Two nights ago, Lawrence O'Donnell, as he often does, takes a breaking national story and rather than become a mouth-piece lemming and following along, or a parrot repeating back talking points, he examines the full story with an eye from overhead, giving him a wider view. Instead of flowing downhill with the jabberhead mainstream press through heavily germ-filled waters of bunk, spin and political pollution, he looks a bit deeper and sees some runoffs that might actually lead to fresh water.
Such is the case with Robert Gates new book, his memoir of the few years he served in the Obama Administration. Many thought it was a strange choice to keep Gates as he served in the corrupt GW Bush administration, but President Obama saw something in him. Perhaps it was his boldness. Maybe his honesty. Or possibly something else, he was a near perfect barometer. Perhaps Obama knew that if Gates was in favor of something, the wise choice was to do just the opposite.
DUTY: MEMOIRS OF A SECRETARY AT WAR, according to O'Donnell, actually makes a good argument for that. Gates was a litmus test. That's always good to have around when there's a toxic situation.
At yesterday's press conference the adjective "explosive" was tossed about like a hot potato. It was used so much, it was obvious that it was a prepared, planned buzzword. It's like "IRS Conspiracy," "Benghazi," and "Trainwreck" when referring to the ACA rollout. Explosive was the word of the day that Jay Carney needed to defend. If only he had Lawrence O'Donnell with him it would have been a cake walk.
During the Rewrite segment on THE LAST WORD yesterday O'Donnell took great delight in pointing out these explosive revelations are perhaps not as damaging as the headless chickens of the beltway press would have you think. Rather than look at what the ex-CIA chief and defense secretary really said, these brainless reporters took to their imaginations and interpreted what was really written. They took words like "vaguely" and changed them to "definitively" and phrases like "conceded political opposition to the Iraq surge" meant Obama's opposition, not his parties or the nation's opposition. When you twist words, you can get them to say almost anything.
Watch this systematic destruction of the "explosive accusations" in the book, and enjoy how it's actually becomes a most complimentary Obama piece. For instance, Gates writes Obama's decision to launch an attack on Osama Bin Laden (against Gate's advice) was, "One of the most courageous decisions I had ever witnessed in the White House."
Yes sir. This book is not a hammering away at Obama. It's a tribute to a fine military and diplomatic leader.
Take a look. This clip is bit longer than I usually add, but I think every minute of it's worth it to understand just how much the White House really loves what William Gates had to say, as it makes Obama one of the strongest and definitive leaders ever to rule the roost. This is one time that Obama is no Jack Kennedy, and we're all better because of it. (Watch the clip and you'll understand that reference.)
Via a CNN email alert:
Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, who has served as an al Qaeda spokesman, was captured and has been brought to the United States, two administration officials and a federal law enforcement official said today.
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith is being held in New York and will appear in court Friday to face federal charges, the law enforcement official said. A sealed indictment lays out charges against him, the administration officials said.
Abu Ghaith was captured within the past week in Jordan, according to a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Peter King of New York.
Get complete coverage of breaking news on CNN.com
"Will appear in court"? Why, that's positively skeery! Why isn't he at Gitmo being deprived of due process? *sarcasm*
Just now on MSNBC, Alex Witt said this (I'm coming in mid-sentence, but she was discussing the Zero Dark Thirty controversy): "...Enhanced interrogation techniques-- torture-- some will call it that."
SOME? Or anyone but the Bushies and their stellar, upstanding, patriotic Department of Justice that decided to call it something else in order to duck prosecution of Bush and the Waterboardettes? Torture is torture, and it doesn't work, it's illegal, immoral, and just plain wrong on every level.
Witt casually tossed off the "some will call it that" as if it were an afterthought, not fact. "Enhanced interrogation techniques" is a Bushian euphemism for torture. That has been well established. Documented. End of story. It's about time everyone reports about it accurately.
Which brings me to the L.A. Times piece I read today:
The military judge overseeing the trial for alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four others has ruled that lawyers cannot make public even unclassified materials.
The ruling by the judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, follows an order on Dec. 6 in which he directed that any evidence or discussion about harsh interrogation techniques used against the five men also be kept secret. He issued the ruling despite accusations by human rights groups that the government was trying to hide the fact the men were tortured. [...]
In another development, President Obama this week signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which supports overall military operations but also puts on hold his plan to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay — a pledge he repeated in October during his run for reelection.
Of course, GOP debate audiences cheered waterboarding, which means they were cool with illegally torturing other human beings. So much for the "family values" "pro-life" crowd.
All my previous posts on this subject matter can be found here; That link includes one specific to only *Fayiz al-Kandari’s story 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.
More of Fayiz’s story here, at Answers.com.
Today's L.A. Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:
With the arrival of "Zero Dark Thirty," a dramatization of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, we seem to have reached the point where we are discussing the value of torture rather than its morality.
We have moved from being a country that thrilled to James Cagney resisting Nazi torture to protect the secrets of D-day ("13 Rue Madeleine") to one that seemingly will embrace torture if it works. We were a country that condemned Hitler for the heinous invasion of Poland; just recently, we invaded Iraq on the pretext that we have a unilateral right to preemptive war.
And those who promote these new values claim the mantle of being the real Americans.
Questions: Does anyone dispute the fact the CIA has systematically tortured captives? Is there any reason to believe that members of the Senate Intelligence Committee had no knowledge of it? Hasn't torture long been a crime under both U.S. and international law? Why aren't those who authorized torture and the committee members who failed to stop it being prosecuted? And what's to prevent future cases of torture if today's perpetrators aren't prosecuted?
Jon K. Williams
I am deeply troubled that anyone would suggest there's a debate on the efficacy of torture.
In 1941, my father was waterboarded by the Japanese in Shanghai. He confessed that he was a British agent. It wasn't true, but at that moment, he would have signed anything to end his ordeal. Irrespective of whether the information garnered by torture turns out to be true, torture is a crime.
In 1948, the Japanese officer responsible for waterboarding my father was tried and convicted at a war crimes trials in Hong Kong. That same standard should be applied to the Americans who ordered or took part in waterboarding.
Ernest A. Canning
Just a reminder that even on "liberal" MSNBC, the bullshit memes survive. Via MM.
A new Quinnipiac University poll has President Obama at his highest approval numbers in three years, since he rid the world of its number one enemy, in fact.
Fifty-three percent said they approve of the job the president is doing, compared with 40 percent who said they disapprove. In the previous survey conducted by Quinnipiac, in July, Obama’s approval rating was under water, at 45 percent positive and 49 negative.
Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute:
“President Barack Obama hasn't had a score this good since his 52-40 percent approval rating May 5, 2011, right after the death of Osama bin Laden.”
As for that pesky fiscal bluff/molehill/crossroads issue, the poll showed people trust the president and Democrats by a wide margin of 53% vs. 36% for the Republicans.
A majority said they believe Obama and the Democrats will make a good-faith effort in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations, while a majority said they didn’t expect the same from Republicans.
And there's broad support for allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for those making more than $250,000 a year, with voters siding with the president 65%-31%.
There was also a sound repudiation of Grover Norquist's anti-tax pledge. A whopping 85% thought it was a bad idea, including 77 percent of Republicans, and only 15% supported it.
So after all these polls, when oh when will the GOP finally grasp what's going on all around them? And when oh when will they truly realize they are imploding?
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Lt. Col Barry Wingard is the lawyer for Gitmo detainee Fayiz Al-Kandari. For their ongoing story + related topics, please click on the link below:
Kuwaiti Citizen Detained at Guantanamo since 2002
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