Saturday, January 10, 2015

Dick Cheney Wins?  (Fairy Tales from Paris) Illogical Thinking About Terrorists?  (CIA's Hidden Hand in 'Democracy' Groups)

This Was Dick Cheney’s Coup:  Why America’s Torture “Reform” Is A Total Sham

. . . Feinstein’s first recommendation — basically to formalize into law the Executive Order the president issued on his second day in office banning most kinds of physical torture — has received the most attention. It aspires to “close all torture loopholes,” without saying that the biggest “torture loophole” remains executive branch unwillingness to enforce laws prohibiting torture that are already on the books.

DOJ won’t do that, in large part, because those illegal actions were authorized by presidential order as part of a covert operation.

Which brings us to the more interesting part of Feinstein’s recommendations: a series of measures, which the president can implement on his own authority, to improve executive branch management of covert operations.

In addition to more readily sharing information with Congress (which Obama doesn’t even do on drone strikes), strengthening CIA’s Office of Inspector General (the current inspector general retired almost at the moment Feinstein released this letter), videotaping interrogations and improving CIA management and accountability, Feinstein recommended that the White House’s National Security Council improve its oversight of covert operations.

That last recommendation seems to stem from one of the findings from the report that “CIA impeded effective White House oversight and decision-making.”

The report supported that claim with some interesting details: “no CIA officer, up to and including CIA Directors George Tenet and Porter Goss, briefed the president on the specific CIA enhanced interrogation techniques before April 2006,” the summary findings claimed.

Secretary of State Colin Powell and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, “both principals on the National Security Council – were not briefed on program specifics until September 2003,” it added, in part because Powell would have “blown his stack” had he learned CIA was using torture. CIA even gave inaccurate information at a July 29, 2003, Principals Committee meeting where Bush’s top aides reauthorized torture.

These details would seem to support the case that the the White House and NSC were letting CIA run wild torturing people. Until you note that the summary language makes it clear the White House itself decided to keep the torture program hidden from Powell. Or you read the fine print that describes how White House counsel Alberto Gonzales first eliminated any mention of waterboarding from talking points that would be used to brief the president.

Then someone — the report doesn’t say who — informed “‘Dr. Rice … that there would be no briefing of the President on this matter,’ but that [CIA Director George Tenet] had policy approval to employ the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques.” That is, some select members of the Cabinet and the president may have been insulated from briefings on the specifics of the torture (though in his memoir, President Bush disputes even this claim), but that was all driven by White House decisions to keep them in the dark.

Moreover, the story the Torture Report presents of a White House entirely insulated from the gruesome details of torture rests on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s own willingness to remain in the dark.

During the course of the study, CIA withheld (or stole back) 9,000 documents they said involved White House equities. Feinstein’s committee never demanded the CIA turn over those documents, nor even requested the White House formally invoke executive privilege over them. In other words, the Senate Intelligence Committee allowed itself to remain ignorant about just how ignorant the White House and NSC really were about torture.

The Senate report did not even cite from the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility’s report on John Yoo’s role in authorizing torture, which showed he consulted with Alberto Gonzales and Vice President Cheney counsel David Addington at key moments when writing the torture memos (something that the House Judiciary Committee had questioned both Yoo and Addington about in 2008).

Addington’s appearance at that hearing was notable for the discussion of whether the Office of the Vice President was a “barnacle branch” of government immune from congressional oversight. “Congress lacks the constitutional power to regulate by a law what a Vice President communicates in the performance of the Vice President’s official duties,” Addington presented in a letter to the committee. But he did at least show up and dodge questions about his role in torture.

All jokes about barnacle branches aside, the Bush White House’s unwillingness to provide — and the Senate Intelligence Committee’s failure to obtain — more information about White House involvement in torture illustrates the problem with Feinstein’s recommendation (after she lost most of her power to force the issue) that the White House exercise more oversight over covert operations.

Covert operations in general — and covert operations authorized by the Presidential Authorization used for torture in particular – are about deniability. After 9/11, CIA worked together with the White House to craft a programmatic “Finding” authorizing a range of counterterrorism policies that would give CIA significant flexibility in implementing those policies, while giving the White House enhanced deniability about their conduct.

The White House used that “finding” not just to authorize torture, but also to authorize CIA’s drone-killing of top al-Qaida officials, a policy Obama expanded. While public reports have claimed that drone strikes were micromanaged by Obama’s NSC — more particularly, by current CIA Director John Brennan — they still suffered from some of the same problems of accountability that torture did, especially false claims about results. That happened under Feinstein’s tenure at the Intelligence Committee.

So while it’s nice to recommend — after losing the ability to force the issue — that the president make sure his White House exercises more oversight over covert operations, decades of history, and Sen. Feinstein’s own tenure as Intelligence Committee chair, suggest that’s not the way it works. So long as the president is permitted to demand vast powers to authorize covert operations with whatever oversight it deigns to accept from the Intelligence Committee, we will continue to have botched, ill-considered and egregious covert ops. That’s the nature of barely checked executive power.

Which means Feinstein’s recommendations may serve to accurately assess the symptoms of what went wrong with torture — and many other covert operations — but do little to address the underlying power structures that will permit such atrocities from happening in the future.

Marcy Wheeler writes at and is the author of "Anatomy of Deceit."

Pepe Escobar has a pretty definitive take on what happened in Paris as the self-described U.S.-trained al-Qaeda-in-Yemen murderers struck down 12 innocents (4 more still in serious condition).

Unless you believe in fairy tales. (But who doesn't today? It's like the flu shot (which has been reported to contain the wrong virus in the vaccination this year).)

Putin did it. Sorry, he didn't. In the end, it was not Russia "aggression" that attacked the heart of Europe. It was a pro-style jihadi commando. Cui bono?

Careful planning and preparation; Kalashnikovs; rocket-propelled grenade launcher; balaclavas; sand-colored ammunition vest stuffed with spare magazines; army boots; piece of cake escape in a black Citroen. And the icing on the lethal cake; faultless Paris-based logistical support to pull that off. A former top French military commander, Frederic Gallois, has stressed the perfect application of "urban guerrilla technique" (where are those notorious Western counter-terrorism "experts" when one needs them?)

They might have spoken perfect French; others said it was broken French. Anyway, what matters is that they uttered the magic word; "We're al-Qaeda." Better yet; they told a man in the street, "Tell the media that this is al-Qaeda in Yemen", which means, in American terror terminology, al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP), which had Charlie Hebdo's editor/cartoonist Stephane Charbonnier ("Charb") on a hit list duly promoted by AQAP's glossy magazine Inspire. Accusation:  "Insulting the Prophet Mohammed."

And just to make sure everyone had the perpetrators implanted on their brain, the killers also said, "Allahu Akbar"; "We have killed Charlie Hebdo"; and "We have avenged the Prophet."

Case closed? Well, it took only a few hours for French police to identify the (usual?) suspects; French-Algerian brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi. The third man - the driver of the black Citroen, 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad - then turned himself in with an ironclad alibi. So the third man remains a cipher. . . .

- Pepe Escobar's latest book is Empire of Chaos.

Thierry Meyssan says the Press is being illogical and it's completely missed that the attack could have been a false flag meant to trigger civil war in France.

Crazy talk?

Or just too close a history reading?

It gets stranger and stranger seeing Allah-worshipping middle easterners acting more like vengeful westerners. You'd think the folks planning these events had never studied the different cultural history of this area, wouldn't you? It's almost like they think the easterners waged the Crusades against those white-hatted Christians.

. . . members or sympathizers of the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda or Daesh would not be content to just kill atheist cartoonists; they would have first destroyed the archives of the newspaper on site, following the model of all their actions in North Africa and the Levant. For jihadists, the first duty is to destroy the objects that they believe offend God, and to punish the "enemies of God."

Similarly, they would not have immediately retreated, fleeing the police, without completing their mission. They would rather have completed their mission, were they to die on the spot.

In addition, videos and some evidence shows that the attackers are professionals. They wielded their weapons expertly and fired advisedly. They were not dressed in the fashion of the jihadists, but as military commandos.

How they dispatched a wounded policeman who posed no danger to them, certifies that their mission was not to "avenge Muhammad" because of the crass humor of Charlie Hebdo.
. . . Sponsors for the attack knew it would cause a divide between French Muslims and French non-Muslims. Charlie Hebdo had specialized in anti-Muslim provocation and most Muslims in France have been directly or indirectly their victims. Though the Muslims of France will surely condemn this attack, it will be difficult for them to experience as much pain for the victims as felt by the readers of the newspaper. This will be seen by some as complicity with the murderers.
Therefore, rather than seeing this as an extremely deadly Islamist attack of revenge against the newspaper that published the Mohammed cartoons and multiplied front page anti-Muslim headlines, it would be more logical to consider that it is the first episode of a process to trigger a civil war.
. . . The ideology and strategy of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and Daesh does not advocate the creation of civil war in the ’West’, but on the contrary to create it in the "East" and hermetically separate the two worlds. Never has Sayyid Qutb, nor any of his successors, called to provoke confrontation between Muslims and non-Muslims in the territories of the latter.
On the contrary, the strategy of the "clash of civilizations" was formulated by Bernard Lewis for the US National Security Council then popularized by Samuel Huntington not as a strategy of conquest, but as a predictable situation. [1] It aimed to persuade NATO member group populations of the inevitability of confrontation that preventively assumed the form of the "war on terrorism".
It is not in Cairo, Riyadh or Kabul that one advocates the "clash of civilizations," but in Washington and Tel Aviv.
The sponsors of the attack against Charlie Hebdo did not seek to satisfy jihadists or the Taliban, but neo-conservatives or liberal hawks.


We'll hear next, probably, how Putin personally employed these young brown-skinned men. But wait, they're dead now so it'll be tough to ask them any personal questions.

Oh, and these two young men were according to Reuters "one of the worst threats to (France's) internal security in decades."

And the CIA funded lefties (as well as the righties and centeries) all along?

Say it ain't so, Joe (Stalin)!

When I wrote about that memo in my 1992 book, Fooling America, Freedom House denied receiving any White House money or collaborating with any CIA/NSC propaganda campaign. In a letter, Freedom House’s Sussman called Raymond “a second-hand source” and insisted that “this organization did not need any special funding to take positions … on any foreign-policy issues.”
But it made little sense that Raymond would have lied to a superior in an internal memo. And clearly, Freedom House remained central to the Reagan administration’s schemes for aiding groups supportive of its Central American policies, particularly the CIA-organized Contra war against the leftist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua.

In an Aug. 9, 1983 memo, Raymond outlined plans to arrange private backing for that effort. He said USIA Director Wick “via [Australian publishing magnate Rupert] Murdock [sic], may be able to draw down added funds” to support pro-Reagan initiatives. Raymond recommended “funding via Freedom House or some other structure that has credibility in the political center.”

Raymond remained a CIA officer until April 1983 when he resigned so – in his words – “there would be no question whatsoever of any contamination of this” propaganda operation to woo the American people into supporting Reagan’s policies.
But Raymond, who had been one of the CIA’s top propaganda and disinformation specialists, continued to act toward the U.S. public much like a CIA officer would in directing a propaganda operation in a hostile foreign country.

End of extended joke.

We wish.


TONY said...

Note to self. Get Pepe Escobars book.

Cirze said...


(Send me a copy?)

Love ya!