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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
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After Cheney, Who is next? Charles Manson?

Why are torturers being given “balance” in the press?
By David Atkins
Why? Who's next? Charles Manson?

This stuff is obvious. And yet the TV shows and newspaper stories are full of balance given to the pro-torture side. Why? Despite objections to the contrary, journalists do not always give balance to both sides of an argument if the other side is deemed irrelevant or depraved. Whenever the deficit bugbear rolls to the forefront, almost no balance is given to the Keynesian point of view despite their predictions being consistently correct: the idea that one needn’t actually cut the deficit during a recession is treated as so outre as to require no journalistic attention.

More pointedly, when journalists write about torture and depredations of current or former regimes, journalists don’t feel the need to get the torturers’ side of the story. No one is rushing to ask Assad’s torturers in Syria if their tactics are necessary to keep “terrorists” in check. No one is asking North Korean guards if their treatment of their people is OK because some other country is worse. No one rushes to counterbalance the accounts of Holocaust victims with the justifications of Nazi guards. It simply isn’t done, any more than we “balance” stories of child sexual abuse with a hot-take counterpoint from a member of NAMBLA. The reason we don’t provide “balance” in these cases is that to do so would be to normalize those behaviors as part of legitimate discourse.

So why in the world are the torturers who subjected innocent people to anal feedings and dungeon ceiling hangings given the courtesy of “balance” in the press? Where is the line that separates issues that require balance from those that do not?


"It gave us actionable intelligence" wouldn't be a defense even if it were true: this is the key to the argument. Even if it had produced information that was useful in any capacity other than advancing the GWoT and producing effective propaganda for continuing the fight, it isn't acceptable because the methods are not those a nation of laws is supposed to employ. The US cannot denounce use of these methods elsewhere and justify employing them for its own purposes; if they are not acceptable to be used on US citizens/servicepeople then they are not acceptable to be used by the same. Period. The potential for producing "actionable intelligence" is not even relevant.

Not all flag pin wearers are thugs, but if you're a USA thug, you're wearing a flag pin...


Charles Pierce Would NOT Lose Any Sleep If Cheney Were To Fall Victim To His Own Barbarian Horrors

By Charles P. Pierce on December 15, 2014


.....as everybody knows by now, it was my man Chuck Todd, caretaker of the Overlook Hotel of American journalism, who came face to face with the cowardice and evil of Dick Cheney, twice-elected vice-president of the United States. It is not my man Chuck Todd's fault that he came out the worse for wear. (Although I could have done without the reappearance of Dan Senor, the former spokesman for the criminal conspiracy in question, and a minor-league barbarian who added nothing to the discussion.) Cheney's cowardice and evil are implacable forces of nature. This is a guy who had other priorities, and took five deferments rather than go to an actual war. This is a guy who shot his best friend in the face, and who went for the Scotch bottle before he went for the cops. This is a guy who projected his own cowardice onto the country he served, assuming it was as big a coward as he has been his entire public life, and sent his country down the road into serious war crimes because he got scared witless on September 11, 2001. I have more respect for a janitor who went back to work in the Empire State Building on September 12 of that year than I do for the entire sorry public career of this obvious beast of human, running now on a borrowed heart without the inconvenient presence of a soul. This is the statement that has given elderly wingnuts their semi-annual erections this morning.


To draw some kind of moral equivalent between waterboarding judged by our Justice Department not to be torture and what the Japanese did with the Bataan Death March and the slaughter of thousands of Americans, with the rape of Nanking and all of the other crimes they committed, that's an outrage. It's a really cheap shot, Chuck, to even try to draw a parallel between the Japanese who were prosecuted for war crimes after World War II and what we did with waterboarding three individuals--

CHUCK TODD: I understand.

You do? I don't. In 1901, an American soldier was sentenced to 10 years hard labor for waterboarding a single Filipino prisoner.

CHENEY: Well, torture, to me, Chuck, is an American citizen on a cell phone making a last call to his four young daughters shortly before he burns to death in the upper levels of the Trade Center in New York City on 9/11. There's this notion that somehow there's moral equivalence between what the terrorists and what we do. And that's absolutely not true. We were very careful to stop short of torture. The Senate has seen fit to label their report torture. But we worked hard to stay short of that definition.

Of course, it was the negligence and dereliction of duty of the administration, and the feckless boob who headed it, that led to that poignant phone call far more than did the actions of some farmer who got sold by his neighbors into the fevered night sweats of Dick Cheney's cowardice. I am completely opposed to capital punishment in all cases, and also to the brutality described in the Senate report. But if this cowardly barbarian were to fall victim to the horrors he inflicted on other people in our name, I would not lose a moment's sleep, or invest a moment's sympathy.

the rest:

Chrissie Hynde's Advice To Chick Rockers or "How I Did It"


3 Month CIA Ghost Chase: "Non-existent black Muslim jihadist ghosts, in the forests of Montana"

KSM Had the CIA Believing in Black Muslim Convert Jihadist Arsonists in Montana for 3 Months
Published December 15, 2014 | By emptywheel

.....Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had the CIA believing he was going to send Dhiren al-Barot (an Indian Muslim Brit whom KSM did have case out actual US terrorist targets in 1999) to Montana to recruit African American converts to Muslim to start forest fires.

On March 17, 2003, KSM stated that, prior to the September 11, 2001, attacks, he tasked Issa to travel to the United States to “collect information on economic targets.” On March 21, 2003, KSM was waterboarded for failing to confirm interrogators’ suspicions that KSM sought to recruit individuals from among the African American Muslim community. KSM then stated that he had talked with Issa about contacting African American Muslim groups prior to September 11, 2001 The next day KSM was waterboarded for failing to provide more information on the recruitment of African American Muslims. One hour after the waterboarding session, KSM stated that he tasked Issa “to make contact withblack U.S. citizen converts to Islam in Montana,” and that he instructed Issa to use his ties to Shaykh Abu Hamza al-Masri, a U.K.-based Imam, to facilitate his recruitment efforts.KSM later stated that Issa’s mission in the United States was to surveil forests to potentially ignite forest fires.1502

It took the ALEC Station team over 3 months to conclude that KSM’s plan to send an Indian Muslim to Montana to recruit virtually non-existent African American Muslim converts to start forest fires was a fabrication, in part because they first spent a week after he recanted this claim believing it was an attempt to trick them again.

On June 22, 2003, CIA interrogators reported that “(KSM) nervously explained to debriefer that he was under ‘enhanced measures’ when he made these claims” about terrorist recruitment in Montana, and “simply told his interrogators what he thought they wanted to hear.”1505 A CIA Headquarters response cable stated that the CIA’s ALEC Station believed KSM’s fabrication claims were “another resistance/manipulation ploy” and characterized KSM’s contention that he “felt ‘forced’ to make admissions” under enhanced interrogation techniques as “convenient excuses.” As a result, ALECStation urged CIA officers at tiie detention site to get KSM to reveal “who is the key contact person in Montana?”1506 By June 30, 2005, ALEC Station had concluded that KSM’s reporting about African American Muslims in Montana was”an outright fabrication.”

A year after CIA decided KSM was not really going to have a non-existent cell of black Muslims start forest fires, the FBI nevertheless warned a bunch of Rocky Mountain states, including Montana, to be on guard for the threat.


Chasing Ghosts in Montana, Mr. Cheney?

KRUGMAN: Wall Street’s Revenge (Wall Street is giving mainly to Republicans for a reason.)

Wall Street’s Revenge
Dodd-Frank Damaged in the Budget Bill

DEC. 14, 2014
Paul Krugman

The Masters of the Universe, it turns out, are a bunch of whiners. But they’re whiners with war chests, and now they’ve bought themselves a Congress.]


............ The incoming congressional majority has revealed its agenda — and it’s all about rewarding bad actors.


But what Congress did is still outrageous — and both sides of the ideological divide should agree. After all, even if you believe (in defiance of the lessons of history) that financial institutions can be trusted to police themselves, even if you believe the grotesquely false narrative that bleeding-heart liberals caused the financial crisis by pressuring banks to lend to poor people, especially minority borrowers, you should be against letting Wall Street play games with government-guaranteed funds. What just went down isn’t about free-market economics; it’s pure crony capitalism.


And sure enough, Citigroup literally wrote the deregulation language that was inserted into the funding bill.

Again, in itself last week’s action wasn’t decisive. But it was clearly the first skirmish in a war to roll back much if not all of the financial reform. And if you want to know who stands where in this coming war, follow the money: Wall Street is giving mainly to Republicans for a reason.


So the people who brought the economy to its knees are seeking the chance to do it all over again. And they have powerful allies, who are doing all they can to make Wall Street’s dream come true.


Matthew Zirbel’s home in Great Falls, Virginia is filled with oriental carpets, perhaps collected from his time spent working in countries like Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. The million dollar home has “LOTS of “WOW!” You will “Oooh & Ahhh”, says this recent description on Zillow.

This isn’t the first time Zirbel’s surroundings have wowed someone. Over a decade ago, Zirbel, then a junior CIA officer, was in charge of the Salt Pit, a “black site” in Afghanistan referred to in the recent Senate torture report as “Cobalt,” where detainees were routinely brutalized and which one visitor described as a “dungeon.” A delegation from the Federal Bureau of Prisons was “WOW’ed” by the Salt Pit’s sensory deprivation techniques, and a CIA interrogator said that prisoners there “literally looked like (dogs)that had been kenneled,” according to the report.

In fact, one of the most horrifying stories – and there are many – in the Senate report on torture takes place in the Salt Pit, where Gul Rahman was murdered by the U.S. government in November 2002

Rahman, an Afghan, was rendered to the Salt Pit in the fall of 2002 after being apprehended in Pakistan. At that time the torture center was being run by a man referred to as “CIA Officer 1” in the Senate report. News outlets have not named him in covering the report but he has previously been identified as Zirbel, after the government accidentally included his name in a report that had been declassified.

bring your barf bucket for the rest:

It must be acknowledged that members of the media were among the first to call for torture.

MONDAY, DEC 15, 2014 03:59 AM PST
Dick Cheney’s grotesque legacy: Why the record is so much worse than reported
He was an unpopular VP, who history won't remember kindly. But this is Dick Cheney's real contribution to America


It must be acknowledged that members of the media were among the first to call for torture. And long before John Yoo developed his sociopathic view that anything short of causing pain “equal to that of organ failure” was not torture, highly respected legal scholars were openly calling for torture to be legalized, even offering up tips like using “sterilized needles under fingernails.” In fact, the idea to jettison the taboo on torture became part of the conversation after 9/11 almost instantaneously. So much so that it’s clear it was more a reflexive desire to punish than any need for intelligence. And that desire to punish was perhaps best articulated by the experienced cheerleader President Bush when he famously stood atop the rubble of the World Trade Center and said, “I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!”

But even though the excuses these days are all about how the chaos of the early days and the pain of the attacks led the government to “make mistakes,” that’s really no excuse. A thirst for revenge is human. Anger and anguish are natural responses to the horrors of 9/11. But we assume that our leaders are going to rise above those human emotions to deal with a crisis. That’s what you have leaders for. And, frankly, that’s what Dick Cheney did. While everyone else was running around in circles, Cheney was back in Washington taking advantage of the hysteria to do what he had set out to do back in the 1970s when he had served first in Nixon’s White House and then under Donald Rumsfeld in Gerald Ford’s administration after the ignominious departure of President Richard Nixon.


But 9/11 opened a new door for Cheney as well. The One Percent Doctrine not only presented him with a perfect chance to restore presidential authority to its full power, he could enlist members of the opposing party, the press and a large number of the American people in his goal to exempt the U.S. military empire from all obligations to international law and norms. It was not considered a problem if America had to go it alone. In fact, in many ways it was preferable. (It’s the logic of Winner Take All Politics, writ large.) It was American Exceptionalism to the 10th power: No matter how infinitesimal the threat we may act, and act with brutal force. We’ve got your new world order for you, right here. By capitalizing on the fear and anger among Americans after 9/11, and even more important, leveraging the political cowardice of his opponents, Dick Cheney deftly manipulated an atmosphere of chaos to his desired ends: an imperial presidency, a permanent war footing and an even more powerful national security apparatus that operates with impunity.

As we all wring our hands and rend our garments over an official report that reveals what we already knew, the system he put in place remains intact and operating at full steam. The president washes his hands of the past, the Congress declares its innocence and then averts its eyes, the CIA says it was only following orders, and the press clutches its collective pearls unable to even use the word “torture” when questioning the head of the agency about horrors it perpetrated.



A Christian On Torture: One CANNOT Swear Their Allegiance To America Any Longer

From reading the report, it should now be crystal clear to anyone who has read the teachings of Jesus as found in scripture that one cannot swear their allegiance to America while simultaneously giving our allegiance to the alternate way of Jesus. Absolutely, positively, impossible. The contents of the report reveal what the US has done, and what has been done is anti-Christ – pure, absolute evil.

the rest:

John Yoo on torture: Rectal violation is not allowed, crushing a child's testicles is no problem


When CNN host Fareed Zakaria asked him about CIA techniques like "forced rectal feeding", "threatening to rape the mothers of prisoners" and "people with broken limbs being forced to stand for hours and hours," Attorney Yoo said that would be against the rules (if it in fact it happened):

"Those are very troubling examples. They would not have been approved by the Justice Department. They were not approved by the Justice Department at the time...They were not supposed to be done and those people who did those are at risk legally because they were acting outside their orders."

But during a December 2005 symposium in Chicago, Yoo argued that under his theory of the "unitary executive" and virtually unlimited presidential power as Commander-in-Chief, President Bush could legally order those tortures and much worse. Yoo was asked:

"If the president deems that he's got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person's child, there is no law that can stop him?"


Continue reading below about John Yoo's balls here:
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