Nancy Pelosi: Congressional Leaders Do Expect the Spanish Inquisition

Ximinez: NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise…surprise and fear…fear and surprise…. Our two weapons are fear and surprise…and ruthless efficiency…. Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope…. Our *four*…no… *Amongst* our weapons…. Amongst our weaponry…are such elements as fear, surprise…. I’ll come in again.

The WaPo is out today confirming something Mary suspected: Nancy Pelosi was briefed on–and raised no objection to–our methods of torture.

In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA’s overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

[snip]

Pelosi declined to comment directly on her reaction to the classified briefings. But a congressional source familiar with Pelosi’s position on the matter said the California lawmaker did recall discussions about enhanced interrogation. The source said Pelosi recalls that techniques described by the CIA were still in the planning stage — they had been designed and cleared with agency lawyers but not yet put in practice — and acknowledged that Pelosi did not raise objections at the time.

Meanwhile, it’s time for me to, once again, applaud Jane Harman for doing the right thing. She was apparently the only known Congressperson who raised a formal objection to the practices.

Harman, who replaced Pelosi as the committee’s top Democrat in January 2003, disclosed Friday that she filed a classified letter to the CIA in February of that year as an official protest about the interrogation program. Harman said she had been prevented from publicly discussing the letter or the CIA’s program because of strict rules of secrecy.

"When you serve on intelligence committee you sign a second oath — one of secrecy," she said. "I was briefed, but the information was closely held to just the Gang of Four. I was not free to disclose anything."

Go read the article. But for now, here are some thoughts on this:

  • Frankly, I think our intelligence oversight has put the Administration in as difficult a position as John Yoo has. That is, by signing off on something (and, as the WaPo describes, in several cases encouraging it), our Congressional intell leaders gave the Administration the legal sanction to torture. And now, after years of it, they’re trying to shut it down. Shutting it down is far overdue–that has to happen. But we’re now in the difficult place of condemning, as a society, practices that our society sanctioned as legal just a few years ago.
  • We need to find a way to make intelligence oversight useful. On every major revelation like this, we have had at least one Democratic leader who objects to illegal practices. Yet that person is virtually helpless to respond.
  • And for that matter, we need to get better intelligence leadership. As I showed yesterday, Jello Jay’s first instinct when hit with one of these revelations is literally to parrot the script of the CIA. That’s not oversight. If nothing else, this revelation needs to spark a call for real leaders in Intelligence, not the script-reader in the Senate and and not someone whose brother is the CIA torture master’s buddy in the House. I nominate Russ Feingold and Rush Holt.

This nation has a lot to answer for before the rest of the world. Ugh.

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  1. selise says:

    Russ Feingold and Rush Holt and my choices too – it really ought to be obvious, that they are the best choices (if we’re going by competency and not fund raising ability).

  2. Bilbo says:

    Every day we go a little deeper down the rabbit hole. As the pretense and lies are slowly stripped away the story becomes more and more sordid. And every day I feel more and more despair for our system of government. Perhaps it’s salvageable, but not without a lot of work and a lot of fundamental change. Given the lack of concern of too large a segment of the American public, I’m not sure we’re up to it. Hannah Arendt had it right: The banality of evil.

  3. texasdem says:

    Russ Feingold and Rush Holt are my two favorite Congresscritters.

    Interestingly, neither one was supposed to be elected. Russ Feingold slipped into his Senate nomination when the two leading candidates firebombed each other. Rush Holt was ignored by Charlie Cook and the DCCC for almost his entire campaign, and won the “biggest upset” of 98.

    It would be interesting to compare those politicians who were coronated into high office, to those who won when they were not supposed to win. I bet that would be very illuminating.

    Some quick examples:

    Mike Huckabee was LtGov of Arkansas when Gov Jim Guy Tucker was indicted.
    Howard Dean was LtGov when the Gov of Vermont died.
    Teddy Roosevelt was a window-dressing Vice President until McKinley was assassinated.
    Rep John Yarmuth was not supposed to win his primary or the general.
    Obama was not supposed to win his Senate primary.
    A lot of our interesting congresspeople, including Wellstone, got there by earning nominations no one wanted, to beat incumbents no one thought could be beaten.
    Oh yeah… Jim McGreevey took a nomination no one wanted to run against Christine Todd Whitman, and then held her to a one percent margin, thereby earning the right to run for the open seat four years later.

    Anyway, I don’t want to take this thread too far off topic, but it seems like some of the only interesting leaders we get are the ones who weren’t hand-picked by the “leadership class.” The opposite of Pelosi and Jello Jay, in other words.

  4. TheraP says:

    Oh, dear. I shook her hand. Now I feel dirty.

    I looked her in the eye. In the Spring. She obviously didn’t get the meaning of my look! (It said: Impeachment)

  5. billinturkey says:

    Hmm. Anyone in left Blogistan prepared to come out and say Harman might not have been such a great choice for a primary challenge in the light of this?

    Its far from clear that Reyes would have protested like this.

    • emptywheel says:

      Not me.

      I might be willing to say Harman should have remained in HPSCI and become Chair.

      But she remains very far to the left of her district and she remains far too happy to betray Democrats on important issues. She may not like torture, but she doesn’t apparently have a problem with illegal surveillance.

  6. scribe says:

    Does anyone doubt getting this said on the left was the purpose behind the WaPo printing an obvious CIA hit piece as its A01 above the fold today?

    Remember, just last week we were excoriating the WaPo (rightly) for printing bullsh*t about Obama’s muslimicity.

    Getting rid of Pelosi (who’s shown her integrity to have been compromised again and again) won’t solve matters. It’ll give us Hoyer. But, more importantly, getting rid of Pelosi would be reactive. And being reactive is precisely what the Repugs, CIA and all their other friends in The Village want from us. If we’re reacting, it’s to what they’re doing, and that means they still control the agenda. And, recently, a lot of the folks on the Left have been doing the marionette pretty f’g well.

    Rather, work from a principle, toward an objective, and have the spine to
    back up what the progress is. It’s as simple as football. And if that means Pelosi falls, so be it. But, Bush and Cheney before Pelosi, please.

    • selise says:

      Does anyone doubt getting this said on the left was the purpose behind the WaPo printing an obvious CIA hit piece as its A01 above the fold today?

      cinnomonape analyzes the wapo this morning and concludes the two sources are porter goss and a cia agent who gave (or at least participated in) the briefing. this is consistent with my wag from last night:

      wild-assed guessing without even having read the article… (just the dkos diary):

      this article is pushback and a warning from the administration to the dems in congress – follow through on the investigations you are calling for (destroyed torture tapes, etc) and we will take you down with us.

      if i’m right, the anonymous sources will be republicans or their supporters.

  7. scribe says:

    Re my #*:
    “Does anyone doubt getting this said….” referred to #1, “Pelosi must go.” For whatever reason, it didn’t post as a reply to….

    • SusanS says:

      Either we’re serious about this accountability thing or we’re not. Yes, getting rid of Nancy would hurt, but if we don’t attempt it, we open ourselves up to charges of being more than a bit hypocritical, don’t you think? And worst of all, torture goes away as an issue unless we demand her head.

  8. prostratedragon says:

    Ugh, indeed. But didn’t everyone just know?

    Meanwhile, it’s time for me to, once again, applaud Jane Harman for doing the right thing. She was apparently the only known Congressperson who raised a formal objection to the practices.

    Now, how did that committee assignment brouhaha go again? Let the cascading reinterpretations begin! As for the legal unwind necessary to begin dealing with this, isn’t it more a matter of enduring some real mortification (and maybe some real punishment, or dare I say penance?) than of being materially hamstrung in a legal sense? I look forward to hearing from our legal braintrust this week.

    As for oversight, maybe leadership is all that’s needed to cut through the secrecy knot, at least for the most outrageous violations by the intelligence agencies. Keeping the “state secrets” is after all not our highest ethical value.

    scribe, maybe, maybe not. Suddenly people all over the place seem to be going all in. Who knows what the table is being cleared for? It’s looking more and more like a humdinger well beyond politics as usual, which should surprise no one considering how thick the shit has become.

  9. Recluse says:

    “prevented from publicly discussing the letter or the CIA’s program because of strict rules of secrecy.”
    Oy! Marcy, this one got me going!
    Oaths, rules of secrecy, gangs of four! Talkin’ about torture, givin’ our OK to torture! And Harmon writes a letter. And Pelosi says nothing. I don’t know why I still expect a woman to do the right thing but I do. I don’t know how many disappointed, discouraged democratic women the deaf dems in dc want to create but they’re trying really hard.
    If ever there was an oath to secrecy made to be broken this is it. Perhaps these women have been playing the men’s games too long. And I won’t get started on republicon women(?) It’s not about that anyway. This is about right and wrong. Didn’t this gang of four already take an oath to uphold our laws? Laws stating torture is illegal? But then the new oath said it was ok to torture and keep quiet about it? Shame on them. Apparently many democrats have lost their conscience, also.
    After proofreading I see I’ve been stating the obvious again. But perhaps it will stave off the heart attack awhile:)
    Thanks for the space, Marcy.
    Take care, Jan
    Think they had to go to the thesaurus for reticent?

  10. Waccamaw says:

    ew –

    I have no idea what to make of this new WaPo article but the last seven years has taught me to ask at least two questions:

    1. What is/are the source(s)?
    2. Cui bono?

    In a somewhat cursory reading (paragraphs 1-12), there are something like 12 unidentified sources; Goss being the only one mentioned by name. There’s a hell of a lot of “officials” running around loose, ie. “two”, “U.S.”, “multiple”, “congressional”, “several”, etc. And then there are the, oh, let’s call ‘em “unofficials”: “lawmakers”, “Democrats and Republicans”, “Bush administration” with a “few staff members” thrown in for good measure.

    At this point in time, I think I’m sitting’ on scribe’s side of the fence (see #8). There just *might* be more than one wave of stench wafting from today’s little WaPo bomblet. Cui bono? Definitely *not* dims!

    • jayackroyd says:

      cui bono

      The people who obstructed justice and who themselves committed war crimes are sending a message to the Congressional investigators. Do you really want to know, and publicize, who was responsible for this? Do you really want to walk this all the way back?

      The claim that one of Dems asked if they were doing enough to extract information is particularly damning.

      But I’m with Marcy in her implicit condemnation of the People as well. It’s true that the ranking member (and the chair) of the Intelligence Committee should not get caught up in hysteria. Part of the way one conducts effective intelligence activities is with distance, patience and calmness. Committee chairs should be selected based on that kind of undertanding. Reading the article, it sounded like they reacted not as leaders, but as scared civilians. That doesn’t change the fact that when confronted with this situation, the public pretty clearly went with the methods of 24.

      A real leader would have outed herself long ago, spoke mea culpas, and stepped out of a leadership role, blaming the tenor of the times for a serious misjudgment, and then roundly condemning torture.

      It’s hard to see who will emerge to lead these investigations. At this point, everybody knows what happened, and so now the question is whether to round up the usual suspects, or not. This article is, I think, an attempt to tell the Democratic leadership that if they try that, they will themselves be implicated.

      But there are still hundreds of people, uncharged, locked up at Guantanamo. There are more than just these three victims–and you have to call them that. That’s part of what they’ve done here. They’ve turned bad guys into victims. I do not see how they are going to unwind this.

    • Waccamaw says:

      I hope cinnamonape heads over this way soon with that extended comment from the late late nite thread. S/he verbalized (about 1000X better) where I was trying to go in #13.

  11. KevinHayden says:

    Now the central issue of prosecuting lawbreakers in the executive branch who authorized, advocated or participated in torture is going to be diluted by the critiques of congressional oversight by both parties. Only Harman reacted properly.

    And is this part of the reason for Pelosi refusing to consider impeachment, that there’s dirty laundry on both sides she doesn’t want exposed?

    Sadly, that speculation will distract from the imperative to prosecute the torturers and torturevangelists. But at this point, i say, investigate all of it. And toss out everyone tainted, regardless of party.

    That, ultimately, is the only way we can ever fully right this horrible wrong.

    • WaitinginTexas says:

      I agree – this is why Pelosi said Impeachment was off the table. She was just as complicit. Granted this was so soon after 9-11, but nevertheless, Pelosi could have written a letter like Harman did.

      There are many Dems, just like the Repubs, that have interests to protect and we should remember that.

  12. SusanS says:

    Good points about the sourcing, so I’ll withdraw my comment about Pelosi until we know more.

    That being said, unless she denies it outrightly and then takes immediate steps to punish those who are guilty of writing and carrying out the torture policies (and the destruction of evidence), all the way to the top of the administration, she must be held accountable. And that means impeachment should be put back on the table today.

    As a local leader in the Democratic party, I am so sick of having to defend these people.

  13. MarkC says:

    I want to put two of the above statements together. First, ew said:

    We need to find a way to make intelligence oversight useful. On every major revelation like this, we have had at least one Democratic leader who objects to illegal practices. Yet that person is virtually helpless to respond.

    Then, Selise said:

    this article is pushback and a warning from the administration to the dems in congress – follow through on the investigations you are calling for (destroyed torture tapes, etc) and we will take you down with us.

    These are both true — and that’s why I (uncharacteristically) think that the rush to condemn Pelosi is unproductive. Remember this was 2002, when no dissent was brooked, either in the media or in Washington. I’m not saying that she was right to have sat on her hands, but she was neither where she was today, nor are we where we are today. Clearly, as Selise notes, the point of this leak is to have us turn on Pelosi and in so doing insulate the Republicans from more sunlight. I think that a little historical context, and a little utilitarian forgiveness, are in order. I think our message should be that she should have objected then, but that she can redeem herself only by bringing the house down on the Republicans who essentially ran a one-party government in 2002.

  14. selise says:

    Clearly, as Selise notes, the point of this leak is to have us turn on Pelosi and in so doing insulate the Republicans from more sunlight.

    i was trying to say that by threatening dems (such as pelosi), by this example, with further revelations (we don’t know everything they are complicit in, and this article is probably not the full extent of it), the complicit dems will be too scared of having their own bad acts revealed to pursue effective investigations as have been recently called for.

    a sort of mutually assured destruction: “bring us down and we’ll bring you down with us”

  15. prostratedragon says:

    I have a problem with a lawmaker who, in 2002, was shown an interrogation protocol using water torture or any other such and yet did not object or do whatever else could be done to blow the whistle, including mobilizing as many other members as possible.

    But I would have a huge problem with a House leader who subordinated her Constitutional role to a personal need not to be exposed as having acquiesced in such a program, in a time when every aspect of government is being so abused as now.

    That is too much like the woman who thought she could still have the affection of the man she had helped destroy by betrayal (another San Francisco story as it happens—Vertigo).

  16. looseheadprop says:

    Kinda Like Naomi Klien’s Shock Doctrine, this revealtion makes a lot of seemingly random and incomprehesible things, seem to fit a logical pattern.

    In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, and by immediate, I’m talking the first 18 months/2 years; the Admin, used the shock and horror and “if you don’t go along with this the blood of the next wave of victimes will bo onyour hands” [to badly paraphrase Comey’s speech tothe Intelligence COmmunity lawyers] to get normally sane people to agree with, or aleast not oppose, insane things.

    Part of the technique invovled not telling them everything, so that when they questioned and objected, they were told “if you knew wha I knew, you would be urging me to do this”.

    Most of those people where bound in secrecy oaths, so they could not turn to their normal sources of advice and perspective. Also, often these decisions would be made under time pressure, before the target had a chance to really mull things over.

    Each person was isilated and alone in thier decision making without enough info and convicned if they got it wrong American’s would die. COntrast that withthe well organized, cofident presentations made the the WH folks urging the particular action.

    Think about yourself, if you are unsure and doubtful, but lack enough information of you own t omake a counterargument that sounds compelling to your own ears, how hard are you going to be able to push back? Especailly if you are being told that you are lone holdout and “Everybody else” agrees that this is necessary or else there will be another Ground Zero somewhere inthe US?

    Oh, and the Golden GAte Bridge has long been a known Al Quada target, since at least the mod 1990″.

    That’s how Comey got punkied into issuing that first materail witness warrant for Padilla, I don’t doubt that’s how Pelosi got punked int remaining silent about waterboarding.

    BIG FUCKING DEAL.

    She needs to get over it and do her damn job. If she got amnipulated, if she got bamboosled, if she appears naive and stupid, she should take the damn hit and get on with it.

    This is no reason for “Impeachment to be off hte Table” , though it seems to be the root casue of that particular mistake. I NEVER EVER bought that piffle about how it would distract fromt the 2008 elections. I have snorted a derisive laugh evry time I have heard or read that lame excuse.

    So, Nancy, here’s how you deal with the swift boating that is coming ou way:

    Embrace it. Tell the truth. Tell the whole ugly story. And tell the Amrican people, that this is why Impeachment can NEVER be off the table, lest Presidents be tempted to try some 3 card monty like this on future Members of Congress.

    Good rugby advice here. If someone is going to tackle you, you RUN INTO THE TACKLE, as fast as you can b/c the person who is going faster when the tackle collides doesn’t get feel any pain. The slower moving person gets the wind knowed out of them, the person who, knowing they cannot avoid beng tackled, embraces the conflict and sprints into it, wins the tackle!!!!

    • selise says:

      get normally sane people to agree with, or aleast not oppose, insane things.

      have you read stanley milgram and phil zimbardo? most people won’t stand up to people they see as authority figures – they will get sucked in and do things that they would have previously told you were completely immoral. i have a great deal of sympathy (because it’s happened to me – in a small way), but that doesn’t absolve people from their actions. it’s only by coming clean and making amends that we can do that. some day i hope both comey and pelosi will do so… and i hope their friends will stand by them and support them in doing what is right.

      • looseheadprop says:

        Comey already has, though not in a way that MSMgives a crap about.

        Kinda like nobody in the MSM bothered to cover Cuomo’s speech calling for US lawyers to take to the streets. Comey delivers speeches, does panels, apills his guts, nobody covers it or covers it accurately. Not his fault.

        I wonder if pelosi herself was not a source for part of the WaPo article. She wasn’t supposed to talk to staffers about what she was briefed on, remember?

        Re: comment about that “run into the tackle” is EASY advice for a prop to give.

        No, I was very sqeamish about tackling when I first started playing, and therfore used to get the crap beat out of me on the rugby pitch. I good buddy on mine used to haras me about this daintyness on the feild. One night we were inthe frozen food ailse of our loacl supermarket (after midnight, so it was mepte) and he made me spend 2 hours doing tackle drills until I could knock him down at will. He was A lot bigger than me.

        After that, my whole game changed and I became, not agressive, just efficient and could even “run through” tackles soemtiems.

        • phred says:

          LHP — your run into the tackle advice is spot on. It probably saved my life one night when as a pedestrian I got hit by a car. Just like they always say, things seem to move very slowly under such circumstances… I knew I didn’t have time to get out of the way, but I did have time to think “tackle the car”. It worked, I rolled up on the hood, the car screeched to halt, I rolled onto the pavement, and walked away with a bruise.

          And by the way, great story about standing up to your abusive father. I have always found standing up to bullies is a far more successful tactic than ignoring them. Good for you!

          This is why I am in such utter contempt of Pelosi and Reid and the rest of the appeasement Democrats. If they stood up for once, BushCo would have to start playing nicely. It will be ugly at first, but better for everyone in the long run.

          I have argued for awhile that Pelosi in particular has been complicit in Bush’s crimes as a result of her Gang of 8 membership (hadn’t realized her Gang of Four preceded it). It appears now that this speculation is correct. Any examination of Bush’s wrongdoing would likely shine a bright light on her own. Sometimes, I hate being right.

    • Neil says:

      lhp knows how to make an argument on terms agreeable to the jury!

      Good rugby advice here. If someone is going to tackle you, you RUN INTO THE TACKLE, as fast as you can b/c the person who is going faster when the tackle collides doesn’t get feel any pain. The slower moving person gets the wind knowed out of them, the person who, knowing they cannot avoid beng tackled, embraces the conflict and sprints into it, wins the tackle!!!!

      Squarely, head-on can work when you’re the same size or bigger, or your intention is to deliver a serious blow to change their ‘attitude’ about the contest. Frequently, when your confronting a larger opponent, you’d like to make them miss altogether with a feint or at least initiate contact at a point of contact where you are your most stable and separate so you can quickly recover your speed.

  17. selise says:

    lhp – i suspect it’s more complicated than that. if jane mayer’s reporting is correct, then the whole extraordinary rendition program started with clinton (except that he outsourced torture and executions to the egyptians). if so, then the dems in congress aren’t just protecting themselves – they are protecting the last dem president (and the front runner’s husband)…

    • looseheadprop says:

      There is a WORLD of difference legally(though not to the person being tortured) between rendition t ocountry that has peding charges against the prisoner (especailly if we extradition treaties with the=at country) and doing the torture ourselves.

      I am familiar (in the loosest sense of that word–never worked on anything, only heard leagl arguments discussed over beers) with some of the legaliteis invovled with the Clinton renditions. Of the ones I heard deabted (no names jsut facts presented in hypothetical) sometimes US or a a US ally would locate a suspect. That suspect would already have charges pending somewhere else (usueally home country–often Egypt) the issue was

      “US does nto have sufficient proable casue to hold this suspect, we do believe that he is abad guy though, other country does have sufficient legal basis to hold suspect, if we let him slip through our fingers we may never find him again–or not find him before he carries out some plot.

      So, is it OK to render him to the country which can hold him under their own laws.

      Now I know, there are rules about extradicitng to countries who do not observe our own civil rights–

      I also know that there are supposed to be rules that allow the perso in custody to challange his intial detention–what if it’s a case of mistaken identity?

      But whenthe person was never in US custody to begin with, it’s just some other country repsonding to our Interpol Alert for a person of interest or witness, and all we are doing is giving advice that they don’t have to follow, it gets alot murkier legally.

      Morally, it’s easy. It’s wrong. Legally, it’s messy and not so clear cut.

      Remeber Jack Nicholson’s character in a that movie with Tom Cruise as the JAG officer? The one based on Inglesias?

      “The truth? You can’t handle the truth!” Too many gouys tink they are doing something noble by rackingup mortal sins in the name of protecting the country. I don’t know if I agree with that.

      • selise says:

        that’s not the way it was described in jane mayer’s new yorker article. i’ve posted a relevant bit in emptywheel before, but i hope marcy will forgive me for doing it again since it is so relevant to this discussion:

        Scheuer sought the counsel of Mary Jo White, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, who, along with a small group of F.B.I. agents, was pursuing the 1993 World Trade Center bombing case. In 1998, White’s team obtained an indictment against bin Laden, authorizing U.S. agents to bring him and his associates to the United States to stand trial. From the start, though, the C.I.A. was wary of granting terrorism suspects the due process afforded by American law. The agency did not want to divulge secrets about its intelligence sources and methods, and American courts demand transparency. Even establishing the chain of custody of key evidence—such as a laptop computer—could easily pose a significant problem: foreign governments might refuse to testify in U.S. courts about how they had obtained the evidence, for fear of having their secret coöperation exposed. (Foreign governments often worried about retaliation from their own Muslim populations.) The C.I.A. also felt that other agencies sometimes stood in its way. In 1996, for example, the State Department stymied a joint effort by the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. to question one of bin Laden’s cousins in America, because he had a diplomatic passport, which protects the holder from U.S. law enforcement. Describing the C.I.A.’s frustration, Scheuer said, “We were turning into voyeurs. We knew where these people were, but we couldn’t capture them because we had nowhere to take them.” The agency realized that “we had to come up with a third party.”

        The obvious choice, Scheuer said, was Egypt. The largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid after Israel, Egypt was a key strategic ally, and its secret police force, the Mukhabarat, had a reputation for brutality. Egypt had been frequently cited by the State Department for torture of prisoners. According to a 2002 report, detainees were “stripped and blindfolded; suspended from a ceiling or doorframe with feet just touching the floor; beaten with fists, whips, metal rods, or other objects; subjected to electrical shocks; and doused with cold water [and] sexually assaulted.” Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s leader, who came to office in 1981, after President Anwar Sadat was assassinated by Islamist extremists, was determined to crack down on terrorism. His prime political enemies were radical Islamists, hundreds of whom had fled the country and joined Al Qaeda. Among these was Ayman al-Zawahiri, a physician from Cairo, who went to Afghanistan and eventually became bin Laden’s deputy.

        In 1995, Scheuer said, American agents proposed the rendition program to Egypt, making clear that it had the resources to track, capture, and transport terrorist suspects globally—including access to a small fleet of aircraft. Egypt embraced the idea. “What was clever was that some of the senior people in Al Qaeda were Egyptian,” Scheuer said. “It served American purposes to get these people arrested, and Egyptian purposes to get these people back, where they could be interrogated.” Technically, U.S. law requires the C.I.A. to seek “assurances” from foreign governments that rendered suspects won’t be tortured. Scheuer told me that this was done, but he was “not sure” if any documents confirming the arrangement were signed.

        A series of spectacular covert operations followed from this secret pact. On September 13, 1995, U.S. agents helped kidnap Talaat Fouad Qassem, one of Egypt’s most wanted terrorists, in Croatia. Qassem had fled to Europe after being linked by Egypt to the assassination of Sadat; he had been sentenced to death in absentia. Croatian police seized Qassem in Zagreb and handed him over to U.S. agents, who interrogated him aboard a ship cruising the Adriatic Sea and then took him back to Egypt. Once there, Qassem disappeared. There is no record that he was put on trial. Hossam el-Hamalawy, an Egyptian journalist who covers human-rights issues, said, “We believe he was executed.”

        A more elaborate operation was staged in Tirana, Albania, in the summer of 1998. According to the Wall Street Journal, the C.I.A. provided the Albanian intelligence service with equipment to wiretap the phones of suspected Muslim militants. Tapes of the conversations were translated into English, and U.S. agents discovered that they contained lengthy discussions with Zawahiri, bin Laden’s deputy. The U.S. pressured Egypt for assistance; in June, Egypt issued an arrest warrant for Shawki Salama Attiya, one of the militants. Over the next few months, according to the Journal, Albanian security forces, working with U.S. agents, killed one suspect and captured Attiya and four others. These men were bound, blindfolded, and taken to an abandoned airbase, then flown by jet to Cairo for interrogation. Attiya later alleged that he suffered electrical shocks to his genitals, was hung from his limbs, and was kept in a cell in filthy water up to his knees. Two other suspects, who had been sentenced to death in absentia, were hanged.

        On August 5, 1998, an Arab-language newspaper in London published a letter from the International Islamic Front for Jihad, in which it threatened retaliation against the U.S. for the Albanian operation—in a “language they will understand.” Two days later, the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were blown up, killing two hundred and twenty-four people.

        i strongly recommend reading the whole thing.

        • looseheadprop says:

          I don’t suggest that I have knowledge of every rendition, in fact I don’t have knowledge of any reditions, or the circumtances thereof.

          I do know that I have heard and participated in discussions about the legalities of rendition and the times when it would fall on one side or the other of some line in the sand in American LAw. I fact I’m going to do that again tomorrow on the somewhat realted subject of mlitary commsions.

          Idon’t know how acurate that New Yorker article is. I do know that when people who are in a position to act, either as a prosecutor or a judge, come to the legal community and through a Hypothetical out there and ask us for our opinion of how it might work or not work and when that legal community spens months researching and deabting, it ain’t just for fun.

          Also, the debates over various detetnion policies have not travelled in a straight line, it has been –not saw toothed even– meandering. I assume this relfects differenet situations on the ground or new ad hoc propsals but hove no way of verifying that.

          I don’t valim to know what was actually done. I calim to have some loose knowledge of what was disussed about ways to accomplish varios goals while still remaining within the law.

          Very different than a reporter’s snapshot

          • selise says:

            Very different than a reporter’s snapshot

            yes.

            but also jane mayer is not jsut any reporter, and the new yorker has the reputation of out standing fact checking. but even then it won’t be the whole picture – and so i may be drawing incorrect conclusions.

            but, let’s for the moment take what mayer reports as true. does it seem to you obvious that no laws were broken?

            • looseheadprop says:

              I agree with you. but the dynamics of power and control remain essentially the same. Which I think was the point of Wavpeac’s comment. He/she describes several scenarios (not just dom violence) where the power and control dynamic produces a predictable result.

              Which brings me back to TRex’s “pivot and attack” or my “run into the tackle”

              Or Janis Joplin’s “freedom is just another word for nuthin left to loose”

              It’s the reason I told the story about my father. If I was willing to off myself, I had nothing left to loose. It gave me the freedom to stand up to him. It gave me the calmness to pivot and attack, to sprint into the “tackle” of my father’s rage.

              It’s just a calm, grim determination, that we’re not going to let them make their own realit anymore. Like placing limits on an out of control child. No matter how much the child escalates the tantrum, you have to remain calm and firm. It’s really hard to do, but it can be accomplished.

              You can jsut never let your guard down, you can never give an inch with these power an control types. You can never say to yourself “oh for the sake of peace and quiet, i’ll let it slide just this one tiem, B/C then theh chedderhead thinks he’s “won.”

              • bmaz says:

                Absolutely a perfect and brilliant quote here; but the words and song were written by Kris Kristofferson, notwithstanding having been popularized by Janis.

            • looseheadprop says:

              but, let’s for the moment take what mayer reports as true. does it seem to you obvious that no laws were broken?

              Not at all. What I’m saying is that the gov’t is not a monolith. That, there are factions within gov’t. Some people trying to build arguments and methods for accomplishing security goals without violating the law. SOme people, think they are that Jack Nicholson Character and that they are somehow doing the wrong thing for the right reasons, a/k/a the ends justify the means.

              Some, I think, are just sociopaths who came into power– I won’t name anmes cause we all know who I’m thinking of.

              My point is, not all reditions should be assumed to be on identical legal footing. Not all people in gov’t actually knew what was happening in time to have apositive effect. And that it’s dangerous to lump too many things in one basket and get a “let’s throw all the bastards out” mentailty.

              This is all musch more comlicated and nuanced

              and yes, I thik does require the INDIVIDUAL FACTFINDING of Nuremburg style trials. Or at the very least, a serious in depth investigation. South African Truth and Reconciliation Commision style.

              It all needs ot come out, so there can be a “lessons learned” phase

    • Rayne says:

      You’ve just hit on why “they” won’t mind if HRC wins; “they” may perceive the ability to keep a lid on their secrets if her spouse’s administration could be implicated in renditions.

      [sigh]

      This is going to take an entire generation to clean out and clean up.

  18. emptywheel says:

    Folks, as to sourcing, first of all remember that this is Dan Eggen and Joby Warrick, two journalists who have been consistently good over a long period of time (In fact, Warrick is one of the first people to question the spin coming out about WMD). If they asserted that someone was “familiar with Pelosi’s position on the matter,” who knew what she recalled, then it is very difficult that person is anyone but a close aide to Pelosi, speaking on her behalf. To take such information from, say, Goss, and claim it was an accurate reflection of Pelosi would be something worthy of Judy Miller, not Eggen and Warrick.

    I accept that several of the sources for this story are CIA insiders (and note–they’re described as current insiders, so not Goss; my guess is they are people closely tied to Steven Kappes and that he has been behind many of the CIA leaks or threatened leaks of recent days, including the threat to leak the NIE). That said, if they genuinely briefed Congress on these issues, I don’t fault them for telling the press.

  19. looseheadprop says:

    From the WaPo article:

    Congressional officials say the groups’ ability to challenge the practices was hampered by strict rules of secrecy that prohibited them from being able to take notes or consult legal experts or members of their own staffs. And while various officials have described the briefings as detailed and graphic, it is unclear precisely what members were told about waterboarding and how it is conducted. Several officials familiar with the briefings also recalled that the meetings were marked by an atmosphere of deep concern about the possibility of an imminent terrorist attack.

    “In fairness, the environment was different then because we were closer to Sept. 11 and people were still in a panic,” said one U.S. official present during the early briefings. “But there was no objecting, no hand-wringing. The attitude was, ‘We don’t care what you do to those guys as long as you get the information you need to protect the American people.’ ”

    That’s how seemingly sane peopel ended up doing, or aqueiscing to, insane things

  20. wavpeac says:

    I don’t think this discussion is completely valid without an understanding of “power and control”. In my humble opinion these were the dynamics that made Germany and the good German people vulnerable to the likes of Hitler.

    It is my opinion that this dynamic used best by authoritarian personality types, is part of what made our country, and congress folks vulnerable. I do not see them as “victims”, but I see our ignorance about the dynamics as part of the problem. We should be rejecting any leader using these dynamics as part of their leadership style.

    Ronald Reagan was one of the first leaders in my time that actively pursued and successfully relied on this style. I did a paper analysing his use of power and control in his public speeches. I remember how contentious and critical (without fact) he was toward Jimmy Carter. And what followed in people’s perceptions of Carter haunts us today. We saw Carter as weak, and we didn’t want to be called “weak” so we didn’t defend him. He made mistakes, but ‘weak’ is a judgment, it’s not a factual term. Even today, when you say his name people laugh. Despite the facts of who he is and what he accomplished. He did not rely on power and control. But Reagan did, and it remains powerful in our perceptions of Jimmy Carter today.

    The use of power and control is to actively invite false hyperbole in an effort to “take someone down”. When it is used on a national level, people “buy in” to the ideas of those using it, because we don’t want to be perceived as “down” with the person who has been victim of the technique. It becomes dangerous to defend and to stand up to this type of control. If you defend you become percieved as part of the problem being asserted by those using it. We saw the authoritarians successfully use this with Kerry. And he became the very thing they called him. He had his part in it, because the only way to fight it, is with integrity and truth. But this technique does not mean you “win”. It is costly to fight back. It may mean you lose the short term battle.

    Sometimes, fighting power and control means we must be willing to lose for the sake of truth. That means that standing up to power and control does and will “cost” us. None of us want to be the one or ones that they shake down. We are seeing this in our current campaigns. Those running do not want to suffer the “cost” (the dressing down that will surely occur) if they stand up. None of them are taking the path of integrity. (some are trying but not nearly enough and it will get worse after we have a prime target) We see it. But we don’t understand that we participate in it by calling names, using put downs that are exaggerated. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the dems or the republicans, it’s the dynamic that makes it so hard to confront. The best way to fight power and control is with the truth, but the truth is what those using it will punish most severly.

    It is the same dynamic for women suffering (and men) in domestic violence. It’s not just money, it’s not just pure power and fear, it is the fear of the consequences, the short term consequences, the vicious attack that will surely come when you confront those using the style. The woman living in domestic violence is most vulnerable to being killed within the first 3 months of leaving a violent man. When they are confronted, they will attack, viciously. This is not just a fear, it is a reality. They make sure of it, their power depends on it. Standing up is the only solution but it is most certainly risky to do so.

    Eventually, where there is power and control, there will be violence. The more power and control, the more quickly the violence comes. Once everyone falls in line and toes the line, the power and control, decreases. Then it is used only intermittantly (the same reinforcement schedule used for gambling). It is dealt when their is disobedience. But the end product is violence. The military trains it’s soldiers using power and control because the end result is compliance. It works with the manliest of men. It works for every human being. Because humans are pack animals who need each other to survive, we are vulnerable to this technique.

    It is my humble opinion that the passivity of the congress was not because they were “bad” or “stupid”. It is more valid to understand that when power and control is in play, people are challenged and may act outside of their own integrity, they may try to get around the power and control in ways that are just as wicked as the ones being employed by the power-lusty, and they may become passive and compliant hoping that this compliance will somehow save them from losing all their power.

    Where you all may see “incompetence” I see “active passivity”. I have sat beside many a smart, well educated, woman as she comes to grips with her “incompetence” in handling the power and control in her home. Lot’s of people join the fray and say “what the hell is wrong with her to allow that behavior, why doesn’t she leave”? We as a society perceive her as somehow weak or defective, (Carter, Kerry) but in doing so we buy the power and control, we perpetuate it. We participate in denial about it. We cannot change what we don’t accept. WE cannot just blame those using it, we must also accept responsibility for our part in perpetuating it.

    Let’s hold Nancy accountable with facts. (as E.W is particularly adept at) and avoid any perpetuation of power and control. Then let’s look for those who have been willing to suffer the “cost” by telling the truth. I have empathy for those who weren’t successful, but I don’t have any delusions about how hard it is to stand up to those using power and control. Smart, intelligent people have fallen prey to this technique because of our group denial and our lack of effective coping for it’s use. We as a nation “buy it”. We “like it”. We “accept” it.

    I apologize for getting on my soap box here, but there will never be peace until we understand these dynamics and how they flow through society from the top to the bottom and from bottom to top of society.

    • looseheadprop says:

      Where you all may see “incompetence” I see “active passivity”. I have sat beside many a smart, well educated, woman as she comes to grips with her “incompetence” in handling the power and control in her home. Lot’s of people join the fray and say “what the hell is wrong with her to allow that behavior, why doesn’t she leave”? We as a society perceive her as somehow weak or defective, (Carter, Kerry) but in doing so we buy the power and control, we perpetuate it. We participate in denial about it. We cannot change what we don’t accept. WE cannot just blame those using it, we must also accept responsibility for our part in perpetuating it.

      Thank you for that entire comment. That is what I have been, unseuccesfully, trying to say for ove a year. Thank god you have the skills I lack.

      My run into the tackladvice remains the same. My father was a perpetrator of domestic violence. Eventually things got so bad, I was suicidal. So I hatched in my onw mind a plan that would put me out of my misery and save my mother and younger isters. I was going to talk back, yell back, curse him out and vent at him unitl he killed me.

      Then he would go to prison and they would be safe.

      The first time I did it he was incredulous and went into arage brake a kitchen chair over my back and tried to thow me out of a second story window. Byt eh by I hit him back-first time in my life I ever threw a punch.

      The second time I yelled back at him, he threatened to hit hit me, but didn’t actuall touch me. The shouting argumetn lasted almost 4 hours until neither one of us had any voice left. When it got quiet the lady next door was crying cause she assumed I was dead.

      The third time I yelled back at him, the yelling portion lasted less than 15 minutes and then we had an actual convestation. By the By, after the seconf time I yelled back, He stopped hitting my mother and never a laid a hand on any of us again.

      Trex is and always has been right.

      When they attack you unfairly,

      pivot,

      and ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK

      Bullies back down.

      • Neil says:

        Wow lhp. We never know what other people go through. I have so much admiration for what you survived and how you did it. If I needed representation, I would want you. Or a friend, it would be you.

    • masaccio says:

      I think wavpeac makes a lot of sense. It is easy to argue for morality in this sterile setting, but concrete situations are much more difficult to handle. All democratic politicians pride themselves on being pragmatic. In the crush of events, bringing one’s moral values to bear can seem dangerous, while violating them can seem to be a pragmatic response to a mortal danger. I do not doubt that briefers were truly convinced they were right, which adds another layer to the pressure.

      The real questions are a) how fast do we recover our senses? and b) what do we do when we return to our normal consciousness? I do not think it helps to eat our own, but I also don’t think Pelosi has responded well so far.

  21. Xenos says:

    Good rugby advice here. If someone is going to tackle you, you RUN INTO THE TACKLE

    That is very easy for a prop to say.

    Agreed, though, that Pelosi has no more than one news cycle to take control of this story. If she can’t, or won’t, she is too compromised to continue as Speaker.

  22. AZ Matt says:

    OT but of interest: LA Times

    U.S. attorney firings open doors for the 9

    A year ago, a Justice Department scandal forced them into new careers. Despite some bitterness, they’ve landed on their feet.

    By Richard B. Schmitt, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
    December 9, 2007

    WASHINGTON — Daniel Bogden had just settled back into his office in Las Vegas early last December after a trip to Washington where he and dozens of other U.S. attorneys attended a conference at the Justice Department on protecting children from crime.

    It had been an upbeat occasion. The department’s No. 2 official gave a rousing speech during a closed-door session in which he praised members of the group as among the finest and most able U.S. attorneys in the department’s storied history.

    Three days later, on Dec. 7, Bogden and six other of those attorneys received phone calls from a top Justice official in Washington. They were told they were being fired.

    “I thought it was some kind of bad joke,” said Bogden, who had been the top federal law enforcement official in Nevada for five years. “I was waiting for the punch line that never came.”

    The politically charged firings of one year ago spawned a scandal that helped lead to the resignation of an attorney general and cast a pall over the Justice Department. The prosecutors — nine altogether, including two fired earlier in the year — were thrust into new lives and careers under circumstances they could never have imagined.

    Called to account for the firings, the department brass branded them insubordinates or underachievers, even though they had scored well in department performance reviews.

    The attorneys’ own testimony — and ties to voting-rights and corruption cases that some influential Republicans found objectionable — suggested the possibility of other, more political motives. But speaking out was perceived as disloyal in some quarters.

    A year later, most have landed on their feet, in law partnerships or private-sector jobs where their compensation dwarfs government pay. Some carry scars from the experience. Six of the attorneys marked the anniversary of their firings at a private dinner in San Diego 10 days ago, where they toasted one another for persevering.

  23. CasualObserver says:

    The Surge of 2006 put more Democratic boots on the ground in Congress. Almost immediately, the Democratic party was able to achieve ownership of the Iraq Occupation by funding it, without conditions of any sort.

    Now we learn that they had also taken possession of torture even before the Surge.

    There are no excuses.

    “More and Better Democrats”. Yeah. Right.

  24. nolo says:

    i agree fully with lhp @35, et seq. . .

    i think this may be too much
    about what is not absolutely critical.

    should she be ciritcized? yes.

    is she cheney (or yoo, or addington)?

    not a chance.

    i’ll have more, at mine, shortly,
    but note this (emphasis mine):

    “. . .Individual lawmakers’ recollections of the early briefings varied dramatically, but officials present during the meetings described the reaction as mostly quiet acquiescence, if not outright support. “Among those being briefed, there was a pretty full understanding of what the CIA was doing,” said Goss, who chaired the House intelligence committee from 1997 to 2004 and then served as CIA director from 2004 to 2006. “And the reaction in the room was not just approval, but encouragement.” . . .”

    goss — he has NO agenda here, right?

    right. . .

    p e a c e

  25. snowbird42 says:

    Who are the good guys now and what will they do? Are there any true patriots left?
    LHP I have been beaten by a man (long ago) I really appreciate your story.

    • looseheadprop says:

      Who are the good guys now and what will they do? Are there any true patriots left?

      I think there are many “good guys” and “true patriots” left. You just have to realize that they are human beings, not every decision they have ever made in their entire lives is the right one, and that even if they got it completely wrong in the beginning, if they came to understand the error of their ways and tried to fix what they broke and do the right thing thereafter, that’s all we can ask of falwed humans.

      Not only that, but if they got tricked, and thereafter took a “fool me once shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” attitiude–that’s a good thing!

  26. selise says:

    lhp – just wanted to let you know that the first punch i ever threw was when i was 16 and my dad was also the recepient (although, it was not as dangerous as your situation, i didn’t think he would go so far as to kill me). that, btw, is the reason i was persuaded to volunteer with a local shelter while i was in grad school (i shared my very small home with victims and their children for 30 days at a time).

    but… i’ve also been involved in an incident of workplace unethical behavior that came from the boss and where others were pressured to look away or worse, participate (well, more than one – but one particularly bears on this discussion)…. and i don’t think that the situation of domestic violence is at all the same as the work place situation (although having experienced one may influence our responses to the other).

    that is why i recommend so highly zimbardo and milgram – i think their work is much more on target for understanding the dynamics of this than domestic violence.

  27. selise says:

    This article is, I think, an attempt to tell the Democratic leadership that if they try that, they will themselves be implicated.

    exactly my take as well.

  28. jayackroyd says:

    and now, picking up on the very insightful stuff that I hadn’t read yet, the response needs to be to run into the tackle.

    Okay, we may have been complicit. But we were wrong. So let the chips fall.

    Anything else will let this fester.

    • selise says:

      Okay, we may have been complicit. But we were wrong. So let the chips fall.

      that is what i what i want to hear.

      but most of us are not joe darbys

  29. ericbuilds says:

    Is it a death sentence to place congress people in places of intellegence oversight who will actually exercise oversight? Thinking of Feingold & Holt.

    • phred says:

      Ok, I’ve only skimmed the comments, so I may misinterpret what you’re driving at here, but I think the fundamental flaw that needs to be corrected is the one related to Harman. Apparently she did object, but the secrecy involved prevented her from revealing what she knew in any meaningful way. This is the same problem revealed by Rockefeller’s letter to Cheney, where Rockefeller put a copy in his safe. Evidently there was nowhere else to go. Until we create a formal mechanism for those read in to a secret program to go to be able to go to a court to report potential criminal conduct, Feingold and Holt will find themselves in exactly the same boat as Harman. Until we fix the underlying structural flaws in the system, switching players will not help.

        • phred says:

          I would make the access to the FISA court broader than just members of the Intel committees. Whistleblowers tend to be mid-level career civil servants with the most to lose if they come forward. They should also be able to refer suspicious conduct to the court for review.

          • bmaz says:

            Phred & EW – Regarding legislation on FISA Court access; a fine suggestion to codify this remedy and thus insure that Congress and others are aware of an avenue for grievance redress. However, contrary to somewhat popular belief, I don’t believe there was anything stopping a bright and determined person from accessing the FISC to start with; and this has been one of my beefs since we started the “Jello Jay” and his semi-useless “memo to self” he wrote about classified eavesdropping analysis many months ago. In the first place, you can file a pleading there with the court laying out your concerns. Might there be a potential standing or jurisdictional issue of some sort? Sure, so what; you still have made a record, gotten the attention of the court and made the government respond, and all without particularly substantively violating classification, security and secrecy concerns. Gee, that was hard eh? I guess no could have imagined…..

            The Iron Man’s shoulder is just fine; don’t worry about the Man With A Golden Arm. (Pop culture? We got yer pop culture right here). Hey, how many of them first draft pick receivers do your boys have left anyway? Seems like a boatload were taken by the Lions; whose Kitna throwing to anyway?

            GO PACK!!

            • phred says:

              bmaz — way back when, I may have misunderstood you and cboldt and Mary, but I thought this was the crux of Jello Jay’s dilemma. If we set aside for the moment, that Jello Jay appears to have no significant moral compunction about violating the Constitution (as now appears blindingly obvious), I thought the nature of being read in to the classified information restricted his ability to share it. I thought we figured a clever and determined fellow (which Jello Jay is not) would have found a way to approach the FISC court, but that there was not a straightforward manner to do so. Am I remembering this incorrectly? I thought FISC was set up to address topics related to surveillance exclusively, such that it cannot be used for broader issues that have been deemed secret. Am I mistaken about that? Because if it does have broader authority, then it does raise the question why that avenue hasn’t been used by members of Congress and whistleblowers alike.

              • bmaz says:

                No, you understood the discussion just about right it appears. But, there is a difference between a filing or other contact that results in a case in controversy being litigated to conclusion on the merits with a decision rendered and one that, although dismissed, denied, or whatever, nevertheless establishes a record and paper trail in addition to placing the FISC on judicial notice of what is illegally going on in the government. I also believe Jello Jay or Harmon could have privately gone and chatted up Lamberth or Kollar-Kotelly. There was a lot more he could have done than just scribble out some musings on his notepad and lock it up next to his coin collection and baseball cards in his safety deposit box.

  30. scribe says:

    The comment thread is particularly enlightening and, looseheadprop, thank you for sharing what was doubtless a very painful-for-you and enlightening-for-us experience. But, all the erudition about the “Shock Doctrine” and how the Admin used it to get sane people to agree to insane things needs some distillation.

    I, for one, have long held to the following aphorism:

    “If it needs a hard sell, it’s not worth buying.”

    To that, I add the corollary: “The harder the sell required, the less worthwhile it is.”

    Looking at the Shock Doctrine, could anyone please identify for me how selling criminal ideas through it – “you gotta let us torture else cities will die”, and such – is analytically any different from some guy trying to sell you a used car or insurance*.

    It isn’t. And, the simplest way of dealing with a guy making a hard sell is: “no.” and walk away.

    The wonder of it all is that these people in high offices have either forgotten or never learned this. I guess getting the sh*t sucked out of your a*s by sycophants tends to weaken the mind over time, but really, folks.

    *NB: one of my all time favorite (for a laugh) buttons read (no asterisks): “F*ck me or I’ll sell you insurance”

  31. radiofreewill says:

    katie at 33 – That was beautiful!

    lhp – That’s really THE question of the last seven years: Are We going to continue to ‘take’ a long train of abuse, when it’s obvious where it’s going if We don’t do anything. Or, are We going to find the strength, like you did, to Challenge Absolute Power and take away the Bully’s Control over US?

    When are we going to Stand-Up against the Beat-Down, and get Some Leaders with Honor and Courage, and Human Dignity – re-connected to the Vision of Freedom from Tyranny shared by Our Founders?

    • looseheadprop says:

      When are we going to Stand-Up against the Beat-Down, and get Some Leaders with Honor and Courage, and Human Dignity – re-connected to the Vision of Freedom from Tyranny shared by Our Founders?

      Why do you think you , me , and everybody else here spends so many of the precious limited hours of our fintie lives blogging and researching and getting the word out?

      We’re doin’ it honey. PatFitz gave aspeech a couple months ago, that I don’t have time to track down, but he essentially said that the American people should demand good government. I think this is quote, I’m working from meoery here, so if I get wrong, Pat can be mad at me:

      “Good government is not a dream. We were entitled to yesterday, We are entitiledto it today. We have a right to expect it tomorrow” He aslo said belief in goood governmentr “is not naive”

      I gotto go do some X-mas stuff with little prop but if ayone finds the speech (I heard it on audio, posted by some Chicago paper or radio station) it was really very very good,

      Please post it here (or anywhere else)

  32. snowbird42 says:

    None of this would have come out and been dissected and mulled over if it hadnt been for the bloggers(us!)
    They could never have planned for this form of discussion and in their evil plans could not have known.

  33. wavpeac says:

    We have to accept that peace comes with a cost. It costs us vengeance and it intially costs us pain. We must be willing to suffer the consequence of fighting it which is surely painful. The fight does not require that we use it, but that we refuse to be moved by it.

    This is why the peaceniks of society incur the rath of those using power and control. Those who refuse to be controlled by fear, who are willing to die in their pursuit of truth, are the most threatening to those who use power and control. They refuse to comply, they refuse to pay with their integrity by joining in it’s use, they are willing to die role modeling peace and speaking truth. This is why we still talk about Jesus Christ. (We don’t need stories of walking on water as much as we need the truth about his life as a man). That is why Martin Luther King was destined for death. He was too powerful in his approach. The world saw it, knew it. Peace is powerful because it threatens fear which is the fuel for power and control, the end result of which is compliance.

    LHP thank you for sharing your story. I have a similar story in my life. Today we cannot afford to flea the country so we must stand up to the power and control. We must recognize that our most beloved heros were people who were willing to seek truth and suffer the consequences of power and control. And these people continue to be the most threatening to power and control as a way of gaining compliance and power. Therefore they are attacked, maligned, and persecuted.

  34. OldCoastie says:

    wasn’t it Harman who said on one of the morning shows, “this is so much worse than you’ll ever know”?

  35. BayStateLibrul says:

    I’m with Looseheadprop…

    If Pelosi is guilty she should come clean…
    Reminds me of Return to Paradise (1998 film)

    Shariff:
    I’m here, Lewis, I’m right here. You’re not alone, Lewis. Look at me, Lewis. You’re not alone, Lewis. Look at me. You’re not alone. I’m here. Look at me. See me, Lewis. You’re not alone. I’m right here. I’m right here, Lewis, I’m right here. I see you, Lewis. I’m right here. Lewis, you are not alone right now. I’m right here. You are not alone, Lewis. I see you. I see you, Lewis. I’m right here. You’re not alone. You are not alone, Lewis

  36. skdadl says:

    LHP, I have been very moved by what you have written here about people you know to be good people (and I don’t doubt you), plus IANAL. But am I not right that the jurisprudence that emerged from the Nuremberg and other processes at the end of WWII (much of the most inspiring work done by U.S. lawyers and judges), which influenced a number of international conventions and treaties afterwards, are part of U.S. law, and some of the basic principles should always be in the back of the minds of good lawyers so that they can react on the spot?

    You make a distinction above about the relative ease of moral judgements and the complications of legal ones, but when we’re on this turf, which does take us back to Nuremberg, shouldn’t alarm bells be going off right away, not later on, to be followed by regrets?

    I am sort of sorry to write this. I appreciate your guidance so often and so much.

  37. selise says:

    you can never give an inch with these power an control types. You can never say to yourself “oh for the sake of peace and quiet, i’ll let it slide just this one tiem, B/C then theh chedderhead thinks he’s “won.”

    amen.

    i only thought my dad would put me in the hospital – but i was so mad i didn’t care…. and just the opposite happened – he never hit me again.

    you’re right about bullies.

  38. jayackroyd says:

    No (although I don’t know the Joe Darby reference) [email protected], and I don’t think Pelosi has that kind of mettle either. She’s a legislator.

    Worse, I think you may find that if a secret ballot were conducted in the Congress, that they would vote to continue using torture.

    It’s because of the pressure of times like the period right after 9/11, or the coming to power of people like these men, that we have a bill of rights, that there is are Geneva Conventions, that there are strictures in place to let the people who would stand up to bullies have ground to stand on. That’s how Comey was able to cut off AbuG in that hospital room (it’s important to remember that bullies also rely on craven lickspittles for their back alley work. That’s my nickname for the republicans on Capitol Hill these days–the Craven Lickspittles. We spend so much time focusing on our own that we forget there was a time when someone on that side would have stood up.)

    But Comey still had to have the will to do it.

    • selise says:

      joe darby:

      In January 2004, Darby provided a compact disc of photographs and an anonymous note to Special Agent Tyler Pieron of the US Army Criminal Investigation Command, who was stationed at Abu Ghraib Prison, triggering an investigation which led to the implication of several soldiers violating the Geneva Convention. Darby initially wanted to remain anonymous — he and those implicated all served in the 372nd Military Police Company, but became known after Donald Rumsfeld publicly named him during a Senate hearing.[2] Darby had agonized for a month beforehand, but finally decided to blow the whistle on his former friends explaining “It violated everything I personally believed in and all I’d been taught about the rules of war.” He had known Lynndie England, one of the most well-known suspects, since basic training. He testified that he had received the photos from Charles Graner, another soldier in the photographs.
      [edit]Reactions

      The disclosure was not received well by the community from which Darby and his wife, Bernadette, were living in Maryland.[3] They have been shunned by friends and neighbors, their property has been vandalized, and they now reside in protective military custody at an undisclosed location.

  39. wavpeac says:

    Selise,

    I am a student of milgram and zimbardo. That is why I said what I did. This is an inherent part of being human and explains exactly the dynamic. But the dynamic is about power and control. Those test folks in milgrams studies were seeking control. They were protecting themselves by participating in it. This is how they felt they might “control” their circumstances. They control their circumstance by demonstrating compliance. We all do it. We are all participating in the problem. That’s my point. Those studies validate exactly what I am saying. (IMHO)

      • TheraP says:

        You’re right. The studies can’t really be lumped together. But still a similar type of thing is operating. Because even in the “pretend prison” remember that they had an experimenter over them…. and they were asked to play a role…. didn’t choose the role… but the threat of rebellion by the “prisoners” led them to become very repressive. In the end, the experimenter had allowed this to get out of control.

        • selise says:

          In the end, the experimenter had allowed this to get out of control.

          zimbardo (the person running the experiment) admits that he was caught up in the same dynamic.

            • TheraP says:

              Which goes to show the power of a “leader.” How any pathology trickles down. And, sorry to say it, he is a strange guy.

              Who would do such research?

              There’s interesting stuff about psychopathology and how the pathology permeates an organization. Same pathological defenses. In this case lying, projection…. the list goes on!

              • selise says:

                Which goes to show the power of a “leader.” How any pathology trickles down. And, sorry to say it, he is a strange guy.

                Who would do such research?

                have you read his book? it’s not about trickling down – it’s about how we interact with each other and the situations we find our selves in.

                • TheraP says:

                  Right… in the case of that research, he was not the “leader” for his pathology to “trickle down,” but he set up the situation, laid the brackets around it, you might say. And, if you forgive me for saying so, he may not have totally scrutinized himself in terms of his own responsibility. I have not read his book. I have been in the same room with him… at a workshop he gave. I still say he’s a strange guy. Believes in himself to an an extreme degree.

                  It’s like if parents abdicate controlling their kids. You get a lot of sibling abuse. I’ve the results.

                  He let the experiment go on too long. Didn’t exercise the control he could have, once things started going wrong. And, as I say, he set up the parameters.

                  Having said that, yes, we all are capable of evil. All of us. Given certain circumstances, we might find ourselves betraying our deepest values. So I do agree with that.

                  And because we are all capable of evil, I think we need that T & R process. We have to face what we’ve become. And it’s not pretty…. even if we have repudiated the process, yet it’s happening on or watch, so to speak.

                  I think that’s why it’s so important either to restore the Constitution or fix it. Because we need frameworks which do not allow some to prey upon others… at the highest levels of govt.

                  Again… just my thinking here.

        • Fern says:

          Yes, in this case what the experimenter did is more interesting and maybe more important than what the subjects did.

    • cinnamonape says:

      But there were some, a small percentage, admittedly…that resisted following the authority figures. Sadly Milgram and Zimbardo looked only at the normative behavior in this…and not why there were a handful of those that resisted. I think that Phil Zimbardo himself has realized that he missed an opportunity there. I’m wondering if he has any raw data on the “non-conformers” that he could dig out.

      The experimenters in both cases took a variety of measures to “ensure compliance”. The participants were isolated, the authority figure “bird-dogged” them, the were given promises that they were absolved of personal responsibility. There were no statements regarding ethical behavior by the participants. There was no way to “report” or gain advice about the activity from an outside source. In the Stanford Prison Experiment the actors were pledge to secrecy.

      In this case Bush constantly harped how the release of information regarding the methods of interrogation “aided the enemy”… thus making the Congressmen susceptible to charges of treason. That was on top of the extreme pressures by the public after 9/11. Plus the mandatory vow of secrecy.

      And Bush, after 9/11 restricted who could provide information to Congress, and what information was available. The pool of recipients was narrowed to a very small number…who couldn’t even talk about it to their fellow members on the Intelligence Committees. In other words, it wasn’t actionable. It made not a whit of difference what they knew, since they could NOT act to prevent it…even within their own Committees.

      Quite clearly this state of affairs cannot continue.

  40. phred says:

    Over at TNH, Sara recommended Sen. Patrick Moynihan’s book (written in the early 1990s, with an updated 1999 paperback edition) Secrecy: The American Experience. He looked carefully at the failures of the intelligence community in predicting the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. He finds that secrecy within government agencies is a mechanism for wielding power, but that secrecy limits our ability to properly assess intelligence.

    We are clearly seeing the same forces at work here. Secrecy is being used to manipulate individuals as well as policy. We must radically limit information that may be classified and put in place many more safeguards to prevent its abuse.

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      Yes. Maybe our seven year Reign of Power will end. Many lessons.
      Hope: Our national nightmare is about to be exposed…
      Biden is calling for an Independent Prosecutor. We need one…
      How about Comey?

      • WaitinginTexas says:

        Both Rockefeller and Hagel said on Face the Nation this morning that this could be handled within the Intelligence Committee, no Special Counsel needed.

        Wonder what was on that tape that didn’t have to do with waterboarding. Its not just about protecting identities – if it had actually produced worthwhile intelligence, we would have heard about it by now. I bet there is information on that tape that goes beyond waterboarding and torture.

        • BayStateLibrul says:

          The Intelligence Committe can’t investigate itself.
          We need weight… heavy hitters with no axing for grind.

        • phred says:

          Yep. Both Congressional Dems and Rethugs are in dire need of ass covering right now. So, move along, no special prosecutor needed, we’ll take care of this… Uh huh.

        • Fern says:

          Wonder what was on that tape that didn’t have to do with waterboarding. Its not just about protecting identities – if it had actually produced worthwhile intelligence, we would have heard about it by now. I bet there is information on that tape that goes beyond waterboarding and torture.

          Who was it yesterday who said it might have something to do with the nature of what was confessed and who was implicated.

  41. BayStateLibrul says:

    Btw, all Presidential Candidates should cease their campaigns,
    come to the Senate and do their business…

  42. TheraP says:

    #33 and #39 seem to be the salient comments on this thread. And by the way, I think the conversations going on right here have been the most important ones all week!

    I have so many thoughts here but will try to be brief.

    1. Interestingly the idea of running toward danger is something you see in some Buddhist stories and other spiritual traditions. That facing the danger, standing up to the threat with firm resolve, even in the face of what seems to be potential death – actually leads to a personal transformation, even if that does not result initially in success.

    2. I think of Gandhi. Doesn’t “satyagraha” mean “truth?” Standing firm? Willingness to face imprisonment or even death… for a cause? See: http://www.dfong.com/nonviol/basicsat.html I think this is also partly what is being discussed. Not becoming the abuser, not becoming complicit, but standing firm “in the truth.” (no matter what)

    3. For a long time now, months at least, I have been saying over and over, when I get the chance and it’s pertinent: Congress, stand up … even at the price of “political death.” If you forgive me I will quote myself:

    Congress, please stand up! Stand up for the Constitution! Stand up for the Rule of Law. Stand up for habeas corpus and no searches without a warrant. And no torture! Torture us no longer with rubber stamped “lemming laws” and papered-over war crimes. Stand up for your Oath to the Constitution! Forget about re-election and be ready to die a political death rather than comply with a petulant little brat in the White House.

    We the People are in need of brave leaders, who will, for once this century, please do as the people want, not as the special interests say. Stand up for what is right. And the people will stand up for you.

    4. While the word has not been explicitly used here (forgive me if it has), I am sensing “forgiveness” as another theme. Not forgiveness of bushco/cheneydom – but forgiveness to those deemed to have been hoodwinked or coopted into complicity – but who have basically been good and decent public servants, clearly see the error of being herded by fear or intimidation. And I’m not sure how we determine who is worthy of forgiveness. But I’m hearing that. And I think it is a very important thing to remember that we are all human, we all have our errors and mistakes, we all know how hard it is to live up to all our ideals, we’ve stood silent at times when we should have spoken out. So, forgiveness as another tool you could say, to be used judiciously.

    5. Lastly, I think, dictators are ultimately very dependent people. They rely on subservience. When subservience is not there, like bush, they become petulant, full of rage, irrational. And ultimately, as #39 shows us, there’s a meltdown. But for that meltdown to happen, as Gandhi knew, as looseheadprop knows, you must be prepared, if necessary, to die. Not necessarily a physical death. But it could be loss of very important things. Your role. Your title. As my quote above (indicates) the “oath of office” must be viewed as “somthing sacred.” Something which seeks a very, very high ideal, which asks an office holder to be ready to “die a political death” in order to uphold (preserve, protect, defend) the Constitution.

    WE MUST DRIVE THAT HOME!

    • selise says:

      2. i’ve heard “satyagraha” described as “truth force”

      4. i think we make a mistake to attempt to judge between those who are “worthy” and those who are “not worthy” of forgiveness. let’s dispense with the white and black hats and just say that anyone who tells the whole truth and genuinely attempts to make amends gets “forgiven”

      5. absolutely. have you read gene sharp about political power and control?

      • TheraP says:

        4. Yes, we need a truth and reconciliation commission. Yes! I just was hearing the forgiveness part… related to truth telling.

        Part of satyagraha, if you looked at my link, is “cooperation…. telling the truth to one another…. facing all of it.” So that’s what we’re doing here.

        5. have not read gene sharp. book? web?

    • IMbobo says:

      4. While the word has not been explicitly used here (forgive me if it has), I am sensing “forgiveness” as another theme. Not forgiveness of bushco/cheneydom – but forgiveness to those deemed to have been hoodwinked or coopted into complicity – but who have basically been good and decent public servants, clearly see the error of being herded by fear or intimidation. And I’m not sure how we determine who is worthy of forgiveness.

      Well it begins with those who ask for forgiveness, who jump out in front, admit that they’ve done wrong (and acquiescing in a policy of TORTURE is So Totally Wrong). Also, the seeker of forgiveness owes us a clear explanation of what motivated her to do wrong in the first place.

      Madame Speaker needs to feel some heat if she’s not out in front of this by Monday morning.

      • TheraP says:

        That’s why having a truth and reconciliation commission is so powerful! Having to face one’s own shame, publicly. To face one’s victims. To have to say out loud what they did, to say out loud that it was wrong.

        I’ve thought for a few years now that we need this.

        Plus…. we need, in every town and village, and neighborhood, groups meeting to discuss and understand the Constitution.

        • IMbobo says:

          A T&R Commission is more than warranted. But it’s not going to happen here, not unless things get much worse first. I think the best we can hope for are individual acts in the service of truth. The last US President who called for a national look inward was Jimmy Carter. It, um, didn’t work our so well for him.

          • TheraP says:

            And yet, the man has gone on to do much good after leaving office.. and a Nobel Prize.

            I personally think this thread is on the right track. And even if T & R is a long time coming…. still there’s the need to call for that.

            • Fern says:

              I’m not so sure about a T adn R commission. In South Africa, for example, both victims and perpetrators were in the same country – the damage was done within the national boundaries. the goal was to create national reconciliation.

              Much of the damage done by the US has been to non-citizens and outside of the national boundaries. in this situation, what would the goals and procedures for a truth and reconciliation process be?

              I think war crimes prosecution is the better model here.

  43. radiofreewill says:

    There’s also the chance that there is a tape showing a detainee literally getting tortured to death, too.

    If you ‘approved’ – and for Leaders, ’silence’ is Approval by Omission – Bush’s Harsh Interrogations Regimen, and then documented proof of Murder and a probable War Crime shows up – what would you do?

    How would Nancy’s or Jello Jay’s ‘character’ respond to that?

  44. garyg says:

    While this reflects badly on Nancy Pelosi, I don’t see any good reason to praise Jane Harman yet.

    Also, while “two lawmakers asked the CIA to push harder” . . . the source does not name them. The implication is that its Pelosi . . . but that does not necessarily follow. It could just as well be that the two were both Republicans, or one GOP and Jello Jay.

    Fact remains, despite the letter, Harman showed ZERO outward leadership on these issues while in her committee role.

    • emptywheel says:

      garyg

      I agree that the two pushing harder are likely GOPers: Goss and Roberts both seem pretty pro-torture.

      But as to Harman–I’m going to praise her where warranted and continue to complain when she undercuts Dems on surveillance. But I do think it important to note good behavior.

  45. wavpeac says:

    Selise,

    Great point. And that is the essence of my thesis and fits TheraP’s points as well regarding the Buddist or zen philosophy. Avoid avoiding that which is uncomfortable. In it in our pursuit of control and our lack of acceptance about what we cannot control, that we “lose control”. Yes. Exactly.

    Same as with security. The more we pursue a state of absolute security the more we lose our security. By accepting that we are never truly secure we embrace the truth and maintain acceptance and effectiveness which in the end increases but does not guarantee security.

    Great point…by seeking control, we lose it.

    • TheraP says:

      Yes, totally. We need to accept uncertainty, ambiguity. We can’t have black and white. We can’t have total security.

      I am very moved by this discussion here this morning.

      I recall the day of 9/11…. everybody getting angry and wanting revenge. And honestly…. I was thinking, hmmm “they’re trying to tell us something. not a very good way to communicate, to be sure… but we need to figure out what’s going on here…” never got there!

      Some people are open to the message evolving here. It’s a spiritual message really. A transformation. You saw that with Gandhi’s movement, with Martin Luthor King, yes with the early Christians. People “get it.” Then it slips away…

    • selise says:

      by seeking control, we lose it.

      that’s actually not what i was trying to say. not at all.

      will give what you write here some thought… but at the moment i do not agree. ceding control is not seeking control.

  46. Leen says:

    Another bomb if it is true. Here are the questions that pop up in my mind.

    We know the WaPo often as an agenda. So my questions

    1. Has this been verified?
    2. Could the writers of this article and the contributors to this article have an agenda?

    3. Why is Harman being made out to be the good gal here? And has anyone seen this letter that she “allegedly” wrote?

    4. Who were the agency lawyers who “designed and cleared these interrogation techniques? Torture?

    Was former CIA attorney John Rasdan one of these attorneys that cleared these “methods”?
    http://www.buzzle.com/articles…..tapes.html
    “Former CIA attorney John Rasdan told The New York Times, “If anybody at the CIA hid anything important from the Justice Department, he or she should be prosecuted under the false statement statute.”

    John Rasdan was on Cspan the other day talking about Iran in ways that were terrifying. He talked about Iranian people as if they were completely disposable. Creepy.

  47. wavpeac says:

    My point is that asking people to look inward never works very well. It is by far the most threatening thing we do. It requires that we accept our own situation with accountability. It’s much easier to look at someone else and tell them what they are doing that is wrong, than it is to look at ourselves. The scariest leaders, the ones who will produce the most criticism are the ones who live this truth. The true leaders are killed by those who need to kill the message. (or are attacked until they have lost credibility) However, another irony erupts..that is, the martyr lives in infamy. In that sense Jesus lives. In that sense Martin Luther King lives.
    In that sense, Jimmy Carter will one day be vindicated in the history books. Those who die (or lose credibility) by living their truth are remembered and the message lives on. Those who die for the sake of truth are never forgotten. The truth shall set you free. And the lie shall keep you captive.

    • TheraP says:

      Amen! You are correct. Also that pastor in Germany, who was killed by the Nazis. (Dietrich Bonhoeffer) Yes, he did participate in the plot to kill Hitler, but he resisted Hitler’s control of the church in Germany.

      What you wrote is very moving. I’m on the edge of tears here… just hearing what I’ve been thinking for so long… but it goes against the current of our times, our culture.

      That’s why I’m so impressed with what’s going on right here all week.

  48. radiofreewill says:

    It’s been proved for millenia – a combat unit will reflect the moral fiber, or lack thereof, of its Leader.

    If you want to know if an Elementary School is a good one, or not, just interview the Principal – the entire staff to a large degree will be a reflection of her/his approach to teaching, encouragement/punishment, and modelling ’successful’ social behaviors.

    Nancy better get on her horse, drawing her sword and rallying all the support she can – and ride right into this Attack – or, we’d be better off with an Elementary School Principal with the Character of Her Principled Convictions.

    This is where We find out if Nancy has the ‘right stuff’ to Save Our Republic!

  49. Richmond says:

    I haven’t read all the comments yet, but this whole issues was bothering me last night after the Pelosi matter came out in the late evening. My gnawing question is why this came out now and by whom? Could it be that this was put out there by some of the same senior CIA and other folks who have now finally decided to put a hold on the Cheney neo-com bomb Iran venture and the larger “midadventures” of this corrupt administration. By “outing” Pelosi on this, they have revealed perhaps the greatest threat (blackmail) held against her, so that now she is free to allow for impeachment hearings. In short, now that this has happened what has she (and the other Dems) got to lose.

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      I was thinking the opposite. Good thing it came out now. Something like this right before the election could make things really rough.

      Great article, EW, and wonderful comments. Hope Pelosi gets LHP’s advise.

    • emptywheel says:

      There was an article in the NYT (by David JOhnston, which appears to have been rewritten into one with Mark Mazzetti and I can’t find the passage now) that said we waterboarded Abu Zubaydah “led by” contractors.

  50. Leen says:

    “The source said Pelosi recalls that techniques described by the CIA were still in the planning stage — they had been designed and cleared with agency lawyers but not yet put in practice — and acknowledged that Pelosi did not raise objections at the time.”

    So who were the agency lawyers who designed and cleared these so called “techniques”?

    Someone over at No Quarter USA said that Sy Hersh has seen these tapes. Somone also mentioned that they should look in Pres. Bush tape box (funny), that he had a special interest in this interrogation program.

  51. TheraP says:

    Thanks selise… I was in DC in the 60’s…. to some degree I think we all (in college at that point… well, from the position I was in anyway) simply drank in all that nonviolence stuff… I’m no political expert… at all… but it seems to me it was like “mother’s milk” in that day and time. (everybody was thinking and talking about it… in my circle of friends)

    Fern: I’m no expert here. And honestly I see a place for both things. I frankly do agree that the top leaders should be tried in The Hague. But beyond that… to heal… I honestly think there needs to be truth telling. Not hearings like in the day of McCarthy… but hearings so people understand the degree of complicity, the things done in our name. Just my view. Because frankly, I feel I have been personally harmed by bushco. They have done the opposite of what I, as a citizen, wanted. They have dissed me and my preferred policies, to pursue something which I completely abhor. And we’ve lived through it as Germany lived through Nazism. Somehow we have to heal. What good will it do if we simply try the leaders and not really reflect on what has occurred? Again, my view.

    • Fern says:

      But if people testify in front of a T and R commission, does that not mean they are immune from prosecution?

      • TheraP says:

        Well, that’s why I said at first that the question is “who will be forgiven?” It may be that those at the top will not be. But as you go down the line… where do you draw that line?

        It’s a conversation. I don’t have the answer. But truly I think most citizens believe those at the top must be prosecuted. I think maybe it has to do with whether or not people have a conscience. some don’t. Truly. sounds impossible. but it’s true!

        I think bush lacks a conscience. cheney. many of their ilk!

  52. jayackroyd says:

    But the dynamic is about power and control. Those test folks in milgrams studies were seeking control. They were protecting themselves by participating in it.

    It’s interesting to note that the briefings themselves would have had this dynamic–the powerful agents with access to secret stuff who know how to use tough measures briefing the civilian congresscritters.

    In my view, the primary role of keeping this stuff secret is to imbue it with special toughness powers, and that open source intelligence would actually be more effective.

    • selise says:

      In my view, the primary role of keeping this stuff secret is to imbue it with special toughness powers, and that open source intelligence would actually be more effective.

      ellsberg has written something similar, i think it was in his book, “secrets.” i really should try to track it down.

  53. Richmond says:

    It will be VERY interesting how both Pelosi and the DCC decide to spin this thing – and how the Dem candidates handle it.

  54. Richmond says:

    On who and why Pelosi was outed now, there is also the Rovian factor – a move to fracture the Democratic party, candidates, and voters at a time when the Rethugs are in a REAL mess. Rich’s piece on Huckabee today makes it clear that he is the last person that Wall Street wants.

  55. wavpeac says:

    In response to 92, my perpetrators didn’t ask for forgiveness. I gave it for my sake and the sake of my children and my children’s children. It is not about who is worthy…it is about what is the most effective behavior for society. WE can validate the truth about violence or perpetration without validating the technique they used. Today we often create a double message. WE validate the damage by using the same technique as the perpetrator which in essence perpetuates and validates the technique. It invalidates the perpetrator as an individual but validates the method. Like the parent who hits an child to teach them to stop hitting. Or the parent who bites a child to teach them not to bite. They are invalidating the child, but not the behavior.

    Anger is a poison that destroys the vessal.

    Forgiveness is what works for the big picture…vengeance has consequences as does forgiveness, but the long term effects of vengeance perpetuates power and control, while forgiveness may be a painful journey, in the short term, it instead benefits society in the long term. Forgiveness does not condone the behavior, it chooses a path of letting go and moving forward without an attachment to the past. Forgiveness is about truth.

    Many feel they cannot let go of the past without vengeance as a cartharsis, but this cartharsis often refires the emotions, and keeps us in an endless pursuit of “righting the wrong”. It is only through acceptance of what is, that we can truly pursue a more effective change in society. As long as we condone power and control, we perpetuate it’s use.

    LHP’s example was so effective because she called him on the truth. She basically said, you are going to have to kill me to control me. (and luckily for her, he was not willing to kill his own child.) And yes, it is about calmness, it is about doing what works without the emotion of vengeance and anger to cloud the picture. It is much more difficult to come to solutions that work when we are clouded with emotion. Emotion is good for the short term solutions… when we don’t have time to seek knowledge or facts. It is for impulsive short term decisions. Emotions come from the most primitive part of the brain. But when we have the time to engage not only emotion, but rationale, we come to solutions that evolve us as a species…because the cogitive part of the brain is for developing long term solutions.

    • TheraP says:

      I like what you’ve written there.

      Remember, it is possible for individuals to forgive, but still for society to punish.

      Forgiveness must come from the heart. And I commend you for doing so and for your reasons. At the same time, society could have decided to prosecute and imprison someone… even if a victim has forgiven them. That’s one good reason not to have a death penalty actually. On both sides there is the possibility of inner transformation.

      Forgiveness is a way of transforming suffering… for the victim. But the process for the victimizer is a different one… of coming to assume responsibility… and for people without a conscience (sociopaths), that is likely only to happen when incarcerated. Sociopaths, in prison, get depressed. Depression is then the motor for inner self-reflection and potential change.

      I think it is possible to put someone in prison without vengeance. So, we also need prison reform. It’s like giving a kid a time out. You don’t have to yell. You don’t torture. But still… there’s a consequence.

      I think what can happen within a family… where people get to forgiveness or whatever is different than a society. If we simply forgive the crimes, then these folks will live to strike again! Or their cronies or people they have mentored.

      So consequences, but given calmly, without revenge in mind.

      I have no wish to torture bush or cheny. But prison. Treat them in a civil manner. But no end in sight. Life.

      • Fern says:

        Thank you. That was well said.

        And I must say, I have some trouble with the idea of putting people into prisons given the state of the prison industry in the US.

        It’s no coincidence that some of the perpetrators at Abu Graib (sp) were former prison guards.

        • TheraP says:

          Absolutely. Here’s an interesting thing. Spain, which lived under Franco, and where many leftists were tortured even in the 70’s for example, has one of the most enlightened prison systems anywhere.

          We are too much of a retribution oriented society. We have more people in prison than anywhere on earth – percentage wise. People in solitary going nuts!

          I am sickened by so much of this society. Sad to say. But heartened by good people, thank goodness!

  56. radiofreewill says:

    A mother who abets Torture has especially gone beyond the instinct to Love, and lost touch with all rational sensibility.

    What kind of Leadership should We expect from someone like that?

  57. wavpeac says:

    Yes theraP!! I believe that all of those who have been complicit should be held accountable according to our laws. I am not for the death penalty. But I do believe Bushco and all who were complicit have committed crimes against humanity. I have no delusion that “punishment” will control them. What it does do is it validates that the behavior is not effective, that it is not condone by the masses, that the behavior produces consequences for society and that the rewards for it’s use are not worth the long term consequences. Acceptance does not mean condoning…it means acceptance of the truth as it is. Punishment is for extinguishing behavior. It is a power and control technique and it works. My whole point is about accepting the truth about power and control. It works. It has it’s uses but when it is overused, or used without thought of long term consequences, it becomes a problem. It is inherent at least today, in the behavior of all human being. WE cannot change what we don’t accept.

    I am not saying it is good or bad or right or wrong. I am saying it is a dynamic that exists, and it behooves us all to recognize it’s use, and it’s power.

    • TheraP says:

      I can tell you that in therapy, doing therapy, we good people who just want to help, have to face a terrible fact. We have power. We have a certain degree of control. That is a terrifying thing when you finally face it! And knowing that we have that awful responsibility, we must exercise it with tremendous care. Empathy. Realism. It’s a very heavy burden.

      For 7 years I was on the Ethics Committee of our State Psych Association. Also, we had a certain degree of power and control. Had to exercise caution. Carry out burdensome responsibilities.

      I suppose that is what judicial temperament is all about. And it is so, so important.

      bush wants to be above the supreme court – a man totally lacking in judicial temperament. (what a joke! what a travesty!)

  58. Leen says:

    Just finished reading all of the comments at EW’s post yesterday about Iran, oil, China etc. Wow.

    So obvious that we all need to start walking more. Living more simply so others can simply live. (1 million dead Iraqi’s and counting dead, close to 4000 Americans due to our need to access)

    Walking reminded me of Nancy Sinatra and “These boots are made for walking”


    why do I remember Nancy moving more?

    The American people should sing this song to the Bush administration

    Nancy Sinatra

    These Boots Were Made For Walking Lyrics

    You keep saying you’ve got something for me.
    something you call love, but confess.
    You’ve been messin’ where you shouldn’t have been a messin’
    and now someone else is gettin’ all your best.

    These boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do
    one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.

    You keep lying, when you oughta be truthin’
    and you keep losin’ when you oughta not bet.
    You keep samin’ when you oughta be changin’.
    Now what’s right is right, but you ain’t been right yet.

    These boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do
    one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.

    You keep playin’ where you shouldn’t be playin
    and you keep thinkin’ that you´ll never get burnt.
    Ha! I just found me a brand new box of matches yeah
    and what he know you ain’t HAD time to learn.

    Are you ready boots? Start walkin’!

  59. merkwurdiglieber says:

    I always wondered what type leadership my generation would produce
    at the highest level and, sadly, with Clinton and Dubya, we see that
    the old nemesis, groupthink, rules. Great discussion of authoritarian
    mindset here, some Frankfurt School, Adorno, Horkheimer, and Marcuse
    from the DFH 60’s canon are relevant as well. Many thanks to you pups.

  60. bmaz says:

    EW says:

    “This nation has a lot to answer for before the rest of the world. Ugh.”

    Ugh indeed. Bring on The Spanish Inquisition. At this point, I not only expect it, I damn well demand it. Give the Hick and the Dick the impeachment rack. But save a little of the punishment and penance for me, and yourself, as well; for we as a collective are just as guilty. The general nature of George Bush and Dick Cheney, as well as the policy directions they would take the country, were there for all to see before the 2000 election. As to Bush, everything about him and his record that was purveyed by his campaign team was patently fraudulent and hollow. Many people, including me (so that means anybody paying attention could figure it out) saw right through the ruse; Molly Ivins, and to a lesser extent Paul Krugman, wrote about it constantly. Still, 99.9% of the country bought into the “horserace” bullshit and elected the man “they would rather have a beer with”; only problem was that he wasn’t much of a man and didn’t drink (well, at least not in public and certainly not with the public). A shame; they could have voted for the man whose single minded determination is literally leading the effort to save the planet. So, therefore, we all deserve a bit of what we got; we are among the complicit. To return to the theme behind EW’s title to this post, this is what happens when addled Americans elect a man President that is, at best, qualified to be the Minister of Silly Walks.

    • TheraP says:

      Yes, we must face what we as a society have become. We can’t evade our own complicity… in spite of working against this. We live in a very, very flawed society, where despotism and vengeance has become rampant. Greed too.

    • mamayaga says:

      “So, therefore, we all deserve a bit of what we got; we are among the complicit.”

      Exactly. As a rather old person, I’d say that Americans as a people are doing more than a little bit of a Claude Rains routine. We’re shocked! shocked! that our leadership is AOK with torture, but just in my lifetime I can recall revelations about atrocities committed in our name in Vietnam, atrocities committed with our instigation and support in Central America in the 80’s, tales of rendition that predate Clinton, misery and widespread death imposed on Iraq for years before we ratcheted up the misery and death with our invasion. I have not perceived any meaningful change in the way Americans view our role in the world as a result of this long-term pattern of atrocities committed in our name. As a product of the 60s, it seems to me we have a smaller portion of the population ready for that kind of transformation now than we did then. We can talk about truth or forgiveness or retribution, but until our culture repudiates the might makes right ethos our society runs on, no progress will be made.

      • Leen says:

        Yes there are people who are unable to take the time to protest this idiotic and immoral war. Those who are really pressed for money and time. I have encountered hundreds while knockin on doors for different campaigns in small southeastern Ohio towns. Families who had both parents working jobs at $8.oo an hour and also have a kid in Iraq. Many of these young people join the service to access college and some of them truly feel a sense of loyalty to this country and were willing to put their own lives on the line based on the “pack of lies” that the Bush administration force fed them through the MSM before the invasion. This is why I want the Bush administration held accountable for their lies that have caused so much death and destruction. For these people and the people in Iraq who have needlessly been killed.

        Although there are plenty of Americans who do not care about the lives of the Iraqi people or the Iranian people and what we do to access oil around the world and the consequences. And this is frightening.

        Most Americans are too busy with their comfort levels, too busy, the kids, golf, the mall, the holidays etc etc. This is a brutal reality that the Bush administration and criminals like them count on.

    • Jim Clausen says:

      I am ashamed of my country and bear personal responsibility for allowing this to happen. But how does one offer forgiveness to (one who is incapable)unwilling to express remorse?
      I detest what this poisonous fascist regime has brought out in all of us. The ugly truth is we have gotten what we deserve by failing to resolve the issue after watergate and Iran-Contra and have bred a generation of idalogues with no compassion(I got Mine)

      With the fall of the USSR we had a chance to work for peace… we chose the other path to death and destruction

  61. Leen says:

    http://www.time.com/time/natio…..69,00.html

    Exclusive: Feds Probe a Top Democrat’s Relationship with AIPAC
    Friday, Oct. 20, 2006 By TIMOTHY J. BURGER/WASHINGTON
    Congresswoman Jane Harman, with Congressman Alcee Hastings in the background
    MARK WILSON / GETTY
    Article Tools
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    Click here to find out more!

    Did a Democratic member of Congress improperly enlist the support of a major pro-Israel lobbying group to try to win a top committee assignment? That’s the question at the heart of an ongoing investigation by the FBI and Justice Department prosecutors, who are examining whether Rep. Jane Harman of California and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) may have violated the law in a scheme to get Harman reappointed as the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, according to knowledgeable sources in and out of the U.S. government.

    Was this investigation ever closed?

  62. Leen says:

    “This nation has a lot to answer before the rest of the world ugh”

    Doubt if we will ever have to answer. Unless the same standards of crimes against humanity are applied to Bush, Cheney, Rosen, Ledeen, Rumsfeld Kristol, Woolsey, Feith, Wurmser’s, Wolfowitz, Rice etc. Think any of these folks will ever be tried at the Hague?

    Nah just throw lower level flunkies who were ordered to do what ever it takes to get info, intimidate etc into prison for following orders.

  63. TheraP says:

    Look how many leaders have been made to be accountable. I think it may be many years… but it could happen. I am convinced it could happen.

    Not soon enough, of course!

    • Leen says:

      I would just like to see some of them IMPEACHED so that they can not roll back into this administration (Wolfowitz) or any future administrations. John Dean has about the Impeachment of lower level officials.

      http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dean/20061215.html
      Refocusing the Impeachment Movement on Administration Officials Below the President and Vice-President:
      Why Not Have A Realistic Debate, with Charges that Could Actually Result in Convictions?
      By JOHN W. DEAN

      These oil, theo, zion, empire cons are responsible for a huge amount of death and destruction. Those injured by this unnecessary war will be living with the consequences until their dying days.

      • TheraP says:

        I was not clear when I said “lower level.” I was thinking of people really, really far down the totem pole, not the people “up there” where they had significant impact on what was happening.

        Impeach! I have no problem.

  64. merkwurdiglieber says:

    My favorite artifact from Billmon’s blog is a photoshop image of
    Bushco in the dock at Nuremberg… likely to be as close as we get
    but still makes a nice thought dream.

  65. Hugh says:

    Nobody as far as I know has mentioned the word “kabuki” here, but I think that is a lot of what is going on here. The WaPo is a classic in misdirection. It is interesting that Pelosi was complicit in torture but then she and the Democrats have been complicit in a lot of things in the last 7 years. And yes, I believe she and they should be rightly condemned for that complicity.

    Let us not forget, however, that it was Bush who authorized, engaged in, and even boasted about torture while saying we didn’t do it. And during all the time the Republicans were in control of the Congress, where were they? Where was the oversight, the questions, the hearings?

    What I find interesting in the WaPo article is that it is clear that the knives are out and the backstabbing has begun. Goss was up to his eyelids in this both in his position in the Congress and as DCI. His attempt to throw Pelosi under the bus is a way of redirecting attention away from himself and his disastrous tenure at the CIA. It’s rather like an arsonist getting on a kid’s case for breaking a window in a building he has set fire to.

    • Jim Clausen says:

      Kabuki is right. It has been fun to see this article analysed from so many perspectives. Wapo has an agenda. Its kabuki yet it is going to get ugly. As LHP said we gotta keep our head and attack. Thanks for this wonderful thread ,friends, we have a lotta work ahead of us.

    • selise says:

      not just misdirection, i think. also a threat to the dems – it’s letting them know the price they will pay if they push for genuine investigations.

    • emptywheel says:

      I think this is what’s going on, FWIW.

      The CIA, led by Steven Kappes (recall that he was intimately involved in DO when the torture started, he was out of the CIA from 2004 to 2006, under Goss’ regime, and he’s back now), has had it.

      I strongly suspect that Kappes is one of the people who threatened to go public with the NIE.

      I strongly believe there are people at CIA trying to prevent Bush from vetoing the torture ban–that is, help Congress make it so they’re not torturers anymore.

      And I strongly believe this is a shot across the bow of Congress–which yesterday was expressing bipartisan outrage about the obstruction of justice with the tapes–to remind them that the torture, anyway, was sanctioned by Congress.

      If I’m right and this is Kappes, then it would make sense why he’d want the destruction to come out (didn’t happen on his own watch), bu also the legal sanction from Congress (since he was very involved in the torture from day one). It’s all about protecting the CIA–first by taking them off the terror beat, and then by making sure they’re not hung out to dry for the torture itself, but only for the destruction of the tapes.

      • Richmond says:

        EW: If you are right about Stephen Kappes (and it makes sense alot of it) it also means that Cheney (who is close to Kappes) is in battle mode as well. It was Kappes as you recall who worked with Cheney recently on trying to address the mess in Pakistan

        • emptywheel says:

          No no no. I believe Kappes and Cheney do not get along. Consider.

          Kappes negotiated the Libya deal, against Bolton’s wishes (and therefore likely against Cheney’s), by working closely with the Brits. After it worked, the neocons claimed credit, totally ignoring Kappes’ pivotal role.

          Kappes basically got ousted from the CIA in 2004 by Cheney’s pick to dismantle the agency (Goss). And he only got brought back as part of a compromise–Cheney coudl have Hayden (whom he supported), so long as he brought Kappes back in.

          Kappes did the murderboarding of the NIE conclusions in September; he was the first (with Hayden) to give his approval to those conclusions.

          And if my suspicion is correct that it was Kappes who threatened to go to the press with teh NIE conclusions, then he just ruined Cheney’s fun in a big way.

  66. Richmond says:

    Hugh: true, but it also points to how much kool-aid Pelosi -like the other Dems- were willing to drink with the idea that they would not be swiftboated on security. Well, Pelosi just got swiftboated anyway, except that unlike Kerry, she seems to have been complicit in this.

  67. MrWhy says:

    How many here are willing to forgive Pelosi for having taken impeachment off the table? I hear you already – we’ll forgive her if it’s put back on the table.

    How many people here were saying no way to Mukasey as AG a few weeks ago? How much of what has been coming to fruition in the last few weeks is a consequence of Mukasey being appointed AG? Can you forgive Mukasey for his waffling on waterboarding? I hear you already – we’ll forgive him if he acknowledges that waterboarding is torture.

    Have you already forgiven those Democratic Senators who voted to confirm Mukasey as AG?

    Sometimes forgiveness comes before the penitent seek forgiveness, sometimes after.

    • MrWhy says:

      Some actions are easier to forgive than others. *g*

      Regarding Alito and others, I always look back to the Clarence Thomas nomination. There was a nomination that deserved to be denied. Yes, he was black, no he wasn’t qualified. Alito and Roberts were sensible nominations from the perspective of Bushco, conservatives rated as well qualified by the ABA SCJI.

      I can be just as righteous as the next fellow, but when someone we have good reason to criticize acts in a manner which we approve, we should make note of the fact. So I heartily endorse EW’s comment about Harman. It’s known as positive reinforcement.

      • Richmond says:

        Roberts was viable. Nothing really on him. Alito was a different fish together. There was absolutely no reason why the Dems did not filibuster that one.

        • MrWhy says:

          I don’t disagree. All I meant was that Bush had reason to expect that Alito could be confirmed. Miers had no hope of being confirmed, and should never have been nominated. IMHO, Alito should not have been confirmed, but I can’t say that his qualifications denied him at least consideration for the position.

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah; I have to agree with this. Would John Roberts have been my nominee; no, but coming from a hard core Republican Administration, he was an exceptionally qualified candidate. He may not be what we on the progressive end of the political spectrum would want, but he has displayed the ability to see other views and the ability to walk with the less fortunate and powerless, even if that ability is not consistently manifest in his decisions. Alito (Scalito is my favorite), on the other hand, is nothing but a Mengele cloned Federalist water carrier that is nothing but a strict doctrinaire.

  68. Neil says:

    It’s 36F and overcast in Foxborough with a steady 6 MPH breeze from the northeast. You can run or throw in this weather. The players won’t be tight from extreme cold. It’s apparent the loss of Roosevelt Colvin has made the Pats run defense more vulnerable, putting additional pressure on the suspect secondary. The Pats will have a sophisticated game plan to take away the Steelers strength on offense.

    The 10 point spread is an over estimate. I think the Pats have a 3-point advantage. Vegas has gotten in wrong for three weeks in a row. Things have changed since the early routes. Vegas is still catching up.

    This week in the NFL is when fatigue sets in. Players’ minds are sharp but their bodies can’t execute at the same level as earlier in the season. Better, more disciplined athletes will make the plays. Expect errors like turnovers and drops that affect the outcome.

    About the Rodney Harrison watch, we continue to observe if a failure on defense that results in a loss is caused by this “experienced” free safety or steroid withdrawal symptoms.

    The Lions are up 10-7 against the Cowboys early in the second quarter with the ball in the red zone.

    • phred says:

      Packers play in weather like this all the time Neil — your Patsies need to toughen up ; )

      14-0 up in Lambeau at the moment. I’m just sayin’…

      • Neil says:

        Well phred, the Packers are a cut above.

        Last week in Baltimore, it was cold as a mother-f*cker – below freezing with a gusty wind. It affected the play and the play calling. This week is different.

        Last week the refs put their flags in their pockets for three quarters as the Ravens mugged Pats receivers downfield. I think we’ll see the game called differently this week.

        Unless the Steelers can disrupt the Pats passing game by taking away the short pass and putting pressure on Brady, we should see some scoring over the top today.

        CBS in Boston is showing SD @ Tennesee. Wish they gave us the Pack or better yet, wish I had that satelite tv Mrs & Mr Emptywheel had installed.

        • phred says:

          Yep. I love having NFL Sunday Ticket, so I can watch my Pack at will. It really paid off last week with the whole Packer-Cowboy NFL Network debacle. Even though the good guys lost that one, it was a good game and Aaron Rodgers looked great — gives one hope for the post-Favre Pack, whenever that comes to pass… ; )

          Given the last two Pats games, I’m curious whether the Pats will finish the season unscathed. It looks like Philly found the way to effectively defend against their offense. Aside from the Steelers though, it doesn’t look like anyone else on the Pats schedule has the talent to implement a solid defense though.

        • phred says:

          Thanks Mom! ; ) I was hoping that would make an appearance — I’ll go put the rest of my football observations over there…

          In the meantime though, thanks EW for your great work. As expected I’ll have a harder time keeping up with these threads, but I’ll pop in as I can. FWIW, I don’t know a thing about Kappes, but this whole week has felt to me like the mid-level career folks in intelligence and over at DOD have had enough of the bullshit coming out of both the WH and Congress. Most people that choose the civil service as a career do it because they believe in public service and they want to make a positive contribution to the country. It can be maddening to have the political hacks appointed to higher level positions manipulate and misrepresent your life’s work. I think we’re going to be hearing quite a bit more over the next few weeks…

        • Neil says:

          Oh, you two, I jsut put up the football trashtalk thread. And anyway, how’s Iron Man’s shoulder?

          Thanks!

  69. JodiDog says:

    You can argue whether you wish to use steel, and lead bullets, or if rubber is more humane. You can argue if torture is called for, or not.

    All these are decisions that should be made.

    The singular bad decision here was to video tape the interrogations, and then once that had been made, to keep them longer than it took to transcribe the information.

    Having agents in the tapes was stupid, and that was the real criminal act. These people by law are supposed to be secret.

      • JodiDog says:

        Neil,

        I am sure your memory is good enough to have retained what I said before, but briefly-

        Torture is a terrible thing, just like killing people is. Sometimes we must do terrible things to prevent worse things.

        Otherwise we should take the guns from our soldiers and our police, and in fact just stand them down altogether, and then what?

        I suppose you would stand in the street and argue for humanity, and I would go to church and pray.
        At least I would have a chance of an afterlife. I am not sure what your eventual backup plans would be.

    • Hugh says:

      The singular bad decision here was to video tape the interrogations, and then once that had been made, to keep them longer than it took to transcribe the information.

      Well, if there were such a thing as a Torturers Guild, I am sure this is what they would say in their press release.

  70. Richmond says:

    EW- My only question is – do we have proof that Harmon really wrote this? The Rethugs have used this same sort of thing to prevent documents from coming into day light that would incriminate them.

  71. FrankProbst says:

    Re: Sourcing. This is coming from a bunch of people who are (rightly) pissed off at all the pearl-clutching over the CIA’s destruction of their torture tapes. The logic is that if everyone knew that CIA was torturing people, it’s no big deal that they destroyed video tapes of it.

    Re: The Timeline. I have a VERY sinking feeling that this is going to end with someone taking the fall for destroying the tapes, while all of the torturers and torture-approvers are going to walk away unscathed. The retroactive immunity bill covers the actual torturers and everyone else involved. As far as I know, it does NOT cover the destruction of evidence, which is what those tapes were. Not does it cover hiding the existence of those tapes prior to their destruction. Ironically, it’s going to be the people that destroyed the tapes who go down for this, not the people who made them in the first place.

    • phred says:

      Yep, and that’s why they were destroyed. These people aren’t morons, they considered the penalties for obstruction of justice (and whatever other laws they violated in the destruction of evidence) and decided they were preferable to the penalties incurred by the legal infractions revealed by the tapes. I don’t feel that sorry for those who go down on account of making this choice. But, I do hope the senior level decision makers remain on the hook for war crimes.

    • emptywheel says:

      Although note an important point about timing: The briefings were in fall 2002, and the Members of Congress were told that the torture lay in teh future, not the past.

      We tortured Abu Zubaydah and Ibn Sheikh al-Libi in the first months of 2002, long before this briefing.

      • selise says:

        how could members of congress not know? i remember freaking out during the winter or spring of 2002 when it was clear that’s what was happening. shit – even npr ran a pro-torture oped (i assumed then to bring public opinion around)… that’s when i stopped supporting my local npr station (after about 20 years of support)

  72. Richmond says:

    FrankProbst-and even then not all those involved up the chain of command in the destruction of the tapes. By the way, what about the upchain airforce (and higher) folks who sent those nuclear war heads south recently? Nothing came out.

  73. TheraP says:

    Let us not forget the role of the Supremes in this! To “save us” from a constitutional crisis, they put us in a vise for 7 years and counting!

    #144 – Well said!

    EW’s suggestion of going to FISA or some such, excellent suggestion.

    And I can see why you folks kept the “pet troll.” Nice little tricks she does! (”let’s do terrible things – to prevent worse things”) hmmmm, how does one guarantee that?????

    • phred says:

      Please tell me you’re joking. Of all the crimes committed during the Nixon years, I think we need to add saddling our vernacular with the curse of (fill-in-the-blank)-gate needs to be added to the list.

    • Hugh says:

      npr’s pro-torture news and op-ed from april 9, 2002.

      The blurb at the link reads:

      Commentator Matt Miller says U.S. officials should do all they can to get information from suspected terror leader Abu Zubaydah, who is now in U.S. military custody. He just doesn’t want to know how they get it.

      Talk about your slippery slope. It’s a riff on the “necessary but regrettable” argument. This was from a time before the blogosphere was up and running and some of us still had some faith in the media. That the folks at NPR didn’t call this for the enabling horseshit it was underlines why we needed a blogosphere in the first place.

      • selise says:

        yup. and the audio is, imo, much, much worse.

        that’s what convinced me that we must really be torturing people. couldn’t imagine npr running that piece otherwise.

        i really hate it when i realize that i’m paying more attention to what’s going on than my congress critters.

  74. billinturkey says:

    Just a few thoughts

    1. In response to eW on primarying Harman. Fair point, as far as it goes. But on the other hand, the primary seems to have made it easier for Pelosi to take Harman off the gang of four, put Reyes on, *and sell this as beıng responsive to her base, when it was really a retrograde step.

    That said, water under the bridge etc, and I don’t think it’s a strike against the tactic of primarying BushDogs.

    2. Some people are saying (if not here, then in other threads, at the big Orange etc) ‘Aha, so this is why Pelosi took impeachment off the table: she’s complicit’. I don’t think this holds water: it looks to me as though there have been a number of routes to impeachment that could have been pursued (eg over Attorneygate, FISA) – that wouldn’t have led to this being exposed.

    So either she’s got way more dirty laundry, or – more likely – that rationale she’s given for beong against impeachment is her real reason (which isn’t necessarily an endorsement)

    3. Re ‘consider the source’. Despite the journalists good pedigree, this looks like a story that it would be irresistible to run if one could. But sourcing it responsibly looks impossible: anyone who wants to give rebuttal on Pelosi’ s side lays either themselves or her open to legal jeopardy. So we ought to ask very carefull who might be describable as ‘familiar with’ Pelosi’s position (abd note thaey didn’t say – sympathetic to’

    4. Pelosi was told ‘in the planning stage’ and didn’t object. How forthright do we think the CIA would have been about what they were planning?

    5. Best response from Pelosi might be to say – well lets investigate and see what happens. But if so, that suggests this is inept as an attempt at blackmail.

      • billinturkey says:

        Ok but my point still stands: if you’re a source sympathetic to Pelosi, you put yourself in legal jeopardy – if you’re a source unsympathetic to her you don’t need to worry – who will come after you?

  75. LS says:

    The bottom line for me is that if Pelosi was told and shown harsh interrogation techniques and was aware Bush had authorized them; the fact that she did not protest (whether being forbidden to or not), it makes her complicit, and it shows that she condoned it. Cindy Sheehan would have risked jail by coming out publicly and telling it like it is.

    If the story in wrong, then that is another story. But if it is true, Pelosi needs to resign and take airhead Reyes with her.

    I am so appalled.

  76. LS says:

    Pelosi’s pattern is that she has said one thing, and consistently acted in opposition, always landing on Bush’s side in the end.

  77. JohnLopresti says:

    My impression was MWinograd simply was the strongest opponent; and the way Harman was caving to the bureaucrats during the early hat tossing into the campaign ring timeframe, MW simply decided fairly precipitously, as did her compeers, that the time was then, and her effort could influence national and local politics. I still support her, though her voice needs time to mature. I support the comment that characterized NPelosi as a legislator, I would even depict her as having a predilection for consensus as her favored mode. It is worthwhile that there is some theoretical psychlogical remarking here, too, as the events which have seen our extrinsic leadership espousing both fervor and inhumane treatment is a facet of some of the wierdness in our populace’s constitutional makeup. As with Patriot, NSLabuse, DTA and MCA’s conjoint proclivity for sole authority signoff as ‘just’ification for circumvention of rule of law, I would be concerned if too much reliance were placed in the FISA court. It would be nice if some of the IG scandals brewing currently would help examine ways to provide checks and balances so FISA would be monitored; in other words, if FISA were the last resort, all the sole signers would need to do would be to subvert FISC, or do as Specter suggested a few years ago, and simply ask FISC to opine on its own constitutionality. I agree with the institutional observations and historical comparisons some writers here have echoed, and I supported these methods of comparison early, maybe I was one of the people who got SHorton to review some of his expertise again a few years ago. So, in sum, I would support Pelosi as someone likely still bound by secrecy, someone confronted by a committee of folks who were deploying a half-mercenary army espousing cruelty and evasion of Geneva A3 guarantees; the tortcha issue is larger than her own profile, and she had many other responsibilities. Ultimately I think her response will help the responsibile part emerge. As for Harman, maybe she weighed wiretapping and tortcha and decided the one she would resist would be the latter; but I do not support her brand of conservatism. I like the ideas that Kappes is keeping some sensibility in the processes, as his agency needs to continue to function; it’s one that loses parts and then has to replace them; goes with the territory. And about the tapes, whether there are backups is somewhat like the issue of offsite servers; when you make a tape there is a device called an editor for splicing the frames and sound track in synch; that is done in an electronics console. That is where one might put a Hepting mirror, to archive the master as you ‘produce’ the edited version and then the dubs. But it would be complicated to find out if any of that electronic metadata still exists in the memory silo; maybe friar WOckham knows.

  78. Hugh says:

    Roberts was the template for the Mukasey nomination. He was the master of giving smooth contentless answers. I remember I wrote my first letter to a Senator to Leahy excorciating him for his support of Roberts. In saying that he would support Roberts, Leahy said he would let time tell if Roberts was committed to stare decisis. Leahy couldn’t know anything more about what Roberts would do because Roberts effectively took no position on any legal issue in his hearings. Senators should have nailed him down on the issues but instead they let him dance around everything.

    Even if they lost on Roberts, Democrats needed to mount an opposition to his nomination in order to prepare the ground for a more effective effort the next time around, i.e. Alito. By rolling over on Roberts, they allowed te far worse Alito to wriggle through.

  79. Phoenix Woman says:

    So, suddenly we’re taking as gospel the stenography that comes out of the Post?

    “According to two officials…” Which officials? GOP officials?

    Betting their names are Goss and Rodriguez.

    Does it strike anyone else as an interesting coincidence that days after the NIE story, there is a story about how Dem leaders also do dumb things with intel?

    It sure does to me. As Cinnamonape has mentioned, this is about taking the heat off of Porter Goss and Jose Rodriguez and making the Democrats drop their investigation. Is that what we really want to see happen?

    Who benefits from the “both parties are exactly the same” meme? Democrats? No.

    Which is why Republicans and conservatives are among the biggest funders of the Green Party in the US. The Pennsylvania Green Party was in fact 100% Republican funded.

    The bottom line here is that the people who released this story to the WaPo are doing so to make Pelosi and the Democrats back off from pursuing the CIA over destruction of torture evidence. Is that what we want? Do we want Pelosi and the Democrats to give up on this?

    I certainly hope not. I hope that we’re not so easily played, that the Republicans can’t just push our buttons and make us react in just the ways they want us to react.

    • LS says:

      All in all, what needs to happen is that the torture documents that W authorized and signed, be produced.

      Bush is the ultimate torture monger.

      The facts surrounding Pelosi’s knowledge are not verified. If true, it’s awful. If not, which could well be the case also, it still needs to be clarified. The WAPO article definitely sounds like a smear job to me, but I’m afraid it might be true, which does not distract from the real issue, Bush the Torturer, but rather broadens complicity. I hope Pelosi was never involved.

    • phred says:

      PW, sadly the story comports with something a friend told me over the summer. My friend’s sister (I would prefer not to name names) was an assistant to Gonzales. The sister said the most frustrating thing was when the cameras were off the Dems and Repugs agreed on things. It was only when the cameras were rolling that fingers were pointed and the kabuki commenced. I think Dem complicity is rampant and lies at the heart of the manner in which Pelosi and Reid have operated this year. I also find it telling that Reyes has ties to Rdoriguez (per Glen Greenwald: ) and is conveniently placed to stonewall investigations that might reflect poorly on Dem leadership in an election year.

  80. Leen says:

    So EW and all where does Larry Johnsons statments that those who tortured were more than likely “contractors” not CIA officers fit in to all of this?

    The “cakewalk” crazies have been trying to lay the blame of the Office of Special Plans cherry picked false intelligence on the CIA when they were finally called out by Joe Wilson on the Niger documents and other false intelligence. Will there ever be a completed Phase II of the SSCI?S

    Some one over at No Quarter USA, said that Sy Hersh has seen these tapes (there has to be copies).

    What about the CIA attorneys that EW mentioned in her post that “designed and cleared” these techniques? Will any light be shed on these characters?

  81. wavpeac says:

    We need to continue to follow the truth. As our gracious E.W and so many others in the blogger world have been doing. Then we need to hold each one accountable to the law and constitution of our country. It’s still my opinion that the only way to get this stuff front and center is impeachment. As this point, I think there is enough of a media storm that it would not go the way of Iran Contra. Folks just didn’t understand the violations of Iran Contra and what it meant for our country. But I think most Americans (even the ones FOR torture) understand that you can’t lie, you can’t obstruct justice and you can’t violate laws. As Feingold and others seem to agree, the president’s executive priviledge issues and his signing statements is the front and center issue, with fisa, torture, plame, abramoff, all being symptoms of a country accountable to one…instead of the constitution. Americans can disagree about torture (although the geneva conventions should be the law) we can disagree about the need for spying (although we should be following or legally amending the fisa laws) but our country should be about principles before personalities.

    Pelosi was wrong to take impeachment off the table. We need to impeach to regain our integrity and to repair our constitution. It’s an absolute necessity for us to hold bushco et al accountable.

    We just need to keep seeking the truth. Maybe we will finally understand exactly why our dems allowed what happened. The dynamics of power and control is a theoretical possibility. Just as it is possible that she and others have been more complicit than realized. WE don’t know the whole story yet. But I do know for sure that seeking the answers is the most important thing we do.

  82. Leen says:

    As Christy Hardin Smith would say “get on those phones tomorrow, send those emails, visit your reps about the tapes, NIE, Impeachment etc etc!

  83. phred says:

    Hmm, my comment above should have had a link to Glen’s article. Is there is trick to this little link widget I see here or does it just not work with Safari?

  84. phred says:

    Yippee! It worked that time — guess my connection was just acting up. Yep bmaz, I guess even this ol’ Badger can learn something new… Who’da thought?

  85. aliasofwestgate says:

    The best thing is for Pelosi to own up on this if it is true. Everyone else, particularly LHP has said what i think of it all. She should pick the next fight and go on with the CIA investigations, and put impeachment back on the table. They’ve played their first card, time for us to up the ante. We’ve been given an opening by the NIE and this CIA information.

    Hoyer is the absolute worst we want as Speaker if Pelosi takes the fall. Having the strength to own up to that mistake, ask forgiveness and then do what needs to be done is the best path to take. A rocky one, but if the strength of will is there? It’ll lead to what we need, not what we ‘want.’ Although those are near one and the same at this point in terms of government.

  86. bobschacht says:

    Thanks, emptywheel! I’ve spotlighted this, and Pach’s blog today. Pelosi should resign her leadership position (Jello Jay, too) as they are exposed as morally bankrupt. The Democratic Party needs better leadership than this.

    Bob in HI

  87. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The contexts are different, but the parallels are worth mentioning, especially in light of this administration’s misuses of them regarding its Democratic critics. The German reoccupation of the Rhineland in 1936 violated international commitments, but was met with yawns by those not immediately affected; there were no practical consequences, and that encouraged Germany’s further use of military solutions to complex problems on a rather grander scale.

    A Democratic leadership that confronted Bush’s early push to war and torture with yawns and ineffectual, private handwringing, similarly encouraged Cheney in his already held belief that he could do more of such things and simply get away with them. Connivance by silence or active agreement, Cheney also knew, would make it that much harder for a different Democratic leadership to alter course without considerable embarrassment.

    Well, bring on the embarrassment. Let’s use it to replace several of these Democratic Congress Critters, including Jello Jay, Harman, not just Bush and Cheney’s GOP enablers. We don’t need another anti-torture law. We just need Congress to enforce the ones on the books, yes, even if it means (gasp!) disagreeing with the Bush or Cheney publicly, and even if it means losing a few votes.

  88. Sara says:

    Has anyone here gone back and read the press from September, 2002?

    Bush was telling Congress that he would not even let them see the unclassified version of the Iraq NIE, because he feared they would leak. This was just as they had to vote on the authorization on Iraq. He put the fear of god into them even if they discussed something in the public domaine. Those who are reading out Pelosi in that environment, don’t know what the heck you are talking about. Don’t expect everyone to jump in the ring with the Lions. That’s not really the role of members of congress.

    Way back in the distant past, my Congresscritter, Don Fraser, who had led a congressional faction against the Vietnam War for a decade, made what he called the biggest mistake of his political life. After the US was out of Vietnam in 1975, and as vice chair of the House International Relations Committee, he accepted a CIA briefing on Cambodia. It was part of taking a trip to Cambodia. But he had to sign secrecy agreements that essentially neutered him in any discussion of either Cambodia or Vietnam. Imagine, the Vice Chair of International Relations in the House, and the subcommittee chair for SEAsia. This is all not at all new. It is how you silence Congressional Critics. Until we understand that if you want leadership from Congress, they have to have their own voice for advocacy, we are not clear with the system. If we personalize, and jump on people with out understanding their political environment, we are worse than useful as advocates. No one is going to listen to advacates who say, “go wring your political neck.”

    Now — this site has taken me over an hour to read. For some reason it takes a minute pause between scroll commands. It also takes no more than 25 letters and spaces in comments without a nice long pause. Editing is impossible. It needs attention, and I am running XP-Pro.

  89. bmaz says:

    Sara – Your points, as usual, are well taken. As to the site, the problems you report are, to the best of my knowledge, not common, at least for windows XP users. There have been several folks, including me to a limited extent, that have had different problems using this site with Safari on Macs, and some Windows people using the Opera browser and/or dial-up internet provider service, but haven’t seen much like your complaint. There has to be some east corrective remedy for this….

  90. Sara says:

    bmaz — no other site on the web has this problem, and coming back some hours later, still is a huge problem. Aside from the first five words, this post was written blind. Took two minutes.

  91. bmaz says:

    Sara – I am going to investigate and see what can be figured out. For your ease in the meantime, in trying to figure this out, both I, and the betters that I recruit to assist will leave messages and interact on whatever your latest post at TNH is at the time. I made a promise to help get everybody here and have gotten others past bigger problems than this surely could be; it is certainly not going to you, of all people, that I loose my perfect batting average on. As Ahnold the Governator would say, “I’ll be back”…..

  92. JohnLopresti says:

    I am glad to see sara’s comments on Pelosi, as well as the slowdown in XP Pro. It takes five seconds to see the screen scroll after clicking the scroll arrow. Typing one char takes about 10 seconds to see it appear, but if you type fast, WordPress gives you the realtime bandwidth and all you type appears on the screen instantly, except, past the 25 words, then you are typing without seeing what you type. Preview has not worked at all this week on my workstation. 250MB RAM is enough to support thsi site. The problem is reminiscent of the 2005 Orange site before their proprietor upgraded the ’servers’; evidently WrodPress takes a lot of bandwidth. Might be a good question to ask at next year’s Yk conference, if there is a helpdesk breakout seminar; lots of folks there probably are involved with the infrastructure issues. TypePad has been fast in all my visits at tnh, but the difference at fdl may be the 10,000 simultaneous visitors in all ports. Still, I am glad to be in the new spiffy surroundings. Aside to bmaz, should he re-visit here: have you followed the funny secrecy trial in Maricopa co where the elections official is saying voter rolls are public property but the Democratic party may not see them; see trial documents there.