A top-secret document revealing how MI6 and MI5 officers were allowed to extract information from prisoners being illegally tortured overseas has been seen by the Guardian.
The interrogation policy – details of which are believed to be too sensitive to be publicly released at the government inquiry into the UK’s role in torture and rendition – instructed senior intelligence officers to weigh the importance of the information being sought against the amount of pain they expected a prisoner to suffer. It was operated by the British government for almost a decade.
Jan Pen, a Dutch economist who died last year, came up with a striking way to picture inequality. Imagine people’s height being proportional to their income, so that someone with an average income is of average height. Now imagine that the entire adult population of America is walking past you in a single hour, in ascending order of income.
The first passers-by, the owners of loss-making businesses, are invisible: their heads are below ground. Then come the jobless and the working poor, who are midgets. After half an hour the strollers are still only waist-high, since America’s median income is only half the mean. It takes nearly 45 minutes before normal-sized people appear. But then, in the final minutes, giants thunder by. With six minutes to go they are 12 feet tall. When the 400 highest earners walk by, right at the end, each is more than two miles tall.
Recently, I spoke with a younger client who retired from a major investment bank in her early thirties, net worth around $8M. We can estimate that she had to earn somewhere around twice that, or $14M-$16M, in order to keep $8M after taxes and live well along the way, an impressive accomplishment by such an early age. Since I knew she held a critical view of investment banking, I asked if her colleagues talked about or understood how much damage was created in the broader economy from their activities. Her answer was that no one talks about it in public but almost all understood and were unbelievably cynical, hoping to exit the system when they became rich enough.
Only Wall Street could put the economy at risk and it had an excellent reason to do so: profit. It made huge profits in the build-up to the credit crisis and huge profits when it sold itself as “too big to fail” and received massive government and Federal Reserve bailouts. Most of the serious economic damage the U.S. is struggling with today was done by the top 0.1% and they benefited greatly from it.
I could go on and on, but the bottom line is this: A highly complex and largely discrete set of laws and exemptions from laws has been put in place by those in the uppermost reaches of the U.S. financial system. It allows them to protect and increase their wealth and significantly affect the U.S. political and legislative processes. They have real power and real wealth. Ordinary citizens in the bottom 99.9% are largely not aware of these systems, do not understand how they work, are unlikely to participate in them, and have little likelihood of entering the top 0.5%, much less the top 0.1%. Moreover, those at the very top have no incentive whatsoever for revealing or changing the rules. I am not optimistic.
Or, in other words, “Fuck you, I’ve got mine, fucking you”.
After months of heated negotiations and failed attempts to achieve any kind of consensus, President Obama turned 50 years old Thursday, drawing strong criticism from Republicans in Congress. "With the host of problems this country is currently facing, the fact that our president is devoting time to the human process of aging is an affront to Americans everywhere," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who advocated a provision to keep Obama 49 at least through the fall of 2013. "To move forward unilaterally and simply begin the next year of his life without bipartisan support—is that any way to lead a country?" According to White House officials, Obama attempted to work with Republicans right up until the Aug. 4 deadline, but was ultimately left with no choice except to turn a year older.
CHICAGO – A Mexican man charged with smuggling tons of cocaine into the United States told a federal judge in Chicago that U.S. authorities protected his outfit, the powerful Sinaloa cartel, in exchange for information on rival gangs.
The defendant, Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla, is the son of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, reputed right-hand man of Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, and played an important role in the organization until his March 2009 arrest in Mexico City.
Zambada Niebla was extradited to the United States in 2010 and will go on trial this week in Chicago.
In legal pleadings submitted to U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo, Zambada Niebla said the collaboration between the Sinaloa cartel and U.S. law enforcement arose from the 1995 drug indictment of Mexican attorney Humberto Loya Castro, “a close confidante” of Chapo Guzman.
Loya subsequently became a U.S. government informant, according to the pleading
A lot of us use them everyday, but don’t stop to appreciate the many great photographic opportunities of subways. This collection of photos of subways will hopefully show that there is a photographic opportunity just about anywhere – even including those places you take for granted and may not think of as beautiful.
A mystery company that pumped $1 million into a political committee backing Mitt Romney has been dissolved just months after it was formed, leaving few clues as to who was behind one of the biggest contributions yet of the 2012 presidential campaign.
The existence of the million-dollar donation — as gleaned from campaign and corporate records obtained by NBC News — provides a vivid example of how secret campaign cash is being funneled in ever more circuitous ways into the political system.
In a new “history” cartoon aimed at children, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, now a Fox News personality, spins an animated, less-than-nuanced retelling of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., with a distinctly pro-Bush, pro-torture spin.
In his “Learn Our History,” the former Republican presidential candidate puts forward a version of 9/11 that depicts America “coming together” in the wake of the attacks and rallying behind their leader’s plan to “take down al Qaeda.”
It closes with a montage showing alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — who was waterboarded 183 times in a single month — an image of Osama bin Laden with the word “deceased” superimposed over his FBI profile, and former President George W. Bush telling U.S. first responders at the World Trade Center site that the terrorists would soon be punished.
Huckabee’s “Learn Our History” series faced its first controversy after he blasted public schools for allegedly teaching children political bias in history class, only to release an episode which glamorized President Ronald Reagan and his anti-labor economic policies.
Rawesome foods, a private market in Venice California, has been raided a second time by federal agents. Initial reports from NaturalNews.com reveal that the owner, James Stewart, has been arrested and is being held on $123,000 bail.
Evan Kleiman, KCRW’s “Good Food” producer,confirms that Stewart has been booked for conspiracy to commit a crime, and that he is not allowed to post a bond to bail himself out of jail.
Sharon Ann Palmer and Eugenie Victoria Bloch of Healthy Family Farms, LCC, were also arrested along with Stewart, reports South Pasadena Patch. The farm and its owner, Palmer, are charged with producing milk without a license or permit since 2007. Healthy Family Farms is a regular vendor at community farmers markets, notes South Pasadena Patch.
The thirteen count complaint against the group stems from a yearlong sting operation, according toKTLA. KTLA notes that undercover investigators would make purchases of raw milk, cheese, yogurt, and kefir at Rawesome, even though the market allegedly did not have the proper permits to be selling unpasteurized dairy products.
During the raid, Stefani Perales (@lovingthenow) tweeted, “Raid is still going on 🙁 They are dumping good Raw Food to waste!”
Objections to the raid are already mounting. Rawesome supporters organized a protest at the store site today. Others encouraged people to make their voices heard by calling the California Dept of Food & Agriculture.
Fox News has a new enemy. Today’s Fox and Friends devoted multiple segments to attacking SpongeBob SquarePants for telling kids the truth about global warming.
Gretchen Carlson said, “Well we all know that SpongeBob is popular with kids and for the life of me I still keep trying to figure out why. My kids watch limited TV, but every time they choose that show, I’m like why. Anyway, it’s hard to even follow sometimes. Maybe that will be a good thing because SpongeBob is talking a lot about global warming and he is only looking at from one point of view.”
Wait, what – you feel SpongeBob is “hard to follow” and you still think you’re qualified to talk about the intricate dynamics of global climate change with a national audience?
A Swedish man who was arrested after trying to split atoms in his kitchen said Wednesday he was only doing it as a hobby.
from the look-in-the-mirror dept
specialized points us to a report at Wired concerning a released (via the Freedom of Information Act) report from the FBI as it prepares for dealing with smartphones and faster 4G and beyond mobile data networks. Not surprisingly, the FBI is concerned about what this will mean for law enforcement. Not too long ago, we noted that the feds had been sending documents to local police forces, warning them of the ability of iPhone owners to remotely wipe the devices, using a tool designed to deal with thieves. But the FBI instead describes a future possible addition to this — using voice or facial recognition characteristics to activate this — as “Big Brotherish” (you can see it on page 79 of the embedded document below):
In a move that seems Big Brother-ish, Apple has a patent in the works that could use voice and facial recognition technology to activate a “kill switch” on its popular iPhone, shutting it down when hackers “jailbreak” or unlock the phone to install unauthorized programs on it, or try to steal information from an unsuspecting iPhone user.
Apparently the FBI doesn’t quite recognize that “Big Brother” is the government.
A day after signing legislation that raised the government debt ceiling and authorized steep budget cuts, President Obama thanked Democrats as well as Democrats for their willingness to make tough, but necessary, concessions during negotiations. "I’m truly grateful that both Democrats and their Democratic counterparts were able to reach this consensus, accepting an agreement that is far from perfect not just for Democrats, but also for Democrats," Obama said Wednesday of the deal that cut federal spending $2.1 trillion over 10 years but included no revenue increases of any kind. "Lawmakers from across the political spectrum—from moderate Democrats to the more liberal members of the party to dyed-in-the-wool progressives—reached within the aisle and showed the nation that compromise requires real sacrifice from everyone." Obama added that while it may look ugly at times, politics is about Democrats giving up what they want, as well as Democrats giving up what they want, until an agreement can ultimately be reached.