Does anyone else think it’s troubling that more than half of Americans think that an extra-judicial, unconstitutional prison camp run by the U.S. government is O.K.?
Jeffrey Dahmer killed man-boys, butchered them, stored their choice cuts in the freezer and made stew with the rest. We put that sick fuck in a U.S. prison. The analysis of this should say, ” 75% of Americans aren’t even thinking this one through …”
A person who calls themself Ishmael Jones and is a 25-year veteran of the CIA’s writes in a blog at National Review Online that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has used the interrogation issue as a political tool for years, but says that the Agency’s Hill briefings are ambiguous and essentially unorganized:
In Mrs. Pelosi’s defense, CIA managers do not give fist-pounding briefings. They mumble, they dissemble, and there’s a lot of “on the one hand . . .” Its enormous numbers of employees have led to briefings being handled by groups, with vague chains of command, so that it may have been difficult to pin down what was said, when it was said, and who was in charge.
In recent years, CIA bureaucracy has appeared to favor the Left, while in the early decades of its existence it was perceived as a group of right-wingers dedicated to toppling communist dictators. In reality the CIA is loyal only to itself. As long as Mrs. Pelosi supported its bureaucratic lifestyle, it supported her, but when she attacked it, it fought back. The CIA may not be able to conduct efficient intelligence operations, but it knows how to survive.
It’s still the humble opinion of this blog that it sounds like Pelosi knew about waterboarding and other “harsh interrogation techniques” at a time when she could have sounded off and perhaps hastened their demise. Any investigation or truth commission into the executive excesses of the Bush Administration on these counts should include looking at the so-called watchdogs in Congress who didn’t have the stones to speak up.
Read the 9/11 Commission report or any of a dozen or more reputable books about the intelligence community before and even after the Twin Towers went down and there is ample evidence that the CIA, FBI and NSA dropped several balls that may have prevented 9/11. Congress’ utility as overseer is only as good as the information it collects. It’s incumbent upon Congress to organize its dealings with the CIA or any other federal agency in ways that get at the truth and do not merely serve as CYA for all involved.
On Thursday, President Barack Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney gave dueling speeches on National Security policy. The man who is trying to re-invent hope versus Darth Cheney is the way this blogger interpreted what was billed by the Washington press as the “Thrilla on The Hilla.”
By early afternoon the results were in. Obama gave a long, thoughtful better angels treatise on the rule of law and maintaining the moral high ground. Cheney, gave a shorter, pithier shout from the undisclosed location.
It was the Constitution versus the red, orange, yellow threat meter.
Mancow Video 1
Mancow Video 2
Filed under: Barack Obama, Foreign Policy, National Security, Politics
As prepared for delivery
Vice President Cheney Remarks at the American Enterprise Institute Thursday, May 21, 2009
Thank you all very much, and Arthur, thank you for that introduction. It’s good to be back at AEI, where we have many friends. Lynne is one of your longtime scholars, and I’m looking forward to spending more time here myself as a returning trustee. What happened was, they were looking for a new member of the board of trustees, and they asked me to head up the search committee.
I first came to AEI after serving at the Pentagon, and departed only after a very interesting job offer came along. I had no expectation of returning to public life, but my career worked out a little differently. Those eight years as vice president were quite a journey, and during a time of big events and great decisions, I don’t think I missed much.
Being the first vice president who had also served as secretary of defense, naturally my duties tended toward national security. I focused on those challenges day to day, mostly free from the usual political distractions. I had the advantage of being a vice president content with the responsibilities I had, and going about my work with no higher ambition. Today, I’m an even freer man. Your kind invitation brings me here as a private citizen – a career in politics behind me, no elections to win or lose, and no favor to seek.
Full Text: President Barack Obama on National Security, Torture, Guantanamo – National Archives – May 21
These are extraordinary times for our country. We are confronting an historic economic crisis. We are fighting two wars. We face a range of challenges that will define the way that Americans will live in the 21st century. There is no shortage of work to be done, or responsibilities to bear.
And we have begun to make progress. Just this week, we have taken steps to protect American consumers and homeowners, and to reform our system of government contracting so that we better protect our people while spending our money more wisely. The engines of our economy are slowly beginning to turn, and we are working toward historic reform of health care and energy. I welcome the hard work that has been done by the Congress on these and other issues.
In the midst of all these challenges, however, my single most important responsibility as President is to keep the American people safe. That is the first thing that I think about when I wake up in the morning. It is the last thing that I think about when I go to sleep at night.
The Politico is reporting that on Thursday, a day former Veep Dick Cheney is scheduled to give a speech titled, “Keeping America Safe,” President Barack Obama will give a major speech outlining the “political and intellectual” framework behind his anti-terror stance and all things related to detainee treatment.
Mr. Cheney, meet Mr. Obama – you might want to talk to Mr. McCain about bringin’ the scary hype against the man who seems to have re-invented hope.
I can see it now. Cheney, talking like Burgess Meredith’s Penguin character from the old Batman TV series, spitting all the worn out Bush era lines about fighting “them” over there so we don’t have to fight “them” here. Through teeth clenched around a cigarette holder he might even throw in a few nasal, conspiratorial giggles as he derides Democrats as soft.
On the other side of the split screen is the man who is steady, unafraid. Barack Obama will use his moment to teach, to inspire. Cheney will undoubtedly use his moment, in front of a partisan crowd at the American Enterprise Institute to stoke the flames that divide us.
America will once again be reminded what a great choice she made in November.
I’ll be the first to say that as an Obama voter, I’m not down with the whole cult of personality thing. I’ve criticized the Administration’s policies of feeding corporate America while middle America is hungry for work. I criticized recently the flip-flop on the release of detainee abuse photos.
But of one thing I’m fairly certain. When President Obama speaks on big issues, he speaks from a carefully considered, thoughtful point of view. His values – some may label them “Left” – go into his positions, but I do believe that all sides of the issues are considered. This pragmatism, something entirely missing from U.S. national politics since Bush 41, leads to decisions like that of using military tribunals to adjudicate some of the Guantanamo detainee cases. When you’re pragmatic and you compromise you rankle the extremes. Since most of us inhabit the space more near the center, that’s O.K.
I’m looking forward to this speech from President Obama on Thursday like no other public appearance he’s made since the address to the Joint Session of Congress. I’ll take in the coverage of Cheney also. I just won’t expect anything of value.
(Source: Central Intelligence Agency)
There is a long tradition in Washington of making political hay out of our business. It predates my service with this great institution, and it will be around long after I’m gone. But the political debates about interrogation reached a new decibel level yesterday when the CIA was accused of misleading Congress.
Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values. As the Agency indicated previously in response to Congressional inquiries, our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing “the enhanced techniques that had been employed.” Ultimately, it is up to Congress to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened.
Devastating piece by Olbermann tonight on the widening pool of slime around the former Veep. Links to stories which are mentioned in video below.
- Daily Beast Story by Robert Windrem – Cheney’s Role Deepens
- Lawrence Wilkerson – The Truth About Richard Bruce Cheney
(Source: CQ Transcriptswire)
(JOINED IN PROGRESS DURING PELOSI OPENING STATEMENT)
PELOSI: … take the time to read this to you. Throughout my career, I have been proud to have worked on human rights and against torture around the world. I say this with great pride because it has been a great focus of my time both even before I came to Congress and here.
(Source: Speaker’s Office)
“Throughout my entire career, I am proud to have worked for human rights, and against the use of torture, around the world.
“As Ranking Member of the Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee in the 1990s, I helped secure the first funding for the Torture Victims Relief Act to assist those suffering from the physical and psychological effects of torture.
“I unequivocally oppose the use of torture by our government because it is contrary to our national values.
According to the Associated Press, military commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan are giving President Barack Obama the reasoning he needs to take a log off of the torture fire.
An Obama administration official said Wednesday that the president told his legal advisers last week that releasing the photos would endanger U.S. troops. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were private.
Obama wants the issue to go back to the courts, although federal appeals judges have ruled the photos could be released.
Is this political expediency?
Some many years ago I worked on the personal staff of a member of the House Democratic leadership. By personal staff, I mean I worked in a high profile position within his Congressional office. I did not work directly for the Dem leadership.
Still, at times I was involved with the “cool kids.” I can tell you this: If one of Nancy Pelosi’s top aides received a briefing from an Administration run by the other party that contained evidence that the United States was torturing detainees — and she says she never heard anything about it — she’s either lying or that aide’s head was in his ass.
I’m referring to a story in today’s Washington Post outlining the implausible scenario detailed above. The story also points out that Pelosi’s California gal pal and then ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee was also at the briefing. Do I believe Harman and Pelosi never talked about waterboarding? Not for a minute.
But here’s what a current Democratic insider said to the Post:
A Democratic source acknowledged yesterday that it is almost certain that Pelosi would have learned about the use of waterboarding from Sheehy. Pelosi herself acknowledged in a December 2007 statement that she was aware that Harman had learned of the waterboarding and had objected in a letter to the CIA’s top counsel.
What’s my point in all of this? If you stand for the rule of law and you believe that the Bush Administration broke the law and harmed America’s standing in the world by carrying out a torture program then you must insist that everyone involved pay a price.
Dick Cheney, David Adington, Jay Bybee and John Yoo are easy pickings for those of us railing against what was done in the name of the War on Terror and the effort to see justice served at the top levels of leadership. It’s not so easy to pick on those indirectly responsible — Congressional leaders who are there to provide a check to executive power run amok. It’s even harder when liberal darling House Speaker Pelosi is at the center of the story. But, if she knew and turned a blind eye, she wasn’t doing her job.
America did the wrong thing by sanctioning and carrying out a torture program. We don’t gain any ground by pretending it didn’t happen. We lose ground if partisan politics means seeing some of those responsible for torture get off scot free.
That includes our darling not-very gentlelady from California.
… But, Majority Believe Harsh Techniques “Justified”
From Gallup, go read the poll …
(Source: NBC’s Meet the Press)
MR. GREGORY: We’re back. King Abdullah of Jordan spent the last week here in Washington with a full agenda: meeting with the president, the secretary of state, congressional leaders and a full military arrival ceremony at the Pentagon. Before returning to Jordan on Friday, he stopped here at MEET THE PRESS for an exclusive interview.
Your Majesty, welcome back to MEET THE PRESS.
KING ABDULLAH II: Thank you very much.
MR. GREGORY: President Obama is now the third U.S. president that you have worked with. You spent time with him this week and even during the campaign. Tell me your impressions here as he comes upon 100 days in office?
KING ABDULLAH II: Well, I–from I think day one that I, I, I met him, a very impressive man. A lot of depth. A lot of, I think, instinctive understanding of the challenges that the world faces. And obviously I’m here in Washington to talk about relaunching negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, and Israelis and Arabs, and we had a meeting of the minds, very fruitful discussions. And I think he has a clear understanding of, of what the challenges are.