I assert that torture has a very specific political function that has nothing to do with the gathering of "intelligence," but everything to do with the projection of the image of the state as a lawless and fearsome entity to its citizens and to the rest of the world, capable of the most heinous and cruel depravity, and thus sending the message that it is not to be disobeyed. This is the same psychological "logic" behind extrajudicial murder (assassinations, drone killings) and the Guantánamo Bay prison, where due process is openly violated.
James Aloysius "Ace" Lyons, Jr. (born September 28, 1927) is a retired Admiral in the United States Navy whose 36-year career was capped by serving as Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet from 16 September 1985 to 30 September 1987. (Wikipedia)
Don't wait for this Admiral's appearance on Meet The Press.
Propagandizing 70 percent of the population is not easy to do, and obviously requires active deceit or pervasive acquiescence by the country’s news media. As part of his discussion last night, Oliver showed my favorite MSNBC clip in order to illustrate the lack of substantive surveillance discussion in the media:
Baltimore has erupted in chaos ever since Freddie Gray died in police custody after being arrested on drug suspicions. It’d gotten so bad that the violent rioters protesters exercising their first amendment rights were so passionately violently rioting exercising their first amendment rights, people weren’t allowed to leave the Orioles/Red Sox game… because of all the violent rioting free speech that was going on outside.
Thankfully, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake held a news conference to urge calm…
Editor: The following article illustrates the kind of shoddy writing that passes for journalism today.
or Questions About Sunday Times Snowden Story
The Sunday Times has a front page story out today claiming that the Chinese and Russian governments have somehow managed to obtain National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden's trove of documents. The story is sourced from anonymous UK government officials who make a series of significant allegations, unfortunately backed up with zero evidence. It's worth going through some of the key points of the story to cast some critical scrutiny on the central claims and to raise a few questions about them:
1) "RUSSIA and China have cracked the top-secret cache of files stolen by the fugitive US whistleblower Edward Snowden...according to senior officials in Downing Street, the Home Office and the security services."
The United States already has by far the per capita largest prison population of any developed country but I am probably one of the few Americans who on this Independence Day would like to see a lot more people in prison, mostly drawn from politicians and senior bureaucrats who have long believed that their status makes them untouchable, giving them license to steal and even to kill. The sad fact is that while whistleblowers have been imprisoned for revealing government criminality, no one in the federal bureaucracy has ever actually been punished for the crimes of torture, kidnapping and assassination committed during the George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama presidencies.
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