Once again, it's Sunday's favorite talking heads GOP puppet John McCain who's running off at the mouth without really thinking of what he's saying. Along with his apology for overstating the significance of the Obama-Raul Castro handshake, McCain took to the winds with another tack.
This time it's the Obama White House not doing enough to find an American who disappeared while on a secret intelligence mission to Iran back in March of 2007. If you start first with the date, you'll find it's nearly two years before Obama was first inaugurated. If we're going to place initial blame on anyone, it should be the Bush Administration which had been in total charge of the CIA for over 7 years at that time.
Initially the report of American Robert Levinson going missing in Iran was that he was a U.S. citizen, a tourist. No mention was made publicly that he actually was a CIA spy. And realistically, getting caught is a routine risk these brave men and women serving in that capacity run. Though I'm not a CIA operative or know for sure, I've certainly heard through numbers of articles and documentaries that agents are told that their affiliation with "the organization" or "the Company" would be denied. So why the CIA didn't come forward to report US spy Robert Levinson went missing and is believed to be in Iranian hands makes a lot of sense.
Yet not to Senator McClain. According to Talking Points Memo:
McCain said he is confident the U.S. is doing all it can to learn what has happened to Robert Levinson, but he told CNN's "State of the Union" the CIA has not been forthcoming with the Congress about him.
With all the leaks the Congress is responsible for -- just look to Darrell Issa as a perfect example -- it's understandable sharing this kind of news with every congressperson is irresponsible. Maybe it was shared, but not with McCain or his committees. It might have been shared with others. Yet even if it wasn't disseminated, who do you point the finger at? I'd think the sitting president who in this case was George W. Bush.
The U.S. long has publicly described Levinson as a private citizen who traveled to an Iranian island on private business. McCain, R-Ariz., told CNN "the CIA did not tell the truth to the Congress" about Levinson.
As of this writing, the Iranian government actually has denied they are holding U.S. Spy, Levinson. and let's hope their right. It was only last week that the issue of Levinson being a CIA operative came to light:
An Associated Press investigation published last week found that Levinson was working for the CIA -- investigating the Iranian government. The U.S. long has publicly described Levinson as a private citizen who traveled to an Iranian island on private business.
How the AP got this info is something the CIA and perhaps congress might want to look into. But to have McCain going out on national television, taking away some deniability by the CIA on this man's true identity and his mission puts Levinson's life in a more precarious position. Frankly, it's irresponsible.
There still is no definitive proof of CIA sanctioned activity by Levinson.
After he vanished, the CIA at first told lawmakers he had previously done contract work for the agency, but he had no current relationship with the agency and there was no connection to Iran. However, in October 2007, Levinson's lawyer discovered emails in which Levinson told a CIA friend that he was working to develop a source with access to the Iranian government. The emails were turned over to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which touched off an internal CIA investigation.
Three veteran analysts were forced out of the CIA and seven others were disciplined as a result of a breach of agency rules.
Well if Levinson went rogue, it was bad enough. Sharing that news with others was his risk. But when this info came to light, the CIA did what it was supposed to do. It notified Congress. More so, it took action by firing and disciplining those guilty of leaking this info or taking part in this activity. Now McCain joins the public fray. Perhaps an investigation sanction against the senator from Arizona is called for.
Darrell Issa, are you listening?
To hear the NSA folks, at least James Clapper, our Director of National Intelligence, domestic phone calls are not being listened to without a FISA issued warrant.
Okay, he lied to Congress. They are being listened to. But the contents are not being shared -- at least publicly, or so Pinocchio Clapper claims. Well we here at the Political Carnival have uncovered the proof by intercepting photos leaked by Edward Snowden and meant for Julian Assange at Wikileaks.
How much more proof do we need?
Oh goody! Just what we need! Go Brennan!
The acting chief of the CIA's operations wing ran a secret "black site" prison overseas after the 2001 terrorist attacks and later signed off on the decision to destroy videotapes of brutal interrogations, according to current and former U.S. officials. The woman, who remains undercover, now is one of several candidates that CIA chief John Brennan is considering to head the National Clandestine Service, which conducts espionage overseas and runs the agency's paramilitary operations. [...]
The CIA is preparing to dispute the report's conclusions, sources said.
[From] Brennan’s December 5, 2005 appearance on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, in which he vehemently defended the Bush administration’s use of rendition — one of the key tools to subject detainees to torture:
JOHN BRENNAN: I think it’s an absolutely vital tool. I have been intimately familiar now over the past decade with the cases of rendition that the U.S. Government has been involved in. And I can say without a doubt that it has been very successful as far as producing intelligence that has saved lives.
In November, 2007, Brennan — in an interview with CBS News’ Harry Smith — issued a ringing endorsement for so-called “enhanced interrogation tactics” short of waterboarding:
Mr. BRENNAN: There have been a lot of information that has come out from these interrogation procedures that the agency has in fact used against the real hard-core terrorists. It has saved lives. And let’s not forget, these are hardened terrorists who have been responsible for 9/11, who have shown no remorse at all for the deaths of 3,000 innocents.
When in doubt, revive and aggravate existing anger over egregious actions (the now-discredited CIA detention and torture programs) by sticking by and promoting those who were a part of them. That's the way to move forward, everyone knows that.
The Senate on Thursday afternoon approved John O. Brennan’s nomination to lead the Central Intelligence Agency by a vote of 63 to 34. The vote followed a filibuster by Senator Rand Paul, who spent nearly 13 hours on the Senate floor in pursuit of more information about the administration’s domestic drone policy.
After receiving a brief letter from Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. assuring him that the president does not have the “authority to use a drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil,” Mr. Paul declared his effort a success, and ultimately voted to end debate (though against the nomination), bringing the total votes in favor of cloture to 81 over 16 against.
Every now and then on Twitter, I get a notification of an impending "Twitter bomb." That means that at a specified time, as many people as possible organize to tweet a certain hashtag (#) so that a message will be sent out in large numbers, simultaneously, get a lot of attention, and hopefully trend.
Last night I got word that
#WhyRepublicansNeedToGo would be the hashtag du jour. I decided to jump in for the heck of it and posted a couple of tweets like (if I remember correctly): " #WhyRepublicansNeedToGo Two words: Eric Cantor. Two more: Paul Ryan" and " #WhyRepublicansNeedToGo Gay rights, civil rights, women's rights, voting rights, and that's just for starters."
I mentioned nothing about Rand Paul (who delivered the ninth longest filibuster in U.S. history), other than to retweet breaking news updates. I didn't say whether I agreed or disagreed with him or with the speaking filibuster or with his efforts to block John Brennan's confirmation. I offered no opinion one way or the other.
However, had anyone bothered to ask, which nobody did, I would have said that I support a speaking filibuster (and oppose incessant GOP obstruction), I am not thrilled with Brennan, I am against the use of drones to target Americans, I am for major oversight of the use of drones by any president, I am for due process, getting a fair trial in a U.S. (civilian) court of law, and against assassinating Americans and denying them the option to give themselves up.
That said, I got an onslaught of trolls, all of them Rand Paul devotees, sending inane, nasty, baiting, and/or stupid tweets last night shortly after Twitter Bomb Thirty.
I'm sharing a few of them with you because 1) I've been meaning to do expose you to some of the extreme comments I get for awhile now to show you what many of us deal with on a daily basis, and 2) to point out the mentality of most of the tweets I get from Republicans and Libertarians. They always initiate these direct "conversations," I never do.
What concerns me is not so much the infantile nature of the tweets, because that's easy enough to ignore, but that so many people (or perhaps bots, accounts created solely for this purpose) have such hostility, anger, misinformation, ignorance, and feel the necessity to repeatedly direct it at those with whom they disagree. Even after I inform trolls that they are being blocked, they continue to obliviously tweet me as if I can see their tweets (there are ways to see them, which is how I know they do this).
Their irrationality and rage infects nearly every tweet.
Republicans, be careful what and whom you rile up, incite, and embrace. As the Southern Poverty Law Center is warning, this is fast becoming another Oklahoma City bombing waiting to happen:
Below are a few samples of what I was bombarded with last night. Notably, a recurring theme is that, after they enter my stream with intentionally provocative tweets and/or misinformation and I choose to block, they default to phony outrage. They get huffy and whiny over being deprived of their First Amendment rights, which of course, pertain to government censorship, not Twitter's option to block tweets:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Welcome to my world:
@CreepySteveEnt (Bio: "game dev hobbyist"):
Keep drinking the blue Kool-aid. If this was a Democrat in 2006, your panties would have been wet.
if you were a dude, I'd have replaced that last part about with "jerking off." Not everything that references sex is sexist
but, I guess its easier to just yell "sexist" than try to understand why people think you are an idiot.
Not every mention of skin color is racist. Not every reference to vaginas is sexist. Get over yourself
u r fucking braindamaged. "You'd be jerking off about a Democrat doing the same in 2006" wouldn't be called sexist
But, because I was referencing a girl... Completely different. Typical liberal victim syndrome.
People don't say mean things 2 u because of ur sex. They say mean things 2 u because you have your head up ur ass.
I didn't know that I lacked rights as a woman. Are you referring to little women in the womb? (I remember commenting about how developed the fetus must be if she's referring to it as a little woman)
Another liberal that hates free speech if it means having a different opinion: @GottaLaff who blocks people she's too ignorant to debate.
@JustinYoung30 (who apparently thinks teachers are worthy of disdain): @GottaLaff no shit you're not a republican. That's your problem. I'm gonna guess you're a teacher or leaching the system @goodolick (3 followers, and please note the spelling of "you're" from the account who called me stupid.):
@GottaLaff your a special kind of stupid aren't you?
#WhyRepublicansNeedToGo Whoever created this ignorant hashtag is on food stamps. @KicheMalko (Bio: hard and raw with no regard for the law): @GottaLaff "civil rights" like letting illegal immigrants live have welfare and food stamps? "voting rights" like let illegals vote? @GottaLaff i dont know how im being rude but i think you need to be a little more educated on something called the constitution (I believe I reminded Malko that civil rights are indeed constitutional and that nobody has ever suggested that anyone should be allowed to vote illegally.)
What is the cause of all their anger? Why do they feel so afraid? Is it our African American president? Is it that whites are becoming a minority? Is it that they have an unhealthy reliance on firearms and solving problems with violence, so they feel common sense gun safety measures are a threat? Is it the "civil war" within their own party that makes them uneasy? They're feeling powerless, so they have to dominate in inappropriate and dangerous ways?
Whatever it is, it is not good for this country, and they need to start listening more, agree to disagree, grow up, read and become aware of facts instead of relying solely on sources like Fox for their talking points, educate themselves, research, become more willing to hear opposing views, try using some civility, empathize, and realize we're all in this together.
Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:
"Everytime Dick Cheney laughs, an angel gets stabbed in the back," Jon Stewart declared the other night in a take down of Dick Cheney.
Cheney, whose vampire heart is still beating due to a defibrillator he has strapped to his body, recently took to the airwaves to trash President Obama's foreign policy, including the recent appointment of John Brennan to head the CIA, denouncing him as a "yes man" to Obama. Now, Truthout at BuzzFlash has many objections to Brennan's nomination, starting with his ownership of the infamous Obama administration "kill list." But given that Brennan held senior intelligence positions in both the White House and CIA under the Bush/Cheney administration, Cheney is basically denouncing his own stewardship on intelligence matters. [...]
Cheney – along with Donald "Known Unknown" Rumsfeld -- who co-quarterbacked a campaign of deception to lead us into the disastrous and deadly Iraq War. [...]
As a symbol of how destructive Cheney was to the national interest, [Valerie] Plame specialized in reducing the risks of rogue nations obtaining nuclear weapons or materials. In short, Cheney and his loyalists (and Karl Rove escaped indictment for the Plame leak by a hair) seriously compromised a US intelligence effort to reduce the spread of nuclear weapons and material just after justifying a calamitous invasion of Iraq with the chief untruthful assertion that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist. [...]
Isn't it long past time to just say, "Stuff it Dick!"
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Kuwaiti Citizen Detained at Guantanamo since 2002
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