CIA destroyed 92 torture tapes

Jose A. Rodriguez Jr.
Daylife/Getty Images/CIA

The Central Intelligence Agency destroyed 92 videotapes documenting the “harsh interrogations” of two Al Qaeda suspects in C.I.A. detention, a greater number of destroyed tapes than the government had previously acknowledged.

The revelation came in a letter filed by federal prosecutors who are investigating the destruction of the tapes by the agency’s officers, which occurred in November 2005.

It had been previously known that officials of the agency had destroyed hundreds of hours of videotaped interrogations, but the documents filed Monday reveal the number of tapes for the first time.

The tapes had been held inside a safe in the C.I.A. station in Thailand, the country where two Al Qaeda suspects — Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri — were interrogated…

The order to destroy the tapes was given by Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., who at the time was the head of the spy agency’s clandestine service. Prosecutors have spent months trying to piece together whether anyone besides Mr. Rodriguez may have authorized the destruction of the tapes, and to decide whether anyone should be indicted in the matter.

The tapes were destroyed at a time when Congress and the courts were intensifying their scrutiny of the agency’s detention and interrogation program.

Only the corrupt and guilty work so hard at trying to prevent the record of their transgressions from seeing the light of day. We all know of their corruption and guilt. But, they can maintain their protestations of innocence as long as they wish to – until proven otherwise.

Why am I here? Why is navel lint here? Science finally answers the second question.

An Austrian scientist claims to have solved the mystery of belly button fluff.

Georg Steinhauser, a chemist, has discovered a type of body hair that traps stray pieces of lint and draws them into the navel.

Dr Steinhauser made his discovery after studying 503 pieces of fluff from his own belly button in a three year study.

His observations showed that ‘small pieces of fluff first form in the hair and then end up in the navel at the end of the day’.

“The hair’s scales act like a kind of barbed hooks,” he said.

My Lord and my God! Is it just possible that, given infinite time, all matter would wind up inside of our navels?

Hubble Has a Winner!

The public has voted on where they want to aim their favorite space observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope.

And the winner is-drum roll please–a pair of close-knit galaxies that look like they are shaking hands–or rather spiral arms.

Out of a total of 139,944 votes cast online by the public since the “Hubble, You Decide” contest opened on January 28, nearly 50 percent favored the interacting pair of spiral galaxies called Arp 274 (from the Arp Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies) over five other celestial candidates.

Hubble has shown that interacting galaxies are very photogenic because, under the relentless pull of gravity, they weave elegant twisted lanes of dust and stars, and brilliant blue clusters of newborn stars. The new picture of Arp 274 promises to reveal intriguing never-before-seen details in the galactic grand slam.

Looking forward to the research.

Gordon Brown offers to be Obama’s lapdog

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown hopes to forge an alliance this week with U.S. President Barack Obama to combat the global financial crisis and reinforce what London calls its special relationship with Washington…

They say Britain’s ability to play a lead role is limited by the depth of its own economic crisis, and a much broader alliance is needed than one between two countries whose policies have been partly blamed for the crisis.

[Eight years of Blair kissing Bush’s butt may finally have sickened everyone in the U.K.]

Brown wants to build a consensus on action to counter the financial crisis before he hosts a summit of the Group of 20 industrialized and emerging nations in London on April 2.

“President Obama and I will discuss this week a global new deal, whose impact can stretch from the villages of Africa to reforming the financial institutions of London and New York,” Brown wrote in the Sunday Times.

[Obama will tell him what to do.]

Reginald Dale, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said Obama would listen to Brown, a former finance minister who was among the first western heads of government to propose a sweeping state rescue program to rescue crisis-hit banks and revive dwindling lending.

“He (Obama) will know that Brown is beavering hard to be one of the leaders of the world economic recovery and that he has some economic credentials — although the British economy at the moment is not much of a testimonial to them,” Dale said.

[In other words, Brown has achieved shite all.]

The alliance was strong under Obama’s and Brown’s predecessors, George W. Bush and Tony Blair, who formed a close bond after the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.

Blair backed Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003 and sent troops to join U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Brown, aware that many Britons opposed the Iraq war and felt Blair was subservient to Bush, was cooler in his dealings with Bush.

[Only tugging his forelock a couple of times before kneeling in obeisance.]

I apologize if I’ve offended any gay readers with the photo. I wouldn’t want these klowns on my side, either.

2010 Toyota Prius: At 50 MPG, officially highest-mileage

When the 2010 Toyota Prius officially launches this spring, it will now officially receive a combined EPA estimated fuel efficiency rating of 50 MPG — that’s an estimated city/highway mpg rating of 50 in the city, 49 on the highway.

This blows away the first-generation Prius, which was rated at an EPA combined 41 MPG. It even blows away the current-generation Prius with its EPA combined 46 MPG combined city/highway. All this despite being bigger, longer and more…horsepower-y.

We’ll have our drive impression sometime later this month, so you’ll have to wait to find out if Toyota’s taken this more-efficient Prius from bland to, you know, another, stronger shade of vanilla. Heck, maybe it’s even moved up to “cream.” You’ll have to wait to find out.

Pretty snazzy! Full press release from Toyota at the Jalopnik website.

Nuclear waste from Nagasaki A-Bomb found in bottle

A bottle discarded at a waste site in the US contains the oldest sample of bomb-grade plutonium made in a nuclear reactor, scientists say. The sample dates to 1944 and is a relic from the infancy of the US nuclear weapons programme.

The researchers have described their study as “nuclear archaeology”. The bottle in question was discovered in a burial trench at the Hanford nuclear site in Washington state, north-western US.

The sample produced at the Hanford site was used in Trinity – the world’s first nuclear weapon test – on 16 July 1945 and in the plutonium bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, on 10 August 1945.

The Hanford site is now the focus of a massive environmental cleanup effort due to high levels of radioactive waste that remain at the site.

The types of forensic techniques used in the study are also vital for determining the sources, origins and routes of smuggled radioactive materials.

Finds like this never surprise me. They need more sharp folks working around the national labs who recognize the need for historic record-keeping – including samples like this.

Finally, someone freed through DNA Says It: Hell yes, I’m bitter

Tim Masters squarely blames Fort Collins, Colorado, police and prosecutors for his inability to land gainful employment and for his not having a wife and kids at this stage in his life.

In 1987, Masters became the prime suspect in the slaying of Peggy Hettrick, a 37-year-old found in a field near his house….

Masters was convicted of murder in 1999, but a judge last year threw out the conviction and released him from prison, citing new evidence that did not implicate Masters. Masters now has a lawsuit pending against several police officers, ex-prosecutors and the city….

In hearings that began in September 2007, Masters’ new defense team alleged police and prosecutorial misconduct in the investigation and trial.

In January 2008, a judge threw out the conviction and freed Masters after DNA evidence pointed to someone else.

Masters’ attorneys last year filed a lawsuit against several Fort Collins, Colorado, police and former prosecutors, alleging malicious prosecution, attorney Maria Liu says. The suit is in its pre-discovery phase….

CNN: You spent some prime years of your life — late 20s, early 30s — in jail for a crime you didn’t commit. What do you think you missed most by not being a free man in those years?

Masters: There’s so much. Right off the top, I’d say having a family. I think they’re very much responsible for me not having a family right now, a wife and kids. But it goes back further than just them arresting me. It goes all the way back to my high school days when they labeled me a murder suspect among all my peers and my teachers and everything. It goes back a long time.

CNN: Any hard feelings toward the Fort Collins Police Department or the prosecutors in the case?

Masters: Oh, absolutely. They locked me up for a decade for something I didn’t do.

It has always amazed me how, when DNA exonerates someone, the press reports that he/she is not bitter. I always figure that’s the lawyers talking. I cannot possibly believe that someone spends years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit and is not bitter. I have always assumed that he is bitter but that his lawyers have advised him never to say that.

Manchester United’s goalkeeper reveals secret weapon

Foster stopping O’Hara’s penalty shot

Sir Alex Ferguson hailed Ben Foster as an England first-choice goalkeeper in waiting after the youngster’s fine penalty shoot-out save from Jamie O’Hara proved pivotal in Manchester United claiming the Carling Cup to complete the second leg of what would be an unprecedented haul of the three major domestic trophies, the Champions League and the World Club Championship.

Foster, who had spent the moments before the penalties watching footage of Tottenham Hotspur’s players taking recent penalties on an iPod, dived to his left to palm away the luckless O’Hara’s attempt, Tottenham’s first after the teams had failed to muster a goal in 120 minutes, with David Bentley’s subsequent effort wide of the left-hand post serving to wrest the cup from the Londoners. It fell to United’s Brazilian midfielder, Anderson, to confirm a 4-1 shoot-out success, though victory owed much to Foster whose saves, particularly from Aaron Lennon in normal time, had helped to prolong parity.

“The future is his, the present belongs to [Edwin] Van der Sar, that’s obvious,” said Ferguson while his players celebrated claiming the season’s first major trophy out on the pitch. “Myself and the coaching staff have always had great faith in him but, having now had that experience in a final, that will strengthen his own belief. I think he’ll be England’s goalkeeper for the next number of years.

“I did a bit of research for the penalties,” said the 25-year-old. “We tried to find out everything we could about Spurs beforehand and, just before the shoot-out, I was looking at a video on an iPod with Eric Steele, our goalkeeping coach, and Edwin. It’s a new innovation he’s brought in since coming to the club and on it were some of Tottenham’s penalties, including one from O’Hara. I was told that, if he was taking one, to stay as big as I can. Edwin hasn’t got a bad record with penalties and he just told me to be as intimidating as possible. I stood up for as long as I could, and it is great it worked out for me.”

Enjoyable match – all the more so because of Spurs’ spirited play. No one except a righteous Tottenham fan expected anyone other than Manchester United to come away with the trophy.

0 – 0 after regulation time plus double overtime, it came down to a penalty shootout. Gomes, the Hotspurs’ keeper had done a fine job throughout the match. He had the edge in international experience over Foster even though he has a well-earned reputation for being – shall we say – erratic. Foster surprised everyone watching at my household.

Bravo. Well-played.

Will Obama close the divide in U.S. military leadership?


Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense – and the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen – appeared on separate TV shows, Sunday, and said the same thing two completely opposite ways.

The United States believes Iran has stockpiled enough nuclear fuel to make a bomb, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen said on Sunday.

“We think they do, quite frankly,” Mullen said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program when asked whether Iran has enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon.

“And Iran having nuclear weapons, I’ve believed for a long time, is a very very bad outcome — for the region and for the world,” Mullen said.

Sure sounds like imminent danger – to any ignorant American voter who hasn’t a clue of the differences between low-grade fissile material and weapons grade – and what it takes to grow from one to the other.

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Is Dirty Harry in charge of India’s police?

Madkam Deva walks about 20 paces off a dirt footpath in a verdant forest, finds the place where large, orange ants crawl over a dark maroon stain, then points to another bloodstain a few yards away. This, he says, is where he saw one villager cut down by police bullets, and then a second.

“I’m scared they’ll come after me now,” says Deva, who is about 20. He says a bullet grazed his right forearm while he fled the barrage.

His account of what happened in this remote and undeveloped corner of eastern India on Jan. 8 boils down to this: The police rounded up 24 tribal villagers, told them they were going to a station for questioning, then lined them up for execution en route. Five, including Deva, escaped.

Rahul Sharma, the police superintendent in the Dantewada district of the State of Chhattisgarh, provides an account as detailed and vivid as Deva’s, but profoundly different. “It was a very genuine encounter,” says Sharma, who said his men came upon a group of armed Maoists and engaged in a firefight. No policemen were killed, he said, but one took shrapnel from a grenade to his hand.

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