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Illiberal Arts



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A conservative Muslim student at the University of Michigan dared to question left-wing orthodoxies — and for his sins, a gang of vandals visited his door in a private apartment complex. Security cameras recorded their activity. Watch the video and read all about it at the College Fix.

Sydney Police Storm Café with Stun Grenades And Gunfire, Hostages Injured



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The Sydney café siege ended in a hail of explosions and gunfire Tuesday morning, with heavily-armed police tossing stun grenades and firing assault weapons into the building.

Details remain scarce, but shortly after 2 a.m. six hostages reportedly ran from a side door of the Lindt Chocolat Café, where self-styled Islamic cleric Man Haron Monis had taken as many as thirty hostages at gunpoint the previous morning.

Police stormed the café from the other side mere minutes after the hostages’ escape, leading some observers to speculate that Monis had begun executing the remaining captives. Multiple explosions rent the early morning air, followed by automatic weapons fire. Ambulances swarmed the scene shortly after, with unconfirmed reports suggesting some hostages were killed and others injured.

One individual was seen being dragged from the café shortly after the siege’s conclusion, with medical personnel providing attempts to resuscitate. Others were later dragged out on stretchers, with technicians performing CPR on the grievously wounded.

Sydney police remain tight-lipped so far about final casualties and the fate of the gunman.

NRO has a slideshow of the events here.

UPDATE: Sydney police confirm that two hostages were killed by Monis before police stormed the café. A total of 17 hostages were held throughout the duration of the siege, though many escaped before the police assault began.

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Sydney Hostage-Taker Identified as Iranian ‘Hate Sheikh’ Man Haron Monis



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The gunman holding multiple hostages in a Sydney café has been identified as 49-year-old Man Haron Monis, an Iranian immigrant to Australia dubbed the “hate sheikh” by the media for harassing the families of Australian soldiers who died in Afghanistan. 

A self-styled Islamic cleric and “spiritual healer,” Monis has a long rap sheet — including at least a dozen sexual-assault charges and accessory charges to the murder of his ex-wife, who was found stabbed and set alight in a stairwell last year. His new wife has been charged with the murder.

The Iranian earned the ire of Australian media by sending a series of hate messages to the families of dead Australian soldiers, accusing the deceased of being “murderers” and child-killers during their tours in Afghanistan. Monis was charged and convicted under Australian hate-speech laws for the letters.

Monis took up to thirty hostages at Sydney’s Lindt Chocolat Cafe at around 9 A.M. local time Monday morning, displaying an Islamic State flag and asking to speak directly to the Australian prime minister. Though some hostages managed to escape, as of around 2 A.M. Tuesday a number of them remained inside the café.

Web Briefing: December 19, 2014

Fake Standards In the Sony Hack



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While stolen information from the Sony hack continues to fill editorial holes around the country, the theft of a reported 100 terabytes of information by criminals apparently working for the dictator Kim Jong-Un has raised two very important questions.

First, is there a stooge angle in all this? The Three Stooges shorts were all produced by Columbia Pictures, which is now owned by Sony. Film libraries are scattered and chopped up in ways that generally make studio identities meaningless, but Sony in 2012 brought out Three Stooges: The Ultimate Collection, so they presumably still own the canon. If America’s stooge supply is at risk, the words “act of war” no longer seem so abstract.

Second, I noted the other day that the establishment media are filling their bellies with what is essentially stolen property. There are no laws preventing The New York Times or The Washington Post from trafficking in this material, and the only duty of journalism is to publish news that is accurate and interesting. The problem is that these publications all believe journalism has other solemn duties — notably to police yellow journalism, act as a gatekeeper against sleazy news practices, and generally decide what is and is not Fit To Print. By that standard I don’t see how the destination media are passing their own test in this case. I cited several examples of sanctimony in my article last week, but my friend Sean Malone pinpoints a more recent example and highlights a type of hypocrisy I may not have fully articulated:

A couple months ago the private data – in the form of nude photos – of several famous people was hacked and released publicly. When that happened, all the same publications that are gleefully sharing every email and statement they can dig up that is of any marginal interest from Sony, were busy claiming that by even so much as *looking* at the nude photos, people were as bad as the hackers themselves and the moral equivalent of rapists in some cases.

Now . . .  As with anything digital, once it’s out there, it’s out there. Interested parties can access the Sony data, or Jennifer Lawrence’s nudes, or X-Men Origins: Wolverine within a few keys and clicks.

But can you imagine the outrage if major news outlets had posted the nudes, or say, Kim Kardashian’s full sex tape in dozens of articles for two weeks straight on their front pages? No? Well . . .  That’s exactly what we’re seeing at The Hollywood Reporter and the NY Times with the Sony hack.

The material selected for heavy coverage in the Sony hack includes plenty of interesting business and entertainment stories. Conveniently, much of it — such as the news that Jennifer Lawrence got slightly lower participation points than her male co-stars in American Hustle — fits into pre-existing narratives that are of great interest to the mainstream media. Some of it even fits narratives of interest to me: Amy Pascal and Scott Rudin’s jocular speculation about President Obama’s only being interested in black movies seems like a strange case of people getting in trouble for privately expressing attitudes they hold quite openly in public. Executives in liberal Hollywood talk freely about their reluctance to hire black stars out of concern for unspecified overseas audiences and foreign backers. Ridley Scott said more or less exactly that in  a recent interview about the casting on Exodus: Gods and Kings — which is shaping up to be a considerable bomb despite its white cast. (That attitude even shows up in the movie that provoked Kim Jong-Un’s wrath, The Interview, a picture that is obviously based on Dennis Rodman’s high jinx in the Hermit Kingdom yet stars those two soul brothers Seth Rogen and James Franco.) Other stolen Sony property has been catnip to reporters on the hunt for evidence of gender pay disparities, ill-treatment of below-the-line workers by gilded executives, and so on.

But the free-for-all over this ill-gotten loot reveals an interesting mindset: that business information is somehow less privileged than other types of information, and in particular that the business of entertainment doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously as a business. Over the weekend I saw plenty of low-level Hollywood types gleefully passing on information showing how rotten the Sony fatcats are, even thanking the Kim dynasty for making it all public. Once again, Team America: World Police has proved prescient: When push comes to shove, Hollywood liberals will even line up with North Korea.

Tags: Hollywood , Internet , Crime , North Korea

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Hostage Situation Under Way in Australia, Islamic Ties Suspected



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Australian police are mounting a major operation in downtown Sydney in response to at least one armed man taking hostages inside a shop, with the regional police chief saying authorities are on “a footing consistent with responding to a terrorist event.” Three hostages, out of an undetermined number, have escaped so far.

Those inside the shop seem to have been forced to display an Islamist flag:

There was a brief sighting of one man inside the shop, wearing a black headband that appears to have Arabic writing on it:

There have been indications of growing jihadist strength in Australia for some time: In September, authorities broke up a ring of Sydney-based conspirators who had pledged their loyalty to the Islamic State and were were plotting a public beheading of a civilian. Australian prime minister Tony Abbott called the current situation “deeply concerning”; dozens of hostages may have been taken.

James Brown of the Lowy Institute noted on Australia’s ABC Radio that the obscurity of the target chosen, a chocolate shop, may indicate that the operation had been botched, because terrorists would be expected to go after a much more prominent target, associated with Western power, commerce, or sovereignty.

The flag in the window may look familiar to those who have been following the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, but it isn’t the flag of that organization specifically. It’s a black banner with the Islamic declaration of faith (the shahada) in white used by Islamist militants everywhere; the flag used by al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Islamic State is slightly different and includes a circular seal. (The writing on the man’s headband may be the shahada, too.)

While details remain scant, there may well be a connection to the Islamic State. Australian counterterrorism forces disrupted a beheading plot tied to the Islamic State and arrested 15 men, in raids involving 800 officers, back in September. The beheading plot may even have involved the downtown location where the hostage taking happened today, Martin Place. At the time, Tom Rogan noted that the incipient plot, and the Australian response, indicated that the Islamic-terror threat in the country is being taken very seriously. The Australian government alluded to direct incitement to attacks from Islamic State members in Turkey and Syria, which may have included a former Sydney imam who’s become quite senior in the group.

Tom’s whole piece is here.

Greece’s (Possible) Election: A Gamble to Come



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As noted earlier, Greece might be looking at an early election within a month or so, an election that could see the radical leftists of Syriza come to power, radical leftists who will want to tear up the current austerity program.

Writing for the Daily Telegraph , Ambrose Evans-Pritchard surveys the situation. He clearly believes that if there is a general election, Syriza is in with a very good chance. He (like me) also thinks that, in attempting to cut a better deal for Greece after any election victory, Syriza will be given far more leeway by Greece’s euro zone ‘partners’ than current rhetoric would suggest. 

[Syriza leader] Mr Tsipras….is gambling that EU leaders – meaning Germany’s Angela Merkel and Wolfgang Schauble – will yield. His calculation is that they will not dare to blow up monetary union at this late stage, and over a relative pittance. Too much political capital has been invested. The EU-IMF loans have already reached €245bn, the biggest indenture package in history.

I think that’s right. Greece will not be the crisis…

But then Evans-Pritchard shifts from predicting what may happen to an examination of where things stand now. It doesn’t make pretty reading:

The EU’s mishandling of Greece has been calamitous. Investment has fallen by 63.5pc. Public debt has spiralled to 177pc of GDP, even after two sets of haircuts on private creditors. Unemployment has dropped slightly to 25.9pc, or 49.3pc for youth, but only because of a mass exodus, a brain-drain to the US, Canada, Australia, Germany, and the UK. The work force has shed over a million jobs, dropping to 3.5m. The economy has stabilized. It grew 0.7pc in the third quarter on pent-up demand. But this should not be confused with recovery or a return to viability within the EMU fixed-exchange system. Exports were lower in 2013 (€51.6) than in 2007 (€56.6bn). The current account deficit has narrowed because imports have collapsed. For all the talk of EU-led reform, Greece’s ranking on the World Economic Forum’s competitiveness index has dropped from 67 to 81 over the last six years, below Ukraine, Guatemala, and Algeria.

… My view is that Greece would have recovered long ago if it had left EMU at the outset of the crisis, turning to the IMF for a classic bail-out package. It received the IMF’s austerity medicine, but not IMF’s the cure of debt forgiveness and devaluation. The fiscal multiplier did its worst with nothing to offset it.

…Greece was sacrificed to buy time for the [euro zone] alliance, like the Spartans at Thermopylae. It was subjected to an unworkable economic experiment, in defiance of known economic science and principles. Given what has happened, Europe’s leaders have a special duty of care to Greece. They have betrayed it.

Evans-Pritchard omits to discuss the extent to which Greece dug its own grave. Dysfunctional and corrupt, it signed up for a currency for which it would never be suited, helped by, well, interesting numbers games and (most unforgivably of all) the connivance of the rest of the euro zone in the pretense that Greece was ready for membership. Once admitted into the currency union, it saw the euro (and the low interest rates that came with it) as a free lunch rather than an incentive for structural reform.

That said, the euro zone has to deal with its economic situation as it is, not as it should be:  

Europe’s contractionary policies have failed on every level. The region has not regained “escape velocity” since the Lehman crisis, and is now sliding into deflation. Output is still below 2008 levels and has performed worse over the last six years than from 1929 to 1935. Debt ratios are rising across the South….

This is not a story that will end in Greece. 

Nostalgia within Nostalgia



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I just saw the new film Inherent Vice for the second time, and have concluded that it’s a lovely movie. The first time I saw it, I enjoyed it thoroughly, but was troubled by the fact that I had difficulty following the plot. If you have trouble following the plot of a movie that is a faithful adaptation of a book you read and enjoyed, that’s a sign that the movie might just have too much plot for its own good; but on a second viewing I found that the plot made enough sense, for a private-eye movie.

Still, that second viewing revealed to me that the chief joy of Inherent Vice is not in figuring out the plot intricacies, but in reveling in a beautifully imagined past — a past inhabited by delightful characters, rivetingly performed (by Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Katherine Waterston, and a very deep bench of supporting-cast members). The film is set in 1970, and there’s nostalgia enough in the film’s portrayal of that time; but within the film’s period, the characters are looking back longingly to a vanished time, even as they cope with the damage that their pasts had wrought.

Most of the film’s highlights are broadly comic, and set in 1970. But the film’s very best scene — which occurs, Straussians will delightedly note, at the exact midpoint of its 148-minute running time — is poignant, and a flashback: The stoner, later to be a private detective (Phoenix), and his girlfriend, later to hire his private-eye services (Waterston), go to a non-existent address on Sunset Boulevard in a crazed attempt to score some scarce weed. They find no drugs, but they get caught in the rain together, and share one of those moments of unselfconscious joy that only later becomes an image of everything that was good in a relationship. (And — in this case — of the fact that, even for a pair of hippies in the golden ’69, love is more important than dope.)

I have always preferred the Odyssey to the Iliad because where the Iliad is about slaughter, the Odyssey is about the desire for home. You can’t “go home again” in the sense of total recovery of the past, but you can try hard to be true to what was best in that past (maybe that’s what conservatism is all about). In this movie, there is perhaps too much that meets the eye; you can thrill to it, or get irritated by it, or both. But what’s beneath the surface is quite moving, and also worth attending to.

Less Debate in Economics Journals?



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About the chart above:

Once upon a time, economists regularly used to publicly criticise each other’s work in academic journals. But not any more.

In Figure 1 I have illustrated the degree to which economists have stopped debating. The data have been culled from Jstor, the online database of academic journals. To estimate the number of debating articles for each year, I searched for articles with “comment”, “reply”, and/or “rejoinder” in their titles, as these are the key words used to indicate a comment on someone else’s article and a reply to that comment. I did the search for the five most prestigious economics journals. I then used the total number of articles in those five journals in each year as the denominator.

Figure 1 shows how there was a dramatic increase in the level of debate in economics from the 1920s through the 1960s. Then, however, there was an equally dramatic fall. At the peak level, in 1968, fully 22 per cent of the articles published in these journals appear to have been related to debate. By 2013, however, just 2 per cent were.

I’m not wild about the author’s explanations for the chart he created. (Or, for that matter, the methodology he used to make the chart.) But the general point that peer-reviewed economics journals have changed a lot over the decades is clearly correct. And I think you could reasonably argue that academic economists are having less of a collective conversation than they used to. If that’s reflected in the journals, I’m not surprised.

— Michael R. Strain is deputy director of economic policy studies and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MichaelRStrain.

Two Points



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1) Last Wednesday, Charlie Cooke had a post about the president of Smith College — who got in trouble for saying “all lives matter.” She was supposed to say, “Black lives matter.” Her contention that “all lives matter” was apparently racist. She apologized in the usual groveling fashion.

Ryan Lovelace, in his post below, says that Al Sharpton staged a march dubbed “Justice for All.” All? Isn’t that like, racist?

2) Ryan quotes a speaker making demands from the stage. The government, she said, must “stop the genocide of black and brown people here in America.”

This reminded me of an experience I had in college: The kids marched through campus chanting, “Reagan, Bush, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide.”

What did they mean? They meant that the Reagan administration had slowed the rate of growth of social-welfare spending. Spending was still increasing (and probably not doing any good at all). But the rate of growth was slowed, slightly. “Genocide.”

“Genocide” actually means something. Whole peoples have been targeted for extermination — for mass murder. You can ask the Jews. When our moronic Left says “genocide,” they are being more than silly, they are being repulsive.

P.S. Before he decided to be a hero of the Democratic party, Jesse Jackson referred to abortion as “black genocide.” Heroism in the Democratic party requires strict devotion to abortion on demand. Jackson tailored his conscience, dramatically.

P.P.S. Lillian Hellman famously said, “I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions.” A fine sentiment. Hellman had the same fashion, year in, year out: Communism, especially as practiced by Josef Stalin.

Re: Misc.



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Jay, I’m starting to think this might just be a lousy year for the Wolverines.

It could be a good one for Columbia’s Lions, though experienced fans have learned to be cautious about losing their hearts too quickly. A true Lions fan is someone who, when you say “Columbia” and “1968,” thinks of basketball, because that’s the last time they won the conference championship. And that might actually be a good omen because, just as in 1968, student protests are reaching a fever pitch this year at Columbia.

Of course, you could have said the same thing about any other year in the last half-century, though the pretexts for student demonstrations vary greatly with the times. However you feel about Vietnam, it was unquestionably a major issue in 1968, but here’s an example of what they’re getting ticked off about nowadays (showing, among other things, that law students are not the only ones at Columbia University who are easily shaken up):

Earlier this semester, the Columbia University Marching Band published a series of recruitment posters. One of them transposed a photo of Nicki Minaj’s album cover for Anaconda where she is crouched on the ground with her butt exposed in a thong. In its original form, the album cover is a statement about sex positivity and one woman’s control over the depiction of her body.

As an advertisement for CUMB, the image became a gross representation of white supremacy. The poster featured the enlarged photo of Nicki Minaj with a frog photoshopped over her face, along with two white men in black shorts hitting her butt cheeks on each side with a gong mallet. In one image, CUMB managed to completely disregard the history of slavery and the history of black women not having control over their own bodies (most frequently at the hands of white slavemasters). They also disregarded how black women would feel seeing this image around campus, as CUMB essentially told them (just like American history has told them) that their bodies are not theirs.

The original album cover is risqué enough (sorry, I mean sex-positive enough) to make it non-Corner-postable, but you can easily find it online. The article’s authors don’t explain how the frog fits into the white-supremacy thing; perhaps that’s obvious to everyone except me. I couldn’t find a copy of that poster, but here are some other recent examples of CUMB’s graphic humor.

The point of this article was to encourage students to boycott “Orgo Night,” a twice-yearly event in which the band goes to Butler Library to play music and read a supposedly humorous script on the night before Columbia’s organic-chemistry exam. This tradition began in the 1970s with the band invading the library at midnight and playing a few songs, mainly to annoy the pre-meds. Around 1982 the band, of which I was a member, figured out that they could leverage this capability by reciting a few lame jokes in between, and in the decades since, the event has become mystifyingly popular — the closest thing Columbia has to a time-honored tradition, except for student protests, of course.

The anti-CUMB campaign has been going on for several years, because “every semester after Orgo Night, some students leave Butler feeling miserable and triggered and have to turn to one another for consolation while our peers celebrate.” Showing uncharacteristic backbone, the Columbia administration has refused to ban the event, and it went off this week as usual. But don’t worry: The protesters who wrote the article above have devised an ingenious solution for those who get the heebie-jeebies over the sort of undergraduate humor on display at Orgo Night: “Don’t go. Don’t go. Don’t go.” Imagine if other would-be suppressors of free speech adopted this logic . . . 

Al Sharpton Takes Washington



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Thousands of protesters attended Al Sharpton’s “Justice for All” march in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. The protesters mobbed Freedom Plaza, just east of the White House, before marching down Pennsylvania Avenue to arrive at a stage set up for activists to vent their anger.

As protesters walked down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol, loud speakers boomed Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” and large video screens beamed footage of the crowd.

Protesters were bused in from all over the country; one from D.C. yelled from the stage, “We do not say, ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ in Washington, D.C., we say, ‘fists up, fight back.’” She then demanded that the government “stop the genocide of black and brown people here in America.”

Keep reading this post . . .

Senator Wyden Suggests He’d Support Prosecution of CIA Interrogators



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In the wake of the Senate’s so-called torture report, Oregon Democratic senator Ron Wyden refused to rule out criminal prosecutions for CIA interrogators accused of harsh tactics against detainees, calling on the Justice Department to investigate.

Wyden spoke Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press about the report, which alleges the CIA used illegal torture techniques to get information from terrorists and then lied to White House and congressional overseers about the program. Wyden is one of the lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which produced the report.

“Do you think there should be prosecutions?” host Chuck Todd asked.

“The Justice Department has been clear, with respect to that, that there aren’t going to be,” the senator replied. “I hope they’ll review the new facts.”

“You want them to change their mind,” Todd pressed.

“I want them to review the new facts,” Wyden repeated, adding he was “especially troubled by [CIA director] John Brennan, on Thursday, really open[ing] the door for the possibility of torture being used again.”

Wyden promised that he would introduce legislation next Congress to “make it clear that if torture is used in the future, there would be a basis to prosecute.”

Tags: Sunday Shows December 14 2014

George Will: Release of Torture Report ‘on Balance, Good’ for the Country



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Columnist George Will broke with a number of his conservative colleagues on Sunday, calling the release of the Senate’s CIA torture report “on balance, good” for the country.

While many conservatives have portrayed the Democrat-led committee report as partisan, inaccurate, and unnecessarily divisive, on Fox News Sunday Will explained that “the default position of a free society is, more information is better.”

“We’re having a very interesting argument today, and it serves the country,” he said. “The argument at one level is about whether these techniques work. We ought to know that, because this is not the last time we will be wounded as a nation.”

“But there’s another aspect to this,” Will continued. “If the security services of a public begin to lie to the executive branch of which it’s a part, and the congressional branch that provides its oversight, then you have, not just a problem, you have a crisis of the regime — and you want to know if that happened.”

The senators behind the report allege that the CIA deliberately withheld important aspects of the enhanced-interrogation program from Congress — an accusation strenuously denied by former Bush-administration and CIA officials.

Tags: Sunday Shows December 14 2014

Bush: CIA Spooks Are ‘Patriots’



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Prior to the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s “torture” report, Candy Crowley, host of CNN’s State of the Union, spoke with former president George W. Bush about the rumored revelations. He said:

Here’s what I’m going to say: that we’re fortunate to have men and women who work hard at the CIA serving on our behalf. These are patriots. And whatever the report says, if it diminishes their contributions to our country, it is way off base.

Added Bush:

I knew the directors. I knew the deputy directors. I knew a lot of the operators. These are good people, really good people, and we’re lucky as a nation to have them.

Tags: Sunday Shows December 14 2014

Pete King: ‘We Have to Stop this Self-Loathing’



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Representative Peter King (R., N.Y.) had strong words for the political leaders and media personalities who are self-flagellating in response to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s “torture” report, released last week.

“We have to stop this self-loathing,” said King, discussing the report on CNN’s State of the Union. “To me, the burden is on us, the burden is on people in positions of influence to stop hating ourselves, and to stop hating those who do the job. . . . ”

He continued:

It would be very helpful if people on the outside helped, if the president of the United States, if leaders in the House and the Senate came forward and gave the CIA credit for what it did. It’s going to be very difficult to overcome the damage that was done by Senator Feinstein in her report. I think it’s important for people like myself and people in the media to speak out and say that the CIA did an excellent job, that the CIA operated under the most extenuating circumstances, that they’re responsible for stopping attacks against the United States.

Tags: Sunday Shows December 14 2014

Representative Ellison: We Need Criminal Investigation into ‘Torture’ Report Findings



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Discussing the Senate Intelligence Committee’s “torture” report on ABC’s This Week, Minnesota Democratic congressman Keith Ellison called for a full-on criminal investigation.

The question is, what are we going to do going forward? One: Can we get President Obama’s executive order put into law? That’s one. Two, we need a criminal investigation. Who did what? Where?

Given the partisan nature of the report, Ellison’s recommendation is unlikely to gain traction with his Republican colleagues.

Tags: Sunday Shows December 14 2014

Hayden: ‘I’d Be Disappointed if Interrogation Did Not Take a Human Toll on Interrogators’



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Discussing why some officials who implemented enhanced-interrogation techniques could come to regret the program, former CIA director Michael Hayden, appearing on ABC’s This Week, said: “I would be very, very disappointed if this did not take a human toll on our CIA interrogators.”

“After all,” Hayden continued, “although that person across the table from you was a terrorist, he’s also a human being. I would not want people in the room doing this who are not affected by it.”

The point was partially in response to an op-ed published in the New York Times last week by Erik Fair, a former CIA interrogator who now teaches at Lehigh University. “I was an interrogator at Abu Ghraib. I tortured,” Fair wrote. “One day, the students will come to know that this country isn’t always something to be proud of.”

Hayden was quick to distinguish the illegal abuses that occurred at Abu Ghraib prison in 2004 from the techniques legally employed, which were at issue in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s so-called “torture” report, released last week.

Tags: Sunday Shows December 14 2014

Cheney Decries ‘Cheap Shot’ Attempt to Draw ‘Moral Equivalent’ in Wake of Torture Report



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Former vice president Dick Cheney slammed those trying to draw a moral equivalency between the United States and its enemies in the wake of a Senate report accusing the CIA of torture, calling it a “cheap shot” to compare U.S. intelligence officers to Japanese soldiers prosecuted for war crimes or members of the Islamic State.

“If you say waterboarding is not torture, then why did we prosecute Japanese soldiers for waterboarding?” NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Cheney on Sunday.

“Not for waterboarding, they did a lot of other stuff,” the former vice president scoffed. “To draw some kind of moral equivalent between waterboarding — judged by our Justice Department not to be torture — and what the Japanese did with the Bataan Death March and the slaughter of thousands of Americans, with the Rape of Nanking, and all of the other crimes they committed — that’s an outrage . . . it’s a really cheap shot to even draw a parallel.”

But Todd kept up the line of questioning. “If an American soldier is waterboarded by ISIS, are we going to try to prosecute ISIS for war crimes?” he asked.

“He’s not likely to be waterboarded, he’s likely to have his head cut off!” Cheney responded. “You’re trying to come up with hypothetical situations. Waterboarding, the way we did it, is not torture. Now, when you’re dealing with terrorists, the likes of al-Qaeda or the likes of ISIS, I haven’t seen them waterboard anybody. What they do is cut their heads off!”

Tags: Sunday Shows December 14 2014

Hayden: Enhanced Interrogation Was Successful. ‘That’s a Historical Fact.’



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Responding to aggressive questioning from This Week guest host Martha Raddatz, Michael Hayden, CIA director from 2006 to 2009, tried to clarify both the facts surrounding enhanced interrogation techniques and the stakes at the time of their use, following the release last week of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s so-called torture report.

The techniques “were successful,” Hayden said. “That’s a historical fact. Do I support them? With regard to waterboarding, I have made it very clear that I thank God that I didn’t have to make that decision. I had easier circumstances when I was director.”

Parrying Raddatz’s protestation that he was avoiding the question, Hayden said any determination of techniques depends on “the totality of circumstances at the time”:

Here, Martha, we’re making a choice between two very bad, very difficult choices. If we had not done this, and a subsequent attack would have taken place, what would today’s conversation be like?

Tags: Sunday Shows December 14 2014

Ingraham: ‘We Have Two Parties that Agree on Too Much’



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Talk-show host Laura Ingraham is not happy about the “cromnibus” spending bill that passed Congress this week — especially a new provision that would increase the limit on contributions to campaign spending:

You know what the problem is? We have two parties that agree with each other on too many issues. They agree on open borders, they agree on immigration amnesty, they agree on Common Core. And apparently, they agree that individuals should be able to give hundreds of thousands . . . to the political parties. I am not in favor of anything that makes it easier for the incumbency in Washington, D.C. And this cromnibus bill makes it easier for the incumbents and the establishment in both parties to run amok.

“Most of these people didn’t read this bill. Most of these people don’t know what’s in this bill. How is this good for the people?” Ingraham shrugged.

Tags: Sunday Shows December 14 2014

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