- Schools Closed
- Boonville Weather
- County Preparations
- MTA Service
- Stormy Weather
- $64 Million
- Boys Basketball
- TWK MendoVito
- Naulty Exonerated
- Jesus Sentenced
- Catch of the Day
- Caden Needs Help
- CIA Lies
- Rectal Feeding
- Enhanced Euphemisms
JUST IN (6am): All schools in the Mendocino Unified School District will be closed on Thursday, December 11th due to the weather. Anderson Valley Schools closed on Thursday, as well.
BOONVILLE 10pm Wednesday night —
IT’S CERTAINLY RAINING good, constant and drenching here in Boonville. From the weather satellite views it looks like more than half of this current storm is now past the North Coast. On line weather reports still predict 3-6 inches or more with winds up to 25mph, but there's nothing like that here — yet. More like 10-15 mph. If this is “one the strongest storm in years,” that's probably because we haven’t had a good-sized “storm” for a while. But then again, the prediction said the strongest part of it is still overnight and into early Thursday morning. So my satellite based opinion may yet be an under-estimate. — Mark Scaramella
MENDO BATTENS DOWN
Mendocino County Preparations For Severe Winter Storm
Due to the severe and impending weather forecast this afternoon through Friday, some Mendocino County offices may be forced to close, thereby only providing limited services to the public. This storm is predicted to be the worst storm to hit our area in years, consisting of high winds and heavy rainfall. The public is advised to call County Departments in advance to confirm the availability of services. Please visit the County’s website at www.co.mendocino.ca.us for departmental contact information.
Mendocino County’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) urges the community to be safe and prepare for extended power outages. Everyone should make sure they have food and water in their homes, flashlights and extra batteries, gas in their vehicles and cash readily available. Even if you feel you live in a community with a low risk of flooding, remember that anywhere it rains, it can flood. Just because you have not experienced a flood in the past, does not mean you will not in the future. Flood risk is not solely based on history; but on a number of factors including rainfall, topography, flood-control measures, river-flow and tidal-surge data, and changes due to new construction and development. Do not drive on or across roadways where water is flowing and/or rising. Flowing water can wear away the roadway surface and cause your vehicle to sink into deeper water. Flowing and/or rising water can carry your vehicle away swiftly which can result in serious injury or death to the occupants of the vehicle. Listen to local radio for information regarding the storm, Be Safe-Be Prepared.
More information can be found by following the Facebook pages at facebook.com/MendocinoSheriff, County of Mendocino, Mendocino County Department of Transportation, and on Twitter at #WXMendoStorm14. Periodic storm related updates will be made available on the County’s Dial 2-1-1 System, or by dialing (707) 565-2114.
— Carmel J. Angelo, Chief Executive Officer
MTA’S SERVICE TO BE INTERRUPTED DUE TO FLOODING
The Mendocino Transit Authority (MTA) announced that due to the danger of flooding and the closure of Highway 1 at the Garcia River, Route 75 will only operate am and pm service between Gualala and Point Arena on Thursday, December 11. Route 75 will provide service between Navarro River Junction and Ukiah running on its regular schedule. If road conditions permit, MTA will operate am and pm service on Route 75 to and from Navarro River Junction and Navarro River.
Route 60, the Coaster, will operate am and pm service between Fort Bragg and Navarro River, but there will be no connecting service between Gualala and Fort Bragg due to the impending flooding at the Garcia River.
Passengers are advised to call MTA at 1-800-696-4MTA, or go to MTA’s web page at www.mendocinotransit.org as to the status of bus service as long as flooding conditions prevail.
COULD BE ‘HIGHEST WATER” EVER at Fernbridge (Humboldt County) Except for ‘64 and ‘55 Says The Office of Emergency Services
by Kym Kemp, Wednesday, 2:49pm
Okay, if you haven’t been taking this Rainageddon thing seriously, now might be the time. The Office of Emergency Services in Humboldt has issued the following information which includes the startling tidbit that flooding at Fernbridge could be higher than at any other time besides the ‘55 and ‘64 Floods. (See below for the whole email.)
Also, remember that high tide prediction? Here is a photo of the Moonstone Beach parking lot taken today.
Wouldn’t want to be parking there now!
Here’s Camel Rock. Beautiful to look at but wild and dangerous! [Both of the above photos provided by Chris “Mo” Hollis.]
Also, the water is pouring over roads. Here is a photo sent in by a reader of the street in front of Costco looking towards the Suddenlink offices.
This photo is from the Caltrans’ Facebook page and it shows cars swimming through a small lake on Wabash in Eureka.
Caltrans also provided a list of all places to get sandbags.
With many more inches of rainfall on the way, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to sandbag your property if you haven’t already. Sandbags can be picked up at the following locations in Humboldt County from various county and local agencies. Fees may apply. King Salmon: At the turnout. Ferndale: Fairgrounds. Eureka: City corporation yard, next to Costco. Rio Dell: City Hall, behind the recycling bins. Arcata: Sunny Brae Shopping Center, Westwood Shopping Center, Greenview Market, and the city corporation yard. McKinleyville: At the Community Services District office ($.50 charge per bag).
The following email from the Humboldt arm of the Office of Emergency Services warns of widespread flooding. Read it to see what might be occurring in your area.
Email from the Humboldt Operational Area of the Office of Emergency Services:
The storm event beginning to impact us now is projected to cause significant main-stem flooding of the Eel and Van Duzen Rivers and widespread localized flooding of various streams and tributaries in our area. The river crest times are projected for mid-day tomorrow on the Van Duzen at Bridgeville (3+ ft. over Flood Stage) and early Friday morning on the Eel at Fernbridge (6+ ft. over Flood Stage). Flood Stage on the Eel will also be exceeded tomorrow at Miranda (3+ ft.) and at Scotia (5+ ft.). You can check-out the projections through this link: http://www.cnrfc.noaa.gov/ Just click on the river location for specific information. The projected flooding level at Fernbridge is significant in that, other than the exceptional flooding events in 1955 and 1964, it could be one of the highest water crests recorded for that location. You can access much more storm-related information at the NWS Eureka WFO web site:http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/
Right now, all OA members should be actively preparing for this storm’s impacts. In addition to the expected flooding, power outages and roadway closures will probably occur. As isolation is a possibility, you should be ready for that eventuality. So, for both your home and work locations, make sure now that you have the both your functional plan in place and the stuff you need to mitigate the impacts of this weather event.
DON'T KNOW WHY there's no sun up in the sky
Since my man and I ain't together,
Keeps rainin' all of the time
Life is bare, gloom and mis'ry everywhere
And I just can't get my poorself together,
I'm weary all the time
So weary all the time
When he went away the blues walked in and met me.
If he stays away old rockin' chair will get me.
All I do is pray the Lord above will let me walk in the sun once more.
I can't go on, can't go on, can't go on, ev'ry thing I had is gone
Since my man and I ain't together,
Keeps rainin' all the time
(Bonus Link from that classy era:
PD: BYPASS TWO YEARS BEHIND & $64 mil over budget (and counting)
State approves $64 million to complete Willits bypass
The California Transportation Commission approved a $64 million Caltrans request to complete the Highway 101 bypass around Willits. The project, already two years behind schedule, is 50 percent complete.
NCL 3 BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2014-15
by Jim Young
It’s raining and it’s basketball season again. NCL 3 Basketball has some new faces and some old faces, some new coaches and some old coaches. (really old in my case) For the record, the NCL 3 (North Central League 3) is one of the leagues in the CMC (Coastal Mountain Conference) which is one of the conferences in the NCS (North Coast Section) which is one of the sections in the CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) which is where the buck stops for all rulings for high school sports in California.
Whenever there is a dispute in any ruling the CIF is like the supreme court, the decision is final.
NCL 3 is made up of Mendocino HS, Anderson Valley HS, Point Arena, Geyserville, Potter Valley, Laytonville and Round Valley in Covelo. These schools are all in the smallest division of NCS which is D-6. The only criteria for placement in a division is the population of the school. D-6 is for schools up to and including 199 students.
NCL 3 fans know Mendocino, Point Arena and Anderson Valley are traditionally the biggest schools, this year with 187, 180 and 174, respectively. We then drop to Laytonville at 125, Round Valley 101, Potter Valley 87 and Geyserville with 77 students. Math never lies. If you look at all the sports over the past 15 years, the 3 biggest schools have won league much than the others. The real fan may ask “what happened to Leggett Valley?” Well, they have 11 students this year and are not in our league. The Leggett sports minded students have had to transfer to Laytonville HS to the south or Southfork HS to the north.
Point Arena won NCL 3 boys basketball last year. AV was second, Mendo third, and Laytonville fourth. For the last 10 years or so it could be debated that Point Arena has had the best player in the league. (In schools this size, the team with the best player will be in contention for the title) This dates back to the Orpeza brothers for six years, the Washington brothers for six years, Trace Yeager for three and Justin Sundstom for three. Laytonville had CJ James last year. Some think he was as good as any ever in our league. (I agree). All these players are gone through graduation.
This year this is not the case for Point Arena. Mendocino and Anderson Valley will return all their impact players. At least six of these players will be considered the best in the league. Both teams have their top four players returning. AV won two close games with Mendocino last year. For this reason, AV must be considerer the favorite. After a strong summer season for Mendocino, and some boost from the championship JV squad, they will not go down easy. Third, fourth and fifth will be a toss-up between PA, Round Valley, and Laytonville. As explained earlier, PA and Laytonville graduated some of the best players our league has ever seen last year. Round Valley had a strong group of 9th and 10th graders finishing 2nd to Mendo last year in the JV division. Sixth and seventh place will be Potter Valley and Geyserville. Geyserville has some young athletes, but I think they are a few years away from the top three. Potter Valley has the tallest player in the league and a great young point guard who transferred to Ukiah last year but now is back. They also could make a run in a few years.
Jim’s picks - NCL 3 boys.
- Mendocino (of course)
- Round Valley
- Potter Valley
(The decider in this group will be Round Valley knocking off either Mendocino or AV in Round Valley).
A look at the girls side. Round Valley and Mendocino have all returning starters, but PA may have the best all-around athlete. Look for a three way battle all way until the last week. I’ll make no prediction here as I don’t want to sound bias.
TOMMY WAYNE KRAMER ON MENDOVITO
I hope you saw the recent front page articles outlining the proposed new housing development in the works, sort of, down in Hopland.
It's called MendoVito, and "housing development" perhaps does it an injustice, because MendoVito is more. Much more. In the tradition of numerous project proposals that have been floated in the past around here, MendoVito is bold, extravagant and utterly preposterous.
MendoVito will be delivered to us courtesy of a New Zealander named Claude Lewenz, and reports say it will be "so self-sustainable it would contain its own school system, recreation and work opportunities . . ." Whoa!
Great, Claude. In New Zealand a project like this might be a visionary dream, but in America we already have places that include schools, recreation areas and jobs. They're called "cities" and "towns" and can be found in various places around the country.
MendoVito promises to deliver on all the hopeful dreams of our local progressive neighbors because it uses fashionable phrases like "committed to a sustainable future" and "Town Stewards" and "community" plus a car-free urban core (Urban? On 423 acres outside Hopland?!?) along with extra tax revenue and green space, and if that's not enough, a more European lifestyle. This will be achieved by making downtown streets narrow and car-free. Optional: Berets, Euros, and monthly municipal strikes.
All quite utopian and perfectly counter to the greedy grasping American way. One simply cannot imagine Mendovito guys riding John Deere lawnmowers, or boats parked in driveways. Rooftop gardens, in fact, appear to be mandatory, with the expectation each will accumulate 100 acre-feet of rain water a year. Are you with me on the "preposterous" idea yet?
To longtime Ukiahans the whole thing sounds something like a groovy reincarnation of Greenfield Ranch, but without all the broken down VW vans, stinky hippies, and tarpaper houses without plumbing and electricity. Also, no Leonard Lake.
There's more: MendoVito will also address our widespread educational failures. The rural district will march boldly into the 1970s with plans to do away with traditional classrooms, and bring back that treasured monument to educational failure, with "open air schooling in the village plaza." Yes! "Classrooms Without Walls"!
I thought I'd never hear the disgraced concept uttered again, but this is Mendocino County, where bad ideas are often born and never die. Hopefully students will give themselves their own grades. Do the teachers' unions know about this? You should plan to attend the first meeting when the proposal is unveiled. Note: Wear a football helmet.
It's all sweet music to our liberal friends, but it won't just come to pass without challenge. Remember, our gooey progressives will rise to thwart the development because it's a development. It requires chopping down trees and stomping around meadows and waking up spotted owls and disturbing the endangered habitats of deer ticks and mosquitos. And at some point our Native American friends will realize their ancestral lands or graveyards or spiritual sites are being trampled upon. Uh-oh.
These are battles cowardly Eco-weenies love to fight. And lord knows they have plenty of time to fight, since none of them have jobs or obligations other than obstructing whatever anyone else wants to do around here, such as build a store or a freeway bypass.
And just wait until Mr. Lewenz runs into the inevitable brick wall of regulations. He'll discover he's in a perfect position to learn all about state regulations, county regulations, environmental regulations, and the regulatory regulations that regulate local and state regulating.
There will be conflicting ordinances and community meetings and public input and lawsuits and protests and roadblocks and delays and more environmental reviews and worksite sabotage and a few more lawsuits. Plus ad hoc committees, red tags and demonstrations. I hope Claude likes attending long meetings and paying lawyers.
Progressives 'round these here parts don't much care for developments, y'undersand.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of Hurricane Sue Ranochak out at the county election office, we already know the results of the election that took place a few months ago. This is what I foresee for our former council members:
- Mari Rodin will be hired at a non-profit that does nothing. She will also.
- Benj Thomas will not do anything at a non-profit too.
- Mary Ann Landis will join a nonprofit and no one will know whether she does anything or not.
- Phil Baldwin will launch an acting career with the Ukiah Players.
One more hug before I go
I'll be taking some time off starting approximately now, and dear readers are asked to find other sources of spiritual fulfillment on Sundays. Drugs, alcohol and wild parties with close relatives or complete strangers are probably the best alternative. Check your horoscope in today's paper for further guidance.
Tom Hine has lived and worked in Ukiah for many years. He is considering sending his imaginary friend and pen name, Tommy Wayne Kramer, to live in MendoVito during his retirement.
DA CONCLUDES POLICE SHOOTING OF RICARDO CHANEY WAS ‘PROPER & JUSTIFIED.’
Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster today released a report exonerating a Fort Bragg police Lieutenant John Naulty in the March 19 death of an Oregon fugitive who earlier had shot and killed Mendocino County Sheriff Deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino.
* * *
In applying the criteria for assessing whether the use and attempted use of force is objectively reasonable given the facts of this particular case, the District Attorney makes the following factual and legal findings:
(1) The nature of the crimes at issue (attempted murder with a firearm at Confusion Hill, reckless evading, and murder of a peace officer) are at least in part characterized in the Penal Code as violent and/or serious offenses;
(2) It is objectively, as well as subjectively reasonable for Naulty to have believed that Chaney was an immediate threat to his safety and others; that Naulty needed to defend himself with lethal force in the course of providing mutual aid based on the following information known to him and other officers at the time:
(a) Chaney had attempted to shoot a shopkeeper at Confusion Hill with a shotgun; (b) Chaney had recklessly evaded pursuing law enforcement at high speeds on a coastal highway with driving that greatly endangered the public safety;
(c) Chaney deployed unanticipated and overwhelming lethal force against Del Fiorentino causing the deputy’s demise;
(d) Naulty heard the gunfire that was determined to have caused the death of Del Fiorentino and he immediately responded to provide assistance;
(e) Naulty personally observed the bullet-riddled patrol vehicle and the death of the deputy caused by Chaney;
(f) Chaney attempted to shoot and kill Naulty at that scene;
(g) rather than attempt to escape, Chaney instead attempted to flank and re-engage Naulty with lethal force; and
(h) while the use of force employed by Naulty by its nature could be characterized as both defensive and offensive, I find by overwhelming evidence and beyond all doubt that Naulty was acting in self- defense when he returned fire on the murder suspect;
(3) There is no question that the suspect was attempting to evade arrest through both the application of direct lethal resistance that caused the death of a Sheriff’s deputy, and, to a lesser degree, flight; and
(4) According to all accounts recorded close in time to the shooting, the degree to which the situation was tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving was extreme. In reaching this conclusion, the guidance that officers regularly must act with little time to analyze and consider circumstances is given only some weight and consideration under the circumstances.
This matter is now formally closed by the District Attorney as a proper and justified use of deadly and potentially lethal force by involved law enforcement officers, specifically Fort Bragg Police Lieutenant John Naulty.
Eyster's report can be found on the district attorney website: http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/da/pdf/Chaney_OIS_v1a.pdf
JOSEPH JESUS GUADAGNOLI, 33, of Baltimore, received a 15-year sentence, which will be followed by five years of supervised release. In the process, Guadagnoli purchased a rural house in Mendocino, where he oversaw the cultivation of marijuana on the surrounding property.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Dec 10, 2014
PASSION CARTER, Fairfield/Ukiah. Pot possession for sale, transport, furnish; armed with firearm, receiving stolen property.
JERRY DEGURSE, Willits. Probation revocation.
ARMANDO FIGUEROA, Ukiah. Under influence of controlled substance, possession of smoking/injecting device, possession of controlled substance.
KELON JOHNSON, Vallejo/Ukiah. Parole violation.
DAVID KROLL, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
MATTHEW KUYKENDALL, Austin, Texas/Ukiah. Possession of controlled substance and device for injestion, destruction of evidence.
CHARLES NICHOLS, Littleton, Colorado/Willits. Pot possession for sale.
KYLE PACE, Hopland. DUI-Drugs, driving without license.
STEVEN SIMPSON, Ukiah. Sale of meth, failture to appear.
JUDITH VARGAS, Ukiah. County parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)
ELMER VICHI, Fort Bragg. Possession of meth for sale, probation revocation.
RONNIE YANCY, Fairfield/Ukiah. Pot possession for sale, transport, furnish; armed with firearm, receiving stolen property.
ANDREW YOUNG, Chico/Ukiah. DUI.
LOCAL BOY WITH AUTISM Receiving Leukemia Treatments at UCSF Needs Your Help This Holiday Season
I am writing to you to request the local community’s assistance in spreading the story of one of its struggling families this holiday season. Caden Hommer, a six-year-old boy with autism from Kelseyville, CA, was diagnosed with Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) on October 15th and is undergoing weekly chemotherapy treatments at UCSF (anticipated recovery time is three years). Caden, who lives with his father and five-year-old brother, and his family are in great need of financial and emotional support as they battle this very difficult challenge. The boy’s father makes the long trek (260 miles round-trip) from his home to UCSF in San Francisco to be with his son, and he is in need of a gas-efficient vehicle to make the drive. Because of Caden's autism, his father needs to be with him during treatment.
While the family does not have a computer, a GoFundMe page (http://www.gofundme.com/cadenhommer) has been set up by Caden’s school bus driver to accept donations to help with treatments and gas mileage. An account has also been set up for donations at Mendo Lake Credit Union.
This holiday season, Pacific Child & Family Associates, an autism-treatment company who works with Caden, would like to spread the young boy’s story and is asking others to #ACT4Autism.
To support this family, please join us in spreading this story and raising funds by posting the below Facebook or Twitter posts.
Facebook: This holiday season, we’re helping to spread awareness of one boy with autism, Caden’s, struggle and need for financial and emotional support as he undergoes Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) treatments. The full story and GoFundMe page can be found here: http://on.fb.me/1x2zFUL. Please join us to #ACT4Autism
Twitter: You can retweet Pacific Child & Family Associate’s tweet at http://bit.ly/1Dbonkk
Media interviews for local media are also available. Please let me know if you would like to arrange an interview.
Best, Jamie Andersen for Pacific Child & Family Associates (949) 502-6200 x 210
SENATE REPORT ON CIA TORTURE CLAIMS SPY AGENCY LIED ABOUT 'INEFFECTIVE' PROGRAM
Report released by Senate after four-year, $40m investigation concludes CIA repeatedly lied about brutal techniques in years after 9/11
The full extent of the CIA’s interrogation and detention programmes launched in the wake of the September 11 terror attack was laid bare in a milestone report by the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday that concluded the agency’s use of torture was brutal and ineffective – and that the CIA repeatedly lied about its usefulness.
The report represented the most scathing congressional indictment of the Central Intelligence Agency in nearly four decades. It found that torture “regularly resulted in fabricated information,” said committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, in a statement summarizing the findings. She called the torture programme “a stain on our values and on our history”.
“During the brutal interrogations, the CIA was often unaware the information was fabricated.” She told the Senate the torture program was “morally, legally and administratively misguided” and “far more brutal than people were led to believe”.
The report reveals that use of torture in secret prisons run by the CIA across the world was even more extreme than previously exposed, and included “rectal rehydration” and “rectal feeding”, sleep deprivation lasting almost a week and threats to the families of the detainees.
The “lunch tray” for one detainee, which contained hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts and raisins, “was ‘pureed’ and rectally infused”, the report says. One detainee whose rectal examination was conducted with “excessive force” was later diagnosed with chronic hemorrhoids, anal fissures and rectal prolapse. Investigators also documented death threats made to detainees. And CIA interrogators, the committee charged, told detainees they would hurt detainees’ children and “sexually assault” or “cut a [detainee’s] mother’s throat”.
At least one prisoner died as a result of hypothermia after being held in a stress position on cold concrete for hours. At least 17 detainees were tortured without the approval from CIA headquarters that ex-director George Tenet assured the DOJ would occur. And at least 26 of the CIA’s estimated 119 detainees, the committee found, were “wrongfully held.”
Some CIA officers were said to have been reduced “to the point of tears” by witnessing the treatment meted out to one detainee.
The findings prompted a call from a UN special human rights rapporteur for prosecutions of those in the CIA and the Bush administration responsible for the torture programme.
Responding to the report, Barack Obama said the US owed a “profound debt” to the CIA but accepted that some of its techniques were “contrary to our values”.
“These harsh methods were not only inconsistent with our values as nation, they did not serve our broader counterterrorism efforts or our national security interests. Moreover, these techniques did significant damage to America’s standing in the world and made it harder to pursue our interests with allies and partners. That is why I will continue to use my authority as president to make sure we never resort to those methods again.”
The Senate report ignited a political storm as it was published by the Democratic majority in its last few weeks before surrendering control to the Republican-dominated chamber elected last month.
Loyalists of former president George W Bush, whose administration presided over the torture programme, immediately launched a website aimed at rebutting the report’s central findings.
The names of other countries – including Britain – who cooperated with the US programme by assisting the rendition of suspects were redacted from the published report.
Asked about British involvement, David Cameron said the question that a parliamentary inquiry was “dealing with all those issues” and that he had issued guidance to British agents on “how they have to handle these issues in future”
“Torture is wrong, torture is always wrong. Those of us who want to see a safer and more secure world, who want to see extremism defeated, we won’t succeed if we lose our moral authority, if we lose the things that make or systems work and countries successful,” the prime minister said.
The Senate committee published nearly 500 pages of its investigation into the CIA’s detention and interrogation programme during the Bush administration’s “war on terror”. The full report is over 10 times longer, but the declassified section is dense with detail and declassified communications between the officials involved.
The Senate report squarely rebuts CIA claims that the use of such methods generated intelligence that prevented further terrorist attacks and therefore saved lives. Feinstein said its investigators had not found a single case where that was true. Detainees who underwent torture either disclosed nothing, or supplied fabricated information, or revealed information that had been already been discovered through traditional, non-violent interrogation techniques.
The torture revealed in the report goes beyond the techniques already made public through a decade of leaks and lawsuits, which had found that agency interrogators subjected detainees to quasi-drowning, staged mock executions and revved power drills near their heads.
At least 39 detainees, the committee found, experienced techniques like “cold water dousing” – different from the quasi-drowning known as waterboarding – which the Justice Department never approved.
Contractor psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen played a critical role in establishing the torture program in 2002. In the report, both Mitchell and Jessen are identified by the pseudonyms Swigert and Dunbar. A company they formed to contract their services to the CIA was worth more than $180m, and by the time of the contract’s 2009 cancellation, they had received $81m in payouts.
The committee’s findings, which the CIA largely rejects, are the result of a four-year, $40m investigation that plunged relations between the spy agency and the Senate committee charged with overseeing it to a historic low.
The investigation that led to the report, and the question of how much of the document would be released and when, has pitted chairwoman Feinstein and her committee allies against the CIA and its White House backers. For 10 months, with the blessing of President Barack Obama, the agency has fought to conceal vast amounts of the report from the public, with an entreaty to Feinstein from secretary of state John Kerry occurring as recently as Friday.
Republican House intelligence committee chairman Mike Rogers warned America’s allies were predicting its release would “cause violence and deaths”. After publication Rogers said: “Though it is wholly appropriate for the congressional intelligence committees to conduct rigorous review of classified programs, I fear that publicizing the details of this classified program – which was legal, authorized and appropriately briefed to the intelligence committees – will only inflame our enemies, risk the lives of those who continue to sacrifice on our behalf, and undermine the very organization we continuously ask to do the hardest jobs in the toughest places.”
CIA director John Brennan, an Obama confidante, conceded in a Tuesday statement that the program “had shortcomings and that the agency made mistakes” owing from what he described as unpreparedness for a massive interrogation and detentions program.
But Brennan took issue with several of the committee’s findings.
“Our review indicates that interrogations of detainees on whom EITs were used did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists and save lives. The intelligence gained from the program was critical to our understanding of al-Qaida and continues to inform our counterterrorism efforts to this day,” Brennan said.
“EITs”, or “enhanced interrogation techniques”, is the agency’s preferred euphemism for torture.
International condemnation was swift. Ben Emmerson, the United Nations rapporteur for counter-terrorism, commended the White House for resisting pressure not to publish the report but said action must now be taken.
“The individuals responsible for the criminal conspiracy revealed in today’s report must be brought to justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes. The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorised at a high level within the US government provides no excuse whatsoever. Indeed, it reinforces the need for criminal accountability,” he said.
So far the only former CIA official in jail for the use of waterboarding, John Kiriakou, was prosecuted for disclosing information to reporters.
Obama banned CIA torture upon taking office, but the continuing lack of legal consequences for agency torturers has led human rights campaigners to view the Senate report as their last hope for official recognition and accountability for torture.
Though the committee released hundreds of pages of declassified excerpts from the report on Tuesday, the majority of the 6,000-plus page classified version remains secret, disappointing human rights groups that have long pushed for broader transparency. Senator Mark Udall, a Colorado Democrat who lost his seat in November, has flirted with reading the whole report into the Senate record, one of the only tactics to compel additional disclosures remaining.
Senate majority leader Harry Reid weighed in to back the report. “Today, for the first time, the American people are going to learn the full truth about torture that took place under the CIA during the Bush administration,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “The only way our country can put this episode in the past is to confront what happened.”
“Not only is torture wrong but it doesn’t work,” said Reid. He said torture “got us nothing except a bad name”.
But Republican members of the intelligence committee questioned the report in their own 100-page document. They wrote “procedural irregularities” had negatively impacted the study’s “problematic claims and conclusions” and accused Democrats of bias and faulty analysis.
The Republicans specifically disputed the report’s claim that torture had failed to provide actionable intelligence and claimed “aggressive” interrogation of Zubaydah led to the capture of al-Qaida associates and the disruption of a plot aimed at hotels in Karachi, Pakistan, frequented by American and German guests.
In a statement, James Clapper, director of national intelligence, said he could not recall a report “as fraught with controversy and passion as this one”.
He said the officers who participated in the program “believed with certainty that they were engaged in a program devised by our government on behalf of the president that was necessary to protect the nation, that had appropriate legal authorization, and that was sanctioned by at least some in the Congress.” But he said “things were done that should not have been done”.
“I don’t believe that any other nation would go to the lengths the United States does to bare its soul, admit mistakes when they are made and learn from those mistakes. Certainly, no one can imagine such an effort by any of the adversaries we face today,” said Clapper.
(Courtesy, the Guardian UK)
THE CIA TORTURE REPORT lists ‘rectal feeding’ as a legitimate means of nourishing detainees. But the practice has no scientific backing, and is nothing but a torture method.
There is enough contained in the newly-released Senate report on CIA torture practices to shock anyone’s conscience. News that CIA interrogators threatened violence against the children or parents of detainees, made them stand in stress positions on broken feet, and deprived them of sleep for up to a week at a time is appalling on its face. One needs no medical expertise to parse the horrors described.
But what of “rectal feeding”? At first blush, this practice may have the appearance of legitimacy in cases where detainees refused to eat or drink. One man was put in a head-down position and Ensure was instilled into his rectum. In another case, a whole plate of uneaten food (including nuts, hummus and raisins) was pureed and inserted rectally. While these incidents may sound unpleasant, one might plausibly conclude that this was an acceptable means of hydrating and nourishing recalcitrant prisoners.
This conclusion would be false. There is no legitimate medical use of “rectal feeding.” And the medical professionals involved in these cases surely knew it.
The gastrointestinal (GI) tract performs different digestive functions are various different locations. Even the brief time spent chewing exposes foods to enzymesthat begin to break it down. The acidic environment of the stomach, as well asenzymes produced there and by other organs, break down the proteins, fats and sugars further. As digesting food passes through the small intestine, it mixes withchemicals from the liver, and nutrients are absorbed.
None of this happens in the large intestine, of which the rectum is the final segment. While water, electrolytes and sugars can be absorbed before fully-digested food is expelled, the actual digestion occurs meters away. Even following legitimate medical procedures such as gastric bypass, if improperly digested food enters a part of the GI tract not equipped to handle it, it can cause diarrhea and pain (a condition bluntly termed “dumping syndrome”).
Any undigested food inserted into the rectum would simply sit there, only to be expelled back out again. No trained medical provider could possibly expect to nourish a patient this way. In the two decades since I first entered medical school, I have never seen anyone even suggest such a thing. (I checked with a pediatric gastroenterologist of my acquaintance to be sure there were no obscure medical application for this kind of “feeding.” He confirmed that there is not.) Medical personnel involved in these procedures participated in them knowing they were more consistent with a particularly crass episode ofSouth Park rather than any legitimate medical application.
Even if one accepts the highly dubious notion that anyone believed “rectal feedings” were a legitimate means of nourishing someone, there was no reason to consider such extreme measures in the first place. The rule of thumb in medicine is “if the guts works, use it,” meaning that it’s best to use the stomach to hydrate a patient if it’s functioning properly. There is no indication that these detainees couldn’t have had tubes inserted into their stomachs through their noses for the purposes of feeding them, assuming that respecting their right to refuse food had already been thrown out the window. For hydration, an IV would have been effective, as CIA medical officers conceded.
What those same medical officers acknowledge is that using the rectum to hydrate prisoners (which would, in contrast to feeding, at least work) was an effective means of behavior modification. These procedures weren’t undertaken because they were necessary. They were done to give a thin patina of ersatz legitimacy to what is otherwise flagrant sexual assault. The details differ but the intent is the same as in a high-profile case of police brutality.
The treatment of these detainees is a national disgrace. The participation of medical personnel is an egregious violation of medical ethics. Those who did so used their medical training not to care for patients, but to abet their abuse. “Rectal feeding” belongs alongside waterboarding and sleep deprivation on the list of torture methods, and everyone who participated in it knew it at the time.
— Russell Sanders
TORTURE AS ENHANCED INTERROGATION
In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements.
— George Orwell, Politics and the English Language