Category Archives: torture apologists

The Sam Seder Tim Black debate, or the Sam talks over Tim while Michael Brooks makes snarky commentary.

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By Joseph Ballin 6/29/2017 5:37 PM EST

Reader’s note: I am a fan of both Sam Seder’s The Majority Report and The Tim Black Show. I do not hold any hostilities towards either person debating in this piece and am writing this to illustrate how we on the left can find better solutions to our problems. That being said I’m biased toward Tim in this debate.

What’s the difference between a liberal and a progressive? Personally I don’t care or like these labels. Hillary described herself as a “progressive who can get stuff done.” So I couldn’t care less about those labels, but Tim goes into what I think he meant is between neoliberal corporate shills and people who want change in this country. Yes Sam is correct that the Majority Report does talk about all of the issues that Tim Black listed. So Sam goes to Tim’s youtube page and criticizes him for not covering healthcare enough. However, Sam has not watched Tim’s show and doesn’t know that he’s covered healthcare numerous times on his show. And now Sam goes into the Seth Rich / Kimdotcom territory.

The one thing me and Jimmy Dore have both been very clear on, we want evidence. We want evidence of Russiagate, evidence Assad gassed his own people, evidence for or against the Seth Rich cover up, etc. That’s reality based thinking. That’s why I’m an agnostic atheist, because I can’t prove there isn’t a god/gods, but there is no evidence that they do exist so there is no reason for me to believe in them. In fact, nothing in the universe can be proven. A fact is a statement that is taken to be true based off of evidence. It is something we collectively as a society agree what is real and fake. A theory is a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena.

Ok now that we got that out of the way let’s deconstruct all this shit. There is no verifiable evidence Russia hacked, interfered, or colluded with Donald Trump or his campaign. In fact, as president, US relations with Russia under Trump are at a record low. Trump has repeatedly attacked the government of Bashar Al-Assad and Iranian militias several times, Russia’s allies. Trump signed a treaty expanding NATO to Montenegro, something Russia opposes. He signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017, which authorized $100 million dollars for the “Countering Russian Influence Fund”, to counter “Russian influence and aggression” and to “support civil society organizations in Europe and Eurasia.” It also included a measure imposing new restrictions and oversight on Russian diplomats in the United State. The Act also includes provisions that no appropriated funds may be used to support the Russian annexation of Crimea and assist Crimea, if such assistance includes the participation of Russian Government officials, or other Russian owned or controlled financial entities. It also states that no funds may be used to support “the Russian occupation of the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia” or to assist the central governments of other countries that have recognized the two territories’ independence. On top of all that, US has imposes more sanctions on Russia during Trump’ presidency. If Trump’s a Russian puppet, he’s doing a really shitty at it.

Again this is not to say there isn’t business ties Trump has to Russia, like with Deutsche bank and Trump hotels because he’s a billionaire, but he also has business ties to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Philippines, Azerbaijan, mafia, etc., but the mainstream media never mentions this. Why does mainstream media never bring up the fact General Flynn was a paid agent of the Turkish government? Why does the mainstream media not bring up the fact Trump appointed all these Goldman Sachs people because of his ties to Israel? Or China provisionally granting Trump 38 trademarks after getting elected? Or the Clinton’s business dealings in Russia? So there is enormous hypocrisy on this issue. Focus on Russia and nothing else. Why you may ask? Because starting a new cold war with Russia ensures defense contractors can make giant profit because now we have a great power enemy again. Also we can’t start a cold war with China because our economies are to tied together. It has less to do with Trump himself and more to do with more spending on the military and strengthening the police state. That’s why you don’t hear anything about getting rid of voting machines or having open, fair, and free elections.

As for the Syria gassing of 2017, the entire thing was brought up so briefly and forgotten about so quick by mainstream media and the Trump administration it really makes you wonder what really did happen in Syria. Why has there been no independent UN investigation into the gassing? There is no evidence Assad ordered the gassing of any civilians. As for the Seth Rich story, I stated on day one when I first heard about the Seth Rich murder that I found it very fishy. I have no idea is Seth Rich was the Wikileaks leaker or who killed him, but I do know a couple things. I do know Assange has hinted, but not confirmed, to Seth Rich being the leaker. Wikileaks, outside of the Garani Massacre Video which they said they would publish, but never did, has been 100% on point. So now that we got all that out of the way, back to the debate.

So Sam now brings up whether or not it’s a good thing to promote the Russia fear mongering story to split off three Republican votes in the Senate for healthcare. First of all I won’t advocate a new cold war with Russia over healthcare. Second of all why does Sam think Russia influences how Republican senators vote on healthcare. We’ve already seen the Senate healthcare bill be delayed because of how awful it is. People aren’t thinking about Russia when they think of healthcare, they are thinking of NOT DYING! Plus I would wager all that corporate cash the Republicans senators take is more of an influence than the so called Russia scandal over Trump’s head. The only thing that will force Republicans to change their votes on healthcare is though mass movements.

Now Black brings up the rigged 2016 Democratic primary and the DNC fraud lawsuit. Tim brings up exit polling being used by the US to determine whether an election is legit or bs in foreign countries. I would like to point out that irregularities in exit polling in Ukraine were cited by the US and EU for the fascist coup in Ukraine. And I would also like to point out Sam Seder has had on Greg Palast on Ring of Fire, someone who says the 2016 Democratic primary was rigged. But ok Sam I guess the primary wasn’t “rigged.”

Continuing on Tim brings why Democrats blaming progressives for the lose of Hillary Clinton. So Tim brings up Susan Sarandon and her revolution comment about Trump, stating we are seeing a revolution already taking place under Trump. Ok so I agree and disagree with Tim here. A revolution against Donald Trump hasn’t sustained itself, yet. It needs to be sustained though mass rallies every week and civil disobedience in the streets. And I believe a revolution under Trump can happen if he topples Assad and invades Iran

Michael continues to break into this heated debate to make a funny comment. Now we get back to Seth Rich. So Sam again thinks that it’s crazy to think that politicians won’t murder people to cover up corruption. I agree Tim Black that we need to ask questions. Again I’m an agnostic on Seth Rich, I don’t know who killed Seth Rich.

One of the most damming quotes from the Sam Seder vs Tim Black debate comes right around here. “She (Nancy Pelosi) is a great leader. I would not support a challenge to her” – Sam Seder. Ok so let’s give Sam the benefit of the doubt and say Pelosi wasn’t guilty for the thousands of losses of Democrats in elections over the past decade or so. So why is it Sam doesn’t bring up the fact Pelosi didn’t do shit to bring about real progressive change during her time as speaker from 2007 to 2011? She opposes single payer, she didn’t prosecute GWB, and she didn’t bring up the Employee Free Choice Act.

And finally Sam says Steny Hoyer would be worse than Pelosi. So Sam why not get rid of Hoyer? And if he’s replaced with another corporate Dem get rid of them until we get someone who will at least listen to progressives. That’s what the Republicans did with Eric Cantor and their party is stronger than ever. Tim brings up the fact Sam voted for Hillary Clinton in New York, a blue non-swing state, but he doesn’t blame Hillary for not appointing Bernie Sanders as her VP pick, which everyone agrees would have won her the election. You know why she didn’t do it? Because of spite and corporate greed. She would rather lose to a Republican than give an inch to progressives, and that’s why we have Trump.

Lock Them Up: US Government for prison 2017

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William “Ryan” Owens and Nawar al-Awlaki (remember their names)

By Joseph Ballin

5/17/2017 12:05 AM EST

Nixon faced impeachment, not over blowing up the 1968 Vietnam peace deal and extending the Vietnam War, killing millions more people, or bombing Cambodia, or propping up various dictatorships world wide, but because he broke into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. It had nothing to do with the REAL crimes of Nixon. As Noam Chomsky pointed, Watergate only happened because Nixon threatened one faction in the capitalist state, the Democratic Party.

Now we are seeing the same thing happen again. Trump has expanded the usage of drones, planning on deploying 3,500 US troops in Afghanistan, thousands of US troops in Syria and Somalia for the first time, giving Saudi Arabia a 100 billion dollar arms deal, supporting various other dictatorships world wide, attacking the sovereign state of Syria over a chemical false flag attack, dropping MOAB in Afghanistan killing unknown number of people, and various other war crimes. And what do Democrats and Republicans have to say about all this? Radio silence.

When Napoleon was defeated, he was exiled to Saint Helena. As a 1919 British report on war crimes note “Napoleon was not charged with having during the Hundred Days carried on war contrary to the usages of civilized nations.” This was mainly because the Great Powers that defeated Napoleon didn’t want to be charged themselves with war crimes if they were defeated. It would only be after World War II, with the modern concept of war crime was further developed with the Nuremberg Trials and the International Military Tribunal for the Far East 1946. And since 1945, US has never been convicted for war crimes in a international war crimes tribunal.

Trump is a lying scumbag piece of human shit. He out right lied, claiming he never told the Russians anything, but later revealed that he did revealed classified information to the Russians about airlines and information about ISIS. Now it is revealed that he fired James Comey for investigating Michael Flynn, not for his handling the Hillary Clinton emails. Since becoming president, Trump has done everything that he criticized Hillary Clinton for and more.

Now how many in MSM or the US government are calling Trump a war criminal who should face life imprisonment without parole? Not a single one I can think of, because that would implicit them as well, along with every living US president. The REAL crimes of Donald Trump will never see an international war crimes tribunal. This is why there is not two parties in the US, but one, the war party. Chris Hedges pointed out correctly when he said “In mainstream discussion, it is either do we bomb Syria or do we bomb Syria and deploy US ground troops?”

Why is murdering thousands of people worldwide via US troops and bombs any less different from a common murder? Democrats and the so called “#Resistance” are not fighting Trump. Why would they fight Trump? Impeaching Trump would be suicide for Democrats because he’s so awful that it will be a Democratic landslide win in 2018 not seen for Democrats since 2008. The people fighting Trump include Code Pink protesting Senate conformation hearings of Trump cabinet picks that Democrats voted for, or protesting as air ports over the Muslim ban, or Sally Hates refusing the orders of Donald Trump. That is the real resistance.

Links:

https://books.google.com/books?id=wISXAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA41&lpg=PA41&dq=napoleon+war+crimes+not+charged&source=bl&ots=4uI65297UM&sig=qLLMaVsXZD-8OEYVdaAA3Xcf7dQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwie2pHg_PXTAhXCPiYKHai7B9EQ6AEIVTAI#v=onepage&q=napoleon%20war%20crimes%20not%20charged&f=false

The Crimes of Donald Trump

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By Joseph Ballin

5/13/2017 7:10 PM EST

The one thing I hate most about being American is the hypocrisy of our views towards life and rule of law. This brings me to Donald Jay Trump, a guy you may have heard of. So Trump paints himself as his good moral god fearing Christian man who cares about muh fetuses, while on the side grabbing pussy. However, Trump has no problem dropping drones on innocent people while the orange cunt eats chocolate cake in Mar-a-Lago. I do not know the exact numbers of innocents murdered under the fascist Trump regime. The Obama regime considered any male 16 years or older killed as “terrorists”. It is hard to tell when the US is propping up proxy regimes like Egyptian General Sisi and funding secret covert terrorists in Syria since 2005. If I had to estimate he’s killed at least a couple thousand if not ten thousand innocent people since January 20.

For all the Trump voters out there who thought he was the peacenik to Hillary’s war mongering, where are you now? He’s given the CIA and generals the power to kill anyone at any time and deploy US ground troops to any country at any time. We’ve seen an massive escalation in drone strikes under the Trump regime, along with a $100 billion arms deal for Saudi Arabia. There is a build up of US ground troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, along with deployment of US ground troops in Syria and Somalia. He allowed his generals to drop MOAB on Afghanistan and we still do not know how many people were killed from that strike because nobody has been allowed anywhere near the blast. And he is pushing us towards war with North Korea and Iran, all while striking the Syrian government over a chemical attack committed by the al-Qaeda white helmets. Relations with Russia are at the worst they have ever been and we are already probably in a new cold war with them. Trump’s foreign policy is basically a return back to the times of the Golden Horde.

Again all of this doesn’t mean Hillary was the peace candidate, far from it, but we didn’t have people like Trump supporters out right lying saying she was. If I had it my way I would have Trump, Hillary, Obama, Bush, Bill Clinton, GWB, GHWB, Jimmy Carter, and pretty much almost the entire US government on trial for war crimes against humanity and a sentence of life imprisonment without parole, since I don’t believe in the death penalty. I think Dr. Cornel West summed it up best when he said “That means that a child in Yemen, Somalia, and a child in Pakistan has the same value as a child in Newtown, Connecticut, Southside Chicago, Chinatown, barrio and an Indian reservation. A child is a precious child, no matter what. Somebody’s got to be accountable for that.”

Everyone being treated the same aka equality right? You would think in the good old US of A that would be the case, but equality under the law in US is bullshit. If I kill someone I go to jail, if someone in the US government kills someone they get medals. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, the near dead fossil and AG for the US, is rebooting the War on Drugs (that never ended since it’s declaration by Richard Nixon), telling prosecutors to seek the “most serious” charges and stricter sentences on the issue of drugs. So smoking a plant winds your ass in jail for life because private prisons demand cheap slave wage labor. Meanwhile wallstreet can steal from us and get tax payer bail out in order to keep the gravy train of capitalism going for another 10 years till the next crash.

“If voting made a difference, they wouldn’t let us do it” said Mark Twain, a man who was centuries ahead of his time. Until we call out the hypocrisy of both Republicans and Democrats we will never been free of this unless cycle of the War on so called “Terror” and War on so called “Drugs.” These wars are actually wars on the poor and non-white people. A lot of so called liberals hated Bush, but where ok with Obama putting a nice face on Bush’s policies. Now with Trump, the nice face has been replaced with an ugly orange turd, which is good for the left in the sense it wakes people up to just how fucked our government is. We need to move past this D vs R bullshit, end all these bullshit wars for profit, and move together as horizontally organized global workers party.

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Links:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-saudi-idUSKBN18832N

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/05/12/528086525/sessions-tells-prosecutors-to-seek-most-serious-charges-stricter-sentences

The Greens and The Libertarians Cucked the Democrats

It’s just like before the election of the Orange MONSTAH! Democratic party cheerleaders are so focused on their party strategy as being the only strategy. Sam Seder, likes to be able to put down a lot of people from a lot of different angles, and point out that the democrats are our only hope. My alternate and BETTAH theory is to build a larger umbrella of understanding and win hearts and minds. So instead of putting people down, I try to understand them. Pretty simple. Be nice.

Sammy said that the Greens and Libertarians hurt the Democrats, but that they would not acknowledge it. This was another angle for him to put them down and call them stupid hypocrites…They should have voted for Hillary to avoid the ORANGE MONSTAH Trump!! How dare they not hold their heads in shame, and come back to worship at the altar of the Democratic party. Unfortunately this theory continues to fail. We see millions of people leaving the democratic party since the election. I jump in on Sammy’s point, but then I use his own logic drive the DAGGAH further into the heart of the corrupt democrats, by mentioning that I feel many Greens and Libertarians are glad that they sent a message to the Democratic party that a candidate like Hillary Clinton, a liar, a hypocrite, an obvious corporate plant…..not the good kind of plant….thats why I say corporate whore….cuz I am a sexist Bernie Bro!!!

There is only one conclusion. The Greens and The Libertarians Cucked the Democrats. The Democrats must listen to the message and change to become more like Bernie. They will learn to appeal to greens, independents, and libertarians. One more candidate like HIllary Clinton will be the death blow to whatever is left of the broken democratic party.

If you’re going to sully my rep, do it in print

Thought I’d point out a fun new development in the Chuck Todd douche-a-thon.  Bill Maher recently had him on his show along with non-pretend journalist, Jeremy Scahill, who took the opportunity to rip Todd a new one regarding his blithe dismissal of torture investigations.  Unfortunately, HBO blocked the YouTube, but HuffPo has a video crumb at this link (check it out).

Todd wants us to have a pity party for him, because he “represents everyone” in the conscience-free political reporting class.  In his world, no officially sanctioned action is too monstrous that it can’t be talked away. It’s an offensive attitude to those of us raised to believe in the rule of law.

But wait!  Turns out we’re not the only ones who are offended by all this… (via an email from Scahill to Glenn Greenwald):

Right as we walked off stage, [Todd] said to me “that was a cheap shot.” I said “what are you talking about?” and he said “you know it.” I then said that I monitor msm coverage very closely and asked him what was not true that I said on the show. He then replied: “that’s not the point. You sullied my reputation on TV.”

Boo hoo!  Todd doesn’t seem to understand that in his nonchalance toward the torture issue, he has effectively become an apologist, and is now entitled to his fair share of the scorn due those whose crimes he’s minimizing.  If Todd is worried about having his precious reputation sullied, perhaps he should look in the mirror.

Definitely read the whole Greenwald piece, because it also has his take on the Joe Klein cocktail party confrontation that was linked over on the sidebar.  It’s even more gossipy than the Scahill smackdown (“oh no you di’n’t!”), but still satisfying to see these media starlets get called on their shameless hackery once in a while.

Chuck Todd: Back-Pedaling Douche Bag…

…and Hypocrite. Maybe I’m being too harsh here but these mainstream guys who ignore the real issues are more dangerous than the fringe psychos like Beck and Coulter. People see Chuck Todd on a major news outlet and assume he has credibility, as maybe they should, since he is the Chief White House Correspondent and NBC News Political Director. Here Coach Todd draws up a nice gameplan for the Obama Administration…….

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Maybe his two titles are contradictory or at the very least I think his political role overshadows his role as a journalist and correspondent. I mean, I don’t want the guy who reports on strategy and repeats political spin to be the guy that asks the tough questions of the administration. And Todd obviously opted for the lazy route and prefers to follow party politics and political strategy rather than doing the critical thinking and reporting about what issues matter to our country.

The only important thing the president has to focus on is getting the public’s trust on the economy. Cheney, the CIA, and in some respects Sotomayor are cable catnip.

Torture is not a distraction. He needs to remind us about the atrocities carried out under the Bush and Cheney Administration and ask the Obama Administration why they don’t want prosecutions. Yes healthcare and the economy are important too but the viewing audience deserves in depth coverage of all these issues. While that may require some critical reporting on three different matters, I think he can handle it, after all he is the freaking Senior White House Correspondent and NBC News Political Director. Hell, if you want to do gameplanning, become an ESPN analyst.

Well, Glenn Greenwald has Todd on for an interview and really takes him to task for trying divert our attention from prosecuting torture and reducing torture to a matter that will only cause cable news anchors become hyper and swing their paws wildly in the air. In the interview he argues against prosecutions because they will become political theater. WELL LET THEM! If politicians or pundits want to argue against prosecuting torturers, let them! Put it on the tee vee for all to see. First and foremost we need transparency and accoutability and then let the politics fall where they may.

Todd also has the audacity to suggest that losing an election is enough punishment for crimes of torture! What is this insane logic? That means Gore suffered the same punishment as Bush because Bush allowed torture and Gore won an election???? But besides that, Bush already served two terms and could not run for reelection! I mean, there are candidates who lose elections who have never actually been president. I think Greenwald explains it best:

When, generally, if I go out and rob a bank tomorrow, what happens to me is not that I lose an election. What happens is to me is that I go to prison. So, what do you think should happen when presidents get caught committing crimes in office? What do you think ought to happen?

Then Greenwald astutely points out a second reason why Obama or any president may want to avoid prosecuting a previous president…

It’s not surprising, is it, that current presidents would like to keep in place this prohibition that we have against presidents and high government officials being prosecuted for crimes. That would make sense, right? I mean, if I were a White House official, I would love that rule, that White House officials don’t get prosecuted for crimes that…

And then Todd hypocritically feigns regret about the political side because he knows that the politics is why he gets a paycheck (If you can decipher his incoherent rambling).

And the problem is, there is a department, and you can’t, whether this, you can sit here and say, you know what, that’s exactly what’s wrong with the Beltway. But there has been this fatigue about it because the use of prosecutions has been too politicized, to the point where I think it has made it where it’s just unfortunately too easy to dismiss an investigation.

This is followed by some blatant kissing of Greenwald’s ass. So until Todd removes his lips and starts listening to Greenwald and others with the same concerns, I propose a new title. Chuck Todd: Chief White House Puppet and NBC News Gameday Analyst.

Pinko Update

The great irony in the punishment by losing and election is that McCain, the tortured POW, was the one who suffered the punishment for Bush and Cheney’s crimes of torture. Not that the torture issue was the primary reason McCain lost, but it further emphasizes how arbitrary and irrelevant Todd’s idea was.

How torture gets mainstreamed

As noted in the previous post, Gallup suggests that the general public is soft on torture (er, “harsh interrogation techniques“).  Which is to say, most think that the torture we did was justified, and only a bare majority favor investigations.  As someone who thought he lived in a good Christian nation (Who Would Jesus Torture?), I am dumbfounded by these poll results.  How can this be?

The New York Times has a clue:

In late 2007, there was the first crack of daylight into the government’s use of waterboarding during interrogations of Al Qaeda detainees. On Dec. 10, John Kiriakou, a former C.I.A. officer who had participated in the capture of the suspected terrorist Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in 2002, appeared on ABC News to say that while he considered waterboarding a form of torture, the technique worked and yielded results very quickly.

Mr. Zubaydah started to cooperate after being waterboarded for “probably 30, 35 seconds,” Mr. Kiriakou told the ABC reporter Brian Ross. “From that day on he answered every question.”

His claims — unverified at the time, but repeated by dozens of broadcasts, blogs and newspapers — have been sharply contradicted by a newly declassified Justice Department memo that said waterboarding had been used on Mr. Zubaydah “at least 83 times.”

In other words, the CIA knew this was a hugely damaging story.  That “crack of daylight” is most likley refering to Ron Suskind’s The One Percent Doctrine, which hit shelves right about that time and remains the definitive source of much of what we actually know about the CIA torture regime.  So they get out in front of the damage by letting one of their boys paint a picture of a relatively harmless and effective “technique”.  Let the moral algebra begin!

On “World News,” ABC included only a caveat that Mr. Kiriakou himself “never carried out any of the waterboarding.” Still, he told ABC that the actions had “disrupted a number of attacks, maybe dozens of attacks.” A video of the interview was no longer on ABC’s website.

So on the one hand, we have “30, 35 seconds” worth of unpleasantry in exchange for dozens of disrupted terrorist attacks.  Honestly, what rational person among us could argue with that?  

If only it weren’t complete and utter bullshit.  So now you’ve got well-meaning torture opponents who I’m sure went to the wall to denounce those 30, 35 seconds, and in the process lent credence to the fantasy.  As the arm-chair Jack Bauers of the nation solemnly nod and think, “had to be done”. (Now about those other 82+ drownings of Zubayda…)

It’s easy to point to this hack, Kiriakou, and say “he lied to us”.  Like any aspiring media whore, he used his initial ABC interview as springboard for a media blitz, and “subsequently granted interviews to The Washington Post, The New York Times, National Public Radio, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and other media organizations. A CNN anchor called him ‘the man of the hour.'”  And when it was all over?

Eight months after the interview, Mr. Kiriakou was hired as a paid consultant for ABC News. He resigned last month and now works for the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

(Hmm, paid consultant, where have we heard that before?)

And the intrepid reporter useful idiot who got the scoop, Brian Ross?  Turns out that wasn’t the first time he carried water for the torture regime.  Glenn Greenwald reminds us that two years prior to the 30, 35 seconds nonsense, Ross gave birth to the “Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess” discussion.  Glenn goes on to document case after case where the mainstream media used this anonymously sourced “fact” (and Kiriakou’s unsubstantiated bullshit) to rationalize our descent into barbarism.

I’ll leave the closing note to Glenn:

The ways in which these false Mohammed and Zubaydah claims were widely disseminated are important not only in their own right, but because they illustrate how so many of these absolute falsehoods are routinely injected into our debates, not only by the government but by their indispensable conspirators in the establishment media.  There are few things more common than reporters mindlessly reciting what their anonymous government sources tell them to say, and no matter how many times that dynamic results in pure fiction being “reported,” that slothful, propagandistic practice continues to be the staple of our modern press corps.

Using that method, Brian Ross, of course, was responsible for the widespread and completely false reports in October and November, 2001 that government tests on anthrax resulted in a finding of bentoninte, which — Ross breathlessy said over and over — was a key sign that the anthrax attacks came from Saddam Hussein.  That same method — uncritically reciting what anonymous government sources told them — is what led The Washington Post to spread absolute lies about the inspiring firefight Jessica Lynch waged against her evil Iraqi captors and the circumstances surrounding Pat Tillman’s death.  And most of the myths and lies about Iraq — both before and during the war — were the by-product of this same joint government/media effort. 

Polling euphemisms

Gallup came out with a poll yesterday that was – I thought – supposed to take the country’s temperature on torture investigations and related matters.  Here are the signature poll results:

That’s a rather pathetic showing.  And yet, I can’t help wondering… WTF is a “harsh interrogation technique”?  Is it when excitable teevee cop slams the pervert up against a wall until he gives up tells where the little girl’s body is?  Or is it when CIA spooks drown a clinically insane man 83 times in one month in order to establish a (patently false) link between Iraq and Al Qaida?  From the Washington Post review of Ron Suskind’s The One Percent Doctrine:

Abu Zubaydah, his captors discovered, turned out to be mentally ill and nothing like the pivotal figure they supposed him to be. CIA and FBI analysts, poring over a diary he kept for more than a decade, found entries “in the voice of three people: Hani 1, Hani 2, and Hani 3” — a boy, a young man and a middle-aged alter ego. All three recorded in numbing detail “what people ate, or wore, or trifling things they said.” Dan Coleman, then the FBI’s top al-Qaeda analyst, told a senior bureau official, “This guy is insane, certifiable, split personality.”

Abu Zubaydah also appeared to know nothing about terrorist operations; rather, he was al-Qaeda’s go-to guy for minor logistics — travel for wives and children and the like. That judgment was “echoed at the top of CIA and was, of course, briefed to the President and Vice President,” Suskind writes. And yet somehow, in a speech delivered two weeks later, President Bush portrayed Abu Zubaydah as “one of the top operatives plotting and planning death and destruction on the United States.” And over the months to come, under White House and Justice Department direction, the CIA would make him its first test subject for harsh interrogation techniques.

In conclusion: Get real, Gallup.  Asking the public about “harsh interrogation techniques” is not the same as asking about “torture”.  Quit polling the talking points.

P.S.  How’s this for a Freudian slip?

Porter the Slack-Jawed Yokel

Here come all the little piggies to squeal and grunt their justifications for abetting crimes against humanity.  Today’s entrant: Porter Goss, former Republican Congressman (1989-2004), Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee (1997-2004), and Director of the CIA (2004-2006).  He oinks his “recollections” in yesterday’s Washington Post:

— The chairs and the ranking minority members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, known as the Gang of Four, were briefed that the CIA was holding and interrogating high-value terrorists.

— We understood what the CIA was doing.

— We gave the CIA our bipartisan support.

— We gave the CIA funding to carry out its activities.

— On a bipartisan basis, we asked if the CIA needed more support from Congress to carry out its mission against al-Qaeda.

Well come on then, let’s see those memos too!  Goss’ argument that Democrats knew about it, therefore we should call off the “partisan” witchhunt, is akin to the police chief arguing that, because the whole precinct knew about the corruption, there should be no outside investigation/prosecutions.  I couldn’t care less. In fact, his accusations only inflame my desire for greater independent inquiry. What did they know and when did they know it? Name and shame! If you think you can implicate the Democratic leadership, more power to you!

As Glenn Greenwald notes, these fools still think this is about partisan politics, rather than gross abuses of the unitary executive.  More from Goss:

Today, I am slack-jawed to read that members claim to have not understood that the techniques on which they were briefed were to actually be employed; or that specific techniques such as “waterboarding” were never mentioned. It must be hard for most Americans of common sense to imagine how a member of Congress can forget being told about the interrogations of Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. In that case, though, perhaps it is not amnesia but political expedience.

Your goddamn right it’s political expedience.  Anyone proud to say they sat through a meeting that detailed America’s torture regime without speaking out against it is a cowardly pee-pants, afraid of their own shadow.  Or didn’t you know that, Cletis?

As Josh Marshall notes, these punks are so proud of their torture program, that they’re terrified to say the word.  (I did a CTRL+F on Goss’ piece just to make sure – no “torture”).  Just say it: “sometimes you have to torture prisoners in the interests of national security”.  But they won’t do it, because they know then it is game over.  Watch Newt Gingrich make an ass of himself over this:

 

And it’s like that with all the torture apologists.  (In fact, Obama’s people even quit saying the word, because the next logical question is, “why don’t you support investigations of that [universally acknowledged and reviled] crime?”)

Getting back to Goss – one other thing I noticed about his article: dude focuses entirely on the time period that he was a congressman, nary a word about what took place while he was CIA Director…

Curious, that.

I can only presume that the congressional era is the one for which he feels he can best defend his actions.  How much do you care to bet that his was not the principled voice of opposition that shut down the torture program?  Any takers?  Once more from Goss:

Since leaving my post as CIA director almost three years ago, I have remained largely silent on the public stage. I am speaking out now because I feel our government has crossed the red line between properly protecting our national security and trying to gain partisan political advantage. We can’t have a secret intelligence service if we keep giving away all the secrets. Americans have to decide now.

Easy decision, pee-pants.