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Thursday afternoon is Panetta’s long-awaited confirmation hearing. As something of a cipher on intelligence matters, Panetta can expect a tough hearing. With the CIA intimately involved in the hunt for Al Qaeda; the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; and the torture policies of the Bush administration, Panetta’s approach to the future of intelligence will have far-reaching implications for U.S. national security, the rule of law, and global human rights…
It will be interesting to hear how Panetta clears up the dispute about his Clinton administration service. More interesting still will be whether Panetta defends renditions at all. Obama’s executive order leaves the door open to the first kind of renditions, empanelling a review of the practice led by cabinet officials to determine that renditions “do not result in the transfer of individuals to other nations to face torture or otherwise for the purpose, or with the effect, of undermining or circumventing the commitments or obligations of the United States to ensure the humane treatment of individuals in its custody or control.” What sort of human-rights guarantees will Panetta — who, if confirmed, will participate in the review — insist upon?
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Discussed in this essay:
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert. Henry Holt. 352 pages. $28.
The extinction symbol is a spare graphic that began to appear on London walls and sidewalks a couple of years ago. It has since become popular enough as an emblem of protest that people display it at environmental rallies. Others tattoo it on their arms. The symbol consists of two triangles inscribed within a circle, like so:
“The triangles represent an hourglass; the circle represents Earth; the symbol as a whole represents, according to a popular Twitter feed devoted to its dissemination (@extinctsymbol, 19.2K followers), “the rapidly accelerating collapse of global biodiversity” — what scientists refer to alternately as the Holocene extinction, the Anthropocene extinction, and (with somewhat more circumspection) the sixth mass extinction.
Ratio of husbands who say they fell in love with their spouse at first sight to wives who say this:
Mathematicians announced the discovery of the perfect method of cutting a cake.
Indian prime-ministerial contender Narendra Modi, who advertises his bachelorhood as a mark of his incorruptibility, confessed to having a wife.
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Science’s crisis of faith