And Suddenly People Care About Torture Again

Shortly after it was known that prisoners in Guantanamo Bay were being tortured there was an uproar by the neoliberals. They claimed to be very upset by the fact that people were being tortures. As it turns out they were only unhappy that their man wasn’t in charge when the torture was occurring and shortly after Bush was replaced by Obama they faded into the background (sadly joining most of the anti-war movement).

Yesterday a report on the torture performed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was released and suddenly people care about torture again:

The summary of the report, compiled by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that the CIA misled Americans about what it was doing.

The information the CIA collected this way failed to secure information that foiled any threats, the report said.

In a statement, the CIA insisted that the interrogations did help save lives.

“The intelligence gained from the programme was critical to our understanding of al-Qaeda and continues to inform our counterterrorism efforts to this day,” Director John Brennan said in a statement.

However, the CIA said it acknowledged that there were mistakes in the programme, especially early on when it was unprepared for the scale of the operation to detain and interrogate prisoners.

Welcome back everybody! Glad to have you with us again! Of course the reactions to this report have been very predictable. The neoliberals, who are again feigning outrage, keep reiterating that this happened under Bush’s watch. I guess the important take away from this report is that the old war criminal was in charge instead of the current war criminal (he’s probably too busy ordering the bombings of Middle Eastern children to bother overseeing torture operations).

The neocons have been equally predictable. Their main takeaway from the torture report is that it was totally cool because it was happening to Middle Easterners. They have also been busy trying to claim that the torture saved the lives of American soldiers even though no evidence exists supporting such a claim (and anybody who has studied interrogation techniques knows torture produces unreliable information because tortured people will tell you whatever they think you want to hear in the hopes you’ll stop inflicting pain).

I don’t care which war criminal was in charge at the time and I don’t care if acts of torture saved lives. Torture is unacceptable. Period. Not only does it produce unreliable information but it’s inhumane as Hell. The only thing torture is useful for is detecting people who should be removed from society. That is to say if somebody is willing to torture another human being they shouldn’t be in society.

Anyways this state crime, like all of its previous crimes, will likely be swept under the rug next week. Then it can go on to torture some other people and everybody can pretend to care for another week after a report is published by whatever party doesn’t hold the position of war-criminal-in-chief.

Why I Hate Neocons Part Seven Billion

It’s no secret that I hold special disdain for neocons. They’re especially vile creatures that seem to only achieve full erection in the presence of violence. That’s probably why they’re always touting the “tough on crime” bullshit. Tough on crime is just a euphemism for police brutality, which we’re seeing plenty of this day and age.

The killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner have really shown the extent neocons will go to get their rocks off. In both situations, while most people were asking why the killings occurred, neocons were digging as deep as they could into the dead men’s pasts to uncover something, anything that would justify the cops’ actions. They didn’t give a damn that two people were dead, they only wanted an excuse to label those men thugs so they could jump onto their social media accounts and spew their joyous blood lust all over for everybody to see.

While I also hold special disdain for neoliberals I at least give them some credit for not being so public with their violence fetish. Yes, like neocons, neoliberals love bombing Middle Easterners and they love having a militarized police force to keep dissidents in line. But at least they aren’t hopping on social media sites just so they can exclaim how happy they are that people were killed.

We Built This

As most of you probably realize I’m a huge fan of history. I love reading about it, talking about it, and visiting historical sites. That’s why reports like this really piss me off:

Iraq’s religious and cultural heritage is currently under attack from the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), report sources including Newsweek and Hyperallergic. The group has bulldozed, blown up, or otherwise destroyed churches, shrines, and mosques across the country, as well as ancient statues, artifacts, and archeological sites.

During the last Republican National Convention the party used the theme “We Built This!” And they certainly did build this. ISIS is the result of the United States stomping into Iraq, under false pretenses, and topple a horrible dictatorship only to replace it with another arguably more horrible dictatorship. That’s a recipe for large gangs of zealous thugs to gain support and begin a war. There also seems to often be a correlation between the viciousness of a current state and the viciousness of the revolutionaries fighting it. ISIS is one vicious group of assholes and we built it. It’s too bad we can’t rebuild the history being destroyed by what we built though.

Sheet Metal Guns

It’s time again to point out how futile the concept of gun control really is. I’ve discussed 3D printed firearms because they’re a neat demonstration of how manufacturing technology is advancing. But guns have been around for hundreds of years so it’s safe to say that manufacturing them isn’t too difficult. The Firearm Blog has a post about a semi-automatic pistol made from sheet metal. It’s an ugly looking thing but it supposedly works and the blueprints are available [PDF] for download.

What’s nice about this design is the simplicity of manufacture. Sheet metal can for the most part be shaped with hand tools. Although I doubt that this gun is terribly accurate it doesn’t have to be if used correctly (as in used at short ranges).

Regarding the Shooting in California

Another piece of shit decided he wanted to go out with a bang but didn’t have the common courtesy to go it alone. He took the lives of six people before taking his own and now everybody is clamoring for answers.

Predictably a lot of people are blaming America’s “weak” gun laws. The fact that this occurred in California should who how silly such arguments are. Others are blaming the lack of mental illness screenings. When somebody discovered an effective test for predicting future homicidal behavior please let me know. Until we have such tests the whole idea of mental illness screenings is pretty sketchy. I even found an article that blames the whole incident on misogyny. Because, you know, misogyny leads to murder sprees, or something.

The point is everybody is latching onto whatever piece of the puzzle be helps them push their agenda. But boiling this event down to pet issues misses the big picture, which is unfortunately so complex we’ll likely never fully understand it. All we know for certain is that the events of this murderer’s life combined with his unique mentality made for a lethal combination. I doubt any form of mental illness screening would catch somebody like this solely because the mentalities we consider to be illnesses often don’t show visible signs until a horrible deed has already been committed.

I know it’s a natural reaction to want to do something to prevent horrible deeds from happening in the future. But events perpetrated by a single individual are hard to stop because the dangerous factor is a single individual. As there are roughly seven billion individuals on this planet it’s almost impossible to create a mechanism to stop the darker inhibitions of each and every one of them. Some will claim that such a statement is defeatist in nature and it probably is. But there are things that we as a species cannot do. We cannot propel ourselves to the moon under my own power and we cannot stop individuals for doing heinous things. It sucks but it’s reality.

Mother of the Year Award

I know a lot of older people who complain about today’s youth. But behind many problem children there are problem parents. Take this story for example. Roman Rodriguez left class to find eight teenagers beating up a smaller child. Rodriguez approached the group, determined who the ringleader was, and addressed him with a request to leave the child alone. His request was met with an attempted punch, which missed. Reacting to the initiated aggression Rodriguez, a teenager with martial arts experience, put the aggressor on the ground and held him. What happened after that makes one ask what the fuck is wrong with some parents:

Rodriguez’s strategy worked. The teen, who Rodriguez could only identify as “Angel” ran home, with his group of friends following. What he wasn’t prepared for was the threat he yelled.

“The kid threatened to stab or shoot Roman,” Colón said.

Rodriguez ran back inside the building to tell his father, who was still packing up after class, what happened.

“My son is a pretty mellow kid and I could tell something was wrong as he was pretty hyped up,” Ricardo said.

As they walked outside together, Ricardo said, the teen had returned brandishing a large kitchen knife with his mother by his side.

“I witnessed this kid’s mother encourage her son to stab mine. She was instigating a fight,” Ricardo said. “My first reaction was to protect my son, but also to avoid any kind of tragedy.”

Emphasis mine. The aggressor returning with a knife is bad in of itself but it’s pretty easy, based on this stroy, to figure out where he learned such behavior. What mother on Earth would give a knife to their child, accompany their child to the scene of a previous fight, and encourage him to stab the kid that had previously won the fight (that, I might add, was started by the kid who lost)? That has to be one messed up household.

Kudos to Roman Rodriguez for doing the right thing. I don’t think the situation could have been handled any better than it was. But the mother of the aggressor… holy shit. The fact that parents like that exist in this world saddens me greatly. Can a child with such a mother have any chance of a decent life?

Getting Away with Murder

It’s easy to get away with murder in this country. Doing so only requires you to acquire a badge and a state sanctioned costume. Once you’ve done that you can go around beating people to death without worrying about consequences:

An Orange County jury Monday found two former Fullerton police officers accused of killing a schizophrenic homeless man, Kelly Thomas, not guilty.

Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli were charged with striking Kelly Thomas with a baton and a stun gun in a beating that left him comatose. He died five days later.

What makes this decision especially heinous is that the evidence of police brutality is concrete. Here is the video of the police beating Mr. Thomas to death without any provocation (obviously the video is violent):

One might be asked what defense could possibly exist for an act of brutality such as this. Well the defense, like the video, was sick:

Ramos’ attorney, John Barnett, told reporters: “These peace officers were doing their jobs…they did what they were trained to do.”

The defense attorney was being truthful, the officers were doing their jobs as they were trained to. Threatening and inflicting violence to instill obedience is how officers are trained to deal with situations. If an officer commands you to do something and you fail to do so you can almost guarantee that you would be beaten, Tased, shot, or otherwise aggressed against. This is one of the biggest problems with modern policing.

I honestly don’t have words to describe my opinion of those officers or the jurors who gave them a free pass. This ruling demonstrates everything that is wrong with America’s “justice” system. Although I try to avoid using derogatory labels I cannot help by bring myself to use one now. Those officers are fucking pigs. They are examples of the worst humanity has to offer. Savagely beating a homeless schizophrenic man to death because he was unwilling to put his god damned feet in the command position takes a true psychopath. I only hope that the jurors came to their decision because they were being threatened behind the scenes. Based on what I’ve seen in today’s “justice” system I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case. And if that was the reason for their decision I understand and do not fault them. On the other hand, if that wasn’t the reason for their decision I can only assume the jury was made up of some truly sick individuals.

Fuck everything about this case.

Words Cannot Describe My View of This Cop

I would call this cop a pig but that would denigrate an animal that wallows in its own filth:

Police officers in the city of Louisiana, Missouri used the stun gun to stop Ryan Miller after he kicked in a front door and tried to enter his house to rescue his 3-year-old stepson, Riley.

Officers on the scene felt it was too dangerous to let anybody go in. Witnesses say Miller was tased three times, then handcuffed and thrown in the back of a police car.

The boy’s body was eventually found 12 to 15 feet from the front door.

Disgusting doesn’t even begin to cover it. Imagine yourself in the position of the father. Your child is trapped in a burning house and a cop hits you with a Taser to prevent you from going in and rescuing. The end result is your child burning to death a mere 15 feet from the front door.

I really have no words to describe the actions of that cop. Preventing a father from attempting to save his child, entirely at his own risk, is despicable. Police officers shouldn’t feel as though they have the right to determine whether or not a situation is safe enough for a parent to attempt to rescue their child. That’s a decision only a parent can make.

Planning to Call the Police? Stop. Think. Reconsider.

It’s safe to say that this country no longer has peacekeeping forces. Modern police departments in this country are are paramilitary forces. Instead of trying to find nonviolent solutions to community problems the paramilitary forces that call themselves police jump to violence in a frighteningly short amount of time. A man in Iowa called the police on his son, who had taken his truck. What happened next was, sadly, predictable:

James Comstock refused to buy a pack of cigarettes for his 19-year-old son, Tyler, and now he’s planning his son’s funeral.

“He took off with my truck. I call the police, and they kill him,” James Comstock told The Des Moines Register on Tuesday. “It was over a damn pack of cigarettes. I wouldn’t buy him none.


Police began pursuing Tyler Comstock of Boone after his father reported the truck stolen. The truck belonged to a lawn care company.

Ames Police Officer Adam McPherson pursued Comstock into the heart of ISU’s campus. During the chase, Comstock rammed McPherson’s car. The truck eventually stopped, but Comstock revved the engine and refused orders to turn it off.

McPherson fired six shots into the truck. Comstock died from two gunshot wounds, according to the Iowa state medical examiner’s office.

This kind of shit pisses me off. I’m sure somebody will claim that Comstock’s act of ramming the police cruiser authorized the cops to use deadly force. That doesn’t sit well with me. With the vast toy box police officers have at their disposal, barring violent action on behalf of a suspect, there is little need for officers to enter a high-speech case. Deploying spike strips along the speeding vehicle’s path can immobilize it, which puts the ton and a half threat out of commission.

But the real lesson is simple. If you’re thinking about calling the police stop, think, and reconsider. Do you really want costume-clad thugs with a history of brutality and puppycide intervening? Is there are better, more peaceful way to solve your problem? These are questions you should give serious consideration to before picking up the phone and dialing 911.

More Cavity Searches in New Mexico

Via Twitter zerg539 let me know that our friend Agent Flemming is still operating in New Mexico:

A man in New Mexico was pulled over by police for a minor traffic violation. When officers said a K-9 unit sniffed drugs on the driver’s seat, the officers forced the man to undergo invasive medical procedures, including an anal exam.

It may sound nearly identical to David Eckert’s nightmarish story as reported by TheBlaze Tuesday, but this is an entirely different incident.

What’s interesting is that these two incidents involve the same drug dog, which apparently isn’t certified:

Leo’s certification to be a drug dog reportedly expired in April 2011. K-9s need yearly re-certification sources, and Leo is more than two years behind. But as notes, that may not matter:

According to the Supreme Court, none of this necessarily disqualifies Leo as an informant reliable enough to obtain a warrant authorizing the sort of humiliating searches that Eckert and Young underwent. Last February the justices unanimously ruled that “a court can presume” an alert by a drug-sniffing dog provides probable cause for a search “if a bona fide organization has certified a dog after testing his reliability in a controlled setting” or “if the dog has recently and successfully completed a training program that evaluated his proficiency in locating drugs.

I’ve always thought of drug dogs as a scam. While I don’t doubt the ability of the dogs I doubt the way they’re handled. A drug dog signalling is used as evidence to perform a search. The problem is that an alert action is subjectively decided by the human handler. A drug dog’s handler could take his dog’s pacing back and forth as and alert and use it as evidence to perform a search. This really relegates drug dogs to the status of exploitable tool to get around pesky warrant requirements. But seeing that the drug dog hasn’t even been reevaluated in over two years really adds icing to this already rich cake.