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Obama advisor: Waterboarding didn't lead to bin Laden kill

White House deputy national security advisor John Brennan Tuesday knocked down the myth that waterboarding provided crucial intelligence that led to the location of Osama bin Laden.

"So we've been talking about the different details and methods that lead up to this moment, and obviously there is word out today that waterboarding played a very big role or role in actually getting the information," MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski told Brennan. "Is that the case?"

"Not to my knowledge," Brennan explained.

"The information that was acquired over the course of nine years or so came from many different sources, human sources, technical sources, as well as information that detainees provided, and it was something that as a result of the painstaking work that the analysts did, they pieced it all together that led us to the Abbottabad compound and led us to the successful operation on sunday," he added.

Fox News' Fox Nation website claimed Tuesday that waterboarding led to the death of bin Laden.

Watch this video from MSNBC's Morning Joe, broadcast May 3, 2011.


Blackbox

Bin Laden tweeter becomes Internet sensation

Image
© Unknown
Abbotabad, Pakistan - An IT consultant who hoped for a quiet life in a summer resort town in Pakistan has become an Internet sensation as the first to report the attack on the world's most wanted man.

Sohaib Athar was just another witty voice on micro-blogging site Twitter until he heard the sound of helicopters near his home in a Abbottabad, 30 miles (50 kilometres) north of Islamabad early Monday.

But Athar is now world famous with almost 90,000 Twitter "followers" -- users who keep track of his messages -- as the first person to record the attack on Osama bin Laden's secret hideaway.

He was swamped with emails and interview requests from media around the globe and his blog was even attacked by Internet hackers.

"Bin Laden is dead. I didn't kill him. Please let me sleep now," he wrote on Twitter after the story went around the world.

It began with a tweet in the early hours of Monday morning.

"Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event)," followed by another; "Go away helicopter before I take out my giant swatter."

Arrow Down

Cracks in the Pyramid Are Beginning to Show

Bankruptcy
© Tim Boyle/Getty Images
The divide between America's "haves" and "have-nots" is threatening to become a yawning gulf - with great danger to society on the whole.

For months now we have talked about the devil's bargain struck by the powers that be. In that bargain, the artificial recovery has been paid for with stimulus, dollar debasement and corporate cost cutting, with the piece de resistance of jobs moving offshore.

This is a combo that works well for the upper regions of U.S. economic society - the top 30%. The "wealth effect" so cherished by the Federal Reserve, in which Americans feel better about the value of their paper assets going up, requires owning a good chunk of paper assets in the first place.

But the problem with the scheme - as asset values are pumped up and purchasing power is eroded - comes with the bottom 70%.

These are the people who do not matter to the stock market, because they do not drive spending trends. They are not buying yoga pants at LuluLemon Athletica or burritos at Chipotle Mexican Grill. They are not gorging on "stuff." But the top 30% are picking up the slack quite handily... so Wall Street doesn't care.

People

US: Missouri farmers join class-action suit over levee breach

Terry and Mary Beth Lee's farm stands -- or stood -- on the land that her great-great grandfather settled more than 200 years ago. Her dad and mom worked the wheat-rich fields beneath Birds Point levee up until they died within three months of each other in 1993, the year of the last 100-year flood.

"We vowed to them before they died that we were going to go to the farm and build a house there," Mary Beth Lee said.

Today, two centuries and a way of life, is submerged beneath a river of water.

Cow Skull

36 Statistics Which Prove That The American Dream Is Turning Into An Absolute Nightmare For The Middle Class

derelict house
The U.S. middle class is being shredded, ripped apart and systematically wiped out. If you doubt this, just check out the statistics below. The American Dream is being transformed into an absolute nightmare. Once upon a time, the rest of the world knew that most Americans were able to live a middle class lifestyle. Most American families had nice homes, most American families had a car or two, most American families had nice clothes, most American families had an overabundance of food and most American families could even look forward to sending their children to college if that is what the kids wanted to do. There was an implicit promise that this was the way that it was always going to be. Most of us grew up believing that if we worked really hard in school and that if we stayed out of trouble and that if we did everything that "the system" told us to do that there would be a place for us in the middle class too. Well, it turns out that "the system" is breaking down.

There aren't enough good jobs for all of us anymore. In fact, there aren't very many crappy jobs either. Millions are out of work, millions have lost their homes and nearly all of the long-term economic trends just keep getting worse and worse. So is there any hope for the U.S. middle class?

No, there is not.

Mr. Potato

Bizarre Kiss Transmission Device is Supposed to Spread the Love

Kissing machine
Come earthquake or high water (really high water), the Japanese are still plugging away at whatever gadget catches their fancy. At least this is the case with a team of researchers from the Kajimoto Laboratory at the University of Electro-Communications. Seen below is a young man putting what looks like a liquid soap dispenser in his mouth.

It's actually a tactile communications device, a rather drab term for a machine that transmits the motor sensations of kissing. So it's a two way kissing machine, huh? Here are a few words of explanation for extra insight:

This device is for communications within the mouth, in other words, the goal is to obtain the feeling of kissing."

Laptop

Bin Laden Death Brings Malware Explosion

With the biggest news in a decade dominating the Internet, it didn't take long for rogue viruses, Trojans and other malware to mess with computers given the chance.

Web searches and links to a variety of stories - real and fake - about the death of Osama bin Laden are sprouting with all kinds of malicious software as cybercriminals look for a big payday tied to the appetite for news about the Al-Qaida leader's demise.

"The bad guys were quite fast and started to poison searches results in Google Images," said Favio Assolini, a Kaspersky Labs expert on the security software company's blog. "Some of the search results are now leading users to malicious pages."

Bad Guys

Preparing the populace for the possibility of war: Israel to launch largest-ever nationwide war drill

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is gearing to hold a nationwide drill, scheduled to take place in two months, in a bid to prepare the populace for the possibility of war.

The exercise, called "Turning Point 5," will begin on June 19 and end four days later.

An IDF spokesman confirmed to Xinhua that preparations for the drill are underway, but would not provide further details.

National daily Yedioth Aharonot, however, claimed Wednesday that the drill will be the largest-ever to be held in Israel, encompassing 70 percent of civilians residing in more than 80 local councils.

USA

A Sign of Empire Pathology

Image
© thewhitedsepulchre.blogspot.com
More US military personnel have taken their OWN lives than have died in action.

Here is a shocking statistic that you won't hear in most western news media: over the past nine years, more US military personnel have taken their own lives than have died in action in either the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. These are official figures from the US Department of Defence, yet somehow they have not been deemed newsworthy to report. Last year alone, more than 330 serving members of the US armed forces committed suicide - more than the 320 killed in Afghanistan and the 150 who fell in Iraq (see wsws.org).

Since 2001, when Washington launched its so-called war on terror, there has been a dramatic year-on-year increase in US military suicides, particularly in the army, which has borne the brunt of fighting abroad. Last year saw the highest total number since such records began in 1980. Prior to 2001, the suicide rate in the US military was lower than that for the general US population; now, it is nearly double the national average.

Ambulance

Rat causes fatal car crash, Miami rescue says

rat causes crash
© Uknown
Critter gnaws through power link and causes traffic lights to go out

One person was killed and five others injured after a rat caused a car crash in Miami Sunday night, authorities said.

The bizarre incident happened just after midnight in the area of North Miami Avenue and 29th Street when the rat caused an explosion that knocked out street lights at the intersection.

"Believe it or not, a rat was at the top of one of the light poles...and chewed through one of the fusible links at the top of the pole, this caused the street lights to go out," said Capt. Joseph Zahralban, with the City of Miami Fire Rescue.

Zahralban said a group of people from a nearby bar went to investigate what caused the explosion and were standing on the sidewalk when two cars collided because the lights were out.