Lambert Dogs the Press

I beat the NYT to actual close reading over the weekend and it made a stink.

But Lambert documents his superior canine instincts from five years ago.

Je repete. 2004-05-09, Corrente:

Maybe there is a smoking gun. … Somebody’s got to authorize the dogs, the kennels, the handlers, and the purpose. … Who let the dogs out?

2009-05-20, Senator Carl Levin via Digby:

The interrogation techniques authorized by Secretary Rumsfeld in December 2002 for use at GTMO – including … military working dogs – were used by military intelligence personnel responsible for interrogations. … On September 14, 2003, Lieutenant General Sanchez issued an interrogation policy for CJTF-7 that authorized interrogators to use stress positions, environmental manipulation, sleep management, and military working dogs …

This was a very easy post to write: Evidence, and a soupçon of reasoning. So why was an unpaid, foul-mouthed blogger the one to write it, instead of a reporter in our famously free press? Bueller?… Bueller?… Bueller?

From one foul mouth blogger to another … good fucking question.

26 replies
  1. eagleye says:

    Follow the money. The corporate press is the official house paper of the entrenched political and economic interests. Once we grasp that, everything makes sense.

    • Peterr says:


      Follow the memos.

      As Lambert notes, someone had to authorize a whole lot of stuff, and that doesn’t happen without a whole lot of paper. Sure, that paper has a lot of stamps that say “TOP SECRET” and “NOFORN” and such, but that paper exists.

      At the time, those papers existed to push these inhuman activities forward.

      Now, paradoxically, the existence of these papers will command accountability.

  2. lambertstrether says:

    Thanks for the link, emptywheel. The evidence was right there, out in the open. All you had to do was say, wait a minute, dogs operate in teams with their handlers, so — since this is the Army — there’s a documented procedure for it. Department of the Army Pamphlet 190 12 (PDF) gives the procedures for Military Working Dogs, and that gives you the chain of command. And that gives you the smoking gun. So why didn’t a reporter pick up the phone and make the call and write the story?

    • emptywheel says:

      Almost said it in the post, but realized it would be unfair to Jane Mayer and James Risen and Philippe Sands and Stephen Gray and Dana Priest and so on.

      But for a lot of journalists, covering this stuff will endanger your spot in the so-called free press.

      • lambertstrether says:

        Yes, that’s true. There are individuals who still do good work; Seymour Hersh, too, and lots of McClatchy people.

        That said, the press considered as a system is a lot like the Soviet auto industry — its output actually subtracts value from its inputs.

  3. lambertstrether says:

    I forgot to say — the real sting of that post is in the tail. Why don’t we hear anything from the prisoners in the European black sites? Did they all sign non-disclosure agreements, or something?

  4. SparklestheIguana says:

    WaPo, 2/12/09:

    Park Ridge, Ill.: Is there any chance you will invite a blogger/journalist to be a panelist on Washington Week in the future? Considering that blogging is the future of journalism, you might want to give someone that chance.

    Gwen Ifill: Blogging is the future of journalism? That may be so, but I’d like to see a few definitions first. Of blogging. And of journalism.

    Is it just me, or is Gwen being fucking lazy?? Read some blogs and some “journalism” and figure it out for yourself. God, she does drive me batshit!

  5. Loo Hoo. says:

    Just an off-the-wall question. Why is everyone referring to the males in these torture crimes by their last names, and referring to Rice (usually) as Condi?

    • emptywheel says:

      I refer to Dick and Rummy and Gonzo (aka AGAG) and Dougie “stupidest fucking guy on the planet” a fair amount. And Condi Dr. Rice–because everyone calls Kissinger Dr. but not Condi.

      • Loo Hoo. says:

        “stupidest fucking guy on the planet”

        Okay, I’ll grant you that. But, really, is he stupider than Cheney?

        I guess I’m just worried that when it gets down to actual prosecutions, people may take it easier on Rice because she’s a female.

        Nothing more than gut.

        • SparklestheIguana says:

          And the guy who called Feith the stupidest guy on the planet (Tommy Franks), what’s the evidence that he was a genius, again? Or does it make you a genius to split before the shit hits the fan.

    • SparklestheIguana says:

      I think in her case it’s really just because Condi somehow rolls off the tongue more mellifluously than Rice. (Like Scooter did.)

      But maybe on this blog everyone should have a victuals-related name – Jello, Haggis, Rice…..

  6. eagleye says:

    I’m old enough to remember when the Constitution, the Geneva Conventions, and the Law were taken seriously, and were considered part of the bedrock– the foundation that made America great and special. The amazing thing is that in recent years the Right has succeeded in moving the needle so far that discussion of horrific acts of torture is now considered by the media to be an open question, in which there can be reasonable people with legitimate viewpoints on both sides of the issue. In the America I thought I grew up in, this should have been a slam dunk.

    • bobschacht says:

      For 20 years or more we’ve allowed the right to move the Overton Window way over to the right. It has just been during the past week or so that the Overton Window has started to move to the Left, but it’s got a long way to go before it even gets to the middle.

      Bob in HI

  7. bobschacht says:

    This quoting is confusing. You have to go to Lambert’s website to realize that this quote sequence is a blog from *today*, quoting one old quote from the Lambert files, one new quote from Levin, and a concluding quoted paragraph from *today*.

    Had me catywampus for a few minutes.

    Bob in HI

  8. Loo Hoo. says:

    No offence, I wasn’t even saying EW. This is what caught my eye:

    April 2002: Rizzo begins conversations with Bellinger and Yoo/Bybee on proposed interrogation plan for Abu Zubaydah. Bellinger briefed Condi, Hadley, and Gonzales, as well as Ashcroft and Chertoff.

    Mid-May 2002: Rizzo met with Ashcroft, Condi, Hadley, Bellinger, and Gonzales to discuss alternative interrogation methods, including waterboarding.

    July 13, 2002: Rizzo met with Bellinger, Yoo, Chertoff, Daniel Levin, and Gonzales for overview of interrogation plan.

    • emptywheel says:

      Because if I said, “April 2002: John begins conversations with John and John/Jay on proposed plan for Abu Zubaydah, John briefed Condi, Stephen, and Abu, as well as John and Mike,” it’s like a whorehouse at feeding time.

  9. klynn says:

    Okay. Now when this story goes to Hollywood, will it become another movie with the theme song, “Who Let The Dogs Out?”

    Only this time the “who” in the song title will be the plot…

  10. Drewsky says:

    Remember Diego Garcia? The torture ships just off the island? The prisons? – Might as well be in outer space (the new frontier for torture, btw)…

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