American Exceptionalism - to the rules.

The Obama Administration has released some Bush Administration torture memos. They are damning. So is justice to be meted out to the perpetrators? Unless sufficient pressure from the public and media (one can always hope) is brought to be bear it is unlikely to be from the US, more likely left to other states such as Spain. There is an empire to protect after all, and if the US is a city on the hill, an example, it is about how to shred the foundations of their system - and get away with it.

Some news and views on various aspects of the matter:

A report which links to the report of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Detainee Treatment.

Pepe Escobar.

It's a script worthy of Freddie Krueger, the fictional character from the A Nightmare on Elm Street films. Nearly five years after the irruption of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq, here's another chamber of horrors, another glimpse of how The Dark Side really works.

But the George W Bush torture memos released by the Barack Obama administration last week, written in legalese by Jay Bybee and Stephen Bradbury, are just a preview. Many will relish the newspeak. ("We conclude that - although sleep deprivation and use of the waterboard present more substantial questions in certain aspects under the statute and the use of tile waterboard raises the most substantial issue - none of these specific techniques, considered individually, would violate the prohibition in sections 134:0•2340A.") As for the whole movie - a 21st century remix of a D W Griffith epic - it could be called Death of a Nation.

The US Senate report, also just released, reads like deja vu all over again: the US establishment under Bush was a replay of the Spanish Inquisition. And it all started even before a single "high-profile al-Qaeda detainee" was captured. What Bush, vice president Dick Cheney, defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and assorted little inquisitors wanted was above all to prove the non-existent link between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and al-Qaeda, the better to justify a pre-emptive, illegal war planned by the now-defunct Project for the New American Century (PNAC) in the late 1990s. The torture memos were just a cog in the imperial machine.

The New York Times, in a fit of decency, at least has already demanded that Congress impeach the lawyerly Bybee, who got his lifetime seat in a federal appeals court from ... Bush.

Chris Floyd.

Glenn Greenwald on the media handling of the matter. And see other pieces by GG.

Gary Kamiya.

The A-G wants to.

All in the cause (allegedly) of keeping America safe. Really? And the excuse continues to be used . . such as about surging in Afghanistan ... from Tom Engelhardt - "Questions to Ask in the Dead of Night."


  1. More to read ...

    It's not about partisan politics. Glenn Greenwald and Chris Floyd.From the former:

    The inability of so many people (both Republicans and Obama-loyal Democrats) to view the need for prosecutions independent of political considerations is a potent sign of how sick our political culture has become. The need for criminal investigations is motivated by one simple, consummately apolitical fact: serious and brutal crimes were committed at the highest levels of the government, ones that left a trail of many victims. A country that purports to live under the rule of law has no choice but to treat its most powerful members who commit serious crimes exactly the same as ordinary citizens who do so. That has nothing to do with Republicans or Democrats.

    It has to do with the most central premise of the American system of government: that we are a nation of laws, not men, and all are equal before the law. People like John McCain argue that only "banana republics" prosecute former political leaders, but the reality is exactly the opposite. As the Western world has spent decades pointing out, the hallmark of an under-developed, tyrannical society is the very same premise we have embraced: that political elites are free to break the law with impunity and never suffer the consequences that ordinary citizens do.
    From CF:

    So now we come to what is called, in the treacly, touchy-feely parlance of our day, a "teachable moment." Here is one of the most clear-cut points of national decision and self-definition that can be imagined. Clear, credible evidence of atrocity and conspiracy has been produced. The course prescribed by law is clear: criminal investigation and, if warranted, prosecution. If, as you claim, your state is founded upon the rule of law, then there simply is no choice in the matter: the torture program and all of its perpetrators, facilitators and instigators must be subjected to the due process of law, without fear or favor.

    If this does not happen, then your state, however modernized and sophisticated, is nothing but a gilded barbarism, a gangland, where the brute force of money, privilege and power hold tyrannical sway. There is no law, only the triumph of the will of corrupt and criminal factions as they preen and jostle for position atop a fetid heap of blood and filth.
    What will it take?By the time Attorney General Eric Holder took his seat before a Congressional subcommittee on Thursday, the Bush torture program had broken wide open. In the past week alone, hundreds of pages in declassified legal memos and Congressional reports had blown the lid off the previous administration's harsh interrogation policies to reveal -- in addition to grisly new details about what the U.S. government did to prisoners in its custody -- a chronology of the program's history that implicated the most senior government officials, including Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and of course the former president. What's more, it appeared that the torture of high-value detainees in 2002 and 2003 was, at least in part, the direct consequence of Bush officials' need to extract a link -- fictitious or otherwise -- between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.

    Damning stuff, to be sure. Yet watching Holder's testimony before the House Appropriations Committee, where his office was met with a coalition of activists delivering petitions carrying 250,000 signatures from Americans who support appointing an independent prosecutor to investigate Bush's crimes, it would be hard to guess that it came in a week that saw such a flood of evidence of human rights violations and war crimes come to light. Reiterating his contention (following the initial release of legal memos last week outlining the rationale for Bush era torture) that "those in the intelligence community who acted reasonably and in good faith are not going to be prosecuted," Holder also reassured the committee members that he "will not permit the criminalization of policy differences" -- an almost superfluous response to one of the bogus conservative talking points that has sprung up -- the notion that holding accountable lawyers who authorized flagrantly illegal techniques against U.S. held prisoners will have a "chilling effect" on advisers' opinions. But, he said, "it is my responsibility as attorney general to enforce the law. ... If I see evidence of wrongdoing I will pursue it to the full extent of the law." Very well, but with virtually no references to the avalanche of evidence that emerged this week, Holder's words, like President Obama's pep-rally style speech before the CIA last week and the hearing itself (which, in fairness, was held to discuss the 2010 budget of the DOJ), largely belied the severity of what has been revealed in the past week.
    Fronting the A-G.Andy Worthington.False confessions?More pictures to be released.That's not going to hose down the growing demand for action.

  2. An aid - The Torture Timeline.Someone who thinks torture is OK.The self-described “world leader in global intelligence” information group STRATFOR said on Monday, in an assessment of the Obama administration’s decision to release a series of legal memoranda giving the C.I.A. legal cover to engage in torture, that “torture can be a useful tool” and defended President Barack Obama’s decision to protect C.I.A. interrogators who employed torture against detainees from any criminal prosecution.Previously provided material indicates how useful torture is. But a reminder:

    That torture is an effective means of gathering intelligence is also a notion that is offered no credibility among interrogation experts. The use of torture, far from resulting in the extraction of credible and useful information, results in the victim saying whatever he or she thinks their interrogator wants to hear in order to make it stop. Torture is useful, but as a means to elicit false confessions, such as for propaganda purposes.

    This is perfectly well recognized. In fact, many of the interrogation methods authorized during the Bush administration were derived from Chinese Communist techniques. Military interrogation trainers at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the U.S. maintains a detention facility, based an entire class on methods taken from a 1957 study entitled “Communist Attempts to Elicit False Confessions From the Air Force Prisoners of War”.
    And what did they want to hear? That Saddam Hussein was involved with al Qaeda and the 911 attacks. Yes, lies.


    In defense of this policy under the Obama administration, George Friedman, founder of STRATFOR, acknowledges that while the harsh interrogation methods given color of law under the recently released memoranda “do not rise anywhere near the top” of the “scale of human cruelty”, the treatment of detainees by the U.S. “was terrible nonetheless.”

    “But”, continues Friedman, “torture is meant to be terrible” and torturers should be judged in the context of the terror of 9/11. The U.S. “lack of intelligence” led to an increased sense of fear both among the public and within the government, he asserts. “Washington simply did not know very much about al Qaeda and its capabilities and intentions in the United States.”

    The notion that 9/11 was the result of an intelligence failure has been largely discredited. Former Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet admitted to the 9/11 Commission that “the system was blinking red” with warnings about an imminent attack. The C.I.A. had been tracking two of the would-be-hijackers, Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, and knew that al-Midhar had obtained a visa to enter the U.S. Yet the C.I.A. chose not to inform the State Department, the F.B.I., or the Immigration and Naturalization Service to put the men on the terrorist watchlist or otherwise be on the lookout for known al Qaeda operatives who might attempt to enter the U.S.

    C.I.A. documents showed that it was known that “al-Qa’ida operative Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was recruiting persons to travel to the United States and engage in planning terrorist-related activity here”, according to the 9/11 Congressional Joint Inquiry report. These persons “would be ‘expected to establish contact with colleagues already living’” in the U.S. “In short,” the report observed, “before September 11, the Intelligence Community recognized that a radical Islamic network that could provide support to al-Qa’ida operatives probably existed in the United States.”

    While in the U.S., the two terrorists were assisted by the subject of an F.B.I. terrorism investigation and made frequent contact with an F.B.I. informant. They lived in San Diego under their real names and were even listed in the phone book.

    Numerous other examples discrediting the intelligence failure claim exist, including the fact that President George W. Bush received an intelligence brief on August 6, 2001, entitled “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in U.S.” that said terrorists were planning on exploiting their access to the U.S. “to mount a terrorist strike.” Al Qaeda, the brief stated, “maintains a support structure that could aid attacks” within the U.S. The threat of hijackings was noted, and New York was specifically named as a potential target for an attack.

    When the existence of this brief became public knowledge, President Bush responded to criticism by saying that brief “was no indication of a terrorist threat.” Such public statements, belied by actual facts, served to help establish the popular myth that U.S. intelligence was blind to the threat that manifested on the morning of September 11, 2001.
    Having read this and other material about or by George Friedman (Fraudman?) it could be seen that he, himself is a useful tool. But for whom? Not to difficult to work out.

  3. Fraudman ... yep.

    This tool/fool's attempt at fraud this time is to try and redefine the meaning of 'intelligence failure'.

    He obviously expects no-one who is intelligent to read what he writes.

  4. Fraudman also clearly expects his falsehoods to not be read by anyone who knows the content of the report by Inspector General of the CIA, General John Helgerson.

  5. Not to be read by anyone intelligent, informed and objective. Which brings me to the claim made by Stratfor that it provides "objective facts and unbiased analysis ...". Well, we've seen errors of fact and the use of the word "objective" for what they do is wrong. I'm quite sure, however, that Fraudman dies have an objective.

  6. A reminder of the hypocrisy. Newly released US government documents, detailing how Bush administration officials punched legalistic holes in the Geneva Conventions' protections of war captives, stand in stark contrast to the outrage some of the same officials expressed in the first week of the Iraq war when Iraqi TV interviewed several captured American soldiers.

    "If there is somebody captured," President George W. Bush told reporters on March 23, 2003, "I expect those people to be treated humanely. If not, the people who mistreat the prisoners will be treated as war criminals."

    Then, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, President George W. Bush, and other administration officials orchestrated a chorus of outrage, citing those TV scenes as proof of the Iraq's government contempt for international law in general and the Geneva Conventions in particular.

    "It is a blatant violation of the Geneva Convention to humiliate and abuse prisoners of war or to harm them in any way. As President Bush said yesterday, those who harm POWs will be found and punished as war criminals," Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said on March 24, 2003.
    Must be it applies to "Them" but not to "Us".
    On the matter of international laws and conventions, Glenn Greenwald interviews Manfred Nowak, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.Proof? It would only spoil their story. WASHINGTON — The CIA inspector general in 2004 found that there was no conclusive proof that waterboarding or other harsh interrogation techniques helped the Bush administration thwart any "specific imminent attacks," according to recently declassified Justice Department memos.

    That undercuts assertions by former vice president Dick Cheney and other former Bush administration officials that the use of harsh interrogation tactics including waterboarding, which is widely considered torture, was justified because it headed off terrorist attacks.
    And other fraudsters.

  7. When an official is used to a friendly media what happens when she (in thus case) places herself before a less accommodating audience? Let's see:

    Condi does Stanford ... or rather Stanford does Condi? A case of self-frying Rice.

    Scott Horton.John Dean's view.Doing a Nixon.Glenn Greenwald on how Reagan would be seen today on torture. And see GG's previous article on Obama's "pretty words"..From Tomdispatch, Karen J. Greenberg - "Kiss the Era of Human Rights Goodbye".

  8. As we have come to appreciate, propagandists don't seem to care a fig for facts, and even less so, when the facts are not - to them - so agreeable.

    In that spirit, here are some facts from atimes/Bacevich, Farewell, the American Century, the article goes well with Bob's usual great links (g'day).

    A quote:

      «Indeed, we ought to apologize. When it comes to avoiding the repetition of sin, nothing works like abject contrition. We should, therefore, tell the people of Cuba that we are sorry for having made such a hash of US-Cuban relations for so long. President Obama should speak on our behalf in asking the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for forgiveness. He should express our deep collective regret to Iranians and Afghans for what past US interventionism has wrought.
    To solve our problems requires that we see ourselves as we really are. And that requires shedding, once and for all, the illusions embodied in the American Century.»
    Would it work? Will they do it? (A: PMF.)

  9. G'day Bob, in the Australian Financial Review | Review section on Friday there was an interesting article by Mark Danner. He explained (not away) Cheney's have-it-both-ways spin.

    Dick's desperately trying to make his Repug right wing death beasts look *good* with his claim the torture kept Americans safe and simultaneously setting up the Dems should another attack on America take place. In short, still trying to create create reality to support ideology.

    The reality, as Col. Wilkinson so aptly (almost) put it: Cheney is a paranoid crazy, willing to corrupt the whole country in order to *save* it.

    Now this nut is, as Gene Lyons states, "all but openly hoping for a successful terror strike with the potential to restore his faction to power."

  10. G'day Phil and orana, the question about Dick Cheney is whether he's just paranoid or finally got the opportunity to exercise greater power than prior to becoming VEEP. Recall that he appointed himself as Bush's running mate and would likely have believed he could manipulate Bush. What an opportunity. It brought out the worst in him. If he was also affected by 911 - then that only added to the corruption.

    From your Lyons link:

    This isn’t a fight Obama has wanted, but Cheney’s making it one he cannot avoid. Nothing short of a full-scale investigation can cauterize this wound.That's just one fight Obama needs to have.

  11. It is, of course, not just the US (including sub-branch Israel) which has caught the 'exceptionalism' disease. We, in our wide-brown Aus, are continually assured that we too, live in the 'greatest country in the world!' - Or something like that; it's sooo wide-spread (and pernicious!) - that I often refer to Aus as 'the land of the local maximum.'

    Here's a truly amazing 'high-point,' courtesy of ICH (same 'old' story).

    (For any disinclined to follow the link(s); the article title is "The Torturer’s Apprentice.")

  12. More on Jay Bybee -Chris Floyd follows up an article by David Swanson.Handy chap for the criminals to have in their pocket.

  13. Cheney says release all the memos - which could have been done by the Bush administration - and a biggy is about to be. See here and here.From the former:

    Government officials familiar with the CIA's early interrogations say the most powerful evidence of apparent excesses is contained in the "top secret" May 7, 2004, inspector general report, based on more than 100 interviews, a review of the videotapes and 38,000 pages of documents. The full report remains closely held, although White House officials have told political allies that they intend to declassify it for public release when the debate quiets over last month's release of the Justice Department's interrogation memos.

    According to excerpts included in those memos, the inspector general's report concluded that interrogators initially used harsh techniques against some detainees who were not withholding information. Officials familiar with its contents said it also concluded that some of the techniques appeared to violate the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, ratified by the United States in 1994.

    Although some useful information was produced, the report concluded that "it is difficult to determine conclusively whether interrogations have provided information critical to interdicting specific imminent attacks," according to the Justice Department's declassified summary of it. The threat of such an imminent attack was cited by the department as an element in its 2002 and later written authorization for using harsh techniques.

    " ... not withholding information"? Did they do it for fun or was it the wrong, to the US, information?

    And for emphasis:

    Specifically: The White House has decided to declassify and release a classified 2004 CIA report about the torture program that is reported to have found no proof that torture foiled any terror plots on American soil -- directly contradicting Cheney's claims. The paper cites "allies" of the White House as a source. 

    Not only Cheney's claims, of course - recalling those of others such as Fraudman.

    To sleep, perchance to ...If one is allowed to sleep.

    Glenn Greenwald - "The NYT's defintion of blinding American exceptionalism."And follow the internal links.

  14. Death of a confessor ...

    The Arabic media is ablaze with the news that Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, the emir of an Afghan training camp — whose claim that Saddam Hussein had been involved in training al-Qaeda operatives in the use of chemical and biological weapons was used to justify the invasion of Iraq — has died in a Libyan jail. So far, however, the only English language report is on the Algerian website Ennahar Online, which reported that the Libyan newspaper Oea stated that al-Libi (aka Ali Abdul Hamid al-Fakheri) “was found dead of suicide in his cell,” and noted that the newspaper had reported the story “without specifying the date or method of suicide.”

    This news resolves, in the grimmest way possible, questions that have long been asked about the whereabouts of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, perhaps the most famous of “America’s Disappeared” — prisoners seized in the “War on Terror,” who were rendered not to Guantánamo but to secret prisons run by the CIA or to the custody of governments in third countries — often their own — where, it was presumed, they would never be seen or heard from again.

    The emir of the Khaldan training camp in Afghanistan, al-Libi was one of hundreds of prisoners seized by Pakistani forces in December 2001, crossing from Afghanistan into Pakistan. Most of these men ended up in Guantánamo after being handed over (or sold) to US forces by their Pakistani allies, but al-Libi was, notoriously, rendered to Egypt by the CIA to be tortured on behalf of the US government.

    In Egypt, he came up with the false allegation about connections between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein that was used by President Bush in a speech in Cincinnati on October 7, 2002, just days before Congress voted on a resolution authorizing the President to go to war against Iraq, in which, referring to the supposed threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s regime, Bush said, “We’ve learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and deadly gases.”

    Did they really learn?:

    As I explained in a recent article, Even In Cheney’s Bleak World, The Al-Qaeda-Iraq Torture Story Is A New Low, drawing on reports in the New York Times and by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker, the use of al-Libi to extract a false confession that was used to justify the invasion of Iraq was particularly shocking, because a Defense Intelligence Agency had concluded in February 2002 that al-Libi was lying, and Dan Coleman of the FBI (which had been pulled off al-Libi’s case when the CIA — and the administration — decided to render him to torture in Egypt) had no doubt that the emir of an Afghan training camp would know nothing about Iraq. “It was ridiculous for interrogators to think Libi would have known anything about Iraq,” Coleman told Jane Mayer. “I could have told them that. He ran a training camp. He wouldn’t have had anything to do with Iraq.” 

    February 2002 - over a year before the invasion of Iraq.

    More from Glenn Greenwald on the US threats to the UK over torture evidence.One might think they have something to hide. It would take far more than a bushel to hide their light. But they prefer the dark anyway.

  15. See no evil - Obama decides not to release torture photos.

    Glenn Greenwald here and here.

    LOts of links.

    Cenk Uygur.Juan Cole.Dave Lindorff.Jason Leopold.Six reasons - but who believes Ny of them?

    Ray McGovern has been asking Gen. Myers questions.Chris Floyd on the death of a confessor - links to Arthur Silber.

  16. Promises of change ... but the reality?

    Jeremy Scahill on Gitmo.As the Obama administration continues to fight the release of some 2,000 photos that graphically document U.S. military abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, an ongoing Spanish investigation is adding harrowing details to the ever-emerging portrait of the torture inside and outside Guantánamo. Among them: "blows to [the] testicles;" "detention underground in total darkness for three weeks with deprivation of food and sleep;" being "inoculated … through injection with 'a disease for dog cysts;'" the smearing of feces on prisoners; and waterboarding. The torture, according to the Spanish investigation, all occurred "under the authority of American military personnel" and was sometimes conducted in the presence of medical professionals.

    More significantly, however, the investigation could for the first time place an intense focus on a notorious, but seldom discussed, thug squad deployed by the U.S. military to retaliate with excessive violence to the slightest resistance by prisoners at Guantánamo.

    The force is officially known as the the Immediate Reaction Force or Emergency Reaction Force, but inside the walls of Guantánamo, it is known to the prisoners as the Extreme Repression Force. Despite President Barack Obama's publicized pledge to close the prison camp and end torture -- and analysis from human rights lawyers who call these forces' actions illegal -- IRFs remain very much active at Guantánamo.

    Glenn Greenwald on military commissions.It now appears definitive that the Obama administration will attempt to preserve a "modified" version of George Bush's military commissions, rather than try suspected terrorists in our long-standing civilian court system or a court-martial proceeding under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Obama officials have been dispatched to insist to journalists (anonymously, of course) that Obama's embrace of "new and improved" military commissions is neither inconsistent with the criticisms that were voiced about Bush's military commission system nor with Obama's prior statements on this issue. It is plainly not the case that these "modifications" address the core criticisms directed to what Bush did, nor is it the case that Obama's campaign position on this issue can be reconciled with what he is now doing. Just read the facts below and decide for yourself if that is even a plausible claim. 

    Black is white, white is black? Did Obama have his fingers crossed when the made the anti-military commission statements?

  17. More from Glenn Greenwald on Obama's approach to national security.Can't find those WMD you assured everyone existed? Try Plan B.You’ve probably heard that Bush-Cheney and Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz had already developed plans to invade and occupy Iraq, months before the Saudi terrorists attacked the Pentagon and brought down the World Trade Center Twin Towers. These conspirators immediately set out to justify their impending war of aggression on your fear that Islamic terrorists might well strike again, this time with "weapons of mass destruction."

    War of aggression?

    But didn’t Congress authorize Bush to use "military force" against Iraq in October 2002?

    Well, no, and thereby hangs a tale.

    A very tall tale.

  18. I started out to follow Bob's link to 'Try Plan B.' On the way, I 'stumbled' into this one: 'The End of American Exceptionalism.' Then, I recalled another 'B;' namely this one: "Team B." (The latter resorted to - i.e. actually deployed - deliberate (filthy!) lies, to assist them in pushing the mainly fictitious 'cold war' furphy.

    Now, what I wish to say here, is that Ern's 'powers that be,' my 'kleptocracy,' otherwise known as our so-called 'enlightened rulers' do not care a fig for facts; all they really wanna do-oo-oo-ooh, is baby: rip us and the wider world right off.
    Well, I hear you say, you knew that, so "What's new?"
    But, I immediately riposte, if you all know about it, what are you doing to stop it?

  19. Comment on "Team B;" from the wiki:
      «According to Fred Kaplan, "In retrospect, the Team B report (which has since been declassified) turns out to have been wrong on nearly every point.[27] Team B came to the conclusion in their report[28] that the Soviets had or could develop an entirely new anti-submarine detection system that used a system that did not depend on sound and was, thus, undetectable by contemporary Western technology, even though no evidence existed for it or its deployment, other than money spent on research, and when the western experts believed that such a system would be impossible.» 
    In other words, 'evidence of absence,' i.e. no evidence of any such system existing at all, was given as 'proof' that the soviets had succeeded.
    Prominent 'Team B' member/spruikers were Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz.
    One thing is for sure; without effective action to clear this swinishly filthy nest of eff'n criminal vipers, our world is doomed.

  20. G'day ID, yes, Team B - loonies on the loose.

    Glenn Greenwald - Obama's embrace of Bush terrorism policies is celebrated as "Centrism" 

    Noam Chomsky ... it's no exception at all.

  21. a quote of a (propagandistic) quote ...

     .. from AP via GG then BobW (g'day):

      «Internationally, Obama reversed course and is seeking to block the court-ordered release of detainee-abuse photos, revived military trials for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay and is markedly increasing the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. . . .
    Still, even though Obama may be irritating liberal purists on both national security and domestic policy, he has no real choice but to move toward the middle
    [Obama's embrace of Bush terrorism policies is celebrated as "Centrism"]

    This is along the lines of a typical 'Howardism,' also adopted by many lying r-wing trolls: "Most people agree ..." 

    The facts are clearly otherwise, as a quick search can prove:

      «Sept. 29 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. ``war on terror'' has failed to weaken its prime target al-Qaeda, according to a majority of people surveyed in a global opinion poll for the British Broadcasting Corp.» 
    [bloomberg/U.S. `War on Terror' Against Al-Qaeda Seen as Failure in Poll]

    We hardly need to discuss this, our 'best estimate' is that Al-Qaeda is an 'enemy of convenience' - as is the Taleban; the 'real objective' of the US in the middle-east is to control both oil/gas and the pipelines to carry it. (Q: What would be wrong, in a so-called 'free-market' world, of just paying an honest price for whatever?)


    Getting back to the quote of a propagandistic quote, there is one phrase that is, in a slightly different 'frame' perfectly true, namely "no real choice" - when referring to us, we the sheople. Although cynically dumbed-down, malignly dis-informed by the likes of the AusBC, our representatives - from both sides of the so-called (but risible!) 'political divide' - don't properly represent us, but rather the M/I/C-plex. (As we now quite clearly see; both Rudd&Co and Obama&Co are extending just about all the B, B & H criminal abuses.) It's always worth a repeat; bullets, bombs etc. are designed and deployed for a single (brutal!) purpose, to destroy/kill. Every year, month, day; every hour, minute & second - that these murdering-to-thieve invasions go on, is that much time closer the to climate catastrophe bearing down on us.


    Yes, Bob, I shriek over and over again: "Where are the adults??!"

  22. then I turned to GG's reader-comments ...

     .. here are 3:

     1) «oy 
    so whats a girl to do?
    i worked hard to get Obama elected because i thought that would free us from the tyranny of the last 8 years. but here we are...not much has changed.
    so what can i do? i call. i write. no one in government cares what i think apparently.
    i email the cable news networks to call them out on their crap - they don't care.
    i do not defend Obama. i don't think its 11th dimensional chess or some other grand strategy. i am incredibly disappointed and mad and frightened.
    what can we do?????????????????????????????
    -- zepgirl»

     2) «For years 
    I thought of Noam Chomsky as a bit crazy. His assertion that all the "political debate" in this country was shaped by the business interests and "shadow government" of the wealthy seemed TOO conspiratorial.
    I never gave credence to the Nader campaigns claims that they were being "squeezed out" of the election process and ignored, deliberately and systematically by the MSM. Ditto Ron Paul.
    How can we deny these things any longer? It is clear that this country is owned and run by the super rich, and controlled publicly by pawns who long ago abandoned any sense of duty towards their constituents.
    I had great hope that Obama was going to change things, but suspected as early as his vote on the Telcom amnesty bill that his administration would be yet another whitewash of the status quo, and all its paranoid trappings.
    It makes me feel insane, like I'm trapped in some Kafkaesque nightmare, but what is the alternative? Frankly, I don't think there is anything we can do, short of revolution.
    -- Manimal»

     3) My own comment: (1) above emphasises our 'no choice' situation, (2) that our democracies have been effectively - and totally - crippled; we may vote, but no matter who gets elected, the result is, except possibly for some ineffective window-dressing, largely the same - our reps simply, deliberately, fail to properly represent us.

    All together now: "Where are the adults??!"

  23. Then, I turned to BobW's TomG's Chomsky
    A key phrase: "a return to barbarism in our time" - except that in the article, it is pointed out that there has been no 'return,' murdering US barbarism has effectively been continuous.
    As usual, one must read the whole piece.

  24. G'day ID, no return, just more of the same long history. The practice has been far different to being an example and not seeking monsters to destroy.

    On the bush era - Ray McGovern on how the CIA duped Colin Powell.Andy Worthington - A Prison built on Lies.More on non-exceptions - Chris Hedges "The Disease of Permanent War".The embrace by any society of permanent war is a parasite that devours the heart and soul of a nation. Permanent war extinguishes liberal, democratic movements. It turns culture into nationalist cant. It degrades and corrupts education and the media, and wrecks the economy. The liberal, democratic forces, tasked with maintaining an open society, become impotent. The collapse of liberalism, whether in imperial Russia, the Austro-Hungarian Empire or Weimar Germany, ushers in an age of moral nihilism. This moral nihilism comes is many colors and hues. It rants and thunders in a variety of slogans, languages and ideologies. It can manifest itself in fascist salutes, communist show trials or Christian crusades. It is, at its core, all the same. It is the crude, terrifying tirade of mediocrities who find their identities and power in the perpetuation of permanent war.

    It was a decline into permanent war, not Islam, which killed the liberal, democratic movements in the Arab world, ones that held great promise in the early part of the 20th century in countries such as Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Iran. It is a state of permanent war that is finishing off the liberal traditions in Israel and the United States. The moral and intellectual trolls--the Dick Cheneys, the Avigdor Liebermans, the Mahmoud Ahmadinejads--personify the moral nihilism of perpetual war. They manipulate fear and paranoia. They abolish civil liberties in the name of national security. They crush legitimate dissent. They bilk state treasuries. They stoke racism.

  25. history teaches ...

     .. history teaches ...

       .. nothing! Sweet eff-A!!?

         .. Yair, it's not new; g'day Bob.


    Seizing on your mention of history and referring to 'your' Chomsky, this: «Historical amnesia is a dangerous phenomenon, not only because it undermines moral and intellectual integrity, but also because it lays the groundwork for crimes that still lie ahead.» 

    IF I were a violent person, THEN I might violently disagree with Chomsky, especially on this bit: «Historical amnesia ... ». Lacking any 'violence gene/meme,' I must merely mildly remonstrate: in order to suffer from amnesia[1], one must, in the 1st place, have something to 'forget;' it is my 'proof' of the traitorous AusBC's (criminal!) malfeasance, that I simply was not informed - by them - of the disgusting, murdering-to-steal crimes of the so-called 'modern' state of Israel, say. Or those of the US, both possessing jointly the most ugly and criminal regimes on this, our once jewel-like planet.

    Then the next bit: «... undermines moral and intellectual integrity ...»[1]. 'Scuse, pliz??! Exactly what 'moral and intellectual integrity' please? The US is, according to the article, acting just as evilly as other 'historical' regimes; if the US are merely repeaters, admittedly on a 'grander' (equals vastly more criminal) scale, all they (i.e. the evil US empire) can possibly 'succeed' at is even more killing, more thieving etc..

    Basically, of course, that's no contest. For moral human beings with integrity, that is.



    [1] amnesia n. loss of memory.  amnesiac n. [Latin from Greek] [POD]

  26. G'day ID, it is worth revisiting the ideal. There are Americans who do believe in that, so the creation of monsters who are a threat to the US or its interests is necessary of the agenda is to be pursued. If it can be done under the cover of the image and not the reality of the US then so much the better.

  27. belief ...

     .. and faith ...

       .. are both v.suspect ...

         .. IMHO and worst: worthless


    You are familiar with my concept of the 'pushed paradigm,' or so I assume. For those who don't know, it is the fantasy they conjure up, to embed their evil in. We know all about 'the creation of monsters,' (see the SSS-ploy; Scare the Sheople Shitless); and any and all dissembling is 'merely' for the benefit of the (innocently?) naïve, i.e. the sheople.

    (The insiders all know what vicious murdering-to-thieve crimes they are up to their quivering bottom lips in. A 'real' question is how they gather their sycophants; bribery and coercion can only, one presumes, go so far. The conclusion here is: more pure and unadulterated evil. The 'next' question is what of the 'un-paid' help, i.e. the lying internet trolls - just what's in it for them? (Tip: even more (voluntary!!?) evil.))

    I'm also now assuming, that your reference is some sort of hoax, and/ or sick joke? (Either that, or your famed sense of irony is on an unfettered (yowling? Mee-yowling?) rampage. Haw!)

  28. Following up the themes of unexceptionalism (Chris Floyd) and fear (Glenn Greenwald).

  29. Can we forget the platform we campaigned on? Yes we can! Two pieces from Glenn Greenwald on Obama and change. Or not. Here and here.

  30. BobW's citation of Chris Floyd's article:

    20 May 2009
    The American Way:
    In Defense of George W. Bush

    Deserves a bit of study; recommended, also the comments at the bottom.

  31. Indeed a piece to be read, ID. The myth has hidden the reality for far too long. As I like to put it - The cavalry rode over the hill, not to rescue the wagon train but on the way to Sand Creek etc.

    Back to the current president and his "preventive detention" scheme: Glenn Greenwald - "Facts and myths about Obama's preventive detention proposal".An example - Point 1:

    (1) What does "preventive detention" allow?

    It's important to be clear about what "preventive detention" authorizes. It does not merely allow the U.S. Government to imprison people alleged to have committed Terrorist acts yet who are unable to be convicted in a civilian court proceeding. That class is merely a subset, perhaps a small subset, of who the Government can detain. Far more significant, "preventive detention" allows indefinite imprisonment not based on proven crimes or past violations of law, but of those deemed generally "dangerous" by the Government for various reasons (such as, as Obama put it yesterday, they "expressed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden" or "otherwise made it clear that they want to kill Americans"). That's what "preventive" means: imprisoning people because the Government claims they are likely to engage in violent acts in the future because they are alleged to be "combatants."

    Once known, the details of the proposal could -- and likely will -- make this even more extreme by extending the "preventive detention" power beyond a handful of Guantanamo detainees to anyone, anywhere in the world, alleged to be a "combatant." After all, once you accept the rationale on which this proposal is based -- namely, that the U.S. Government must, in order to keep us safe, preventively detain "dangerous" people even when they can't prove they violated any laws -- there's no coherent reason whatsoever to limit that power to people already at Guantanamo, as opposed to indefinitely imprisoning with no trials all allegedly "dangerous" combatants, whether located in Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia, Western countries and even the U.S.

    "Land of the ?"

  32. Obama makes GWBush look 'good,' by walking on the dark side. 

  33. It's not 'will be,' but *is*.

    By "it" I mean US 'ForPol,' i.e. foreign policy. If one were to acquaint oneself with the BBC/Adam Curtis videos "The Century of the Self," one would see that as far back as WW1, the US has been telling us lies - as propaganda 'dressed up' in PR = Public Relations "sheep's clothing." Bernays himself said "Making the world safe for democracy" was merely a slogan.

    At least since the ugliest of war crimes that they Oh, so cynically claim 'ended' WW2 (i.e. the A-bombing of overwhelmingly civilian Japanese; as far back as I care to go - at this moment, the rot actually having started with the genocide against their own indigenes), the US has been looking for a free lunch - largely via its ForPol, which rips the world off on the one hand, whilst promising to kill whoever gets in its way on the other.

    What about not 'will be,' but *is*? The death of the US. Despite all the Hollywood "John Wayne"-style bullshit, Despite all the Madison Ave. "democracy"-style bullshit (no country which offers its citizens no effective choice can be called a democracy; see GWBush to Obama: no effective change); both legally and morally, they just *never* 'had it.' Any assertion to the contrary would be a wicked distortion of the truth, when not an outright lie.

    Sadly our wide-brown Aus has the same disease; see Howard to Rudd: no effective change - Aus is increasing its involvement in the US invasion/occupation of Afghanistan; mass-murder to enable theft, pillage, looting, plunder and rapine (Oh, and a pipeline.) Since at least the (CIA?) ousting of Gough (the greatest!), Aus has been but a sub-branch of the US.

    Go home, *all* Yanks! Give us our democracy back!

  34. An admission of some wrong-doing 

    No specifics - well, that might start something as in "What about ...?" "Oh, yes, there's that." etc.

    Now for some more exceptions:

    Charity and who can provide it.Five founders of the Holy Land Foundation, once the nation’s largest Muslim charity, have received prison terms of up to sixty-five years on charges of supporting the Palestinian group Hamas. The five were never accused of supporting violence and were convicted for funding charities that aided needy Palestinians. The government’s case relied on Israeli intelligence as well as disputed documents and electronic surveillance gathered by the FBI over a span of fifteen years. 

    So, given the USAID matter - when will the US try the US on the same charges? Oh, they'll make an exception. As they do in deciding which "terrorists" to condemn or support - Chris Floyd.On Thursday, a suicide bomber walked into a mosque, detonated his explosives and killed and wounded almost 140 people. In the wreckage and confusion afterward, a final death count has not yet been established, but the latest available information puts it at 23.

    It is unlikely that you heard about this terrorist attack -- because it took place in Iran. For years, Iran has endured a series of terrorist actions -- suicide bombings, kidnappings, beheadings, open assaults by fanatical gunmen, sabotage, and "targeted assassinations" of government officials, scientists and others. Multitudes have been slaughtered in these operations, whose ferocity and frequency are surpassed only by the atrocities that have been unleashed in the four countries that have been on the forefront of America's Terror War: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia. One shudders to think what Washington's response would be to such a sustained campaign on American soil.

    Of course, it is no mystery why the attack on the mosque in Zahedan -- a city situated at the strategic point where the borders of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan converge -- attracted so little attention in the Western press. Every day, we are schooled relentlessly by our political and media classes to regard the Iranians -- heirs to one of the world's oldest and most sophisticated civilizations -- as demons and subhumans, whose lives are of little account. This can be seen in the long-running debate over an attack on Iran, which focuses almost entirely on the advantages or disadvantages such an assault would pose for American and Israeli interests -- and not at all on the thousands of human beings living in Iran who would be killed in the operation.

    A couple of pieces on Obama's Bush impression:

    Ira Chernus.Marjorie Cohn.

  35. How low can they go? A matter of sexual abuse and photos ...

    Naomi Wolf.A technicality.

  36. Apweaking of photos, the latest whizz-bang idea from the WH and Congress is to hide the evidence. Glenn Greenwald:The White House is actively supporting a new bill jointly sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman -- called The Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act of 2009 -- that literally has no purpose other than to allow the government to suppress any "photograph taken between September 11, 2001 and January 22, 2009 relating to the treatment of individuals engaged, captured, or detained after September 11, 2001, by the Armed Forces of the United States in operations outside of the United States." As long as the Defense Secretary certifies -- with no review possible -- that disclosure would "endanger" American citizens or our troops, then the photographs can be suppressed even if FOIA requires disclosure. The certification lasts 3 years and can be renewed indefinitely. The Senate passed the bill as an amendment last week.

    Just imagine if any other country did this. Imagine if a foreign government were accused of systematically torturing and otherwise brutally abusing detainees in its custody for years, and there was ample photographic evidence proving the extent and brutality of the abuse. Further imagine that the country's judiciary -- applying decades-old transparency laws -- ruled that the government was legally required to make that evidence public. But in response, that country's President demanded that those transparency laws be retroactively changed for no reason other than to explicitly empower him to keep the photographic evidence suppressed, and a compliant Congress then immediately passed a new law empowering the President to suppress that evidence. What kind of a country passes a law that has no purpose other than to empower its leader to suppress evidence of the torture it inflicted on people? Read the language of the bill; it doesn't even hide the fact that its only objective is to empower the President to conceal evidence of war crimes.

    Chris Floyd follows up.From an interview with Obama:Obama pledges in the interview that he will not try to impose American values on other countries. However, he also notes that certain values, such as "democracy, rule of law, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion" are universal, and thus fair game for other world leaders to be "encouraged" to uphold. 

    And he kept a straight face.

  37. Glenn Greenwald on some emails. 

    The New York Times was provided 3 extremely important internal Justice Department emails from April, 2005 (.pdf) -- all written by then-Deputy Attorney General Jim Comey -- which highlight how the Bush administration's torture techniques became legally authorized by Bush lawyers. As Marcy Wheeler documents, the leak to the NYT was clearly from someone eager to defend Bush officials by suggesting that Comey's emails prove that all DOJ lawyers --- even those opposed to torture on policy grounds -- agreed these techniques were legal, and the NYT reporters, Scott Shane and David Johnston, dutifully do the leakers' bidding by misleadingly depicting the Comey emails as vindication for Bush/Cheney (Headline: "U.S. Lawyers Agreed on the Legality of Brutal Tactic"; First Paragraph: "When Justice Department lawyers engaged in a sharp internal debate in 2005 over brutal interrogation techniques, even some who believed that using tough tactics was a serious mistake agreed on a basic point: the methods themselves were legal").

    I defy anyone to read Comey's 3 emails and walk away with that conclusion. Marcy has detailed many of the reasons the NYT article is so misleading, so I want to focus on what the Comey emails actually demonstrate about what these DOJ torture memos really are. The primary argument against prosecutions for Bush officials who ordered torture is that DOJ lawyers told the White House that these tactics were legal, and White House officials therefore had the right to rely on those legal opinions. The premise is that White House officials inquired in good faith with the DOJ about what they could and could not do under the law, and only ordered those tactics which the DOJ lawyers told them were legal. As these Comey emails prove, that simply is not what happened.

    And in case anyone thinks torture was new to the US, from Tom Engelhardt - Alfred W. McCoy. 

    If, like me, you've been following America's torture policies not just for the last few years, but for decades, you can't help but experience that eerie feeling of déjà vu these days. With the departure of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney from Washington and the arrival of Barack Obama, it may just be back to the future when it comes to torture policy, a turn away from a dark, do-it-yourself ethos and a return to the outsourcing of torture that went on, with the support of both Democrats and Republicans, in the Cold War years.

    Like Chile after the regime of General Augusto Pinochet or the Philippines after the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, Washington after Bush is now trapped in the painful politics of impunity. Unlike anything our allies have experienced, however, for Washington, and so for the rest of us, this may prove a political crisis without end or exit.

    Despite dozens of official inquiries in the five years since the Abu Ghraib photos first exposed our abuse of Iraqi detainees, the torture scandal continues to spread like a virus, infecting all who touch it, including now Obama himself. By embracing a specific methodology of torture, covertly developed by the CIA over decades using countless millions of taxpayer dollars and graphically revealed in those Iraqi prison photos, we have condemned ourselves to retreat from whatever promises might be made to end this sort of abuse and are instead already returning to a bipartisan consensus that made torture America's secret weapon throughout the Cold War.

  38. they did 'what they wanted' ...

     .. which, as we now know...

       .. can differ radically ...

         .. from 'what they should have'


    G'day Bob,

     .. took me a while, but I did get around to reading your GG-citation, including the emls (.pdf).

    Basically, the 'same-old same-old,' torture = Iraq = Israel; criminality rampant, the only 'difference' being how many, and over what time - get gruesomely murdered.

    And - of course - the (corrupt, venal) MSM, here the NYT, in it up to their bottom lips (don't make a wave...!)


    Then, nothing (much) has changed, not with GWbush to Obama (or Howard to Rudd); more 'same-old same-old,' as on other threads, all options vis-à-vis Iran still on the table; both the US & Aus increasing their 'commitments' in Afghanistan (going AfPak).

    Q: Did you know, that both the US & Aus are NOT FROM THERE, i.e. that both should, by 'rights,' be considered 'foreign invaders?' Hmmm?

  39. And over there, cowering under their beds .... Glenn Greenwald on fear and Uighurs. 

    The Obama administration announced today that it will pay $200 million to the tiny Pacific island-nation of Palau in exchange for Palau's agreement to accept 17 Chinese Uighurs who have been imprisoned at Guantanamo for seven years. The Uighurs have been locked away despite the fact that even the Bush Pentagon concluded years ago that they pose no threat whatsoever and were never "enemy combatants." They've been imprisoned by the U.S. despite being cleared because no other nation was willing to accept them, principally because the Chinese government considers them to be separatists and were demanding they be returned to China, and nobody wanted to offend China by accepting them.

    Writing on Michelle Malkin's blog Hot Air today, war-supporting tough guy Ed Morrissey is petrified about this development and, as a result, he has announced that he is now too fearful to consider visiting that island:

    Of course, with a recidivism rate for released Gitmo detainees of around 14%, odds are that a couple of the Uighurs might not be quite as cuddly as Obama promises. Hopefully it will work out all right for Palau and its tourists, but if I were making decisions on expensive South Pacific vacations, I’d start looking elsewhere.

    It's hard to put into words how inebriated with irrational fear someone has to be in order to be so scared of 17 Uighurs -- who were never guilty of anything -- that they would avoid traveling to whatever place this handful of persecuted individuals is located. But this is the right-wing movement at its core: its leaders cynically ratchet up fear levels as high as possible to justify whatever they want to do (invade Iraq, torture people, spy on Americans with no warrants) and their adherents (along with plenty of others) become more and more paralyzed by their fears of anything Muslim. This, after all, is the same faction that continues to shake with terror at the very idea that accused Terrorists will be brought to the U.S. -- in handcuffs, imprisoned, and disappeared into super-max facilities. And it is the same faction that made accepting the Uighurs into the U.S. politically unpalatable by threatening legislation -- The Keep Terrorists Out of America Act -- that would bar their entrance.

    There's a video and some fun comments. Well, you have to laugh at the armchair "warriors" who'd turn to water if they had to do their own dirty work.

  40. Murder they did. Chris Floyd on CIA assassination squads.

    Denial - or leave reality at the door. 

    The unreality that has long pervaded American politics, policy-making and media reportage is by now almost totally impenetrable. Both action and analysis in the most powerful nation in history now take place in a fantasy world, a simulacrum, a state of permanent amnesia in which facts -- established, confirmed, published -- vanish almost in the very moment of their appearance. Anyone who tries to reason their way through this feverish hallucination is bound to fail -- or succumb to the madness themselves.

    This hallucinatory quality of American public life has been on vivid display in recent days, with stories in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Newsweek and elsewhere about a secret CIA program to develop death squads to exterminate "top al Qaeda leaders" in Israeli-style "targeted assassinations." We are told that Dick Cheney was responsible for drawing up these plans -- and for illegally keeping them secret from Congressional oversight. We are also assured that these plans, promulgated by a presidential directive in 2001, "hadn't become fully operational" by the time that new CIA Director Leon Panetta terminated them after taking up his post earlier this year. The plans were developed, we're told, but never implemented. Still, the very fact of their existence is considered by some commentators as a grave scandal, one made even worse by Cheney's cover-up.

    A matter of bipartisanship. 

    Yesterday we wrote about the sudden-onset amnesia of our media-political class concerning the officially confirmed operations of American death squads. As we noted, official Washington is in a minor flutter at the moment over reports that Dick Cheney ordered and then concealed the existence of a planned program of targeted assassinations -- a program which was supposedly never implemented and was then supposedly cancelled by Obama CIA chief Leon Panetta. We merely pointed out the well-known fact -- supported by copious reportage in mainstream journals in the past eight years, not to mention proud public admissions by top government officials, including the president -- that the CIA (and other agents of the United States government) had indeed been murdering people in "extrajudicial assassinations" throughout the Bush Administration.

    I concentrated on state murder during the Bush years because that is the ostensible focus of the current, manufactured controversy over the alleged existence of one allegedly non-operational program. However, as Jeremy Scahill points out, the Bush-Cheney murder racket was not created ex nihilo, but was a continuation and refinement of murder programs initiated by Bill Clinton. Scahill also makes the pertinent observation that "extrajudicial assassination" -- known quaintly in the old days as murder most foul -- is continuing unabated under Barack Obama.

    The deep-dyed complicity of Democratic leaders, executive and congressional, in official murder sprees is the main reason we will never see a genuine investigation of America's death squads, as Scahill points out. Imperial crime is thoroughly bipartisan; neither faction dares push too far in such matters, because both are smeared and caked with blood.

  41. kill or corrupt (CIA)

     .. usually both ...

       .. if not worse ...

         .. dastardly criminal thugs


    G'day & thanks, Bob.

    'See' your c-f one/two, and raise you an antiwar:

    The CIA Is Not the President’s Private Army
    by Philip Giraldi
    June 16, 2009
      «It has been argued, correctly, that covert action is often successful in the short term in that it brings about the desired result but that the development rarely turns out to be positive in the long term because the covert action in itself inhibits healthy political tendencies in the targeted country. Most covert actions support elites and the military because they promise stability and support the U.S. policy. As a result, they are essentially anti-democratic and regressive in nature. Today the CIA is actively involved in covert action operations throughout Eastern Europe and in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Somalia. Not one of those countries is more stable or better governed because of the American intervention in its affairs. Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Somalia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are all measurably worse off than they were five years ago. Whatever one’s politics might be, it is clear that most observers understand that intervention in other countries, be it by the 101st Airborne or the CIA, just does not work and does not make the world a better or safer place. Quite the contrary.» 

    As usual, one should read the lot.

  42. A reminder of a president's duties. 

    Now to limp Dick:

    Ivan Eland

    Ray McGovern

    So far, the summer has been mild in the Washington area. But for former Vice President Dick Cheney, the temperature is well over 100 degrees. He is sweating profusely, and it is becoming increasingly clear why.

    Cheney has broken openly with former President George W. Bush on one issue of transcendent importance -- to Cheney. For whatever reason, Bush decided not to hand out blanket pardons before they both rode off into the sunset.

    Cheney has complained bitterly that his former chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby should have been pardoned, rather than simply having his jail sentence commuted.

    Cheney told the media that Bush left Libby "sort of hanging in the wind" by refusing to issue a pardon before leaving office. Libby had been convicted of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to federal agents investigating the leak of a former CIA operations officer's identity.

    "I believe firmly that Scooter was unjustly accused and prosecuted and deserved a pardon, and the president disagreed with that," Cheney said. He would disclose no details of his efforts to lobby Bush on Libby's behalf, saying they would be "best left to history."

    It is getting close to history time. You do not need to be a crackerjack analyst to understand that Cheney is feeling betrayed -- that he is thinking not of Libby, but of himself, and fearing that, if our system of justice works, he could be in for some serious, uncommuted jail time.

    Let us hope his nercousness is warranted.

  43. The things some people will do for Dick. 

    Pardon? Who suspected Libby as fall guy.

    Glenn Greenwald on the courts and terrorism convictions. 

    An important new report (.pdf) was released today by Human Rights First regarding the overwhelming success of the U.S. Government in obtaining convictions in federal court against accused Terrorists. The Report squarely contradicts the central claim of the Obama administration as to why preventive detention is needed: namely, that certain Terrorist suspects who are "too dangerous to release" -- whether those already at Guantanamo or those we might detain in the future -- cannot be tried in federal courts. This new data-intensive analysis -- written by two independent former federal prosecutors and current partners with Akin, Gump: Richard B. Zabel and James J. Benjamin, Jr. -- documents that "federal courts are continuing to build on their proven track records of serving as an effective and fair tool for incapacitating terrorists." 

    So why the abandoning of principles the US claims to hold dear?

    If you provide enough distractions people won't really grasp what has been happening. And look forward, don't look back. Tom Engelhardt does look back. 

    Not a pretty picture.

  44. More Dick - call out the troops. 

    Nothing new here, move along. 

    As regular as congressmen being taken in adultery or receiving cash bribes, every year or two the Central Intelligence Agency has go into damage-control mode to deal with embarrassing documents like the memo to Bill, and has to square up to the question – does it, did it ever, have its in-house assassins, a Double O team.

    It just happened. In mid-July the news headlines were suddenly full of allegations that in the wake of the 9/11/2001 attacks, vice president Dick Cheney had ordered the formation of a CIA kill squad and expressly ordered the Agency not to disclose the program even to congressional overseers with top security clearances, as required by law. As soon as CIA offials disclosed the program to CIA director Leon Panetta, he ordered it to be halted.

    And regular as the congressmen taken in adultery seeking forgiveness from God and spouse, the CIA rolled out the familiar response that yes, such a program had been mooted, but there had been practical impediments. “It sounds great in the movies, but when you try to do it, it’s not that easy,” one former intelligence official told the New York Times. “Where do you base them? What do they look like? Are they going to be sitting around at headquarters on 24-hour alert waiting to be called?” The C.I.A. insisted it had never proposed a specific operation to the White House for approval.

    With these pious denials we enter the Theater of the Absurd. We’re talking about a US Agency that ran the Phoenix Program, that supervised executive actions across Latin America, that…

    Too many people want to believe them and the MSM is only too willing to play its part.

  45. Oh! Darling (US, Israeli criminality)

     .. read this [2] ...

       .. then give up all hope.


    Oh! Darling, if you leave me
    I'll never make it alone
    Believe me when I beg you
    Don't ever leave me alone

    When you told me you didn't need me anymore
    Well you know I nearly broke down and cried ... [1]


    Blue sky; 'cheeping' pinks. No use, boys; it's over - for now at least.



    [1] Lennon/McCartney

    [2] Afghanistan: Training Ground for War on Russia
    NATO Trains Finland, Sweden For Conflict With Russia
    by Rick Rozoff
    Global Research, July 26, 2009
      «In a recent newspaper interview the Finnish Speaker of the Parliament Sauli Niinisto spoke of the surreptitious campaign underway - indeed almost completed - to pull his nation into an expanding worldwide military alliance despite its citizens not only being opposed to but not even aware of it.» 
    [globalresearch/Rozoff, ibid.]

    Translation (as if any were needed): the US is criminally rampant - and out of all humanitarian control.

    Recall the recent 'bipartisan' appeal by both Rudd & Turnbull; attempting to 'explain' why 'our boys' are sent to kill - but are also dying in Afghanistan, pure rubbishy & lying propaganda.

    Note from the above quote: ... despite its citizens not only being opposed to but not even aware ...

    So much for peace, honour etc. (Recall the '47/8-till-today outrage of the filthy alien Z's invasion of Palestine as a mere by-product.)

    Since 1945 at least, the locus of evil (permanently(??!)) settled in Washington, DC.

    The US - and illegitimate sprog Israel - understand nothing but 'murder for spoil.'

  46. Two articles by Glenn Greenwald:

    The WAPO and the law and Yoo. 

    For all the talk about how Bush/Cheney executive power theories created a lawless presidency, the "principle" about to be institutionalized -- and that the Post Editorial Page today expressly endorses -- will do more to spawn presidential lawlessness than all of those DOJ memos combined. We now apparently believe that Presidents are free to break the law as long as they can find a low-level DOJ functionary to write a memo justifying that conduct in advance. It's impossible to imagine any President -- occupying the most powerful political office in the country and commanding blind loyalty from all sorts of operatives -- who would be unable to find a lawyer-underling willing to endorse whatever he wants to do. Richard Nixon had lawyers defending what he did in Watergate. Ronald Reagan had lawyers defending what he did in arming Iran in order to fund the Nicaraguan contras in violation of the law. George Bush had lawyers justifying his spying on Americans without warrants even though FISA criminalized exactly that. And Dick Cheney had lawyers justifying his torture regime. That's always going to be true.

    If, as appears to be the case, this is the principle by which we're now governed -- presidential acts in blatant violation of clear statutes are no longer crimes if a DOJ lawyer justifies it in advance, even using legal reasoning found to be in bad faith -- then, by definition, Presidents are literally no longer bound by the rule of law. If the crimes are embarrassing enough, we'll find a Lynndie England -- or some obscure, easily demonizable, extra-sadistic CIA interrogator -- to scapegoat and punish in order to pacify the citizenry and create the illusion that the rule of law still prevails. But the one thing that remains off-limits in Washington culture above all else is subjecting high-level political officials to the rule of law when they commit crimes. The low-level scapegoating which the Post today endorses is the approach which, by all accounts, Eric Holder is likely to pursue.

    Oaths of office are so easily forgotten.

    A lack of a sense of irony is no more marked than amongst the neocons, and noone can be held as a greater example than Bill "One day I might get something right" Kristol. 

    And media outlets still employ him!

  47. Evidence? Due process? But these are the worst of the worst. 

    This week, two more Guantanamo detainees -- Khaled Al-Mutairi from Kuwait and Mohamed Jawad of Afghanistan -- were ordered released by federal judges on the ground that there was insufficient evidence to justify their detention. The Washington Independent's Daphne Eviatar notes this amazing fact: "In 28 of 33 Gitmo detainee cases heard so far, federal judges have found insufficient evidence to support keeping them in prison." Virtually all of those detainees were held for many years without charges and with no opportunity for judicial review. Once they finally got into a court, federal judges (including Bush-43 appointed judges) in the vast majority of cases concluded there was virtually no credible evidence ever to justify their detention. Just consider what that fact, standing alone, means about what our Government has been doing.

    The case of Jawad is particularly striking because he was a young teenager -- possibly as young as 12 -- when he was shipped to Guantanamo in 2002; unquestionably tortured; never accused of being a member of either Al Qaeda or the Taliban; barely saved after a suicide attempt in 2003; and then kept in a cage for seven years and counting with no charges. I wrote at length about Jawad's case here, and Scott Horton summarizes some of the miserable lowlights of his case today here. As Andy Worthington reports, so unpersuasive was the case against Jawad -- particularly once the "confession" he gave after being threatened with his own death and his family's death were, over the objections of the Obama DOJ, excluded -- that the federal judge excoriated the Obama DOJ with an unusually strident and hostile tone for attempting to continue his detention. Adam Serwer considers the implications of Jawad's habeas victory, as well as the fact that the Obama DOJ may try now to indict him on actual criminal charges in order still to prevent his release even in light of the judge's ruling.

    So much for the city on a hill ...

  48. Not on a hill but somewhere much, much lower. How low can they go? 

    "Yasser tearfully described that when he reached the top of the steps 'the party began. … They started to put the [muzzle] of the rifle [and] the wood from the broom into [my anus]. They entered my privates from behind.' ... Yasser estimated that he was penetrated five or six times during this initial sodomy incident and saw blood 'all over my feet' through a small hole in the hood covering his eyes." – by Physicians for Human Rights' "Broken Laws, Broken Lives," a report containing firsthand accounts of men who endured torture by U.S. personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay. 

    Truth, justice, and the American way ...

    Look forward, not back. Chris Floyd on Obama as Cheney. 

    For anyone still harboring a few scraps of vestigial hope that the change of administration effected by the 2008 election would restore even a thin, weak, straggly lineament thin of the rule of law in the United States, the recent opinion piece by Barack Obama's hand-picked CIA chief, the doleful Establishment water-toter Leon Panetta, will tell you all you need to know.

    In the friendly confines of the authoritarian newsletter known as the Washington Post -- Panetta, the weak reed appointed precisely because of his weakness and reedness by Obama, who then surrounded the little puppet with some of the most complicit torture mavens of the Bush Regime to really run the CIA show -- delivered himself of one of the most cringe-worthy performances by a high public official since the ritual abasements of Stalin's 1930s show trials. In this case, however, Panetta was not making a ludicrous, outrageous confession of false crimes he never committed; instead, he was making a ludicrous, outrageous defense of real crimes committed by Obama's predecessors -- and in the process justifying his boss's craven (if entirely predictable) failure to faithfully execute the laws of the United States, as he swore to do in front of so many swooning millions just a few months ago, and prosecute the top Bushists for their manifest (not to mention openly confessed) high crimes.

    And how do they treat their own citizens? Floyd again, this one on incarceration. 

    Amd what of those who truly deserve to face justice? They are, apparently, above the law.

  49. I saw the headline to the latest Glenn Greenwald article and somehow knew the comment was not directed at the US:

    Hillary Clinton demands accountability for war crimes 

    The article begins with commentary on some allegations of the behaviour of a well-connected American:

    Blackwater expert Jeremy Scahill reports in The Nation that "a former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company" alleged in a sworn statement:

    that the company's owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life."

    Though these are allegations at this point, the various abuses and crimes of Blackwater are well-documented, and nobody has done a better job of doing that than Scahill. Prince, a supporter of the most extremist right-wing Christian groups including Focus on the Family, built what can only be described as a large private army that the U.S. Government uses, one that -- as Scahill put it -- "has operatives deployed in nine other countries around the world, can boast of a force of 20,000 men to call on at a moment’s notice, has a fleet of aircrafts." About these reports, a reader, Carolyn Clark, makes this point via email:

    What if the situation were reversed, if this country was invaded and occupied by a Muslim country? What if mercenaries were loosed on our population, with the purpose of killing as many of us as possible, sent by the democratically-elected government of this Muslim country, with no ensuing outcry from the citizenry as atrocity after atrocity is reported?

    Would this not be seen as a war crime of the highest order, and would not the citizens of this country be responsible for complicity in these crimes?

    Then on to Hillary telling Kenyans how things should be done in a "do as we say" moment. But Hillary has not gone rogue on this matter - Obama has been down that road as well:

    Clinton's sentiments echoed what Obama told Africans when he spoke in Ghana last month, when he demanded that they apply "the rule of law, which ensures the equal administration of justice" and vowed that "we will stand behind efforts to hold war criminals accountable" -- meaning African war criminals. 

    Practice what you preach. I hesitate to suggest that the US take up a broom and clean house as they seem to have entirely different uses for brooms.

  50. Good day for jokes:

    Rudd serial killer comments 'a joke'
    Posted August 6, 2009 10:12:00 | Updated August 6, 2009 11:14:00

    A US TV anchor who labelled Kevin Rudd a serial killer for authorising a camel cull says her comments were a joke.

    Tags: federal-government, human-interest, offbeat, rudd-kevin, australia, united-states

    Quote: "Okay, well do you know what he is doing? He has launched air strikes - air strikes - against camels in the outback."

    OK, that was camels. I wonder how many innocent *people* the US has murdered, starting say in Hiroshima (64 years ago today), down to today, with its illegal invasions, brutal occupations, and the current 'sweetener,' robot killing drones?

  51. There is a vast 'disconnect' here, a so-called 'elephant in the room' of such magnitude that most *could* see it - if they wished to look - but the vast majority don't seem to.

    Some say it's irony, others greed - and the AusBC tells us so-called 'noble lies.' The AusBC obviously includes itself as a so-called 'élite' component. Call it geo-politics, call it strategic, call it whatever you like - but the very real 'elephant,' actually an albatross around our, we the sheople's necks - is murder for spoil. The US does it almost all the time, almost everywhere there are resources it coverts - or just people resisting the US' depredations. The Israelis do it, starting in '47/8 in the 'modern era,' continuing through today and into the bitter future - nobody seems capable of stopping their utterly criminal, foul deeds.

    In so-called democracies, the sheople are said to be 'responsible' for the acts of their so-called 'representatives,' so the US and *Jewish* sheople are held directly responsible for the dastardly crimes perpetrated - in their names. (There are some, but not nearly enough, nor effective enough, dissenters.)

    I'm no Yank, nor Jewish - merely a 'boy from the bush.' I grew up accepting the tenets of the enlightenment; let's use the French version "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity."

    Decent people the world over don't 'do' crimes, yet as so-called 'world leaders,' the US (with its illegal sprog & side-kick Israel) perpetrate mass murder to steal resources, land and water. Who gives them permission? If not permission, then who tries to stop them?

    The Aus government, the German government, lots around the world, 'swallow' the US & Israeli *criminal* narratives. Why? Not just BTW, thugs murdering to steal are in no way 'élite,' nor are their accessories & apologists. Merely common criminals, the whole ugly lot.


    But however any of these so-called 'leaders' debase themselves, none of them do so in my name.

  52. More on those leaders - in the spotlight on this occasion is Hillary (Not Bill) Clinton. Chris Floyd provides an account of H's visit to Somalia which was part of "Hillary Does Africa". H is, of course, spreading peace and light everywhere she goes: 

    So what do we see from the administration of "hope and change"? We see -- wait for it -- a new "surge" of direct American involvement in the war, with Obama's most ferocious war hawk -- sorry, his top diplomat -- Hillary "The Obliterator" Clinton leading the charge. As Jason Ditz at Antiwar.com reports, Clinton has pledged to double the recently announced supply of American weapons to Somalia's "transitional government" -- a weak reed cobbled together by Western interests from various CIA-paid warlords and other factions, and now headed, ironically, by the former leader of the aforementioned fledgling state overthrown by Washington. (Yes, it is hard to tell the players without a scorecard -- or even with one. But if you follow the weapons and the money, you can usually tell who is temporarily on which side at any given moment.) 

    There is the usual lack of a sense of irony which CF nails very sharply.

  53. Glenn Greenwald is back from a break and has a tale of another traveling Merkin pollie. In the past Dems have been lambasted by Repugs for criticising US policy whilst abroad ...but what if you are a Repug and in Israel?

    As a hint, there's enough hyocrisy to raise the Dead Sea to sea level.

  54. Where all others have failed, the US will be the exception. At least in the minds of those who determine the policy and make the money. Chris Floyd on the US and Afghanistan. 

    In difficult circumstances it is wise to seek counsel, as Hillary has:

    It's 1970. Nixon is angry: the Air Force is not killing enough people in Cambodia, the country he's just illegally invaded without the slightest pretense of Congressional approval. The flyboys are doing "milk runs," their intelligence-gathering for targets is too tame, too by-the-book. There are "other methods of getting intelligence," Nixon tells Kissinger. "You understand what I mean?" "Yes, I do," pipes the loyal retainer.

    Nixon then orders Kissinger to send every available plane into Cambodia -- bombers, fighters, helicopters, prop planes--to 'crack the hell out of them,' smother the entire country with deadly fire: "I want them to hit everything." Kissinger dutifully calls his own top aide, General Alexander Haig, and tells him to try to implement the plan: "He wants a massive bombing campaign in Cambodia," Kissinger says. "It's an order, it's to be done. Anything that flies on anything that moves."

    Just the chap to ask. But if there was justice you wouldn't dare and he wouldn't be in a position to respond.

  55. elementary, Dear Bob

    .. what we learned in kindergarten ...

      .. the US (& Israel) refuse to learn ...

        .. in any school, from elementary[1] on


    "Never hit anybody; don't touch things that aren't yours!"

    From Bob's citation:

    The Gadarene Gambit: Surging Over the Cliff in Afghanistan
    Written by Chris Floyd
    Tuesday, 18 August 2009 16:33
      « ... — they are Afghans," he said. "The reason they are fighting is because they are not getting the opportunity to make peace."

    But they are not going to get that opportunity. Instead, Obama and the Brits are getting ready to pour thousands of more troops into the cauldron. And when that fails, as it inevitably will, what will they try next? "Anything that flies on anything that moves"?»


    Our 'news' broadcasts, also via and from the AusBC, speak of militants, of insurgents, of radical Muslims; all 'loaded' terms, when those being attacked by the US and their cowardly-quisling 'supporters' (primarily UK, but many others, including to our great shame Aus) - those being attacked, slaughtered a more accurate term, those being attacked are 'merely' hapless natives, people having the misfortune to have been born there, where the US coverts some resource. Just like in Iraq (oil), and vis-à-vis Israel, the hapless Palestinians (land, water.)

    A recent report on 7:30 disclosed that the 'allied' aerial bombings have an estimated 2% 'success rate' of killing the actual intended 'targets,' and note that these targets do not get anything even approaching 'due process;' they are targets of *suspicion* only. The other 98% *murdered* are termed 'collaterals' - known to any and all reasonable people as totally innocent victims.

    Another report I saw was this:
      «Send more troops 'to remain key US ally': Australia has been told that while its alliance with America remains strong, the "man of steel" bonds between former President George W. Bush and former Prime Minister John Howard have weakened.» 


    In a so-called 'democracy,' we the sheople are held responsible for the actions of our so-called 'leaders;' as our so-called 'representatives,' they are carrying out the so-called 'will of the people.'

    Odd then, that we are told lies, not 'just' by politicians, but by the messengers too, like the AusBC. IF we as a nation are to kill Afghans (for a pipeline), Iraqis (for oil), Iranians (ditto) next perhaps, THEN a) we should be properly informed, and b) asked the question directly.

    Q: Did/does any of this happen?



    [1] A school for children, typically older than toddlers and younger than adolescents. In the U.S., elementary schools cover grades 1 through 5, and the ages of the children are usually 6-11 years. At a minimum, elementary schools will teach basic reading, writing, arithmetic, and history

  56. The murders , the lies, the theft of others' resources ... but nothing new, just ask the Native-Americans, those that remain. Back to the inspiration - John Winthrop in 1630:

    For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken... we shall be made a story and a by-word throughout the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God... We shall shame the faces of many of God's worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us til we be consumed out of the good land whither we are a-going. 

    Fine sounding words but then the realisation strikes - the hill belonged to someone else, so ...

    Chris Floyd addresses himself to an article by Willian Pfaff. 

    Juan Cole on lies. 

    Includes a link to this matter. 

    Despite its recent attempt to rebrand itself as Xe Services, Blackwater, the private military empire of Erik Prince, has struggled under a growing weight of allegations surrounding its conduct in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now further questions have been raised by claims it was subcontracted by the CIA during the George Bush presidency to run an unrealised campaign of assassinations of al-Qaida leaders kept secret from Congress.

    The claims come hard on the heels of the allegations made in sworn affidavits to a federal court in Virginia earlier this month by two former Blackwater employees that Prince may have had a role in the murder of individuals co-operating with a US government investigation into the company.

    While the allegations of the two men cannot be verified independently, the combination of the two affairs – on top of Blackwater's already notorious reputation from Iraq – has added a Robert Ludlumesque aura of intrigue to a secretive company named after the US Navy Seals name for a "black op".

    Prince has had to contend with widely reported allegations – contained in the sworn statements – that he "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe".

    More from Ray McGovern. 

    A note on hills - the British imposed a limit on the westward expansion of their American colonies. Then there was the "War of Independence".

  57. sham and shame (US torture)

    .. (perforce, a 'quickie')


    G'day Bob, and thanks for the links.

    The sham, part 1:

    The wo/man in the street will think as instructed; the propagandists have now so refined their techniques, such that 'the common wo/man' does not realise at all that s/he is being 'programmed.'

    The sham, part 2:

    The law, we are assured, is an ass. The law is totally plastic; it can be whatever they (our so-called 'lords and masters') want it to be. One 'terrific' example is the estimated 1.3+mio 'extra' dead in Iraq (extra = over and above the 'background' death rate), basically 1.3+mio innocents, who died as a direct result of the non-UNSC-approved US + coerced 'allies' invasion of Iraq. Despite the invasion obviously being of the 'Nuremberg' class, not a single person is being pursued for illegally killing (IMHO murdering) any of those hapless 1.3+mio.

    The sham, part 3:

    A so-called 'democracy' depends on a few prerequisites, one of which is a 'full and free' flow of information, another is an aware and engaged electorate. IF we the sheople are lied to THEN we have no chance to make a valid democratic choice (assuming such was on offer; IMHO not). So it is with propaganda, the wo/man in the street will say "They (the tortured) had it coming;" "We (the land of the free) may do *anything* (torture, outright murder) to defend our freedoms."


    The shame is that it is all bulls**t, and not only do our so-called 'lords and masters' know it, but that public broadcasters (like the AusBC) pass on *and amplify* the propagandistic lies.

    Then, having said all that, any inquiry into any of the viciously illegal internals of the US (or any coerced 'ally') is highly unlikely to result in the prosecution of any criminal perpetrator (not for no reason are such enquiries often termed 'whitewashes'); the criminality is sooo embedded that nothing short of a complete disaster (for the so-called 'ruling élites') will ever stop their filthy crimes. Sadly.

    The greatest shame of all, is that there are clever people 'out there' who both realise what is happening but nevertheless 'allow' (no effective opposition = allow by default) - allow the crimes to continue; *where are the adults?*


    One must inspect the result in Iraq to appreciate the utter brutality that has been inflicted. Here is such a view:

    The US War against Iraq
    The Destruction of a Civilization
    By James Petras
    August 21, 2009
      «The US imperial conquest of Iraq is built on the destruction of a modern secular republic. The cultural desert that remains (a Biblical ‘howling wilderness’ soaked in the blood of Iraq’s precious scholars) is controlled by mega-swindlers, mercenary thugs posing as ‘Iraqi officers’, tribal and ethnic cultural illiterates and medieval religious figures. They operate under the guidance and direction of West Point graduates holding ‘blue-prints for empire’, formulated by graduates of Princeton, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Yale and Chicago, eager to serve the interests of American and European multi-national corporations.» 

    As usual, my 'snip' can only be indicative; one should read it all to appreciate the extent of the crimes.

    Also as usual, the wo/man in the street will say (as the propaganda has programmed them): "Well, we have to protect our oil supplies," totally not noticing that it's actually *not* our oil.

    Also as no surprise, the same so-called ‘El Salvador solution’ is now being extended into Afghanistan - and will also 'arrive' in Iran, unless the hapless Iranians successfully maintain their resistance.

  58. More from Glenn Greenwald here - what was don, and here - om what is, as opposed to what some think (or say).

    Chris Floyd. 

    And Dick weighs in. 

    As it appears there is a reluctance to hold responsible those who really are responsible, Dick is able mouth off, as hypocritical as it is. What we really should be hearing from him, and other senior members of the Bush administration, us the answer to the question "How do you plead, guilty or not guilty?"

  59. The Torture Archive - a link to the 83,000 GWU National Security Archive's torture archive, amongst other resources.

    Ray McGovern.

  60. "This is not the CIA in which I served for 27 years."

    .. well, how many CIAs are there then? ...

      .. at least one CIA has been very bad ...

        .. for at least the last 46 years[1]


    All this IMHO, as usual and of course; g'day Bob.


    Long story short: in any crime investigation, elementary considerations are motive, means and opportunity; if at all possible, one gathers actual evidence.

    1. Motive: The US rips the world off, evidence is with 5% of the world's population, they consume 25% of the world's resources. They don't so much *buy* stuff (with their printed but essentially worthless fiat $s); their preferred method of resource-acquisition is murder for spoil - see Perkins' "Economic Hit Man."

    2. Means: The US spends more on armaments than the rest of the world combined, all the while laughing in our faces; deploying their so-called 'defense' forces to invade - see Afghanistan, Iraq and (possibly, probably) Iran next.

    3. Opportunity: They make their own. See Gulf of Tonkin, and all the ugly etceteras. Dare we include 9/11? (Three, not two struck by aircraft, but all three falling precisely into their own footprints? Sorry, but (again IMHO) nature just doesn't work like that.)

    4. Evidence: Glaring; hidden - in plain sight - by propagandistic lies via and actively by the corrupt & venal MSM, including big bits of the AusBC (boo! Hiss!) But: the sheople have been deliberately psychologically crippled; the US says one thing ("Truth, justice" etc.) and does another. Read this (previously cited.)


    The world is dominated (one can hardly say 'ruled;' they claim democracy but our democracies are sham) by a psychotic and criminal so-called 'élite.' We can see (internet investigations) the who, the how, and their filthy 'rationalisations.'

    The CIA is one of their prime tools, and it has been bad, very bad, almost if not actually from very first moments of its creation. Consider the chilling words "the so-called ‘El Salvador solution.’"

    Q: IF the CIA (management, staff, contractors & dupes) are actively involved in brutal murder THEN why would they shy from torture?

    A: We can't expect the dominating 'élite' to bring justice; it'd simply be suicide. They never have an enquiry that produces 'real' results, look at 9/11, UK scientist David Kelly & 'the Irises;' their enquiries almost exclusively produce only excuses and/or scapegoats. Only a tool could say "This is not the CIA in which I served for 27 years" - meaning that 'his' CIA was somehow different from the viciously criminal CIA that we can see - and expect to be believable.


    PS There are at least four groups of people; (1) the so-called psychotic and criminal 'élite,' (2) their 'running-dogs,' the accessories & apologists, (3) the poor, deluded sheople (who largely accept the lies), and (4) those left, those who can see the crimes but don't partake. Q: Can (4) overturn the criminals, restore truth & justice? Hoping so is actually hopeless; don't just sit there, do something - useful, effective!



    [1] You don't have to take my word for it:

    Web Results 1 - 50 of about 20,800,000 for first CIA coup. (0.37 secs)

  61. 9/11 was merely

    .. shock and awe ...

      .. for the sheople ...

        .. if the cap fits, wear it


    Quote: Learned helplessness as a technical term in animal psychology and related human psychology means a condition of a human being or an animal in which it has learned to behave helplessly, even when the opportunity is restored for it to help itself by avoiding an unpleasant or harmful circumstance to which it has been subjected. Learned helplessness theory is the view that clinical depression and related mental illnesses result from a perceived absence of control over the outcome of a situation (Seligman, 1975).


    The corresponding characteristic in humans has been found to correlate highly with optimism; however, not a naïve Polyannaish optimism, but an explanatory style that views the situation as other than personal, pervasive, or permanent. This distinction between people who adapt and those who break down under long-term psychological pressure was also studied in the 1950s in the context of brainwashing.


    A similar experiment was done with people who performed mental tasks in the presence of distracting noise. If the person could use a switch to turn off the noise, his performance improved, even though he rarely bothered to turn off the noise. Simply being aware of this option was enough to substantially counteract its distracting effect (Hiroto and Seligman, 1975).


    People with pessimistic explanatory style - which sees negative events as permanent ("it will never change"), personal ("it's my fault"), and pervasive ("I can't do anything correctly") - are most likely to suffer from learned helplessness and depression (Peterson, Maier, & Seligman 1993). Cognitive behavioral therapy, heavily endorsed by Seligman, can help people to learn more realistic explanatory styles, and can help ease depression.


    In all cases, the strongest predictor of a depressive response was lack of control over the negative stimulus.



    Q: What did B, B & H show us?

    A: That we had no control.


    PS IMHO, the above contains both a key explanation and a possible way out.

  62. Part 1 if an interview with Lawrence Wilkerson> by Andy Worthington.

    "The worst of the worst":

    Lawrence Wilkerson: I received one particular assessment from a person for whom I had no reason whatsoever to believe that he would give me an inaccurate portrayal — and one reason was, that was his character, but another reason was that he had no dog in the fight — and his estimate of the number of people — I think it was 741 or 742 that we suddenly had on a piece of paper somewhere — of any significance was as follows. He said, “I’ll tell you right now that 700 of them haven’t done a damn thing except get in the way of somebody capturing them.”

    Andy Worthington: Right, and those are the kinds of figures that we’re down to. I mean, back in March, you stated that no more than a couple of dozen had any serious intelligence value …

    Lawrence Wilkerson: The other thing — I laughed at this when I first heard it, but now I realize it was probably closer to the truth than anything the administration said — when Bush announced in September 2006, with some degree of trepidation, that he’d transferred these 14 to Guantánamo out of the secret prisons. Now I realize that they made that transfer principally so they could get some hardcore terrorists to Guantánamo.

    The CIA - nothing new:

    It is now clear that we are facing an implacable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination by whatever means and at whatever cost. There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto acceptable norms of human conduct do not apply. If the United States is to survive, long-standing American concepts of "fair play" must be reconsidered. 

    No, not Cheney, but Eisenhower.

  63. Chris Floyd follows up the Rendon story. Would the Pentagon lie?

    Well, Stars and Stripes has done something almost unheard-of in modern journalism – followed up on a story with a skeptical stance toward the bland assurances of authority – and guess what they found? Go ahead, try – you'll never guess. They found that the Pentagon was lying! From S&S:

    Contrary to the insistence of Pentagon officials this week that they are not rating the work of reporters covering U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Stars and Stripes has obtained documents that prove that reporters’ coverage is being graded as “positive,” “neutral” or “negative.”

    Moreover, the documents — recent confidential profiles of the work of individual reporters prepared by a Pentagon contractor — indicate that the ratings are intended to help Pentagon image-makers manipulate the types of stories that reporters produce while they are embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

    Well, I never! The Pentagon -- run by honest Brother Bob Gates, who is such a straight arrow that the saintly progressive Barack Obama carried him over from the Bush Regime to keep running our "overseas contingency operations -- has been caught lying through its teeth! What next? Obama spending his vacation playing golf with sleazy Swiss bankers or something?

    Well, that's one.

  64. blow back ...

    .. push back ...

      .. regressive; no shining light ...

        .. only descent - ever deeper into darkness


    'Nice' quote from Eisenhower; g'day (from Badalona.)

    We saw something similar from one of their 'prime planners' (Kennan) «... when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts.»

    AFAIK, what none of them were heard to say, up until Cheney, was anything like this:

    Closing In on the Torturers
    August 26, 2009
      «"We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will. We've got to spend time in the shadows ...
    “That's the world these folks operate in, and so it's going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal, basically, to achieve our objective."»

    BTW, I don't have a lot of respect for McGovern; I don't think he's established enough credible 'distance' from his own past.


    That's not what I wish to discuss, but this: see how they always accuse *the other side* of being crooked? Of course, it's nothing but a (filthy) trick. The boot is entirely on the other foot; it's the US (& IL) who are the baddies - they set the class of the field, all the rest have to compete ...

     .. in a race to the bottom.

    Q: Where are the adults?


    PS It's become unavoidably obvious, that we the sheople are being lied to. Since the only purpose of lies is to deceive; the question then becomes, what are they trying to hide? That's now also become unavoidably obvious, that the liars are crooks - but not plain, ordinary crooks, rather really bad criminals, mass-murdering to steal. Nice!

  65. Taking exception to the release of one man but ...

    A week ago, two convicted mass murderers leaped back into public consciousness as news coverage of their stories briefly intersected. One was freed from prison, continuing to proclaim his innocence, and his release was vehemently denounced in the United States as were the well-wishers who welcomed him home. The other expressed his contrition, after almost 35 years living in his country in a state of freedom, and few commented. 

    Tomdisdpatch/Nick Turse. 

    The two men:

    When Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the Libyan sentenced in 2001 to 27 years in prison for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, was released from incarceration by the Scottish government on "compassionate grounds," a furor erupted. On August 22nd, ABC World News with Charles Gibson featured a segment on outrage over the Libyan's release. It was aired shortly before a report on an apology offered by William Calley, who, in 1971 as a young lieutenant, was sentenced to life in prison for the massacre of civilians in the Vietnamese village of My Lai.

    After al-Megrahi, who served eight years in prison, arrived home to a hero's welcome in Libya, officials in Washington expressed their dismay. To White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, it was "outrageous and disgusting"; to President Barack Obama, "highly objectionable." Calley, who admitted at trial to killing Vietnamese civilians personally, but served only three years of house arrest following an intervention by President Richard Nixon, received a standing ovation from the Kiwanis Club of Greater Columbus, Georgia, the city where he lived for years following the war. (He now resides in Atlanta.) For him, there was no such uproar, and no one, apparently, thought to ask either Gibbs or the president for comment, despite the eerie confluence of the two men and their fates.

    So why should there be an uproar:\

    If you recall what actually happened at My Lai, Calley's more-than-40-years-late apology cannot help but ring hollow. Not only were more than 500 defenseless civilians slaughtered by Calley and some of the 100 troops who stormed the village on March 16, 1968, but women and girls were brutally raped, bodies were horrifically mutilated, homes set aflame, animals tortured and killed, the local water supply fouled, and the village razed to the ground. Some of the civilians were killed in their bomb shelters, others when they tried to leave them. Women holding infants were gunned down. Others, gathered together, threw themselves on top of their children as they were sprayed with automatic rifle fire. Children, even babies, were executed at close range. Many were slaughtered in an irrigation ditch. 

  66. Never mind, the media is on the job. Well, perhaps not. Two pieces about the Washington Post going to bat for the torturers - Ray McGovern and Glenn Greenwald.

    Will things improve? GG again with a piece about a new appointment to the NBC "Today" show.

    It has been called the "Fawning Corporate Media". I wonder why?

  67. The more things change ... from Tom Engelhardt a piece by David Swanson on continuity.

    Chris Floyd follows up.

    ... the more they stay the same.

    Glenn Greenwald on personality cults from those notorious for their lack of a sense of irony. And extremely short memories.

    Swearing allegiance to The Leader - not a new idea.

  68. They (the smart arses everywhere - also in the AusBC) - call it "war" - but it's not a war, it's armed theft including murder. They (the same smart arses) call it "energy security" - but of course it's not; the true owners of any resource (oil, gas, iron ore, all the etceteras) pretty-well have to sell, because to leave it in the ground would bring them nothing. In a free and fair market, the true owners would get a fair return, "they" (the wicked war criminals) wish to steal the resource, rather that pay anything approaching a fair price - like we the sheople hope and work for, when we go shopping - say. They (you get the picture) call it all sorts of 'clever' things, like "strategy" - but all it is psychopathic criminality. One can't have a properly functioning democracy without an actively interested and fully informed electorate - yet even 'our' AusBC passes on (and often contributes to) the flood of lying propaganda. The 'democratic covenant' is that we, the sheople delegate to our elected representatives, who are to govern with the guidance of the majority, whilst protecting the interests of any minority. The process is termed 'leadership,' but what we get is sycophantic 'representatives' aiding the true crooks, the criminal war profiteers. Once more, we can't function in a fug of lies; it is incumbent on us all to 'bring them to justice' by demanding an end to the lies - on the way to restoring justice to our poor abused once jewel-like world.

  69. G'day Id, I'm sure there will be more material to fire you up in the following in the following pieces.

    First, Part Two of the Wilkerson interview. Read more about the "worst of the worst"! But surely that's Dick.

    As there has just been an anniversary, Chris Floyd revisits past articles.

    Afghanistan and delusions.

    How to end civilisation as we know it. The first installment of Daniel Ellsberg on US plans for nuclear war.

  70. Comments to Conn Hallinan's fpif article (g'day Bob).

    1. Language: "insurgency" is the wrong word (insurgent —adj. in active revolt. —n. rebel.  insurgence n. [Latin surgo surrect- rise] [POD]), since it could only be termed a revolt if the government/authorities being resisted were *legal* - the current regime in Afghanistan is a product of US invasion/occupation, itself considered illegal by many (no UN 'permission' was obtained, only an 'acknowledgment' some 2yrs after the fact). The correct term is an invasion/occupation being resisted by legal residents; i.e. a war of liberation.

    The point here is not merely terminology; alleging "anti-insurgency" carries propaganda baggage implying some sort of legitimate aim, the real aims are all totally illegitimate.

    2. The stated aim ("GWoT") is bogus; recall the 'carpet of gold or bombs,' the US wants a pipeline (mentioned later in the article, and to rip off any other available resources, as is the US(UK) S.O.P.) The correct term is murder for spoil.

    3. "Hearts and minds" is never possible when the aims are crooked. Freeing Iraq of a tyrant might have been one thing the US could have claimed credit for - if they'd done that and then immediately left. The aim was *always* the oil (not even just 'control'); the US tries to insist on ripping-off all except the tiniest pittance for the sovereign owners. Same for Afghanistan, the US aims to subjugate, and almost all native resistance is directed at opposing that. What the US did in Iraq was to install/recruit corrupt criminals at all levels, eliminating - or bribing and/or corrupting - or just killing - remaining resistance. Intellectuals, for instance, are not too amenable to corruption, so those who didn't flee were targeted for slaughter. Ditto for Afghanistan; it is McChrystal's "claim to fame," the El Salvador death-squad style operation.

    4. Home resistance doesn't count in the US (and Aus), hardly counts in the UK but the German situation is a bit different, since the people were earlier convinced that the German army was not going there to fight. This has changed recently with the tanker-slaughter imbroglio; popular sentiment has awoken to the lies. In other words, in the US, UK & Aus, propaganda *PLUS* the fact that the electorates and democracies are buggered means that the so-called L/R or Prog/Cons duopoly may do almost anything they want, essentially unhampered by popular sentiment (another way to say this is that the US, UK & Aus antiwar movements gave up after B, B & H ignored them.)

    5. Troup number calculations will be made for Afghanistan so that the in-country resistance will be neutralised, as it has largely been done in Iraq. The US knows that it must maintain the occupying jackboot on the neck, hence the expression "long war." It's all part of the *further*, *continual* descent into crime. Brave but reduced resistance will continue. What would you do, say "OK, take it all?"

    6. Other than these remarks, I have no *serious* disagreement with the article, since its 'heart' is in the right place - except for this final quibble: The theme "What are these people thinking?" implies that "these people" are capable of 'normal' thought. IMHO, the 'business model' demonstrated by the US & UK (with IL as the illegitimate tail of the rabid US dog, and Aus as the dag on the Imperial arse) - is psychopathic (psychopath n. 1 mentally deranged person, esp. showing abnormal or violent social behaviour. 2 mentally or emotionally unstable person.  psychopathic adj. [ibid.]).

  71. extra-judicial killings (US, Israel)

    .. are murders re-named ...

      .. or are they 'legitimate' acts ...

        .. depending 'merely' on one's POV?


    G'day Bob, and thanks for another couple of great citations. Concentrating on the Chris Floyd, some of the commenters queried one basis for Floyd's article, saying a single 'faux news' item was a poor choice as being possibly too 'thin.' But (and there's almost always a but) that's really neither here nor there. Floyd goes on to quote the NYT describing one possible end result of Obama's command(s), and that (i.e. the NYT) is totally = 101% authoritative for the US 'establishment' (never mind the Judith Miller lies, say; such filthy & premeditated lies are also part of the US 'establishment.') The NYT article contains 2 * Islam, 4 * militant and 8 * Qaeda = just the 'right' mix - for their wicked purposes. But that too, is not Floyd's main thesis, which is that Obama = GWBush to as many significant decimal places you care to call for. Just as in Aus, Rudd = Howard in things geo-strategic. (However, I note with some relief that Obama has scrapped Bush's approach to a missile shield actually 'aimed' at Russia but using Iran's nonexistent threat as 'justification.' My 'but' here is that the US threat has most likely forced Russia into some concession; the rottenness just goes on and on ...)


    The point of saying that Obama = GWBush and Rudd = Howard is to illustrate that we, the sheople, have as good as *NO* choice; no matter who we vote for, the extra-judicial killing goes on.


    The extra-judicial killing itself has vastly accelerated post-9/11; both the US & Israeli regimes seized the moment to 'take the gloves off.' The sheople acquiesced; I predicted it, calling the revenge-attacks on Afghanistan "enraged re-arrangements of Aghani-sand." (Rumsfeld was heard to object; said something very much like: "But there are no good targets in Afghanistan!")


    We, the sheople - or at least, those of us who look - can see that we are being lied to. Lies are deployed to deceive; the question then becomes "What are they trying to hide?" IF the GWoT ("Global War on Terror") really was legitimate, THEN no lies would be needed. Sooo - it isn't.

    The propagandistic lies are catapulted at us, but as no lie can be 'perfect,' so they (always the wicked 'they') have a fall-back option; IF the US (and Israel) didn't murder for spoil THEN the Islamic (= Al Qaeda) militants might do something nasty to us (like another 9/11, say.) OR, IF the US (and Israel) didn't murder for spoil THEN the Islamic (= Al Qaeda) militants might not sell us their oil... (or allow pipelines, or resist the illegal Israeli occupiers stealing ever more Palestinian land.)

    That, in a nutshell, is the story of our times; murder for spoil.


    PS We now know, that the CIA 'invented' Al Qaeda, partly as a 'tool' to aggravate Russia. IF Al Qaeda really was behind 9/11 - a so-called 'big ask' given the way *three* (not 'just' the two hit by planes), but *three* gi- normous skyscrapers fell *precisely* into their own footprints (considered by many sufficiently qualified people to be 'naturally' impossible) - THEN 9/11 was a form of blow-back. Of course, IF 9/11 was all or even partly an 'inside' job, THEN (as at any crime scene) Q: who profited most? A: The US/UK/Israeli arms industries, and/or the US/UK/Israeli thieving murderers. Same (psychopathic) people, really.

    One way or another, it always comes back to murder for spoil.

  72. Murder for spoil ... and war is what they do, every president must have one. As Glenn Greenwald puts it:

    Indeed, the factions that exert the most dominant influence on our foreign policy have only one principle: ongoing wars are good (the public and private military industry embraces that because wars are what bestow purpose, power and profits, and the Foreign Policy Community does so because -- as Gelb says -- it bestows "political and professional credibility"). 

    Tom Engelhardt:

    But achieving victory no longer seems to matter. War American-style is now conceptually unending, as are preparations for it. When George W. Bush proclaimed a Global War on Terror (aka World War IV), conceived as a "generational struggle" like the Cold War, he caught a certain American reality. In a sense, the ongoing war system can't absorb victory. Any such endpoint might indeed prove to be a kind of defeat.

    No longer has war anything to do with the taking of territory either, or even with direct conquest. War is increasingly a state of being, not a process with a beginning, an end, and an actual geography.

    Chris Floyd and how they go about it.

    William Pfaff.

    Ann Jones, courtesy of Tom, on how they get it wrong.

    Americans revere their Founding Fathers. It is a pity they ignore what they said.

  73. the 'big lie'

    .. the bigger the 'better' ...

      .. in the land of the free, home of the brave ...

        .. tell it to me once again - about the "asylum of the oppressed?"


    G'day Bob, and thanks for your 'war is what they do' citations. It's a lot, and the news is not good; hardly ever is under the rubric of 'murder for spoil.'

    Here's another quote: "War is a racket;" it looks like Al Capone was prototype well-worth emulating. ("Al Capone is America's best known gangster and the single greatest symbol of the collapse of law and order in the United States during the 1920s ...")

    The US-sheople (much as most Aussies) think they live in the best place in the world, despite lots of the sheople being viciously oppressed - the US has, in round terms, about 50mio poverty-struck, same with no 'sickness' insurance - and with the 'ruling élites' ripping them, as sheople just about everywhere - right off.


    You talk about not listening to their Founding Fathers; here's the whole of my 1st quote:
      «“This is called "the land of the free and the home of the brave"; it is called the "asylum of the oppressed," and some have been foolish enough to call it the "Cradle of Liberty." If it is the "Cradle of Liberty," they have rocked the child to death.”» 
    [William Wells Brown]


    It is high time that moral people everywhere notice (if they haven't already), that the US is running this criminal murder for spoil scam - and then having noticed, acting effectively to stop the filthy lies and criminally wicked injustices. Psychopaths will not, cannot cure themselves.

  74. It's worth quoting two more from William Wells Brown:

    “The duty I owe to the slave, to truth, and to God, demands that I should use my pen and tongue so long as life and health are vouchsafed to me to employ them, or until the last chain shall fall from the limbs of the last slave in America and the world”

    Me: I'd leave out any g*d, of course, and 'slaves' have been superceeded (not by much) by 'sheople' - but deploying our pens (now keyboards) for justice via truth is precisely what we do.

    “The last struggle for our rights, the battle for our civilization, is entirely with ourselves.”

    IF we don't do what we do, and morally just people everywhere don't get effective - THEN: We're gunna lose it, and by 'it' I mean our once jewel-like planet's ecosphere, and our life-support mechanism with it...

  75. Of course the courts are there to protect the innocent ... well, maybe not.

    Glenn Greenwald.

    Chris Floyd.

  76. no sense ...

     .. no feeling ...

       .. no truth, no justice ...

         .. no democracy; only criminal *kleptocracy*


    G'day Bob,

    a 'snip' from your Greenwald:

    A court decision that reflects what type of country the U.S. is
    Even when government officials purposely subject an innocent person to brutal torture, they enjoy full immunity.
    Nov. 03, 2009
      « ... It held that even if the government violated Arar's Constitutional rights as well as statutes banning participation in torture, he still has no right to sue for what was done to him. Why? Because "providing a damages remedy against senior officials who implement an extraordinary rendition policy would enmesh the courts ineluctably in an assessment of the validity of the rationale of that policy and its implementation in this particular case, matters that directly affect significant diplomatic and national security concerns" (p. 39). In other words, government officials are free to do anything they want in the national security context -- even violate the law and purposely cause someone to be tortured -- and courts should honor and defer to their actions by refusing to scrutinize them.» 

    [As usual, one should read the lot.]


    My comment: IF what the kleptocracy was doing was right (in the sense of being *correct*) THEN some of what they do *might* be OK. As we've seen, however, when 'all else' (i.e. the US crooked business model) fails, the US resorts without further ado to outright and blatant criminal methods, i.e. invades to force it's 'geopolitical objectives,' detested Ameri-speak (spit, spit!) for murder-for-spoil (Afghanistan = pipelines, Iraq = oil, Palestine = Lebensraum for Zionists); see Perkins' "Economic Hit Man."

    This vicious wickedness occurs behind the lying propaganda smoke-screen pushed by the MSM (main-stream media; venal and corrupt, *including* big bits of the AusBC - boo! Hiss!) - or that may have been, until the internet came along. Now we (all those who wish to look) may see almost all - and it's none too pretty.

    Anyone who gets in the vicious, criminal murdering-to-steal US' (and/or Z's) way - even by unfortunate 'accident,' like the perfectly innocent Arar above - has *NO* chance. Rule of law? Forget it; truth and/or justice, even proper democracy - all simply beyond their ken.

    A quote from a different c-f article you cited: "I write about these things for one reason only: to bear witness, to put down for the record that I saw the evil being committed in my name, and that I spoke out against it, as fully and honestly as I knew how."

  77. G'day ID, from Arthur Silber more on the theme of truth, justice and ... a show trial.

  78. arthur vs. martha

    .. left hand doesn't know ...

      .. right hand doesn't know ...

        .. because the playing field is not


    Q: OK; the playing field is not what?

    A1: Not what they say it is (it's drowning in lies.)

    A2: The declared policies have almost nothing to do with the reality.

    A3: The playing field is actually the pushed propaganda paradigm; a vast deception brought to us by the (puppet?) politicians on the one hand, and the corrupt and venal MSM on the other (including, of course, big bits of the AusBC); the actors (politicians, pundits) have to work in an utterly unreal stage.

    The declared policies of the US (similarly Zs) can sound quite fantastic; defending democracy, world policemen, freedom, justice etc. - all, basically (sick) lies.

    The actual policies of the US (similarly Zs) can quickly be summarised as murder for spoil.

    Since the declared is as good as 180° to the actual (my 'arthur vs. martha'), they (the US & Zs) have to deal with massive cognitive dissonance whilst saying one thing; doing another (aka hypocrisy, writ huge.)

    G'day Bob; thanks for the link.

    Does this little comment of mine go anywhere towards explaining your Greenwald citation?

    I mean, Ramb-O-bama (peace prize, war cabinet) could hardly be more conflicted; "Change we can believe in" vs. continuing "4th Reich criminality?"

  79. let me put that ...

    .. another way ...

      .. it's 101% perfectly pointless ...

        .. 'debating' inside the pushed propaganda paradigm


    Precisely because the pushed propaganda paradigm is composed of lies; not 'little whites' by any means but real whoppers ("All politicians lie!" - thanks, but "No, thanks!" to Howard), one simply cannot debate in the normal sense, because merely by entering the faux-frame, one accepts the unreal basis - so one immediately loses.

    Others have seen this, i.e. Arthur Silber[1] enjoins us "Don't argue the intel; go after the policy!" - which is another way of saying don't listen to what they *say*, scrutinise what they *do*.

    Only makes sense, actually.

    It's a truly massive scam; get the pundits and sheople both discussing some conjured fantasy, all the while the villains (US+Zs) get on with their criminality.

    And the world goes down the tubes (dragged down by the crims) while all those idiots distract themselves.



    [1] One needn't 'go' there, this might 'do' it:

      «Eminently understandable, though. What are they going to say? "Oh, he's just saying that because he has to, to get elected! He doesn't actually mean it." So he's a big, fat, typical politician? The Lying Messiah? Or perhaps, just perhaps, he does mean it? But ... but ... but ... what would that mean? Obama the Magnificent will be fully committed to continuing the decades-long, bipartisan foreign policy of aggressive interventionism by any and all necessary means, so as to guarantee the consolidation and continuation of American global hegemony?» 

  80. What makes America great is that there are people who are gre ... oh, sorry, I meant to write "What makes America grate is that there are people who grate". Glenn Greenwald on the rare courage of the armchair warriors - or "Bonkers" ducks and covers.

  81. "How does it become a man to behave toward this American government to-day? I answer that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it." -- Henry David Thoreau

    To me, this quote from Thoreau expresses the only rational, moral and humane stance that a citizen can take toward the vast and brutal machinery of the American imperial state in our time. The crimes of this state are monstrous, and mounting. But what is worse is that these crimes are not aberrations; they are the very essence of the system -- they are its goal, its product, its lifeblood.

    And what is this crimeful essence? Matt Taibbi described it well in a recent article:

    Our Western society quite openly embraces war as a means of solving problems, and for quite some time now has fashioned its entire social and economic structure around the preparation for war.

    Chris Floyd.

    Glenn Greenwald.

  82. Final words - and Chris Floyd has the honour. First he takes aim at VBlair and then Obama.

    "A narcissist's defense." As a description of Obama's Peace Prize speech, Macdonald's phrase could hardly be bettered. But the intense, near-pathological self-regard in the speech was not Obama's alone, of course; we must do him the credit of acknowledging that in this regard, at least, he was what we so often proclaim our leaders to be: the embodiment of the nation. His soaring proclamation of American exceptionalism, in a setting supposedly devoted to universal principles of peace, was breathtaking in its chutzpah – but entirely in keeping with the feelings of the vast majority of his countrymen, and the ruling elite above all.

    Many have already remarked on Obama's adoption in the speech of Bush's principle of unilateral, "pre-emptive" military action, anytime, anywhere, whenever a leader declares his nation is under threat. This approach -- which Bush called "the path of action" -- was roundly scorned by critics of the former regime, many of whom now scramble to praise Obama's "nuanced" embrace of aggression. But again, let us give credit where it is due; in this aspect of the speech, Obama did in fact go beyond Bush's more narrowly nationalist conception, saying: "I — like any head of state — reserve the right to act unilaterally if necessary to defend my nation."

    Thus Obama would, apparently, extend the right of unilateral military action to "any head of state" that feels the necessity of defending his or her nation. But of course this is just empty verbiage, a pointless, bald-faced lie that not even Bush would have tried to get away with. Would Obama accept a unilateral, pre-emptive strike by Tehran against Israel, where legislators and government officials routinely talk of attacking Iran? Would Obama cheer the "right" of Russia to strike unilaterally at Poland if the U.S. "missile shield" deal, now on hold, was suddenly consummated? Would Obama support a unilateral strike by India at Pakistan -- or vice versa -- in the still-seething cauldron of tensions on the subcontinent, where both nations legitimately feel threatened by the other? Would he support the right of Kim Jong-il to "defend his nation" by attacking South Korea the next time there is a threatening border incident there?

    No, it is clear that only the United States -- and its allies, like Israel -- are to be allowed the supreme privilege of unilateral war. The line was inserted in the speech simply because it would sound good in the moment, and create a temporary emotional reaction that might carry listeners past the macabre incongruity underlying the entire event: giving a peace award to the bloodstained leader of a military machine hip-deep in the coagulate gore of two, vast, civilian-slaughtering wars

    Just a (bad) taste.