Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for February 27th, 2007

The American gulag

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From the Washington Post:

On his last day in CIA custody, Marwan Jabour, an accused al-Qaeda paymaster, was stripped naked, seated in a chair and videotaped by agency officers. Afterward, he was shackled and blindfolded, headphones were put over his ears, and he was given an injection that made him groggy. Jabour, 30, was laid down in the back of a van, driven to an airstrip and put on a plane with at least one other prisoner.

His release from a secret facility in Afghanistan on June 30, 2006, was a surprise to Jabour — and came just hours after the Supreme Court rejected the Bush administration’s assertion that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to prisoners like him.

Before that day, Jabour had spent two years in “black sites” — a network of secret internment facilities the CIA operated around the world. His account of life in that system, which he described in three interviews with The Washington Post, offers an inside view of a clandestine world that held far more prisoners than the 14 men President Bush acknowledged and had transferred out of CIA custody in September.

“There are now no terrorists in the CIA program,” the president said, adding that after the prisoners held were determined to have “little or no additional intelligence value, many of them have been returned to their home countries for prosecution or detention by their governments.”

But Jabour’s experience — also chronicled by Human Rights Watch, which yesterday issued a report on the fate of former “black site” detainees — often does not accord with the portrait the administration has offered of the CIA system, such as the number of people it held and the threat detainees posed. Although 14 detainees were publicly moved from CIA custody to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, scores more have not been publicly identified by the U.S. government, and their whereabouts remain secret. Nor has the administration acknowledged that detainees such as Jabour, considered so dangerous and valuable that their detentions were kept secret, were freed.

After 28 months of incarceration, Jabour — who was described by a counterterrorism official in the U.S. government as “a committed jihadist and a hard-core terrorist who was intent on doing harm to innocent people, including Americans” — was released eight months ago. U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials confirmed his incarceration and that he was held in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They would not discuss conditions inside black sites or the treatment of any detainee.

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Written by LeisureGuy

27 February 2007 at 8:51 pm

Good intentions paving a road to academic hell

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The very definition of spinning out of control:

Ever since the gross mistreatment of poor black men in the Tuskegee Syphilis Study came to light three decades ago, the federal government has required ethics panels to protect people from being used as human lab rats in biomedical studies. Yet now, faculty and graduate students across the country increasingly complain that these panels have spun out of control, curtailing academic freedom and interfering with research in history, English and other subjects that poses virtually no danger to anyone.

The panels, known as Institutional Review Boards, are required at all institutions that receive research money from any one of 17 federal agencies and are charged with signing off in advance on almost all studies that involve a living person, whether a former president of the United States or your own grandmother. This results, critics say, in unnecessary and sometimes absurd demands.

Among the incidents cited in recent report by the American Association of University Professors are a review board asking a linguist studying a preliterate tribe to “have the subjects read and sign a consent form,” and a board forbidding a white student studying ethnicity to interview African-American Ph.D. students “because it might be traumatic for them.”

“It drives historians crazy,” said Joshua Freeman, the director of the City University’s graduate history program. “It’s a medical model, it’s inappropriate and ignorant.” One student currently waiting for a board to approve his study of a strike in the 1970s, Mr. Freeman said, had to submit a list of questions he was going to ask workers and union officials, file signed consent forms, describe the locked location where he would keep all his notes, take a test to certify he understood the standards.

Review boards, first created in 1974, were initially restricted to biomedical research. In 1981 the regulations were revised to cover all research that involves “human subjects” and is designed to contribute to “generalizable knowledge.”

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Written by LeisureGuy

27 February 2007 at 8:37 pm

Posted in Education, Government

History of Marijuana

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Written by LeisureGuy

27 February 2007 at 8:20 pm

Posted in Drug laws, Education, Video

Find your political compass

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Take the little test and see where you fall. I, as you might suspect, am down and to the left:

-6.13 – Economic Left/Right
-7.18 – Social Libertarian/Authoritarian

That puts me in the Gandhi neighborhood, but more Libertarian.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 February 2007 at 4:26 pm

Posted in Democrats, GOP

Buffalo chicken thingies

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Coconut & Lime is on a roll: look at their recipe for Buffalo Chicken Thingies. I’ve ordered a 3-pack of the Anchor Buffalo sauce and I’m definitely making this when it arrives.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 February 2007 at 2:13 pm

Posted in Recipes

Strange mouse behavior

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My nice Logitech MX Revolution suddenly seemed unable to move the cursor up and down—so badly that I went out and bought a cheap USB mouse to use until I could figure it out. Thought it was okay, but then today, the trouble started again. And then I removed the super-duper mousepad I was using and just let it run on the keyboard pull-out shelf—and it’s fine. Go figure. The mousepad, a Func F10.s, has worked great—and then all of a sudden not at all. I didn’t spill anything on it, and the USB mouse (a Microsoft optical) worked fine on it. Just the Logitech decided it was bored of it, or something.

So if your mouse is acting up, try not using the mousepad. Your mouse may be tired of it.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 February 2007 at 2:10 pm

Posted in Technology

Snow globes as art

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Click “recent works” at this site.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 February 2007 at 10:19 am

Posted in Art

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