The U.S. government is still afraid to reveal the full extent of torture used on terror suspects in the years following the 9/11 attacks, but do the American people even care anymore?
A recent report by The New York Times explores the case of Majid Khan, a prisoner of the United States who plead guilty to being a courier for Al Qaeda. Khan is a Pakistani citizen who spent seven years in Baltimore before being kidnapped by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 2003, where he faced various forms of torture. Since Khan’s first court appearance in 2003, the U.S. government has sought to keep the details of his torture secret.
The Times reports:
“Seven years ago, when a former C.I.A. prisoner, Majid Khan, pleaded guilty at Guantánamo to being a courier for Al Qaeda, his lawyers were warned that any mention of the word “torture” would lead a court security officer to trigger a mute button so the public, listening on a 40-second delay, would not hear it.
This week the question of his treatment was front and center, this time in a pre-sentencing hearing. Mr. Khan’s lawyers asked a military judge on Monday to order prosecutors to produce evidence and witnesses about the secret prison network where the intelligence agency kept Mr. Khan incommunicado from March 2003 to September 2006.”
Khan’s case is only the latest in a battle between attorneys defending accused terrorists and both the CIA and the U.S. military. While th military now allows torture to be discussed without the 40-second delay, the battle now centers on how torture evidence can be gathered and whether or not it can be used in military tribunals at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The prosecutors cannot legally use evidence obtained via torture in the military court, but they are still reluctant to allow the details of the torture to become public. Khan’s attorneys are seeking data related to his torture so they may show his sentencing jury what exactly he was forced to endure.
During the Obama administration, some details of Mr. Khan’s torture at the hands of the CIA were made public. These include being beaten, hung naked without food for three days, kept in the dark for months on end, submerged into a tub of ice and water, and perhaps, most disturbing, being subjected to “rectal feeding.” As part of that process, the CIA shoved a blended mix of pasta, sauce, nuts, raisins, and hummus up Khan’s rectum after he went on a hunger strike. Khan’s lawyer David Nevin said the term rectal feeding, or rectal rehydration, “is a polite way of saying rape with the insertion of a foreign object into the rectum.”
The Times reports that Khan has agreed to a plea agreement and could be sentenced to 25 years. With credit for time served he could be released by 2037. Still, despite the potential plea deal, the military has prevented Khan’s attorneys from contacting former employees of the CIA black sites where Khan and other suspected terrorists have been held over the last two decades. The CIA has fought to keep secret the names of the employees and the locations of these black sites.
As we approach yet another anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the American people remain clueless as to the full extent of the torture, kidnapping, and killing carried out in the name of avenging those killed on September 11, 2001. Even worse, the psychologists who helped develop these sickening programs have been allowed to go free under secret deals. If the world is ever to heal from the tragedy of the 9/11 terror attacks, we must know the truth about what happened that day and we must know the truth about how the U.S. government and intelligence agencies violated international law when they chose to employ brutal, sick, and twisted methods of torture. Without these truths, the American people are simply living a lie.
Genius 12 Year Old Boy On Way To Receive Aerospace Engineering Degree
A 12-year-old genius is on his way to receive an aerospace engineering degree in just two years, an incredible feat.
If that’s not shocking and impressive, according to CBS, twelve-year-old Caleb Anderson knew sign language by the time he was only nine-months-old, could read by age one, and knew how to do fractions at just age two.
Anderson is now in the process of attending his second year at Chattahoochee Technical College in Georgia the U.S. and Anderson already got his sights set on working for Tesla owner Elon Musk.
Anderson hopes to get an internship with SpaceX founder Musk, speaking to USA Today earlier this year, he said: “When I was like one, I always wanted to go to space. I figured that aerospace engineering would be the best path.”
Anderson doesn’t see himself as a genius telling CBS: “I’m not really smart. I just grasp information quickly. So, if I learn quicker, then I get ahead faster.”
He added: “This is my life. This is how I am. And I’ve been living this way my whole life.”
Being so incredibly smart hasn’t always been a walk in the park for Caleb though, as he admits middle school was “awful.”
“The kids there, they kind of looked down on me, they treated me like I was an anomaly,” he said. “And I kind of am.”
Despite his previous treatment in middle school, Anderson is excited about college stating quite the opposite, telling USA Today: “It’s really accepting. People might think something about it, but they don’t show it which is really nice.”
Although Anderson is in his second year at Chattahoochee Technical College and he has had much success. The young boy and his family want him to attend Georgia Institute of Technology or the Massachusetts Institute for Technology.
His mother Claire explained: “We want him to be in an environment where he is accepted and not tolerated.”
Professor Mark Costello, chair of Georgia Tech’s School of Aerospace Engineering said Caleb was “the perfect candidate” for the course and will “be very successful” if he attends.
What do you think about Caleb Anderson?
Pope Francis Becomes First Pope To Endorse Same-Sex Civil Unions
Pope Francis has become the first Catholic pope to openly endorse same-sex civil unions. The comments were made in “Francesco,” a new documentary about his life that recently premiered at the Rome Film Festival.
The film features a series of new interviews where the pope discussed some of the issues that were most important to him, including the environment, poverty, racial and income inequality, and discrimination.
“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God. You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered,” Francis says in the new interview.
This is not the first time that Francis has spoken on this issue, but it is the first time that he has publicly discussed it as a sitting pope. When he was serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, he endorsed civil unions for gay couples as an alternative to same-sex marriages. Francis is now the first pope to advocate same-sex civil unions.
The Rev. James Martin, who advocates for LGBT Catholics, praised the comments as “a major step forward in the church’s support for LGBT people.”
“The pope’s speaking positively about civil unions also sends a strong message to places where the church has opposed such laws,” Martin said in a statement, according to the Associated Press.
Of course, there are also plenty of more conservative leaders in the Catholic Church who were critical of the pope’s comments.
Ed Mechmann, director of public policy at the Archdiocese of New York, said in a blog post that the pope has “made a serious mistake.”
It is also important to note the distinction between same-sex civil union and marriage. Marriage is seen as an institution of the church, although it is a tradition that has been practiced under a variety of different religions.
Fewer people these days are identifying as religious, and even fewer as catholic, but many still get married in churches out of a sense of tradition. Some of the more conservative churches still want to refuse to formally recognize a same-sex civil union as a “marriage,” and wish to separate these into two classifications.
For most people, equality under the law and legal recognition of the union is what is most important, but recognition by the church will still be important for members of the LGBT community who identify as catholic.
Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, an organization of LGBT Catholics, said that the pope’s comments are “historic.”
“At the same time, we urge Pope Francis to apply the same kind of reasoning to recognize and bless these same unions of love and support within the Catholic Church, too,” he said in a statement.
Francis is the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere, and the first pope from outside Europe since the Syrian Gregory III, who reigned in the 8th century.
Man Tried To Steal Every Newspaper In Town To Hide Story About Him Stealing Election Signs
It was like something out of a movie or a cartoon. An Iowa man attempted to steal every newspaper in his small town, just so his neighbors couldn’t see that he was listed in the police blotter for stealing election signs. Unfortunately for him, his outrageous plot to cover up his local act of election interference backfired, because the case ended up making national headlines.
Peter De Yager got a small mention in the September 2nd edition of the Dickinson County News and he wasn’t happy about it. De Yager had recently pleaded guilty to stealing a Joe Biden election sign from a neighbors yard, so his name was listed in the crime roundup section of the paper. Just three sentences were dedicated to De Yager on the third page of the paper, but he seemed determined to keep news of his arrest private.
After the issue featuring De Yager was released, the staff at Dickinson County News began getting reports that entire stacks of papers had gone missing from numerous locations around town.
Dickinson County News staff writer Seth Boyes told As It Happens guest host Peter Armstrong that a delivery driver was the first to notice that something was wrong.
“He told us that there were no papers anywhere along his route that day. And he also happened to mention that there was one location, at least, that told him they had some footage of a guy stealing all the papers on their on their security cameras. So from that point, I started making some calls,” Boyes said.
De Yager is a well-known businessman in the area, and a regular customer at many of the stores that he stole from, so he was identified immediately. In fact, one of the store owners recognized De Yager and didn’t even call the police, but just confronted him the next time that he came into the store.
Boyes said the staff at the newspaper also figured things out pretty quickly.
“I got to thinking about why anyone would want to take all the papers. And it did occur to me that we’d run that police blotter, what we call the Sirens, in that week’s edition. It was kind of a long shot, we thought, but, you know, maybe it was,” he said.
As Boyes pointed out, most news is distributed on the internet these days, and print editions are more commonly sent to the homes of subscribers.
“The paper is not only available online, but subscribers get the paper directly mailed to the residents. So stealing papers out of the racks is going to have an effect, but not as large an effect as one would think,” Boyes said.
Only one of the stores, a Jiffy station, decided to press charges, while the other locally-owned stores simply accepted an apology and a repayment.
“We went around to the various convenience stores, and some of them opted not to press charges if he agreed to come in and pay for the papers,” Spirit Lake Police Lt. Daren Diers said.
De Yager pleaded guilty to theft and trespassing for taking about $20 worth of newspapers from the Jiffy gas station, and has paid the other convenience stores back for the papers that were taken.
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