“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, January 25, 2015

80 percent of this harsh interrogation program was outsourced to outside contractors who had no clue about interrogations. We left our most important prisoners to amateurs.

Ex-FBI Official: 'We Left Our Most Important Prisoners To Amateurs'

The notorious "Camp X-Ray" has been abandoned, but the US prison facility at Guantanamo for suspected terrorists is still in operation.Zoom
The notorious "Camp X-Ray" has been abandoned, but the US prison facility at Guantanamo for suspected terrorists is still in operation.
Former FBI agent Ali Soufan was one of the first to interrogate terror suspects at Guantanamo. He later left the prison and criticized torture methods used by the CIA. He accuses the government of turning interrogations of inmates over to outsourced amateurs.

Ali Soufan, a 43-year-old US citizen, worked as a special agent for the FBI until 2005 as part of its efforts to combat terrorism. In March 2002, he and a colleague were the first to interrogate Abu Zubaydah, who at that point was considered the most important al-Qaida prisoner held by the Americans. Because Soufan was born in Lebanon and speaks Arabic, and because he could quote the Koran during questioning, he was able to build up trust with the prisoner.
He was able to glean extensive information from Zubaydah. Nevertheless, the CIA still chose Zubayadah as the first prisoner on whom to test its "enhanced interrogation techniques". He was forced to undergo waterboarding and other cruel measures at least 83 times. In the prison where Zubaydah was interrogated, Soufan met James Mitchell, one of the two highly controversial men behind the CIA interrogation programs. In protest over the torture methods, Soufan left Guantanamo in the summer of 2002. SPIEGEL published the following interview with Soufan in its Dec. 15, 2014 issue. We are now posting an English version in conjunction with this week's release of "Guantánamo Diary," by Mohamedou Ould Slahi, the first prisoner still being held to detail his torture experiences at the US military facility. You can read an excerpt from Slahi's book here.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Soufan, during your time as an FBI agent, you spent years conducting interrogations. Now you have also written a book about torture at secret American prisons. Were there any surprises for you in the recently released US Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture?Soufan: Yes, there were few things I didn't know. That we put prisoners (including Zubaydah) in a big box for a total of 266 hours -- that's 11 days and 2 hours -- and that we simply kept one of our most important prisoners, our only high-value-detainee at the time, in total isolation for 47 days instead of questioning him and gaining important information. As a matter of fact, I didn't know about these things.
SPIEGEL: Were details of the report still shocking to you, even though you had known about the allegations for years?
Soufan: At some point it was difficult for me to read on, especially the passages about the torture of the first important prisoner we interrogated, the terror facilitator Zubaydah. The level of unprofessionalism that the report reveals is incredible. It is really shocking. But I should not be surprised, given that 80 percent of this harsh interrogation program was outsourced to outside contractors who had no clue about interrogations. We left our most important prisoners to amateurs.
SPIEGEL: Was this new to you as well?
Soufan: No, I knew about that before. Sadly, I had to experience it firsthand and listen to the contractors' theories. It was awful. There's another interesting fact: After 9/11, we wanted to improve communication between the FBI and the CIA and tear down the so-called Chinese wall between the agencies. After all, it was the lack of information transfer that had rendered 9/11 possible. But what we read in the report now is the exact opposite: the report revealed that there was a clear intent to wall off the FBI and military from the interrogation business of al-Qaida detainees.
SPIEGEL: Has the US made new enemies by publishing all these gruesome details?
Soufan: Our enemies are our enemies. I don't think that there will be notable protests. People around the world knew what we were doing. The world knows that we tortured. And that definitely played into our enemies' narratives: Regardless whether they call themselves the Islamic State, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb or al-Shabab, there are thousands of people around the world nowadays adhering to Osama bin Laden's ideas. We did not have the right strategy and sometimes we had bad tactics. We put people in orange jumpsuits, and now our enemies are putting innocent hostages in orange jumpsuits. We are involved in an asymmetrical conflict to win hearts and minds. This is not how you win hearts and minds in the Arab and Muslim worlds. This is not how you counter the narrative of authoritarian regimes and terrorists.

A screenshot from an Islamic State propaganda video shows two Japanese hostages in orange jumpsuits.
A screenshot from an Islamic State propaganda video shows two Japanese hostages in orange jumpsuits. 
SPIEGEL: When did you first realize that these "enhanced interrogation methods" were being used?Soufan: During the summer of 2002 -- in a secret prison in a country that I still can't name, because it's classified information. It began when this psychologist arrived. Up to that point, we had conducted the traditional questionings and interrogations according to the principle of "rapport building". First you establish a relationship with the prisoner -- you have to win him over -- and then he'll tell you things.
SPIEGEL: And how is that done?
Soufan: By engaging in a mental poker game with them, but consistently presenting them with facts and evidence of their guilt, by speaking their language -- both figuratively and literally -- which is something none of these private contractors for the CIA could do. For example, I questioned Salim Ahmed Hamdan, bin Laden's driver, in Guantanamo. I offered him tea, made it possible for him to call his wife -- those are things that had been promised to him, but the promises weren't kept. During the interrogations, I lay down next to him on the floor, and then we talked. That's classic "rapport building".
SPIEGEL: In 2002, you dealt with Zubaydah, a high-ranking prisoner. He had been captured in Pakistan in March 2002, but suffered serious gunshot wounds during his arrest. At the time, President George W. Bush hailed the arrest as a great victory. He was to be the first prisoner on whom these enhanced interrogation methods would be tried out.
Soufan: Yes, everyone was very excited, and word came clearly from Washington that it was essential that we keep him alive. My FBI colleagues and I were the first people who spoke with him. And Zubaydah cooperated from the start.
SPIEGEL: Even though he was in very bad health?
Soufan: Yes, so bad that we had to later bring him to the hospital, so he wouldn't die on us during the interrogations. It was certainly weird somehow. We were fighting for the life of a terrorist whose declared goal was to kill Americans, but he has information that we badly needed. My partner and I sat by his bed for days, looked after him, held his hand. And we talked with him, in Arabic. When he was too weak to speak, we worked with a chart of the Arabic alphabet. He cooperated with that, too.
SPIEGEL: Did you obtain relevant information using this method?
Soufan: Absolutely. In fact, long before the special interrogation techniques were used on Zubaydah. While he was still in his hospital bed, he began to tell us things. He was the first to identify Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (who went by the codename "Mukhtar") and to explain to us what a crucial role he played in the Sept. 11 attacks. When we showed him pictures, actually in relation to someone else, he suddenly said, "That's Mukhtar, the guy who planned 9/11." He revealed to us the people pulling the strings behind the attacks, entirely without torture, without waterboarding, without us having asked or anticipated that.
SPIEGEL: President Bush later suggested that those things were the result of successful "enhanced interrogation techniques," in other words, of the interrogation program. The CIA claims to this day that that was the case.
Soufan: That is not true. The CIA's contractors hadn't even arrived at the secret prison at that point. To this day, I am not aware of any relevant intelligence that was obtained through the use of torture. The Senate report confirms this as well.

Ali Soufan is pictured here in New York: "I am not aware of any relevant intelligence that was obtained through the use of torture."
Peter Lüders/ DER SPIEGEL
Ali Soufan is pictured here in New York: "I am not aware of any relevant intelligence that was obtained through the use of torture."
SPIEGEL: What happened next with Zubaydah after he was released from the hospital?Soufan: While he was still in the hospital, the CIA sent us word that the tactics used with him were going to change. Interrogations of Zubaydah would now be orchestrated only by CIA contractors, without the presence of FBI in the room. This change in strategy was contradictory to all the successes we had achieved up to that point. We tried to offer them compromises; these were refused without discussion. The contractors had one set idea: They were convinced that Zubaydah had only given up useless information so far, and kept the important things to himself.
SPIEGEL: And then the CIA's new contractor, psychologist James Mitchell, arrived at the location of this secret prison?
Soufan: Yes, although I can't confirm that name to you. As a former FBI agent, I am still bound not to violate confidentiality. And officially the name of the psychologist remains confidential information. It's absurd, but that's how it is. In my book, I called the psychologist Boris, so let's call him that as well. Boris, after Zubaydah's release from the hospital, took over immediately. The prisoner was taken to a completely white room, without daylight or windows, only four halogen lights on the ceiling. The room's interrogation corner was also sectioned off with a white curtain. All the people he saw, meanwhile, were dressed in black: uniforms, boots, gloves, glasses - everything was black. It was explained to us that the only human contact he has will be with his interrogator.
SPIEGEL: Did you speak with Boris, the psychologist?
Soufan: Yes, and he told me he would force Zubaydah to submit. He should see his interrogator as a sort of god, someone capable of controlling his suffering. In this way, Boris told me, he would quickly become pliable. Zubaydah, he said, needed to understand that he had wasted his chance to cooperate and that we were no longer playing his game. When I told him that he had in fact already divulged information, he wasn't interested.
SPIEGEL: According to the report, the CIA implemented its new interrogation methods in mid-April 2002. Were you still there at the time?
Soufan: Not in the room, but I was still there, yes. First they undressed him. That would humiliate him, Boris said, and he would cooperate in order to get his clothing back. They also bombarded him with loud music. He would eventually talk in order to get the music to stop, Boris said. The same rock song was played again and again, all day. Even in the observation room, the music made us feel sick. Then Boris decided to try sleep deprivation. But that, too, failed to increase Zubaydah's willingness to cooperate. The worst part for us was that for days we had to watch as methods were used that no decent interrogator would ever consider.
SPIEGEL: Were you the only one who saw it that way at the time?
Soufan: No, my partner and also many of the CIA officers saw it the same way, and they contacted headquarters in Langley for instructions.
SPIEGEL: Did you see Zubaydah again later?
Soufan: Yes, after they had no success with their methods, they let us talk to him again. That was difficult. He didn't understand what was happening here. Not even we understood it. He was naked, and we gave him a towel, so he could cover himself. We gave him a chair, so he could sit, and offered him water. He talked to us, and he revealed some details -- an alleged plan to build a "dirty bomb," a radioactive bomb, for example. After that the contractors attempted to take over again. The entire thing was very frustrating, not only for us, also for the CIA personnel on the premises. Again and again, we wrote to our superiors that it couldn't go on like this. These letters of protest can now be read in the Senate report. The report also notes that some of the CIA personnel had tears in their eyes as they watched Zubaydah being waterboarded later on by the contractors. But all that did nothing to change the situation.
SPIEGEL: When did you decide to leave?
Soufan: In late May, I called FBI headquarters and told them about the sleep deprivation, the box, the loud music. The answer from FBI HQ was unambiguous: "We don't do that sort of thing. Come back." It was totally frustrating, and eventually we flew back to the US.
SPIEGEL: How do you explain the fact that the CIA outsourced the interrogation of the United States' most important prisoner to incompetent psychologists and that all the checks and balances within the system failed?
Soufan: It wasn't the entire CIA. Ultimately, I believe the decision was made by just a few people, who chose this course of action for political reasons, security reasons and business reasons. Many of the CIA officers were just as horrified as I was. And by the way, their massive complaints led in 2004 to an investigation and to the very critical report by CIA Inspector General John Helgerson.
SPIEGEL: But to this day, the CIA has not distanced itself from what it did. On the contrary, it continues to defend these methods as necessary in combatting terrorism.
Soufan: Yes, and they didn't just give these two psychologists free rein for months and then call the whole thing off as failed and cruel. The two psychologists were allowed to conduct their nonsensical interrogation program for four years, from 2002 to 2006. And they earned over $80 million in doing so. Unbelievable.
SPIEGEL: What conclusions can be drawn from the Senate report?

Soufan: The good thing is that this report can't be gotten rid of. It's not a political report, it's an impressive collection of facts: Hundreds of thousands of documents and CIA dispatches were analyzed. The report is an impressive 6,800 pages, including 38,000 footnotes. That's an enormous achievement. So far, we've only seen a little under 600 pages of that, so not quite 10 percent. That's something we need to continue to remind ourselves. But we've also shown, as a nation, that we're prepared to extensively illuminate this dark side of our history. A bipartisan vote led to the investigation, and a bipartisan vote lead to the declassification. Devoting attention to this chapter was not a lone decision made by (Democratic) Senator Dianne Feinstein -- she and others like (Republican) Senator John McCain have to be applauded for taking a huge political risk to do the right thing.SPIEGEL: Should those who conducted the torture and those who approved this program be tried in court?
Soufan: I don't think this chapter can be dealt with through legal action in today's political environment. However, we must ensure that these interrogation methods are never used again. All of us, across party lines, must read this report intensively, take its results seriously and learn from them. 


  1. Is anyone accountable for anything in DC? The fraudulent all “volunteer army” read mercenary can’t even field itself with overpaid, undertrained contractors, many of whom make 90 day wonders look like wizened veterans.

    DC can’t even torture and interrogate properly.

    Why do we have a Pentagon?

  2. Call it what it is, The War Department.

    1. It used to be called The War Department, didn't it?

      Maybe it should be called The Peace Department.

      I knew a minister once who was always talking about how we needed a Peace Department.

      I think the whole issue is silly.

      What we don't need is more Generals of the caliber of Generals Jack "Crapper" Hawkins and "Doofus" Rufus.

      In short order we'd all be dead.

    2. In short order you will be dead, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson.

      Cancer would be good, but heart failure would suffice.
      The world will celebrate the death of another racist when you are gone.

    3. .

      Once again, the rat shows he is the slimiest piece of shit here.


    4. Rat remains a figment of your imagination, LegionnaireMon Jan 26, 10:34:00 AM EST


    5. I support Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson's death by natural causes
      He wants to murder me & my family, the neighbors and the folks down in Tucson, too.
      Then butcher the victims and cannibalize them.

      BobSun Feb 23, 10:56:00 PM EST
      "The argument that they are not native is amazing in light of the fact that neither are Europeans native."


      Shoot the Arizonans as well, give the meat to the poor.

    6. Jack you don't have family, remember your wife ran off with your child to stop the domestic abuse years ago….

      But if anyone should pass from this earth, a self confessed killer of innocents, you, should.

      But that saying goes, only the good die young. Which is why you will live a long, bitter, hateful, spiteful life.

    7. .

      Rat, you spit this shit out as if you believe it. In doing so, you diminish yourself even further in the eyes of any sane person here (if that is possible). However, if you do actually believe it, that would put you at an even more bizarre level of the deranged.


    8. Quirk, Rat doesn't come here to actually argue issues or differences of opinion. He is a disruptor, the evil hateful clown who seeks attention.

      I also think he is mentally ill.

    9. Tit for tat, Legionnaire.

      That's entertainment!

      As for any sane person here, that'd be limiting the discusion to me, Rufus and Deuce.
      And the opinions of the other two are their own, and do not really have much global effect.

      But the comments do seem to keep Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson's head down, and that makes it worthwhile.
      Reading some of the past posts, just strengthens my resolve on the subject.

    10. bobThu Dec 24, 02:02:00 PM EST

      I, actually, want Melody, nude, naked, and well spread.

      But I'm not supposed to say that of course.

      But the day before Christmas is a good day to say it.

    11. bobWed Dec 23, 07:08:00 PM EST

      A happier thought is, Ash too will get older, and be bumped off in his turn.

    12. whitTue Dec 22, 01:14:00 PM EST

      I think everyone should email bob since he put his email address on the thread for the whole world to see.

    13. AshMon Dec 21, 11:36:00 AM EST

      insulting someone who loves to toss out the insults himself is a form of bullying? My my what a bunch of PC rightwingers you've become.

      whitMon Dec 21, 11:40:00 AM EST

      The knife cuts both ways.

      AshMon Dec 21, 11:45:00 AM EST

      It certainly does and I've experienced my share of ridicule, primarily spewing forth from Bob.

      QuirkMon Dec 21, 11:45:00 AM EST

      "insulting someone who loves to toss out the insults himself is a form of bullying? My my what a bunch of PC rightwingers you've become."

      I have to agree with Ash on this one. At least with his thought. ...

    14. bobFri Dec 04, 11:23:00 AM EST

      Anybody get too near my MLD I gun 'em down I'm that jealous.

  3. They got paid to torture there for they are professional torturers.

  4. Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson does not respect the UCMJ,does not respect the Law.
    Despises the Constitution.

    He defends lawlessness.

    "What your government did abroad yesterday, it does at home today."

  5. Great News from Syria, the Rat Doctrine chalks up another 'Big Win'

    Kurds push Islamic State completely out of Kobani

    (Reuters) - Kurdish forces took full control of the Syrian town of Kobani near the Turkish border on Monday, driving out the last group of Islamic State fighters after nearly four months of battles, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

    The Syrian Kurdish forces have been backed by near daily U.S.-led airstrikes around the town, known as Ayn al-Arab in Arabic, and supported by Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces.

    No US ground troops required.


    1. I find this fixation with the fantasy "No US ground troops required" kinda funny:

      "Canadian soldiers engaged in more firefights against Islamic State: DND
      Steven Chase
      Ottawa — The Globe and Mail
      Published Monday, Jan. 26 2015, 11:17 AM EST

      Canadian special forces soldiers in Iraq have twice engaged in firefights with Islamic State militants in the past week, the Department of National Defence reported.

      The government continues to insist troops are merely operating as military advisers in northern Iraq and not undertaking a combat mission.

      The military says Canada’s soldiers are only shooting at Islamic fighters out of self defence because they’re training Kurdish troops near the front lines of the battle.

      This is the third instance now where the Department of Defence has revealed special forces soldiers are engaged in ground fighting with the enemy.

      Naval Captain Paul Forget said in both cases Canada’s soldiers returned fire and “neutralized” the enemy threats.

      This means special forces soldiers have come under attack three times in the last three weeks.

      Separately, the military says, Canada’s CF-18 warplanes have conducted another 12 airstrikes on Islamic State targets."

      If Canadian troops are involved in fire-fights working their relatively light bombing agenda I would suggest US troops are much more involved than 'none'.

    2. If you can provide an illustration or example, Ash.
      The US is not putting troops in the FAC positions, it is allowing our Coalition partners to fill that role, it would appear that the Canucks are paying US back for the defense the US provided them, against the Soviet nuclear threat.

      Fifty, sixty years of defense subsidies, saving Canada untold billions of dollars.
      Payback is at hand.

    3. Who, if not JTAC, would be calling in US air strikes?

      A quick google yielded:

      Are American Troops Already Fighting on the Front Lines in Iraq?

      The Pentagon is denying that U.S. troops are fighting ISIS on the ground in Iraq—but eyewitness accounts and Kurdish officials tell a different story.


      I know, I know Jack, 'The Government said so therefor it must be true.'

    4. Any number of people, Ash, the skill sets required at that difficult to master

      Who has reported otherwise, Ash?

    5. Any number of people, Ash, the skill sets required are not that difficult to master

    6. I thought it required some pretty sophisticated understanding, and in some cases special equipment, to call in air support accurately. I'd be surprised if they handed out the ability to do so willy nilly.

    7. U.S. troops are fighting ISIS

      words ash…


      painting an enemy with a laser is technically not fighting...

    8. With the Canadian troops they are painting the enemy and then ending up in firefights on the ground.

  6. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said US-led air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria should be subject to an agreement with Damascus and Syrian troops should be involved on the ground. Assad was speaking in an interview with the U.S.-based Foreign Affairs Magazine published on Monday.

    "With any country that is serious about fighting terrorism, we are ready to make cooperation, if they're serious,"
    Assad said, when asked if he would be willing to take steps to make cooperation easier with Washington.
    When asked what he would like to see from the United States, Assad said Washington should pressure Turkey not to allow money and weapons into northern Syria and
    "to make legal cooperation with Syria and start by asking permission from our government to make such attacks".

    "The format we can discuss later, but you start with permission. Is it an agreement? Is it a treaty? That's another issue," he said.

    Washington informed Damascus before it started strikes in Syria in September. The power of the hardline Islamists, including Islamic State and the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, makes it more difficult for the United States to find a suitable ally on the ground. It plans to train and equip members of the mainstream Syrian opposition to fight Islamic State as part of its strategy to roll back the group's gains in Syria.

    A first group of about 100 U.S. troops will head to the Middle East in the next few days to establish training sites for Syrian opposition fighters. Assad said the campaign should be backed up by the Syrian army on the ground.

    "The question you have to ask the Americans is, which troops are you going to depend on?
    Definitely, it has to be Syrian troops."

  7. Governor Christie moved one step closer to running for president Friday, launching a political action committee with his supporters.

  8. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. and partner nations launched 21 air strikes in Syria and 13 in Iraq over a 24-hour period, the U.S. military said on Monday as it intensified its assault on Islamic State around Kobani, Syria.

    Seventeen of the strikes since Sunday targeted Kobani, a contested city on the border with Turkey where the Islamic militants are battling for control, the Combined Joint Task Force said in a statement.

    The strikes in Iraq targeted near Mosul, Tal Afar, Haditha and Falluja, it said.

    More Dead Men - No Longer Walking

  9. Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson fits their profile.
    People that do not respect the Constitution of the United States.

    Beachgoers in San Diego blithely agreed that President Barack Obama should be given the power to completely repeal the Bill of Rights in the name of fighting ISIS in another disturbing insight into the unthinking malaise of many Americans.

    Meet the People Who Want Obama to Repeal the Bill of Rights

    Told by media analyst and author Mark Dice that Obama had announced he was to repeal the Bill of Rights in order to “help make sure that we can keep everybody safe here in the homeland,” almost all the respondents agreed that eliminating constitutional rights was perfectly reasonable.

    Asked, “Is that the right decision – should we get behind Obama to make sure the ISIS threat doesn’t rear its head here in America?,” one man responded, “Yeah I would agree with that,” before adding, “Only time will tell whether it’s the right or wrong decision,” agreeing with Dice that Obama’s political advisors “know what’s best”.
    Given “what happened overseas in Paris,” another man agrees that if the “experts” think the Bill of Rights should be repealed then Americans should support the move.

    Paul Joseph Watson

  10. SNAFU & FUBAR on steroids - OOrah!

    By Lisa Rein
    The Washington Post
    © January 26, 2015
    Facing budget pressures, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said two years ago that he was ordering the number of top brass and senior civilians at the Pentagon to start shrinking by 20 percent. But federal auditors reported last week that the Defense Department has not produced a realistic plan to make the cuts — and can't say how many people it has or needs at its management headquarters.

    In a new report, the Government Accountability Office described an unwieldy personnel system that seems unable to account for the size of military and civilian staffs at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, and the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force secretariats and staffs — all headquarters that ballooned in size after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and have only recently begun to level off.

    Compounding the problem, contractors form a large chunk of these employees, but the Defense Department does not have an accurate handle on how large, auditors found.

    "Without a systematic determination of personnel requirements and periodic reassessment of them, DOD will not be well positioned to proactively identify efficiencies and limit personnel growth within these headquarters organizations," the GAO concluded in the 90-page report.

    In other words, downsizing is hard to do when you don't know how big you are.

    The assessment from Congress's watchdog arm echoed similar alarms auditors sounded in 2012. They came to much the same conclusion about the Defense Department's pledge to reduce head count at its six geographic combatant commands, Special Operations, strategic and transportation commands, and National Guard and reserve headquarters.

    Auditors are consistently finding that cutting layers of management requires a reliable starting point for how big the military bureaucracy has gotten; the Defense Department apparently does not have one. The agency has not reported to Congress on its efforts to shrink headquarters staff after getting a June 2014 deadline extended to December, GAO found.

    The Defense Department's headquarters organizations are responsible for policymaking, budgeting and management of defense functions, among other key roles.

    "However, accounting for the resources devoted to headquarters has been a long-standing challenge for DOD," auditors wrote.

    The increases vary by organization. Civilian and military staff at Army headquarters, for example, grew by 60 percent to 3,639 in fiscal 2013, from 2,272 in fiscal 2001 — not including contractors.


  11. {..}

    Defense officials have faced pressure to push the military off a war footing with the drawdown of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hagel's 2013 directive would force the Pentagon and command staffs to shed an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 jobs, a tiny percentage of the department's active-duty troops and civilian employees but a high-profile, symbolic effort to address growth in the bureaucracy's top layers.

    Auditors also pointed out that the definition of a headquarters job is subject to interpretation.

    Many employees who report from non-headquarters offices at the Defense Department work in jobs such as planning and budgeting that overlap with work at headquarters. But those jobs aren't counted toward the total the agency has pledged to cut.

    The GAO recommended that defense officials set up a system to determine how many employees they need at headquarters units.

    In response to the audit's conclusions, some defense officials told the GAO that they do not regularly reassess how many employees they need, because their needs do not change much from year to year. Others said they are starting to figure out their needs.

    The Defense Department also raised concerns that the GAO report "lacks perspective when characterizing the department's headquarters staff" given that the scope of headquarters' missions requires a "complex and multi-layered structure."

    A department spokesman did not have an immediate comment.

  12. Why do we need a Pentagon if we have regional Commands?

  13. Here is the maps of the commands:

    I am sure that there is sufficient staffing at each of The Command levels to do their mission without anything needed from the Pentagon.

  14. Haaretz reporter Roi Arad revealed in an article in the Hebrew edition today [January 26] that the foreign funded organization, “One Voice”, is bankrolling the V-2015 campaign to defeat Binyamin Netanyahu’s national camp in the March 2015 Knesset Elections.

    One indication of the generous financing is that it has now flown in a team of five American campaign experts (including Jeremy Bird, the Obama campaign’s national field director) who will run the campaign out of offices taking up the ground floor of a Tel Aviv office building.

    V-2015 is careful not to support a specific party – rather “just not Bibi”. As such, the foreign funds pouring into the campaign are not subject to Israel’s campaign finance laws.

    1. The Israeli Left adores touting Netanyahu’s “interference” in American elections, specifically his expression of support for Mitt Romney in the 2012 campaign. When it comes to Israeli left-wing politics, there are simply things you just don’t do when you represent the center-right. It should come as no surprise then that Haaretz, known on this side of the globe for its freakish ability to generate anonymous White House sources that love talking about how much Obama hates Bibi (a shared talent among the Left) would conveniently forget to translate this little news item for their English-reading audience.

    2. Obama won't meet Benjamin Netanyahu - בנימין נתניהו in Washington when he addresses the Joint Houses of Congress in March because of Netanyahu's visit's proximity to the Israeli elections. And Obama, of course believes in protocol and propriety which is why he won't get involved.
      No, he's not getting involved at all. He's just sending his 2012 field campaign manager to Israel to run a campaign to defeat Netanyahu. That's all. No interference whatsoever.
      By the way, the link below is to a report of the article in Haaretz that I linked to in the previous post in Hebrew. For whatever reason, Haaretz chose not to translate this article in its English edition.

    3. The amounts of cash that US citizens have funneled to Bibi is substantial.
      Posted on this subject earlier, may again.

    4. No one questions the flow of cash to and from nations across the globe used for all sorts of purposes.

      Obama stated the reason he would bot speak to BIBI was he did not want to interfere with the Israeli elections.

      This is the point of the posts..

      Must be above your pay grade shit scooper...

  15. He worked on the Obama 2012 Campaign?

    Does that mean he's no longer allowed to make a living?

    1. Isn't there some sort of "statute of limitations" on that kind of thing?

    2. Make a living?

      Sure but let's not kid ourselves, Obama and company DO interfere with other nations elections. Both thru the voter and the gun.

    3. Can anyone say Sheldon Adelson?

    4. Why stop there?

      there are hundreds of folks that do, it, no surprise you list a Jew 1st and foremost…

    5. Because Mr Adelson, "O"rdure, is involved in Israeli politics, he is involved in US politics.
      Mr Adelson supports both Bibi and Mr Boehner.
      He is also a fiduciary agent of Charlie Chi-com, through the gambling licenses in Macao.

      So he is the perfect example of ...
      the flow of cash to and from nations across the globe used for all sorts of purposes.

      Primarily the application of political power

  16. So, this Jeremy Bird works for Obama?

    I thought Obama said that he's run his last campaign.

    Has he decided to go for that 3rd. term?

    1. Rufus get off your stupid drunk act.

      Are you really this stupid? I don't think so…

      Cant you just admit that Obama has a political machine?

    2. Oh, it's no act. I've been assured many times, on this very blog, that I am very much "this stupid."

      I really can't figure out why a man that will never run for office, again, would have a national field director on his payroll

      (this guy is on Obama's payroll, right?)

    3. Do you really think that Obama is GIVING up power when his term ends?

      Did the Clintons or Bushes?

      Obama is free, like Jimmy Carter, to shape the world as he sees fit, with all the money Soros can provide.

      So Rufus, yes you are either naive or stupid. More like just being an ass…

      Maybe the BEST solution for the Obama clan, after he is no longer President would be his arrest and incarceration for treason, as long as Jarrett is arrested along side with him? I'd be happy.

    4. .

      Jeremy Bird is a hired gun. He works mainly for Dems but in the past he also worked for Romney. After 2012, he used the success of the Obama win as impetus to launch his own political strategy firm. His firm works not only with pols but with companies and unions and others, the Chicago Cubs, Planned Parenthood, SEIU, teachers groups, etc.

      Jeremy Bird is merely an employee. You should be looking at his employer, the guy that founded 'One Voice'. I forget the guy's name but he is also the owner of Kind health snacks. The guy runs 'One Voice - Israel' and 'One Voice- Palestine'. He is pushing for a two-state solution, Israel and Palestine, and that is his main objection to Bibi who he believes will never allow a two-state solution.

      It's got nothing to do with Obama. One Voice wants to use Bird's technological savvy to build support for their position. It needs all the help it can get. He wants a two state solution so as to lock in the Jewish majority status in Israel. A lot of Jews don't like him for various reasons. The Palestinians don't like him because they consider him a racist.


    5. There he goes again.

      Our little piece of "O"rdure states as fact what is merely his personal supposition.
      Denigrates his fellow contributor with personal slurs, and then is proven wrong when the light of truth is shone upon the subject by someone who knows the story.

  17. Fuel for the conspiracy minded Jack:

    Greece elects an 'anti-austerity' government and immediately a Greek F16 crashes while doing NATO training...

    1. There you go, Ash.
      Faulty maintenance ... pilot error ... no one will ever know, fer sur.

    2. Well, the Shadow ...

      ... he knows what evil lurks ...


  18. I thought this was a nice, little comment:

    "Bloix said...

    In the 19th and 20th C's, when the internal combustion engine, the assembly line, and electrification greatly reduced the demand for human labor, did society decide that people should be put out on the street to starve?

    No, we:

    (1) outlawed child labor and instituted mandatory schooling to age 14 and then to age 16, thereby reducing the labor supply and creating many new jobs;
    (2) reduced the standard work week from 6 to 5 days and the standard work day from 12 to 10 and then to 8 hours;
    (3) enacted minimum wage laws that forced the sharing of the wealth created by the new technologies, and empowered unions to allow workers to bargain for a greater share of that wealth;
    (4) implemented policies that made it possible for most people to retire at age 65 with a decent standard of living.

    If in the future, robots reduce the need for human labor while increasing productivity to the same extent as the changes of 100 years ago did, it would be easy enough to use that increased productivity to:

    - reduce the standard work week to 35 hours, and
    require double time for overtime,
    - increase vacation time to 4 or even 6 weeks a year,
    - give new parents 6 months of paid parental leave,
    - reduce the retirement age to 60,
    - increase the minimum wage,
    - hire more workers to teach school, work in nursing
    homes, and provide day care, nad maintain or repair

    Or we can give all the wealth from the increased productivity to the 0.1% and throw ordinary workers into the street.

    It's a political question, not a technological one."

    It was inresponse to this blog post at

    Economic View

  19. What a great find! I would post it, but not much point. You could do that in a world where everyone had to play by the same rules. I can see no way to incentivize the application with a market force. It has to come from a political force. I think that latter observation is based on what has happened since Reagan.

    I need to give it more thought. Thanks.

  20. It is unrealistic to expect Greece to repay its huge debt in full, the chief economics spokesman for the victorious Syriza party has told the BBC.

    "Nobody believes that the Greek debt is sustainable," Euclid Tsakalotos said.

    The far-left Syriza, which won Sunday's general election, wants to renegotiate Greece's €240bn (£179bn; $270bn) bailout by international lenders.

    EU leaders have warned the new Greek government that it must live up to its commitments to the creditors.

    Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras - who was sworn in as prime minister on Monday - is expected to unveil his new cabinet later on Tuesday.
    'Dangerous Europe'

    "I haven't met an economist in their heart of hearts that will tell you that Greece will pay back all of that debt. It can't be done," Mr Tsakalotos said


    1. Bankster Austerity Measures Under Attack in Wake of Syriza Win in Greece

      Politicos line up for fight against bankster plan to impoverish millions

      by Kurt Nimmo

      British Prime Minister David Cameron has reacted to the Greek election and the rejection of globalist austerity measures by saying the victory of Syriza in the Greek general election over the weekend will “increase economic uncertainty across Europe.”

      On Sunday the leader of radical leftist Syriza party, Alexis Tsipras, promised to end five years of austerity, “humiliation and suffering” imposed by international banksters on the Greek people.

      Tsipras is a dedicated communist who gave his youngest son the middle name of Ernesto after Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara.

      “Greece leaves behinds catastrophic austerity, it leaves behind fear and authoritarianism, it leaves behind five years of humiliation and anguish,” Tsipras, who was sworn in as prime minister on Monday, told supporters.

      The Greek coalition party now has an absolute, 151-seat majority in parliament.

      Tsipras and Syriza demand a renegotiation of Greece’s £179 billion bailout and a revisitation of the clauses that make the Greek government’s implementation of devastating austerity measures mandatory.

      Additionally, Syriza is calling for cancellation of over 50 percent of Greek debt owed to ECB banksters and Eurozone states.

      The victory of Syriza has emboldened the anti-austerity movement in Britain and on the European continent.


  21. Koch Brothers' network will drop almost $1 billion on 2016 election

    WASHINGTON -- Flexing its financial might, the political machine backed by billionaires Charles and David Koch on Monday told its allies that spending across its conservative network would approach $1 billion ahead of 2016's elections.

    The stunning sum from Freedom Partners would dwarf expected spending from official GOP committees and many of the hopefuls expected to seek the party's presidential nomination in 2016. The $889 million budget is almost twice what 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney spent from his campaign accounts.

    1. While the Koch-backed groups are tremendously effective, even some of their allies eyed the latest budget figure with wariness.

      Former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, a Republican who now heads the American Bankers Association and who calls the Kochs "wonderful human beings," lamented the ballooning role of outside groups in politics.

      "This is the new normal," Keating said.

    2. Someone mentioned George Soros ...
      Sour grapes after he dumped SodaStream, perhaps, but Mr Soros is going into the car business.

      Soros is ready to move on auto dealerships

      DETROIT -- Wall Street powerhouse Soros Fund Management is ready to move on a deal to acquire auto dealerships, a representative of the fund said at a private dinner Saturday in San Francisco, according to two sources who attended the event.

      “They like the auto space” as a result of research the fund has completed, said one of the sources present at the dinner, held during the National Automobile Dealers Association convention. “If the right situation were to come up, they would jump on it.”

      Soros is prepared to invest as much as $1 billion on dealerships, that source said.

      But first, the would-be buyer must sell itself as an acceptable buyer. Soros Fund is on an aggressive marketing mission to sell itself to large dealership groups interested in having a partner or full-fledged investor -- provided management remains in place, both sources said.

      One of the messages from the fund’s representatives was that, as an investor, it is not cut from the same cloth as hedge funds or the standard private-equity fund. Rather, it is a family fund, investing private assets of billionaire George Soros.

      Sales speech

      Soros Fund representative Vipul Tandon spoke to about 40 auto industry leaders, mainly dealers, at the dinner, which was hosted by dealership buy-sell firm Bel Air Partners.

      The two attendees who shared details of Tandon’s speech with Automotive News said he touted the benefits of a family fund over other investors such as private equity, hedge funds and public dealership groups.

      Tandon “tried to paint a different picture and a reason to more seriously consider the Soros family private capital office approach over some of the other options,” said one of the sources who heard the speech. “The major selling point of organizations like his is its flexibility, he said.”
      Spending may be as high as $1 billion, source says

    3. The same amount that the Koch Brothers have budgeted to invest in political power players, Mr Soros is looking to invest in car dealerships.

      Wonder which investment strategy will provide the higher yield?

  22. While here in the Americas ...

    Argentine President Plans to Dissolve Spy Agency


    President Cristina Fernandez plans to disband Argentina's intelligence agency amid suspicions that rogue agents were behind the mysterious death of a state prosecutor investigating the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center.

    In her first televised address since Alberto Nisman was found dead with a single bullet to the head, Fernandez said on Monday night she would send Congress a bill creating a new security body that would be more transparent.

    Nisman's death on Jan. 18, just a day before he was due to appear in Congress over his claims that Fernandez conspired to derail his investigation, has triggered a storm of conspiracy theories, including some directly against Fernandez.

    But her government says Nisman was tricked into making his allegations against Fernandez and then killed when he was no longer of use to those who led the conspiracy.

    It said the scandal is linked to a power struggle at the Intelligence Secretariat, or SI, and to operatives who had recently been fired.

    The SI, formerly known as the SIDE, has significant power and autonomy. In the “dirty war” directed by Argentina's military dictatorship of 1976-83, the agency spied on Marxist rebels, labor unions and other leftists.


    1. Argentina’s Jews are serving the far right’s silent revolution

      I ask myself how these wise and good-hearted people could have fallen into a trap and wound up on the same side as the country’s fascists.

      It has been proved once again that in Argentina truth is stranger than fiction. What appeared to be a conspiracy theory has taken on real form; who knows what monster is lurking. Dark forces from the past are returning, keen to reap vengeance on the Kirchner family because late Argentine President Néstor Kirchner, the husband of his successor Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, put them on trial for crimes against humanity.
      Indeed, as information leaks out, the conclusion that Argentina is undergoing an attempted revolution strengthens. This is an elegant, sophisticated and refined revolution. It’s being carried out not by tanks or attacks on the Casa Rosada, Argentina’s White House, but by stoking the kind of social and economic chaos that overthrew Chilean President Salvador Allende in 1973, which Naomi Klein described so well in her book “The Shock Doctrine.”

      And here, amid all the commotion, smoke and disinformation, surfaces the Jewish connection — mainly because the affair revolves around the 1994 terror attack on the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires — and the 85 victims who were buried underneath. Second, the journalist Damián Pachter who broke the news of Nisman’s death received death threats and fled to Israel, leaving behind a trail of speculation on his motives.

      Worse still is the role the Jewish community is unwittingly playing in this despicable affair as it protests the deal Argentina signed with Iran in the attempt to absolve Tehran of responsibility for the terror attack.

      By Dr. Meir Margalit, coordinator of the Latin America desk at the Forum of Peace Organizations, heads the Center for Advancement in Peace Initiatives.

      Read More:

  23. A little closer to the southern border ...

    Mayor ordered his death, former police confesses to the killing

    Moises Sanchez was a Veracruz journalist who reported on corruption and organized crime for the newspaper La Union. On the second day of the New Year, gunmen invaded his home and abducted the reporter.

    His body was found on Saturday in the municipality of Medellin de Bravo, there were signs of severe torture.

    On Sunday, the attorney general of Veracruz, Angel Luis Bravo, reported the capture of Clemente Noé Rodríguez, a former municipal police, who said the murder was "commissioned" by Medellin mayor Omar Cruz Reyes. The confessed murderer revealed Sanchez was killed the same day as his abduction.

    Although the PGR agency reported a "positive" identification, those results were based on fingerprint comparison. Sanchez' son, Jorge Sánchez, mistrusts those results because of the poor condition of the body. The body had been decomposing for 22 days when discovered. The PGR agency has ordered DNA studies.

    Because the mayor has immunity from prosecution, he has not been arrested. A legal process is being conducted to impeach annul immunity. The same process was conducted in the case of Mayor Jose Abarca of Iguala. It was during that time that Abarca and his family fled.

  24. Fox News Power Index:

    1. Mitt Romney
    2. Jeb Bush
    3. Rand Paul