US Senate Report Details CIA Interrogation Program

A report by the US Senate Intelligence Committee detailing interrogation techniques and the detention of suspects by the CIA has been released this morning. The report, which took five years to compile, examines whether the methods of interrogation were more brutal than previously described:

Detainees were deprived of sleep for as long as a week, and were sometimes told that they would be killed while in American custody. With the approval of the C.I.A.’s medical staff, some C.I.A. prisoners were subjected to medically unnecessary “rectal feeding” or “rectal hydration” — a technique that the C.I.A.’s chief of interrogations described as a way to exert “total control over the detainee.” C.I.A. medical staff members described the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, as a “series of near drownings.”

The Senate report eventually concludes that the detention and interrogation techniques used on dozens of prisoners often did not result in providing the government “unique” intelligence information that the C.I.A. or other intelligence agencies could not get from other means.

The full report is over 6,000 pages, but only the 524 page summary has been released to the public.

The summary also includes a rebuttal by Republican members of the committee which states the reasoning behind the report is to smear the Bush White House and the C.I.A.

Read the full article at the New York Times.

District of Columbia Outlaws “Ex-Gay” Torture

The National Center for Lesbian Rights sends this press release regarding the District of Columbia Council  which has unanimously approved a bill that will protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth from the discredited and torturous practice of conversion therapy, also known as “ex-gay” therapy:

When signed into law, Washington, D.C. will become the third jurisdiction—behind California and New Jersey—to pass legislation protecting LGBT youth from practices that are known to cause severe depression and even suicide.

“Today, the DC Council sent a powerful message to LGBT youth and their families that they are accepted, supported, and loved,” said Samantha Ames, NCLR staff attorney and coordinator of the #BornPerfect campaign at the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

“The Council has used its authority to protect our most vulnerable youth from dangerous and discredited pseudoscience that tells them who they are is wrong, and reaffirmed the consensus of every major medical and mental health organization that all children are born perfect, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Third Circuit Court of Appeals upholds “conversion therapy” ban in New Jersey

A federal appeals court ruled Thursday to uphold New Jersey’s law prohibiting medical professionals in the state from practicing gay conversion therapy, or efforts to turn gay people straight, on people under the age of 18.

The 3rd Circuit Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a November 2013 ruling that found the state’s law, called A3371, which prohibits medical professionals in the state from practicing “gay conversion” therapy, or efforts to turn gay people straight, on people under the age of 18, as constitutional.

The appeals court agreed with the prior court ruling that the plaintiffs’ arguments don’t trump the state’s ability to enact laws regulating professionals, including medical and mental health providers.

The American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the Pan American Health Organization have all warned that these “therapies” can be harmful to minors. In addition, all agree there is no evidence “conversion therapy” is actually effective.

Last year, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals made a similar ruling upholding California’s statewide ban on conversion therapy for minors.

New Jersey and California are the only two states that currently have such laws.


More Scott Lively on Uganda: Gays should get reparative therapy or go to jail

In an interview with SiriusXM host Michelangelo Signorile, anti-gay crusader Scott Lively explains that his goal in advising Uganda on their recent Anti-Homosexuality Act was to have the government offer reparative or “ex-gay” therapy instead of punitive sanctions.

When asked what should happen if gays and lesbians in Uganda didn’t WANT such therapy (which has been shown to be very damaging to patients to the point of becoming torture), Lively says those people would have to “take whatever the other alternative is, which was probably going to jail.”

Listen below:

CNN reports on Russian vigilantes who hunt down and torture gays

CNN’s Phil Black reports on the Russian vigilantes who ambush gay men, humiliate them, torture them and then post videos of the activities online.

Remember, so-called Christian activists here in the US, like Trestin Meacham in Utah, would tell you gays and lesbians aren’t really bullied or targeted; that these things don’t happen. 

According to Trestin’s Facebook page, to report that the bullying of gays is “some kind of social trend is ridiculousness” and a “myth.”

Watch the CNN report below:

New Jersey: Gov. Christie to sign bill outlawing “ex-gay” torture for minors

Today New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will sign into law a bill that bans “ex-gay therapy” for minors:

“Government should tread carefully into this area,” he said in the signing note, which was obtained by The Associated Press, “and I do so here reluctantly.”

“However, I also believe that on the issues of medical treatment for children we must look to experts in the field to determine the relative risks and rewards,” Christie said, citing a litany of potential ill effects of trying to change sexual orientation, including depression and suicide.

“I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate.”

Gay rights groups say the practice of conversion therapy is damaging to young people because it tells them that it’s not acceptable to be whoever they are.

Christie’s signing message also declares that he believes that people are born gay and that homosexuality is not a sin. The Associated Press notes that such beliefs are “inconsistent with his Catholic faith.” We’ll see how that squares with the far-right fringe whose support Christie will need should he run for President in 2016.