Archive for Donald Rumsfeld

Gitmo's Penny Lane Marriott - A Terrorist's "Home Away From Home"

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Guantanamo Bay

Ah, the spy game. When it comes to our national security, who better than George W. Bush and his neo-cons to oversee top secret programs? You remember GW, the man who ignored warnings of a possible attack on 9-11; the chief executive who felt it more important to read to kindergarten students when told of the attack than move to defend this country; the President who ordered Air Force One to the wrong position after the terrorists attack; and the man who raged war against the wrong country for weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist. Let's face it, this dude was in over his head. But only now are we finding out the further adventures in counter-terrorism of our former leader. Seems, according to the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In the early years after 9/11, the CIA turned some Guantanamo Bay prisoners into double agents then sent them home to help the U.S. kill terrorists, current and former U.S. officials said.

The CIA promised the prisoners freedom, safety for their families and millions of dollars from the agency's secret accounts.

It was a risky gamble. Officials knew there was a chance that some prisoners might quickly spurn their deal and kill Americans.

For the CIA, that was an acceptable risk in a dangerous business. For the American public, which was never told, the program was one of the many secret trade-offs the government made on its behalf. At the same time the government used the risk of terrorism to justify imprisoning people indefinitely, it was releasing dangerous people from prison to work for the CIA.

The idea that infiltrating Al Qaeda to prevent more attacks is very sound. But how you do it takes some really well thought out assessment. And GW wasn't the guy to make that decision. Nor were his cohorts, Cheney and Rumsfeld.

So the pool of candidates was the Gitmo prisoners. Okay, maybe they were a logical place to start. But with all the torture and waterboarding going on, could these prisoners be trusted? What was to stop them from just lying and making it easier on themselves?

Candidates were ushered from the confines of prison to Penny Lane's (the cottages used for the double-agent trainees) relative hominess, officials said. The cottages had private kitchens, showers and televisions. Each had a small patio.

Some prisoners asked for and received pornography. One official said the biggest luxury in each cottage was the bed - not a military-issued cot but a real bed with a mattress.

The cottages were designed to feel more like hotel rooms than prison cells, and some CIA officials jokingly referred to them collectively as the Marriott.

Marriott Hotel

So, those were the conditions at the Gitmo Marriott. With treatment like that, I'm sure the program was a huge success -- so many volunteers that you had to beat them off with a stick -- if you weren't already beating them with a stick.

This was sure to be a successful program.

The U.S. government says it has confirmed that about 16 percent of former Guantanamo Bay detainees rejoined the fight against America. Officials suspect but have not confirmed that another 12 percent more rejoined.

That would make for a potential of roughly 3 in 10 returned to their old ways and killed American soldiers. A 70% win rate might be good in baseball or basketball, but it sure isn't in counter-intelligence. Each mistake made there could have cost hundreds of lives. But what can you expect from these hijacked soldiers, cuffed and hooded and whisked off to the balmy shores of Cuba?

Vice President Dick Cheney called the prisoners "the worst of a very bad lot." Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said they were "among the most dangerous, best trained, vicious killers on the face of the Earth."

Now isn't that a great pool of volunteers. I guess Bush and company saw something in these truly dangerous men that the outside world might find hard to see. It must be like trying to train people to have charisma or to grow taller, or develop a discerning sense for smell.

The U.S. government had such high hopes for Penny Lane that one former intelligence official recalled discussions about whether to secretly release a pair of Pakistani men into the United States on student or business visas. The hope was that they would connect with al-Qaida and lead authorities to members of a U.S. cell.

Of course. What a great plan! Finance, arm and set up the worst of the worst on American soil, setting them free to roam among us. No risk there. That's the surest way for the Al Qaeda guys in the middle east to pick up former freedom fighter ex-patriots and enlist them to run the domestic cells here. Surely nobody in the Al Qaeda hierarchy would be suspicious that these guys who were captured in Iraq, held prisoner in Guantanamo, then set free on U.S mainland soil with walking around money might have cut a deal and been secret double agents.

George W. must have thought the masterminds of the 9-11 attack would be pretty ignorant? Maybe he was looking at a group picture of his own cabinet and thought, hey, it's worked on these idiots.

So, how successful was the genius executive branch plan for counter-intelligence, code named, Penny Lane?

There's not a single shred of evidence than any of these turned double agents provided any intel that caused a disruption in any of the Iraq war plans. So much for the Republican brain trust and the neo-cons who actually ran our country and choreographed the war.

And these are the same people, the same party, that are imploring us to not seek out a peaceful solution the the nuclear potential in Iran. Let's see, trust the administration that ended the war in Iraq, is winding down the war in Afghanistan, tracked down Bin Laden, found a peaceful means of removing Syria's chemical weapons... or the people who started the war in Iraq to start with -- over faulty intelligence or just plain lies?

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Video- Donald Rumsfeld Blasts Obama's 'Red Line': He Will 'Blame Everybody and Anybody’ But Himself

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Ah, he of the unknown knowms passing on his pearls of wisdom. Via.

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Video- Rumsfeld ‘Can’t Tell’ If Obama Has Switched Sides In War On Terror

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Yep, a traitor that purposely sent our soldiers to war ill-equipped is wondering about President Obama. Yep yep yep. Via.

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Video- The Daily Show: Jon Stewart calls out Rumsfeld and Cheney for daring to talk about Benghazi

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h/t.

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New horrifying report-- 2004: Rumsfeld, Cheney, Col. Jim Steele, secret detention centers, and of course, torture

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jim steele torture iraq war

Please, just go read the entire article at The Guardian. It's substantive, it's a little long, but it's a must-read.There's video there, too. Two of the videos are only seconds long:

On the 10th anniversary of the Iraq invasion, the allegations of American links to the units that eventually accelerated Iraq's descent into civil war cast the US occupation in a new and even more controversial light. The investigation was sparked over a year ago by millions of classified US military documents dumped onto the internet and their mysterious references to US soldiers ordered to ignore torture. Private Bradley Manning, 25, is facing a 20-year sentence, accused of leaking military secrets.

Steele's contribution was pivotal. He was the covert US figure behind the intelligence gathering of the new commando units. [...]

Steele's career hit an unexpected buffer when he was embroiled in the Iran-Contra affair. ... While the congressional inquiry that followed put an end to Steele's military ambitions, it did win him the admiration of then congressman Dick Cheney who sat on the committee and admired Steele's efforts fighting leftists in both Nicaragua and El Salvador. [...]

But it was the actions of the commandos inside the detention centres that raises the most troubling questions for their American masters. Desperate for information, the commandos set up a network of secret detention centres where insurgents could be brought and information extracted from them.

The commandos used the most brutal methods to make detainees talk. ... [T]hey knew exactly what was going on and were even supplying the commandos with lists of people they wanted brought in. [...]

"We were having lunch. Col Steele, Col Coffman, and the door opened and Captain Jabr was there torturing a prisoner. He [the victim] was hanging upside down and Steele got up and just closed the door, he didn't say anything – it was just normal for him."

David Petraeus's name pops up a lot in the piece, too.

Will someone explain to me why there have been no prosecutions of Bush administration participants in these crimes? The details in the Guardian article are horrifying.

A terrible precedent has been set, and nobody has been held legally responsible. Rachel Maddow sure tried to make waves, but it seems that moment came and went pretty quickly.

Back to Dick Cheney, who tried to promote Jim Steele to general back in 1991:

The leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee, questioning the truthfulness of his testimony, refused to act on the Army`s request to promote Steele to brigadier general in 1988.

Defense Secretary Dick Cheney`s office then delayed a second attempt to promote Steele for more than 1 1/2 years while Iran-contra special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh also scrutinized Steele`s actions, several sources said. [...]

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who opposed Steele`s promotion in 1988, said he plans to urge Sens. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and John Warner (R-Va.), the committee`s ranking minority member, to stop it again...  "Serious questions about Col. Steele`s role in the (contra supply) operations and his association with Oliver North have yet to be answered," Harkin said.

If all this isn't getting your blood boiling, check out these two posts. One is by my dear friend Jason Leopold: EXCLUSIVE: Mystery Behind Guantanamo Prisoner's Suicide Endures, Despite Release of Autopsy Report.

The other is by another pal, Jeff Kaye: “A growing feeling here that death is the road out of Guantanamo”, which starts out with this:

“What would you do if your brother or uncle was kidnapped, sold, and beaten in a prison for 11 years without charge?”

Here's my own recent update on Fayiz Al-Kandari: After 11 years, still no justice for this Kuwaiti Gitmo prisoner. #FreeFayiz.

I also covered the hunger strike here: Gitmo “is forgotten and its condemned men will never get an opportunity to prove their innocence or be free.”

______________________________________________

here; That link includes one specific to only *Fayiz al-Kandari’s story here.

Here are audio and video interviews with Lt. Col. Wingard, one by David Shuster, one by Ana Marie Cox, and more. My guest commentary at BuzzFlash is here.

Lt. Col. Barry Wingard is a military attorney who represents Fayiz Al-Kandari in the Military Commission process and in no way represents the opinions of his home state. When not on active duty, Colonel Wingard is a public defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

If you’d like to see ways you can take action, go here and scroll down to the end of the article.

Then read Jane Mayer’s book The Dark Side. You’ll have a much greater understanding of why I post endlessly about this, and why I’m all over the CIA deception issues, too.

More of Fayiz’s story here, at Answers.com.

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Hagel Gets Filibustered by GOP, While Dems Unanimously Backed Cheney, Rumsfeld for Defense Secretary

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dog roll over

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

So the Senate GOP successfully filibustered the nomination of Chuck Hagel to become Secretary of Defense, replacing Leon Panetta.  This is the first time that a defense secretary nomination has been stalled by a filibuster – and this is a filibuster to prevent a vote from even happening.

In part, Harry Reid and Carl Levin deserve some of the blame for this, because per the flaccid Democratic caucus, they led the opposition to eliminating obstructive non-filibuster filibusters such as this.  [...]

Hey, Harry, they are hardwired to be pernicious and ignore civility, what did you expect?

Meanwhile, Lindsey Graham – one of the three pro-war amigos with John McCain and ex-Senator Joe Lieberman – is "demanding" more answers on Benghazi.  Good grief, will someone give that man a sedative?  This Benghazi nonsense has been virtually the sole GOP foreign policy concern for months now.  And it comes from a caucus that gave carte blanche to the multiple deceptions and lies that the Bush/Cheney administration used to launch a ruinous war in Iraq.  We should also mention that it is the same caucus that gave Bush a pass on 9/11, even though he had been warned that something like the terrorist attack was probably imminent – and he did absolutely nothing to prevent it.

Compare the treatment of Hagel to how the Democrats historically dealt with Dick Cheney's nomination as secretary of defense under President George Herbert Walker Bush.  The Dickster received a 92-0 confirmation vote – no dissenting Democratic senators there.  

The second time Rumsfeld was nominated for secretary of defense (he had first served in that position under President Gerald Ford), he was approved along with six other George W. Bush cabinet nominees by a voice vote in the Senate [...]

There's a lesson to be learned here for the Democrats in the Senate: speak loudly and carry a big stick, but they never appear to learn it.

Please read the entire post here.

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VIDEO: #OccupyNashville infiltrates Donald Rumsfeld dinner

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on Nov 17, 2011

Occupy Nashville Infiltrators tell their story of infiltrating a $125-dollar-a-plate dinner for Donald Rumsfeld's book tour in Nashville, TN.

Here's the news report:



Southern Beale's comment says it all:

A lot of people raked in tons of money off the blood and torture that is our Iraq military misadventure. That just turns my stomach. Hey, Heritage Foundation: if this is the “heritage” you’re so proud of — war profiteering, torture, lies and fearmongering that forced the nation into a needless war so ExxonMobil can grab Iraq’s oil — then I have nothing but contempt for you.

H/t: @Litzz11

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