You Can’t Spell “Walter Pincus” without C, I, and A

Walter Pincus, in one of the rare moments when his lifetime relationship with the CIA supercedes his normally excellent reporting, claims that waterboarding was not used when Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed were asked about Iraqi ties with Al Qaeda.

Senior intelligence officials yesterday acknowledged that two al-Qaeda operatives, Abu Zubaida and Khalid Sheik Mohammed, had been questioned about alleged links between al-Qaeda and Iraq when the two men underwent CIA interrogation in 2002 and 2003. But the officials denied that the questioning on Iraq had included waterboarding.

"The two top priorities driving so-called enhanced interrogation techniques were information on the locations of al-Qaeda leadership and plots against the United States," one intelligence official said yesterday, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the subject publicly. "Questions were asked about Iraq, but the notion that waterboarding was used to extract from either an admission that Iraq and al-Qaeda had a relationship is false, period," he added.

Note, these two senior intelligence officials did not deny that Ibn Sheikh al-Libi was waterboarded to elicit a claim of an Iraqi-al Qaeda tie. They do not deny that Dick Cheney’s office pitched waterboarding an Iraqi to get such a claim. They do not deny that the non-briefing of Congress on torture was part of a plan to hide the torture which might undermine the accuracy of Abu Zubaydah’s claim of such a tie (note, KSM apparently never claimed there was a tie). And they do not deny that harsh methods were used by DOD to elicit such claims. In fact, they don’t even deny that torture (but not waterboarding) was used in interrogations when KSM and AZ were asked about Al Qaeda ties with Iraq.

So the denial here falls short of even denying that the Administration used–and threatened to use–torture to trump up ties between al Qaeda and Iraq.

And besides, why should we believe this? Two senior officials, unwilling to go on the record to make this denial? 

If someone wants to make this claim, let’s see the records. Let’s have your names (and the basis for your firsthand knowledge).  Short of that–short of some evidence the CIA didn’t just call Walter Pincus to issue a friendly denial–I really don’t know why this would be considered credible. 

280 replies
  1. tryggth says:

    Really short article by Pincus. And that short prepared statement, without any clarifying questions around it, feels a bit misleading.

  2. tinah2751 says:

    MT – as always you are way ahead of me. I just asked in your last post about this article. I’m still two posts behind. Do you have a speaker typing machine?

  3. ezdidit says:

    Stupidity in extremis. Is WaPO trying to prove that they are as dumb as rocks? What can I ever believe of what Pincus or WaPo ever publishes again? And who is “anonymous sources” anyway? Liars?

  4. MadDog says:

    I’d like to make the point that the anonymous “Senior intelligence officials” that Pincus uses as his sources are using a “finely-contstructed” wording to describe “not using waterboarding” to question Abu Zubaida and Khalid Sheik Mohammed about alleged links between al-Qaeda and Iraq.

    The way this can (and should) be read is as follows:

    1. Sure we waterboarded AZ and KSM.

    2. We didn’t then immediately ask them about alleged links between al-Qaeda and Iraq.

    3. Sometime later (after we waterboarded AZ and KSM 280+ times), we did ask AZ and KSM about alleged links between al-Qaeda and Iraq.

    4. So you can’t say that we waterboarded AZ and KSM 280+ times and then immediately asked them about alleged links between al-Qaeda and Iraq.

    5. But you can say that we we waterboarded AZ and KSM 280+ times and then sometime thereafter asked them about alleged links between al-Qaeda and Iraq.

    6. See how swift we be at parsing our words?

    7. We should get a prize for this!

    • emptywheel says:

      Actually, I suspect the scenario is different–in an important way.

      Remember that waterboarding is the culmination of increasingly rough forms of torture, starting with nudity and noise and working through walling and so on. So they’re saying it didn’t happen on the 5 days when these two were being waterboarded in huge numbers. Given that the SSCI report says KSM was asked among his first questions, it suggests they may well have asked before they waterboarded him–which makes sense, since after March 7, 2003, when IAEA discredited their uranium claims, Dick was trying really hard to get a Al Qaeda tie to pin his war on. So if you assume the waterboarding happened in the last week of March, the other stuff happened beforehand, war started 19 days into KSM’s captivity, then the questions probably came before the waterboarding.

        • emptywheel says:

          True. But then AZ is the guy who said they DID have ties (they used him for the Zarqawi claims). KSM is the guy who said there were not ties.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        since after March 7, 2003, when IAEA discredited their uranium claims, Dick was trying really hard to get a Al Qaeda tie to pin his war on.

        And from Chpt 2 of “Anatomy of Deceit”, we also see Judy Miller in Iraq embedded with a military unit that was searching for WMD mobile labs — but not finding them. So Judy-Judy took it upon herself to report on a guy in a baseball cap who led some Americans around to locations of ‘buried chemicals’, not that he knew what the proper chemical names were…
        Those reports were in the NYT April 21, 23, 24 of 2003.

        Shorter: no weapons? Shiiiit!
        Quick! Let’s put on a baseball cap and make up a story claiming that they
        did exist, but Saddam ordered ‘em destroyed… ummmm… I think maybe someone buried some of ‘em… right about here (points to ground at some random spot)…

        And 10 days before the war started, Rumsfeld was giving that army unit a direct order that Judith Miller would embed with them.

        The same Judith Miller who was such a pal of Ahmad Chalabi, pal of neocons, former embezzeler. Oh, and longtime Judy Miller ‘unnamed source’ at ‘highest levels of…’

        FWIW, the army unit did not like Miller.
        They wanted her out of their hair.
        She wanted in their hair.
        She called Washington, DC.
        Someone in DC called Petraeus.
        Petraeus said Judy could stay with the unit after all.
        Happy Judy.
        Happy Ahmad.

        The rest is… tragedy, duplicity, and history.

        • cinnamonape says:

          Judy also went to Thailand in December of 2001…and interviewed al-Haideri, a plant by Chalabi, who asserted that he had evidence of ING WMD’s and interactions with al Qaida. The CIA had just taken al-Haideri to a “secure safe house” in Pattaya and given him an interrogation with a lie detector…which Haideri utterly failed.

          So–Hmm! Could this be the same place where al Zubaydah was held? It’s in Thailand…secret, secure safehouse, with a CIA interrogator with equipment. And either Chalabi or someone else notified Judy Miller (perhaps Scooter, Cheney, or someone else in WHIG) about Haideri being there, and the NY Times funded her Thailand trip?

  5. tinah2751 says:

    Okay, so I’m supposed to believe that CIA interrogators (contractors?) asked in the beginning if Iraq and al-Qaeda were linked and when they both said “No” they went on to waterboard them on other topics? REally?

  6. CanuckStuckinMuck says:

    Your output these last weeks has been quasi-super-human. And I don’t doubt that you’re doing it all on your own. So, in the interest of keeping you healthy, and ending your self-imposed sleep-deprivation, I hope the $150,000 goal to help subvent your enterprise is reached quickly. And I hope that you stay healthy. We need you! Keep on fighting the good fight.

    • Leen says:

      Hoping to be able to give again.

      Ew you are spitting it out. Still say that Maddow, Olbermann and any other MSMer’s or staff of Maddows who come to use your “homework” on their shows should donate handsomely to the keep EW in $$ fund.

      They know who they are

      • stryder says:

        I don’t think it’s possible to put a price tag on what Marcy has accomplished.What she does comes from the depths of her soul and are as genuine,straight forward and complete as possible.She is eerily similar to the starving artist who is so obsessed with the truth that money doesn’t even enter into the picture and,like an artist, as soon as it does the gift is gone.

        • Petrocelli says:

          As the [un]Official yoga/meditation voice here, I strongly disagree with this sentiment. Wealth and excellence are not mutually exclusive ideals, just as wealth and happiness are not diametrically opposite to each other.

          My life’s work is showing people how to have an abundance of both and I’m with Leen @ 8 … the people who visit this site for material to compose their own shows and articles ought to be stepping up and donating to this effort.

          My goal is for Marcy to have much more than $150K, so she can have access to more of what she requires to uncover the truth for all to see.

          If she had a budget equal to Glenn Beck’s salary, we could see a paradigm shift away from the Pablum that the MSM churns out 24/7.

          If she had a budget equal to Rushbo’s salary, we would see an entirely different kind of Leader in power, from politics to business to religion to charities.

          I don’t make these statements lightly.

  7. Leen says:

    What’s Pincus up to in that article

    The Meeting…..leId=10077
    On the following day, July 12, an administration official — apparently not
    Rove or Libby — told Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus that Wilson was sent to Niger on the recommendation of his wife. But Pincus has said that he did not publish a story because he “did not believe it true.”

    did Walter ever have to reveal who the Bush administration official was that fed him shit———————————-

    Got it Ari Fleisher the official who told Pincus…..41009.html

    The first Defense witness is Walter Pincus. Scooter Libby gave him a waiver to speak with the Government. But, it wasn’t Libby who told him about Joseph Wilson’s wife working for the C.I.A. It was Ari Fleishcher. Fleischer told him this on July 12, two days before Novak’s article was published.

    Libby Prosecutor Focuses on CIA Officer’s Status…..01024.html
    “When Libby testified before the grand jury on March 5, 2004, he said, according to the government’s indictment: “Mr. Russert said to me, did you know that Ambassador Wilson’s wife, or his wife works at the CIA? And I said, no, I don’t know that. And then he [Russert] said, yeah — yes all the reporters know it. And I said, again, I don’t know that.”

    Fitzgerald is now cross-examing Pincus. It’s clear in Pincus’s mind that Fleishcer was the first to tell him about Wilson’s wife working for the CIA. Fleischer didn’t say where he learned it.

    • LabDancer says:

      Jeebus — this is all so screwed up it’s zoo’d. I didn’t think emptywheel’s post here was a call to dogpile a truly great reporter; critique yes — trash with flipped-out conspiracy theory crapola no.

      • Leen says:

        “trash with flipped out conspiracy theory crapola no”

        sounds like your the one “flipping out”

        I asked “what’s Pincus up to in that article” and then looked at some of his other articles about the Plame outing. “g” hold onto your hat.

        The “flipping” is being done by you. Linking articles about Pincus and articles written by Pincus is “dogpile a truly great reporter” That’s pathetic

  8. Leen says:

    Pincus should interview Soufan. Someone who stepped forward willing to take a stand instead of the two senior intelligence officials who are not willing to step forward.

    Ew your challenge “let’s see the records, your names” otherwise this is just more efforts to “muddy the waters”

  9. LabDancer says:

    I think the reigning Hillman award winner is here continuing on an one of her by-now indisputably characteristic Spectacular Rolls; but, to paraphrase another great American [Randy Newman] I’d like to point out a few things in defence of our Mr Pincus.

    [1] The WaPo piece is consistent with the recent report on Charles Duelfer’s story of an OVP — inquiry after whether had been? effort to get? — a captured Iraqi official tortured; which, according to Duelfer [who strikes me as having showing some of the clinical/flat aspect attitude we’ve seen recently from Zelikow], then did NOT result [at least directly, as far as Duelfer was concerned] in the prisoner then CONSEQUENTLY being tortured by or on behalf of the USG.

    [2] The above suggests one of the [many] factors complicating the un-named sources approach to developing and following the torture story — as we’ve seen: We’ve got multiple actors representing different, and as some point to at least some degree opposing, interests. DIA, DoD Feith-based types, CIA regulars vulnerable to career fears or ambitions, CIA regulars with ethical standards, CIA B-teamers, DoD regulars who happen to be psycho, DoD regulars who do not happen to be psycho, State regulars, State politicos, State ’statemanesque’ types, consultants to whichever office, private contractors to whatever agency and office acting under whoever’s directions, etc etc etc.

    [3] IMO it’s noteworthy that Pincus advances the truth, what’s been suspected and then concluded and now is being buttressed by fearless leader here, by doing something which in the MSM arena is done so little: by actually properly framing that emerging truth:

    “Recent media accounts have reported allegations that the waterboardings of Mohammed and Abu Zubaida, the nom de guerre of Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein, were ordered by Bush administration officials seeking to find evidence of ties between al-Qaeda and Iraq, which the officials sought as a justification for military action against Iraq.”

    [4] NB — because IMO this is quite spectacular — the only two ‘media’ citations in Pincus’ piece are to the toobz; and while not precisely to the DFH patrol, indisputably to the left [and thus, more often than not, referred to by corporate media types as “the far” and “the extreme”].

    • emptywheel says:

      I think what CIA is trying is to say Dick Cheney may have been asking for torture for AQ-Iraq links (the DOD stuff through Feith, the Iraqi, al-Libi), they’re not responsible.

      But hey. This is a totally non-credible use of anonymous sourcing. SO if they want to say it, say it on the record in a forum we can use to prosecute Cheney.

      • LabDancer says:

        And I don’t disagree; the purpose of my ‘few words in defence’ post was to point out the probability that Pincus wrote this piece with some awareness of the extent to which he was being used as a conduit, including some signs that, despite the brevity of it and the narrowness of that of its content that’s comprised of ‘news’, he’s not losing sight of the larger framework.

        Plus, the purpose of my listing a number of membership pieces — and nowhere near all, given there are a couple of dozen acknowledged agencies officially acknowledged as included in what is euphemistically cited as “the intelligence community”, each with its own mix of internal and external influences — was to raise that this message conveyed by Pincus may [likely does] represent one or a few pieces in the overall mosaic: pieces that did not leave, and unlike Plame, and Grenier I think also, were not purged, but to stay, and in staying, found some way to rationalize, no matter how delusional it’s turned out, the ideals that brought them into the agency to the savagery that ‘happened’ while they’ve been there.

  10. radiofreewill says:

    It sounds like Pincus is saying that – while CIA played a part in the Broader Interrogation Process – they didn’t ‘do’ the actual Waterboarding part.

    In fact, it almost sounds like the Waterboarding ‘part’ had Nothing to Do with the Intelligence Gathering part – rather, it looks more like the Compartmentalized administration of Sadistic Punishment, imvho.

    I’ve said before that KSM’s 183 Waterboardings in March ‘03 looks Suspiciously like Revenge because the Total Coalition KIA between Afghanistan and Iraq thru March ‘03 was 183 at the very end of the month.

    Zubaydah’s 83 I haven’t tried to correlate to a Punishment as Revenge, but I’d bet the Destroyed Torture Tapes showed No Intelligence Gathering Activities going on around the Waterboarding, but rather only just the Gleeful Administration of Torture…by a Compartmentalized Team that appears to have reported to Cheney.

    So, this might be Pincus’ way of saying that his investigative work shows that CIA did interrogate to establish potential ties between Al Qaeda and Iraq – only without using Waterboarding. The Waterboarding that was done – possibly between sessions of “CIA Interrogation” – however, he’s saying that Somebody Else – not CIA proper – did that.

    But that’s just my two cents…

    • emptywheel says:

      Mary has repeatedly pointed to this account, which says that the CIA apparently would separate the torture from the actual question-asking by a day.

      In the Hollywood cliché of Fox’s “24,” a torturer shouts questions at a bound terrorist while inflicting excruciating pain. The C.I.A. program worked differently. A paramilitary team put on the pressure, using cold temperatures, sleeplessness, pain and fear to force a prisoner to talk. When the prisoner signaled assent, the tormenters stepped aside. After a break that could be a day or even longer, Mr. Martinez or another interrogator took up the questioning. [my emphasis]

      One more point about this. How many of the people with firsthand knowledge of these interrogations could be described as senior intelligence officials? Even Steven Kappes-who was in CIA at the time and in a place to know–was not involved as closely as the contractors and others. But almost all the other people who were then senior are gone.

      • bmaz says:

        Also, they stacked the techniques. So, while the actual questioning may not have occurred during the waterboarding, the subject may have been taken from the waterboarding into a cold cell etc. and then questioned in that environment. Whatever the environment, you can bet it was not comfy and was an extension of the waterboard. This is not sufficient separation (really there just can’t be legitimate separation under the circumstances in play) to make the claim that the questioning wasn’t in connection with the waterboarding.

        • cinnamonape says:

          There’s mention of the use of bringing the victims of specific tortures back to the rooms where they were abused, or showing them items associated with their prior abuse – the collars, headpieces, etc. The goal was to psychologically break the prisoner and then place them in a position of continued, but lessened, stress…and then return to the THREAT of torture when interrogating them.To some degree that would insulate the “interrogators” from the torturers.The fact that the torturers would constantly cable back to Langley suggests that this was an ongoing interaction though. It’s doubtful that Jessen & Mitchell were privy to the questions that contained specific intelligence.

      • Mary says:

        the basis for your firsthand knowledge

        You betcha – the post and your 22/26.

        Who would know that? And does that mean that banging a naked frozen guy’s head repeatedly into the wall after he’d been through two weeks of sleep deprivation and was being told the next thing up was waterboarding wasn’t used?

        But really – who has this knowledge and how? Are the torturers, as opposed to the interrogators who come in later per *Deuce* (and so, can always claim that NO techniques were used DURING their INTERROGATION) silent?

        Here’s something else – if the Iraq/Al-Qaeda tie was so strong that we ended up making a war of elction and killing thousands and thousands, maiming and turning into refugees hundreds of thousands — in over 260+ waterboardings it was never an important enough matter to raise?


        Yeah, right. Not raising it in 260+ waterboardings when we were preparing to send US soliers to war (esp by KSM’s timing), when we were priming the US public for those soldiers to face nuclear and biological attacks, and yet nowhere in those 260+ waterboardings did anyone think, “heh, maybe we should add in some questions about Iraq, since the waterboarding is a *guarantee of truth* we can make sure our info is correct or get more info.

        If they really thought they were running an intel collection operation, not asking during 260+ waterboardings is an “interesting” revelation.

        • BooRadley says:

          when we were priming the US public for those soldiers to face nuclear and biological attacks, and yet nowhere in those 260+ waterboardings did anyone think, “heh, maybe we should add in some questions about Iraq, since the waterboarding is a *guarantee of truth* we can make sure our info is correct or get more info.

          IMHO, this is a game changer.

          Not surprising who authored it.

          On the armored march into Baghdad, the threat of WMD to our troops was the lead video on most network news casts.

          It’s gotta be handled right. It could be easily turned, but it hits the wingnuts where they live, their utterly false claims about caring about national security.

          As always, thanks Mary.

  11. nadezhda says:

    What’s Pincus up to with this short article? I think he’s probably trying to play it straight — let CIA sources make a specific claim. He will (one hopes) follow up with more sources to narrow down what that specificity really means.

    Note, the CIA sources don’t say “the EITs weren’t used to get an Iraq-AlQ link” — like frex that charming combo of hypothermia and sleep deprivation. Just that the objective of the waterboarding wasn’t to force a confession of the link. Though why they would pressure for the link earlier (which we know they did) using other interrogation practices, just not with waterboarding, strains credulity a bit.

    Still, can we see a sequence that fits with the narrow claim Pincus reported today? I think we can.

    They start with the Informed Interrogation Approach a la Soufan and get a reasonable flow of info, just not what Washington wanted to hear about. The CIA contractors start in and the flow slows down. More pressure from Washington to get info on Iraq-AlQ link. Tougher techniques by CIA contractors. Info flow halts. Washington now doesn’t care what they get, they just want something – so waterboard the suckers and “break ‘em”. And at that point, Washington isn’t focused on the link, just on getting the flow going again.

    So that’s the sort of narrative that hopefully Pincus and the other folks with spook sources will poke at to see if their sources’ narrow claims add up to something coherent. Pincus et al may determine the actions fit with what I speculated, or they may come up with another explanatory story. But Pincus is going to want to see how this “didn’t waterboard to get the link” claim fits within a wider story of what interrogators (CIA, DoD) did with respect to the Iraq-AlQ link.

    So I expect we’ll be seeing a series of short articles from Walter passing along what insiders are claiming in response to other claims that get floated in the press. That will start providing pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that can be assembled only after there are more pieces out there.

    • Jeff Kaye says:

      One problem here: did anyone tell Soufan and FBI that by April 2002 the DIA and others found that al-Libi’s info, produced under torture, and including the fingering of Zubaydah as someone big in Al Qaeda, was not considered credible? So what info were they really trying to get?

      I’d like to see Soufan give a definition of his “Informed Interrogation Approach”, because it at the very least has to be consistent with the use of isolation and sleep deprivation. If I missed that, somebody please direct me.

      I’m not as thrilled with Soufan as so many seem to be. He condemns the cowboy EIT, “unprofessional” experimenting torturers from JPRA. So do I. But I also condemn the professionals who practice “touchless” psychological torture, where solitary confinement and pushing on fears and hopelessness is used to produce “dependency” in the prisoner, and establish a “rapport” that makes a desperate psychologically regressed individual do the bidding (they hope) of their masters.

  12. Leen says:

    Did Pincus work in counter intelligence?

    After graduating from Yale University in 1954, he worked as a copy-boy for The New York Times. Drafted into the U.S. Army in 1955, Pincus served in the Counterintelligence Corps in Washington, D.C. from 1955-1957.

    • rkilowatt says:

      “Did Pincus work in counter intelligence?”

      I recall late 1970s when “grad then go Army Intell or CIC for 2-3 years” was the tell for CIA roots…so accurate was the tell that henceforth that data was omitted from bios, after Marcus Wolf of East German Intell published a booklet of the names of agents so identified. [edit: forget…prob was work of Wolf and pibl by the STASI {E Germ counter-Intell}]

      • rkilowatt says:

        Take note. Oh my. That info has been “disappeared”, disexisted. It’s been so long since those intense, interesting times that I hadn’t noticed…but not forgotten.

        Reminded how old I am. Marcus Wolf. Heady times.

      • fatster says:

        You had me grinning there for a few seconds as I thought you’d typed Welby rather than Wolf. Yr fellow, Wolf, was quite a piece of work, indeed. He perfected a tactic that was used so well on Spitzer:

        Markus Wolf, 83, East German Espionage Chief
        Spymaster Riddled The West With Agents
        By Adam Bernstein
        Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 10, 2006; Page B06

        “Markus Wolf, 83, who helped to oversee the growth of East Germany’s espionage network and once wrote that he wanted to be remembered for “perfecting the use of sex in spying,” died of undisclosed causes Nov. 9 at his apartment in Berlin.”…..01967.html

        Hmmmm. Wonder what those “undisclosed causes” were.

      • rkilowatt says:

        Panetta and Marcus Wolf ’s legacy [See Wikipedia]
        “…Santa Clara University, and in 1960 he graduated…[then]Juris Doctor in 1963…In 1964, he joined the United States Army as a Second Lieutenant. There he received the Army Commendation Medal, and was discharged in 1966…”

        “where he was chief of operations and planning of the intelligence section when he was in the army” [oops!]

        Stamdard Operating Procedure in those times. Too funny if it wasn’t so tragic.

  13. Leen says:

    “”Questions were asked about Iraq, but the notion that waterboarding was used to extract from either an admission that Iraq and al-Qaeda had a relationship is false, period,” he added.”


    so who does the public believe…Wilkerson, Bob Windrem’s reporting, or intelligence officials unwilling to reveal their “names or basis for their firsthand knowledge”

  14. tinah2751 says:

    IMO, the CIA has to get out into the MSM that the tortures (EIT’s) were only used for ticking time bomb situations, to stop plots, save lives. The narrow laws that they made up in the Torture memos allow that only. So the stuff about Iraq – alQ links and WMD locations can only be byproducts of the tortures.

    • cinnamonape says:

      The problem is that a ticking time-bomb scenario would require that you know

      a) that there is a time-bomb (a real specific plot)
      b) it’s ticking down (a deadline is approaching within days if not hours)
      c) the individual being interrogated is specifically linked to THAT plot
      d) the individual is likely to know the location of that bomb (i.e is not merely someone that provided materials, money, or early logistics)
      e) that your methods vs. none abusive methods are more likely to engender accurate information rather than a false “goose chase”
      f) that the individuals who commit the torture know that they are violating the law and that they may face prosecution, but given the high probability of thwarting a “ticking time bomb” that saves lives they are willing to face that risk

      It is the latter that to me indicates that these individuals KNOW that there was, in actuality, not imminent threat, nor any of the other criteria involved with their “24″ scenario. They wanted, insisted upon, legal cover because they knew that the likely outcome of their “experiments”: was “failure”. They knew they’d get false information, false confessions, and implications of innocent people leading to a destruction of those peoples lives.

      • freepatriot says:

        kruthammer provided the textbook neocon wetdream, a ticking bomb story for the ages

        the Israelis torture a guy to learn the location of a hostage, raid the house, and cause the terrorists to kill the hostage, and three more Israeli soldiers who took part in the raid

        EPIC FAIL

        and kruthammer presented the story as a Pro Torture argument

        let’s see, you tortured a human being, got a hostage killed, and lost three more soldiers doing it

        hot damn, that sounds like a winning argument

        you could do the Google if you wanna read a really ironic asshole, I ain’t linkin to that cretin

  15. Jeff Kaye says:

    This is what comes from equating waterboarding with the totality of torture, and letting CIA and others (even critics, like Wilkerson) do so. It’s only a short step from that to equating the EIT with the definition of torture. This allows the CIA and military to relax back into their earlier program of mostly psychological torture, leaving the public to believe that torture no longer occurs (again, as Wilkerson and Obama and others aver).

    Pincus’s article: two suppositions – it tries to clean CIA of the waterboarding charge. But it also opens up CIA to charges of other torture, as you suggest, due to a failure to deny or use other specifics. Why write the article then? To alibi CIA, or to steer us to the use of other torture. I’ll go with the first, but am not ruling out the second.

    • TheraP says:

      I agree with you, Jeff. We have to broaden the framework, present the “context” of torture, bring it home to people. And this morning I’ve been working on the “tax-payer” angle – the fact that the Tax Payer is funding: Torture Services, Inc.

      We need ways to help people feel personally involved, personally responsible. I’ve been trying every which way. And this one’s my latest attempt.

  16. foothillsmike says:

    Would the testimony of surviving torture victims (if they don’t get suicided) be cororative?

  17. fatster says:

    Glenn Greenwald

    SATURDAY MAY 16, 2009 07:26 EDT
    The NYT sums up Obama’s civil liberties record in one paragraph

    “Among progressives, Democrats, liberals, Obama supporters and the like, there seems to be some debate about the extent to which Obama deserves criticisms for what he has done thus far in the realm of civil liberties, restoration of Constitutional principles, and reversing the severe imbalance between “security” and liberties — major planks of his two-year-long campaign and among the most frequent weapons used to criticize the Bush presidency.”…../16/obama/

  18. freepatriot says:

    why should we believe this?

    what exactly are we asked to believe ???

    that Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed were waterboarded, but they were not asked about any Iraq-Al Qeada ties during the waterboarding ???

    if that’s the case, my belief or disbelief of the second part is immaterial to the first part

    everything in that sentence from the word after the word “but” don’t really matter

    that Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed were waterboarded

    that part right there, if found to be true beyond a reasonable doubt, by a jury, in a court of law, that part has meaning

    and it doesn’t matter if I believe it

    if the jury believes it …

    so why are we discussing this again ???

  19. WilliamOckham says:

    40 years ago, Walter Pincus was a journalist on the CIA payroll. He has maintained excellent contacts since then. He can generally be counted on to give the dominant factions in the CIA a voice in the MSM. As long as you remember that, his reporting is invaluable. For one thing, he is much less gullible than most reporters. He will write a story like this fully aware that his sources could be full of it. Compare that to Jeff Stein who gets punked on a regular basis.

  20. cinnamonape says:

    I read this:

    The two top priorities driving so-called enhanced interrogation techniques were information on the locations of al-Qaeda leadership and plots against the United States,” one intelligence official said yesterday.

    As saying that the linkage between AQ-Iraq WAS a priority. It was just #3 on the list.

    Now lets see…how well did they do on those first two? Did they actually reveal any locations of individuals in the Al Qaeda leadership through these methods?

    Did al-Nashiri give up any information about the location of al Qaeda leadership? Apparently not. Did Abu Zubaydah? Well he revealed the nickname of bin Laden (probably a fact widely known, after all, it was his nickname), but this was given over before he was water boarded. And did KSM? Again, it seems that he gave up no locational knowledge of individuals like bin Laden, al Zawahiri or others in the leadership.

    As to plots. Well they claimed involvement in dozens that had already occurred. It seems that every time the interrogators suggested a plot they might have been involved with they asserted, under torture, their involvement. Al Nashiris claims were so lacking in independent supportive evidence that the Govenment retracted many of the charges against him, and even after all that the judge of the military tribunal dismissed the charges.

    But there is almost no evidence that has been presented that those that were waterboarded gave up any information about an upcoming plot. Al Nashiri claimed that bin Laden had a nuclear bomb. And one or mnore of them made assertions that led to the half dozen or so “Orange Alerts” that resulted in billions of dollars in security upgrades and lost workdays. But all were later declared to be hoaxes or based on false information.

    “Questions were asked about Iraq, but the notion that waterboarding was used to extract from either an admission that Iraq and al-Qaeda had a relationship is false, period,” he added.

    So this pretty much indicates that questions were asked about Iraq during waterboarding…but that it wasn’t used TO extract an admission…a confession perhaps, information maybe…but not “an admission”. Plus it was actually used for the other things first…the getting the confession was tertiary. Thuis it wasn’t used FOR that. It would merely be icing on the cake.

  21. kspena says:

    This bit about cheney urgently wanting a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda made in Powell’s speech to UN seems a bit more central now.

    Published on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 by the Boston Globe
    Link to Cheney Deepens ‘Leak-Gate’ Scandal
    by Derrick Z. Jackson

    …”A US News and World Report story in the summer of 2003 quoted a senior administration official as saying Libby’s presentation ‘‘was over the top and ran the gamut from Al Qaeda to human rights to weapons of mass destruction. They were unsubstantiated assertions, in my view.’’

    “Powell, according to both US News and Vanity Fair, was so irritated by Libby’s hodgepodge of unsubstantiated facts that he threw documents into the air and said, ‘‘I’m not reading this. This is bull …’’

    Libby, whose nickname is Scooter, was particularly unhappy that Powell had thrown out sections of the presentation that would have attempted to link Al Qaeda to Saddam, including a discredited report that top 9/11 Al Qaeda airline hijacker Mohamed Atta had a meeting with an Iraqi intelligence official in Prague. According to Vanity Fair, ‘‘Cheney’s office made one last ditch effort to persuade Powell to link Saddam and Al Qaeda and to slip the Prague story back into the speech. Only moments before Powell began speaking, Scooter Libby tried unsuccessfully to reach [Larry] Wilkerson by phone. Powell’s staff chief, by then inside the Security Council chamber, declined to take the call. ‘Scooter,’ said one State Department aide, ‘wasn’t happy.’’’

    According to Vanity Fair, Cheney himself urged Powell to go ahead and stake his national popularity on the nonexistent evidence by saying to Powell, ‘‘Your poll numbers are in the 70s. You can afford to lose a few points.’’

  22. cinnamonape says:

    One more interesting point that Marcy opens up is that we now have FOUR individuals that were waterboarded and that the CIA is only referencing two as not being waterboarded TO obtain an ADMISSION of the AQ-Iraq link.

    There’s al Nashiri, Ibn Sheikh al-Libi, Abu Zubaydah, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. FOUR.

    Cheney keeps saying three. Most of the Goss-hawks keep referring to THREE. But this might mean that there were more, perhaps far more. And what about that individual that supposedly died under interrogation? Maybe after al-Libi died Cheney was referring to “three surviving” detainees.

  23. freepatriot says:

    fer the record, I ain’t trashin Pincus, but I don’t trust him much either

    he did some good work during the war an the Plame scandal, but it appeared mostly on page A-17, so his impact was seriously blunted

    after readin a few of the comments, it sounds like he’s a woodward clone, a fuckin “spook”. so I’m thinkin he did good work cuz he had an axe to grind, ala woodward

    and I have to say, this torture story has the tenacity of Rasputin

    it’s been poisoned, stabbed, shot, burned, knocked in the head, tied in a sack, and dumped in a river

    and the fookin thing just wont go away

  24. bobschacht says:

    On this subject, Juan Williams on NPR this morning needs to be assigned to a remedial reading course (featuring EW blogs). Very superficial he said/she said “analysis”. Apparently his research was limited to the weenie & cocktail circuit.

    Democrats On The Defense This Week

    …[4 min 38 sec] …

    Weekend Edition Saturday, May 16, 2009 · Host Scott Simon talks with News Analyst Juan Williams about the row between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and CIA Director Leon Panetta, and charges that President Obama is backpedaling on some issues.


    Bob in HI

  25. damagedone says:

    Maybe Mr. Pincus could ask his source whether Pelosi, Graham, Goss, Shelby or anybody else was informed how many times those 2 individuals were waterboarded. It is one thing if they were told that the 2 were only waterboarded a couple of times. To be completely informed those members would need to informed that the waterboarding was in hundreds. Clearly, 280+ times is torture and whoever knew would have a duty under US law and international law to protest.

    • emptywheel says:


      I can answer that question for all of them:

      Pelosi: not told by CIA at all
      Graham: not told by CIA at all
      Shelby: not told by CIA at all

      Goss learned that they were waterboarded 83/183 times no later than June 2004 when he got his IG report–but he may have learned before then.

      • damagedone says:

        Since Boehner seems to indicate that Pelosi ( and the others because they would also have to be) were completely informed by the CIA, I have to wonder about the accuracy of his comments.


        • bobschacht says:

          Boehner is a bonehead. I can’t believe that he actually said, on national tee vee, that he “can’t imagine” that the CIA would deceive us. Yeah, well, I guess there are probably lots of things that Bonehead can’t imagine. He probably “couldn’t imagine” that Bernie Madoff would actually take people’s money and not invest it. He probably “Can’t imagine” that there isn’t a tooth fairy.


          Bob in HI

        • cinnamonape says:

          If all the information about what they had done to Zubaydah was provided in September….then why would there be a need to have so many briefings? Why did the record state that waterboarding was discussed in February of 2003 (and specifically so in great detail) but that it was incorporated into the vague “EITs” earlier. If it was clear in the first instance why describe it in such detail later? Yet the keep describing it: again and again…and again, if we are to believe the Republicans.

        • Muzzy says:

          Re: “Has Shelby come out with a statement on what he was told?”

          Greg Sargent reported this yesterday:

          Update: Shelby’s spokesperson clarifies:
          “To Senator Shelby’s recollection of the Senate briefing, waterboarding was one the EITs the CIA said it had used. As he also recalls, the CIA described the valuable intelligence it obtained using EITs, including waterboarding.”
          So Shelby does maintain that the Senators were told that EITs, including waterboarding, were in fact used. Again, he’s directly at odds with Graham.

          The initial Shelby statement that Greg Sargent reported:

          “As Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 2002, Senator Shelby was briefed by the CIA on the Agency’s interrogation program and the existence of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EITs). To his recollection, not only did the CIA briefers provide what was purported to be a full account of the techniques, they also described the need for these techniques and the value of the information being obtained from terrorists during questioning. The Senate briefing also included an explanation of how these techniques were consistent with the law and with the national security interests of the U.S. To his recollection, while there was a great deal of discussion, there were no objections raised during the Senate briefing he attended.”

          The initial statement released above appears to be a possible attempt to conflate “torture techniques” with “questioning” which does not necessarily involve the use of torture. Moreover, we know standard interview interrogation with “questioning” was occurring early on and provided results. We also now know that early on, both were occurring, but presumably the use of only ONE of the two approaches was communicated to Congress.

          • Mary says:

            Senate briefing sounds so different than “me and Graham” doesn’t it?

            Interesting – in part interesting that it took so long. If he’s going to say that the CIA told him all about the torture, I have to wonder if he’s going to agree, if asked, that they told him the arabic speaking FBI agents with al-Qaeda experience had to be pulled off the interrogations and replaced with non-Arabic speakers without an al-Qaeda background and a) if so, if he thought that was a great thing, and b) if not, if he thought that was the kind of thing “the Senate” should have been briefed on.

            Then there’s al-Qaeda/Iraq. Some fun times with asking Shelby if the CIA briefed on the valuable information about the Iraq/Bin Laden connections they got from the sessions and if he says there was no such info — then didn’t he think that odd, what with AZ being the #3 guy and KSM being KSM and neither of them having any real info they could share (not the dreg from AZ), wouldn’t you think with these highly successful techniques, meant to be able to work before the tock following the tick on the time bomb, and these immensely important al-Qaeda operatives, they’d have had all kinds of info?

            So didn’t that make him inquire, in the war run up, as to whether it was that the techniques didn’t work, or in the alternative that we shouldn’t be invading Iraq?

            Let’s just see if the press badgers him on some of the real questions all the Congress critters who say they were briefed should be answering.

            • phred says:

              Mary, I can’t tell you how much I dream of a day when you and EW tag team interview the torture apologists. That would be a truly beautiful thing to witness.

              The Rethugs keep digging themselves deeper into a hole. A skilled prosecutor could bury them in it.

              • DWBartoo says:

                That is a ‘dream’ I will happily second, phred.

                What Marcy, Mary, and the rest of the ‘wheelhouse gang’ are doing is as crucial to this nation’s future and ‘role’ in the world as anything, Jefferson, Paine, or Franklin did, and I cannot wait until it is understood, broadly, in just those terms.


          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            The initial statement released above appears to be a possible attempt to conflate “torture techniques” with “questioning” which does not necessarily involve the use of torture. Moreover, we know standard interview interrogation with “questioning” was occurring early on and provided results

            Plus, it appears that Shelby fell for CheneyBots’ ‘ticking timebomb’ scenario hook, line, and sinker. Who could have imagined that Shelby would be bamboozled by Cheney…? I’m shocked, shocked I tell you!

  26. Muzzy says:

    We have Pincus’s article today which is helpful in a similar way that Panetta’s and Goss’ statements are helpful. It’s striking what you can see from how things ‘are not said’.

    It’s like drawing a picture of a tree by tracing the spaces between the branches without drawing the tree itself. The end result is you have the same picture of the tree.

  27. MadDog says:

    From Newsweek today:

    Why Is This Spy Smiling?

    …Old CIA hands complain that they are told by their political masters to do dirty jobs—then get hung out to dry when the politicians run for cover. So Panetta has flown 28,000 miles in the past three months, telling “all hands” meetings at the agency’s stations around the globe, “You gotta stay focused on your jobs and take risks. Let me worry about protecting you in Washington…”

    Ok, Panetta is protecting the CIA.

    So…who’s protecting us?

    And then there’s this from The Hill:

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) turned down invitations to be on several Sunday morning talk shows and is instead spending the weekend with her family.

    The Speaker was invited to appear on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” ABC’s “This Week,” “Fox News Sunday” and CNN’s “State of the Union,” according to sources at the networks…

    I guess the answer to my last question above, is not Nancy.

    • MadDog says:

      And from the official Repug propaganda arm, Faux News, there’s this:

      Panetta’s First Speech as CIA Director to Come Amid Pelosi Controversy

      CIA Director Leon Panetta on Monday will deliver his first public speech since taking office.

      The speech will occur at a California luncheon about global challenges, but he may have a tough time avoiding media’s scrutiny of his reaction to domestic politics — specifically, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s accusation that the CIA misled…

      …Introducing Panetta at the Monday luncheon will be Rep. Jane Harman, who objected to the interrogation methods when she learned about them in 2003…

      Oh the irony. *g*

    • phred says:

      I do not want people in the CIA who participated in torture protected. I want them fired. Then I want them prosecuted. I want it to be very clear to everyone else in the CIA that their job description is not a license to violate the law on a political whim. They have a choice. If they are asked to do something highly unethical, immoral, &/or illegal, they can quit. No one forces them to commit a crime. If they think that such a crime is in the best interest of the country, then they can make their case in court, convince a jury, and they’re all set.

      I also want every political puppet master pulling on the strings all the way down the chain of command, fired and prosecuted. Again, to set an example that gives politicians an incentive to obey the law.

      What is so difficult to understand here? Panetta is as bad as the rest if he thinks his job is to pamper and protect torturers.

      • skdadl says:

        If they think that such a crime is in the best interest of the country, then they can make their case in court, convince a jury, and they’re all set.

        What is so difficult to understand here? Panetta is as bad as the rest if he thinks his job is to pamper and protect torturers.

        Thanks for writing that, phred. Sometimes I feel that it is wrong for those of us who are guests here in a double sense to express certain things, but every time I read about the mental and emotional dilemmas of agents who were willing to join in heinous processes as long as they had a piece of legal paper, or now when I read about Panetta’s tour to buck up his demoralized troops, I just shake with anger and I want to call them out for the pitiful wimps they are.

        No one in North America over the age of 18 should need an OLC opinion to know torture when s/he sees it. And anyone who’s willing to be complicit should have the spine to face the courts.

        • phred says:

          Yep, the “they made us do it” argument is false on its face. You can always quit. Wasn’t that the point of the whole hospital showdown? A bunch of government officials finally said, we’ll quit if you don’t back off? Imagine the world we would live in if the CIA was truly an honorable organization and they threatened to quit en masse if a handful of people were trying to subvert the law and lie the country into a disastrous, unwarranted, and unnecessary war?

          The CIA needs to be scrapped. The National Security Act needs to be rewritten. It should no longer be possible for a handful of belligerent people in positions of power to able to manipulate the entire country by wielding classification as a weapon.

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            The CIA needs to be scrapped. The National Security Act needs to be rewritten.

            It should no longer be possible for a handful of belligerent people in positions of power to able to manipulate the entire country by wielding classification as a weapon.

            This is the point that the knuckleheads at Fox and too many in the MSM do not get.

            THIS is the key point.
            This is what responsible members of Congress need to say.
            THIS is the media’s duty to report.

            So far, I’ve seen Richard Wolfe at MSNBC sum this up.

            This is close to the heart of the matter.

            Cheney, and it certainly appears some with dual US-Israeli citizenship who worked with him, used classification as a weapon — both in dealing with Congress, but also in dealing with the press.

            They briefed the press — thereby silencing them with exposure to ‘classified information’.

            The leaked to the press — thereby getting their memes out into the public discourse (with claims of aluminum tubes and mobile labs) — as a way to circumvent any institutional opposition. And the press was silenced by claims of having to ‘protect’ the very sources who were playing them for fools.

            Pelosi = Bright, Shiny Object.

      • freepatriot says:

        Panetta is as bad as the rest if he thinks his job is to pamper and protect torturers.

        panetta is worse than that

        he’s a snake, always was

        he’s kinda like a Democratic version of poppy bush

        it doesn’t quite fit the occasion, but this term comes to mind:

        he’s killed more people than smallpox

        if you follow my meaning …

        • phred says:

          I’ll admit I don’t know a thing about Panetta. I’ve heard the name, but don’t recall him clearly one way or the other. Ever since that briefings doc came out and Obama’s been carrying on about what a swell job all those good folks at CIA are doing, I have come to the conclusion that Panetta is just another torture apologist. That is without doubt the very worst sort of person we need to head CIA now. We need serious disinfectant and a serious housecleaning. People should be losing their jobs, but evidently torturing prisoners is now a legal job description in the United States. I hope someone tells Charles Taylor.

          • freepatriot says:

            I have come to the conclusion that Panetta is just another torture apologist.

            you misunderestimate the guy

            he don’t just apologize for torture, he can apologize for ANYTHING

            this guy has got an apology like Pavaroti has a voice, his range will mesmerize you

            he was a “behind the scenes” operator working for Bill in the 90s (all those guy give good apology, but leon stands out amongst the crowd)

            he had his fingers in a lot of the shit pies clinton managed to step in

            with friends like leon, Bill didn’t need enemies

        • fatster says:

          I do appreciate your comments about Panetta. I always thought he was just a part of the CA Dems, respected well-enough and all that. You’ve surely provided a whole different perspective. Keep dishing, please.

    • PJEvans says:

      I wouldn’t want to be on one of those shows either, if I were her: they’re close to being fronts for the GOP.

      • TheraP says:

        There’s no reason she should subject herself to interrogation. None. That’s all they’re after!

      • MadDog says:

        In this case, Nancy is damned if she does, and damned if she doesn’t.

        That she won’t be appearing won’t stop her Repug enemies from doing so and throwing more fuel on her already blazing fire.

        Whatever one’s thoughts are in regard to Nancy, there is no doubt that she has indeed stepped in it.

        • MadDog says:

          And lest one think Nancy is abandoning the field totally, consider this from a mostly “puff piece” today from Newsweek:

          …The leak propelled her into a press conference on Thursday, when she confirmed she had heard from her aide about waterboarding in February 2003—but then, and only then. “They didn’t tell us everything they were doing,” she said. “We had to get a new president to change the policy.” Asked a follow-up on her way out of the room, Pelosi lost her cool, stalked back to the podium and gave a soundbite that was a telling clue to her state of mind at the time: “I was fighting the war in Iraq at that point, too, you know.”

          She couldn’t say what I suspect was the truth: “Look, we were conned about torture in the first briefing, and then, when I found out, it was too late. What was I going to do? Sure, Jane Harman sent her letter. Good for her. I was trying to fight this next horror show coming down in Iraq. The Republicans were killing us, and you in the press rolled over, too. You have to pick your battles, guys. This was hardball.”

          She’s clearly fit to be tied that all the heat is on her, when it’s the Bush administration that ought to be in the dock. She knows, too, that so few of the congressional Democrats had served in the executive branch, they didn’t realize how radically the White House was rewiring it…

          • Loo Hoo. says:

            “We had to get a new president to change the policy.”

            Probably true. Imagine what would have happened to her in 2002 if she had accused the Bush administration of torture.

        • Loo Hoo. says:

          Yeah, but the more republicans talk about what Nancy knew or didn’t know, vs. what the Bush administration condoned and even demanded, the stupider they look, imo.

          CNN was trying to spin the Nancy’s in big trouble meme today, but I don’t think it’ll sell.

          The only solution is a complete investigation with everyone under oath.

  28. freepatriot says:

    torture is kinda like virginity

    you can only cross the line once

    every question asked after the torture qualifies as a question asked DURING torture

    you can’t water board a guy on Monday, question him on Tuesday, and act like the two events are unrelated on Wednesday

    • TheraP says:

      That is so well put, freepatriot. Torture is not just an act. It is a “context” – and once that context is demarcated, everything within it constitutes part of the torture. No matter how small the detail, it all spells CONTROL – deprivation: of liberty, personal space, autonomy, clothing, sound, light, cleanliness, food, dignity, warmth, trust. All are systematically destroyed, down to the personality.

      • wavpeac says:

        Totally agree. Once a person has been tortured one time, the threat of torture now envelopes every single question being asked.

        Torture can no longer be separated from the dynamic.

        It’s like battering in domestic violence. Once it is known that someone can and will use violence fear of retribution clouds every decision about the next step, about autonomy, about a solution to the problem.

        Emotions like fear when very intense do not help us “think” they only help motivate us to action and often disrupt our ability to think clearly. (which is one reason why torturing doesn’t work, and why people make big mistakes in problem solving when upset).

      • fatster says:

        Freep has become quite eloquent today, I’ll say. I think I like his Rasputin piece best.

        • LabDancer says:

          I’m thinking that this recent trend toward gentility [okay: relative gentility] and staccato bursts of insight might be attributable to this site’s general inclination in favor of relationship-building, including recognition, praise and willingness to share the load.

          Alternatively, it may be a by-product of his success [”If confronted by a Troll, the Troll Slayer automatically goes Berserk and must attack the Troll”:

          the implied corollary being a direct relationship.

          In the further alternative, it may have something to do with the life-cycle of troll-slayers; and if so, arguably it’s of some importance that we consider whether this behavior follows or foretells pon farr:

          • fatster says:

            Wow! Troll Slayer, per your source, is quite a lucrative profession: “A Dwarf Troll Slayer must be paid 50 gold crowns in advance per expedition, and will not leave money or equipment to Heroes in a will.” All trolls are dwarves, I guess.

            Your second source sez “Memory Alpha does not yet have an article with this name [Pon farr.],” so I struck out there. I am ignorant of such matters.

            Perhaps today’s behavior has more to do with the weather. It’s 97 degs out here, with a “real feel” of 100. The heat must be conducive to eloquence amongst Troll Slayers.

  29. MadDog says:

    And per The Hill, Crazy Pete Hoekstra is back for more:

    Hoekstra requests more CIA briefing documents

    Rep. Pete Hoekstra, House Republicans’ point man on the burgeoning interrogation controversy, is seeking more documents from the CIA in light of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s assertion that the CIA lied to her.

    Hoekstra (R-Mich.), the ranking Republican on the House intelligence committee, is asking the agency for the documents that CIA staffers reviewed to prepare for their congressional briefings on the Bush administration’s interrogation program…

    Crazy Pete’s letter here (PDF).

    • MadDog says:

      And lest I’m missing something about Crazy Pete’s latest missive to the CIA, the only inference I can take away is that Crazy Pete’s previous accusation wrt Speaker Pelosi’s knowledge of EITs back in 9/02 via Crazy Pete’s review of the CIA’s Memorandums For the Record (MFR) did not explicitly back up Crazy Pete’s accusation.

      • emptywheel says:

        Yup. And Rodriguez then said for him to go after the emails.

        But somehow, Crazy Pete still seems untroubled that CIA broke the law in briefing them so late.

      • cinnamonape says:

        Bingo! There’s no “there” there. He claimed that he saw the documents that proved she knew…so now he needs more documents to show that the briefers knew something? If the original documents proved they told her…then you don’t NEED more docs. And even if the earlier docs show the briefers were themselves told…they didn’t have to tell Nancy.

        And this is where it gets into what Panetta is implying. Maybe the briefers intentionally failed to tell all they knew.

  30. fatster says:

    May 15, 2009
    White House announces names for U.S. attorneys
    Posted: 03:54 PM ET

    From CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

    (CNN) — “The White House announced Friday President Obama plans to nominate Preet Bharara, Tristram Coffin, Jenny Durkan, Paul Fishman, John Paul Kacavas and Joyce Vance for U.S. Attorney posts.”

  31. fatster says:

    More piled on Dick “Dick”’s plate.

    Institutional Investor Sues Halliburton and Former KBR Unit, Alleging Litany of Misdeeds and Government Fines Has Damaged Shareholders

    ‘Complaint by Detroit police and firefighter pension fund names both companies’ boards – including former Vice President Dick Cheney; says recklessness and lack of oversight enabled pervasive malfeasance by KBR employees; resulting fines and lawsuits harmed companies and shareholders; case filed in Texas state court
    . . .
    “Named as defendants are 32 former and current directors of Halliburton and KBR — the majority of the companies’ two boards — including ex-Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, and Robert Crandall, past president and chairman of American Airlines.”

    May 14, 2009…..lders.html

  32. freepatriot says:

    so let’s step outside the torture debate, an take a snapshot of how well this is doing for the repuglitards

    Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman joins Obama *

    *disclaimer, I can’t watch the youtube, and I don’t know which graphic design genius chose that blue text on blue background, but it’s an interesting development. And if anybody knows joe amato, tell him the repuglitard party has more contrast than his video blog has

    what does it mean ???

    the repuglitards are losing sane people in Utah


    Oh danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are callin …

    • Mary says:

      She’s to die for – I’m not a big bettor (raised Methodist) but she’s so special, sometimes it isn’t betting, it’s just a way of saying “wowser.”

      OTOH, I was an Alydar fan vs. Affirmed (and he did way outperform when it came down to genes) and I always flinch some when the baby girls are running hard, with or without the boys.

      You can’t spell special without C I & A too, but she’s special in a whole nuther kinda way.

      Later days.

  33. JohnLopresti says:

    Some of the alumnae of Panetta’s alma mater have a site on which there is a Kanga

  34. tanbark says:


    “I was fighting the war in Iraq, too, at that time.”

    In a pig’s butt she was. She was rolling over for bush and the warbots like a trained poodle. Even after we won the mid-terms, and she became the Speaker of the House, she was doing it, in spades.

    Have we all forgotten “Impeachment is not on the table.”? It would have been SO easy for her to say: “We’ll take a look at that.”

    You could could Pelosi’s public utterances to the effect that invading Iraq was a lunatic’s crusade, or criticism of bush for doing it, on one hand, over most of the war years.

    MadDog, you can slide Pelosi’s disgusting rewriting of the record, but not all of us will. In point of fact, after she became speaker most progressives were disheartened, if not revulsed, by her reluctance to use her position to fight the good fight, and a lot of us were saying so. and For her now to get in high dudgeon and claim that she was “fighting the war in Iraq…”. Is nothing by retroactive self-whitewashing, at which she is still showing herself to be pretty damn good.

    • MadDog says:

      MadDog, you can slide Pelosi’s disgusting rewriting of the record, but not all of us will…

      TB, freep had you pegged from day one. That you come out from under the bridge every now and then, makes you no less a troll!

      Fake concern or otherwise, you don’t fool many here.

    • fatster says:

      Thanks for the link. The concluding paragraph:

      “That this [Obama’s] statement [on the Military Commissions] initiates yet another retooling of a demonstrably flawed system means that the risks of missteps, of unintended consequences, again has been increased. That fact, coupled with the decision to continue proceedings at a remote location inaccessible to all but a few, no doubt will compromise claims of fairness and legitimacy of these trials.”

      16 May 2009

      BTW, what is the link to Panetta’s university (Santa Clara, presumably) alumnae web site? Thnx.

      • skdadl says:

        OT but continuing on the subject of the military commissions: Can one of the lawyers present tell me whether judgements of the commissions are subject to any judicial review or appeal? I understand that that was not true of Bush’s MCs, but I can’t find any reference to the problem in discussions of Obama’s statement yesterday.

        • bmaz says:

          Yes there is a review available by a Military Commission Review panel and, theoretically, from there an appeal to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. The better question is what is the available scope and standard of the review, and I think it is marginally restricted and onerous.

  35. cinnamonape says:

    In my view, Jeff…the critical point of torture IS the psychological cruelty. The want to eradicate the concept of pain and anxiety.

    The Yoo-Cheney regime has attempted to remove the Geneva Convention aspect of “mental distress” from the definition. They want to limit it to organ failure leading to death (i.e. you have to kill the person) or dismemberment.

    Heck, under anaesthesia one could lose an arm or leg without feeling it. If medically necessary, it wouldn’t be torture.

    But pain and torment does not require organ failure. Strapping someone out on an ant mound in the mid-day sun has generally been regarded as torture, though, in reality the ants aren’t likely to dismember you until you actually are dead and in decay. Water-torture, the rack, burying people alive, compelling someone to watch as members of their family are tortured or abused, rape…all of these are most damaging because of their psychological elements. The fact that they are non-voluntary acts committed on someone…that they degrade…compel the body or mind to act beyond stress limits one might encounter daily.

    Starvation diets (purely liquid) under extreme temperatures (thus requiring more energy to either stay warm or cool down); long term stress positions; placing people into “the box”, in permanently brightly lit…or blackened cells; sleep or sensory deprivation or overload. Having insects placed on the body…or dogs in their face to elucidate mental terror. Telling detainees that “we have your children (or wives) and we are going to treat them like you”.

    It’s all torture. You can gild the turd by calling it by the euphemism “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” but it does little to enhance the quality of information. Not a single superior to any of these captives were captured as a result of these tortures. Not a single one of the Orange Alerts issued by Homeland Security produced a real plot.

  36. 1boringoldman says:

    EW: Thank you for your continued parsing of the smokescreens still being produced in Washington and elsewhere.

    At some point, it’s time to call the question – Truth Commission, Hearings, Court Cases. Have you focused in on what it’s going to take to initiate the real formal inquiry? What fact would be required to light the fire? Zelikow and Soufon were good kindling, but where is the Yule Log that will burn through the night?

  37. fatster says:

    French doctors say ex-Gitmo inmate is OK
    PARIS (AP) — “French doctors for a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who recently ended a more than two year hunger strike have said he’s in stable condition, the man’s lawyer said Saturday.

    “Robert Kirsch, a Boston attorney representing Lakhdar Boumediene, said the 43-year-old Algerian is resting at a medical facility in France and is expected to be discharged sometime next week. Boumediene arrived in France on Friday, after being held for seven years in at the U.S. camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.”…..clude=Juno

  38. fatster says:

    We surely are winning hearts and minds. Oops, that was another war, another era, another goal.
    May 16, 7:35 PM EDT

    Ambush at Afghan school in ‘Valley of Death’
Associated Press Writers

    ALIABAD, Afghanistan (AP) –” The bearded Afghan army officer dropped off bundles of pens and notebooks at the school and asked one boy which he preferred: The Americans or the Taliban?

    ‘”I don’t know,” the boy replied. But after a short silence other children in the classroom answered for him: “The Taliban.”‘…..TE=DEFAULT

    • Nell says:

      Hey, just let Stanley McChrystal loose in there with his “kill teams” and it’ll be all quiet before you know it.

      But no questions about the pervasive torture under his command in Iraq!That’d be scapegoating (also McCarthyism, bloodlust, and childish, selective “poutrage”). The Center for American Progress wants you to shut up: “The American people are just not concerned about this side isssue; they want to move forward.”

  39. prostratedragon says:

    [Marcy, anyone else working along, I left a few “propaganda shop” timepoints at the end of this morning’s “Briefing Schedule” thread. Looking through the propshop stuff from that time, it seems that they had far more trouble with the AQ angle than the WMD angle, at first anyway, before the utter falseness of the whole thing caught up with them.]

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Re-read Chpt 2 of “Anatomy of Deceit”. After the events of the past week, it’s rather mind-boggling to go back and see what Marcy knew a couple years ago.

      Judith Miller as a CheneyBot? Check.
      WHIG group ramping up war? Check.
      Tenet repeatedly trying to stop Hadley-Bolton-Libby-OVP misinformation? Check.

      And that period of Sept 4 – 8th is the very week that the WHIG and WH started pushing the ’smoking gun’ and ‘mushroom cloud’ memes.
      What a coincidence, eh?

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Whoa ;-))

          I have a stack of books on my ‘urgent reading’ pile, but am delving back to ‘Anatomy of Deceit’ and I’ll bet that you are finding — as I am — that the book improves with age.

          EW, it’s incredible to me — maybe it’s that I’m more familiar with the names and events after the past couple years of bullshit and lies, but I swear your book is even more riveting in May 2009 than when it was published two years ago.

          A veritable Lafite de Rothschild of book. ‘Tis a Sauvignon of words. (I have no higher praise.)

  40. tanbark says:

    A reality check, and a harbinger of what’s coming. And if we keep on with this useless scalp hunt for the assholes who are already in disgrace and out of office, it’s going to come at the worst possible time.…..KLB80.html

    I wish we could get everyone who wants trials, in a room and ask for a show of hands on how many of you think we can get convictions. Or what it will cost us to get them, and how the appeals process might wind up.

    But tellingly, no one on this site wants to talk about that.

    • newtonusr says:

      I have a plan for you, ensured to get the conversation you so crave:
      Write a diary.
      If you are so damned miffed, write it down and stop with the grenades, for Christ’s sake.

    • BooRadley says:

      …..Or what it will cost us to get them, and how the appeals process might wind up……

      tan, I think you’ve misread this. I don’t think liberals and progressives have anything to lose by going pedal-to-the-metal on torture. I haven’t seen a story move like this since Dick shot Harry in the face. Torture unifies liberals/progressives, the Unions, the Black Caucus, and the GLBT communities in a way almost no other single issue does. In addition it’s very accessible. Joe and Jane sixpack know what torture is. It’s also a huge win for liberals/progressives as metaphor. It pulls the covers back on the whole bipartisan incumbent protection rackets.

      The banksters are crushing us on the economy. They’re salivating over Social Security and Medicare. We’re getting crushed by the insurance companies on single payer. We’re no-where on civil liberties and public financing of elections. We had to fight like hell to get a compromise version of EFCA past Arlen. Do you think CAP and Trade will be done effectively over and above Big Coal’s objections? Gay marriage is making its way through state legislatures, so we lose nothing there.

      Even if we had a little leverage on any of those other issues, this is like FISA, a deal-breaker. In order to hold the liberal/progressive wing together, we have to “go to the mattresses” on this one in a non-violent way of course.

      Diluting efforts on torture only makes it easier for the wingnuts to appear less extreme.

      • phred says:

        Very well said Boo. And you can add to your list that the anti-war progressive camp can’t get the time of day either. It’s not like progressives are looking at smooth sailing from here on out. We might as well dig in and fight our battles, because Obama isn’t going to serve up victory to us on a silver platter.

        And by the way fwiw, you would never piss me off ; )

    • cinnamonape says:

      Apparently all you want is Pelosi’s head on a platter. I haven’t heard you ONCE point out that there is no moral equivalence between an individual who, by law, cannot speak about, much less approve or change a policy…a policy that had already been implemented before she was notified…and those that contrived, developed and implemented that policy.

      You say that trials against the latter are not possible and meaningless…since they are out of office. Yet you are going mad against ONE individual…Pelosi…who was…at best…one of twenty or more Congressional leaders and aides that knew about this. And Pelosi didn’t even hear about it directly. She’s being scapegoated and you are jumping on the bandwagon of all those who actually DID actively support the torture. Meanwhile you are attacking all of those who are trying to discover whether Congress was, in fact, lied to? All I can say is that your thinking makes sense only in one context, Tanbark.

      How odd.

  41. Muzzy says:

    In light of Shelby’s spokesperson’s updated remarks, reading the quote from MadDog’s link in #50:

    “I was greatly concerned at allegations made by Speaker Pelosi that intelligence professionals from the CIA ‘misled’ her and potentially other members of Congress,” Hoekstra wrote in a letter sent Friday. “Accordingly I am writing to … request copies of additional records that may further clarify the matter, as well as the performance of the CIA employees whose conduct has been questioned.

    I’m left wondering if Hoekstra is looking for records on Shelby briefings instead of Pelosi briefings. I smell a ’split’ in the making. Some have certainly wondered if some GOPers were told more than Dems about ongoing torture. With a little ‘faulty’ record keeping that shows what Pelosi was told ‘wasn’t accurately recorded’ (unable to prove she’s lying), but what Shelby was told sort of was recorded, and included ongoing use of torture, therein lies an opportunity for a split that might be useful in defending the CIA.

    Pure speculation on my part.

  42. sasetc says:

    EW –

    Great stuff as always. It’s been a long time since I had time to read you and my other vital websites. Lost job, had baby, got new job, etc. I miss grad school. The pay was shit, but the problems were the ones I chose, and I could make time to make timelines. And read the Interwebs.


  43. PJEvans says:

    I wish we could get everyone who wants trials, in a room and ask for a show of hands on how many of you think we can get convictions. Or what it will cost us to get them, and how the appeals process might wind up.

    But tellingly, no one on this site wants to talk about that.

    You never see those comments, because they don’t fit in your picture.
    We’ve been talking about trials, and how/if charges could be filed, all along.

  44. tanbark says:

    So, Newton, asking what the chances are of getting indictments and convictions out of the big ju-ju prosecution hunt, is lobbing grenades?

    And asking the rather obvious and direct question of what this is likely to cost us, is lobbing grenades?

    And Maddog, I don’t know how old you are, but unless you’re in your 50’s, I was working hard for progressive change when you were a gleam in your daddy’s eye.

    Here’s a little reality-grist for all you General Custers, as you so zealously head out for some injun scalps:…..KLB80.html

    If we want to hamstring Obama and his administration, and the democratic congress that we won, and to do it as we head for a time when he’s going to need every atom of political clout that he can muster, then all we need to do is keep on with this stupidity.

    And one more time: either one of you worthies want to give me your take on the odds of getting Cheyney, etc. in the dock and then getting convictions? Or are just enjoying all of the minutia. It’s interesting to see you try to prove how progressive you are, with personal insults at someone who is asking for answers to relevant questions, from all the Titanic captains racing for the ethics blueribbon?

    I’m sorry if I’ve soured anyone’s latte, but here’s a heads-up:

    You may not believe in reality, but reality sure believes in you.

    • MadDog says:

      …And Maddog, I don’t know how old you are, but unless you’re in your 50’s, I was working hard for progressive change when you were a gleam in your daddy’s eye…

      More troll bullshit! Assumes facts not in evidence.

      And I was serving in the military when your old man took a crap and out you came.

    • newtonusr says:

      Yes, you’re right. What I meant to say (I cannot imagine what came over me, likening your trivialities to explosive projectiles) was:

      “If you are so damned miffed, write it down instead of stomping your feet and kicking stuff like a tiresome 8 year-old, for Christ’s sake.”

      Yeah, it’s too bad that emptywheel doesn’t have the stuff.

      Diary. Diary. Diary.
      My bad.

    • phred says:

      Ummm, tanbark I try to be nice to my elders, but your senility is showing. How ’bout you take a spin in the rocker, put your teeth in a glass, and watch some nice old reruns of Jack Benny to calm your nerves.

      I realize you’re peeved that EW is both younger and light years ahead of you, but throwing a temper tantrum over it isn’t going to make you either younger or smarter.

      I know the hard work of holding torturers to account is too difficult for someone of your advanced age, but that’s what the rest of us are here for. So not to worry old man, we’ve got it covered. Now go take a nap and come back when you’re feeling better. In the meantime, leave the heavy lifting to those of us who are still young and spry and up to the job of upholding the rule of law and the Constitution of the United States. We’re happy to protect and defend the foundations of our country even when others can only contemplate tangential political issues of passing import.

        • DWBartoo says:

          Phred is phriendly and phair, a genuinely phine person, as all here will readily attest. Also astute, insightful and phunny.

          Observation has shown that phred suffers phools not at all gladly, yet phred’s comment, while phirm and to the pointy, discloses an essential compassion on phred’s part which I phear shall be lost on its intended recipient … who appears rather taken with the sound and fury of her/his indignation that everyone simply does not see things the same way she/he does.

          But the hand-wringing histrionics are definitely by way of becoming a ‘trademark’ … and the insistence that answers and ‘guarantees’ be immediately forthcoming certainly is cute.

        • Petrocelli says:

          You said it, dude !

          Extra note to self: nevvuh confess to dinging phred’s Car when there were no witnesses. *g*

          Phred, I’m adding the “Mary/Marcy tag team V BushCo” to my morning visualizations !

  45. tanbark says:

    [email protected]: Shame on you for lobbing a reality-grenade about Afghanistan into this thread.

    Don’t you know that Obama’s ratings are high, and that all we progressives have to do is tidy up a few loose ends by putting Cheyney, Inc. into a federal penitentiary, and then we’ll all have blueberry pie for supper?

    It’ll be a piece of cake, with the entire country clamoring for it so loudly. The juries will be salivating at the chance to send them up, and likewise, the Supreme Court, with it’s comfortable librul majority, will surely smack down any effort to get them off on technicalities. And as they’re led off to do their considerable time, we can go back to deciding what to do with OUR time, since there won’t be any foreign policy problems demanding our attention or Obama’s political clout.

    Why, I think I’ll just draw a picture of a flower in my diary, things will be so pastoral and peaceful.

  46. tanbark says:

    [email protected]: Evidently you didn’t bother to read the link.

    It’s not MY point: it’s the writer’s point, and she’s spot on. I’ll make it easier for you. Some excerpts:

    “As democrats splintered, republicans watched with glee.”

    “The white house desperately wants to get democrats in congress focused on priorities. Obama’s team has made it clear it’s not eager to retread the past. But House and Senate liberals, prodded by a vocal and active network of “grassroots” and “netroots” supporters, relish doing just that, seemingly fixated on how Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheyney handled Iraq and terrorism.”

    “And it’s the popular new president who may have the most to lose.”

    All of which I think is precisely the truth. The repubs are ecstatic. They had nothing, I mean, NOTHING, going for them, and now and some of the blogs are handing them this giant stick to beat us with…

    It’s not rocket science; most americans are simply not going to get behind this, and Obama is plenty smart enough to know it. It’s too bad that, collectively speaking, we aren’t.

    And PJ, I’m not having much luck with getting an answer on the indictments/convictions thing. It’s like asking people if they’ve lesions somewhere. If I missed an answer on what our chances are, please direct me to it. Thanks.

    • behindthefall says:

      Uh, no, I really did read it. Yeah, I see what the author was saying. My comment stands.

  47. tanbark says:

    LooHoo, thanks.

    Realistically, with Obama opposed to it, and a lot of other democrats, too, what do you think the chances are of getting trials, and then, convictions?

  48. tanbark says:


    Wow! :o)

    Who do you like in the Belmont Stakes?

    (I’m sorry; I want to know where not to put my money. :o) )

  49. tanbark says:

    And LooHoo, when it goes into appeals, your take on the odds of the convictions being upheld?

  50. tanbark says:

    Behind; you mean, your comment that you thought the link was something I’d written, or your comment asking what was my point?

    Or do you mean that you think that the republicans aren’t really gleeful about all this?

  51. DWBartoo says:

    Tanbark, Frank Rich has an editorial up for tomorrow, entitled, “Obama can’t turn the page on Bush” and you can read it this evening over at Huffington.

    Basically, Tanbark, those photos are going to come out and Obama will have weakened himself in the process of trying to hold back the tide, for that is precisely what it will become. The rest of the world will not forget. BTW, Tanbark have you seen the most recent photos?

    Obama, you, Tanbark, and many other American citizens might want this to go away, considering it a most unfortunate ‘distraction’. It is far more than that.

    As to the ‘guarantees’ that you wish to have attend going ‘forward’ with the truth … it simply doesn’t work that way … there are no guarantees.

    But, I suspect, it would be a safe ‘bet’ to figure that this is not going to go away.

    And frankly, Tanbark, you had better hope that it does not vanish like the dew in the sunshine (not ‘Sunstein) because the nation we would then become would not be pleasant for any of us, unless you are among the group who believe that the past eight years were this nation’s most glowing, golden years …


  52. tanbark says:

    [email protected], I’m afraid I have to disagree with you on that post.

    All of the personal stuff aside, I think you put on too fancy a moral coat. I think that the tunnel-vision rectitude of this crusade is going to do us far more damage than good. I also think that what the zealots are doing (if they succeed, which, happily enough, is doubtful, at best…) will hamstring Obama and the democrats in congress. (That’s why he’s opposed to it, along with, I suspect, a healthy majority of those democrats.) In fact, it’s already doing that, as it distracts from Obama’s efforts to deal with the economy and with the issues of health care. And those are going to be the relatively easy ones. If your outrage about the war was tinged with the slightest bit of intelligence, you would understand that there is not the least indication that the mission is being accomplished, and you would be aware that many more people died in Iraq in the past 24 hours:…

    than have likely died, or suffered, at the hands of the CIA. I’m not suggesting that we pretend that the CIA doesn’t have blood on it’s hands. It certainly does, but you people who are so diligently parsing words need to understand that all is not hunky-dory. We are up shit creek. Obama has one paddle, and you want him to break it by beating disgraced, out-of-office Dick Cheyney over the head with it. Not smart.

    Obama has some nearly insoluble problems on his plate; a fanatical effort to add this idiot’s dollop to them, makes no sense.


    • Mary says:

      Those deaths are in large part because of the torture programs that were instituted.

      That, and because of people who were saying that after 911, it would be wrong to “hamstring” the President.

      So having seen how beneficial al-Libi’s torture to help with a causus belli and an unhamstrung President have been for the nation, I’ll pass on more of the same.

      You say hamstrung; I say rule of law seasoned with checks and balances.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      I completely agree with you that we are up shit creek.
      This nation is up shit creek in large part because its moral authority has been undercut.

      The world is shrinking; anyone with a cell phone that has the capability to show images and connect to the Web can find images of Abu Gharib. That has completely ended our ability to act like thugs, gangstas, and morons.

      When someone who may well be nearly illiterate can see a photo or image of Abu Gharib, all the parsing here won’t do a tinker’s dam to stop the damage. That person is not going to be interested in the letter or the language of the law.

      They’re going to conclude:
      1. Americans will treat me and mine like shit.
      2. Therefore, if I meet an American, I will treat him/her like shit.
      3. It’s totally okay for me to fight Americans, because they harmed people who look like me, believe like me, live where I live, or speak like me.

      In a world with 9 billion people, where you can cross continents in under 10 hours, it is goddamn fucking stupid to allow a small group of people to place the rest of us at risk.

      If you have never had anyone tell you that they remember ‘when the Americans came’ and helped save their country, then perhaps you don’t fully grasp the almost electric power that occurs when people feel that someone cared enough about them to help them out when they were almost screwed.

      America has plenty of problems — see BooRadley’s comments for a quick overview.

      In the 1950s, if you asked a child to draw a picture of ‘America’, they might have drawn the Statue of Liberty, or some good, powerful image associated with protection.

      Now, if you asked a child in Iraq or Afghanistan to draw a picture of ‘America’, what would they draw?

      These may sound like very simple questions, but the emotional distance between Abu Gharib and Omaha Beach is at least as far as the distance between our sun and Andromeda. These things aren’t even in the same galaxy, so to speak.

      By allowing Abu Gharib, and by failing to show the rest of the world that we have the guts and the chutzpah to deal with our own dirt, we make things safer for every single American doing business, working in embassies, and serving in the military.

      If you think the costs of litigating are huge, think about the costs of having billions of people view you as a thug, as someone who basically takes their version of the Bible and dumps it in a toilet.

      You may in fact be well intentioned.
      It’s possible.

      I absolutely agree that we are up shit creek.
      And those of us here seem to agree on that point.

      That doesn’t mean Obama has to break any paddles.
      It means he says, “WTF are we doing in shit creek, people?!! We know how to build a water treatment plant. We know how to treat sewage. We know how to improve our water quality.”

      We have to.
      The world has become too small for easy choices, and too small to fail to weigh the costs of hatred against the costs of gutless laziness.

  53. ezdidit says:

    Marcy, stop it already! Trace the money and then the cover-up so I don’t miss work on Monday to stay home and read these procedurals. One more ‘personal’ day off for reading and I’m on the dole!

    • Petrocelli says:

      Heh, if you lived in Canada, you’d have Monday off to celebrate Queen Vicky’s B’Day …

      • DWBartoo says:

        So tell me, Petro (!), how does one celebrate Victoria’s ‘launch’?

        More precisely, how doth you, gentle wisdom that thou art, ‘do’
        this celebrating?

        Most importantly, do the kids get the day ‘off’, dad?


  54. JohnLopresti says:

    [email protected] (same as @141, respectively), the alumni law faculty sites listed on that page includes intlawgrrls. The latter has many contributors, some interesting; I noticed MDudziak, among others. A comment upthreadHere about LPanetta’s ratiocinations prompted the visit to his biography in semiretirement, where the profile led back to Santa Clara, one of the homes of silicon valley.

  55. emptywheel says:


    Just checking in here. But I think it’s time.

    You are a disruptive ignoramus who refuses to read the English language. I don’t have much patience for your type. And this is your notice that I’ve officially lost patience with your concern trolling. It has been nice, but I officially see you as a disruptive, stinky cancer.

  56. phred says:



    If it had been up to you, we’d be singing God Save the Queen at baseball games.

    There is no more important problem for Obama to address than the complete collapse of the rule of law and due process. Maybe you think these sorts of things are mere niceties to be observed over tea, I think they are so utterly fundamental to the survival of our democracy that I am unwilling to make the trade you demand. We’re not going to get the health care we need. We are not going to get the kind of economic reforms we need. Obama is one of the oligarchs now, those are the interests he is protecting, from the bailout to health insurers to torturers. I am having none of it. We choose are battles. This is mine.

    • DWBartoo says:

      I think we should all hang together on this particular ‘battle’ phred …

      This is the one that truly counts.

      And it is ours.


  57. tanbark says:

    [email protected] 136, thanks for the post. I submit that the damage to Obama and to us is being done as we speak. The media is not talking about getting the economy turned around, nor about health care. Worst of all, they’re not talking about all of the indicators that Iraq and now Afghanistan and Pakistan, are seething and bubbling like Mt. St. Helens; they’re talking about what Nancy Pelosi knew, and when did she know it. And about the endless parsing of words and memos and arcana surrounding the CIA/torture dispute. (I will guarantee you, that based, at least, on what has been brought forward here, there are not going to be convictions of Cheyney, etc., and probably not, indictments.)

    All of this is not good news for Obama and the dems. He knows it, and they know it. The republicans are going to reap a windfall from it. They’re already doing it. And it’s one that they don’t deserve. We, collectively, handed it to them. The issue of how many democrats knew about the torture is now upfront. If the people who are so outraged about the torture want that, then keep hammering, but while you hammer you’re going to have to watch Obama and the democrats’ political capital as it swirls down the drain, and some months from now, if not sooner, you’re going to have to watch a president wounded by his own party, as he begins to try to deal with getting us out of Iraq. And that is going to be crunch for us, and it has little or nothing to do with putting Cheyney in the dock.

    [email protected];

    “These deaths are in large part because of the torture programs that were instituted.”

    that’s one of the more specious jumps in logic that have been put up on here, and there have been some doozies, on this subject.

    The U.S. soldier that died in Iraq today, died because George Bush took advantage of 9-11 to peddle a load of bullshit about what a threat to us Saddam was, and because the 130,000-odd troops of ours still there, are essentially in a hostage situation, in that when we leave, what is left behind is not going to be user-friendly to us or the Fortune 500, as the bushers so devoutly believed.

    Likewise, the violence in which the 22 Iraqis died, had nothing to do with torture; it’s about the intense factional anger which our invasion has unleashed.

    Also, the mass graves containing hundreds of Kurdish victims had nothing to do with Bush’s sanctioning of torture. At this point, it seems likely that they date back to Saddam’s persecution of the Kurds, in the early 1990’s.

    Lastly, I wouldn’t be joking about Obama being hamstrung, if I were you. In a few months, we may be treated to the sight of him crawling in futility, as he tries to deal with Iraq.

    • BooRadley says:

      tan, I had/have zero regrets about supporting BO in a two-horse race with McSane.

      But, BO is a blue dog dimmocrat.

      Melissa Bean Helps Banks Gut Bill to Limit TARP Bonuses

      Your assertion that the MSM would be covering liberal/progressive straddles if it weren’t for torture is indefensible and laughable.

      Do me a favor, just apologize to Mary.

      You telling her that she made a leap in logic reminds me of the pope telling Galileo the earth was flat.

      OT, go back and read what phred wrote about the “rule of law.” Then read it again and again and again.

      Finally, read more, post less.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Lordy, that was masterful.

        Between you and freep and DWBartoo’s phriendly commentary, this thread’s a gem. There went my Saturday evening — but totally worth it to keep the zombies on the run.

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            Why thank you ;-))

            I do get a chuckle out of anyone telling Mary that she’s missed a bit.
            I’d prefer to be the Pope handing my ass to Galileo ;-))

    • Mary says:

      It’s such a specious argument, it’s results are found in the Powell presentation to the UN, which was, after all and more importantly, the Bush presentation to the US, using the face in his admin that was most trusted (even over his own).

      The results of the torture decisions were absolutely, unequivocally used to make the cause for war in Iraq. If you somehow find it a “leap” in the chains of links from torture being used to get false information from al-Libi that was incorporated in Powell’s sales pitch on the war that was the seal to the Bush deal, you must be used to a very crippled rate of progression.

      Likewise, the violence in which the 22 Iraqis died, had nothing to do with torture; it’s about the intense factional anger which our invasion [that used torture byproducts to create support] has unleashed

      Actually, people here and many other places were the ones saying during the campaigning (where Obama was Mr. Hunkydory) that he was not beginning to show any vague understanding of the problems that were wrapped in to the exit of the Bush admin.

      Let’s take just one of the teeny, tiny complex situations that has been discussed here (bc you seem to think you can show up, read a couple of pages, then decide that all the many issues that can’t be contained on those pages were somehow never addressed elsewhere)

      Pakistani stability. What does supporting torture cover up do there? Well, just a tiny few of the many ripples. On the one had you have no strong, central govt, Zadari under fire, and revelations of Bush torture that highlights Pakistan’s role will not make it any easyer for Zadari and that is a Nuke Nation, with India on its border as another Nuke Nation.

      But guess what it was – interwoven with and hard to separate from other corruption issues – that helped send Musharaf towards the exit door and further destabilize Pakistan over the last few years?

      Disappearing and torturing people.

      This is the issue that caused the showdown between Musharaf and the Pak top court and Judge Chaudhry. This is the issue that caused Musharaf to kick Chaudhry out, put him on house arrest, and start the penguin revolution. That lawyer revolt caused one more very difficult fissure. The lawyers had been one of the stronger, more secular, voices in the society. The Musharaf support for US disappearance and torture programs, support that went so far as to cause Chaudhry to be removed from office and placed under house arrest forced them on the other side of the page from him. They were the natural support for a secular society (see their opposition efforts to the SWAT deal) but they were forced into a combative posture with government because of the US programs and the manner in which law was attacked to support US torture programs.

      Then what happened when Zadari got the nod? Well, for far too long he went along with blocking Chaudhry, ostensibly bc of some legal issues in his own past but more likely and widely speculated in Pak bc of US pressure to keep Chaudhry out. So where was the bridge being built there? By Zadari’s primary political opposition – further destabilizing and factionalizing.

      So – how could Obama in his campaigning, including his pep talks on bombing in Pakistan, have ever co-entertained the concepts that you could bomb Pakistan and support keeping their top judge under home arrest on the one hand and gain public support there for the US as a symbol of justice – – and yet, how could he support a rule of secular (not Sharia) law in Pakistan while trying to keep the Pak judiciary from making rulings on the US torture and disappearances?

      Another front – he has never, ever, ever, in campaigning or in office, admitted that innocent people were held at GITMO. So, how did he ever expect to sell the American public on release of ex-GITMO detainees into the US (like the Uighurs) without standing up and making that admission? And how is he going to get other countries to take the “terrorists” that the US won’t, without that admission? But that admission means that war crimes were committed with respect to those detainees and he doesn’t want to admit that or open the door to war crimes act or torture victim act suits.

      So he tries to handle it all by keeping the lies alive – that ever detainee was a terrorist, and as a result, every *decision* he makes on GITMO fails. Bc none of them include a bare minimum on the recognition of truth front – and he doesn’t have to go out on a limb there. There are already numerous decisions with findings that detainees were never enemy combatants, much less illegal enemy combatants.

      And if you think for one minute that saying I want Obama, and any President, just like I wanted Bush, to be hamstrung by law and by checks and balances is a joke, you really have problems with getting from A to B.

      Hell yes Obama has a lot of problems on the plate. Not many of them are well served by lies and absolutely none of them are well served by your argument that loyal Obambies are what is needed to deal with those problems.

      He lied all through the campaign and saying that people need to learn to love the lie instead of respond in the same way they did to Bush fibbing is just, hmm, what was that word … oh yeah, specious.


      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Disappearing and torturing people.

        This is the issue that caused the showdown between Musharaf and the Pak top court and Judge Chaudhry. This is the issue that caused Musharaf to kick Chaudhry out, put him on house arrest, and start the penguin revolution…

        Brilliant synopsis.
        So many dots; such an evil web.

        And now, if you’ll excuse me… I must be off to take some measurements for some much-needed papal vestments…

      • skdadl says:

        Another front – he has never, ever, ever, in campaigning or in office, admitted that innocent people were held at GITMO. So, how did he ever expect to sell the American public on release of ex-GITMO detainees into the US (like the Uighurs) without standing up and making that admission? And how is he going to get other countries to take the “terrorists” that the US won’t, without that admission? But that admission means that war crimes were committed with respect to those detainees and he doesn’t want to admit that or open the door to war crimes act or torture victim act suits.

        So he tries to handle it all by keeping the lies alive – that every detainee was a terrorist, and as a result, every *decision* he makes on GITMO fails. Bc none of them include a bare minimum on the recognition of truth front – and he doesn’t have to go out on a limb there. There are already numerous decisions with findings that detainees were never enemy combatants, much less illegal enemy combatants.

        That is exactly where he is. And he is still making his own dilemma worse by trying half-measures instead of the truth — he’s nurturing bigotry and paranoia by pandering to them, which means that the divisions are going to be even greater if and when any of his faux-courts runs into trouble domestically or internationally — and I’m pretty sure that they will internationally.

        Some of this discussion reminds me of Digby’s fear that torture is being normalized. Cast torture (or other kinds of state subversion of the law) as just another electoral-political issue, and a lot of people will unthinkingly decide that there must be two opposed extremes and the solution is to split the difference, or split the baby, as Gregg Levine said yesterday (I think — my torture days are beginning to run into one another), as if torture were like taxes.

        Obama’s statement about GTMO on Friday worked entirely and only in the context of short-term domestic electoral politics. Meanwhile, the abusive treatment and force-feedings continue at GTMO, and God knows what else is happening in a number of places overseas. Obama has just made it harder for anyone, including himself, to stop the horrors. Talk about hamstrung.

    • freepatriot says:

      this one is for tanbark, you FUCKED UP there, pal

      okay dude, since yer brainpan shorts out about 118 or so on the IQ scale, I’ll splain a few things to ya. they teach most of this in elementary school, but you were probably changing the stick up your ass at the time

      first off, I didn’t say leon panetta killed more people than smallpox. Read the words again, and sound them out so you understand

      it doesn’t quite fit the occasion, but this term comes to mind:

      he’s killed more people than smallpox

      if you follow my meaning …

      it’s called ANALOGY, ya fookin dense asshat

      Analogy: the cognitive process of transferring information from a particular subject (the analogue or source) to another particular subject (the target)

      btw, “cognitive process”, ??? it means “THINKING”

      and to your point about “Nobody wants a prosecution” ???

      yer playing yer concern troll song in the wrong venue pal. Most of us lived thru watergate, and we know how that worked out

      cept Nixon had the decency to crawl away in shame. george did too

      cheney, not so much. He’s my best resource right now. and you’ve got NO CLUE what I’m up too, so stop telling me how to do it

      you might wanna check the polls for the past 4 “Bye Elections” to the house, as well as the the results of the past two general elections

      then go talk with Nate Silver about the repuglitards chances in 2010

      it looks pretty bleak in the senate,and the house ain’t much better

      the historic models are being overwhelmed by a partisan chasm between the two parties, and the repuglitards are standing in the subduction zone (if ya figure that one out I’ll give ya a shiny new penny)

      the worm turned on nixon, and the worm is turning on bush and cheney

      but all of that exceeds the capacity of your brain pan, not just that last part

      so KNOW this:

      You insulted Mary, you fucking piece of shit ???

      you don’t survive something like that


      and I don’t play nice

      I tried to warn ya. We could have done this the logical way. You chose otherwise

      now it’s jes you an me, and I don’t feel like being logical

      so go ahead an post your shit. If I feel like insulting your intelligence some more at some point, I’ll respond. But you ain’t gonna like it

      I play people like you for laughs. I’m kinda the “Court Jester” here, and you should read up on what a court jester really does

      you’re dead to everybody else here. the smart people here are gonna scroll past your posts, ignore your links, and refuse to respond to your ever increasingly delusional rantings

      just another troll in the cage

      have a nice day

      • phred says:

        freep! Good to see you this morning : ) You were out last night, so ah, the rest of us were umm, playing with your troll… We tried not to hurt him and spoil your dinner. We were just having a little fun ; )

        And DW, the mister made me put my toys away last night before I saw your 148. Thank you my phriend, that was lovely (and very phunny, too ; )

          • Gunner says:

            Hi phred, good to check in and thanks I am feeling awsome turned 51 yesterday and 5/20 is 8mo out from transplant life is GOOD!

            • phred says:

              Happy Birthday!!! I love birthdays, but I would guess after such a transplant they are especially delightful : ) Glad to hear you celebrated with Mr. & Mrs. EW… did they bring some of the good stuff, ya know teh Beamish? It’s practically the official beverage of the Wheelhouse ; )

              • Gunner says:

                No they know I am an IPA guy so we had those!But all in all it was a great time and yes after the TP B-days are real important so I call it my B-Day week.

      • Loo Hoo. says:

        The Court Jester:

        In societies where freedom of speech was not recognized as a right, the court jester—precisely because anything he said was by definition “a jest” and “the uttering of a fool”—could speak frankly on controversial issues[1] in a way in which anyone else would have been severely punished for. Monarchs understood the usefulness of having such a person at their side.[1] Still, even the jester was not entirely immune from punishment, and he needed to walk a thin line and exercise careful judgment in how far he might go – which required him to be far from a “fool” in the modern sense.

        Thanks, freep.

        • behindthefall says:

          Taking this off the top of my head … The jester was the role permitted to those who carried on the tradition of the sages, who used to be co-equal with kings but were subjugated. Their motley, many-colored clothing, was a sign that they were descended from the sages, who were the only ones permitted, in an earlier time, to wear a variety of colors. “Bozo”, a clown’s moniker, derives from “boso”, meaning “speaker of truth, wisdom, ancient lore”. As I recall, there was a belief — and who knows, maybe it was true — that if the sages disagreed with the actions of the king, 12 of them could go to the tops of their respective peaks and call out a judgment which would bring down the political powers. Primarily an Iberian tradition, and thus in the same lands the Celts would later occupy but predating them. Goes back a long way. But you can see why a political power would want the sages under tight control and close at hand and also in a position where they would be seen as fools.

    • 4jkb4ia says:

      Republicans salivating over Pelosi being embarrassed is not a reason to stop anything unless you think that more Democrats than her will be implicated and worse than the Republicans, which is not likely because the Republicans got them into this fix. Republicans salivating over Pelosi being embarrassed is partisan human nature. As I watched the video which EW put up I was uncomfortably reminded of when Newt got in trouble and the delight which we had over that.
      Congress has a lot on their plate, but July when they are going to push a lot of this through seems very soon to come up with an indictment, much less a trial which will embarrass them.

  58. tanbark says:

    Well, DW, considering the zeal and energy being expended in the attempt to get Cheyney & co. indicted, and considering that the republicans are starting to reap rewards from the controversy and disarray of the democrats over it, I’m sorry that you don’t feel that questions about the chances of our having success with convictions, or the chances of making any convictions stick, in the appeals process, are worth answering.

    I know, LooHoo says that she thinks the odds are 90% for conviction. I’m skeptical. How about you?

    • DWBartoo says:

      What, do you suppose, are the ‘odds’ of convincing ANY of us that what we firmly understand to be of absolutely central importance to this nation AND society (as in ” do we want a CIVIL and DECENT society and a healthy AND respected Constitution as well as the rule of law?) is of little or no consequence?

      Frankly, my dear tanbark, I don’t give a damn for your insipid hand-wringing, and the best I may say of you, at the moment, is that you ‘tenacity’ in clinging to your wee fears is amusing, in a sad sort way, because, obviously, you have failed utterly to understand what has happened to this nation, how it is viewed by everyone else in the world, and, more pathetically, you apparently lack the wit to realize the importance of what happens on Marcy’s threads.

      The crisis we placed ourselves in is on par with the dangers faced in the formation of the nation itself.

      One further point; on these particular threads, tanbark, you are in the presence of those whom this nation will owe a great debt of gratitude if it is to survive with even a modicum of self-respect and even minimal trust by others (let alone becoming the democracy it should be).

      How ’bout them apples, tanbark?

      • Leen says:

        those “odds” are slim to none. No way no way to move forward without accountability…without demonstrating to the peasants that some of the folks in D.C. actually believe that “no one is above the law”

  59. klynn says:


    The MSM is catching up to you! This in the Guardian.

    Michael Tomasky in the Guardian:

    Remember, three people now – she and Jay Rockefeller and Bob Graham — all say the CIA didn’t tell them what they say they told them. Read yer Greg Sargent for more on that.


    Have you thought of interviewing John Helgerson?

  60. Petrocelli says:

    We celebrate by having an endless barbecue starting yesterday (Friday) and going on ’til Monday, pausing every … *cough* … once in a while for a Beer break. In between, we watch some Hockey, play some Basketball and avoid feeding the Hockey Pucks Trolls ! *g*

    Kids are off … will watch fireworks with them on Monday evening.

    How’s things with you, I haven’t chatted with you in a while.

    • DWBartoo says:

      Things are ‘tolerable good’, Petro, with me own self. Although I’ve not much time of late to comment, such ‘religion’ as I possess encourages me to visit these particular (EW) threads on a daily basis.’

      (And I know ‘things’ are ‘good’ with you because that is what you do).

      Always good to see you, Petro.


  61. tanbark says:

    [email protected]; not a bad post.

    But I would add that our reclaiming moral authority hinges far more on getting us out of Iraq (for starters) than it lies with punishing Dick Cheyney, etc, for their part in allowing torture to become policy. If Obama can’t extract us from the misery of Iraq (again, for starters) then he will likely be a one-term president, and for all of us concerned about moral authority (and, I promise you, I am.) what is likely to follow will exponentially eclipse the savage idiocy of the bush administration.

    And this crusade to put the torture mavens in the dock is playing right into republican hands. They were impotent, and they have been dying for want of a fight in which they could land some punches on Obama and the dems. Now they have it…and we, of all things, are giving it to them. And it’s going to get worse. It’s like Iraq itself; we never had a chance for “victory”. And I don’t believe we have one in this, either…only the prospect of making the republicans more cohesive and powerful than they were, and of pushing Obama to the right, because he knows better than to put his weight behind the scalp hunt.

    What’s strange is that we have all praised him for his political acumen. We may not have been happy with the bailouts, or the lack of a reciprocal increase in regulating the giant corporations, or about some other things, but there has been a grateful agreement that this is one smart cookie of a president. But now, with he, and the democrats still enjoying the honeymoon and some attendant political clout, you guys are basically telling him to fuck off, and like a bunch of swabbies on liberty, you’re heading into the first bar you see, to blow your pay and raise some hell. I think you’re gonna get tossed out on your ear, and a lot of the people doing it will be moderates and independents who voted for Obama. And at some point between now and the mid-terms, we are going to rue every ounce of political capital that we expended on this impatient and impractical crusade.

  62. tanbark says:

    Boo, keep an eye on the republicans, as they gear up for this fight, and keep an eye on the majority of americans, and their reaction to the scalp hunt.

    And then, think more and post less.

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      Americans in general haven’t been presented with the facts. They don’t have either the time or the interest to get into the weeds, er gardens.

  63. tanbark says:

    [email protected]; How sanctimonius you are. I’m in the presence of some well-meaning people with incredible tunnel-vision and a penchant for ignoring political reality that would do justice to a dumb possum.

    We have people on here already calling Barak Obama a blue-dog democrat, because he’s not stupid enough to wade into this nonsense.

    Do you agree with that?

    ‘preciate the compliment on my tenacity. And, as the republicans become increasingly re-invigorated by the democrats fracturing over the efforts of this naive and useless legal-posse, I’ll have a few apples to ask you about.

    • DWBartoo says:

      Lest YOU misunderstand, tanbark, I do NOT include myself among those whose wisdom, expert knowledge, and well-honed understanding ranks with Jefferson, Paine, and Franklin.

      I do, however, have the required wit to recognize genuine talent, true capacity and unique abilities in others.

      I can see that you are enjoying yourself.

      I would say, “Carry on …”

      But I’m rather certain, tanbark, that you will do that without any encouragement from me.

    • cinnamonape says:

      Actually, as I see it, Obama will “lose” his agenda (at least his stated one) if he doesn’t take down the Republicans. He can’t control the efforts of the detainees to obtain fair trials and their legal rights before the courts. And I’m certainly not going to retreat from my ethical support of their rights to do so. Torture, confessions under torture, evidence obtained by torture, arrests on innuendo or simply for cash bounties, the disappearance of children, etc. Do you really expect that this will not constantly be something that can be buried away? Do you really think that we will look the other way?

      The pictures of tortured individuals represents LEGAL evidence. They will be released sometime. And the Republicans themselves will continue to scream about the closing of Gitmo, and the release of “terrorists” (as many will be as a result of the bogus evidence obtained through torture). Furthermore it will be the Republicans that will continue to suggest that the Democrats were 100% in agreement with the waterboarding and other techniques. They believe that they do have a gambit…both for concealing their own involvement (which may be much deeper than the Democrats- and illegal- if they were differentially briefed) but also to weaken the ability to get Obama’s agenda on health care, union rights, and the economy through.

      It’s always better to deal with the cancer early than let it fester and debilitate. Obama needs to have Holder get into the records and find out precisely what occurred. He needs Panetta to stop the kabuki.

      BTW If the CIA briefed Congress on the techniques USED then those documents are subject to subpoena by those that CLAIM that they were tortured. This represents documentary evidence of the methods used upon them. It can’t be covered up.

    • cinnamonape says:

      Republicans are “reinvigorated” because they can defend torture? What a perverse concept.
      Wouldn’t one think that they are constructucting the scaffold from which they will drop? Do you really think that Obama will sacrifice his Speaker and the elections on 2010 in order to make the Republicans feel “nice”?

      No he’ll realize that he can declassify the necessary documents, release the photographs, allow even greater access to the media by the defense lawyers in the Military Tribunals, and a whole range of other acts that would pull the cord to the drop. I think Obama is simply waiting until the platform is constructed and the nooses are set into place.

      By the way…rats…when cornered, are “invigorated”.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Just a quick observation — freep has already ‘owned’ tanbark; none of the rest of us need any longer deal with him/her.

        The way that I read freep @202, he’s saying: “… eWheelies, get on with the task at hand, which is to keep figuring out how the timelines match up, who’s involved, what linkages exist — documents, people, etc. Focus on assembling evidence and exposing lies. I’ll clean up the troll mess.”

        freep takes on the trolls so that it ‘frees up the energy’, as it were, for others to keep focused on assembling evidence. He does troll duty, while he also continues to track the other timelines and topics and contribute where he has links or info.

        Kind of an Atlas of the Wheelhouse, as it were.

        Once he says that a troll is his, or he’s caged it, the rest of us can skip that screenname. Don’t waste your energy it any longer ;-))

        (Although I am still grinning at his outrage that someone was stupid enough to insult Mary. What a moron ;-))

        • Petrocelli says:

          That dimwit taking on Mary and getting schooled something awful by her was great to behold though.

        • Leen says:

          but is it better to engage (at least for a while) those who may be intentionally undermining or not with questions about intention, reasons, rationale for what appears to be negative comments. You know use the strategy Soufan and other professionals used with so called “terrorist”.

          Or is it better and more effective to subject the so called “trolls” to torture right away?

  64. tanbark says:

    Mary, Obama simply does not have the horsepower to change those things right now. I don’t know that he ever will, but seeing the people on this blog ripping into him as if he were the satanic president from hell, because he won’t piss away what capital he does have, on you guys’ desire to see Cheyney on trial, is evidence of what I’ve begun to believe, that some of you are just plain stupid.

    • BooRadley says:

      Mary, Obama simply does not have the horsepower to change those things right now.

      He could have picked Stiglitz, or Roubini or Krugman or Galbraith or many others, who predicted the meltdown, for WH Director of NEC and Treasury respectively. Instead he picked two guys who completely missed it, Summers and his pool boy, Wrongway Geithner.

      Summers, Bernanke, and Geithner are shovelling TWELVE TRILLION in loans and guarantees into the zombie money center banks. Tan, you can learn a lot reading FDL. When the stimulus runs out in 2010, that 12 trillion will be GONE, poof. Then no one will want to buy our TBills.

      Nobody held a gun to BO’s head and said, you’ve gotta pick the same people who got us into this, so they can double down on their bets, solely in order to protect their own reputations and the fortunes of those who own them.

      Please, stop embarrassing yourself.

  65. tanbark says:

    I should add, I’m glad that some of the people on here are not mincing their words in their hatred of Obama. It’s a level of vituperation that is reminiscent of the campaign. The new Torquemadas; hot on the heels of the white house heretic.

      • behindthefall says:

        Awright. How’d you type the thorn? I need to type Swedish fairly often and don’t know how to get the letters outside of my editor.

      • LabDancer says:

        Swallower of the loaf of heaven – what is a Troll but that?

        -from Skáldskaparmál, by Bragi Boddason

        Bonus question:

        If a sjötrollet is norsk for ’sea troll’, what’s norsk for ‘old tree troll’?

        – answer?…..oll,_1906_(Forest_Troll).jpg

            • LabDancer says:

              Ach – that didn’t work out well; the site location doesn’t change from page to page. If you want to view the “SMALL TROLL JOKE”, go to “DRAWING TROLLS” and scroll down. In case you suspect it might not be worth the trouble, here’s the joke:

              You see, there’s these two small trolls, one kind of looks like it might be a male troll, the other kind maybe a female troll [assuming trolls are gendered].

              The first troll looks disheartened and says: “I hate my life!”.
              The second troll responds: “Yeah, me too!”.
              The first troll perks up and turns to the second troll hopefully: “You hate your life too?”
              Whereupon the second troll restores equilibrium: “No No, I hate your life!”.

              ………[ I did say it was SMALL. ]

              • LabDancer says:

                Geez, this is hard. Really makes one appreciate what a true artiste like freep is able to do.

              • PJEvans says:

                That reads almost like the one in Cherryh’s Cuckoo’s Egg, where one person walks up to another (who is a Problem Solver by training, and can do whatever is necessary), and says something like, “I hate my neighbor, he’s making me miserable, nothing works any more, please fix it for me” – and the Problem Solver kills the complainer.

  66. bobschacht says:

    I find that I waste a lot less time if I just skip every message to or from tanbark.

    Then I have more time to dig into what EW and all the smart commenters are talking about.

    Bob in HI

    • TheraP says:

      Humanity falls into 2 groups. Those who skip trolls (me too!) and those who can’t. Skipping them drives them nuts. (I’ve been called “passive aggressive” for doing so.)

      • DWBartoo says:

        Why TheraP, that you, of all people, would suggest that those poor unfortunates, those given to simple (if not simple-minded) trollish delights, should be allowed to stew in their own juices, unstirred by the deep passions or considered insights of others, is most innerestin’ …

        Incidentally, TheraP, I cannot possibly convey to you my deep appreciation for your insistence upon standing for what psychology (and psychologists) should be about. The ‘profession’ has allowed itself to be tarnished and diminished by opportunistic little thugs and the unwillingness of one certain national ‘Society’ to understand (in a healthy, psychological sense) that such insights into cognitive development and the nature of ‘consciousness’ as psychology may afford us, are NOT to be used to help in the destruction of sanity AND humanity. Ever. ‘Psychologists’ who use such understanding to manipulate others or join in the very deliberate ‘process’ of breaking down anyone’s mental and physical health, are themselves, either very ’sick’ or very, very dangerous beings. The notion of ‘evil’ comes readily to mind.

        The profession is in a state of dire moral crisis, and in danger of losing ANY capacity (leverage) for social persuasion toward a more healthy and humane society, which, heaven knows, is a prime requisite if our species is to survive, let alone thrive, in a world that Americans, in particular, do not cherish or even, seemingly, appreciate.

        Our American society has been offered a wake-up call, a chance to step back and reflect (not unlike Germany, at the end of WWI), an opportunity of becoming a more mature, thoughtful and responsible society, and it is most unfortunate that a profession which could (and should) play a central role in promoting a sustainable and decent social psychology, appears to embrace a backward-looking, violently coercive and essentially destructive ‘model’.

        Thank you TherP, for modeling a far better way.


        • Petrocelli says:

          Echoing your praise for all the great minds that comment and post here – Thank you one and all !

          My field also has its fair share of selfish “gurus”, who shackle unwitting disciples to their ideals and scavenge all their wealth with the unfulfilled promise of Nirvana.

          These people are the Cheneys & Rumfelds of yoga/meditation and defending/justifying the actions of BushCo is inexcusable.

          Continuing to state that such actions are beyond the American people to grasp or prosecute is untenable at best and traitorous at its very root. The most powerful citizen in the World not only has the power to hold these people accountable, he has a moral obligation to do so.

          • fatster says:

            Rumsfeld the certifiable!

            Bible quotes adorned covers of top-secret Rumsfeld intelligence reports


Published: May 17, 2009 
Updated 4 hours ago

            “Top secret military intelligence briefings prepared by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and often hand-delivered to George W. Bush featured Crusades-like Bible quotes above triumphant photos of the U.S. military effort in Iraq.
            . . .
            “. . . another of these reports reached Bush, and its cover contained a passage from the book of Proverbs: “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”

            “Rumsfeld was intensely disliked by many high-level Bush administration officials, who wished he had been fired long before he actually was, Draper reports.”

            Sorry to spoil your Sunday morning.

            • TheraP says:

              I saw that piece as trying to deflect attention from bush and maybe also Condi. Not that Rummy should get a pass. But the reporting, to my mind, makes it look like bush was hero for sometimes bypassing Rummy’s intransigence. Interesting info. But is there a hidden agenda? Is that part of the “dog” we haven’t heard barking? (bush)

              • Petrocelli says:

                Good point, also the article failed to note that even when Rummy “resigned”, he still kept working at the Pentagon with a lot of staff, performing the exact same “undisclosed” duties.

              • fatster says:

                The story about Rumsfeld and NOLA was definitely in the category you describe. I saw it earlier today, too. I thought this particular story simply underscored what a nut-case was sitting (scratch that: standing) in a position of enormous power. Not that we needed it underscored.

                  • fatster says:

                    Is there a circle deep enough and dark enough and will their confinement be sufficiently long? I hope so.

                    Over at DU they are showing what are supposed to be copies of those report covers. Inane on one hand, unbelievably awful on the other. Thanks to Hannah Arendt for putting it so succinctly.

          • newtonusr says:

            The most powerful citizen in the World not only has the power to hold these people accountable, he has a moral obligation to do so.

            Actually he has an even more burdensome obligation than moral – he is Constitutionally bound to preserve, protect, defend…

            His moral center be damned – he has no right NOT to act.

            • Petrocelli says:

              Newt !

              Agreed that he has the legal obligation to prosecute. From my p.o.v., I see that one’s moral center determines the way one interprets laws and I think those defending his inaction are saying that, even though he is legally bound to prosecute, he is unable to do so because A) the time isn’t right and B) the American people don’t think that it is morally imperative.

              My comment was an attempt to address these two points … the legal imperative to act is, I believe, beyond debate.

    • Nell says:

      Then you’d have missed Mary’s discussion on Pakistan, which is one of the most illuminating comments in this thread — or in the last eight threads.

      It’s been a rough week for Obama defenders. It’d be one thing if any of the bread and butter issues were something he was really fighting to deliver on; then the false opposition they set up might at least be cause for pause. But given that he and his Center for American Progress cadre want us to shut up because his pre-cave to the banks and insurance companies might be endangered… well, let’s just say that it’s not the most winning come-on.

      • wavpeac says:

        This is the most sobering information of all and continued pressure and lots of continued light will be extremely important. I would guess that we will know for certain which way the wind blows in the next 6 months. Is it ignorance, can it be saved or is this part of a coordinated effort?

      • bobschacht says:

        In response to bobschacht @ 197 (show text)

        Then you’d have missed Mary’s discussion on Pakistan, which is one of the most illuminating comments in this thread — or in the last eight threads.

        Well, I have to admit that when I saw Mary’s response to TB, I did slow down enough to read most of it. I had a conflict of directives there: “Always read Mary” vs. “Ignore Trolls”. *g*

        Bob in HI

  67. Loo Hoo. says:

    Well, dang. Even Meowreen gets it.

    Besides, the question of what Pelosi knew or didn’t, or when she did or didn’t know, is irrelevant to how W. and Cheney broke the law and authorized torture.

    I used to agree with President Obama, that it was better to keep moving and focus on our myriad problems than wallow in the darkness of the past. But now I want a full accounting. I want to know every awful act committed in the name of self-defense and patriotism. Even if it only makes one ambitious congresswoman pay more attention in some future briefing about some future secret technique that is “uniquely” designed to protect us, it will be worth it.

    • fatster says:

      She didn’t! Perhaps this is an indication that some in the nooz establishment are beginning to wake up. Thnx, Loo Hoo.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Well damn! Here’s what I found thunderous — and by Jove, there’s going to be hell to pay as people get this in the next week or two:

      More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when the Bush crowd was looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq.

      No clue whether MoDo reads EW or FDL, but that sure makes it look as if she’s read “Anatomy of Deceit”. And FWIW, the NYT archives really are a hugely important resource IMVHO, and it would not be surprising if NYTer MoDo has been pulling up headlines BY DATE, and making herself some kind of EW-like timeline.

      I don’t want to steal one single bit of ‘thunder’ from EW’s heroic efforts, but here’s a bit from p. 131 of her book, just to underscore the enormous significance of what MoDo is pointing out:

      July 23, 2002: “Downing Street Memo” written by Brit For Sec Jack Straw… “[US]intelligence is being fixed around the policy…”

      August 2002: Douglas Feith’s Office of Special Plans is founded [within DoD] to cull raw intelligence reports and develop talking points to support the war….WH Chief of Staff Andrew Card founds the White House Iraq Group [WHIG] to build support for war. Its members include Karl Rove, Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin, Scooter Libby, and Condelezza Rice.

      August 26, 2002: Cheney gives a speech that has not been vetted by the CIA, nor approved by Bush…. “there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction…”

      Sept 2002: CIA’s head of operations for Europe… learns the Germans believe Curveball may be a fabricator and may have psychological problems. [Curveball was the Iraqi who claimed Saddam had WMD.]

      [ – INSERTING NEW INFO into EW’s p. 131 Timeline: Sept 4, 2002: Pelosi briefed, which means she’s ‘captured’ in the sense that she is not legally allowed to discuss or disclose matters revealed to her. In addition, the CIA briefers are the very people who are involved in torture, which they don’t fully brief her about. — END OF INSERTION]

      Sept 5, 2002: Sen Bob Graham of Florida, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, learns the Bush administration has not planned to produce a National Intelligence Assessment on Iraq. Graham requests one. [We now know that the CIA did not fully brief Graham on torture at this time.]

      Sept 8, 2002: NYT reporters Judith Miller and Michael Gordon write an article describing Iraqi attempts to acquire aluminum tubes, supposedly for a uranium enrichment program. On the same day, Condelezza Rice, Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld appear on Sunday morning talk shows to make the case for war. Rice, Rumsfeld, and the NYT article all use the phrase ‘mushroom cloud’ to describe the threat of an Iraqi nuclear program. [It should also be noted that Judith Miller had long used Chalabi, a neocon ally, as an ‘unnamed source’. The CIA stopped dealing with Chalabi in the 1990s.]

      MoDo’s mastering Timelineology, and it’s nice to see the MSM getting beyond he-said/she-said.

  68. SparklestheIguana says:

    Liz Cheney tomorrow on Stephanopolous.

    And Peggy Noonan and Jon Meacham on MTP – can’t wait.

  69. plunger says:

    Waterboarding is defined as torture in every encyclopedia the world over.

    Torture is not a “technique” – it is a crime against humanity – a War Crime.

    Anyone who attempts to define it otherwise is an agent of disinformation for a particular client/state… The same client/state whose lobbying organization was caught red-handed distributing its propaganda within the United States through its controlled Congress, just last week.

    Every politician in DC knows this to be true. They all work for Israel, and they know it.

  70. freepatriot says:

    and to the rest of the group, to clear up my view of leon panetta:

    if you were in the middle of a mine field, and leon was the guy who was helping you get out of the mine field, you would step on every single mine in the field before you got out

    Leon Panetta was COS for the bulk of Clinton’s presidency, pick any scab from Bill’s term, and you’ll find leon amongst the goo under the scab

    bill clinton was the source of his own problems, but he had too many knives sticking out of his back to make me think that Leon Panetta was a good COS

    and if he wasn’t lookin out for Bill, who was leon lookin out for ???

    most of the “coverup/cleanup” disasters that Bill experienced were supposed to taken care of by Leon. All the democratic disasters (triangulation, welfare reform, et al) leon was deep in all of that

    the guy had the influence and access of poppy bush, and political skills equivalent to Sam Malone’s pitching skills

    so to make a more apt mixed metaphor, every time bill clinton was in trouble, he had leon panetta behind him, throwing his “slider of death”

    unfortunately, it was leon’s team mates who called it “the slider of death”

    you gotta be a snake to be a politician, but leon is a double crossing snake (cept he’d call it horse trading to make it sound respectable)

    (I think I could claim “Fair use for academic purposes” on all the copyright violations in this post. we got any lawyers around here ???)

    I should add, in Leon Panetta’s favor, he was the chief architect of Clinton’s budget balancing success

    I don’t like bean counters much either, so he gets sparse credit for that, from me anyway,

    so I might be a bit prejudiced against the guy

  71. BayStateLibrul says:

    Cheney’s blueprint: Mens rea

    “The story surrounding the efforts to corral and destroy the Zelikow memo is more than a curious vignette. Lawyers studying the issue of criminal liability of the memo writers are focused on evidence of mens rea—a state of mind that reflects recognition of criminal wrongdoing. The effort to destroy the memo is not just evidence of standard record-keeping practice; it may well spring from recognition that the memo might be used as evidence that the Bush administration was engaged in criminality.”

    Scott Horton

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      I wish Cheney would just go to Spain and discuss the wonders of torture. He needs to project from another hemisphere so that more people will benefit from his wisdom.

    • TheraP says:

      Take a look at how the straussians (the neocons, fanatical disciples of Leo Strauss) urged the use of Christianity – twisting it to its own aims – in the service of their treasonous conspiracy. See here for just one example:

      Strauss told his inner circle that religion must be used by “true wise men” to control the masses and lead them in the correct direction. Strauss claimed that religion was false, but its deception must be hidden from the people. Most neoconservatives Cons did not crusade against abortion or to restore prayer to the schools, but they developed many other themes to ingratiate conservative Christians.

      DWBartoo @210: I humbly thank you for that comment. I too am no longer an APA member. But I am stunned and horrified at what they not only permitted but fostered.

      Your comment is so apt.

      Your mention of Nazi Germany holds more weight than you might imagine. For therapists who have worked with survivors of the worst sort of sadistic, ritualistic, sexual abuse of children have long suspected that Nazis, trained in such sadism, who came to the US, both utilized and taught these methods as a means of exploiting children.

      Thus, to my mind, we not only must stamp out the use of torture against political opponents, but we must do so in such a way that these methods do not percolate within society, leading to further harm – of US adults and children – and the lifetime of horror that accompanies such abuse.

      For that reason it worries me that those who designed or implemented or supervised torture are running free. I’m concerned about the past. But even more – about the future!

      • DWBartoo says:

        It is also ‘interesting’ to note, TheraP, that much of the Nazi ‘intelligence apparatus’ and a goodly number of its ‘practitioners’ were simply ‘transferred’ to American ‘use’ at the end of ‘hostilities’, the OSS being deemed neither ‘professional’ nor ’serious’ enough for the challenges to world domination which the American powers-that-be had begun to fashion as fundamental ‘policy’ during the last, waning year of WWII.

        However, any genuine and meaningful investigation or discussion of our intelligence agencies is very unlikely, given the knee-jerk reaction (encountered, even here), that such agencies are fundamentally ‘necessary’ to America’s supposed ‘well-being’. That such ‘excesses’ as have come, relatively recently, to light, are not, essentially, either ‘new’ or ‘foreign’ to the behaviors of those agencies is a very novel idea for most Americans, who are encouraged to believe (as opposed to deliberate consideration) that America can do no wrong. When such notions are combined with such myths as the belief (that word, again) that America is God’s chosen nation and people (a rather universal myth, ‘twould seem) we have a ready recipe for even more horror and destruction.

        But, of course, if America does it, then it is … (morally) justifiable … indeed, our greater ‘destiny’ demands it.

        In that ‘belief’, America is, naturally, different from any other nation and immune to the lessons (and consequences) of history.(/s)

        “National Security” and its attendant secrecy, as well as cunning appeals to unthinking patriotism, suggest that these ‘beliefs’ will not be encouraged to change any time soon. (Notwithstanding ‘Change you can believe in …”)

        The power that comes to those who control (or who believe they control) such agencies is immense, and can easily affect EVERY SINGLE aspect of ALL of the institutions which comprise the ‘games’ which our society (intentionally or otherwise) has embraced as the essence of what we are pleased to believe is our ‘culture’.

        Any serious discussion about the role of ‘belief’ in bringing about the circumstances in which we now find ourselves is even less likely …

        • TheraP says:

          Since intelligence agencies won’t even share with each other, yes, you’ve put your finger on a huge problem! Together with American exceptionalism. But Intell is EVEN MORE EXCEPTIONAL! Especially the American variety! How true. (what’s sickening is that this fits with the straussian/Machiavelllian mindset of the neocons. and might allow for a return of the criminals in future…)

          • DWBartoo says:

            The ‘dance’ the Straussian waltzers have ‘called’ must be openly and vigorously discussed and seriously examined.

            Such ‘rationale’ as the Straussian high-steppers espouse (for and to the edification of their elite) is, precisely, the most dangerous threat to reasonable and rational thought and behavior “within” a society, a threat with which all people who cherish democracy, not just the long-departed “Founding Fathers”, must concern themselves.

            The appeal of such ‘visions’ of control by some ‘natural’ elite is irresistible for many who harbor ‘pathological tendencies’ within the tortured ‘landscape’ of their inner beings and who are motivated by fear, anger or more destructive ‘impulses’ …

            It is to noted that such ‘philosophies’ have their greatest success either when a nation and its elite, especially, embrace the comfortable complacency of its own obvious superiority and its perceived ability to control ALL ‘events’ to its satisfaction or ‘advantage’, or when a once ‘great’ nation is humiliated in its own eyes and diminished literally, by intent or accident, in what powers it may comfortably exercise on the larger, ‘world’ stage.

            It is at the extremes of a nation’s fate, that such pernicious notions of ‘control’ take root … and such ‘ideas’ may well flourish, in a Rovian sense, but for the courage of those, however few, who dare to stand against them.

            • Leen says:

              the end justifies the means…the big lie…we know best…does not matter how many are tortured, killed, injured, displaced in the process.

              “harbor pathological tendencies” indeed

  72. radiofreewill says:

    fatster and Loo Hoo – I’ve felt, for a while now, that MoDo might read emptywheel and FDL.

    Her column today, imvho, is a landmark piece – she’s pointing out, in her own sharp style, the same Pelosi-Food-Fight-Mooting observation that EW has been writing about:

    “Besides, the question of what Pelosi knew or didn’t, or when she did or didn’t know, is irrelevant to how W. and Cheney broke the law and authorized torture.”

    I, like the two of you, am glad to see signs that the Journalists with Talent for Insight – in the MSM – are beginning to echo EW’s Demand for Accountability from Bush and Cheney!

  73. wavpeac says:

    My only question is…where do his blood meals come from?

    I don’t know much but I know enough to recognize that the work on this site is of historical importance. It is an honor to read the work of the great minds who contribute here. At the very least there will be evidence that at some people made a valiant effort to save our constitution and our values.

    I thought I had strong feelings about the Iraq war, about Plame, about Hurricane Katrina, about 9/11. But I can say that this issue of torture, in my humble opinion is like cancer and is gets to the core of all the others. These cancer cells are connected at the root. They will destroy us if we do not make certain that we eradicate them.

    We need light, we need x rays, we need chemo, we need radiation, we need a macrobiotic diet, we need positive thinking, we need prayers, we need a VALID path.

    I love this site and all the people on it. (I will say however, that the therapist in me occasionally, in accordance with my own pathology, fantasizes about fixing a troll or two).

    • LabDancer says:

      I can’t decide whether the campaign of babydick for membership in the msm is a good or bad thing: her voice and stridency manifests the banality so, my stomach turns; but it’s got to hurt the campaign’s sales numbers.

      • wavpeac says:

        My question: is it “organized”? Is it paid?

        Or is it just subject to roaming fees?

    • TheraP says:

      (I will say however, that the therapist in me occasionally, in accordance with my own pathology, fantasizes about fixing a troll or two).

      Normal, healthy aggression. Fantasies. Feelings. They’re not a sign of any problem. Good, you’re in touch with them! You know them for what they are. It’s a nice, healthy release – so long as they don’t go into real-world behavior.

      Be at peace.

  74. prostratedragon says:

    Wasn’t someone asking about when Buck Nekkid’s Langley wanderings took place? Just ran up on a general time frame in Lang’s “Kool-Aid” essay, and it seems to have been during the spring and summer of 2002:

    Armed with the INC product, Vice President Cheney made a series of visits to the CIA headquarters at Langley to question agency analysts who were producing assessments that did not match the material that had been funneled to him through Luti and Hannah. The vice president also made personal visits to many members of Congress, to persuade them, in the autumn of 2002, to grant the president the authority to go to war with Iraq.

  75. lysias says:

    Look what McClatchy is reported Cheney said in 2004. Cheney said Gitmo detainees revealed Iraq-al Qaida link:

    The Rocky Mountain News asked Cheney in a Jan. 9, 2004, interview if he stood by his claims that Saddam’s regime had maintained a “relationship” with al Qaida, raising the danger that Iraq might give the group chemical, biological or nuclear weapons to attack the U.S.

    “Absolutely. Absolutely,” Cheney replied.

    A Cheney spokeswoman said a response to an e-mail requesting clarification of the former vice president’s remarks would be forthcoming next week.

    “The (al Qaida-Iraq) links go back,” he said. “We know for example from interrogating detainees in Guantanamo that al Qaida sent individuals to Baghdad to be trained in C.W. and B.W. technology, chemical and biological weapons technology. These are all matters that are there for anybody who wants to look at it.”

    Is this evidence that Al-Libi was in Guantanamo, and also perhaps that he was waterboarded there? And what’s with the plural “detainees”?

  76. fatster says:

    Published on Sunday, May 17, 2009 by
    UK Government Lies Exposed; Spy Visited Binyam Mohamed In Morocco
    by Andy Worthington
    “. . . in today’s Mail on Sunday, David Rose reports that Binyam Mohamed has now stated that a British spy – or a “mole,” as Rose calls him – was sent by the British authorities to Morocco in September 2002, in an attempt “to persuade him that giving intelligence to the British would end his ordeal.”
    . . .

    “As Rose described it, Informant A “knew Mohamed in London and helped him plan the fateful journey in the spring of 2001 that took him first to Pakistan, then to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. After Mohamed had fled the conflict, the mole was wounded fighting alongside Osama Bin Laden in the caves of Tora Bora.”

    Much more, sad to say. Apologies if this is a dupe.

  77. cinnamonape says:

    Gosh… here I am replying to a ghost troll…I should look at time signatures

    BTW…Shelby’s wording in his original formal statement (rather than what his “spokesman” claimed) is interesting.

    “As Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 2002, Senator Shelby was briefed by the CIA on the Agency’s interrogation program and the existence of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EITs). To his recollection, not only did the CIA briefers provide what was purported to be a full account of the techniques, they also described the need for these techniques and the value of the information being obtained from terrorists during questioning. The Senate briefing also included an explanation of how these techniques were consistent with the law and with the national security interests of the U.S. To his recollection, while there was a great deal of discussion, there were no objections raised during the Senate briefing he attended.”

    Odd…why use the term “purported”? That suggests to me that he was NOT given a full account of the techniques….but that they CLAIMED TO. IF there were techniques not mentioned…then the legal justifications would not have applied to unmentioned techniques.

    And note that he clearly states that this was not a JOINT briefing…it was only a Senate briefing, presumably the one that Bob Graham attended. But the CIA originally stated that Graham had attended three briefings. So perhaps there were additional briefings that were “Republican only”?

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      wow, good catch!

      And Petrocelli @262, totally with you on that ‘great to behold’ view ;-)))

      TheraP @263, I continue to believe that Strauss (and the neocons) have consistently mistranslated Machiavelli and some of their other sources. Translation is a tricky business, and if Strauss was translating from German to Italian, and then to English — or from Italian to German, then to English… well, there is a huge amount of room for subtle, but cumulative translation errors.

      For instance, as someone upthread pointed out, the meaning of the English word ‘fool’ has changed dramatically over time, actually shifting 180 in meaning from ‘code for sage’ to ‘code for dolt’. Only those ‘in the know’ recognize the term ‘fool’ as a metaphor for ‘really smart, but hiding behind a veneer of acting like a stupid person’.

      Figure out how all those subtle shifts add up over a text, and I think Strauss unintentionally screwed up Machiavelli in much the same way that DNA makes tiny, almost infinestismally small ‘transcription errors’ that produce genetic mutations.

      • 4jkb4ia says:

        Straussians are generally very careful with words and their meanings and contexts. IMHO the Harvey Mansfield translation of The Prince was quite good.

    • cinnamonape says:

      The CIA “described the value of the information being obtained”…

      Lest we forget…the guy they were water boarding was Abu Zubaydah. CIA and FBI interrogators describe him as being borderline schizophrenic, as indicated from his diary (which they already had obtained). The diary shows him writing from the perspective of three different individuals. But contrary to their initial claims that AZ was a top level Al Qaida member the diary shows that he wasn’t, could not be, at the places that he “confessed to” during waterboarding. In fact, AZ was little more than the “travel agent” for Al Qaida…a guy who obtained passports, travel tickets and accomodation. And the most important bit of information he gave was early in interrogation…before the torture. It was a bit of “trivia”…that Khalid Sheik Mohammed went by the nickname “Mokhtar”. That opened up the possibility of tracing KSM’s prior movements by SIGINT. But that info was given voluntarily.

  78. 4jkb4ia says:

    ROTL#158: I note that that was beautiful even if you will never see this comment.
    (The number of comments was a sign that there might be some mess in the room) (plunger is behaving!)

  79. 4jkb4ia says:

    Baruch ata Hashem, eloheinu melech haolam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfiras haomer.
    Hayom zeh arbaim yamim l’omer. (hod b’yesod)
    Hey, no one will read this one either.

  80. 4jkb4ia says:

    AND, they got rid of Newt, but they controlled the House with Newt’s message and Newt’s troops for the next 8 years.

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