Archive for John Brennan

Torture worse than waterboarding: Inside the Senate report on CIA interrogations

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

bush torture larger

Did you know that waterboarding was the "least worst" method of torture used on high-value detainees by the CIA under the Bush administration's watch?

My dear friend and one of the best investigative reporters out there, Jason Leopold, went on Nicole Sandler's radio show just before my weekly spot. He's a tough act to follow, especially when he reveals what the corporate "news" media won't touch with a ten-foot ad buy. Which is why you haven't heard about the "not legally authorized" torture "techniques" that will likely turn many American stomachs once details are finally (if ever) made public.

Now, because Jason has made such good and plentiful use of the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act), he is being called a "FOIA terrorist" and has had to deal with considerable blowback from some very powerful people in very powerful places. IMHO, the reason they feel so "terrorized" is that they're scared to death of Jason's reporting and the truths he brings to light.

Here are a few excerpts from Jason's Al Jazeera America piece:

A still-classified report on the CIA's interrogation program established in the wake of 9/11 sparked a furious row last week between the agency and Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein. Al Jazeera has learned from sources familiar with its contents that the committee's report alleges that at least one high-value detainee was subjected to torture techniques that went beyond those authorized by George W. Bush's Justice Department.

Two Senate staffers and a U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the information they disclosed remains classified, told Al Jazeera that the committee's analysis of 6 million pages of classified records also found that some of the harsh measures authorized by the Department of Justice had been applied to at least one detainee before such legal authorization was received. They said the report suggests that the CIA knowingly misled the White House, Congress and the Justice Department about the intelligence value of detainee Zain Abidin Mohammed Husain Abu Zubaydah when using his case to argue in favor of harsher interrogation techniques. [...]

Even before accessing the documents, committee staffers received crucial information in a briefing from former FBI agent Ali Soufan in early 2008, according to Al Jazeera’s sources. Soufan — who now runs a private security and intelligence consultancy — told the staffers that he had kept meticulous notes about the methods used by a psychologist under CIA contract to interrogate Abu Zubaydah at a CIA black site in Thailand after his capture in Pakistan in March of 2002. Soufan's account, the staffers say, shows that torture techniques were used on Abu Zubaydah even before some had been sanctioned as permissible by the Bush administration. [...]

Two Senate staffers told Al Jazeera that the Panetta documents question the Bush administration claims about the efficacy of Abu Zubaydah’s torture, and the staffers noted that some of the techniques to which he was subjected early in his captivity had not yet been authorized.

Jason explained that the previously undisclosed torture methods made waterboarding seem like the least ghastly practice by comparison... and perhaps that's why the public focus was (intentionally) on waterboarding. See the shiny, inhumane keys? Now move along.

You can hear Jason talk about these revelations in his own words here (podcast). And please read his entire Al Jazeera post here. Where you will not read, hear, or see any references to Jason Leopold's reporting is in the corporate "mainstream" media. Maybe we can all use our social media skills to force the press into covering his work. Wouldn't that be novel?

torture

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

"Well, Senator Feinstein, how does it feel?"

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Senator Feinstein Dianne Feinstein CIA

Today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, Senator Feinstein Hypocrisy Edition, because our voices matter:

Re "CIA denies Senate spying claim," March 12

Anyone who fails to appreciate the supreme irony of Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-Calif.) righteous indignation over the CIA's alleged spying on and undermining of the Senate Intelligence Committee (of which Feinstein is chair) has not been paying attention.

For years, she has been one of the intelligence community's most steadfast champions, deflecting criticism of the surveillance state, attacking whistle-blowers and justifying nearly every abuse. Her tenure at the spy community's ultimate oversight body, tasked with safeguarding the public interest, has seen that institution perform as something between a star chamber and a cheerleading squad.

Only when the monster she helped create might have turned against her does she seem to remember something called the Constitution. Is it any wonder that Congress is held in utter contempt by the people?

Mark McCormick

Los Angeles

***

In January, a Times news article described Feinstein as "a key defender of the National Security Agency's data tracking program." Now, just two months later, Feinstein is riled up about the national security apparatus, but only because she believes it turned a jaundiced eye on Senate staffers.

Well, Senator Feinstein, how does it feel?

Frankly, I believe she and her supporters should be ashamed of her hypocrisy. Of course, this includes The Times, which endorsed Feinstein in 2012, stating clearly that "endorsing her for another term is an easy call."

Paul Marsden

Garden Grove

***

Feinstein's committee found documents showing that President Bush's torture program was far more barbaric than previously revealed and far less effective than claimed. This controversy is really about the CIA hiding potential crimes from Feinstein's committee.

CIA Director John Brennan endorsed torture and rendition under Bush. As director, he has kept the lid on the truth. He should be fired.

The Senate Intelligence Committee report needs to be declassified, and if the U.S. won't pursue possible war criminals, the International Criminal Court should.

But under Bush, the U.S. refused to be under the court's jurisdiction. The Obama administration has since renewed a relationship with the court, but Senate ratification is needed for the ICC to do what no one in this country has the stomach to do.

It is the president's job to ask the Senate for ratification. Shame on us all if he does not.

Richard Green

San Clemente

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Candidate to lead CIA Clandestine Service ran secret 'black site' prison, later approved destruction of torture videos

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

lather-rinse-repeat

Oh goody! Just what we need! Go Brennan!

L.A. Times:

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.

Via Salon:

[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.

wtf moments 2013

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Senate Confirms John O. Brennan as C.I.A. Director

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

fyi smaller

Via a New York Times news alert:

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.

Just FYI.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Welcome to my world: "#WhyRepublicansNeedToGo -- Whoever created this ignorant hashtag is on food stamps."

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

chart militia groups southern poverty law center

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:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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.

 @GOPMommy:

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?

@ItsTheGrumpyCat ::

#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.

troll

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Video- John McCain Loses It On "Meet the Press" 2/13/12

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

I'm guessing Grampy needs to check his Depends. There are not enough superlatives to describe what a nasty, vindictive man he is. And he could have been President. Via TP.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Stuff It Dick (Cheney)!

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

cheney3

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!"

Please read the entire post here.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare