Archives for FUBAR

A key figure in the CIA torture debacle

Abu Zubaydah was the CIA’s guinea pig. He was the first high-profile al Qaida terror suspect captured after the Sept. 11 attacks, and the first to vanish into the spy agency’s secret prisons, the first subjected to grinding white noise and sleep deprivation tactics and the first to gasp under the simulated drowning of waterboarding. Zubaydah’s stark ordeal became the CIA’s blueprint for the brutal treatment of terror suspects, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report released Tuesday. The newly released report cites Zubaydah’s detention in Pakistan in March 2002 as a turning point in the Bush administration’s no-holds-barred approach
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Protests stop train, block California highway

Hundreds of people marched through Berkeley for a third night a row, blocking a major highway and stopping a train as activists in this ultra-liberal bastion protest grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers in the deaths of two unarmed black men. Protesters blocked traffic on both sides of Interstate 80 in Berkeley, while another group stood on and sat on train tracks, forcing an Amtrak train to stop Monday night. A large group of people began peacefully marching earlier Monday through downtown Berkeley. The first stop for demonstrators shouting, “Who do you protect? Peaceful protest” was the
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Federal autopsy on Michael Brown: No surprises

A federal autopsy in the Ferguson police shooting reached similar conclusions to those performed by local officials and a private examiner hired by 18-year-old Michael Brown’s family, documents show. The Armed Forces Medical Examiner System’s autopsy on Brown, conducted at the request of the Department of Justice, was among grand jury documents that St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch released Monday with little explanation. Other documents include transcripts of eight federal interviews of possible witnesses to Brown’s shooting in early August; police radio traffic; and an alleged audio recording of the shots fired by Wilson. Many of documents contained
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Another night of violent protests in Berkeley

Raucous demonstrations hit Berkeley’s streets for a second straight night as protesters angered by police killings in Missouri and New York clashed with officers, vandalized businesses and even fought with each other, officials said. Sunday’s protest began peacefully on the University of California, Berkeley, campus but eventually grew rowdy and spilled into Oakland. Activists made their way onto a freeway and blocked traffic. The California Highway Patrol said officers fired tear gas after protesters targeted them with rocks and bottles and tried to light a patrol vehicle on fire. Police also said explosives were thrown at officers, but there was
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Who gassed the ‘furries?’

Investigators were looking into the release of a gas that sickened several hotel guests and forced thousands of people — many dressed as cartoon animals for a convention — to temporarily leave the building. Although some participants at the Midwest FurFest convention thought the mass evacuation was just part of the fun, investigators were treating it as a criminal matter. Nineteen people who became nauseous or dizzy were treated at local hospitals, and at least 18 were released shortly thereafter. Within hours, emergency workers decontaminated the Hyatt Regency O’Hare and allowed people back inside. The Rosemont Public Safety Department said
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More American troops than planned in Afghanistan

The United States will keep about 1,000 more troops in Afghanistan than planned early next year to fill a temporary NATO troop gap in the new mission to train and advise Afghan security forces, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Saturday on his final visit to this war-weary country as Pentagon chief. At a news conference with President Ashraf Ghani, Hagel said the original plan to cut U.S. troop levels to 9,800 by the end of 2014 had been abandoned, but not because of a recent surge in Taliban attacks. Hagel said the U.S. will keep up to 10,800 troops
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Washington Post reporter charged in Iran

A Washington Post reporter detained in Iran for more than four months was formally charged Saturday after a day-long proceeding in a Tehran courtroom, the newspaper reported. Jason Rezaian, the newspaper’s bureau chief in Tehran since 2012, appeared in court almost five months after he was arrested July 22. The charges were the first against him since the arrest, the Post said. He is an Iranian-American who holds dual citizenship. The newspaper, quoting a source familiar with the case, said the nature of the charges against him were not immediately clear to those not present in the courtroom. The State
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Failed rescue attempt for one drawn to ‘wanderlust’

Luke Somers, an American who was killed during a rescue attempt against his al-Qaida captors in Yemen, had been working as a freelance photographer and editor in that country, and those who knew him say he had “wanderlust” and was drawn to new experiences. Lucy Somers told The Associated Press on Saturday that that she learned of her 33-year-old brother’s death from FBI agents. He had been kidnapped in September 2013 in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa. President Barack Obama said Saturday that he authorized the rescue attempt because the U.S. had information that Somers’ life was in “imminent danger.”
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Exceptions to new ‘no profiling rules’

  Federal agents who guard the border and screen passengers at airports would be exempt from new racial profiling guidelines that must be observed by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. The Obama administration is to announce those guidelines in coming days, but officials say the changes would curtail numerous federal agencies from considering factors such as religion and national origin during investigations. A U.S. official familiar with the guidelines said Friday night that the new rules banning racial profiling exempt the Transportation Security Administration and also do not cover inspections at ports of entry and interdictions at border
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Ashton Carter brings a different look to the Pentagon

The experiences that Ashton Carter would bring to the job of defense secretary are vastly different from Chuck Hagel’s in several important ways, starting with the fact that Carter is an academic and a policy wonk. How Carter would pursue President Barack Obama’s defense agenda — or use his influence to bend it in new directions — is less obvious. Obama was to announce Friday that he will nominate Carter as Hagel’s successor. Carter would, if confirmed by the Senate, be the fourth Pentagon chief of Obama’s presidency, following Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Hagel. Carter has left an extensive
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