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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas to all my family and friends.

Went to Tucson to bring my eldest grandson to be with us. It's been two years since he was last here! He much taller and is getting along with the other two grandchildren. If we can only get his mother to let us have him over the summer like she's supposed too....
Last time we drove to Tucson was twelve years ago and I remember from Wilcox on there were a lot of saguaro cactus all over the vast expanses on both sides of the highway. This trip I didn't see one, not even in the Saguaro National Park. It wasn't until inside the Tucson that they were present usually in front of a business. What happened to all of them?
It's been fun having three rambunctious kids running and making lots of noise in the house, but after awhile it's nice when my son loads them up in the van to visit other people and we get a little peace and quiet.
Wife's off for two weeks while I'm here at the office and will return next week, things have flipped a little since I retired.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

We already knew this.

The torture report came out and all the tut-tutting that is going on is too little too late. We already knew the CIA was torturing people at black sights and third party surrogates. We had pictures from Abu Ghraib proving it was going on. Bush and Cheney boasted about it while in office and after they left office. The scope might be bigger than expected, but the scope doesn't matter. Torturing anyone is illegal under the constitution for any reason: it's called cruel and unusual punishment.

Here is a post from my Captain's Log blog in January 2011

My Two Cents

Quote from No Comment blog today. Sorry Scot Horton is no longer blogging.

Torture is the habit of tyranny, not of free republics, and it cannot simply be switched on and off. It inculcates a conception of state power and human worth that directly conflicts with our founding principle of an inalienable dignity to the human person, even the most culpable. As we know from Abu Ghraib, once it is unleashed, even as a supposedly well- quarantined tactic practiced by putative professionals, torture spreads like cancer…. This is the lesson of history for all governments that turn to torture: an isolated practice expands to become the emblem of state power and the reality of the citizens’ subjection.

Because It Is Wrong—Torture, Privacy and Presidential Power in the Age of Terror

I'm no expert, and believe me I don't wish to be, on the subject of torture. Since the day W announced the opening of Guantanamo and the suspension of Habeas Corpus I knew torture would be in the mix. When the first pictures of torture surfaced from the normally lap dog press the only surprise was that it came to light so soon. Here's what I've learned since then:

A. Why torture is ineffective:
  • Torture does not get the information you need. The ticking time bomb scenario makes for good fiction, not reality. Military leaders and the different JAG's have all pointed this out repeatedly.
  • Standard military procedure is for captured soldiers to hold out under torture for 24 hours. At that point all the info they have will be useless. Sun Tzu mentions the Doomed Spy. Someone given information they think is correct so when captured and they reveal the information under torture makes the enemy believe the false information as true. We call this today Misinformation.
  • Eventually everyone under torture will say or do anything in order to make it stop. How many people have confessed to crimes and spend years or their lives in prison for a crime they didn't commit? Chicago is a prime example of a city's police department that trampled justice for decades until their practices came to light.
  • It dehumanizes the torturer as much at the one tortured. It dehumanizes the society that allows it. See quote above.
  • To implement torture you have to violate the following in our constitution: 1. Habeas Corpus - indefinite confinement without charge 2 Bill of Attainder - punishment without due process of law (5th and 14th amendments) 3 cruel and unusual punishment 6th amendment.
B. Torture's effectiveness:
  • I only came upon one mention of how torture can be done right, and it came from a cartel hitman interviewed in Harper's magazine. Naturally he was in the country's police force and kidnapped people to hold for ransom. He recounted that he would get all the information about the person he could find and when he started questioning the guy would know at first when he was lying and then would apply torture. Only after he conditioned the prisoner to not lie would he ask questions needed forthe financial information and ransom amount. This is kind of hard to do in a battlefield situation or by randomly grabbing people off the street in Iraq or Afghanistan. Stimulus/response only works with foreknowledge.
  • Conformity or obedience. In prisons like Guantanamo those prisoners who have been tortured are the least likely to cause problems, they've been tamed, so to speak.
  • They are however a tiger by the tail. Yes they will not cause problem while under guard, but let them loose and send them home and they want revenge. Many of those who were tortured and then released join terrorist groups wanting payback, can anyone blame them? This is unfortunately why Obama is finding it so hard to close these prisons down.

Monday, December 01, 2014

My books on Amazon

Individual novels are $0.99, the trilogy is $2.99

Fletcher Family Battles available for $0.99
 John Fletcher is a young knight looking to find a wife and begin his life until King Edward I decides to invade France. Fighting alongside the Black Prince at the battle of Crecy and making a name for himself he becomes the patriarch of of the Fletcher family of Mill Town Abbey.

John Fletcher is child of a third son and decides he doesn't like studying to be a priest. Entering the army of Henry VIII he's sent to Spain in what becomes known as Wolsey's War coming home in disgrace. Joining the artillery when Scotland threatens to invade he redeems himself at the battle of Flodden.

Milton Fletcher is the second son of John Fletcher master of Mill Town Abbey. Thomas Wolsey the King's Almoner favors him and he starts to rise in the bureaucracy being created by the most formidable man in England.

Gregor Fletcher is head of Clan Fletcher in Aberdeen. Called by King James IV to join in the invasion of England his whole clan is on the line should they fail.