So the CIA doesn’t consider “waterboarding” — mock execution by near drowning — to be torture, but the U.S. State Department does.
State Department reports from 2003 to 2007 concluded that Sri Lanka’s use of “near-drowning” of detainees was among “methods of torture.” Its reports on Tunisia from 1996 to 2004 classified “submersion of the head in water” as “torture.” In fact, the U.S. military has prosecuted variants of waterboarding for more than 100 years — going back to the U.S. occupation of the Philippines in the early 1900s.
Earlier this year, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down a state eavesdropping law that made it a crime for citizens to record conversations with police or anyone else without the other person’s permission. The court held that the old law “criminalize a wide range of innocent conduct” and violated free-speech rights. In particular, the court noted the state could not criminalize recording activities where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy, including citizens’ “public” encounters with police.
Vermont is saying a sad goodbye to its hopes of enacting America's first single-payer health care system.
The reason the state says it won't pursue the plan is that it's just too expensive. Even Democratic Gov. Pete Shumlin, who hoped the system would be a highlight of his political career, agrees that the tax hikes necessary to fund the system would have been prohibitive.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: We have these cycles where we have a period of quiet, a period of safety and all of the sudden we get all upset about the methods that we have used in the past, as in the interrogation report, or about NSA intrusion into our lives, you know, this is the government spying on us. We have to understand that in the grown-up world there's a trade-off between security and liberty. You can you pretend, as Obama does, that there's no trade-off. There always is, it has been since the beginning of time. We are now seeing the results of these kind of attacks.
One of the highest-level whistleblowers to emerge from the National Security Agency, William Binney, spoke out recently about the NSA’s “totalitarian mentality,” and the fact that the agency’s intelligence controls the entire cyber network across the globe, making their global reach omnipresent.
As a former crypto-mathematician for the NSA, Binney was a leading code-breaker against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. He resigned from the NSA after September 11, when he noticed, and was repulsed by the country’s move towards mass surveillance.
Prosecutors in the case against alleged Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht want the court to prohibit Ulbricht from saying almost anything political at all, according to a motion filed last week by the government.
They’re worried that the jury might end up sympathizing with Ulbricht’s politics.
The new defense spending bill includes $120 million for tanks that the Army has repeatedly said it doesn't want.
For three years, the Army in numerous Congressional hearings has pushed a plan that essentially would have suspended tank building and upgrades in the U.S. for the first time since World War II. The Army suggested that production lines could be kept open through foreign sales.
Each time, Congress has pushed back. Last week, Congress won again in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015.
A judge has ruled that Tucson, Ariz., doesn’t have to release records about how it tracks cellphones, which the city argues would aid criminals.
Beau Hodai, a freelance reporter, requested records from the Tucson Police Department in 2013 about the Stingray and Stingray II, cell phone tracking equipment, according to court documents. The equipment acts like a cell tower, and can measure signal strength to determine the location of a phone.
Hodai requested all records created using the equipment, any e-mails about it, and any records about its purchase and maintenance.
A short time ago while addressing a CEO roundtable and Business Forum in Tanzania, President Barack H. Obama, told reporters and attendees that today’s Tea Party members in the United States very closely fit the U.S. government’s profile for domestic terrorists. The President’s response came after a Tanzania businessman asked if civil unrest in the U.S. is likely to affect doing business with American companies.
The commissioners of a small Tennessee town have just voted to ban negative comments about it from social media. This stupid move was prompted by "criticism and lies" being posted online, which supposedly "hampered" the town's government from performing its duties.