Percent Doctrine.”

“When KSM was being held at a secret CIA facility in Thailand, apparently the revamped Vietnam War-era base at Udorn, according to Suskind, a message was passed to interrogators: ‘do whatever’s necessary,’” Kevin Fenton writes at History Commons. “The interrogators then told KSM ‘his children would be hurt if he didn’t cooperate. However, his response was, ’so, fine, they’ll join Allah in a better place.’”

Fenton has two questions: “Did the Khans invent the allegations or garble them in some way and then ‘get lucky’ two years later, when it was revealed the CIA was, at least, contemplating the techniques they alleged it used at the time in question?” and “Given that nobody heard of the CIA using insects for another two years, why would they invent these specific allegations, which sounded bizarre when they were made?”

Abu Ghraib Prisoners Submerged in Ice-Water

New Gitmo Video: Child Detainee Cries During Interrogation

Tortured Patsies To Take Fall For 9/11

Child Prisoners in Iraq Suffering Same Abuse as Adults

 



Bill O’Reilly: “I Don’t Care About The Constitution”

Bill O’Reilly: “I Don’t Care About The Constitution”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eBrfql3pnU

O’Reilly: “We Can’t Kill All the Muslims”

 



Obama making Guantanamo off-limits to press

Obama making Guantanamo off-limits to press

Press TV
September 29, 2009

The Obama Administration is denying journalist access to the Guantanamo detention facility despite pledging ‘transparency’ about the infamous prison.

The reporters, who were previously allowed to peek into the prison while covering military trials of the detainees there, are no longer given such authorization, FOXNews reported on Monday.

Arguing in favor of the decision, Defense Department Spokesman Bryan Whitman said “Past experience has led me to believe it is best to keep these visits focused on the purpose of the trip, which in this case is military commission motions,” not the detention camps.

“…the decision, according to multiple sources, is coming out of Washington and the Defense Department,” said the network’s Catherine Herridge.

“…it is clearly not consistent with the administration’s stated goal of transparency,” she added.

Under the banner of the war on terror, former president George W. Bush set up the facility in a US naval base in Cuba shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Ever since, the prison has earned notoriety for conducting torture-aided interrogations of alleged ‘terror’ suspects.

The White House has now even adjourned the military trials at the Guantanamo, taking away the only opportunity journalists had to access the prison.

Shortly after his inauguration in January, Obama signed an official order to shut down Guantanamo within a year, describing it as a “sad chapter in the American history.”

Recently, however, the White House reportedly decided against the closure, citing legal and logistical complexities surrounding the detention and prosecution of inmates held without any charges.

The recent news blackout came, according to Herridge, after a May incident in which two Chinese detainees at Guantanamo’s Camp Iguana compound “held up signs questioning whether the president was a communist or a Democrat and they questioned whether Mr. Obama was oppressing them because they had not been released five months after the president promised to close Guantanamo within a year.”

“…multiple sources have told us this incident was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” asserted Herridge. “It was highly embarrassing for the Defense Department and for the White House and this was, interestingly enough, the last trip for the journalists to the camps to cover the commission hearings.”

Over 220 inmates are currently held at Guantanamo, widely regarded as one of many American torture chambers reserved for Muslims with “suspected” ties to anti-US terrorism. Many inmates remain in prison unaware of any charges against them and with no right to a legal counsel.

 



Obama Demands Money For Pakistan War

Obama administration seeks extraordinary military powers in Pakistan

Bill Van Auken
Uruknet
May 2, 2009

The Obama administration is increasingly treating its growing intervention in Pakistan as a separate counter-insurgency war for which it is demanding the same kind of extraordinary military powers obtained by the Bush administration in Afghanistan and Iraq.

This was the main message delivered by Pentagon officials on Capitol Hill over the last few days, together with increasingly dire warnings that without immediate and unconditional US military funding for Pakistan, the government could collapse.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned Congress Thursday that unless it quickly approved some $400 million requested by the Pentagon for a new Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund the Pakistani military would run out of funding within weeks for its operations against insurgents in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and other areas of western Pakistan.

In his testimony, Gates also revealed that, even after the planned closure of the Guantanamo detention center, the US government may still imprison up to 100 of the inmates without charges or trials. The administration asked Congress for $50 million to build prison facilities in the US for detainees it claims are dangerous but cannot be tried, principally because the supposed evidence against them was extracted through torture.

The proposed $400 million in military aid for Pakistan is part of an $83.5 billion supplemental funding bill requested by Obama, the vast majority of which goes to pay for continuing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Speaking before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Gates said that the Pentagon was requesting that full control of the military aid be vested with Gen. David Petraeus, the chief of the US military�s Central Command. He claimed that the Pentagon needed “this unique authority for the unique and urgent circumstances we face in Pakistan�for dealing with a challenge that simultaneously requires wartime and peacetime capabilities.”

Some members of Congress have balked at the demand, which echoes the heavy-handed tactics of the Bush administration in demanding immediate passage of military funding for Iraq and Afghanistan with no strings attached.

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