See also: Police officers across U.S. upset at being seen as brutal racists

On Sunday, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins wore a shirt during pre-game introductions that read “Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford.” You can probably see where this is going.

Tamir Rice was a 12-year-old killed by Cleveland police for having a toy gun. The policeman shot him just two seconds after arriving on the scene. John Crawdord was killed by police in a Beavercreek, Ohio Walmart because he was holding a toy gun of the type that Walmart sells.

We’ve learned that “justice” isn’t the sort of thing you ask for these days, at least not when the killers are police. Cleveland’s police union was livid, and demanded a public apology from the Cleveland Browns and from Hawkins. “It’s pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law” was part of the official statement from the police union.

The notion that a football player could be not okay with police killing people and police being furious isn’t new. In St. Louis, five Rams players fueled outrage from their own police department for doing the Ferguson “hands up” display.

Following the go-to police tactic of escalation beyond all reason, St. Louis police demanded apologies from the team and the league, and “disciplinary” actions against the players. They went on to insist that “thugs” like the ones in Ferguson don’t buy the products of Rams’ advertisers, police do. The Rams expressed “regret” that the police were mad, which police took as an apology, but which the Rams reiterated was not.

Back to Cleveland, Hawkins is leaving less open to interpretation. He’s not apologizing, nor should he. Hawkins declared “a call for justice shouldn’t warrant an apology,” and he’s quite right. It’s not surprising that Cleveland police are outraged, because they’re used to killing people and getting away with it, but that should not be the expectation, and it damned sure doesn’t warrant an apology.

Here’s hoping the Cleveland Browns take the high ground and simply ignore the complaints, leaving this between Hawkins and the police. He’s got things handled, and more power to him.

When you get an opportunity like this, don’t fall back – I heard my Irish grandmother telling me last Thursday as I took my place at the table to discuss torture with a former congressional committee chairman whose job it was to prevent such abuse.

Almost rubbing shoulders with me on my right was former House Intelligence Committee chair (2004-2007) Pete Hoekstra, a Republican from Michigan. Central China TV had asked both of us to address the findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture. I said yes, of course, since I was highly interested in how Hoekstra, with his front seat for the saga of “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques,” would try to ‘splain it all.

Here was a unique chance to publicly confront a malleable, moral dwarf who had been in a uniquely powerful position to end the torture. The moment was also an odd one, for Hoekstra – not the brightest star in the constellation – seemed oblivious to his gross misfeasance and dereliction of duty. Or how his behavior might look to non-torture aficionados.

Hoekstra took over the House intelligence “oversight” committee in 2004 when former chair, Porter Goss, a Republican from Florida, was picked as the perfect – as in fully-briefed-and-complicit – functionary to become director of the CIA, replacing “slam-dunk” George Tenet. Tenet left in disgrace in July 2004, still seeking those notional Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction” in vain.

Last week, amid the unfolding torture scandal, Hoekstra went on CCTV America’s daily talk show, “The Heat,” to offer a heated defense of what he insisted on still calling “enhanced interrogation techniques.” My opportunity for a blunt exchange with him over exactly what the House Intelligence Committee knew came near the end of the show.

Continue

No one except John Kiriakou is being held accountable for America’s torture policy. And John Kiriakou didn’t torture anyone, he just blew the whistle on it.

In a Galaxy Far, Far Away

The United States sanctioned acts of torture by the Central Intelligence Agency and others. The acts took place in secret prisons (“black sites”) against persons detained indefinitely without trial. They were described in detail and explicitly authorized in a series of secret torture memos drafted by John Yoo, Jay Bybee, and Steven Bradbury, senior lawyers in the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel. (Office of Legal Counsel attorneys technically answer directly to the DOJ, which is supposed to be independent from the White House, but obviously was not in this case.) Not one of those men, or their Justice Department bosses, has been held accountable for their actions.

Some tortured prisoners were killed by the CIA. Attorney General Eric Holder announced recently that no one would be held accountable for those murders either. “Based on the fully developed factual record concerning the two deaths,” he said, “the Department has declined prosecution because the admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Jose Rodriguez, a senior CIA official, admitted destroying videotapes of potentially admissible evidence, showing the torture of captives by operatives of the U.S. government at a secret prison thought to be located at a Vietnam-War-era airbase in Thailand. He was not held accountable for deep-sixing this evidence, nor for his role in the torture of human beings.

John Kiriakou Alone

The one man in the whole archipelago of America’s secret horrors who went to jail is former CIA officer John Kiriakou. Of the untold numbers of men and women involved in the whole nightmare show of those years, only one.

And of course, he didn’t torture anyone.

Continue

What do the NYPD arresting officers of Eric Garner, the CIA officials responsible for the crimes detailed in the Torture Report and US foreign policy officials all have in common? They are all agents of institutions that have adopted an “authoritarian psychology.” So what does authoritarian psychology mean?

Alexandre Kojeve, a French fascist in Vichy France, and lifelong close friend of Neocon Godfather Leo Strauss, explained authority as follows: “Authority is the possibility of an agent acting upon others without these others reacting against him, despite being capable to do so, and without making any compromises. Any discussion is already a compromise.”

This is anathema to the authoritarian because it means their absolute authority or of the institution they represent has been lost, even if only to an imperceptible degree. That is the nature of authoritarian psychology and authoritarian government by Kojeve’s and fascist logic.

What this meant to Eric Garner was explained to Ray Suarez by a retired Chicago policeman. First, it doesn’t matter whether the arrest is for a petty crime or a felony. In the case of Garner, according to the Chicago policeman, he had been given the opportunity to surrender, to submit. When he didn’t follow the “order,” (not quick enough) he was not complying and therefore the police “took it to the next level.”

Continue

Does everyone remember when USAID created that “Cuban Twitter” and paid all those guys to start agitating for regime change on it? What if that wasn’t even the most ridiculous thing USAID was doing in Cuba at the time?

Good news, it wasn’t! USAID also hired a bunch of Serbian music promoters and spent millions of dollars trying to create a regime-change themed hip-hop music movement in Cuba.

The scheme wasn’t totally unrelated to fake Cuban Twitter, which they used to try to promote the

It didn’t take long for the hip-hoperation to be found out, either, as when they tried to bankroll a music festival put on by a pro-government singer, in the hopes of turning it toward the aim of regime change, Cuba started detaining people involved, and learned of the USAID involvement.

Senators are criticizing USAID once again for wasting a bunch of money on a crazy plot with money that was supposed to be for humanitarian aid. As usual, USAID is defending the program as an attempt to “increase civil engagement.”

Tuesday’s release by the Senate Intelligence Committee of its long-awaited report on the torture by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of detainees in the so-called “war on terror” does not go far enough, according to major U.S. human rights groups.

While welcoming the report’s release, the subject of months of intensive negotiations and sometimes furious negotiations between the Senate Committee’s majority and both the CIA and the administration of President Barack Obama, the groups said additional steps were needed to ensure that US officials never again engage in the kind of torture detailed in the report.

“This should be the beginning of a process, not the end,” said Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). “The report should shock President Obama and Congress into action, to make sure that torture and cruelty are never used again.”

He called, among other steps, for the appointment of a special prosecutor to hold the “architects and perpetrators” of what the George W. Bush administration called “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITs) accountable and for Congress to assert its control over the CIA, “which in this report sounds more like a rogue paramilitary group than the intelligence gathering agency that it’s supposed to be.”

He was joined by London-based Amnesty International which noted that the declassified information provided in the report constituted “a reminder to the world of the utter failure of the USA to end the impunity enjoyed by those who authorized and used torture and other ill-treatment.

Continue