Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Congress May Make It Harder For Credit Card Companies To Target College Students

Credit card companies beware: Congress is watching.

A flurry of bills is in the works in the House of Representatives and the Senate that would rein in how those companies do business. One proposed change that's triggered interest among lawmakers, particularly as the economy sours, would make it harder for college students to qualify for credit cards.

"It really is just too easy," said Christine Lindstrom, the director of the Higher Education Project at the nonpartisan Public Interest Research Group. "They will do anything to be the first card in college students' wallets. They don't do credit checks. They don't even know if students have income."

Original here

Plane carrying Ron Paul, congressmen makes emergency landing

From ,
A plane carrying Ron Paul and six other congressmen made an emergency landing Tuesday.
A plane carrying Ron Paul and six other congressmen made an emergency landing Tuesday.

(CNN)— A plane carrying Texas Rep. Ron Paul and six other members of Congress was forced to make an emergency landing Tuesday due to mechanical issues.

According to the Federal Avaiation Administration (FAA), Continental Airlines flight 458, a Boeing 737 en route to Washington, DC from Houston made a rapid decent in New Orleans when the pilot reported pressurization problems.

Reps. Ted Poe, Nick Lampson, and Henry Cuellar, Solomon P. Ortiz, John Carter, and Ciro Rodriguez were among those aboard the flight. The FAA says the plane had a safe landing in New Orleans with no injuries.

Update: Trevor Kincaid, a spokesman for Rep. Nick Lampson, tells CNN the congressmen are being rebooked on two different flights from New Orleans to Washington, D.C.

Kincaid said Lampson told him, "there was a minor technical failure with the pressure" and there was "a slow gradual descent, no nosedive." Lampson told him in a phone conversation that, "some people didn't realize there was a problem until the gas masks came down." Lampson said there was no panic on the plane and praised Continental Airlines for their handling of the situation.

Original here

How the Tobacco Industry Targets Teens

By: Brie Cadman (View Profile)

Everyone that’s worth their smoke in the tobacco industry knows that the only way to keep revenue growing is to replace your clientele—who die or quit—with fresh consumers. Since almost 90 percent of adult smokers take up the habit in adolescence—the industry refers to young people as the “replacement generation”—they’re the main target of marketing campaigns. One effective way they’ve targeted young people is to equate tobacco products with sweets and to mask the taste of tobacco with sweets flavors.

In the Beginning There Was Candy
According to Old Time Candy, the maker of candy cigarettes, the first candy cigarettes were developed with help of the cigarette manufacturers, who allowed overt copyright infringements for over thirty years. By doing so, it allowed youngsters to become familiar with the brand and packaging, and normalized the act of smoking. The package below is the original candy cigarettes, mimicking a pack of Camels.

Photo source: oldtimecandy.com

After the companies came under fire for marketing to youth, they tried to distance themselves and their labels from the candy companies. Candy cigarette manufacturers changed their labels, though they still bear overt similarities to real brands of cigarettes. Candy cigarettes are now called candy “stix” of candy, but still have a red end simulating a lit cigarette, and still use words like “king size,” “longs,” and “lights.” They evoke much of the same imagery and use the same colors as actual cigarette brands. The packaging, names, and descriptors on the candy cigarettes below all mimic real cigarettes.

Photo source: cardhouse.com

But many of us puffed sugar while never becoming smokers—do the candy cigarettes really have an impact on future smoking? A study done at the University of Rochester School of Medicine found that they do. Among adult current and former smokers, 22 percent had consumed candy cigarettes often or very often as children, compared with 14 percent who never smoked. The authors conclude that candy cigarettes desensitize kids about future smoking and allow them to recognize and respond to marketing and branding.

The U.K., Australia, and Canada regulate the sale of candy “stix.” The U.S. does not.

Then Came Flavor Pellets
Out of the candy cigarette business, the industry began to find new ways to associate their products with sweets. Realizing that the taste of cigarettes can be off-putting to first timers, Camel came out with a new line of flavored cigarettes in 1999, which mimic candy flavors. With a flavor pellet lodged near the filter, they include watermelon (Beach Breezer), coconut (Kuai Kolada), mint (Winter Mochamint), berry (Bayou Berry), and lime (Twista Lime). Their flavors mimic those in candy and their rise to popularity came in 2004, when advertisements like the ones below appeared in youth-friendly magazines such as Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, and Glamour.

Photo source: tobaccofreekids.org

Though RJ Reynolds claims that these cigarettes are alternatives for adult smokers (what else are they gonna say?), evidence indicates otherwise. A study by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute found that teens are three times more likely to smoke flavored cigarettes than adult smokers are. And it’s no surprise—established smokers rarely switch brands. The sweet ones are for the pink-lunged.

In addition, advertisement recall has been shown to influence smoking initiation, and these brightly colored ads are particularly appealing to youngsters. A 2007 study by the American Legacy Foundation found that 40 percent of thirteen- to eighteen-year-olds recalled seeing flavored cigarette advertisements. More than half were interested in trying them, and 60 percent thought they would taste better than regular cigarettes. And the kids may be right: the flavors do mask the harsh taste of tobacco, making it easier for them to start, and continue, smoking.

Old Skool
Of course, the original flavored cigarette is the menthol, which is aggressively marketed to the black community, especially urban black youth. Menthols are often equated with hip-hop and DJing, as evidenced in this ad.

Photo source: tobaccofreekids.org

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 64 percent of African-American high school students who smoke use mentholated brands.

In addition to cigarettes, candy-flavored cigarillos, or little cigars like the ones below, are designed to appeal to teens and young adults.

Photo source: pipesandcigars.com
Photo source: campaignfortobaccofreekids.org
Photo source: riverfrontgifts.com

It’s funny that they advertise these as “blunts,” which, according to the dictionary, means it has been hollowed out and filled with marijuana. How come bongs have to be disguised as water pipes, but the tobacco industry gets to market their marijuana paraphernalia so openly? I’m not saying weed should necessarily be illegal, but … ain’t it?

Photo source: smokes-spirits.com

The good news (for the tobacco industry) is that targeted marketing works. A recent survey by the city of Baltimore found that, among eighteen- to twenty-four-year-olds, the favorite brand of cigars was Black and Mild (parent company: Phillip Morris) which offer such flavors as cream, apple, and vanilla. Twenty-four percent had smoked them in the previous thirty days.

This resulted in Baltimore banning the sale of individual cigarillos, which sell for under a dollar apiece and, as singles, come without the surgeon general’s warning. Not that “cigars are not a safe alternative to cigarettes” is necessarily going to deter an eighteen-year-old.

The End of Sweet Cigarettes?
A bill pending in Congress would give, for the first time, the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products. Included in this bill is banning the sale of flavored cigarettes. However, the bill doesn’t ban menthols, prompting objection from many anti-tobacco advocates in the African-American community.

And even so, that’s not likely to thwart the tobacco industry, that, according to the CDC, spends $35 million per day to recruit new consumers. Even if you don’t have kids, or are a smoker yourself, it behooves us all to look for ways to decrease the smoking prevalence; tobacco-related disease is the number one cause of preventable deaths in the U.S., and costs us (even the nonsmokers) billions in health-related economic losses. The tobacco companies reap billions in profits while our economy and health takes the hit—that’s hard to sugar coat.

Original here

8,500 U.S. banks; many will die soon(updated 3x)

I called the death of Indymac Bancorp on Monday, July 7th. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation seized Indymac on Friday, July 11th.

I called the implosion of the two Government Sponsored Entities in the mortgage business, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Wednesday, July 9th. Sunday, July 13th the White House announced a bailout for them.

Want to know what happens next? It’s ape ass ugly and it’s going to happen to you, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

First and foremost, let’s discuss my qualifications in this area; I know jack shit. I have, however, been through a couple of publicly held company bankruptcies, I’ve funded a couple of startups and worked for a few others, and I have an operations accounting background acquired in the context of the bankruptcy and dissolution of a firm with over seven hundred retail locations and a couple of thousand franchisees. I can read a P&L, a balance, sheet, and I can detect bullshit in an SEC 10K/10Q filing (How? Damned simple – they’re a pack of lies as a rule, labeled as "forward looking statements").

I was blessed with the good sense to follow Stoneleigh and Ilargi when they stopped doing the finance roundup on The Oil Drum and moved on to their own thing over at The Automatic Earth. Everything I know comes from studying their daily roundup of financial news with associated commentary and I check in occasionally with the Bank Implode-O-Meter and the Hedge Fund Implode-O-Meter to see the scoreboards and flow of troubles. The most complete overall timeline on this mess seems to be over at Credit Writedowns.

Now that we’ve got the bona fides for my amateur status, let’s tackle the topic at hand: The Ginormous Banking Enema of 2008

What is happening?

If you look down from a very high level what you see is this: There is $75 trillion in global real estate, $50 trillion in annual global GDP, and $675 trillion in derivatives - synthetic financial instruments loosely associated with the real world that, when inspected, prove to be worth a small fraction of their face value. Nine years ago Weathervane McCain’s chief economic adviser, Phil Gramm, got the Glass Steagall Act largely repealed. Investment houses engaged in an orgy of what can only be described as private money printing, taking real assets, puffing them up, marking them up, passing them around, and they kept at it until there were five or six dollars of funny money for every real dollar of stuff. Ssshhh, don’t anyone tell the pension funds ...

What is the connection to commercial banks?

We have 8,500 commercial banks in the United States. They take deposits from folks, they make loans, and the bigger ones are publicly held, so their fortunes influence the stock market’s so called "financial sector". It’s in quotes because it was 5% of the economy for a long, long time, then it mysteriously poofed up to 25% ... before beginning a slow motion deflation starting last August. Again, we should keep the pension funds in the dark ...

So these 8,500 commercial banks wrote and sold mortgages and they made commercial real estate loans. Now the housing market is tanking because the asset inflation associated with houses is over because five dollars in funny money isn’t going to get you a nickel of real stuff soon. The commercial real estate market, that being the strip malls and such desired by all those newly minted suburbanites, well ... as Marvin the Martian would say There’s supposed to be a huge ka-b00m! There will be and make no mistake about it ... Ilargi summed it up nicely in the July 19th Debt Rattle.

Ilargi: The rate of failure among the approximately 8500 US banks is about to start accelerating, probably in large and fast steps. The main reason for most of the smaller ones is their positions in commercial real estate and construction, where "The loss rates are just astronomical."

There is just one article supporting this statement, but Ilargi has been dead on with every other prediction and pretty close on the timing of them. I take the failure of Indymac Bancorp to be another event in this chain, with it being the third largest bank failure ever.

How bad is this going to get?

Bear Stearns got bailed out ‘cause they were highly visible (read: failure would have exposed aforementioned funny money to the average Joe), Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are Government Sponsored Entities who now have their sickly balance sheets backstopped by the U.S. Treasury (read you & me), but all the commercial banks have is the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Great! All accounts are insured to $100,000! We’re saved!

Way wrong. The FDIC is an insurance operation. They make an educated guess as to how many banks will fail and what the total exposure is, then they collect insurance premiums from them. They’ve got $51 billion ... and Indymac alone sucked up 10% of that. If a big one lets go, like Washington Mutual or Wachovia, then the FDIC will look just like FEMA did facing down hurricane Katrina. Don’t go and look at the scoreboard on the Bank Implode-O-Meter unless you’ve got a very strong stomach. Oh, and do note that a good bit of those write downs are investment banks - the FDIC does not cover their activities.

OK, very scared now, so what do I do?

Run, don’t walk, to your bank and get the funds you have clear of this mess before it gets any worse. The safe deposit box ... isn’t. There were rules during the Great Depression such that a treasury agent got to paw through any that were opened before the owner got to touch their stuff; gold, silver, and cash could easily be confiscated in an emergency.

So, what to do? Cash at home in the First Bank of Serta? A fire proof safe? Maybe cashier’s checks in your name and leave the receipts in the safe deposit box, thusly meeting the portability requirement with safety? Nope on that last one, cashier’s checks drawn on a dead bank are dead. Treasury Bills? Wow, look at the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout ... they’ll not go *poof* instantly, but they’re going down in value bigtime. Swiss bank account? Hey, look at that first salvo in making sure dollars in the U.S. stay in the U.S.

OK, terrified, what do I do?

The GSEs, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are indeed "too big to fail" – they’d whack the whole U.S. economy if they went down hard. Ditto for Bear Stearns – had they not moved to conceal the troubles there the failure would have sucked all of the monoline bond insurers under. Monoline bond insurers? If you don’t know I’ve laid enough pain down in this diary – we’ll cover that mess another day. 8,500 commercial banks, putatively protected by the FDIC? Only a few are large enough to receive the "too big to fail" label. The government doesn’t dare touch the FDIC (yet) for fear of clearly communicating they expect the worst. A lot of folks got trimmed in the Indymac crash, with $BIGBUCKS reset to the $100,000 maximum and no recourse. Once this truly gets rolling there will be a reduction in the amounts covered and probably withdrawal limits even with solvent banks.

This can not be stopped. The losses have already occurred. It isn’t an "if", it’s a "when" and I was expecting it around 4/1/2008, but they held it off for another quarter. It looks for all the world like July is the lucky month with the Indymac stuff coming down right next to Fannie and Freddie’s corpses hitting the mighty U.S. Treasury Reanimator. Someone, somewhere is going to pull a joker out of this house of cards – some innocuous bond sale somewhere will fail, a monoline insurer will get pushed over the edge, and then the rout will begin.

The Ginormous Banking Enema has begun with the first little squirt from Indymac Bancorp's failure. It won't end until we're all up to our nostrils in an alphabet soup of make believe financial instruments and newly created federal agencies conceived to clean up the mess.

Some of these entities are indeed "too big to fail" ... but there is no reason we can't impoverish and imprison those that got us here. This isn't about Angelo Mozilo and a couple of unlucky bastards who worked for Bear Stearns - I'm talking a genuine housecleaning - there are thousands of cases where people facilitated fraud and got paid big bucks to do it. They should, every last one of them, be made paupers ... because it's what they've done to us, our children, our grandchildren, and perhaps even further out than that.


I've seen a few comments indicating that what I've said here is not happening. If that be the case why did the FDIC seek and receive rule changes allowing retirees to come back to work without impacting their benefits? As I recall a staffer with experience handling the S&L mess from the 1980s is worth $180k/year. Google with a mix of FDIC, hiring, and retiree if you want to confirm for yourself, but these two links seem a good starting point.



Oh, and Stoneleigh, one of the keepers of The Automatic Earth stopped by to comment this morning, leaving a link to something she wrote a year ago that would be of interest.

The Resurgence of Risk - a Primer on the developing Credit Crunch.

OK, you guys are all talking about this now and as expected there are a spectrum of opinions. Being mindful of this impending change is the first big step in doing what you need to do to protect you and yours. I can offer no more specific advice than that you use what I've written as a measure of the worthiness of any financial advice you might seek; if the source is not aware of this stuff or doesn't think it's important it is time for you to move on to the next option.

Many is a word that only leaves you guessing
Guessing 'bout a thing you really ought to know - Led Zepplin

The FDIC admits to prepping for a hundred, the highest estimate I've seen is 1,500 gone of the 8,500. Size matters; if it's only a hundred but it's the hundred largest, well, that would be grim.

This being said, we're going out to play in the sunshine - have a great Sunday!

Original here

Latest Clarification: Al-Maliki Supports 'US Troop Pullout By 2010'

A day after attempting to walk back previous professions in favor of a timeline for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the Iraqi government has once again stipulated their preference for such a timeline. According to the Associated Press, this morning, an Iraqi "government spokesman" stated that they are "hopeful that U.S. combat forces could be out of the country by 2010."

This latest announcement comes in the wake of Barack Obama's arrival in Baghdad:

The time frame is similar to Obama's proposal to pull back combat troops within 16 months. The Iraqi government has been trying to clarify its position on a possible troop withdrawal since al-Maliki was quoted in [Der Spiegel] last week saying he supported Obama's timetable.

The AP report concludes with this reference to the Der Spiegel article: "The Iraqi government later said the prime minister's remarks were misinterpreted." This seems to cast doubt unnecessarily, however, as the spokesman who reinforced the Iraqi government's desire for withdrawal is the same person who initially participated in the walk-back, Ali al-Dabbagh. Previously, the New York Times had al-Dabbagh on the record saying, "Unfortunately, Der Spiegel was not accurate. I have the recording of the voice of Mr. Maliki. We even listened to the translation."

The AP doesn't connect the dots, but seeing as this new clarification comes straight from al-Dabbagh, it would seem that the walk-back has been walked back.

Moreover, al-Maliki has, over the past few weeks, actually moved closer to Obama's position on withdrawal, now suggesting that "U.S. combat forces could be out of the country by 2010." Previously, the al-Maliki government had said, "It can be 2011 or 2012...We don't have a specific date in mind, but we need to agree on the principle of setting a deadline." Again, the one constant throughout all of these "clarifications" is the spokesman, al-Dabbagh.

Original here

Rabbi unveils a secret of God

The tradition-bound Western image of a he-man, masculine God may already be thousands of years out of date, says a Westchester rabbi who believes he has unlocked the secret to God's name and androgynous nature.

Rabbi Mark Sameth contends in a soon-to-be-published article that the four-letter Hebrew name for God - held by Jewish tradition to be unpronounceable since the year 70 - should actually be read in reverse. When the four letters are flipped, he says, the new name makes the sounds of the Hebrew words for "he" and "she."

God thus becomes a dual-gendered deity, bringing together all the male and female energy in the universe, the yin and the yang that have divided the sexes from Adam and Eve to Homer and Marge.

"This is the kind of God I believe in, the kind of God that makes sense to me, in a language that speaks very, very deeply to human aspirations and striving," Sameth said. "How could God be male and not female?"

Sameth, 54, the spiritual leader of Pleasantville Community Synagogue, first hit on his theory more than a decade ago when he was a rabbinical student. Since then, he has quietly pieced together clues and supporting evidence from the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament and the vast body of rabbinic literature.

His article "Who is He? He is She: The Secret Four-Letter Name of God" will appear in the summer issue of the CCAR Journal, published by the Central Conference of American Rabbis, an association of Reform rabbis.

Sameth's theory is not as outlandish as it might seem to the uninitiated. For one thing, Jewish mystical traditions have long found levels of meaning in the Hebrew Bible beyond those that come from a literal or metaphorical reading. For another, there is a deep tradition in Jewish prayer and thinking, particularly among the so-called mystics, of seeking to reconcile the male and female elements in the universe.

Sameth's article includes this: "What the mystics called 'the secret of one' is the inner unification of the sometimes competing, sometimes complementing masculine and feminine energies that reside within each of us, regardless whether we are male or female."

The notion that God is what Sameth calls a "hermaphroditic deity" could energize the growing movement in many religious traditions to present God in gender-neutral terms, particularly in Scripture.

Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, a revered scholar among liberal Jews who has written extensively on Jewish mysticism and spirituality, called Sameth's article "delicious, thought-provoking and wise." Kushner is among a small group of scholars and friends with whom Sameth has shared his article in recent weeks.

"I think most people assume the God of the Hebrew Bible is masculine, but Mark, through some sound and clever research, suggests that God may have always been androgynous," Kushner said. "This can affect the way we consider holiness and the divine, and invites us to reconsider our own gender identities, which is kind of a bombshell."

The Hebrew name of God that is known as the Tetragrammaton - the four letters Yud-Hay-Vov-Hay - appears 6,823 times in the Hebrew Bible. Since early Hebrew script included no vowels, the pronunciation of the name was known by those who heard it.

According to Sameth's footnotes, the name was said only by priests after the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, the name was no longer said and the pronunciation lost.

Jewish tradition has long held that the name was too sacred to articulate. Jews have generally used Adonai, "the Lord," in place of the Tetragrammaton. Various Christian groups have pronounced the name as "Yahweh" or "Jehovah."

Sameth has no intention of speaking the "reversed" name of God that he has uncovered, preferring to focus on its meaning.

"I still won't pronounce it, intentionally, as God's name," he said. "I'm not suggesting that anyone pronounce the name."

Sameth became fascinated with Jewish mysticism while a rabbinical student in Jerusalem during the early 1990s. He studied with Moshe Idel, a pre-eminent scholar on mysticism, and learned how medieval Spanish Kabbalists and others uncovered mystical meanings from the Torah that had been shrouded in patterns of words and letters.

Once back in New York, at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the Reform seminary, Sameth was studying the biblical story of the prophet Nathan reprimanding King David for murder, which becomes a turning point for David. Sameth realized that the Hebrew forms of both names, Nathan and David, are palindromes, words with spellings that can be reversed.

It was, as they say, a revelation.

"It's about reversibility," Sameth said. "King David is changing the direction of his life, and the two key characters, their names are palindromes. What are the chances of that?"

A new zeal for biblical reversibility led Sameth to flip the four Hebrew letters of the unpronounceable Tetragrammaton. In his head, he heard the Hebrew words hu and hi. That's "he/she" in English.

And he felt connected to a long line of Jewish mystics who have mused about the male and female coming together.

"I really believed that I had found something significant," Sameth said. "Then I did 10 years of study to see if I could find support for it."

Much of his article consists of weaving together clues and examples from Jewish Scripture and wisdom that offer historical context for his thesis. For example, Sameth contends that the Zohar - a medieval, mystical Torah commentary - was referring to God's dual-gender "when it suggested that the sin of Adam was that he ruined the marriage between the feminine and masculine halves of God by divorcing himself from the feminine."

He also writes: "We realize now that the secret was almost revealed by the 13th-century Torah commentator Rabbeinu Bachya, who makes note of every four-word cluster in the Torah whose rashei teivot, or initial letters, spell out the Tetragrammaton in reverse."

Rabbi Jonathan Stein, editor of the CCAR Journal, was on vacation and not available for comment.

Sameth has been the only rabbi at the decade-old Pleasantville Community Synagogue, a self-described "trans-denominational" congregation that includes elements of Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist Judaism. Congregants come from many backgrounds and communities to the synagogue, which has become known for hearty singing and dancing during services.

Talking recently about his years of study to grasp the meaning of God's name, Sameth had to stop, swallow hard and take a breath when describing what it's like to receive sparks of insight from the great Jewish thinkers of long ago.

"It is a form of transcendence to be connected in that way," he said.

Sameth doesn't believe that he has stumbled on a previously unknown understanding of God's name, but that he has been able to connect the dots in a fresh way.

Those who find meaning in his work, he said, may encounter a different understanding of God that is comforting to feminists and those on many spiritual journeys. They may also read the Torah differently.

"If this interpretation is correct, it says that the Torah is a mystical or esoteric text," he said. "The mystics have been saying all these years that the text conceals more than it reveals. It is structured with different levels of meaning and reveals itself over time. We're talking about one tradition that goes all the way back."

Katherine Kurs, a religion scholar who teaches at New School University and is an associate minister at West-Park (Presbyterian) Church in Manhattan, said that the image of God presented by Sameth will have great appeal to many people who are searching for spiritual meaning.

"Mark's unveiling is part of a mystic lineage that presents a prismatic experience of God, that says there are ways of experiencing God that contain and explode categories simultaneously," said Kurs, who has known Sameth since they studied together almost 20 years ago. "This God is not a male or even a female but a male-female or female-male, a God that holds tension and paradox, a full-spectrum bandwidth God."

Sameth has shared his image of a dual-gendered God with the seventh- and eighth-graders he teaches at his synagogue. He said they've been very receptive, which isn't surprising because they are growing up in a post-modern age.

"As post-moderns, we've been conditioned to a different relationship with language," he said. "That's why there is all this interest now in Jewish mysticism."

He wonders how, 2,000 years from now, people will understand the final chapter of "Ulysses," which includes no punctuation. Will they try to add punctuation, believing that it's been lost? Or will they grasp that James Joyce knew what he was doing?

"Joyce was playing with language, using language to play with the medium," Sameth said. "And the Torah isn't just about Noah taking the animals, twosies by twosies. If that's what the Torah was all about, how could it have captivated Western civilization for 3,000 years? There had to be more."

Original here

Guantánamo children

In a submission to the UN in May, the Pentagon said that no more than eight youths, aged 13 to 17 at time of capture, were held at Guantánamo Bay. But a prisoner list released in 2006 in response to US freedom of information act litigation names 21 inmates under 18 when they arrived. A separate defence department admission brings the total to 22. Testimonies collected by the charity Reprieve, which represents 30 inmates at Guantánamo, indicate the actual number is much higher.

Guantánamo's child prisoners came from all over the world: they were Afghan, Yemeni, Saudi, Russian, Uighuri, and Canadian. Five of them are still there. They are: Mohammed el Gharani, aged 14-15 when he was seized while praying in a Karachi mosque; Hassan bin Attash, aged 16-17 when seized in Pakistan, and rendered to Jordan where he endured 16 months of torture before being transferred; Faris Muslim Al Ansari, an Afghan-Yemeni who was 17 when captured; Mohamed Jawad, an Afghan who was 17 when seized and faces trial by military commission; and Omar Khadr.

Saudi citizen Yasser Talal Al Zahrani, 17 when captured, joined a prison-wide hunger strike in 2005. He was found dead in his cell in June 2006 after apparently killing himself.

Original here