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Context explained
Mar 16th, 2012 by Ken Hagler

Non-Lethal Heat Ray.

The U.S. mil­i­tary has a non-lethal heat ray. No details on what “non-lethal” means in this con­text.

[Schneier on Secu­ri­ty]

In this con­text it means “able to tor­ture an entire crowd of peo­ple simul­ta­ne­ous­ly at the push of a but­ton.”

Missing the obvious again
Mar 11th, 2012 by Ken Hagler

Sus­pect­ed Car­jack­er Slices His Neck Dur­ing Police Chase. A man sus­pect­ed of steal­ing a car at knife­point (and lat­er using that same knife to slice his own neck for unknown rea­sons) was hos­pi­tal­ized after lead­ing police on a chase through South Los Ange­les into the Mid-City area. [LAist]

Unknown rea­sons,” real­ly? I think the rea­son is pret­ty obvi­ous and am only sur­prised that it doesn’t hap­pen more often. Any­one who’s not either com­plete­ly delu­sion­al or has spent the past ten years liv­ing under a rock knows that the US gov­ern­ment rou­tine­ly tor­tures pris­on­ers. Unless you’re a masochist, why wouldn’t you try to kill your­self if fac­ing cap­ture by Amer­i­cans?

More government atrocities
Apr 13th, 2010 by Ken Hagler

The Grey­hound Sta­tion Gulag. New Orleans res­i­dent Abdul­rah­man Zeitoun was with three friends in the liv­ing room when the loot­ers came. Like most of the armed crim­i­nal gangs afflict­ing the city in Katrina’s wake, the maraud­ers who con­front­ed Mr. Zeitoun wore government-issued cos­tumes.

Before the day’s end, the Syrian-born U.S. cit­i­zen — who had spent days pad­dling through the flood­ed streets in a canoe, ren­der­ing what aid he could to peo­ple trapped in their ruined homes — would be con­fined in a makeshift deten­tion camp mod­eled after the noto­ri­ous facil­i­ty in Guan­tanamo Bay, Cuba.

No for­mal crim­i­nal charges were filed again­st Zeitoun. When he protest­ed the denial of his due process rights and rudi­men­ta­ry decen­cies of liv­ing, he was told by the guards that he was under the juris­dic­tion of FEMA (the Fed­er­al Emer­gen­cy Man­age­ment Agen­cy) — which meant that he was some­body else’s prob­lem.

[…]

Always the pro­ce­dure was the same,” nar­rates Eggers, “a pris­on­er would be removed from his cage and dragged to the ground near­by, in full view of the rest of the pris­on­ers. His hands and feet would be tied, and then, some­times with a guard’s knee on his back, he would be sprayed direct­ly in the face” with pep­per spray. “If the pris­on­er protest­ed,” con­tin­ues Eggers, “the knee would dig deep­er into his back. The spray­ing would con­tin­ue until his spir­it was bro­ken. Then he would be doused with [a] buck­et and returned to his cage.”

The­se rit­u­al acts of sadism, Eggers observes, were “born of a com­bi­na­tion of oppor­tu­ni­ty, cru­el­ty, ambiva­lence, and sport.” They were intend­ed to tor­ment the oth­er pris­on­ers, most of whom — like Zeitoun — were made nau­seous with sup­pressed rage by the spec­ta­cle of help­less men being tor­tured.

The vic­tims includ­ed one dis­turbed man with the intel­lec­tu­al and emo­tion­al capac­i­ty of a child who was “pun­ished” because he dis­played the irre­press­ible symp­toms of men­tal ill­ness.

Under any nor­mal cir­cum­stances [Zeitoun] would have leapt to the defense of a man vic­tim­ized as that man had been,” observes Eggers. “But that he had to watch, help­less, know­ing how depraved it was — this was pun­ish­ment for the oth­ers, too. It dimin­ished the human­i­ty of them all.”

[…]

At the slight­est excuse those who pre­sume to rule us will treat us exact­ly as Abdul­rah­man Zeitoun was treat­ed. Before being kid­napped and impris­oned by the gov­ern­ment, Zeitoun nev­er sus­pect­ed that a poten­tial gulag was lurk­ing inside the local Grey­hound sta­tion. He sees the world much dif­fer­ent­ly now, as should we all. [Pro Lib­er­tate]

Gang violence
Nov 5th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Why The Inno­cent Flee From The Police. Each encoun­ter between the police and inno­cent civil­ians is a poten­tial­ly dead­ly expe­ri­ence for the lat­ter. Thus the real ques­tion is not “Why do inno­cent peo­ple flee from the police?” but rather, “What ratio­nal per­son would sub­mit to the police if he had any rea­son­able hope of elud­ing or resist­ing them?” [Pro Lib­er­tate]

At least the British still give lip service to the rule of law
Mar 27th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Britain responds to the “rule of law” nui­sance.

Britain responds to the “rule of law” nui­sance: Via Salon: Glenn Green­wald.

(updat­ed below — Update II)

One of the prob­lems for the U.S. Gov­ern­ment in releas­ing Guan­tanamo detainees has been that, upon release, they are free to talk to the world about the treat­ment to which they were sub­ject­ed.  When the Bush admin­is­tra­tion agreed to release Aus­tralian David Hicks after almost 6 years in cap­tiv­i­ty, they did so only on the con­di­tion that he first sign a doc­u­ment­ing stat­ing that he was not abused and that he also agree — as The Aus­tralian put it — to an “extra­or­di­nary 12-month gag order that prevent[ed] Hicks from speak­ing pub­licly about the actions to which he has plead­ed guilty or the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing his cap­ture, inter­ro­ga­tion and deten­tion,” a gag order which “also silence[d] fam­i­ly mem­bers and any third par­ty.”

Last mon­th, in respon­se to increas­ing pres­sure in Britain over reports of British res­i­dent Binyam Mohamed’s dete­ri­o­ra­tion in Guan­tanamo, the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion released him back to Britain.  Ever since, he has been detail­ing the often bru­tal tor­ture to which he was sub­ject­ed over sev­er­al years, tor­ture in which British intel­li­gence offi­cials appear to have been, at the very least, com­plic­it.   read more »

[Pri­va­cy Digest: Pri­va­cy News (Civil Rights, Encryp­tion, Free Speech, Cryp­tog­ra­phy)]

Hope­ful­ly the British inves­ti­ga­tion will be allowed to pro­ceed. Unfor­tu­nate­ly I sus­pect it’s more like­ly that either the Evil Empire will order them to drop the mat­ter or else they’ll fol­low the exam­ple of cops and find them­selves inno­cent of any wrong­do­ing.

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