Josh Earnest is upset because Obama hasn’t been acknowledged as ‘most transparent’ pres. in history – FAKENEWS

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said during a CNN interview aired Sunday that he’s upset over the fact that President Barack Obama doesn’t get enough credit for being the “most transparent” president in United States history. Earnest made his comments during an interview with CNN host Brian Stelter, who said that many journalists would […]
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via Lincoln Report

December 26, 2016 at 02:24AM

Location for Stan Burdick’s services changed – FAKENEWS

LOVES PARK — The location for the visitation and funeral for longtime Rockford Speedway official Stan Burdick has been moved to the Forest Hills Lodge, 1601 W. Lane Road, next to the track. The visitation is 3 to 8 p.m. Friday and the funeral is 10 a.m. Saturday.Burdick, 90, died Tuesday.  Continue reading at
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via Lincoln Report

December 26, 2016 at 02:24AM

Donald Trump Claims Torture 'Works'—but What Does the Science Say? – FAKENEWS

Science simply does not support the argument that torture is effective.

The US president-elect Donald Trump has on several occasions insisted that torture is a good idea and that procedures such as water-boarding are not “tough enough” when dealing with terrorist groups like Islamic State.

The view is clearly morally and ethically questionable. But if we put that aside, does he have a point? If we need to get information out of someone who is plotting to kill lots of innocent people, is it a necessary evil? Well, there’s some psychological research on the subject that can help us answer this question.

Torture can be defined in many ways but it is always intentional and concerns inflicting psychological and/or physical pain to gain information, a confession or simply to punish. There must exist an asymmetrical relationship of power – a dependence and vulnerability where victims realise that they are at the mercy of their tormentors.

Torture has a long history, and despite being prohibited worldwide (in 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations inserted the prohibition against torture in the landmark Universal Declaration of Human Rights), the use of torture appears to be increasing worldwide. The reason for this is unclear, but the current threat from international terrorism is severe or high in many countries. So, when dealing with those who threaten our security and who appear committed to withholding information, the pressure to get results is significant.

The most commonly cited reason for justifying torture is the hypothetical “ticking time bomb” scenario. Here, a terrorist knows where a bomb is concealed, and when it will go off. If the bomb goes off, then thousands of people will be killed and injured. So torture in such a circumstance is argued as appropriate because the ends justify the means. On the face of it this is a compelling argument. Indeed, even those who are against torture might be persuaded to waver.

Fact and fiction

But we have to ask ourselves a series of questions. For starters, if our terrorist does know the information we are seeking (the individual may not), will torturing that person really make him or her talk? Finding out is not as simple as it may sound. For obvious reasons, observing torture being carried out and testing whether it works is not legally possible – in the real world or in the laboratory. Rightly, there are ethical codes of conduct that prohibit psychologists’ involvement in torture. The evidence that torture works appears to be anecdotal. Recently, a classified CIA report, which cited eight real cases of torture as evidence that the technique had thwarted plots and led to the capture of terrorists, was branded inaccurate and speculative by the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

But the effects of pain, stress, and coercive behaviour on our ability to think and make decisions are well known. In fact, the published science is very clear – extreme stress and pain (physical and psychological) can bring about false memories, reduce our ability to remember information and seriously affect our decision-making and memory performance in general. Recent research has found stressful interrogations and isolation brought about false memories in upwards of 80% of trained military personnel.

In fact, criminal justice research on false confessions provides irrefutable evidence that even less coercive techniques than torture have brought about verifiable false confessions – and continue to do so. The Reid technique, a method of questioning suspects to try to assess their credibility, is one such example. The technique, banned in some countries, is accusatory, psychologically manipulative, assumes guilt and prevents denials. Yet we know that the more aggressive the interrogation method the higher the probability of eliciting false confessions. Recent, and historical examples of miscarriages of justice as a result of aggressive, manipulative interrogation methods are easy to find.

Being aggressive during interrogations is not likely to get you far.

Psychologists and governments have been working together for a number of years to develop science-based, non-coercive interrogation methods for persuading detainees to reveal information. One example is the US High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, which develops new interrogation techniques and supports scientific testing of existing ones. The UK government also supports similar research.

Alternatives to torture

I am one one of many researchers who develops non-coercive, science-based intelligence interviewing methods. But what are they and how do you go about it?

A starting point is that we always have to accept that, even if a person knows the information we are seeking, we may never be able to “make” him or her reveal it. Even if we torture, some information may be offered, but it might be false, simply to stop the suffering.

Much of our knowledge comes from laboratory experiments and research in the criminal justice system, where the stakes are high, but not necessarily as high as for terrorists. We do know that aggressive behaviour does not help, but effective rapport building, and the way in which questions are presented and framed can bring about cooperation and persuasion.

A non-judgemental mindset on the part of the interrogator, and the use of psychologically-based methods such as framing questions to manage the mental distress that typically comes about when we try and change a person’s attitude also helps bring about cooperation. Other effective techniques are managing the context and displaying empathetic behaviour associated with understanding the information holder’s perspective. In this way, we can maximise the chances that information might be revealed.

Framing involves presenting questions differently in an attempt to get a desired answer. For example, I can ask “was anyone else was there with you?”, or I could say, “who else was there with you?”. An even better option would be “I appreciate this is very difficult for you, but I need to know who was there with you. Others who have fully explained what has happened, and who was there, have agreed with me that this was the right thing to do. Would you agree?”

Indeed, all things considered, the available science simply does not support the argument that torture is effective. What’s more, new research shows it isn’t just a case of avoiding being nasty – actually being fair and nice may be a far superior way of getting information out of people.

Psychological research has impacted on real world practice in the past. The PEACE investigative interviewing model – an acronym that spells out the stages to follow in an information gathering interview – was introduced in the early 1990s and was driven by research investigating miscarriages of justice. It is now used in a number of countries.

Changing hearts and minds is challenging. But, if we start by considering interrogations more like a game of chess against a very able opponent, rather than a fight, governments and policymakers might begin to understand the importance of brains over brawn.

The ConversationThis article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.


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via AlterNet

December 26, 2016 at 02:18AM

Citizens of Aleppo transform wreckage of destroyed cathedral into nativity scene – FAKENEWS

© Sputnik

Citizens of the recently liberated Syrian city of Aleppo transformed the debris of the collapsed St. Elias Cathedral into a nativity scene. It will be the first Mass to be held in the church in over four years.

The video shows a partially collapsed huge cathedral in the middle of which a special exhibition of art objects representing the birth of Jesus have been installed.

The footage is touching and particularly beautiful as it depicts peace amid the chaos. For citizens of Aleppo this Christmas is special as it comes just days after the city was liberated from the clutches of the militants.

Aleppo was partially controlled by terrorist groups, including al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham, since July 2012 and until December 2016.

In July 2016, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), assisted by Russia, Iran and its local allies, encircled the city, cutting off all supply routes to the rebel-held eastern districts. In November, the SAA launched an offensive, formally known as Operation Dawn of Victory, to push armed radical groups out of last remaining areas under their control.

On December 22, Damascus-led forces announced that Aleppo was fully liberated.

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via Signs of the Times

December 26, 2016 at 02:17AM

Two Men Who Harassed Ivanka Trump are Getting Destroyed on Twitter and Amazon Book Reviews – FAKENEWS

by Alex Christoforou, The Duran:

Payback for harassing a mother and her children.

Your father is ruining the country!” Hillary Clinton loving lawyer Dan Goldstein shouted at Ivanka Trump, as she sat with her husband, Jared Kushner, and their three kids in the main cabin of a Jet Blue flight.

Yes Ivanka Trump and family fly coach.

Brooklyn lawyer Daniel Goldstein and his Hunter College professor husband Matthew Lasne thought that the only repercussions for their actions would be getting kicked off the Jet Blue flight.

Unfortunately for the triggered couple, verbally harassing the future first daughter and her children has many unforeseen consequences, including hundreds of angry Tweets and one star Amazon book reviews.

The New York Post reports

The Cobble Hill couple, attorney Daniel Goldstein and Hunter College Urban Studies Professor Matthew Lasner, are being trolled as “jerks,”

“misogynists,” “political terrorists,” “heterophobic bigots,” and all manner of ­offensive gay slurs.

A flood of one-star pans also is filling the Amazon review page for Lasner’s new book, “High Life: Condo Living in the Suburban Century.”

Meanwhile, a Trump confidante said Ivanka will probably keep flying commercial because she’s done so “for years.”

“As long as they’re safe, that will continue,” the source said.

Here is some of the payback being inflicted on Matthew Lasner…

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via Before It’s News

December 26, 2016 at 02:14AM

Typhoon roars into Philippines, prompting evacuations on Christmas Day – FAKENEWS

A late-season typhoon roared ashore in the Philippines on Christmas Day, prompting widespread evacuations because of fears of flooding and landslides.

Formerly known as Super Typhoon Nock-ten, the storm’s winds had dropped to 1115 miles an hour as of early Monday morning, local time. The storm was moving west at about 12 miles an hour, and was more than 130 miles from the capital of Manila, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Authorities warned heavy rains could unleash slides down the sides of active volcanos in the area, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.

“We went around with megaphones and gave instructions to our people to eat breakfast, pack and board the military trucks,” said Alberto Lindo, an official of Alcala, a farming village of 3,300 people near the active Mayon volcano about 300 miles southwest of Manila, the Inquirer reported. Forecasts show the storm’s eye could pass near the metropolitan Manila area, which is home to about 13 million people.

The typhoon is the strongest since records have been kept in 1945 to make landfall in the Philippines this late in the year, said Phil Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University who specializes in tropical weather and hurricane forecasts.

The storm has stranded thousands of travelers in airports and seaports, as flights were grounded and ships were ordered to remain in port. There were no immediate government reports of significant damage or death as of  6 a.m. local time, or 5 p.m. ET.

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via USATODAY – News Top Stories

December 26, 2016 at 01:43AM