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Diplomats ‘trying to censor’ US Senate report on British role in CIA activities

Posted on August 18th, 2014 at 22:46 by John Sinteur in category: Mess O'Potamia


Desperate diplomats are trying to censor a US Senate report that would blow open Britain’s role in torture and rendition, legal action charity Reprieve said yesterday.

Britain’s ambassador to the US has held at least 22 meetings with US intelligence select committee senators since they began looking into leaked CIA cables in 2009.

Newly released Foreign Office documents show “the desperate attempts being made by the UK to censor the Senate’s report on CIA torture,” stormed Reprieve executive director Clare Algar.

Current ambassador Sir Peter Westmacott most recently tried to lobby Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich on July 14.

He has also courted six other senators since July 2012, including committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein and vice-chairman Saxby Chambliss.

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  1. Once you declare the King and Queen as above other people, other people become expendable.

  2. @chas: I don’t think it’s to do with the (largely) ceremonial Head of State being a hereditary position vs. an elected one.

    It’s about British (and other) governments being obliged to please the USA. Or actually wanting to please them.

  3. And the House of Lords is ceremonial too?

  4. The House Of Lords actually works as a revising chamber and prevents the House of Commons from ramming through some pretty odious legislation. The Lords have been instrumental in legislating some of the more humane and enlightened laws (few though they are) such as gay rights. Things are not always what they seem. Having said all that I think the French had the right idea of how to deal with aristocracies. But you have to start where you are and preferably not from a point of ignorance.

  5. Some confusion here surely. The House of Lords is an unelected and unrepresentative body which exists solely to provide jobs for superannuated career politicians. The membership tend to be drawn from bands of politicians who have retired and from toadying business and professional elites. Their number is supplemented by a few hereditary positions and some seats are reserved for senior members of the Church of England.
    While it is no longer acceptable for the Lords to buy their seats somehow contributors to the two main political parties seem still to find themselves mysteriously appointed. All of this must help the widely held belief that the Brits are Stupid. Come the revolution all their Lordships will be shot.

  6. It’s not possible to disagree with any of that. The confusion arises because they Lords does in fact serve to humanise and mitigate the worst excesses of that worst of all political systems (except for all the rest) untempered democracy. See USA for unending examples.

    There’s an awful lot of competition but I think we can safely say that Brits are indeed Stupid. Not Stupider than most, perhaps, but Stupid like the rest. I note that we all choose to express these thoughts in our Stupid language.

  7. Perhaps we might agree that many political systems work in many parts of the world to varying degrees. Nothing to do with this issue.

    The particular problem is that several countries (Britain, Canada, Poland and probably others) are complicit in what are essentially kidnap/torture conspiracies. They were doing it for the US.

    At least one has been exposed and partly compensated (not by the US though): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maher_Arar (this man was entirely innocent).

The drug war means never having to say you’re sorry

Posted on August 18th, 2014 at 22:22 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane


Remember the story about the Georgia toddler whose chest was blown open by a flash grenade during a botched drug raid?

Here’s an update:

Habersham County officials say they do not plan to pay for the medical expenses of a toddler seriously injured during a police raid.

Bounkham Phonesavah, affectionately known as “Baby Boo Boo,” spent weeks in a burn unit after a SWAT team’s flash grenade exploded near his face. The toddler was just 19-months-old and asleep in the early morning hours of May 28. SWAT officers threw the device into his home while executing a search warrant for a drug suspect.

Habersham County officials are defending their decision not to pay, but the child’s family isn’t giving up.

After weeks of recovery at two different hospitals, Channel 2 Action News was there in July as the little boy walked out of a hospital with his family.

He is doing better, but late Friday afternoon, his family’s attorney told said the family’s medical bills are mounting.

“But at this point, the county is refusing to pay,” said attorney Muwali Davis.

Habersham County’s attorney provided the following statement, saying: “The question before the board was whether it is legally permitted to pay these expenses. After consideration of this question following advice of counsel, the board of commissioners has concluded that it would be in violation of the law for it to do so.”

I’ll just state the obvious here. If there’s a law that prevents a local government from reimbursing a family to repair a child nearly killed by the negligence and ineptitude of local law enforcement officers, then that law needs to be changed.

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Ms Streisand, white courtesy phone please

Posted on August 18th, 2014 at 19:01 by John Sinteur in category: News


A financial services business licenced through National Australia Bank is suing an online forum for refusing to remove an allegedly fake and negative post about its services, claiming it has damaged its reputation with would-be clients.

It is the latest legal action launched against an online forum or review website for publishing negative comments, following several high profile cases in Australia and overseas.

Financial advice group WCS Group has initiated action against Whirlpool in the Supreme Court of Victoria, seeking unspecified damages and costs, despite the fact the forum generates no revenue.

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What I Did After Police Killed My Son

Posted on August 18th, 2014 at 15:51 by John Sinteur in category: News


Yes, there is good reason to think that many of these unjustifiable homicides by police across the country are racially motivated. But there is a lot more than that going on here. Our country is simply not paying enough attention to the terrible lack of accountability of police departments and the way it affects all of us—regardless of race or ethnicity. Because if a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy — that was my son, Michael — can be shot in the head under a street light with his hands cuffed behind his back, in front of five eyewitnesses (including his mother and sister), and his father was a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who flew in three wars for his country — that’s me — and I still couldn’t get anything done about it, then Joe the plumber and Javier the roofer aren’t going to be able to do anything about it either.

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I Went Undercover in America’s Toughest Prison

Posted on August 18th, 2014 at 15:23 by John Sinteur in category: News


I didn’t believe that a “concentration camp” could exist in America until, in Phoenix, Arizona, I saw one with my own eyes.

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  1. The article doesn’t make it clear which of the conditions the author heard about and which he witnessed first-hand. E.g. was he really served food green with mould? Not great journalism.

‘Expendables 3′ Flops: Is Piracy to Blame?

Posted on August 18th, 2014 at 14:33 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property


Is piracy to blame for “The Expendables 3’s” puny box office debut this weekend or were viewers ready to euthanize the film’s aging action heroes?That’s the question Hollywood’s asking after the thriller fell short of initial projections by roughly $10 million, debuting to a paltry $16.2 million.As the dwindling numbers trickled in over the weekend, studio executives privately pointed the finger at a leaked copy of the film that hit the internet three weeks before its debut and was seen by 2.2 million people.“This is really a clear situation where this had an impact,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst of BoxOffice.com. “It’s hard to measure, but the ripple effect, not only of the downloads, but of the word-of-mouth that spread as a result, can be seen in the soft opening.”

Well, if you produce a turd, and people can tell each other it’s a turd before the opening weekend, your opening weekend is going to suck.

And you prove it in the same article:

For instance, an unfinished copy of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” was widely distributed online a month before the film opened in 2009, but the picture still managed to rack up $373 million globally. That’s a big number and one that suggests a lot of people were still willing to shell out for the finished product.

And that’s because, you guessed it, people tell each other it’s not a turd.

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