It's been a disturbing week so far. The Senate Intelligence Committee released a shocking report detailing the torture of over 100 suspected terrorists by the CIA. I also have news about the murder of a VH1 reality show star. However, to offset all of this, I’ve got some news for fans of Orange Is The Black. Also, a funny story about the VP of an airline who's nuts about nuts! Plus, more legal problems for Uber this week and an update on the Tamir Rice story.
What do you think of the CIA Torture Abuse Report? Do you think it should have been released? Could this potentially put Americans in danger? Talk about it or anything else in the comments or tweet me directly @AmandaLauren.
CIA Torture Abuse Report
On Tuesday, a 525-page declassified report (the classified version is over 6000 pages), detailing the CIA’s interrogation tactics of more than 100 suspected terrorists between 2002-2007 was released. The report is based on over 6.2 million pages of documents, reports, photos, etc.
While it would be impossible to include a summary of the entire report here, I’ve included some notable highlights. The CIA spent over $80 million paying psychologists to develop torture techniques. Many of the CIA interrogators objected to torturing prisoners, but were told to continue by their superiors. Additionally, the report revealed at least 26 out of 119 detainees were wrongfully held.
But, it gets worse. One officer threatened to sexually assault a detainee’s mother and cut out her throat. At least one other officer sexually assaulted a prisoner, but his colleagues refused to reveal who he is. Detainees were also subjected to cruel and unusual punishment even before they were asked to cooperate.
A few of the worst (and worst is really just a relative term because it’s all egregiously horrible) instances included rectal torture, both hydration and feeding, including rectally infusing a puree of someone’s lunch tray, sleep deprivation, forcing prisoners to stand on broken feet, nasal feeding, waterboarding, inducing hypothermia through ice baths, burning, conducting mock executions, depriving detainees of medical care, and the murder of at least one prisoner. Another prisoner lost an eye.
President Obama called the report “troubling” and also said “some of the actions that were taken were contrary to our values.” He continued,
That is why I unequivocally banned torture when I took office, because one of our most effective tools in fighting terrorism and keeping Americans safe is staying true to our ideals at home and abroad. These techniques did significant damage to America’s standing in the world and made it harder to pursue our interests with allies and partners. That is why I will continue to use my authority as President to make sure we never resort to those methods again.
VH1 Star Stephanie Moseley Dead In Murder/Suicide
Stephanie Moseley, star of the VH1 show Hit The Floor, is dead in an apparent murder/suicide by her own husband, rapper Earl Hayes. On Monday morning, neighbors at the Los Angeles apartment complex where the couple lived heard screams and gunshots. The SWAT team arrived to find both Moseley and Hayes shot to death.
The police investigation revealed that Hayes shot Moseley 10-12 times while she was in the bathtub, before taking his own life. According to reports, the couple had a separation two years ago due to her alleged affair with rapper Trey Songz. Hayes had major problems getting over his wife’s infidelity.
But, this story has an even stranger twist. The murder look place while Hayes was on FaceTime with boxer Floyd Mayweather, who owns the record label Hayes is signed to. Mayweather allegedly told Hayes was he “weak” for not calling it quits with Stephanie. After being provoked, Hayes went off the rails and threated to kill his wife, but the boxer tried to talk him out of it. It’s not been reported exactly what Mayweather saw, but he allegedly heard the entire incident.
Mayweather was seen later that night at a Clippers Game. (Yes, you read that correctly, I can’t make this up).
Famous friends expressed their condolences through social media, including Trey Songz who tweeted:
R.I.P. Babygirl. Once an angel on earth, now watching over us from heaven. You’ll b missed, but never forgotten. Love
Uber Is Being Sued Across The Globe
Last Friday, Uber was launched in the City of Portland, Oregon. By Monday, the City of Portland filed a suit against the company and issued a cease and desist order, because the city felt Uber they wasn’t complying with administrative regulations. A representative for the city said:
The city's lawsuit is asking for a declaration by the court that Uber is subject to the city's regulations. The lawsuit also asks the court to order Uber to stop operating in Portland until it is in compliance with the city's safety, health and consumer protection rules.
The city believes Uber came, knew they were operating illegally and didn’t really care otherwise. Transportation Commissioner, Steve Novick said it best,
They think they can just come in here and flagrantly violate the law? This is really amazing. Apparently, they believe they’re gods.
Novick might be right because Uber sees things a little differently,
Uber has received a tremendously warm welcome from riders and drivers in and around Portland. We appreciate the way residents have welcomed Uber into the Rose City, their support illustrates why it's time to modernize Portland transportation regulation.
Last week, Nevada issued a statewide ban against the company, who immediately ceased operations in that location.
New Delhi India has also recently banned Uber after one of its drivers, Shiv Kumar Yadav, was accused of raping a passenger. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick wants to right the situation and said,
We will do everything, I repeat, everything to help bring this perpetrator to justice and support the victim and her family in her recovery.
However, Uber didn’t do everything they should have done both ethically and legally when hiring the driver, which should have included a background check, installing a GPS in his car, registering the car as a commercial vehicle or registering the driver’s residential address.
Good News For Fans Of Orange Is The New Black
If a one weekend-long binge watch doesn’t quite give you enough of your Orange Is The New Black fix (seriously, we’ve all been there) and you’ve already read Piper Kerman’s book that the show is based on, I have some great news for you. On December 16, Larry Smith, the real life Larry, who is played by Jason Biggs on the series, is releasing an audiobook called My Life With Piper: From Big House to Small Screen.
In the book, Smith discusses what’s fictionalized on the show and what’s real. He also discusses what it’s like to watch Jason Biggs play him on the small screen.
Here is a transcription (remember, it’s an audiobook) of a short except about an encounter Larry had with everyone’s favorite prison guard, Pornstache:
Prison rules allow for one quick kiss upon arrival and one at departure. After spending time in that room week after week, I got a little too comfortable. One afternoon, a lingering kiss was loudly interrupted by a guard nicknamed “Gay Porn Star” for his likeness to a Tom of Finland illustration (you may know him as “Pornstache” in the show), who screamed across the visiting room, “Watch the contact or you’re outta here!” It was a humiliating moment for me and a scary one for Piper. “You gotta knock that out, Larry,” she growled at me. “They can put me in the SHU for this.”
And if you were wondering, the real life Alex, Catherine Cleary Wolters is also writing a memoir called “Out of Orange,” which is scheduled for release in May 2015.
· The I-680 Freeway in San Jose, California was backed up for miles on Monday night when the police were forced to close the road at 3:00pm due to a suicidal woman threatening to jump off the overpass at Alum Rock Avenue. The unnamed woman surrendered to the police at 11:40pm and is currently on a 72-hour psych hold.
· The parents of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy who was shot and killed by Tim Loehmann, a Cleveland, Ohio police officer, for carrying a BB gun, have hired Benjamin Crump as their attorney. In a press conference, they said they believe that Loehmann should be indicted without a grand jury. Crump also represents the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.
· Some people are really nuts about nuts. On a flight from JFK to Seoul, Korean Air VP Cho Hyun-ah, who happens to be the daughter of company chairman Cho Yang Ho, wasn’t happy with the way the macadamia nuts were served on her flight. After the plane had already left the gate, Cho ordered the pilot to turn back, so the crewmember that was unaware of the airline’s specific nut serving procedures could be removed from the flight. Luckily, it took only two minutes for him to deplane and the flight only landed 11 minutes behind schedule. Still, the resulting furor in South Korea led to Cho resigning from the company entirely.