Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fryer

"Freed from Guantanamo, former US prisoners disappear from view overseas" by Missy Ryan The Washington Post  May 29, 2018

Nearly two dozen former detainees at the Guantanamo Bay military prison have disappeared from public view, largely cut off from the outside world since their transfer to a secretive rehabilitation program run by the United Arab Emirates. 

That doesn't bode well for them.

The men have had limited contact with their families, some for more than two years, and have not been told when they might be released, according to their relatives, attorneys, and current and former US officials.

Their uncertain fate exposes the limits of the United States’ ability to track and safeguard inmates resettled overseas as part of an effort to close the 9/11-era prison, and highlights the consequences of the Trump administration’s decision to close a State Department office tasked with overseeing Guantanamo matters.

Interviews with attorneys for 19 of the former detainees found that few if any of the 23 men transferred to the UAE between 2015 and 2017 have been released, despite what attorneys said were informal assurances that they would be out within about a year.

Reversing course from his predecessor, President Trump has vowed to keep Guantanamo open and barred the overseas resettlement of detainees, whom he has characterized as ‘‘extremely dangerous people,’’ but the situation of those already released, most of whom have never been charged, remains shrouded in mystery.

One of those men is Haji Wali Mohammed, an Afghan citizen held at Guantanamo for 14 years before he boarded a plane in January 2017 and prepared to begin what his attorney was informed would be a temporary rehabilitation program in the UAE.

Like a well-known program in Saudi Arabia, the more recently established UAE initiative was designed to ensure that prisoners weren’t radicalized and could adapt to outside life, but after more than 16 months at the UAE-run center, Mohammed has become ‘‘very hopeless,’’ according to his son, Abdul Musawer, who has spoken with his father periodically.

‘‘The US government said my father would be freely living with his family, but they lied,’’ he said from his home in Afghanistan.

Bite your tongue!

According to lawyers and family members, some of the men have not being permitted to use the Internet or go outside. Periodic phone calls to family members are typically limited to five minutes, and are sometimes cut off if the conversation veers into politics or conditions at the center.

No matter the conditions, nearly everything about the UAE program remains secret, even its location. Attorneys and relatives of the men say at least some have reportedly been moved to a new site in recent months.

Neither US nor UAE officials responded to requests for information about the former detainees. Generally, the UAE government has discouraged scrutiny of its detention practices at home and abroad.

I can see why.


After they roast 'em on a spit, they feed them to the Syrian organ eaters.

"Harvard reviewing conduct of well-known economist Roland Fryer Jr." by Deirdre Fernandes Globe Staff  May 23, 2018

A renowned Harvard University economist has been barred from the lab he founded as university officials investigate allegations that he and others there made sexually inappropriate comments and created a hostile work environment.

Roland Fryer Jr., a former MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” winner who a decade ago earned tenure at Harvard at just 30 years old, is at the center of an investigation by both the university and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

Since March, Harvard limited Fryer’s contact with EdLabs, a research and consulting group focused on race, education, and inequality, Fryer’s attorney said. EdLabs’ chief of staff, Brad Allan, has also been barred from the laboratory.

Fryer is alleged to have discussed sex often at work, sexualized female workers, and created a demeaning workplace, said Monica Shah, an attorney with Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein, who is representing a woman who worked at EdLabs. Her client complained about Fryer’s behavior to Harvard in 2017 and filed a formal complaint earlier this year with the Massachusetts agency that investigates workplace discrimination.

The allegations against Fryer were first reported by the Harvard Crimson.

“We are aware of and take seriously concerns raised about the treatment of staff in the Education Innovation Laboratory at Harvard University (EdLabs), including whether staff members have been treated with the dignity and respect they deserve,” said Rachael Dane, a spokeswoman for the university. “Harvard is deeply committed to providing a civil and inclusive work environment for all members of our community.”

In a statement released through his attorney, Fryer denied any allegations of sexual harassment or discrimination.

“Let me state unequivocally that I have not — and would not — engage in any discrimination or harassment of any form,” Fryer said. “Any claim to the contrary is patently false.”

Fryer’s attorney, George Leontire, said he is aware that two workers have filed complaints against the economist with Harvard. But he disputed the allegations.

Since EdLabs launched in 2008, more than 80 research assistants have worked there and “overwhelmingly they deny this kind of activity took place,” Leontire said.

Allan, the lab’s chief of staff, could not be reached for comment.

This is the second high-profile professor at Harvard in recent months to come under scrutiny for sexual harassment.

In March, Jorge Dominguez, a government professor was accused of sexual misconduct spanning more than three decades. Dominguez announced his sudden retirement about a week after an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education detailed the allegations against him.

Even at Harvard, which draws notable professors, Fryer’s rise has been meteoric. Fryer grew up with little money among family members who sold cocaine, according to multiple articles that have been written about him by the national media and Harvard publications in recent years.

Is that supposed to excuse him?

Yet in 2015 he became the first African-American to win the American Economic Association’s John Bates Clark Medal. The award is given to economists under the age of 40 who have made significant contributions to the field and is referred to as the “Baby Nobel” because past winners have gone on to win Nobel Prizes.

Fryer’s pioneering research on issues such as racial differences in police use of force, black teen student achievement, and school reform has been cited in trade journals and mainstream media.

Fryer’s stature at Harvard made it difficult for her client to get relief when she complained about his behavior, Shah told the Harvard Crimson.

Some EdLabs workers said that while Fryer was a demanding boss, they disputed complaints that the environment was toxic or demeaning.

Tanaya Devi, who is earning her doctoral degree in economics at Harvard and has worked with Fryer for five years, said she never witnessed any conversations that were misogynistic, or verbally sexually harassing.

Devi, who is coauthoring two papers with Fryer, said he has been supportive and has encouraged her interest in race and crime, a topic that few female economists pursue.



"California military base psychiatrist accused of rape" AP  May 16, 2018

FAIRFIELD, Calif. — A psychiatrist hired by a US Air Force base to help military veterans in California dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder has been charged with raping female service members who were in therapy for being victimized by the crime he is now accused of committing — sexual assault.

Like a wolf in the fold, huh? 

That's where the sickos gravitate!

Dr. Heath J. Sommer was ordered Monday to stand trial on three felony sexual assault charges after authorities said he targeted female service members in 2014 and 2015 while working at Travis Air Force Base’s David Grant Medical Center, about 45 miles northeast of Sacramento, The Daily Republic in Fairfield, California reported.

Sommer was arrested earlier this month and pleaded not guilty to the charges. He told the judge at his arraignment that the sex was consensual. His lawyer said that his client had not committed a crime, and that the actions were part of his therapy work.

Prosecutors allege the 41-year-old psychiatrist used a technique called exposure therapy and moved the sessions to his home, where he asked the women to have sex with him, leaving them ‘‘even more traumatized.’’

One of the women, an officer in therapy after being raped in 2002 while deployed to Afghanistan, told the investigator that Sommer wanted to treat her by having her reexperience every facet of her sexual assault, and then asked her to have sex with him so she could have a ‘‘positive and loving’’ experience, according to court documents.

He is the one who needs a psychiatrist!


Also see: Grover’s Gripe


"A Roman Catholic priest was arrested and charged Tuesday with sexually abusing at least two boys during his four decades in the Erie, Pennsylvania, diocese, and making one of them go to confession after the alleged assaults. State Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the arrest of the 64-year-old Rev. David Poulson, of Oil City, as part of a statewide grand jury investigation. According to court records, Poulson is facing at least eight charges, including indecent assault and child endangerment, for incidents dating to 2002....."