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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 48,887
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And the Reagan Administration. For instance, Judge Laurence Silberman, who recently wrote people who say "Bush lied America into war on Iraq" are like NAZIs.
The Dangerous Lie That ‘Bush Lied’
Some journalists still peddle this canard as if it were fact. This is defamatory and could end up hurting the country.
By LAURENCE H. SILBERMAN
Wall Street Journal, Opinion, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015
In recent weeks, I have heard former Associated Press reporter Ron Fournier on Fox News twice asserting, quite offhandedly, that President George W. Bush “lied us into war in Iraq.”
I found this shocking....
The charge is dangerous because it can take on the air of historical fact—with potentially dire consequences. I am reminded of a similarly baseless accusation that helped the Nazis come to power in Germany: that the German army had not really lost World War I, that the soldiers instead had been “stabbed in the back” by politicians.
Sometime in the future, perhaps long after most of us are gone, an American president may need to rely publicly on intelligence reports to support military action. It would be tragic if, at such a critical moment, the president’s credibility were undermined by memories of a false charge peddled by the likes of Ron Fournier.
Mr. Silberman, a senior federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was co-chairman of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Appointed to the federal bench by Ronald Reagan in 1985, Judge Silberman also helped foist Ronald Reagan on America via the October Surprise of 1980: sabotaging the release of American hostages held by Iran, although you wouldn't know that reading Corporate McPravda or watching CIABCNNBCBSFoxNoiseNutworks. That's some REAL NAZI shit.
Posted by Octafish | Wed Oct 7, 2015, 12:39 PM (0 replies)
By Charles Pierce
Esquire, 04 October 15
There are generous rewards for justifying torture.
Today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals out in California cut the NCAA a big break in its decision regarding the lower court's ruling in O'Bannon v. NCAA, the landmark case that seemed to open the door to a just form of compensation for the people in college athletics who do the actual work. It upheld the ruling, but it also eviscerated the process designed by the lower court to put its decision into actual practice, adopting instead the hilariously insane argument promulgated by the NCAA that the image of its athletic programs will suffer if the athletes are compensated to the point where the market value of college sports will be diminished.
However, what interested us here at this shebeen was the identity of the appeals court judge who wrote the decision. That would be Jay S. Bybee who, during his days as an assistant attorney general during the late Avignon Presidency, wrote the famous memo justifying the use of waterboarding as a technique of "enhanced interrogation." As a reward for being such a very good German, Bybee got a lifetime sinecure on the bench, where his sweet-tooth for authoritarian inhumanity can be regularly indulged.
This is how a federal appellate judge, who once wrote memos which justified the torture of terror detainees and the need to immunize officials who engaged in the torture, came to conclude as a matter of law that a man shacked at his wrists and shackled by his ankles to his bed, without a mattress, in a cell lit continuously for seven days, who was forced to eat his food like a dog because of his shackles, did not have a constitutional right to present the evidence of this confinement to a jury.
The evil of that administration is positively undying. It will poison this country for centuries. Ed O'Bannon's lucky he's not hanging by his thumbs from a dungeon wall.
SOURCE w/links: http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/32754-the-undying-evil-of-the-last-bush-administration
Posted by Octafish | Wed Oct 7, 2015, 08:26 AM (1 replies)
Wall Street and War Inc. are where the really Big Bucks go to get made.
Sometimes a fortune rests on a mere scrap of information, like in a "Fistful of Dollars."
CIA moonlights in corporate world
In the midst of two wars and the fight against Al Qaeda, the CIA is offering operatives a chance to peddle their expertise to private companies on the side — a policy that gives financial firms and hedge funds access to the nation’s top-level intelligence talent, POLITICO has learned.
In one case, these active-duty officers moonlighted at a hedge-fund consulting firm that wanted to tap their expertise in “deception detection,” the highly specialized art of telling when executives may be lying based on clues in a conversation.
The never-before-revealed policy comes to light as the CIA and other intelligence agencies are once again under fire for failing to “connect the dots,” this time in the Christmas Day bombing plot on Northwest Flight 253.
But the close ties between active-duty and retired CIA officers at one consulting company show the degree to which CIA-style intelligence gathering techniques have been employed by hedge funds and financial institutions in the global economy.
The firm is called Business Intelligence Advisors, and it is based in Boston. BIA was founded and is staffed by a number of retired CIA officers, and it specializes in the arcane field of “deception detection.” BIA’s clients have included Goldman Sachs and the enormous hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors, according to spokesmen for both firms.
Then there's the signature tradition of playing both sides off the middle, like selling rifles to both the Allies and the Central Powers during World War I, or the bounty hunters in "For a Few Dollars More" getting one inside to work out.
Stratfor: executive boasted of 'trusted former CIA cronies'
By Alex Spillius, Diplomatic Correspondent
9:08PM GMT 28 Feb 2012
A senior executive with the private intelligence firm Stratfor boasted to colleagues about his "trusted former CIA cronies" and promised to "see what I can uncover" about a classified FBI investigation, according to emails released by the WikiLeaks.
Fred Burton, vice president of intelligence at the Texas firm, also informed members of staff that he had a copy of the confidential indictment on Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.
The second batch of five million internal Stratfor emails obtained by the Anonymous computer hacking group revealed that the company has high level sources within the United States and other governments, runs a network of paid informants that includes embassy staff and journalists and planned a hedge fund, Stratcap, based on its secret intelligence.
Mr Assange labelled the company as a "private intelligence Enron", in reference to the energy giant that collapsed after a false accounting scandal.
Then, there's Booz Allen, NSA's go-to private spyhaus, vacuums and filters the right stuff for Carlyle Group, a buy-partisan business which always seems to know where and what to bomb and make a buck, but the lines between sides turned out be fuzzy and amorphous nebula-like -- like in "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly."
The Knights of the Revolving Door
When War is Swell: the Carlyle Group and the Middle East at War
by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
CounterPunch, Weekend Edition September 6-8, 2013
A couple of weeks ago, in a dress rehearsal for her next presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton, the doyenne of humanitarian interventionism, made a pit-stop at the Carlyle Group to brief former luminaries of the imperial war rooms about her shoot-first-don’t-ask-questions foreign policy.
For those of you who have put the playbill of the Bush administration into a time capsule and buried it beneath the compost bin, the Carlyle Group is essentially a hedge fund for war-making and high tech espionage. They are the people who brought you the Iraq war and all those intrusive niceties of Homeland Security. Call them the Knights of the Revolving Door, many of Carlyle’s executives and investors having spent decades in the Pentagon, the CIA or the State Department, before cashing in for more lucrative careers as war profiteers. They are now licking their chops at the prospect for an all-out war against Syria, no doubt hoping that the conflagration will soon spread to Lebanon, Jordan and, the big prize, Iran.
For a refresher course on the sprawling tentacles of the Carlyle Group, here’s an essay that first appeared in CounterPunch’s print edition in 2004. Sadly, not much has changed in the intervening years, except these feted souls have gotten much, much richer. – JSC
Across all fronts, Bush’s war deteriorates with stunning rapidity. The death count of American soldiers killed in Iraq will soon top 1000, with no end in sight. The members of the handpicked Iraqi Governor Council are being knocked off one after another. Once loyal Shia clerics, like Ayatollah Sistani, are now telling the administration to pull out or face a nationalist insurgency. The trail of culpability for the abuse, torture and murder of Iraqi detainees seems to lead inexorably into the office of Donald Rumsfeld. The war for Iraqi oil has ended up driving the price of crude oil through the roof. Even Kurdish leaders, brutalized by the Ba’athists for decades, are now saying Iraq was a safer place under their nemesis Saddam Hussein. Like Medea whacking her own kids, the US turned on its own creation, Ahmed Chalabi, raiding his Baghdad compound and fingering him as an agent of the ayatollahs of Iran. And on and on it goes.
Still not all of the president’s men are in a despairing mood. Amid the wreckage, there remain opportunities for profit and plunder. Halliburton and Bechtel’s triumphs in Iraq have been chewed over for months. Less well chronicled is the profiteering of the Carlyle Group, a company with ties that extend directly into the Oval Office itself.
Even Pappy Bush stands in line to profit handsomely from his son’s war making. The former president is on retainer with the Carlyle Group, the largest privately held defense contractor in the nation. Carlyle is run by Frank Carlucci, who served as the National Security advisor and Secretary of Defense under Ronald Reagan. Carlucci has his own embeds in the current Bush administration. At Princeton, his college roommate was Donald Rumsfeld. They’ve remained close friends and business associates ever since. When you have friends like this, you don’t need to hire lobbyists..
Bush Sr. serves as a kind of global emissary for Carlyle. The ex-president doesn’t negotiate arms deals; he simply opens the door for them, a kind of high level meet-and-greet. His special area of influence is the Middle East, primarily Saudi Arabia, where the Bush family has extensive business and political ties. According to an account in the Washington Post, Bush Sr. earns around $500,000 for each speech he makes on Carlyle’s behalf.
One of the Saudi investors lured to Carlyle by Bush was the BinLaden Group, the construction conglomerate owned by the family of Osama bin Laden. According to an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, Bush convinced Shafiq Bin Laden, Osama’s half brother, to sink $2 million of BinLaden Group money into Carlyle’s accounts. In a pr move, the Carlyle group cut its ties to the BinLaden Group in October 2001.
This barely scratches the surface. The reality is that underneath what shows for public navigators is one enormous iceberg made from blood-red ice, invisible to the proles and serfs who are doing their best to keep afloat in a frozen sea of austerity, endless war and debt servitude. And these are, by far, the wealthiest times in human history.
Note some interesting ties to the subject this on that General Walker fellah. The guy's almost forgotten these days, but was the rage in Dixie and of the rightwing nutjobs at the John Birch Society, founded by Fred Koch.
From 2005: Know your BFEE: War Profiteers
PS: What have you contributed to DU, uhnope? I can't remember anything of interest.
Posted by Octafish | Tue Oct 6, 2015, 05:11 PM (0 replies)
And the main beneficiaries are tied to Kissinger's masters.
"Before the Freedom of Information Act, I used to say at meetings, 'The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer.' But since the Freedom of Information Act, I'm afraid to say things like that."
Posted by Octafish | Mon Oct 5, 2015, 09:34 PM (0 replies)
Privatizing the Apocalypse
How Nuclear Weapons Companies Commandeer Your Tax Dollars
By Richard Krushnic and Jonathan Alan King
TomDispatch.com, Sept. 22, 2015
In 2012, a report from a high-level committee chaired by former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General James Cartwright concluded that “no sensible argument has been put forward for using nuclear weapons to solve any of the major 21st century problems we face threats posed by rogue states, failed states, proliferation, regional conflicts, terrorism, cyber warfare, organized crime, drug trafficking, conflict-driven mass migration of refugees, epidemics, or climate change. In fact, nuclear weapons have on balance arguably become more a part of the problem than any solution.”
Not surprisingly, for the roster of corporations involved in the U.S. nuclear programs, this matters little. They, in fact, maintain elaborate lobbying operations in support of their continuing nuclear weapons contracts. In a 2012 study for the Center for International Policy, “Bombs vs. Budgets: Inside the Nuclear Weapons Lobby,” William Hartung and Christine Anderson reported that, for the elections of that year, the top 14 contractors gave nearly $3 million directly to Congressional legislators. Not surprisingly, half that sum went to members of the four key committees or subcommittees that oversee spending for nuclear arms.
In 2015, the defense industry mobilized a small army of at least 718 lobbyists and doled out more than $67 million dollars pressuring Congress for increased weapons spending generally. Among the largest contributors were corporations with significant nuclear weapons contracts, including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and General Dynamics. Such pro-nuclear lobbying is augmented by contributions and pressure from missile and aircraft companies that are primarily non-nuclear. Some of the systems they produce, however, are potentially dual-use (conventional and nuclear), which means that a robust nuclear weapons program increases their potential market.
The continuing pressure of Congressional Republicans for cuts in domestic social programs are a crucial mechanism that ensures federal tax dollars will be available for lucrative military contracts. In terms of quality of life (and death), this means that underestimating the influence of the nuclear weapons industry is singularly dangerous. For the $35 billion or more the U.S. taxpayer will put into such weaponry annually to support the narrow interests of a modest number of companies, the payback is fear of an apocalyptic future. After all, unlike almost all other corporate lobbies, the nuclear weapons lobby (and so your tax dollars) put life on Earth at risk of rapid extinction, either following the direct destruction of a nuclear holocaust or a radical reduction in sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface that would come from the sort of nuclear winter that would follow almost any nuclear exchange. At the moment, the corporate-nuclear complex is hidden in our midst, its budgets and funds shielded from public scrutiny, its project hardly noticed. It’s a formula for disaster.
Thank you, Rex! "Outranks" is just the word for the situation. "Extortion" sounds like gangsters -- like a "Racket."
Posted by Octafish | Mon Oct 5, 2015, 09:07 AM (1 replies)
A little experiment, without the cruelty, for crying out loud.
Posted by Octafish | Sat Oct 3, 2015, 03:30 PM (0 replies)
The manipulation of the American mind—Edward Bernays and the birth of public relations
by Richard Gunderman, The Conversation
Phys.org, July 9, 2015
"The most interesting man in the world." "Reach out and touch someone." "Finger-lickin' good." Such advertising slogans have become fixtures of American culture, and each year millions now tune into the Super Bowl as much for the ads as for the football.
While no single person can claim exclusive credit for the ascendancy of advertising in American life, no one deserves credit more than a man most of us have never heard of: Edward Bernays.
I first encountered Bernays through an article I was writing on propaganda, and it quickly became clear that he was one of the 20th century's foremost salesmen of ideas. The fact that 20 years have elapsed since his death provides a fitting opportunity to reexamine his legacy.
Bernays pioneered public relations
Often referred to as "the father of public relations," Bernays in 1928 published his seminal work, Propaganda, in which he argued that public relations is not a gimmick but a necessity:
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, and our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of…. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.
Bernays' ideas sold a lot more than cigarettes and Dixie cups
Bernays learned that the Nazis were using his work in 1933, from a foreign correspondent for Hearst newspapers. He later recounted in his 1965 autobiography:
They were using my books as the basis for a destructive campaign against the Jews of Germany. This shocked me, but I knew any human activity can be used for social purposes or misused for antisocial ones.
What Bernays' writings furnish is not a principle or tradition by which to evaluate the appropriateness of propaganda, but simply a means for shaping public opinion for any purpose whatsoever, whether beneficial to human beings or not.
This observation led Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter to warn President Franklin Roosevelt against allowing Bernays to play a leadership role in World War II, describing him and his colleagues as "professional poisoners of the public mind, exploiters of foolishness, fanaticism, and self-interest."
Posted by Octafish | Fri Oct 2, 2015, 09:26 AM (0 replies)
Crazy Horses Riding Through the Lower East Side to a WikiLeaks Soundtrack, 2013 graffiti or mural by Banksy
Wikileaks vs. the Empire: the Revolutionary Act of Telling the Truth
by JOHN PILGER
CounterPunch, Oct. 2, 2015
These are dark times, in which the propaganda of deceit touches all our lives. It is as if political reality has been privatised and illusion legitimised. The information age is a media age. We have politics by media; censorship by media; war by media; retribution by media; diversion by media – a surreal assembly line of clichés and false assumptions.
Edward Bernays, who invented the term, “public relations” as a euphemism for “propaganda”, predicted this more than 80 years ago. He called it, “the invisible government”.
He wrote, “Those who manipulate this unseen element of (modern democracy) constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of …”
The aim of this invisible government is the conquest of us: of our political consciousness, our sense of the world, our ability to think independently, to separate truth from lies.
This is a form of fascism, a word we are rightly cautious about using, preferring to leave it in the flickering past. But an insidious modern fascism is now an accelerating danger. As in the 1930s, big lies are delivered with the regularity of a metronome. Muslims are bad. Saudi bigots are good. ISIS bigots are bad. Russia is always bad. China is getting wikileaksfilesbad. Bombing Syria is good. Corrupt banks are good. Corrupt debt is good. Poverty is good. War is normal.
Posted by Octafish | Fri Oct 2, 2015, 08:49 AM (9 replies)
Now that's what I'm talking about!
Was Pope Francis Actually Swindled into Meeting Kim Davis?
The Papal chase: WTF edition.
by Charles P. Pierce
Esquire, Oct. 1, 2015
The man is a real player within the institutional church. He first came to prominence as a whistleblower during one of the several investigations of the Vatican Bank, which may be what got him exiled to this godless Republic in the first place. Despite that fact, Vigano is well-known to be a Ratzinger loyalist and he always has been a cultural conservative, particularly on the issue of marriage equality. In April, in a move that was unprecedented, Vigano got involved with an anti-marriage equality march in Washington sponsored by the National Association For Marriage. (And, mirabile dictu, as we say around Castel Gandolfo at happy hour, one of the speakers at this rally was Mat Staver, who happens now to be Kim Davis's lawyer.) In short, Vigano, a Ratzinger loyalist, who has been conspicuous and publicly involved in the same cause as Kim Davis and her legal team, arranges a meeting with Davis that the legal team uses to its great public advantage. Once again paraphrasing New Orleans lawyer Lamar Parmentel from The Big Easy, the Vatican is a marvelous environment for coincidence.
(Also, I have been remiss in not mentioning that, because of the way John Paul II larded the cardinalate with conservatives, the pope was surrounded by conservative American clerics, including his host in Philadelphia, Charles Cardinal Chaput, who's really something of a dog's breakfast. While presiding in Denver, Chaput led the movement to deny communion to pro-choice American politicians. And, after this pope met with survivors of sexual abuse in Philadelphia, Chaput reached deeply into the Corporate Works Of Mercy to declare, "In some ways, we should get over this wanting to go back and blame, blame, blame. The church is happy to accept its responsibility, but I'm really quite tired of people making unjust accusations against people who are not to be blamed—and that happens sometimes." What a guy! As a pastor, Chaput would make a terrific collection agent.)
Ratzinger's fingerprints are all over this story. Vigano is a Benedict loyalist. Robert Moynihan, whose newsletter, Inside The Vatican, got the story first, is an actual lifelong Ratzinger protégé. And the Vatican press office acted just the way I'd want it to act, if I were the guy setting this up. First, it issues a silly non-denial denial, and then it merely confirms that the meeting occurred. At which point, the office clams up, leaving the story festering out there in the news cycle, and leaving the pope out there in the American culture war to twist in the wind. And, if this scenario is in any way accurate, it had its desired effect. The impact of what the pope actually said and did in America has been fairly well ratfcked.
Of course, this speculation depends vitally on the proposition that Papa Francesco didn't know who Kim Davis was, or anything about her current public display of faith-based goldbricking. I don't find that so very hard to believe; for all the attention it's gotten over here, it's not an international story of any consequence. (Whether he should have known about it, or have been briefed about it beforehand, is another matter entirely, as Dan Savage pointed out on Chris Hayes's program Wednesday night.) And, it can be argued, I guess, that I'm engaging in apologetics here. But the whole thing is just a little too hinky, and I know too well how these birds operate. They've had millennia to get really good at it.
SOURCE (W/LINKS): http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a38440/pope-francis-swindled-kim-davis-meeting/
Gee. That article looks familiar.
Thank you, mulsh. That is an outstanding read, usual form for Charlie Pierce.
Posted by Octafish | Thu Oct 1, 2015, 12:29 PM (0 replies)
The PR Guru Behind the Pope Who Is Charming the World
by Katie Engelhart
Vice.com, November 21, 2013
Far and wide, observers speak of a “Francis Effect”.
But every modern-day media darling needs a PR machine, and Pope Francis is no exception. Enter Greg Burke: the 53-year-old Fox News correspondent turned Holy See handler (officially, Senior Communications Advisor to the Vatican’s Secretariat of State) who is quietly changing the way things are done in Vatican City.
To some, Burke may have seemed an unlikely candidate for papal spin-doctor. He’s a layman without PR experience: a cheery American with a penchant for sports analogies. He’s also a member of the controversial Catholic order Opus Dei: a traditionalist and a celibate whose spiritual practice reportedly involves self-flagellation. But after a year and a half on the job, Burke is credited with helping to open up and rejuvenate the Holy See. Of course, Burke would say it’s all Francis’s doing. “I’m going to kick the ball to the Pope,” Burke explained at a recent lecture in London. “I mean, the Pope scores goals, you know? The Pope scores goals for us... The people are just eating this stuff up.”
Flash back a few years to the reign of Pope Benedict XVI: The Catholic Church was awash in scandal. In 2006, Benedict gave his now infamous “Regensburg lecture”, in which he quoted a brutal critique of Islam and irked Muslims the world over. Three years later, he left many aghast with his decision to reverse the excommunication of a Holocaust-denying bishop. In 2010, the Church was slammed with a new wave of paedophilia allegations – and then the Vatican Bank controversy, and then “Vatilieaks”. Added to all that, the people didn’t seem to take much to Pope Benedict. “Benedict doesn’t smile,” a young Italian woman working at a tourist shop by St Peter’s Square told me earlier this year. “He is too much German!”
In June 2012, the Vatican poached Greg Burke – then a Rome-based reporter for Fox News. Burke’s job would be to manage “communications issues” and to integrate the Vatican’s many media organs, explained a Vatican official. Burke himself said he was hired “to formulate the message and try to make sure everyone remains on message”.
“I know what journalists are looking for and what they need,” Burke told reporters, “and I know how things will play out in the media.”
Nothing like PR skills, huh, Arugula Latte?
Posted by Octafish | Thu Oct 1, 2015, 12:27 PM (1 replies)