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November 15, 2010

The mysterious suicides of Guantanamo Bay

The Guantanamo “Suicides”: A Camp Delta sergeant blows the whistle—By Scott Horton (Harper's Magazine)
Late on the evening of June 9 that year, three prisoners at Guant�namo died suddenly and violently. Salah Ahmed Al-Salami, from Yemen, was thirty-seven. Mani Shaman Al-Utaybi, from Saudi Arabia, was thirty. Yasser Talal Al-Zahrani, also from Saudi Arabia, was twenty-two, and had been imprisoned at Guant�namo since he was captured at the age of seventeen. None of the men had been charged with a crime, though all three had been engaged in hunger strikes to protest the conditions of their imprisonment. They were being held in a cell block, known as Alpha Block, reserved for particularly troublesome or high-value prisoners. As news of the deaths emerged the following day, the camp quickly went into lockdown. The authorities ordered nearly all the reporters at Guant�namo to leave and those en route to turn back. The commander at Guant�namo, Rear Admiral Harry Harris, then declared the deaths “suicides.” In an unusual move, he also used the announcement to attack the dead men. “I believe this was not an act of desperation,” he said, “but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.” Reporters accepted the official account, and even lawyers for the prisoners appeared to believe that they had killed themselves. Only the prisoners’ families in Saudi Arabia and Yemen rejected the notion. . . . According to the NCIS documents, each prisoner had fashioned a noose from torn sheets and T-shirts and tied it to the top of his cell’s eight-foot-high steel-mesh wall. Each prisoner was able somehow to bind his own hands, and, in at least one case, his own feet, then stuff more rags deep down into his own throat. We are then asked to believe that each prisoner, even as he was choking on those rags, climbed up on his washbasin, slipped his head through the noose, tightened it, and leapt from the washbasin to hang until he asphyxiated. The NCIS report also proposes that the three prisoners, who were held in non-adjoining cells, carried out each of these actions almost simultaneously. . . . The fact that at least two of the prisoners also had cloth masks affixed to their faces, presumably to prevent the expulsion of the rags from their mouths, went unremarked by the NCIS, as did the fact that standard operating procedure at Camp Delta required the Navy guards on duty after midnight to “conduct a visual search” of each cell and detainee every ten minutes.

October 16, 2010

CNBC: Congress expected to retroactively legalize foreclosure fraud

CNBC predicts Congress will retroactively legalize foreclosure fraud | Raw Story
Congress will pass a bill to "forgive" banks the potentially criminal errors made in foreclosure proceedings, a senior CNBC editor predicts. In a blog column Friday, John Carney argues that lawmakers in DC won't allow the country's largest issuers of mortgages to suffer financial losses following revelations of numerous mishandled foreclosure proceedings, especially when bailing them out this time "won't cost taxpayers a dime." Here’s what is going to happen: Congress will pass a law called something like “The Financial Modernization and Stability Act of 2010” that will retroactively grant mortgage pools the rights in the underlying mortgages that people are worried about. All the screwed up paperwork, lost notes, unassigned security interests will be forgiven by a legislative act.... The [foreclosure] crisis is not driven by economics. It is driven by legal rights. And there’s simply zero probability that the politicians in Washington are going to let Bank of America or Citigroup or JP Morgan Chase fail because of a legal issue. Carney predicts that the lame-duck session of Congress following this November's elections will pass the law. "Every member of Congress ... who has been voted out of office will cast a vote for the bill. And the President will sign it."

October 11, 2010

How GM "Lied" About the Chevy Volt

In Detroit, this is SRS BZNS, but in Detroit, everybody lies to everybody. The plant which will produce the Volt was built with 30 percent taxpayer money. GM is 60 percent owned by the US Government. How GM "Lied" About The Electric Car
The Chevy Volt has been hailed as General Motors' electric savior. Now, as GM officially rolls out the Volt this week for public consumption, we're told the much-touted fuel economy was misstated and GM "lied" about the car being all-electric. In the past, and based on GM's claims, we've gone so far as to call the Volt GM's "Jesus Car." And why wouldn't we call it that? We were told the Volt would achieve 230 MPG fuel economy and would always use the electric drivetrain to motivate the wheels — only using the onboard gasoline engine as a "range extender" for charging the batteries. It now turns out that not only were those fuel economy claims misleading, but the gasoline engine is actually used to motivate the wheels — making the Volt potentially nothing more than a very advanced hybrid car and pushing some automotive journalists like Scott Oldham at Edmunds.com to claim "GM lied to the world" about it.