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December 20, 2014

CIA experimented on humans in black sites : Report | As the United States struggles with the fallout of the recently disclosed CIA torture report, a new analysis reveals that human experimentation was a “core feature” of the spy agency’s torture program.

As the United States struggles with the fallout of the recently disclosed CIA torture report, a new analysis reveals that human experimentation was a “core feature” of the spy agency’s torture program.

The Nation Magazine says in a report that the experimental nature of the CIA’s torture program is clearly evident in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s executive summary of its investigative report.

Based on the Senate report, the CIA employed brutal techniques like waterboarding, physical abuse, sleep deprivation, mock executions, and threats of sexual abuse to interrogate the so-called terror suspects imprisoned after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The CIA demanded that the controversial summary be redacted to obfuscate the locations of the laboratories where cruel human experimentation took place as well as the identities of those who conducted them.

The CIA hired two psychologists, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, to lead the project, according to the report.

The duo designed interrogation and detention protocols that they applied to people held in the CIA’s secret “black sites.”
The CIA defended the decision to hire the psychologists. “We believe their expertise was so unique that we would have been derelict had we not sought them out when it became clear that CIA would be heading into the uncharted territory of the program.”
The spy agency told the Senate that their findings had resulted in intelligence that helped keep Americans safe.

Mitchell and Jessen had previously studied the effects of torture on American prisoners of war and were curious to know whether theories of “learned helplessness” derived from experiments on dogs might actually work on humans.

Major Chicago study finds red light cameras not safer, cause more rear-end injuries -- "This entire program is strictly to generate revenue and always has been," Alderman says

On Friday, the Chicago Tribune released the results of a study it commissioned on injury crashes and red light cameras, revealing that while right angle crash incidents have been reduced, rear-end crashes that resulted in injuries went up 22 percent. The results of the study throw cold water on the booster efforts of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration and raise questions about the use of red light cameras as a whole.
Chicago is the home of the nation's largest red light camera program and encompasses 350 cameras at a variety of the city's intersections. The red light camera program has been accused of mismanagement and embroiled the mayor's office in a $2 million bribery scandal. But recently, administrators trotted out a seemingly redeeming statistic: that the introduction of the cameras had created a 47 percent reduction in the rate of right angle, or “T-bone,” injury crashes.
The Chicago Tribune in response commissioned a scientific study by two well-regarded transportation researchers, who found that the statistics promoted by the mayor's office were misleading. According to the Tribune, the authors of the study found a statistically significant, but still smaller, reduction in angle and turning injury crashes by 15 percent, as well as “a statistically significant increase of 22 percent in rear-end injury collisions.” Overall, there was “a non-significant increase of 5 percent in the total number of injury crashes” that happened at intersections with red light cameras when comparing the injury crashes that occurred there before and after the cameras were present.
On a more granular level, the researchers found that there were no safety benefits from cameras that are installed at intersections where there have already been few crashes with injuries, and occasionally, there was evidence that red light cameras actually increased injury crashes at such intersections. "When intersections experiencing fewer than 4 injury crashes per year are considered, there is a significant increase in all crashes by 19 percent after the installation of RLCs," the Tribunestudy found.
The Tribune noted that the red light camera program has raised more than $500 million off of the $100 tickets since 2002. "That program needs to be stopped. It needs to be frozen to give us time to re-evaluate everything," Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale, 9th, chairman of the council Transportation Committee, told the Tribune. "This is just more proof that this entire program is strictly to generate revenue and always has been."
Back in July, investigative work by the Chicago Tribune revealed that at least 13,000 Chicago drivers were cited erroneously through the city's red light camera program.

Dick Cheney should be in prison, not on ‘Meet the Press’ - Greenwald

Journalist Glenn Greenwald said Dick Cheney is able to brag about the success of torture on weekend news shows because the Obama administration has decided to shield torturers rather than prosecute them.
In a wide ranging interview about the CIA torture report, prospects for the 2016 presidential race, US-Cuba relations and the Sony hack, Greenwald told HuffPost Live that the discussion about the torture report is distorted since we are not hearing from the victims of torture themselves. 
In an interview on ‘Meet the Press,’ former Vice President Dick Cheney claimed that torture "worked"and announced he would "do it again in a minute" if given the opportunity.
 Former US Vice President Dick Cheney (AFP Photo/Jim Watson)

In response, Greenwald said that whether torture worked or not is completely irrelevant, and no one should be interested in that because everyone who tortures claims they do it for a good reason even though it has been banned under international treaties and laws. Greenwald said it was former Republican President Ronald Reagan who championed the idea that torture was never justifiable. 
Reagan signed the international Convention against Torture in 1988, which became the primary international foundation of anti-torture law. Reagan said at the time the treaty would clearly express the United States’ opposition to torture, “an abhorrent practice unfortunately prevalent in the world today.”
Greenwald said, “The reason why Dick Cheney is able to go on ‘Meet the Press’ instead of where he should be – which is in a dock in the Hague or in a federal prison – is because President Obama and his administration made the decision not to prosecute any of the people who implemented this torture regime despite the fact that it was illegal and criminal.
He added, “When you send the signal, like the Obama administration did, that torture is not a crime to be punished – it is just a policy dispute to argue about on Sunday shows – of course it emboldens torturers, like Dick Cheney, to go around on Sunday shows and say, ‘What I did was absolutely right.’”

The journalist said that when Obama was running for president in 2007/08, he was asked if there should be legal accountability for people who committed war crimes. He said it was something for the Attorney General to decide and affirm this principle, but even before Obama was inaugurated he began walking back the idea.
Pointing to a 2009 New York Times article, Greenwald said one reason why was that presidents know if they protect their predecessor and shield them from legal accountability for their crimes, they, too, will be shielded by successive administrations.
Which is another way of saying the most powerful officials in the United States have exempted themselves from the rule of law,” he added. “They are able to commit not just ordinary crimes but the most egregious crimes with the assurance that unlike ordinary citizens they will not be held accountable under the law. That is about as tyrannical and dangers as a framework we could have.”

FREEDOM? Obama Announces New Cuba Policy; Here’s How The Castro’s Responded

The day before Obama’s surprise announcement about ‘normalizing’ relations with Cuba, the Castro Regime announced new rules on the salaries of workers who are employed by foreign entities.  Coincidence?  Hardly.
The Castro Regime had to be sure they set the rules in place so they could take as much money as possible from the people.  So much for the freedom of Capitalism that so many seem to think will lift the Cuban people out of oppression.  The Cuban government is going to take 92% of workers’ salaries in dollars and then give them a mere 8% to keep but they will have to be in pesos; the currency reserved for the oppressed.  Castro has to be sure Cubans barely earn a living wage.
Yes you read that correctly, 92%.  And people in America complain about taxes or a living wage?
As reported by Breitbart:
Just one day before President Obama announced sweeping changes that would allow potential American investment in Cuba, the Cuban government apparently had begun preparing itself by announcing new measures that would allow Cubans who work for foreign companies to keep only 8% of their salaries.
In an official announcement in state newspaper Granma, government officials announced a system in which employees who work for corporations with foreign capital will be paid two Cuban Pesos for every Convertible Cuban Peso (CUC) the corporation actually pays them. The Convertible Peso (CUP) is almost exclusively for the use of tourists and is of significantly greater value; one CUC is the equivalent of an American dollar and the equivalent of 26.5 CUPs. The other 24 CUPs Cuban workers will not receive amount to 92% of their salaries.
As Raúl Castro noted in his speech, the Cuban government made no concessions in this recent negotiation with the United States, save the freedom of Gross and one other American agent whom President Obama did not name, which leaves it open to sanctioning American companies who dare attempt to do business on the island as they see fit.
With so many people weighing in on the Embargo, it’s interesting to note not many seem to understand how Cuba’s economy works.  Cuba has a 2 currency economy.  All of which is controlled by the government.
When people talk about how great they believe lifting the Embargo with Cuba will be for the people of the Island, they seem to forget that Cuba has been trading with European countries, Latin American countries and Canada for years now.  Funny, the people are still oppressed.  Why?  Because the government controls the economy; the currency and taxes.

As explained by Sean Davis of The Federalist:
Cuba’s economy is not normal by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it actually has two economies: the dollar economy, and the peso economy. Americans who are allowed to visit get to participate in the dollar economy, and only the dollar economy. Cubans who live there are required to participate in the peso economy, and only the peso economy. The markets are completely segregated.
The result of the Cuban two-currency economy — one of which is forbidden to its people — is that every dollar will eventually find its way into the hands of the Cuban government. Since their internal currency, the CUP, is worthless, it’s not like they can just exchange it for dollars on the open market, like most other countries do. No, if the Cuban government wants dollars and the wealth that comes with them, it has to import them. And more dollars don’t mean more prosperity for the people of Cuba; more dollars means more wealth and power concentrated in the hands of Cuba’s communist regime.
It’s ironic, the Left is constantly screaming about living wages and the Right is constantly screaming about high taxes.  Here their 2 worlds collide because there are supporters of ‘normalization’ on both sides of the political spectrum.  Capitalism will not exist in Cuba as long as the Castro Regime continues with its 2 currency economy; taxing Cubans to the point they are not earning a living wage and controlling all aspects of said economy.

GQ Releases List of “America’s 20 Craziest Politicians;” The Result is Exactly What You Might Expect

GQ Magazine’s Stephen Sherrill recently released a list of “America’s 20 Craziest Politicians,” and the result is exactly what you might expect from the liberal media.
Of the twenty spots, a whopping seventeen went to Republicans, including Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Ted Cruz, and Rep. Steve King.
The only three Democrats who made the list included Rep. Hank Johnson (Google his name plus “Guam,” if you’re curious as to why), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, and VP Joe Biden (coming in at #20). And the only reason Biden made the list, according to Sherrill, is because he is “[c]razy enough to run again for president!” Really, Mr. Sherrill? You couldn’t come up with any other examples why Joe should be on this list?

These crazy politicians are NOT ranked in order of craziness. They all crazy in equal amounts.
  1. Rep. Ted Yoho [R-Fla.]
    JUST HOW CRAZY?
    Claimed he sees "one side of our government, or two-thirds of it, running one hundred miles an hour toward socialism" and that conservatives like him "are like Fred and Barney in the Flintstone-mobile, trying to stop that."
    ACTUAL THING HE SAID:
    Explained his opposition to a proposed tanning-bed tax thusly: "I had an Indian doctor in our office the other day, very dark skin and two non-dark-skinned people, and I asked..., 'Have you ever been to a tanning booth?' And he goes, 'No, no need.' So therefore [the tax] is a racist tax, and I thought I might need to go get to a sun-tanning booth twice so that I can come out and say...I got taxed because of the color of my skin."
    FUN FACT:
    Is a large-animal veterinarian.
    THINK OF HIM AS:
    Joseph McCarthy, if he could deliver a calf.
  2. Rep. Joe Barton [R-Tex.]Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County, Ariz.

    JUST HOW CRAZY?
    Has forced inmates to wear pink underwear; served them rotting food; housed them in a tent city, which he once described as a "concentration camp" and where inside temperatures have reached 145 degrees; allegedly denied Latina inmates sanitary products and forced them to sleep on sheets soiled with menstrual blood. Created an armed volunteer "posse" that has included Steven Seagal.
    ACTUAL THING HE SAID:
    "All these people that come over, they could come with disease. There's no control, no health checks or anything. They check fruits and vegetables—how come they don't check people? No one talks about that! They're all dirty."
    THINK OF HIM AS:
    A combination of Lou Dobbs, Richie Incognito, and Paul Blart: Mall Cop.
  3. JUST HOW CRAZY?
    Claimed carbon dioxide "is not a pollutant" because "I am creating it as I talk to you. It's in your Coca-Cola, your Dr Pepper, your Perrier water." Apologized to then BP CEO Tony Hayward after the White House urged BP to create a Gulf-oil-spill relief fund, saying it was "a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown."
    FUN FACT:
    Chairman emeritus of the House energy and commerce committee.
    ACTUAL THING HE SAID:
    Walking back on his BP remark: "If anything I said this morning has been misconstrued to the opposite effect, I want to apologize for that misconstrued misconstruction."
    IN HIS DEFENSE:
    British petroleum companies deserve to be represented in Congress, too.
    THINK OF HIM AS:
    Oil.
  4. Rep. Glenn Grothman [R-Wis.]

    JUST HOW CRAZY?
    Really hates Kwanzaa, claiming in a press release that "almost no black people today care about Kwanzaa—just white left-wingers who try to shove this down black people's throats in an effort to divide Americans." Also declared that giving state workers the day off on Martin Luther King Day "is an insult to all the other taxpayers" who want to contact government offices.
    IN HIS DEFENSE:
    It does seem like all the stores are putting up their Kwanzaa decorations earlier and earlier every year.
    ACTUAL THING HE SAID:
    "Did people even know what homosexuality was in high school in 1975? I don't remember any discussion about that at the time."
    THINK OF HIM AS:
    The '50s.
  5. Sen. Rand Paul [R-Ky.]

    JUST HOW CRAZY?
    Said the Obama administration going after BP because of the Gulf oil spill was "part of this sort of blame-game society, in the sense that it's always got to be someone's fault, instead of the fact that maybe sometimes accidents happen." Warned that unchecked illegal immigration would lead to a "borderless mass continent" that used a currency known among conspiracy theorists as the amero.
    ACTUAL THING HE SAID:
    "With regard to the idea of whether you have a right to health care, you have to realize what that implies. It's not an abstraction. I'm a physician. That means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me. It means you believe in slavery. It means that you're going to enslave not only me but the janitor at my hospital, the person who cleans my office, the assistants who work in my office, the nurses."
    FUN FACT:
    After a beef with the American Board of Ophthalmology, he started his own board and certified himself.
    IN HIS DEFENSE:
    His father is Ron Paul.
  6. Rep. Michael Burgess [R-Tex.]Rep. Michael Grimm [R-N.Y.]
    ACTUAL THING HE SAID:
    "You ever do that to me again, I'll throw you off this fucking balcony.... I'll break you in half. Like a boy."
    FUN FACT:
    He said it on-camera, in the atrium of a congressional building, immediately following President Obama's State of the Union address, to a reporter who had asked him about a federal investigation into his campaign-finance practices.
    IN HIS DEFENSE:
    He represents Staten Island, so this incident was kind of like a free campaign ad. And sure enough, in November he was re-elected by thirteen points.
  7. ACTUAL THING HE SAID:
    "You watch a sonogram of a fifteen-week baby and they have movements that are purposeful. They stroke their face. If they're a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. I mean, they feel pleasure. Why is it so hard to think they could feel pain?"
    FUN FACT:
    Is an ob-gyn.
    THINK OF HIM AS:
    A respected doctor, in 1820.
    IN HIS DEFENSE:
    Many grown men reportedly enjoy masturbation.
  8. State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt [R-Colo.]

    JUST HOW CRAZY?
    Has repeatedly bragged about performing a gay exorcism (he's a former Navy chaplain) to rid a woman of "the foul spirit of lesbianism," and also tried to perform a long-distance exorcism on President Obama because of something about the NSA. Believes that Obamacare "causes cancer" and that Obama's former FCC chairman was driven by the Devil to "molest and visually rape your children."
    ACTUAL THING HE SAID:
    "Father in Heaven, we pray against the domestic enemies of the Constitution, against this demon of tyranny who is using the White House occupant, and that demonic spirit is oppressing us."
    FUN FACT:
    Calls himself Dr. Chaps, which is not the least bit creepy.
  9. Rep. Jody Hice [R-Ga.]

    JUST HOW CRAZY?
    Claimed that "four blood moons" falling on "major Jewish holidays" could be a sign of "world-changing, -shaking type events."
    IN HIS DEFENSE:
    Blood moons are freaky.
    ACTUAL THING HE WROTE:
    Some ask the question 'How does same-sex "marriage' threaten your marriage?' The answer is similar to asking, 'How does a trashy neighborhood affect you?' "
  10. Rep. Hank Johnson [D-Ga.]*
    JUST HOW CRAZY?
    In a hearing about adding military personnel on Guam, said, "My fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize."
    FUN FACT:
    One of two Buddhists in Congress.
    THINK OF HIM AS:
    A very fun science teacher.
    IN HIS DEFENSE:
    It would be very expensive to raise Guam from the bottom of the ocean.

  11. State Rep. Kelly Keisling 
    [R-Tenn.]Sen. Ted Cruz 
    [R-Tex.]

    JUST HOW CRAZY?
    Leans so far right that even fellow Republican John McCain classified him as a "wacko bird"; one of Cruz's supporters put the nickname on a hat, and he proudly displays it in his office.
    ACTUAL THING HE SAID:
    "Twenty years from now, if there is some obscure Trivial Pursuit question, I am confident I will be the answer."
    FUN FACT:
    Unlike President Obama, was not born in the United States.
    THINK OF HIM AS:
    Sarah Palin, if one of the five colleges she attended had been Princeton.
  12. FUN FACT:
    Is a man.
    JUST HOW CRAZY?
    Sent out an e-mail to constituents, from an official government account, passing along a conspiracy theory that Obama officials planned a "staged assassination attempt on the life of President Obama that would be blamed on 'white supremacists' and subsequently used to enrage black and Hispanic communities, driving them to rioting all across the nation."
    IN HIS DEFENSE:
    Everything in that e-mail was completely true.
  13. Rep. Mark Walker [R-N.C.]

    He's worried Obama will refuse to leave office when his term is up: "I don't think that's out of the question. I think he's gotten pretty comfortable up there spending all of those billions of dollars on vacations for he and his family."
    ALSO THIS:
    "If you have foreigners who are sneaking in with drug cartels, to me that is a national threat. And if we gotta go laser or blitz somebody with a couple of fighter jets for a little while to make our point, I don't have a problem with that."
    AND THIS:
    "I would beg to differ that Islam is a religion of peace, because you can't have a religion of peace when you've got nearly a billion people choppin' off heads all over the country."
  14. Rep. Virginia Foxx [R-N.C.]
    JUST HOW CRAZY?
    Said she has "very little tolerance" for anyone with student loans. Claimed the idea that Matthew Shepard was killed because he was gay is "a hoax that continues to be used as an excuse for passing [hate-crime] bills"; later said " 'hoax' was a poor choice of words." Said she thinks the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution is unconstitutional.
    IN HER DEFENSE:
    The Supreme Court has yet to give a definitive ruling on the constitutionality of the Constitution.
  15. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee [D-Tex.]
    FUN FACT:
    Was recently named the "meanest" member of the House by Washingtonian magazine because she allegedly berates her staff (called one "you stupid motherfucker"), throws her cell phone, and requires them to perform inane tasks, such as bringing her garlic supplements at 2 A.M.
    JUST HOW CRAZY?
    Believes that the Constitution is 400 years old and that Vietnam is still divided into North and South.
    ACTUAL THING SHE SAID:
    Made clear that her support for Obama extends to self-immolation, if necessary: "We will circle the president on fire. We will be on fire for rightness and justice."

  16. Sen. Joni Ernst [R-Iowa]

    JUST HOW CRAZY?
    Said Obama was "apathetic" despite previously claiming he had "become a dictator." She carries a gun—"a beautiful little Smith & Wesson nine-millimeter"—with her "virtually everywhere," just in case she needs to defend herself "from an intruder" or "from the government," of which she is now an elected member.
    FUN FACT:
    Grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm; in her first campaign ad, complained that Washington is "full of big spenders" and urged voters to send her there so that she could "make 'em squeal."
    THINK OF HER AS:
    Michele Bachmann with a more sensible haircut.

December 19, 2014

"The detective work blaming North Korea for the Sony hacker break-in appears so far to be largely circumstantial, The Associated Press has learned"

President Barack Obama declared Friday that Sony "made a mistake" in shelving a satirical film about a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader, and he pledged the U.S. would respond "in a place and manner and time that we choose" to the hacking attack on Sony that led to the withdrawal. The FBI blamed the hack on the communist government.

Speaking of executives at Sony Pictures Entertainment, Obama said at a year-end news conference, "I wish they had spoken to me first. ... We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship."

Obama said he imagined situations in which dictators "start seeing a documentary that they don't like or news reports that they don't like."
Sony said it had had no choice but to cancel distribution of the movie since theaters were refusing to show it. North Korea denied anew that it had hacked the studio.
"There is not any connection," U.N. diplomat Kim Song told The Associated Press. Song criticized the film but disputed his government hacked Sony and orchestrated the movie's shutdown: "It defamed the image of our country. It made a mockery of our sovereignty. We reject it. But there is no relation" to the hacking.

The U.S. decision to openly blame North Korea - which involved agreement by the State Department and intelligence agencies - escalated a global game of brinkmanship. It happened after the disclosure of confidential Sony emails and business files and threats of terror attacks against U.S. movie theaters until Sony agreed to cancel the Christmas Day release of its comedy, "The Interview."
Obama spoke not long after the FBI provided the most detailed accounting to date of the digital break-in. The president's pointed criticism of Sony shifted focus to whether the studio would modify its decision, as some leading celebrities - including actors George Clooney and Sean Penn - have recommended.
"Sony is a corporation. It suffered significant damage. There were threats against its employees. I am sympathetic to the concerns that they faced," Obama said. "Having said all that, yes, I think they made a mistake."

Sony Pictures chief executive Michael Lynton said it was the president who was mistaken, noting that Sony canceled the release only after all major theater chains decided not to show the movie. But the Homeland Security Department concluded those threats were not credible, and the top multiplex chains in North America dropped "The Interview" only after Sony informed them it would not protest if the theaters pulled the film.
"The president, the press and the public are mistaken as to what actually happened," Lynton told CNN. "We do not own movie theaters. We cannot determine whether or not a movie will be played in movie theaters."
Lynton did not indicate whether Sony planned to release the movie on DVD or through video-on-demand services, which are not controlled by theaters, but the company suggested that was an option in a statement late Friday.

"The only decision that we have made with respect to release of the film was not to release it on Christmas Day in theaters, after the theater owners declined to show it," the company said. "After that decision, we immediately began actively surveying alternatives to enable us to release the movie on a different platform."
As for the case against North Korea, the U.S. detected communications between computer Internet addresses known to be operated by North Korea and hacking tools left behind at the crime scene, which the FBI said contained subtle clues linking them to that country's government.
The U.S. said in a statement: "North Korea's actions were intended to inflict significant harm on a U.S. business and suppress the right of American citizens to express themselves." The statement included a general promise to impose "costs and consequences" on any person, group or government using cyberattacks to threaten the U.S. or its interests.

Obama wasn't any more specific.

"They caused a lot of damage, and we will respond," he said. "We will respond proportionally, and we'll respond in a place and time and manner that we choose. It's not something that I will announce here today at a press conference."

In a taunting new email, the hackers told Sony that executives were "very wise" to cancel the movie's release and warned the studio never to release the film "in any form."
In Hollywood, Clooney said the entertainment industry should push for immediate release of "The Interview" online. In an interview with the trade site Deadline, he urged Sony to "do whatever you can to get this movie out. Not because everybody has to see the movie, but because I'm not going to be told we can't see the movie. That's the most important part."

Penn said: "By caving to the outside threat, we make our nightmares real. The decision to pull `The Interview' is historic. It's a case of putting short-term interests ahead of the long term."
The evidence implicating North Korea was previously described as largely circumstantial, including unspecified clues in the hacking tools left behind and the involvement of at least one computer in Bolivia traced to earlier attacks blamed on North Korea. Now, the FBI said, those clues included similarities to other tools developed by North Korea in specific lines of computer code, encryption algorithms and data deletion methods. More significantly, the FBI discovered that computer Internet addresses known to be operated by North Korea were communicating directly with other computers used to deploy and control the hacking tools and collect the stolen Sony files.

The FBI noted in its statement that it worked closely on the investigation with "other U.S. government departments and agencies." Those included the National Security Agency, a person familiar with the case said, speaking only on condition of anonymity because some information NSA was providing in the case was highly classified.

An internal FBI investigative document obtained by The Associated Press identified the computers in the Sony hacking as operating in New York, Thailand, Poland, Italy, Bolivia, Singapore and Cyprus. At least three were still functioning Friday, responding online to Internet test signals transmitted by the AP. The hackers previously published some of the stolen materials with a message that included five addresses using an anonymous email service in France.

Source:http://hosted.ap.org 

2 middle school girls found competent for trial in Slender Man case: Two middle school girls charged with trying to kill a classmate to gain favor with Slender Man, a fictional Internet character, were ruled competent Thursday to face their prosecution

Two middle school girls charged with trying to kill a classmate to gain favor with Slender Man, a fictional Internet character, were ruled competent Thursday to face their prosecution.
The rulings came amid the revelation that one of the defendants suffers from schizophrenia.
Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren found Anissa Weier, 13, competent after a three-hour hearing Thursday morning at which mental health experts offered differing conclusions on that issue.
Morgan Geyser, 12, had been set for a similar hearing in the afternoon to challenge a state psychiatrist's finding that, through treatment, she had regained competency after being ruled in August to be unable to fully understand the charges or aid in her own defense.
But at the start of the hearing, attorney Anthony Cotton announced that her defense team was dropping its objection to the finding by state psychiatrist Kenneth Casimir, and would agree that she is now competent to proceed.
Cotton revealed in court that Casimir has diagnosed Geyser with schizophrenia, a mental illness. Cotton then asked if Bohren would order that Geyser continue to be held at the Winnebago Mental Health Institute, where she has been for months and where she can continue to be monitored by doctors while attending school and seeing a social worker.
Cotton said there would be a good chance Geyser might regress to incompetency if returned to the juvenile detention facility in West Bend where she had been kept until August, and where Weier remains.
Bohren granted the request, for now.
The long awaited preliminary hearings in the case, which was charged in June, are now set for February, likely the week of the 16th.
At those hearings prosecutors must show simple probable cause that the girls committed the specific offense of attempted first degree intentional homicide.
Then the case can move to what the defense attorneys have said will be critical — their attempts to have the case "reverse waived" to juvenile court. That would be considered at a future hearing.
As adults, they could face up to 60 years in prison. As juveniles, they could be held in a secure facility until they're 25.

Conflicting findings

Bohren made his ruling on Weier after hearing from three mental health professionals who have examined Weier. Two psychologists retained by the defense believed she is not competent, based on an emotional immaturity and the lack of strategic decision making ability. One was a psychiatrist appointed by the court who said he believed Weier, whom he found extremely intelligent, was competent.
All three said they found Weier to be bright, articulate and cooperative. They agreed she seemed to understand the serious charges she faces, at least at the very broadest level.
But the psychologists felt that in terms of applying her knowledge to decisions about things like whether to plea bargain, she lacked competence,based on her age and immaturity, not any mental illness.
While she could be tutored on better understanding of legal procedure, only time will allow the brain development that would increase her rational decision making capacity, they said.
Robert Rawski, the forensic psychiatrist, thought Weier showed she could rationally participate in court proceedings and adequately aid in her defense.
Weier's attorneys argued that the psychologists had more experience working with juveniles, and spent more time with Weier before reaching their conclusions, which came down to nuanced understandings of adolescent brain development.
One of the psychologists, Michael Caldwell, was concerned that Weier didn't have a meaningful understanding of time frames, including the fact she could go to prison far longer than she has been alive.
Caldwell also said Weier had a tendency, despite high intelligence, to ignore things most people would agree are important to consider in a decision and instead base choices on irrelevant factors. .

The Slender Man stabbing

Geyser and Weier are charged as adults in the May stabbing of Payton Leutner in a Waukesha park after a sleepover to celebrate Geyer's birthday.
The pair told investigators they were trying to gain the favor of Slender Man, a fictional online character.Leutner survived her wounds and has since returned to school.
Attorneys for each girl have said they will try to have their cases moved to juvenile court.
Geyser already has been found incompetent once, meaning the judge was not convinced she fully understood the charges or was able to aid in her defense. But after weeks of mental treatment, a doctor last month said Geyser had been restored to competency.