“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Obama knows best. Overrules FOUR former CIA chiefs.

I tell you what, you must have to be one bad ass mother fucker to be a community organizer. I seriously underestimated the talent and insight required to get people to sign up for food stamps and to boycott and intimidate corporations in shake downs.

Four former CIA directors, General Michael Hayden, Porter Goss, George Tenet and John Deutch fought the White House over releasing documents both embarrassing and compromising to the CIA. All of them combined could not change the mind of the anointed one.

Silly me. I thought the rap on George Bush was that he was stubborn and could not take advice from people with more hands on experience than he had.

I thought George Bush was too ideological.

I thought the CIA was concerned about American security.

I thought the President of The United States of America was there to put US security interests first.

Three thousand Americans were burned to death, splattered on side walks, choked and gagged by smoke, shit themselves in absolute terror and panic,  their living flesh ripped off them by falling debris,  crying on the phone to loved ones, begging God to save them, to spare them. 

They jumped through broken glass to  fall and fall and fall, and this no good son of a bitch, and I mean that quite literally, is indignant that we put a wet towel on some cretin's face.

God damn him.


Four CIA chiefs said 'don't reveal torture memos'
Agency's ex-directors objected to interrogation techniques being revealed. But Barack Obama went ahead anyway

By Pamela Hess
Sunday, 19 April 2009 Independent

Four former CIA directors opposed the release of classified Bush-era interrogation memos, officials say, describing objections that went all the way to the White House and slowed disclosure of the records. Former CIA chiefs Michael Hayden, Porter Goss, George Tenet and John Deutch all called the White House in March warning that release of the so-called "torture memos" would compromise intelligence operations, current and former officials say.

President Barack Obama ultimately overruled the objections after internal discussions that intensified in the weeks that followed the former directors' intervention. The memos were released on Thursday.

Mr Obama's involvement grew as the decision neared, and he even led a National Security Council session on the matter, four senior administration officials said. White House adviser David Axelrod, who said he also talked to Mr Obama about the pending release of the memos in recent weeks, said the ex-directors' opposition was considered seriously but did not impede the decision-making process. "The CIA directors weighed in and it slowed things down," Mr Axelrod said on Friday.

The memos detailed the legal rationales that senior Bush administration lawyers drew up authorising the CIA to use simulated drowning and other harsh techniques on terror suspects. They described how prisoners were naked, shackled and hooded at the start of interrogation sessions. When the CIA interrogator removed the hood, the questioning began. When a prisoner resisted, the documents outlined techniques the CIA could use to bring him back in line:

* Nudity, sleep deprivation and dietary restrictions kept prisoners compliant and reminded them they had no control over their basic needs. Clothes and food could be used as rewards for co-operation.

* Slapping prisoners on the face or abdomen was allowed. So was grabbing them forcefully by the collar or slamming them into a false wall, a technique called "walling" intended to induce fear rather than pain.

* Water hoses were used to douse the prisoners for minutes at a time. The hoses were turned on and off as the interrogation continued.

* Prisoners were put into one of three "stress positions", such as sitting on the floor with legs out straight and arms raised in the air.

* At night, the detainees were shackled, standing naked or wearing a nappy. The length of sleep deprivation varied but was authorised for up to 180 hours, or seven and a half days. Interrogation sessions ranged from 30 minutes to several hours and could be repeated as necessary, and as approved by psychological and medical teams.

The Bush administration approved the use of waterboarding, a technique in which a suspect was strapped to a board, his feet raised above his head, and his face covered with a wet cloth as interrogators poured water over it. The body responds as if it is drowning, over and over as the process is repeated. "We find that the use of the waterboard constitutes a threat of imminent death," Justice Department attorneys wrote. "From the vantage point of any reasonable person undergoing this procedure in such circumstances, he would feel as if he is drowning at the very moment of the procedure due to the uncontrollable physiological sensation he is experiencing."

But attorneys decided that waterboarding caused "no pain or actual harm whatsoever" and so did not meet the "severe pain and suffering" standard to be considered torture.

President Obama has ended the CIA's interrogation programme. CIA interrogators are now required to follow army guidelines, under which waterboarding and many of the techniques listed above are prohibited.

The President gave the question of these documents' release "the appropriate reflection", Mr Axelrod said. He said Mr Obama's deliberations revolved around "the issue of national security versus the rule of law", and amounted to "one of the most profound issues the President of the United States has to deal with".

On 18 March, the Justice Department told the Director of the CIA, Leon Panetta, as he was leaving for a foreign trip, that it would be recommending that the White House release the memos almost completely uncensored, officials said. Mr Panetta told the US Attorney General, Eric Holder, and officials in the White House that the administration needed to discuss the possibility that the memos' release might expose CIA officers to lawsuits on allegations of torture and abuse. Mr Panetta also pushed for more censorship of the memos, officials said. The Justice Department informed other senior CIA leaders of the decision to release the memos and, as a courtesy, told former agency directors.

Senior CIA officials objected, arguing that the release would damage the agency's ability to interrogate prisoners. They also said the move would tarnish CIA officers who had acted on the Bush officials' legal guidance. And they warned that the action would erode foreign intelligence services' trust in the CIA's ability to protect national security secrets. The four former directors immediately protested to the White House, officials said. The enhanced interrogation procedures outlined in the memos had been approved on Mr Tenet's watch during the Bush administration.

On 19 March, the Justice Department requested a two-week delay in responding to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that asked for release of the memos. Justice officials told the court dealing with that lawsuit that it was considering releasing the memos voluntarily. Two weeks later, Justice Department lawyers told the court the memos would come out on or before 16 April.

Inside the White House, according to aides, Mr Obama expressed concerns that releasing the memos could threaten current intelligence operations as well as US officials. He also echoed the CIA chiefs' worries about US relationships with always-skittish foreign intelligence services. The Justice Department argued that the ACLU lawsuit would in the end force the administration to release the documents anyway, officials said.

Mr Obama eventually agreed. The administration decided it would be better to make the release voluntarily, so as not to be seen as being forced to do so, the officials said. The only items blacked out included names of US employees or foreign services or items related to techniques still in use. Still, CIA officials needed reassurance about the decision, the officials said.

Mr Obama took the unusual step of accompanying his decision with a personal letter to CIA employees. He also devoted a big share of his public statement to saying and repeating that he believed strongly in keeping intelligence operations secret, and operations about them classified. He said he would not apologise for doing so in the future

What the memos reveal

The Bush administration memos describe the interrogation methods used against 28 terror suspects, the fullest government account of the techniques to date. They range from waterboarding – or simulated drowning – to using a plastic neck collar to slam detainees into walls. The treatment of two suspects in particular are described:

Abu Zubaydah In 2002, the Justice Department authorised CIA interrogators to step up the pressure even further on the suspected terrorist. Justice Department lawyers said the CIA could place Zubaydah in a cramped confinement box. Because Zubaydah appeared afraid of insects, they also authorised interrogators to place him in a box filled with caterpillars (though the tactic was not in fact used). Finally, the Justice Department authorised interrogators to take a step into what the United States now considers torture: waterboarding. Zubaydah was strapped to a board, his feet raised above his head. His face was covered with a wet cloth as interrogators poured water over it.
No wet towels here

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed A memo dated 30 May 2005 says that before the harsher methods were used on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a top al-Qa'ida detainee, he refused to answer questions about pending plots against the US. "Soon, you will know," he said, according to the memo. It says the interrogations later extracted details of a plot called the "second wave", using East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner in Los Angeles. Plots that were disrupted, the memos say, include the alleged effort by Jose Padilla to detonate a "dirty bomb", spreading radioactive materials by means of explosives.


  1. The Congressional Truth Commission will find the answers, have no doubt.

    The release of those memos, which pertain to posible illegal actions by the Bush Administration must, will, be investigated by the Congress.
    The truth will be known.

    The light of truth and justice will not be extinguished, nor even dimmed very much.

    The authority to Decide, that is not granted to ex-CIA bureaucrats, but to currently elected officials, like the President. The ultimate Decider of what is in the best interests of the US and even of the CIA.

    Mr Bush took the advise of the "experts", it did not serve him, or US, well. We'll see, soon enough, how the "experts" whom Mr Obama listens to stack up by comparison.

    Yep, all those Long Years of secrecy did not strengthen the resolve of the US citizenry, so it was by its' very nature, bad policy.
    Secrecy did not, by the end of the War, deliver victory, secure the peace nor provide expedited justice for the victims of 9-11-01. Which is what really mattered, to the residents of the US that vote.

    The people decided that the past was not to be emulated, that new ground needed to be broken. They chose a new kind of Decider, to represent them.

    Get your popcorn, watch the show.

  2. I'm becoming convinced that this show will last exactly 4 years.

  3. The power of incumbency is great and there is no Ronald Reagan in the GOP camp.

    Lest we forget, Reagan had been on the scene, as a major player, for years prior to his election.

    Even Obama had been in spotlight for 4 years, since the keynote address at the 2004 Dem Convention.

    I do not think Romney could beat him, not as a sitting President.
    Romney is no Reagan, though Obama may prove to be a Carter.

  4. Though I doubt we'll see Obama in a cardigan sweater, in front of the fire, telling US its' all our fault.

    While this fellow, George Jonas at the National Post, says:
    I did write last year that Obama could turn out to be a remanufactured video of Jimmy Carter, but I should have added "if we're lucky."

    He seems pessimistic about our chances of future luckiness.

  5. It's been 8 years and more that the ISI has supported radical jihadists, like the Taliban.

    Now-a-days it is slowly becoming pubic knowledge, why even the "Boston Globe" has taken note, on its' editorial page:

    In a recent story drawing on accounts from US and Pakistani security officials, The New York Times described how the secretive S Wing of the ISI provides militant groups with ammunition and fuel for the fight against American and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Operatives in S Wing also recruit new fighters for the Taliban from radical madrasas inside Pakistan. And ISI personnel help those groups with strategic planning, even counseling them when to step up and when to gear down their operations.

    The good news is that, by using informants and intercepted communications, US intelligence was able to uncover the ISI's complicity with the Taliban. The bad news is that no matter how vehemently US officials complain to their Pakistani counterparts, nothing much changes.

    The ISI goes on using Islamist militants as proxies because Pakistan's national-security establishment views them as an indispensable asset. The ISI's jihadist proxies are meant to counter India's influence in Afghanistan. That was the lesson when US intelligence determined that the ISI was behind last summer's bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul.

    The ISI's puppet show in Afghanistan enables Pakistan to prevent not only India but also Iran and Russia from gaining too much of a foothold in Afghanistan. The double game also brings Pakistan $1 billion a year in military aid from the United States.

    This is how the game works: The army and the ISI hunt down Al Qaeda figures for the United States and have no compunctions about striking hard against Islamist radicals who want to seize power in Pakistan. These actions make Pakistan a valued US ally in the war on terror. But at the same time, Pakistan has an interest in keeping the jihadist pot boiling in Afghanistan. As long as the Taliban and kindred groups are in the field, American military aid continues coming in, and India is kept at bay

    Just keep that tribute flowin' or they'll arrange to strike US, again.

  6. Obama to 2164th and others like him:
    "Stick it in your ear!"

  7. So, the thought that US military veterans should be suspect of domestic terrorism, another part of the Bush Legacy.

    The documents outlining Operation Vigilant Eagle cite a surge in activity by such groups. The memos say the FBI's focus on veterans began as far back as December, during the final weeks of the Bush administration, when the bureau's domestic counterterrorism division formed a special joint working group with the Defense Department.

    A Feb. 23 draft memo from FBI domestic counterterrorism leaders, obtained by The Wall Street Journal, cited an "increase in recruitment, threatening communications and weapons procurement by white supremacy extremist and militia/sovereign-citizen extremist groups."

    The FBI said in the memo that its conclusion about a surge in such activities was based on confidential sources, undercover operations, reporting from other law-enforcement agencies and publicly available information. The memo said the main goal of the multipronged operation was to get a better handle on "the scope of this emerging threat." The operation also seeks to identify gaps in intelligence efforts surrounding these groups and their leaders.

    The aim of the FBI's effort with the Defense Department, which was rolled into the Vigilant Eagle program, is to "share information regarding Iraqi and Afghanistan war veterans whose involvement in white supremacy and/or militia sovereign citizen extremist groups poses a domestic terrorism threat," according to the Feb. 23 FBI memo

    The final weeks of the Bush Presidency were busy times.

  8. Having been a farmer most of my life, till I ended up renting some apartments, its hard for me to get a handle on the military. I simply don't know.

    I do know though, observing the kids that come through here, they are almost all very nice, particularily the gals, all bright and bouncy, of all skin colors, I've had 'em all.

    So I'm not giving up on the country just yet.

    Obama's a perfect turd, I agree with that.

  9. This whole thing is all about politics. National security interest concerns are neglected.

    Obama has opened the door for all the internationalists to demand trials. This is massive corrosion of US sovereignty. The always contemptible Andrew Sullivan is talking war crimes trials for Cheney.

    Obama has foolishly opened Pandora's box.

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  11. How did 'Rat become a full time rabble rouser instead of a thoughtful/helpfull commenter?
    Captain Phillips Returns Home

  12. "Obama has foolishly opened Pandora's box."
    Obama has INTENTIONALY opened Pandora's box.
    Alinski Rules!

  13. WTF, Rat. You are an ignorant jackass.

  14. You're right, Rat. Virtually no one can defeat a sitting President. A sitting President can only defeat himself.

    I, also, don't know of the Republican that can/could do it. Keep an eye out for when one comes along that throws a raspberry to the Fred Barnes' et al.

    Keep in mind, we didn't know we had a "Reagan," until we had a Reagan. Maybe someone is out there. Meantime, I gotta write my congrassholes and tell them to get on board with O's healthcare program (by the way, have youall noticed it looks just like Romney's Massachusetts plan?)

  15. I don't think it's really a big thing, Deuce. Everyone pretty much knows what our guys do, anyway.

    Obama knows the people are fed up with BAU (business as usual.) He can't change the "financial" deal, much, so he has to slam the door on the previous administration in other ways. I'm not excusing this action, but I think I understand what he's doing. It ain't no big thang. No one's going to be "prosecuted." This is as much "red meat" as the "Waxmans" get.

  16. They're settin' your guys up, trish.

    Sorry you can't see the forest, for the trees.

    There are few thoughtful comments that mean a thing, doug.
    None that will effect the politics of the day. Mr Obama and his entourage have an agenda, that much is clear.

    The President has taken the threat of prosecution away from the perps of the torture memos. There will be no Fifth Amendment exemptions from testimony before Congress.

    Even if Mr Obama "objects" the Senators can call their hearings and the light of truth and justice will shine, count on it. Especially now, that the alledged miscreants have been given immunity from prosecution.

    Not that they'd have needed it, aye?

  17. But then, even John "Maverick" McCain proclaimed that waterboarding WAS torture.

    So, it must be.
    Learn it, Live it, Love it.

  18. I would not make too light of the consequences of an international court jumping on this.

  19. Oh, about Reagan I'd disagree.

    Those that had spent time in California and its' proximity while he was the original Governator, there, knew Reagan. Anyone that watched Death Valley Days and yearned to see a 40 Mule Team in harness, knew Ronald Reagan.

    Or thought they did.

    Like we thought we knew Fred Thompson

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  21. Spanish Court to Indict Fmr US AG Alberto Gonzales for Torture.

    14 April 2009 :: J.E. Robertson.
    Former United States attorney general Alberto Gonzales is facing indictment in a Spanish court, along with five other Bush administration officials, on charges of having orchestrated and allowed the torture of five Spanish citizens held at the Guantánamo Bay prison camp. The case arises in part because US prosecutors have not sought to charge administration officials for policies that contravened existing laws and treaties, and some speculate there may be an effort to initiate a domestic investigation to prevent sensitive materials being released to a foreign government.

    Along with Gonzales, the Spanish court is to indict John Yoo (University of California law professor and former deputy assistant AG), Douglas Feith (former undersecretary of Defense), Jay Bybee (a Federal Appeals Court judge and former assistant AG), William J. Haynes II (onetime Defense Department general counsel, now a lawyer for Chevron), and David Addington (former chief of staff to VP Dick Cheney).

    According to the Daily Beast:

    "The case arises in the context of a pending proceeding before the court involving terrorism charges against five Spaniards formerly held at Guantánamo. A group of human-rights lawyers originally filed a criminal complaint asking the court to look at the possibility of charges against the six American lawyers. Baltasar Garzón Real, the investigating judge, accepted the complaint and referred it to Spanish prosecutors for a view as to whether they would accept the case and press it forward."

  22. Just gave those Spanairds the evidence they needed.

  23. Ah, nobody cares what some spanish court does.

  24. Don't get me wrong, I'm appalled at this action; but, honestly, we had to expect a lot of crap like this. Elections have consequences, boyos. and girlios.

    I mean, hell, I voted for an asshole I couldn't stand in expectation that Obama would do this kind of shit.

    Being "amazed" is one thing; being "surprised" is something else.

  25. I'm saving my "being surprised" for the oil market. Man, THAT sucker just can't be figured out.

  26. The discontinuities between the global inventory/consumption/production numbers and "price" is just absurd.

    The old market wisdom that when a market just "Keeps" getting bad news, and won't go down it's probably going to go up would SEEM to apply; but, jeez, who the hell knows?

    It's a conunununundrum.

  27. We're getting FRANKENSTEIN as Senator from Minnesota.

    A couple thousand LIBERTARIAN voters could have changed that.


  28. That's the very same FRANKENSTEIN that don't pay his taxes either.

    And gets away with it.

    It gets tiresome.

  29. You won't get a Reagan because the traditional media knows very well that his type is dangerous. They won't be fooled again. Any person that sticks up who just slightly poses a threat to their anointed leaders gets the full treatment: just ask Palin.

    If you want a Reagan, you have to neutralize the traitorous, traditional media first. Only then will the conditions be favorable to a Reagan-type pushing his/her way to power.

  30. The traditional media seems well on its way to neutralizing itself. What a loveable liberal trait.