Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Just Following Orders , Gitmo Thugs , C.I.A. & The Ugly American

Rumsfeld Memos With Bible Quotes -The Christian Evangelical Crusades Continue In Iraq & Afghanistan

UPDATE: 9:31 AM,12:05 PM, May 20, 2009

The Torture Paradigm

Over the past 60 years, victims worldwide have endured the CIA's "torture paradigm," developed at a cost that reached $1 billion annually, according to historian Alfred McCoy in his book A Question of Torture. He shows how torture methods the CIA developed from the 1950s surfaced with little change in the infamous photos at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. There is no hyperbole in the title of Jennifer Harbury's penetrating study of the U.S. torture record: Truth, Torture, and the American Way. So it is highly misleading, to say the least, when investigators of the Bush gang's descent into the global sewers lament that "in waging the war against terrorism, America had lost its way."

None of this is to say that Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld et al. did not introduce important innovations. In ordinary American practice, torture was largely farmed out to subsidiaries, not carried out by Americans directly in their own government-established torture chambers. As Allan Nairn, who has carried out some of the most revealing and courageous investigations of torture, points out: "What the Obama [ban on torture] ostensibly knocks off is that small percentage of torture now done by Americans while retaining the overwhelming bulk of the system's torture, which is done by foreigners under U.S. patronage. Obama could stop backing foreign forces that torture, but he has chosen not to do so."

Obama did not shut down the practice of torture, Nairn observes, but "merely repositioned it," restoring it to the American norm, a matter of indifference to the victims. "[H]is is a return to the status quo ante," writes Nairn, "the torture regime of Ford through Clinton, which, year by year, often produced more U.S.-backed strapped-down agony than was produced during the Bush/Cheney years."

Sometimes the American engagement in torture was even more indirect. In a 1980 study, Latin Americanist Lars Schoultz found that U.S. aid "has tended to flow disproportionately to Latin American governments which torture their citizens,... to the hemisphere's relatively egregious violators of fundamental human rights." Broader studies by Edward Herman found the same correlation, and also suggested an explanation. Not surprisingly, U.S. aid tends to correlate with a favorable climate for business operations, commonly improved by the murder of labor and peasant organizers and human rights activists and other such actions, yielding a secondary correlation between aid and egregious violation of human rights.

above Quote from: Why We Can't See the Trees or the Forest: The Torture Memos and Historical Amnesia by Noam Chomsky at May 19, 2009

Anyway here are some items for your consideration:

Oliver North & the C.I.A. & the Iran/Contra scandal -only following orders
North claims he was doing his duty for God & country

Cheney's thugs are still operating their brutal Goon Squad at Guantanamo even though Obama is now the Commander in Chief according to Jeremy Scahill.

Is abuse & torture becoming now part of Obama's legacy
Is the misguided brutal Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan & Pakistan slowly but surely becoming Obama's War which has no real set goals or an exit plan-

Why are Americans & the US Media not just outraged over the abuse & torture of detainees but rather talk about it as if it were a reasonable policy & strategy?

Why are the same people unwilling to talk about the larger issue about the use of torture to fabricate intel & phony confessions to justify the war in Iraq ?

Why is the media since the 1980's so concerned with refusing to consider the dark side of America's government & its foreign policies and the various scandals involving the US government & its intelligence community ?

In the clip below Bill Moyers in the documentary, which is available at YouTube ,details the creation of the C.I.A. and how it has operated as if it were a separate arm of the US government only answerable to the President & more recently the Vice President ( Dick Cheney).Moyers sees the C.I.A. as a direct threat to the US constitution and at times undermining US foreign policy & helping to inflame anti-Americanism & promoting the stereotype of "The Ugly American".

According to US law Soldiers are only to follow lawful orders & it is their duty to not follow orders which are illegal- Oliver North hasn't a clue when he is confronted with this notion since he believes that no matter how insane or immoral or illegal an order is that as an American soldier it is his duty to follow that order- integrity to him is merely following orders - and it did not matter to him that the Contras acted more like terrorists than Freedom Fighters - the Contras like the C.I.A. trained and backed death squads of El Salvador terrorized innocent citizens kidnapping , torturing , murdering in order to make life difficult for the Sandinista Government of Nicaragua.

Subvert Our Society to Save it

Jeremy Scahill on Gitmo Thugs known as "Immediate Response Force"( IRF & IRFING) set up under the Bush Regime which is continuing to brutalize detainees at Guantanamo during Obama's Presidency.

Obama/ Pelosi: What Torture ?- Obama continuing Cover-up of the abuse & torture of "detainees" May 19,2009

Democracy Now: Jeremy Scahill reports on the ongoing torture program at Guantanamo. An elite torture squad formed during the Bush Administration continues it's work under the Obama Administration. A Judge in Spain is assembling a case against the U.S. that addresses the continued violation of the International Treaty against Torture which the U.S. is a signatory.

How is it that we read one article after another explaining that torture is not effective and that its blow back effect makes it at the least bad policy yet conservatives & Republicans still claim that torture works and that approving the use of torture is a good & sound policy decision ?

Is this just part of their attempt to silence or change what the conversation should be about- did it work? or What did Nancy Pelosi know and when did she know it? Or that it is just a small extreme left wingers who are interested in gining up the issue of torture?

Part of what is disturbing about the legacy of the Bush/Cheney Regime is that members of the media are just repeating the Cheney "talking Points " & lies about torture ie that it was effective, that it kep America safe. it was only used on a small number of people maybe 3 up to a dozen, that these techniques were & are legal. Average Americans are sitting around talking about "torture " as if it were just a policy decision and they leave out the legal & moral implications of torture. They also leave out the concern that if America abuses & tortures detainees this adds fuel to stoke up even more anti-Americanism. Its odd or hypocritical of those who condemned Saddam because he abused & tortured prisoners but now the Republicans & Fox News & the rest of their echo-chamber are arguing that torture is effective & justifiable & not that big of a deal. Has the mindset of the American media gone so far to the right that they can no longer make a judgment about what is or is not justifiable. The attitude in much of the Media is that if a journalist dares to say that the Cheney techniques are in fact torture and that these techniques shouldn't be used by US personnel that journalist is afraid of being characterized as being unpatriotic & soft on terrorism.

Scarborough: 'How Dare You Come On This Set' And Say Torture Doesn't Work?

Michael Steele unable to say whether or not the " Enhanced Interrogation Techniques " approved & used by Cheney & Bush were in fact "torture Techniques". But he agrees to having a truth commission or special prosecutor set up to investigate the allegations. He tries to bring it back to the Republican/conservative "talking Point" of what Nancy Pelosi knew or didn't know. Pelosi is not the issue the issue is whether or not the C.I.A. & the military & other US personnel engaged in the abuse & torture of detainees.

Steele Gets In Trouble For His Thoughts On Torture-May 18, 2009
Watch more at

Meanwhile : Torture Complaint Seeks Bush Lawyers Disbarment-May 18, 2009

Two groups have filed complaints against Bush administration lawyers linked to memos on harsh interrogation techniques of detainees asking that the attorneys be disbarred. (May 18)

CIA a terrorist organization
the insidious effect of avoiding the unpleasnt side of war.
Sanitization of war treating a war like a video game
Journalists begin to believe that the public should only be told the good news about its country's policies so reporting truthfully the ugly side of war or writing about government scandals became a no no

Cusack chimes in or weighs in

A War on Terror by Any Other Name by John cusack at huffington Post ,May 18, 2009

What is most disturbing about the refusal to release the photos is the broader pattern into which it fits -- a pattern of decisions that effectively preserve the framework of Bush's War on Terror, with all the violations of our constitution that it entails.

...Obama never promised he would transform the entire architecture of the American system -- he's a pragmatist, not a revolutionary. But he did say he would restore balance and the rule of law to the existing system. For that, the Bush/Cheney "War on Terror" paradigm must be dismantled. Disclosing the photos and mandating an independent prosecutor to investigate those responsible for torture would be one step in signaling a genuine break with this endless-just war paradigm, and ensure the terrible violations it made possible will never again be perpetrated by agents of the United States.

And that a horrible precedent will not be set for future US state crimes.

and John Cusack in another article argues:

" John Cusack's Email to Obama's Blackberry: You're in Power, Don't Let Cheney's Torture Crew off the Hook "By John Cusack, Huffington Post. (at May 19, 2009.

We can't whitewash institutionalized torture, trash any conceivable notion of the rule of law, and call that 'looking forward.'

The situation in which we now find ourselves is so bizarre, it's hard to fathom. New revelations continue to surface -- we learn that Vice President Cheney's office ordered and specified how a man was to be tortured, and mounting evidence suggests the United States tortured to extract false confessions that would justify preemptive war on Iraq. Yet a Democratic president leads a Democratic congress to whitewash institutionalized torture and in effect trash any conceivable notion of the rule of law, all in the name of "looking forward."

And now we hear that the administration will block the release of new evidence in this hideous criminal conspiracy. Now you, the president who came to power with promises of transparency and change, say you don't want to release the photos because they "will further inflame anti-American sentiment" and endanger U.S. troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

...Releasing all the photos depicting detainee abuse and initiating an independent inquiry and prosecution of those responsible at the highest level is the only way forward.

This is not an issue of partisan politics. It's a police matter... the investigation of a crime scene in which many more of us are complicit than is comfortable to recognize.

" War & Torture: Subterfuge and the Science of Repeating Lies "

by Roberto Rodriguez at, may 18, 2009

It is apparent that regardless of who is in power, conservative ideals are firmly entrenched not simply in the American psyche, but are an integral part of U.S. policies. One could blame liberals for not having a backbone when combating conservatives, but chances are that the real reason may be even more onerous; one likely explanation is governmental psychological warfare.

Why did Congress last week quietly approve almost another $100 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars? Why are displaced Mexican migrants scapegoated for all the ills of U.S. society? Why does the United States escape blame for its insatiable thirst for drugs [in fueling the drug wars in Mexico]? Why is the United States always supposed to side with Israel, without ever having a debate? Why does “war as peace” continue to be U.S. policy?

With President Obama, things were supposed to be different; the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars were supposed to come to a screeching halt. Guantanamo would be immediately closed down and torture would unequivocally be denounced and those flouting U.S. and international laws would finally be held to account in a court of law.

Instead, we see vacillation or escalation on virtually every front. Just on economic grounds alone, one would think that shutting down both wars would be a no-brainer. So the question is logical; with Obama in the White House and Democrats in control of Congress, why do conservative ideals and policies – such as the right to permanent war – continue to be entrenched throughout the U.S. political landscape?

(Media & government propaganda as part of a concerted effort to get the public to accept "torture" as an acceptable policy which they argue does not go against America's core values & that those who were tortured deserved it. Further the argument is that most Americans became by the media blitz to sell Bus & Cheney's War in Iraq.GORD.)

This confirmed what I had always suspected; this would explain how the Iraq War was sold – through an unquestioning media that simply acted liked stenographers – repeating complete fabrications, affirmed by “military experts” (in the employ of Defense contractors) that even grade school children could see through. Yet that would not have been enough to have convinced a skeptical public.

For such a special operation to work, fear, hate and ignorance had to be thrown into the mix, helping to advance the nonsensical argument that Iraq constituted a grave threat to the world. Yet, on the heels of the Cold War – in which the United States was pitted against a superpower that actually had a nuclear arsenal of thousands – Americans were supposed to be afraid of a country that, in effect, used slingshots as part of its air defense. While fear, hate and ignorance usually work in any society, all this was not enough to sell this war.

To sell the war – in fact, to sell the notion of a right to permanent worldwide war (The so-called War on Terror) – required bringing in three additional factors: God, hyper-nationalism and a “homeland.” If Bush could convince the public that God was siding with the United States against fanatical Arab/Muslim terrorists who were responsible for 9-11, then all that remained was to convince the public that it was their patriotic duty to support the president in this God-inspired civilizational war to protect the Fatherland against infidels. This civilizational Jihad or Crusade included warring against Iraq, a nation that had nothing to do with 9-11 and that had not ever been a threat to the United States (see Rumsfeld’s “religious” memos to Bush in this week’s issue of GQ.)

...While we discuss the proprieties of torture and other enhanced interrogation techniques – we never get around to discussing illegal wars that have resulted in the deaths and maiming of tens of thousands and the displacement of millions. Within this context, we ignore the larger crimes against humanity by the Bush administration and instead debate whether torture works or not.

" Knowing 'What's Good for the Country'" by Robert Parry at Consortium News &,May18,2009

Indeed, one could argue that the sanitizing of war by both U.S. politicians and the press over the last couple of decades - supposedly for "the good of the country" - has contributed to the deaths of many more U.S. soldiers and foreign civilians than any disclosure might have.

For instance, during the first Gulf War in 1991, grim photos of charred victims of U.S. aerial bombardments appeared in Europe and elsewhere but not in the United States. The U.S. news media chose to withhold the most gruesome images out of a concern that the pictures might dampen the happy national celebration as war again began to seem like fun.

By self-censoring the photos - and downplaying civilian casualties in and around Baghdad - the U.S. news media also repositioned itself as "patriotic," thus deflecting the Right's longstanding criticism of the U.S. press corps for supposedly undermining American resolve to win the Vietnam War.

The "feel-good" editorial decisions in the first Persian Gulf War surely made career sense for the well-paid talking heads. They could sit around with retired military officers and analyze the war as if it were a bloodless video game.

...Unpleasant Truths

In my three decades-plus in Washington journalism, I have witnessed the creeping opportunism behind this claim of doing "what's good for the country," which usually translates into keeping unpleasant truths from the American people and spares politicians and journalists from the difficult task of having to speak ill of some U.S. government actions.

This tendency extends beyond the battlefield, too. For instance, in early November 1968 when President Lyndon Johnson felt he was on the verge of negotiating an end to the Vietnam War, he learned that Richard Nixon's political operatives were trying to sabotage the peace talks as a means of ensuring Nixon's electoral victory.

When Johnson considered exposing Nixon's "treason," the President was dissuaded by then-Defense Secretary Clark Clifford who feared that the disclosure might undermine Nixon's legitimacy if he won the election anyway.

...There was a sense that getting to the bottom of the Iran-Contra scandal - and facing up to the roles of President Reagan and Vice President George H.W. Bush in violating the Arms Export Control Act, engaging in criminal money-laundering and defying Congress on its prohibition of military aid to the contras - would not be "good for the country."

The Disease of Permanent War by Chris Hedges,May 18, 2009

The embrace by any society of permanent war is a parasite that devours the heart and soul of a nation. Permanent war extinguishes liberal, democratic movements. It turns culture into nationalist cant. It degrades and corrupts education and the media, and wrecks the economy. The liberal, democratic forces, tasked with maintaining an open society, become impotent. The collapse of liberalism, whether in imperial Russia, the Austro-Hungarian Empire or Weimar Germany, ushers in an age of moral nihilism. This moral nihilism comes is many colors and hues. It rants and thunders in a variety of slogans, languages and ideologies. It can manifest itself in fascist salutes, communist show trials or Christian crusades. It is, at its core, all the same. It is the crude, terrifying tirade of mediocrities who find their identities and power in the perpetuation of permanent war.

It was a decline into permanent war, not Islam, which killed the liberal, democratic movements in the Arab world, ones that held great promise in the early part of the 20th century in countries such as Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Iran. It is a state of permanent war that is finishing off the liberal traditions in Israel and the United States. The moral and intellectual trolls-the Dick Cheneys, the Avigdor Liebermans, the Mahmoud Ahmadinejads - personify the moral nihilism of perpetual war. They manipulate fear and paranoia. They abolish civil liberties in the name of national security. They crush legitimate dissent. They bilk state treasuries. They stoke racism.

...Citizens in a state of permanent war are bombarded with the insidious militarized language of power, fear and strength that mask an increasingly brittle reality. The corporations behind the doctrine of permanent war-who have corrupted Leon Trotsky's doctrine of permanent revolution-must keep us afraid. Fear stops us from objecting to government spending on a bloated military. Fear means we will not ask unpleasant questions of those in power. Fear means that we will be willing to give up our rights and liberties for security. Fear keeps us penned in like domesticated animals.

Mellman, who coined the term permanent war economy to characterize the American economy, wrote that since the end of the Second World War, the federal government has spent more than half its tax dollars on past, current, and future military operations. It is the largest single sustaining activity of the government. The military industrial establishment is a very lucrative business. It is gilded corporate welfare. It comes with guaranteed profits. Defense systems are sold before they are produced. Military industries are permitted to charge the federal government for huge cost overruns. Massive profits are always guaranteed.

...Our permanent war economy has not been challenged by Obama and the Democratic Party. They support its destructive fury because it funds them. They validate its evil assumptions because to take them on is political suicide. They repeat the narrative of fear because it keeps us dormant. They do this because they have become weaker than the corporate forces that profit from permanent war.

The hollowness of our liberal classes, such as the Democrats, empowers the moral nihilists. A state of permanent war means the inevitable death of liberalism. Dick Cheney may be palpably evil while Obama is merely weak, but to those who seek to keep us in a state of permanent war it does not matter. They get what they want.
another reason for taking action against Cheney et al is because it helps to embolden those who support Dick Cheney & Torture and create various rationalizations to defend the invasion of Iraq.

also see: May 19, 2009
" Who's afraid of the CIA? McGovern: Liz Cheney's accusation of Wilkerson's "fantasy stories" would be wonderful if it were true" at Real News May 19,2009

& How Torture Trapped Colin Powell By Ray McGovern ,May 18, 2009

Four days before trying to sell the invasion of Iraq to the United Nations, Secretary of State Colin Powell was ready to scrap dubious allegations about Saddam Hussein’s ties to al-Qaeda but was dissuaded by top CIA officials who cited a new “bombshell” that now appears to have been derived from torture, a top Powell aide says.

So some argue that only a fringe group of Americans are actually interested in the issue of torture.This is just another attempt by the establishment Media to down-play the whole issue of Torture . Are they afraid that they too will be seen as enablers of the renegae criminal Bush/Cheney Regime ?

While at least 40% to over 50% of Americans want more information released on torture & also want some form of independent investigation there are those who claim very few Americans are interested in the issue. As Glenn Greenwald notes there are even democrats making such an erroneous claim.

Distorting public opinion on torture investigations by Glenn Greenwald,at, May 19,2009

And Neocons such as Bill Kristol extols the virtues of Dick Cheney as a spokesperson for the Republicans and the Conservative movement in America. This illustrates another reason for investigating & prosecuting Cheney & his co-conspirators for their crimes from torture to BSing America & the world into supporting the invasion & occupation of Iraq.Not taking action against them merely emboldens their supporters who believe that if these people are not investigated or brought to trial it therefore means that what they did was not illegal or immoral but rather a mere policy decision & that the use of torture kept America safe over the last eight years.

" Bill Kristol Loves Dick Cheney " by Satyam Khanna, Think Progress,May 16,2009. Kristol: "Dick Cheney, most valuable Republican."
and so it goes,

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