The Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program, aka the Senate CIA Torture Report, is a legalistic summary of the Torture committed in our name during the post-9/11 War on Terror, matter-of-fact descriptions of acts that, whatever enhanced euphemism we use to mask the truth, are acts of Torture.
Let that word hang there like an indelible shit stain.
Stick your hand in it, rub it in on your clothes. Don’t worry, you won’t have any new stink there that wasn’t there before. This is America, where hideous violence on your behalf has been the name of the game for well over 200 years. Don’t be shy. There’s plenty of stink to go around.
Because also in the news: multiple summary executions of citizens by law enforcement, including a 12-year old boy who was romping on a playground across the street from his house. The police fatally shot him within 3 seconds of getting out of their car. Because reasons.
Because also: the State of Georgia executed a man with the functional intelligence of an 9-year old - an African American represented at trial by a knee-walking drunk who was also a racist and embezzler. Because Justice.
Because also: the movement to make the 2nd Amendment the primary ruling principle of our civic lives has led to, yet again, a mentally unstable person opening fire on students at a school. And oh, because also, a prominent member of the Open Carry movement shot her husband and daughter. Newtown, two years ago today. It was a teachable moment, remember? Because Freedom. The better to keep us safe.
And nobody seems the least bit surprised. Upset, for a minute, but unsurprised. Now, what’s on the teevee?
Welcome to the New Normal. But really, what’s new about it?
US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has famously referred to execution by lethal injection as an “enviable…quiet death.” Clayton Lockett’s death was anything but quiet.
In April, Lockett’s execution in Oklahoma was badly botched and brought new scrutiny to the problems with lethal injection. The state’s Republican governor, Mary Fallin, ordered the Oklahoma Office of Public Safety (OPS) to conduct an internal inquiry into the execution. A summary was released Thursday.
The investigation, conducted largely by a bunch of investigators working for the state highway patrol, didn’t produce much new information. The report mostly absolves the state of responsibility, even as it further documents the torture inflicted on Lockett before he died. It sheds no light on the effectiveness of the new, controversial, and experimental drugs used to kill Lockett—drugs that had been predicted to cause a torturous death.
But buried in the report are some of the rarely seen minutiae involved in the machinery of death, the small absurdities of a government-sanctioned killing—the pre-execution shower, the mental-health consultations, and suicide prevention efforts—all directed at someone about to die. And inside the report is the story of a real dead man walking who clearly didn’t view lethal injection as the enviable death Scalia thinks it is.
Before his execution, Lockett had been one of two inmates challenging Oklahoma’s law that shrouded the source of the state’s lethal injection drugs in secrecy. He’d been unable to obtain any information about where the drugs came from, whether they were legally obtained, or any other details about their purity or efficacy.
All of these issues were relevant because, thanks to a shortage of traditional execution drugs caused after pharmaceutical companies either stopped making or refused to export them, death penalty states have turned to a number of dubious means to find substitutes. Some have illegally imported them from questionable pharmacies abroad; others have turned to lightly regulated compounding pharmacies, some of which are known to have produced contaminated or irregular products. And states have been experimenting with new drugs never used in executions before. That’s what Oklahoma planned to do. Not only would it not disclose the source of the execution drugs, but it planned to use an untested drug cocktail on Lockett.
Despite all of this, the state assured Lockett’s lawyers that everything would be fine; his execution would not involve any undue suffering that might rise to the level of cruel and unusual punishment. It seems clear from the OPS report, though, that Lockett didn’t believe them.
The report confirms earlier indications that Lockett was trying to find a way to kill himself before the state could. According to the report, Lockett refused to cooperate with his executioners. At 5 a.m. on the day of his execution, correctional officers sought to take Lockett for X-rays at the health center. (Why X-rays are part of the execution protocol is not explained.)
Lockett refused to get out from under his blanket and offer up his hands to be restrained. Corrections personnel at that point noticed blood inside the cell. They sought permission to use a Taser to forcibly extract Lockett from his cell, where Lockett had blocked the door.
When they finally got him out of his cell, prison staff discovered Lockett was suffering from self-inflicted wounds to his arms, and they found razor blades from a prison-issued safety razor and a homemade rope inside his cell. The report offers other evidence that suggests Lockett was preparing for suicide: About six weeks before his execution, Lockett had been suspected of hoarding hydroxyzine, an anti-anxiety medication he’d been prescribed. After he died, an autopsy showed potentially toxic levels of the drug in his system, suggesting he also attempted an overdose before he was executed.
Lockett was treated in the emergency room for the wounds on his arms. For much of the rest of the day, he seems to have been on suicide watch to prevent him from dying prematurely. He refused every meal, and he also refused to talk to his lawyers. Toward the end of the day, a mental-health staff member met with him, and then near 5 p.m., officers put him in the shower—hoping for a clean kill, if not a quiet one, perhaps.
More at Mother Jones. WARNING: Details are horrific.
An execution team violated state execution policy by injecting Joseph Wood with 15 doses of a lethal drug combination, the inmate’s attorney said.
Wood’s attorney, Dale Baich, said the Department of Corrections’ execution protocol, or policy, allows for a second dose if the inmate is still conscious three minutes after the first dose.
“What they’re saying is he was unconscious and they kept giving him more,” Baich said.
According to the injection log, Wood was given the first dose at 1:52 p.m. on July 23 and was confirmed sedated five minutes later. By 2:30 p.m. Wood had been given his fourth dose and was confirmed sedated on each of his previous injections.
Wood was given his 15th dose three minutes before he was pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m., according to the logs, which were provided to Baich by the department.
A department spokesman did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
The execution has already received worldwide attention because it took nearly two hours for Wood to die, and he appeared to be gasping and snorting most of the time. All other Arizona lethal injection executions have not lasted more than 15 minutes.
Department director Charles Ryan was on the telephone with the assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Zick in the minutes before Wood was declared dead talking about a contingency plan and “proceeding with the execution,” according the logs.
Zick was also on the phone with Judge Neil V. Wake of U.S. District Court in Phoenix at the same time as Wood’s attorneys were trying to stop the execution.
Each dose contained 50 milligrams each of midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a painkiller. Dr. David Waisal, a Harvard University professor and anesthesiologist, said midazolam is generally given in doses of two to four milligrams to patients going under surgery to calm their nerves and make them forget going to surgery.
Read more: azcapitoltimes.com
On Tuesday, an Oklahoma inmate named Clayton Lockett was slowly tortured to death after a botched execution left him conscious and convulsing while strapped to a gurney. He eventually died of a heart attack 43 minutes into this ordeal.
Oklahoma state Rep. Mike Christian (R), however, apparently sees no problem with Lockett’s slow and painful death. According to a local news report, Christian said that he doesn’t care if inmates are killed by lethal injection, electrocution, a firing squad, a hanging, the guillotine or “being fed to the lions.”
Christian is also not alone in his willingness to revive discarded methods of execution in order to ensure that state-sponsored killings move forward. States that still execute inmates have had trouble obtaining the drugs they previously used for this purpose due to pharmaceutical companies refusing to sell these drugs to be used in executions and foreign governments restricting their sale. As a result, many states turned to drugs of uncertain quality. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster (D) threatened to use a gas chamber to execute inmates. Wyoming considered resorting to firing squads. And the Virginia House passed a bill that would bring back the electric chair.
Sarah Palin gave a speech to members of the National Rifle Association, gathered in Indianapolis this weekend. She said something that struck me as sacrilegious. I’ve long defended Palin against the offensive treatment she’s received at the hands of a blatantly biased media, a media that collectively lost its mind the moment she entered the national stage. But that hardly means she must be defended at all times.
What did she say? Here’s how The Hill reports it:
“They obviously have information on plots to carry out Jihad,” she said at the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual meeting on Saturday evening, referring to prisoners. “Oh, but you can’t offend them, can’t make them feel uncomfortable, not even a smidgen. Well, if I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.”
Emphasis mine. When my husband (who was baptized 10 years ago today, as it happens) told me about this, I had a hard time believing that she actually said it. Not just because baptism couldn’t be taken more seriously in traditional Christianity but because the media routinely misquote or fail to provide context for quotes. But the video makes the statement seem even worse.
So why did the crowd cheer when she said it? And why did some folks defend or downplay the statement on Twitter? I couldn’t begin to say, but they shouldn’t have done so.
Why you ask? Well it is quite simple really - the right has built up a fetish - a sexual fetish over righteous violence (read: ‘Christian based campaigns of fantasizing of violence towards Islam, GLBTI people, Mexicans, communists, et al)
They have turned guns and bombs into sexualized objects of fantasy and attraction, of virility and fertility, of patriotism and of religious duty.
That. Is. Why.
Answering Allah: Former Gitmo Guard Gives Lecture at ISU - Answering Allah: Former Gitmo Guard Gives Lecture at ISU: Members
“One of the torture methods was to tie a prisoner in a stress position and then play the same song over and over again for eight hours, until eventually, the prisoner urinated on themselves,” Holdbrooks said. “Then they would humiliate them, say ‘You’re not a man, you urinated on yourself, give us your intelligence.’”
This particular detainee had a plan, he memorized the tune and then sang it to his torturer.
“It worked. It really upset the guy,” Holdbrooks said.
Holdbrooks said other torture methods included showing prisoners graphic photos of beheaded women and children and telling them that their families were dead and they might as well give up any information that they had.
Updated : Meet the American Pastor Responsible for the Murder, Criminalization and Oppression of Africa’s Gays
Mother Jones has a fantastic article providing the history and consequences of his anti-gay campaigning in Uganda. To say this man is responsible for murder, oppression, hate crimes, and torture, is not a “bridge too far”.
Yes - American Christians are behind both Russia’s and Uganda’s anti-gay persecution and crimes against humanity, and here is the evidence:
In early March 2009, Lively returned to Uganda at Langa’s invitation. Uganda’s High Court had recently found that the government overstepped its authority by detaining two gay activists simply because they were gay. In response, a Langa-run group called the Family Life Network planned a three-day conference to expose what he called the “hidden and dark” gay agenda. On the last day, Lively gave a marathon five-hour presentation, which was broadcast on Ugandan television. He claimed that homosexuals were aggressively recruiting Uganda’s children and argued that human rights protections shouldn’t be extended to these “predatory” figures.
A member of parliament from the Democratic Republic of Congo is pushing for an anti-LGBT bill that mirrors Uganda’s controversial measure that was signed into law last month, All Africa reports.
According to Ynajia, reports say, “sexual moans were heard about 20 minutes after them men had checked into the room they had booked at the hotel.” The hotel attendant, who reportedly heard the men, notified police and the couple was soon arrested.
The New Civil Rights Movement points to reports that several LGBT people from Uganda have been evicted from their homes because of their sexuality. The blog Sebaspace posted two evictions by posting scans of notices. The first letter, dated March 3, reads:
“You have been a wonderful woman as well as a tenant who hasn’t given me any trouble over rent whatsoever. But due to what is going on in the country [regarding the anti-gay law] and your way you and your friends behave, I am sorry but I think you are a depraved person who I can no longer tolerate in my house. I also cannot fight against the government. For that reason, I want you out of my house by March 30, 2014, peacefully.”
The second letter says:
“I am writing to inform you that you have been evicted from the house you live in because of the stories [about your gay lifestyle] that appeared on Bukedde Television and in the print media. We can no longer live with someone like you. Therefore, vacate the premises before the 5th of May 2014”
The NCRM also notes that LGBT activists Scott Long and Kasha Jacqueline posted to the Sebaspace blog as well.
The U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea released a 400-page report Monday detailing just how bad things are there; here’s the laundry list:
“These crimes against humanity entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.”
Which pretty much says it all, though, as Julie Makinen reported for The Times, the report further noted: “the ‘gravity, scale and nature of the violations’ in the totalitarian state over several decades do not have ‘any parallel in the contemporary world.’ “
The founding pastor of a Washington state megachurch on Sunday told female parishioners that God wanted them to submit to their husbands and that they shouldn’t be a “nag,” likening them to Chinese water torture.
In in a Sunday sermon, Mars Hill Church Pastor Mark Driscoll said that people often misunderstood the Bible’s teachings on what it meant for a wife to “submit” to her husband.
“Number one, it does not mean that the wife is less valuable, intelligent, or competent,” he explained. “Number two, this does not mean that men, in general, are to be ruling over women in general. It doesn’t mean that. We’re not talking about gender issues; we’re talking about marriage issues.”
“This does mean that a wife sets a pattern for others to respect her husband,” Driscoll opined. “If the wife disrespects the husband in front of his coworkers, will they respect the husband? No. No. Women who publicly disrespect their husbands encourage others to disrespect their husbands. And this doesn’t mean you don’t disagree with your husband but you do so respectfully, privately.”
The pastor added that women who disrespected their husband in front of others put men in a “lose-lose scenario” because “if he doesn’t argue back, he’s being weak.”
“Men with men, it’s not like this. You disrespect me, we can talk about that, right? We can actually have a bit of a debate about that.”
Driscoll went on to talk about how the book of Proverbs described “certain kinds of women.”
“They’re quarrelsome. They’re a nag,” he said. “And some women — you’re a nag. You’re disrespectful. You’re quarrelsome. Being married to you is like a life sentence, and the guy’s just scratching on his wall every day.”