Rice and Goss Turn on Cheney

Keep in mind that this article seems to be at least partly the product of two entities–the Bellinger/Condi- and the Goss-reputation protection entities–that have been working overtime lately. (h/t Loo Hoo) In fact, the article references the YouTube of Condi proclaiming, "By definition, if it was authorized by the President, it did not violate our obligations in the Convention Against Torture," without explicitly telling NYT’s readers what Condi said. I guess that part–the part where Condi continues to defend the program by channeling Nixon–isn’t important.

Nevertheless, the article provides a few more data points on the torture plan.

June 2003 Statement of Support Was a Response to Shrub’s Speech

First, the article explains why CIA chose June 2003–of all times–to insist the White House write up a policy statement supporting torture with Bush’s name on it. 

The proclamation that President George W. Bush issued on June 26, 2003, to mark the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture seemed innocuous, one of dozens of high-minded statements published and duly ignored each year.

The United States is “committed to the worldwide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example,” Mr. Bush declared, vowing to prosecute torture and to prevent “other cruel and unusual punishment.”

Uh, yeah, I can see why that would make the CIA squirmy about doing Bush’s cruel and unusual punishment for him.

If this were a just world, the statement CIA forced Bush to write after he proclaimed we will prosecute torture and prevent cruel and unusual punishment, the statement basically endorsing torture as our country’s policy, will be the piece of evidence that leads to his prosecution. Alas, this is not usually a just world. 

Porter Goss CYAed Himself in December 2005

And then there’s the bit where Porter Goss protects himself by saying White House was pushing for torture at the end of 2005, but Goss was refusing without further cover from DOJ.

Acutely aware that the agency would be blamed if the policies lost political support, nervous C.I.A. officials began to curb its practices much earlier than most Americans know: no one was waterboarded after March 2003, and coercive interrogation methods were shelved altogether in 2005.


Provoked by the abuse scandal at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and pushed by Senator John McCain of Arizona, who had been tortured by the North Vietnamese, the 2005 bill banned cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

Top C.I.A. officials then feared that the agency’s methods could actually be illegal. Mr. Goss, who had succeeded Mr. Tenet at the C.I.A., wrote a memorandum to the White House saying the agency would carry out no harsh interrogations without new Justice Department approval.

The national security advisor, Mr. Hadley, was angered by the C.I.A.’s response. He called Mr. Goss at home over the Christmas holidays to complain; Mr. Goss, backed by his lawyers, would not budge. Mr. Hadley decided he could not push the C.I.A. to do what it thought might be illegal.

Now, there are reasons to doubt this narrative (aside from the fact that it comes from Porter Goss). McCain’s bill left wiggleroom for the CIA. And CIA already had an opinion from DOJ–the May 30, 2005 memo published earlier that year–purporting to discuss cruel and unusual treatment. So the concern of the lawyers at CIA had to have been as much about how crappy Bradbury’s opinion was as it was about anything in the McCain Amendment. 

It’s also rather nice, don’t you think, that Goss doesn’t mention his role in not preventing the destruction of the torture tapes right in the middle of the debate on the McCain amendment? I guess that–like Condi’s "by definition" statement–isn’t relevant to this story. Yet it suggests a number of other possible motives behind Goss’ refusal to continue torturing–particularly as Congress continued to look more closely at the CIA’s torture program. Of course, if Goss admitted that, then it would ruin his whole narrative about how Congress never complained, wouldn’t it? But perhaps he’s moving on from that narrative to one that claims that "Dick made me do it."

Condi Triumphant Over Dick

And then the story tells about how Condi triumphed over Cheney in insisting that the high value detainees be brought to Gitmo in September 2006 (click through–there’s a part about everyone laughing at Gonzales’ stupid solution for the detainee problem). 

But this part of the narrative may be a limited reveal of upcoming Bradbury horrors as much as anything else. Apparently, after SCOTUS told the Administration that detainees qualified for Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, Cheney had Bradbury write a memo that tried to say, "Lalalalalalalalala I can’t hear you."

Still, Mr. Cheney and top Justice Department officials fought to revive the program. Steven G. Bradbury, the head of the department’s Office of Legal Counsel and author of the recently declassified 2005 memorandums authorizing harsh C.I.A interrogations, began drafting another memorandum in late 2006 to restore legal approval for harsh interrogation. Mr. Bradbury noted that Congress, despite the public controversy, had left it to the White House to set the limits.

Early drafts of the memorandum, circulated through the White House, the C.I.A. and the State Department, stunned some officials. Just months after the Supreme Court had declared that the Geneva Convention applied to Al Qaeda, the new Bradbury memorandum gave its blessing to almost every technique, except waterboarding, that the C.I.A. had used since 2002.

Forced as secretary of state to defend the C.I.A. program before angry European allies, Ms. Rice and her aides argued that it had outlived its usefulness.

In February 2007, Mr. Bellinger wrote to the Justice Department challenging Mr. Bradbury’s position. He called Mr. Bradbury’s memorandum a “work of advocacy” that gave a twisted interpretation of the Geneva Conventions, and told colleagues he might resign.

When Mr. Bush finally reauthorized C.I.A. interrogations with an executive order in July 2007, it reflected the yearlong lobbying of Mr. Bellinger and Ms. Rice: Forced nudity was banned and guidelines for sleep deprivation were tighter.

Note the "outlived its usefulness" line? That’s not going to be much of a help in suppressing the "by definition" comment.

As I said, though, some of this may be a pre-emptive reveal on Bradbury’s part. We know OPR may have looked at emails exchange regarding the opinions Bradbury and Yoo wrote. Imagine what those early emails must have looked like, responding to Bradbury deliberately ignoring a SCOTUS ruling?

Though there’s one thing that’s odd about this narrative. Bradbury (presumably) also wrote two 2006 memos; but the one referred to in this story seems to be the 2007 memo. The SSCI Narrative describes the memos Bradbury wrote in this period this way.

In August 2006, OLC issued two documents considering the legality of the conditions of confinement in CIA facilities. One of the documents was an opinion interpreting the Detainee Treatment Act; the other document was a letter interpreting Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, as enforced by the War Crimes Act. These documents included consideration of U.S. constitutional law and the legal decisions of international tribunals and other countries.


In July 2007, the President issued Executive Order 13440, which interpreted the additional obligations of the United States imposed by Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. In conjunction with release of that Executive Order, OLC issued a legal opinion analyzing the legality of the interrogation techniques currently authorized for use in the CIA program under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, the Detainee Treatment Act, and the War Crimes Act.

While the confusion over which of these memos this pertains to doesn’t change the audacity of Cheney and friends telling SCOTUS to fuck off, it does raise questions about the reaction to those earlier memos.

I guess the biggest conclusion we can draw from this article is that the torture apologists are going to continue turning on each other to try to exonerate their own roles in this process. And heck, if Dick Cheney and David Addington and Steven Bradbury end up holding the bag, I can live with that. 

138 replies
  1. phred says:

    I just saw Loo Hoo’s comment on the prior thread, read the NYT piece, and came back to comment and here you have a post up already — you are amazing EW : )

    So, I’m wondering if the Rice protection racket kicked into high gear this week when that Stanford video hit the tubes?

    Looking forward Cheney’s return salvo… At this rate we won’t need a commission, the key players are gonna have it out on the front page of the NYT ; ) Just as well, then we can go straight to a Special Prosecutor…

  2. bmaz says:

    From the article:

    Mr. Bellinger shared his doubts with his boss, Ms. Rice, then the national security adviser, who began to reconsider her strong support for the program.

    This is the United States government. They had no research capabilities? There wasn’t one sane person around to say “um, hey, this has been done before, and the results were really not good”? The problems, doubts and moral violations they slowly came to realize had been widely known and accepted for decades if not a century or more among all civilized societies around the world, including, notably, the US. We prosecuted people for this stuff. They had to work hard to ignore and avoid these facts to start with.

    Pardon my language and indignation, but this shit is just sick. It was from the start. I am a little disturbed by the sanitary descriptions and deference Mazzetti gives it even now. The stories of “the dispute and concern” in the Bush administration are left standing as some kind of reasonable discourse. It wasn’t. It was the discussion of a group of children that murdered the neighbor’s dog for kicks and didn’t want to admit it. It should be treated as what it is, not sugar coated and given the patina of reasonable discourse.

    • skdadl says:

      I am a little disturbed by the sanitary descriptions and deference Mazzetti gives it even now.

      Thanks for saying that, because I’m more than a little disturbed. The wide-eyed innocence of that narration sends me into almost as much despair as the acts themselves do.

      The ole Overton window is the only explanation I can come up with for a piece of writing like that, that treats seriously the self-pity of those who authorized and rationalized torture and who have apparently never worried about anything but their own liability.

      As you say:

      The stories of “the dispute and concern” in the Bush administration are left standing as some kind of reasonable discourse. It wasn’t. It was the discussion of a group of children that murdered the neighbor’s dog for kicks and didn’t want to admit it. It should be treated as what it is, not sugar coated and given the patina of reasonable discourse.

      Exactly. Large numbers of North Americans have simply lost their moral compass, just lost it. If anything, it is polite articles like this one that convince me of just how bad things are.

      • Palli says:

        I’m late to the discussion but, Bmaz & Skdadl:
        not “murdered the neighbor’s dog” really more like “lynched their neighbor’s maid’s son” these are not random acts of oportunity by youths whose “moral/empathy” site in brain is not fully developed

        • skdadl says:

          Palli, I agree that even in despair, we have to be distinguishing between the lying cynics and the gullible (or merely desperately uninformed and probably tired and downtrodden).

    • bobschacht says:

      Has the phrase “unfortunate episode” been used yet? How about “regrettable lapse”? There’s a whole library of British euphemisms for evil acts of depravity that Bushco apologists haven’t used yet.

      But we have our own stock of American euphemisms, such as “modified limited hang-out.” I’m sure that for the sake of CYA, creative minds will produce other euphemisms to conceal their acts of depravity.

      Bob in HI

    • lllphd says:

      bmaz, i agree completely, but you ask such reasonable sane questions while forgetting that these are not reasonable sane persons. there is such abundant evidence for that fact, it’s astonishing you continue to be astonished.

      and yet, there you are. and – i hasten to add – so am i.

    • Mary says:

      I think that Bellinger puts a spell on them when he’s sourcing for them. I remember Steve Clemons (normally a smart guy)going on and on in a Huffpo piece on how Bellinger was one of the great and grand ones, a real fighter against torture, and on the same day or the next one, Bellinger was overseas (London I’m pretty sure) saying that he wouldn’t call waterboarding torture and couldn’t say it would be all that bad if someone did it to our soldiers. Or I guess if police start to make a habit of it for our US citizens when they get pulled over for speeding ticket. Or maybe let prosecutors use it as a new voir dire technique to figure out if jurors really are telling the truth when they are questioned.

  3. Loo Hoo. says:

    Fantastic analysis. I expect that now that the NYT folks read you, there MAY be a follow up.

    Couple of fixers:

    cureld and unusual punishment

    narrative about how Congressional never complained

  4. dmvdc says:

    One thing I didn’t quite understand, though. This quote is followed by 2 paragraphs from the story.

    Though there’s one thing that’s odd about this narrative. Bradbury (presumably) also wrote two 2006 memos; but the one referred to in this story seems to be the 2007 memo.

    The two paragraphs from the story appear to me to be talking about 2 different memos, not just one memo. Did I misunderstand something?

    • emptywheel says:

      Sorry. My bad. THose two paragraphs are from the SSCI Narrative,not the NYT (I’ve tried to make that clearer now). My point being that Bellinger describes Bradbury writing this crazy memo in late 2007 telling SCOTUS to fuck off, but it appears those memos were written in 2006.

      • freepatriot says:

        My point being that Bellinger describes Bradbury writing this crazy memo in late 2007 telling SCOTUS to fuck off, but it appears those memos were written in 2006.

        ooooohhh, I can’t WAIT to see those memos entered as evidence

        something tells me the SCOTUS is gonna disagree witht the premise ….

  5. JohnLopresti says:

    May 5, 2006 UN CAT meeting, Geneva, JBBellingerIII opening remarks, peroration item 2…”even as we recognize matters of concern to the Committee, we ask that the Committee keep a sense of proportion and perspective. While it is important to deal with problems in a straightforward manner, it does a disservice to the quality of our dialogue, to the treaty monitoring process, to the United States, and, ultimately, to the cause of combating torture around the world to focus exclusively on the allegations and relatively few actual cases of abuse and wrongdoing that have occurred in the context of the U.S. armed conflict with al Qaeda. I do not mean to belittle or shift attention away from these cases in any way. We welcome your questions. But we suggest that this Committee should not lose sight of the fact that these incidents are not systemic.”

    November 27, 2007 ICRC meeting Geneva, US press conference:
    MR. BELLINGER: “The United States in fact has repeatedly said that we are opposed to torture, we are a signatory to international conventions that prohibit torture. We have domestic legislation that prohibits torture. The President has made very clear that he is opposed to torture. We have new laws on the books that have gone beyond that. This has been, obviously the times after September 11th have been challenging for the United States, and like any country that has faced a threat from international terrorism, has not always gotten everything right from the first day as we face these challenges, and there has been an evolution in our laws, in our practices. We have new laws on the books that our Congress has passed. The McCain Amendment, the Military Commissions Act — these are all new laws. The United States is well aware of our traditional leadership role in the area of international law, international humanitarian law in particular. We are continuing to work hard to get these issues right.
    “QUESTION: May I just follow up, please? Regarding water boarding, do you believe that water boarding is torture? The new Attorney General has not come out and definitely said that water boarding is torture. What do you say?
    “MR. BELLINGER: The new Attorney General has said personally that the practice is repugnant and that he is reviewing the practice, as he had said in his confirmation hearing. That he did not want to be providing a legal answer with respect to any interrogation techniques before he had had a chance to review them. I have made clear that I stand ready as the legal advisor for the State Department to contribute to that review. I have views on these various issues which I will be providing to the Attorney General as part of his review.
    “QUESTION: What is your stance on water boarding?
    “MR. BELLINGER: I have said that I will provide my views to the Attorney General in response to his review. I do have some strong views on a number of these practices. It would not be appropriate for me to be commenting publicly in advance of the review that he is conducting, but I can tell you I will be providing my views on the law, on the practices, to the new Attorney General as he conducts his review.”

  6. Mauimom says:

    Marcy, I hope both KO and Rachel have your contact information. And I hope to see you on both their programs soon.

    BTW, are you in contact w/Jonathan Turley? Perhaps he’d be helpful in getting this wider coverage.

    • Leen says:

      Are you kidding they pull EW’s and others comments off of here all the time. You can read comments here during the day and hear them on KO’s and Rachels often

      • klynn says:

        So true! I have my parents read here. I make sure I print off anything of import.

        They laugh when they hear a direct quote from here on the MSM or from the White House.

  7. freepatriot says:

    it’s off-topic, but we don’t have to worry about magic bullet scottish haggis scrapple any more

    I had thought that specter had changed parties to keep his seat

    turns out, that ain’t true

    specter is a true bi-partisan

    he wants to alienate BOTH PARTIES

    “I never said I’d be a loyal Democrat

    thanks for making the choice easy for Pensylvania Democrats, DICKHEAD

    I’m guessing specter don’t unnerstan how this who YouTube thingy works

    • PJEvans says:

      Yeah, and Our New Leader wants to support Arlen’s re-election bid with money and speeches. I’ve already expressed myself about that, on their fill-in-the-blanks email page. (I was polite. Given that he still has the legal authority to do things like disappear people, it seemed wise. (Hi, NSA guy!))

    • Styve says:

      Maybe Specter’s timing is related to the upcoming imbroglio and his desire to not feel he has to toe the GOP/moronic lines that “torture is justified”, etc.

    • bobash says:

      You should read Spector’s piece in this month’s NY Review of Books. Might make you rethink your conclusion.

  8. Leen says:

    Cheney “a dunk in the water”
    Addington “Cheney’s general counsel, set the new legal agenda in a blunt memorandum shortly after the CIA delegation returned to Langley. Geneva’s “strict limits on questioning of enemy prisoners,” he wrote on Jan. 25, 2002, hobbled efforts “to quickly obtain information from captured terrorists.”

    • MadDog says:

      You’re doing admirable work yourself today!

      From that WaPo article you cite:

      Shortly after the first accused terrorists reached the U.S. naval prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on Jan. 11, 2002, a delegation from CIA headquarters arrived in the Situation Room. The agency presented a delicate problem to White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales, a man with next to no experience on the subject. Vice President Cheney’s lawyer, who had a great deal of experience, sat nearby.

      The meeting marked “the first time that the issue of interrogations comes up” among top-ranking White House officials, recalled John C. Yoo, who represented the Justice Department. “The CIA guys said, ‘We’re going to have some real difficulties getting actionable intelligence from detainees’” if interrogators confined themselves to treatment allowed by the Geneva Conventions.

      From that moment, well before previous accounts have suggested, Cheney turned his attention to the practical business of crushing a captive’s will to resist. The vice president’s office played a central role in shattering limits on coercion of prisoners in U.S. custody, commissioning and defending legal opinions that the Bush administration has since portrayed as the initiatives, months later, of lower-ranking officials…

      So as EW (and even I) asked, which is it John Yoo?

      When Did John Yoo Start the Bybee Memo?

      The legal issues that concern the Subcommittee today–involving the interrogation of alien enemy combatants–first arose about six months after the 9/11 attacks, in which about 3000 of our fellow citizens were killed in surprise terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.

      We gave substantially the same advice to both agencies. Both matters at the time where highly classified and the pressures of time and circumstances were high–we received the first request a few months after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.

      Hate to tell Yoo this, but January 2002 is not about “six months after the 9/11 attacks”.

      Not even using Turdblossom’s “math”.

      • JasonLeopold says:

        If you get a chance check out John Yoo’s book, War By Other Means (you can get a used copy on Amazon for 99 cents), his entire testimony before the HJC last year is contradicted by his own book in which he names when they started working on the memo, who was involved, the debates that ensued, etc. It’s remarkable how much he has revealed. He even offers up an excuse as to why he never cited Youngstown in his memo.

  9. chetnolian says:

    Just finished my usual catching up. Is anyone else out there starting to hear the sound of hammers on nails as they start to build a dock? There must be some really scared people, who recently used to be very powerful people, out there. And, harking back to my thoughts few days ago, it is all happening while Obama gets on with Chrysler, banks, healthcare etc.

    In a large bureaucracy there are two common factors.

    First, there are a lot of people way down the ranks who are unhappy but are scared to speak up till the current boss goes, and second, many of these little people actually have a need to know much more than their bosses think.

    Watch that grand jury for all sorts of exciting things in due course.

  10. MadDog says:

    And heck, if Dick Cheney and David Addington and Steven Bradbury end up holding the bag, I can live with that.

    You might think about including PapaDick’s plant inside guy Stephen Hadley as well.

  11. rkilowatt says:

    Guessing on the [redaction] in Harmon’s Feb 2003 letter to Muller. Comparing pdf of it: http://www.house.gov/apps/list…..letter.pdf
    with 3rd para of NYT article “…he had authorized to use brutal tactics…”
    I am guessing the redaction may be “brutal tactics” because it makes sense; is s/g that is likely to be redaccted; is very different from “enhanced techniques” or “practices” that was not redacted in Harmon’s 2nd para.

    btw, Harmon says there is “videotape” of AZ “following his capture”…which cleverly avoids saying 1 or more-than-1 perhaps to avoid any future redactions by a censor.

  12. rkilowatt says:

    Guessing on the [redaction] in Harmon’s Feb 2003 letter to Muller. Comparing pdf of it: http://www.house.gov/apps/list…..letter.pdf
    with 3rd para of NYT article “…he had authorized to use brutal tactics…”
    I am guessing the redaction may be “brutal tactics” because it makes sense; is s/g that is likely to be redacted; is very different from “enhanced techniques” or “practices” that was not redacted in Harmon’s 2nd para.

    btw, Harmon says there is “videotape” of AZ “following his capture”…which cleverly avoids saying 1 or more-than-1 perhaps to avoid any future redaction by a censor.

    • Leen says:

      Phillip Weiss of Mondoweiss is at the Aipac conference. Twittering. This is what he had to say about Jane Harmans “outburst” today
      “Jane Harman’s outburst this morning, declaring that she was going to “waddle in” on a discussion of her wiretap. I’ll have a transcript a little later. Funny, nutty, dug in. And in for a long fight. Entertaining, tough. And completely unbelievable.”


  13. freepatriot says:

    I just realized that this ain’t a fair fight

    we got emptywheel

    they got the condiliar an dick

    I plucked this gem from the comments in MoDo’s column today

    it shows how EASY it will be to DESTROY the condiliar’s recent defense

    If the entire rest of the civilized world says it’s torture (as well as the existing international laws), then it’s torture — even if your half-witted boss says otherwise.

    bush and his group of kindergarten lawyers ain’t got a chance against the criminal prosecutions that are coming down the pike

  14. scribe says:

    You note:

    Condi Triumphant Over Dick

    Ummmm, riiiight.

    This comment is written during the intermission between the 2d and 3d overtimes of the Red Wings-Ducks hockey game.

  15. plunger says:

    The notion that a young Porter Goss is visible in a photograph taken in a Mexico City nightclub on January 21 1963 was first broached to us in a letter from someone who noticed what he felt was a more than passing resemblance…

    “I saw a photo of Porter Goss taken in the 1970’s after he was elected to the Sanibel City Council and he looks virtually identical to the Mexico City Operation Forty person!” the letter asserted.

    The Mexico City nightclub photo reveals a mixed group of apparent Cuban exiles, Italian wise guys, and square-jawed military intelligence types. It was discovered among keepsakes kept in the safe of the widow of CIA pilot and drug smuggler Barry Seal (third from left).

    Goss appears second on the left. He is seated between notorious CIA pilot and drug smuggler Barry Seal (third left) and the equally-notorious CIA assassin Felix Rodriguez (front left), a Cuban vice cop under the corrupt Mob-run Batista regime who later became an Iran Contra operative and a confidant of the first George Bush.

    The only one of the spook celebrants displaying any hint of tradecraft (seated on the other side of the table covering his face with his sport coat) is Frank Sturgis, most famous as one of the Watergate burglars.

    The sensitive nature of this picture was confirmed to us by a person who had known and worked with Seal since 1964, an individual who had obviously been close with the Louisiana native, the basis for the hit song in the ‘mid-60’s by buddy Johnny Rivers, called “Secret Agent Man.”

    Seal’s will had named this man executor of his estate. And his reaction to seeing the picture was instantaneous and shocked. “Where did you get that?” he demanded. “I didn’t know there were any…Where did this picture come from? ”

    Seated with Seal in that nightclub in Mexico City in 1963 are men whose lives and careers comprise a large part of America’s recent secret history, we learned. Arrayed around the table were members of the CIA’s much-whispered about assassination squad, Operation Forty, first helmed by then-Vice President Richard Nixon.

    Barry Seal was one of them. Perhaps so was Porter Goss.

    • MarkH says:

      Arrayed around the table were members of the CIA’s much-whispered about assassination squad, Operation Forty, first helmed by then-Vice President Richard Nixon.

      So the idea of a hit squad run by the Veep is not new with Bush-Cheney? Interesting.

  16. plunger says:

    Goss is linked directly to Cheney and the Plame leak…count on it!

    July 7, 2004
    Porter Goss: Cheney Cat’s Paw
    by Ray McGovern


    He has long shown himself to be under the spell of Vice President Dick Cheney, and would likely report primarily to him and to White House political adviser Karl Rove rather than to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.

    [edited for fair use]

    My take:
    ROVE & GOSS both worked for Cheney. Cheney & Rumsfeld both set up the WHIG. Cheney instructed Libby to leak Plames identity to the press. Cheney and Goss were directly involved in the planning and implementation of 9/11.

    • bmaz says:

      Jeebus, another extended piece of George HW Bush is the Master of the World bullshit. For starters, Johnny Rivers didn’t write Secret Agent Man; quite frankly, he actually didn’t write most of the songs he is famous for. Secret Agent Man was written by a couple of journeyman songwriters working for Dunhill Records in LA and there is absolutely zero basis that I have ever heard for your fantasized claim. The rest of your spiel goes downhill from there.

      • plunger says:

        Jeebus, another attack on the messenger with the most trivial aspect of the entire piece. Whatever.

        • freepatriot says:

          what a surprise, an attack from a pathetic limpdicked tinfoil hat wearing nutjob who is so desperate for attention that he constantly hijacks threads with his pathetic and delusional rantings

          look you piece of shit, nobody wants to read your shit

          stop trying to steal Marcy’s audience

          if your shit was any good, you would attract a following of your own, and you wouldn’t have to keep trying to cheese off of Marcy’s popularity, you pathetic PIECE OF SHIT

          fuck of and die, and take your pathetic fucking posts with you

          you fucking audience thief


          I tried to warn him yesterday …

          let him call that an attack on the “trivial”

          • LabDancer says:

            The phrase ‘couldn’t have written it better myself’ seems so … inadequate.

            • Nell says:

              Thanks, Leen.

              @bmaz: Ignoring is much more effective than upbraiding, particularly for trivial points.

              @freepatriot: Ignoring is waaaaay more pleasant for readers of the site than your stream of ugly abuse.

              @EW: You’ve apparently authorized freep as the troll cop. It’s your site. But this display makes me feel the way I feel about towns that encourage their cops to taser the “noncompliant”.

              • bmaz says:

                Thank you, but I am marginally capable of deciding for myself when something needs to be addressed. This has been an ongoing problem with Plunger for a very long time, and it has been exacerbated again (after a period of relatively normative behavior) as of late. We have warned him repeatedly on this subject. Sometimes enough is enough. And I take my music somewhat seriously and do not consider impugning one of the classic songs simply to spew tin foil conspiracy bunk to be a trivial matter. Your mileage may vary, but that is mine.

              • lllphd says:

                totally agreed. totally.

                if we’re going to monitor for the sake of civility, then we must remain civil.

                freep, your rant sorta gave another example of the lucifer effect. forgivable, as it seems to be human. but please, be civil.

            • lllphd says:

              wow; agreed. whatever nonsense may be tossed this way, nothing excuses that kind of rant, freep; please, even to those who are a bit loony out there, be civilized.

              a microcosm of the torture theme, if you will.

            • Gunner says:

              I don’t comment much, but I read here alot and from what I can see all the heavy hitters are real tired of plunger and I have to say he is pretty anoying.

      • plunger says:

        The trivia quote that so concerns you about a sixties song is from this article:


        I posted the Google link as opposed to the article link as the photo and the quote that you have attacked are printed in multiple articles under that Google link.

        • bmaz says:

          I rest my case. Quit posting tedious conspiracy junk. We have had this discussion before, and here we are again. Just stop it.

    • Styve says:

      Excellent catch, Plunger, and ignore those who cannot handle the level of conspiracy it took to accomplish the level of destruction BushCo has left in its wake!! That Freep dude sounds like a troll not working for FDL, but for the Right.

      • bmaz says:

        Hey, pal, please reference William Ockham @75 above. And when the locals here are telling people like Plunger to cease and desist, you really shouldn’t be egging him on. I have repeatedly warned Plunger to knock it off, so has Marcy, enough of that crap is enough. And make no mistake “enough” happened long ago. As Bartles & Jaymes would say, Thank you for your continued support.

        • LabDancer says:

          The latest cool technical innovation here has been “(show text)”, which on application allows the reader thereafter to restore the site’s basic aesthetic: “(hide text)”.

          How about a preemptive application of the utility on the entire post, based on, oh say, a marked tendency to dissemble into eddies of irrelevancy, annoying self-indulgence or wildly spun conspearassy theories? Naught but the mere clicking of a mouse would prevent the reader satiating her or his morbid curiosity as to progress of the poster-in-therapy.

      • LabDancer says:

        You’re wrong, newbie. Freepatriot has institutional status here. And that’s not just based on his efficacy as the site’s troll hurler; it’s based as well on the proven demonstration of his holding a long list of values in common with the regulars and, at least as importantly, fearless leader and bmaz. That our freepster articulates those values with a parrot on the shoulder and sporting an eye-patch does nothing to diminish their worthiness.

        • sojourner says:

          That our freepster articulates those values with a parrot on the shoulder and sporting an eye-patch does nothing to diminish their worthiness.

          You forgot to mention that he walks trolls out on the plank… (smile)

  17. FrankProbst says:

    I’d have a hard time believing Condi was “Triumphant Over Dick” in a game of rock-paper-scissors, much less a significant policy dispute.

    On the other hand, I’d have a very easy time believing Condi is in frantic spin-mode after watching herself on YouTube and thinking, “Whoa! Even I think I should lose tenure for this!”

    • Leen says:

      She definitely sounds like she is in a spin mode. But when Colin Powell, Wilkerson etc are in the mood for some accountability the shit seems to be accumulating. And as EW pointed out ” if Dick Cheney and David Addington and Steven Bradbury end up holding the bag, I can live with that”

  18. TheraP says:

    I’ve spent some time chuckling over the fact that all the Principals know how easily they could be spied upon now, thus making it harder to communicate, unless in person, but even then they’d need to arrange the meeting to do so. It is therefore delicious to think of them turning on each other to save their own skins – and ever worried that they might be spied on somehow, given the network they themselves set up!


    • Loo Hoo. says:

      I really hope that’s why Obama hasn’t done away with the illegal wiretapping. Course I guess it wouldn’t do any good in Court, but it could help get a legal FBI wiretap.

      Bet there are plenty of good folks in the FBI that would jump at the chance to listen in on Cheney.

      • TheraP says:

        Of course I want the illegal wiretapping gone. But if these folks feel a bit off balance, never quite knowing… well, I’ll enjoy that, because let’s face it, they might legally want to wire tap them! If they may have already engaged in conspiracy, then I could envision a nice FISA warrant being issued, just to be on the safe side for the future. Besides, how much wiretapped evidence from the illegal spying might have been accumulated and stored somewhere? I hate to think of their rights having been violated (by themselves)… but karma is really a bitch!

    • cbl2 says:

      that deliciousness has sustained me at times over the last several years – that it would one day come down to Cheney and Addington.

      extra delicious to think of Addington seeing himself as several steps ahead of everyone else – ha !

  19. freepatriot says:

    to Leen at 42

    he does that ALL THE FUCKING TIME

    he can’t find an audience of his own, so he tries to hijack Marcy’s blog with his rants

    I’m sick of him

    we went thru this less than a year back, so homeboy has a short attention span

    if he continues to SPAM Marcy’s blog, he gets what he deserves

    please ignore his off-topic rants from now on

    if we refuse to engage, he’ll go bother somebody else’s blog

    • Leen says:

      And check out this incredible double standard at FDL. I was just threatened for calling Macman an “idiot” (o.K. I lost it) and was threatened to be tossed off. But you get away with the tirade (even though I understand you had had it) with some gutter language and I get slammed.

      Really wonder is the moderator the same for all threads? Damn inconsistent
      Leen May 3rd, 2009 at 4:27 pm
      In response to macaquerman @ 5 (show text)

      Your being an idiot

      Mod note: Further comments of this nature will result in moderation

    • lllphd says:

      that’s all fine, freep, but for chrissake, be civil.

      or better, yet, ignore him, as suggested. just don’t let yourself get so bent.

      • bobschacht says:

        I am a long time (10 years) assistant moderator on another list that attracts far more cranks than this one. Most cranks live for the on-list fight. Their ego almost always demands having the last word, so there is no point in on-list argumentation, because they will never let anyone else have the last word.

        Our most effective methods of control are
        1. A publicly stated (i.e., on a web site associated with the list) list of list protocols (sorry for using the word “list” in more than one sense)
        2. Moderators who debate, off-list, the behavior of eccentrics
        3. Private messages to eccentrics with warnings about impermissible behavior
        4. Moving miscreants to moderated status and, if necessary,
        5. Removal of all posting privileges.

        Apart from occasional terse reminders from list moderators about list protocols, most of the disciplinary action takes place off-list, so does not trouble the waters on the list. On this other list of which I speak, there are no trolls, and no one like Freep. The moderators keep it that way. Yes, it does take more time and effort.

        IMHO the lurking moderators on FDL and sister sites like this one do an excellent job. Most commentors have no idea what they are doing, and that is as it should be.

        Three cheers for the lurking moderators, and may a Beamish or other suitable beverage be added to your reward soon!

        Bob in HI

        • lllphd says:

          thanks so much for this detailed explanation, bob; very helpful.

          i’ve long suspected stealth moderation here, but good to have such clarity about it.

  20. cinnamonape says:

    I think that there’s likely more than enough evidence that one, or more, of these individuals destroyed evidence relevant to felonies that they committed. There are documents that were required to be preserved, both in the WH as well as at the CIA. But given that they likely know that they are being interrogated they are likely playing games of 3-D chess with the others involved trying to avoid providing incriminating evidence, while offering up exculpatory comments. That way Condi could say “If you refer to the tape on April 25th, 2009 I specifically say that I knew nothing about the specifics of the torture. I didn’t know my phone was tapped. So that had to be honest, right? [Snarl, hiss]”

  21. greenwarrior says:

    i was under the impression that we’re not to attack each other on these threads. or does that not hold true for emptywheel but just for the main fdl pages?

    in any case, i’m uncomfortable with folks being harsh with others either because they don’t agree with them or because they feel they’re wrong or because …… fill in the blank.

    • PJEvans says:

      plunger has been pushing conspiracy theories of one or another flavor since it first appeared here. (And has also been told more than once to post them on their own blog. ‘Fair warning has been given.’)

      • Leen says:

        It’s tough to know what is a conspiracy and what is not these days. Some of us are not as brilliant as some of the folks here and we try to “waddle” along. After the American public was subjected to the biggest conspiracy of all WMD’s in Iraq which was shoved down the throats of the American public by the Bushies and our complicit media. It’s tough to know.

        Many Americans do not know what to believe. Congress seems to often do it’s best to spin, hide and confuse the issues for the American public instead of applying the “no one is above the law” standard that they claim our justice system is based on. We witnessed them spend two years and millions of dollar on a Bj and yet not one fucking individual has been held accountable for an intelligence snowjob. Tough to know what is an is not a conspiracy. Their priorities are so twisted

        While I know some of the big brains here tire of some of us not so in the know. We are trying to understand and do not have the trained legal expertise and scholarly minds that some of you folks have. I really do not think Plunger means to harm.

        Anyway back to the scheduled program

  22. Loo Hoo. says:

    This time Rice gets it from a fourth grader:

    But then Misha Lerner, a student from Bethesda, asked Rice the tough question: What did she think about the things President Obama’s administration was saying about the methods the Bush administration had used to get information from detainees?

    Rice took the question in stride. First, she said she was reluctant to criticize Obama. “I will not agree with everything they do, and I won’t agree with everything they say,” she said. “But the worst thing about being in government is that people outside government who don’t have to deal with the daily struggles you do, and aren’t trying to solve really difficult problems, are just sitting out there commenting and criticizing, particularly people who’ve just been in government. That’s really unfair. So for the time being, if I disagree, I will keep it to myself.”

  23. bmaz says:

    Jeebus guys, this thread is not about Plunger or Freep; isn’t there substantive stuff to be discussing? Of course there is.

  24. CalGeorge says:

    As far as I can tell, only in 2003, 2004, and 2005 did Bush made statements in support of the U.N. International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

    His strongest statement was made in 2003, part of which reads:

    “The United States is committed to the world-wide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example. I call on all governments to join with the United States and the community of law-abiding nations in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture and in undertaking to prevent other cruel and unusual punishment.

    As far as I can tell, that statement is no longer, or never was, posted on the Bush White House web site.

    Go here to read it in full (Italian Embassy web site):


  25. WilliamOckham says:

    Ok, folks. Let me explain a little history. Way back when emptywheel was over at The Next Hurrah, we had a troll (whom I will not name) who just wouldn’t give up. Worse, this troll often seemed reasonable, so people would inevitably get sucked in to responding. Eventually freepatriot inherited troll clean up duty. Initially, I was very put off by freep’s tactics, but I noticed that the trolls would try to engage and everybody else would realize that intelligent discussion was not what the trolls wanted.

    So, yes, there are definitely different rules for freepatriot than everybody else. Deal with it. When you see freepatriot go off like this, it’s your cue to withdraw.

    • Leen says:

      Yes sir! “deal with it” Sounds like an order from Addington
      leaving right now sir.

    • plunger says:

      The ONLY thing that I will not give up on is exposing the truth. If anyone has any actual facts to refute what I post, I strongly encourage them to set me and the rest of the community straight – not with personal insults, but with facts. I have no interest whatsoever in disinforming anyone.

      Personal attacks are poison in communities such as this. Facts are a much more powerful alternative if someone sees fit to correct what I post. BMAZ has only seen fit to personally attack me, but never disproven anything I’ve posted.


      If this forum is not about discussing alternative theories (as opposed to those espoused or ignored by the MSM), then that’s news to me. The fact that I provide well researched alternative theories should at least be the subject of discussion. Attacking the messenger with hot rhetoric like “Conspiracy Theorist” is known as Swiftboating. Esposing the banishment of truthtellers is Rovian.

      • WilliamOckham says:

        Take a look up at the top of this page. Does it say ‘plunger’ or ‘emptywheel’? Nobody is required to discuss your theories here. There are lots of things that interest me that I don’t discuss here because they are not relevant. For example, this morning I was comparing the theologies of Origen and Tertullian. I find that quite fascinating, but I dare say that most here wouldn’t. In another forum, I get in heated debates about the Agile programming methodology versus the Kanban approach. Again, not many people here care. How would you respond if I demanded that you refute my position that Kanban is preferable to Agile? Even if you know what I’m talking about, I hope you would ignore me because that particular flame war belongs somewhere else.

        Here’s the real deal. I can tell that this stuff is really important to you. The problem you’re having is that you have, whether intentionally or not, violated the norms of behavior here. That makes people ‘flip the bozo bit’ (that means they ignore everything you say because you’re acting inappropriately). Getting the Bush-Cheney gang put in prison for the torture regime is more important than anything I do at work, but I don’t burst into meetings there, yelling about putting Bush in prison. It’s just not helpful. You’re facing that problem here. You probably feel that this very unfair, but that’s the way it is. If you want to people to pay attention to what you say, you can’t come on so strong. You have to make comments that have some connection to the posts that ew and bmaz put up. If you participate in the relevant discussion, you might be able to get away with links to oxdown diaries. This is the best advice I can give you.

    • lllphd says:

      this is also helpful, though would it not work just as well to simply remove the offender’s posting privilege and quietly announce it online?

      there is something about giving these creeps the satisfaction of inciting ire that really bugs me. keeping to the high road tends to irritate the living crap out of them, which i admit gives me great satisfaction.

      • lllphd says:

        and i’m referencing the ‘creeps’ in the generic here. not in the loop so tightly, i missed plunger’s offense, instead just ignoring the long quote (a habit i adhere to in the comments; it helps).

        overall, i’m with loohoo on this stuff.

      • freepatriot says:

        sorry bout that

        it takes a bit to “raise my ire”

        but we’re dealing with a repeat offender here

        I suspect we have a really complicated plot to discredit our efforts

        Marcy posts credible evidence against porter goss, and then plunger shows up with a photo of porter goss and some aliens to try to “HELP US OUT”

        fuck him and his insane bullshit

        I’m a member of the reality based community, and plunger wouldn’t know reality if it slapped him with a fish

        don’t I get credit for givin leapold a pass, I denounced him a few days back when he asked me to forget, but other than that, I let it go

        sorta …

        well, if plunger hadn’t showed up, I’d a let it slide …

        • lllphd says:

          no problem, and i do get the picture about plunger’s obsessions.

          but still, save your passions for bigger fish than the one you plan to slap him in the face with. we need your strong for that!

  26. CalGeorge says:

    “The United States reaffirms its commitment to the worldwide elimination of torture. The non-negotiable demands of human dignity must be protected without reference to race, gender, creed, or nationality. Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right, and we are committed to building a world where human rights are respected and protected by the rule of law.” – George W. Bush in 2004, marking U.N. International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

  27. plunger says:

    I posted an article about Porter Goss (the topic of this thread), and for some reason, BMAZ saw fit to attack me (yet again).

    The only rule that really matters in communities such as this is “No Personal Attacks.”

    The link I posted led to a photo of Porter Goss…yet no one has responded to the actual subject of my posting – the photo of Porter Goss.


    • behindthefall says:

      I found the Anti-War site’s post you linked to interesting, maybe even persuasive about Goss’ long-standing relationship to Cheney. However, overall I found it hard to see the relevance of what you wrote to the current thread, photo included.

      That said, though, I have been gnawing for a few days on Cheney’s personality (*ptui*), which seems to (a) work to subvert U.S. institutions in order to implement a hyper-authoritarian regime and (b) work to establish, as part of and as precursor to project (a), a parallel and hidden power structure, his “Team B” approach. In that context, I at least found the Goss information to be consistent with Goss being a person involved first in a Team B line of command and then moving to a position in the public power structure, that is, becoming part of (a).

      But I don’t really know what I’m talking about. It’s all shapes moving about behind multiple screens. My only reason to take such musings even slightly seriously is that in retrospect it seems that in research one had to hit a distant target blind, that is, formulate a hypothesis, half or more based on hunches, then slog through the swamps and forests (i.e., run the experiments) to find whether the arrow had in fact hit a target.

      So, yes, the (rumor of a) past relationship between Goss and Cheney was consistent with the picture of what one could expect Cheney to have done.

  28. skdadl says:

    Good heavens. Specter has published an apologia pro vita sua, or at least for his recent life in the Senate, in the current issue of the NYRB.

    I’ve only skimmed quickly. I leave judgements to the taller foreheads hereabouts.

    Funny — I can hear his voice now, after reading all that. Must hum self to sleep with something a little lighter.

  29. perris says:

    Rice and Goss Turn on Cheney

    if this is true cheney is going to after them with vengeance, he takes no prisoners, country be damned, bush be damned, goss and rice be damned

  30. emptywheel says:

    Uh, hi folks.

    So lovely to see every shitting all over my living room.

    First, for those who have wondered, no, the moderation on ew is not the same as on FDL. That permits us to keep some members who have been banned in other locales–and while I don’t regret that decision, it does lead to little outbursts like this from time to time. Oh, and it permits us to have some swearing. If it weren’t for that I’d have to ban myself and bmaz and then where would we be?

    That said, plunger, you did post something that totally violated fair use, and then, with no evidence of your own, claimed you had proven something marginally related. It’s not a matter of disproving facts (If I want to engage with Ray McGovern I would actually take a clip of what he says and respond to it–not post 10 inches of his work and then assert something totally unrelated without evidence). You might take btf’s suggestion though–not everyone knows of that photo of Goss (which IMO connects him more closely to Poppy than Cheney), but I think your comments would be less regarded as spam if you said, “here’s a picture of Goss with some Cuban mafiosa types from his spook days, here’s what I think it says about Goss and therefore what I think it says about Cheney” without then asserting five other unrelated links. (Though, note, in this post, you’d also do well to explain why the story cited poses Goss as an opponent of Cheney’s–I rather believe your take more than the NYT”s on this matter, but at least show some cognizance of the subject matter at hand because it’ll help readers see the point and therefore treat it as something other than spam.) I have not banned you bc when you make the effort your contributions can be helpful, but as we’ve discussed, it’s often off-topic, unsupported, and very long and therefore disruptive.

    And freep–yes, you are our troll catcher. But you are also far too gifted with language to go ad hom like that.

    Now then. I was hoping we could have a discussion about why the fuck the NYT thinks anonymous sources who are anonymous–even the NYT admits–”they feared being enmeshed in future investigations or public controversy: are more valid news sources than one of the principals, Condi, speaking directly? In other words, NYT thinks anonymous sources who are anonymous bc they don’t want to be held legally liable for their speech are legitimate news sources, but Condi speaking directly is not.

    Let’s talk about that rather than shitting in the living room, shall we?

    • plunger says:

      Thank you. I respect your work and your opinions greatly, and consider it a privilege to post here, not taken lightly. As for any violation of fair use, it was certainly not my intent. I attempted to show Porter Goss in context, and believe I have provided a view of him that dates back well beyond what any here may have considered. At least that was my intent. I really don’t see the justification for personal attacks. That said, I would never want to do anything to disrupt or upset the excellent work you do here.

      Thank you.

  31. CalGeorge says:

    I find these governmental proclamations fascinating.

    Ye Olde State Department, circa 1999:

    “Torture is prohibited by law throughout the United States. It is categorically denounced as a matter of policy and as a tool of state authority. Every act constituting torture under the Convention constitutes a criminal offense under the law of the United States. No official of the government, federal, state or local, civilian or military, is authorized to commit or to instruct anyone else to commit torture. Nor may any official condone or tolerate torture in any form. No exceptional circumstances may be invoked as a justification of torture. U.S. law contains no provision permitting otherwise prohibited acts of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to be employed on grounds of exigent circumstances (for example, during a ’state of public emergency’) or on orders from a superior officer or public authority, and the protective mechanisms of an independent judiciary are not subject to suspension. The United States is committed to the full and effective implementation of its obligations under the Convention throughout its territory.”

    – U.S. Department of State Initial Report of the United States of America to the UN Committee Against Torture (p. 4-5)


  32. Mary says:

    So, I’m wondering if the Rice protection racket kicked into high gear this week when that Stanford video hit the tubes

    Yes it did – I was stuck somewhere with CNN on Fri and there was some Campbell Brown “panel” ??? all going on about how Condi handed “those boys their asses” Complete wtih some chick who was supposed to be a body language expert who was having a serious crush on Condi and how tough she was. It was like an episode of bizarro world with no one really mentioning the Nixonesque reference that came out of her when she was knocked back on her heels, other than to say “she must have mispoke, she’s smarter than that”

    It was really odd to watch.
    Intersting how in 2005, after everyone joined together to get the torturer in chief re-elected, the debate suddenly got “heated.” I’m sure the lawsuits from Arar and el-Masri working their way up the chain had nothing to do with it.

    • bmaz says:

      Exactly. But the trend of where this area is going seems pretty clear, and it isn’t in the direction that everything was reasonable. Why are the major news organizations going to bat on this false meme so hard now? I understand why they are not as far out in front as those here, but that Mazzetti piece was some major suck up. I assume you Campbell Brown experience was the same. Seems they would at least be trending more even handed than this. I dunno, maybe i am nuts in how I am seeing it….

      • freepatriot says:

        Why are the major news organizations going to bat on this false meme so hard now?

        cuz Sy Hersh told us all this stuff in 2004, ir something like that, and the major news agencies ignored it

        btw, when are the torture videos supposed to come out ???

        they’re the ones Sy told us about, right ???

        I might have to spring for better inertuoobz access

          • freepatriot says:

            and it’s the stuff Sy Hersh was reporting about, and our Congress got a command performance via private screening

            is that what we get to see ???

            gonna call my congresscritter an tell him “TOLD YOU SO” if it is

  33. bmaz says:

    Let’s talk about Mazzetti and his article. Now Mazzetti is a seasoned reporter that works this beat. This isn’t 3-4 years ago, heck, it isn’t even last year. There has been a torrent of ever more shocking revelations come out over the last two weeks, and as Marcy notes, the OPR report is on the way (likely within the next 30 days if not sooner), so what motivated Mazzetti to write this love poem to the Bush Administration soft selling and sugar coating everything like it was the hairy past and the torturers are still in control?

    • freepatriot says:

      now yer just lobbin soft balls at us

      why does the NY times suck ???


      till they accept it, explain it, an take responsibility for it, they ain’t gonna regain their credibility

  34. Mary says:

    So vis a vis Helgerson, we have Tenet who runs scared but goes to his king George for another dispensation and goes on; then Goss who isn’t apparently as big a believer and responds by trying to cover tracks and reel in and make sure if anyone is going to be blamed it won’t be him; then Hayden, who’s response is, “you bunch of amateurs – if you had uniforms to disgrace like I have you’d know that you don’t worry about defending against the damn IG, you go after his jugular.

    Oh, and now Panetta – who is wandering around in meet and greets with the torturers, trying to be their new best friend and wants to make sure that in the administration of change, whistleblowers are the first to only ones to suffer

    10 – Yeah, I’m waiting to hear exactly how Bush, in his briefing on Zubaydah and Arar and el-Masri and KSM’s children made it “clear” that he’s opposed to torture. Bellinger delivering all that with a straight face – that’s creepier than Addington.

  35. emptywheel says:

    then Hayden, who’s response is, “you bunch of amateurs – if you had uniforms to disgrace like I have you’d know that you don’t worry about defending against the damn IG, you go after his jugular.

    Never piss off Mary on Derby weekend.

  36. Loo Hoo. says:

    You are hardly nuts, bmaz. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your good work.

  37. Mary says:

    I guess he could sell US bombings as an effort to rev up their economies by stimulating the rebuilding.

  38. Styve says:

    Don’t know about you, but I have been an FDL user since it started, and while I understand the benefit of keeping a thread on track, the knee-jerk reflex to the contextual material that plunger offered just reeks of gatekeeper, compromised sites like dKos and Democratic Underground. Your vocal “I am the protector” bit fits perfectly there, as well.

    Never thought I would see lines like the following ones here on FDL.

    Does connecting the dots freak you out that much??

    The problem you’re having is that you have, whether intentionally or not, violated the norms of behavior here.

    You’re wrong, newbie. Freepatriot has institutional status here.

    Quit posting tedious conspiracy junk.

  39. RIRedinPA says:

    New reader, first time poster, nice to be here.

    I was arguing, of in all places a kayaking forum, with a pro torture person and they were crowing about Obama’s selective release of information. I countered that one would think his passive strategy of letting people take themselves down would be apparent by now, what with Clinton, McCain and the GOP Congress wreckage lying by the road side. But I still didn’t see this till after the fact and I am still not entirely sure this was the plan but I think, when we reflect back on it, the release of the memos will be seen as sheer political brilliance.

    Obama couldn’t go after Bush and Cheney and the torture junta (politically speaking) without spiraling us further into partisan politics, at least further in where he/Dems is/are to blame. He couldn’t go after the little guy, the one who actually tortured KSM and AZ, I think too many people would side with them as people trying to protect us and just following orders (despite that defense being rebuked at Nuremberg) and see it on the mighty and powerful CYA at the expense of the folks in the trenches. So, release the memos that the middle men, the lawyers, wrote, okaying torture and hang them out to dry. Hell, we all hate lawyers anyway and these are the pond scum of that profession. Initially I thought this was a Clintonish move, (Bill, not Hil) in trying to appease everyone at the same time, give the lefties their red meat but at the same time not go after anyone that the GOP would be riled up to defend, and on the surface it seemed to give Bush an out, hey, it was the lawyers who said we could torture, right, first thing we do is kill all the lawyers.

    Instead now what I think he was doing was laying a chum line. Legally and morally he could have gone after Bush but politically you can’t do that if the only backing you have is the PETA/ELF/ACORN/anti-war faction of the Democratic party (apologies for stereotyping). But if you drop some blood and chopped up fish heads in the water and wait things will happen.

    I think he also understands the internet, blogosphere and corporate linkage of the MSM better than most politicians. Even the NYTimes is not going to try and take down an unpopular former President who broke our laws and treaties because they are part of a corporate media entity that eventually has ties to someone with ties to Kennebunkport.

    No, Obama knew it would be the small feeders, (and I mean that only in reference to staff/budget size not quality of reporting) the bloggers and online political junkies who would pick up on this and begin to run with it, it then percolates upward from EW to wider circulation on Andrew Sullivan (how I got here) and TalkingPoints and Politico and at that point the MSM decides to go with it (probably because a lot of the hard work has already been done and its now salacious which sells ads which trumps relationships with Kennebunkport)

    Now there are a lot of journalist and others digging, trying to be the next Woodward and Bernstein and revealing a stream of dirty deeds done in our name. With each one the pressure on the Bush administration members to CYA becomes greater and as we are seeing the accusations (and information) begin to fly. Subsequently, Joe and Jane Democrat and Joe and Jane Independent are beginning to get riled up at these accounts. Joe and Jane Republican are okay with torture but we know who they represent now. Cheney fired his best return salvo, the not whether it was legal but whether it was effective shot, and that petered out to nothing, there’s just too much steam behind the law breaking to change the narrative now.

    As others have pointed out enough information is coming out now that we might just skip from independent investigation to trails. And Obama will come out looking clean, he (through DoJ) will be able to say ‘look, I just thought it was these lawyers who were the bad apples but in light of the information revealed since the release of the memos and by grassroots demand of 70%+ of the American public I have instructed DoJ to…’

    Brilliant Mr. Obama, brilliant. Again.

    • Rayne says:

      Welcome, and thank you for an excellent comment, although I have to admit you’re giving voice to my own sentiments. Obama has a number of reasons why he may not come out strong and hard on the issue of torture, being the first African American president only one of those reasons.

      I love the image you created of a chum line, although I hate to think we’re just sharks and other predators in the water.

      What’s more, the analogy can describe what happened in this thread; we have been smelling more and more blood in the water, and are getting quite itchy to put on a feeding frenzy, to the point that we are beginning to nip on each other.

      And now back to following fish entrails in the increasingly turbulent waters…

    • lllphd says:

      welcome, and i totally agree. in fact, have been trying to calm the impatient purists here with just such logic, to little avail. many see this as so blackandwhite that obama is committing crimes himself by not jumping on it. but my question is always, do you want him to stand in his stirrups and brandish his mighty sword of righteousness? or do you want his efforts to be optimally effective? and i mean this latter question in the broadest sense of how large a swath through the population you gain support and keep it, which will go a long way toward making this entire enterprise of bringing justice back stick, and stick so hard and so long the repugs will become a very bad word, for real, for what they have done.

      i want this to ultimately be so big we can justify opening up all the other scandals – like the DOJ and stolen elections and stolen treasury and domestic wiretapping and on and on – will get exposed too. my biggest fear is that there is too much flash and thunder over torture that everyone will get the vapors and click their heels to get back to kansas, leaving all that detritus lying around just waiting for a revival.

      stick around; it’s a great crew here (this particular thread showing not being at all typical).

    • Petrocelli says:

      “… his(Obama’s) passive strategy of letting people take themselves down would be apparent by now, what with Clinton, McCain and the GOP Congress wreckage lying by the road side. – RiRedinPA

      Welcome, that’s been my POV too but time will tell how well this strategy works for criminal indictments against BushCo. Obama is the coolest Poker player I’ve seen … and if you knew some of my relatives, you’d know that’s a big compliment. Starting with prosecution of the Lawyers is brilliant strategy, as you so clearly outlined.

  40. oldoilfieldhand says:

    Alerted by the wife, who’s much smarter than I am, but couldn’t read this last night. We’re big fans and donors from the beginning of Marcy’s live blogging of the Cheney trial and were heartened that his sub from the bench, Scooter, was convicted of “conspiracy to follow orders”. Please, God, let there be more!
    We’re continuing to read and financially support Marcy, Jane, Christy and all who post on FDL and its satellite sites. Where else would people with 3 digit IQ’s get their news? Thank you for all for all the hard work, valuable time, interesting links, and patriotic passion you contribute. Looking forward to seeing all of the ladies from these sites on Countdown and Rachel so the rest of the nation can breathe a little easier knowing what we know, that someone is watching and paying attention.
    Now, to channel Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along”?

  41. robspierre says:

    The irony of all this turning on each other is that such behavior is the bread and butter of REAL interrogators that want actual confessions and actual intelligence info. Hopefully FBI and the DOJ experts will get a chance to put their skills to work on this gang.

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