Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dumping on the intel...

I know I promised to back off but I saw this over at Greenwald's today and had to vent or chance losing the top of my head to a catastrophic loss-of-coolant accident.

So here's Scott Horton on the Gitmo task force report.

I note this because an old associate of ours is mentioned:
"The Obama Administration came to Washington promising to clean up the Bush-era detentions policy and make it conform to the clear requirements of law. Then it seems to have decided that the law wasn’t so convenient and that simply providing for unbridled executive authority à la Bush-Cheney wasn’t such a bad idea after all. In terms of Washington power politics, that decision seems to have taken the form of letting Robert Gates make the call on all these issues. The two figures in the Administration who took the most credible stance for implementing the Obama campaign-era promises on detentions policy -- Greg Craig and Phil Carter -- resigned within a few weeks of one another, offering no believable reasons for departing. Then press reports began to appear about secret prisons, operated by JSOC and DIA and applying rules different from those applied in the "normal" DOD prisons, including plenty of torture-lite techniques under Appendix M of the Army Field Manual"
I am hardly sentimental about most of the people we have swept up in these illegal rattissages. They are unlikely to have loved us before they were imprisoned and, probably, tortured, and they are even less likely to let us alone now. Playing catch-and-release with them is unlikely to result in flowers, rainbows and sparkle ponies in geopolitical terms.But this isn't about them. This is about us, and who we are, and who we want to be. We started by warring on nations that did not attack us. We proceeded from there to violate the spirit of our national charter, which explicitly forbids bills of attainder, imprisonment without cause, and torture. We have now arrived at a place where the Chief Bobo - the mere "executive" who is supposed to do nothing more than enforce the will of the People in Congress has issued orders to murder U.S. citizens.

And the nation's response? Either approval or unconcern.

We had this discussion so many times over at the old Intel Dump. Five, six, seven years have passed, and...what? The people who worried more about our national character, about the rule of law, about the fact that whilst our enemies have no capability to destroy us we can do just that without so much as a pistol shot fired are gone, and those who see no issue with donning the morals and methods of the secret prison and the legalized assassination are still in charge.

At the old Dump even those of us who felt that there WAS a good fight to fight in central Asia pretty much agreed that the whole "why do they hate us"? question was a no-brainer. They hate us when we lie about our means and methods, they hate us when we callously violate the principles we vaunt, they hate us when we murder and kidnap and imprison without evidence or trial. All the intel we have from the places we're fighting in confirm these things. They don't hate us for our "freedoms". They don't hate us for who we are. They hate us for what we do, and this is one of the most hateful.So have good intel but we prefer to dump all over it like incontinent poodles. We know better and yet we do it anyway. We have better ways and we choose to do the worse. We have the means and methods to be smarter and yet we deliberately choose to be fools. It's worse than a crime; it's a mistake, a huge, inescapable political and foreign policy mistake, and in it we are digging our own political graves, and the People seem to see nothing but a bed of flowers.



  1. What a mess. In an earlier post, Horton got to the history of Gitmo and the whole program which brings up many very interesting questions:

    ". . . What happened to the 600–800 Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders for whom the prison was originally conceived? We now have a pretty good idea. In the late fall of 2001, military operations in Afghanistan were successful, and Taliban and Al Qaeda leadership figures had fled to two last redoubts—the city of Kunduz in the northeast, and the Tora Bora region along the Pakistani frontier. But for reasons known only to him, Vice President Dick Cheney ordered a halt to the bombardment of Kunduz and opened an air corridor to allow the Pakistani military to airlift the Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders out of Kunduz. The maneuver was ridiculed by one U.S. military official present at the time as “Operation Evil Airlift.” The United States quickly moved to fill Gitmo with nobodies. With that fact now becoming painfully apparent, you’d think that Congress would be calling for an investigation into how original plans for Gitmo were botched—specifically how the Al Qaeda and Taliban figures for whom it was built evaded capture in the face of one of the most powerful military forces ever fielded in Afghanistan. That could well be one of the most significant “lessons learned” of the war."

    Of course NOBODY wants to go there. Remember the predictions about all the stuff we would be hearing about the goings on in the Cheney Bunker once Obama was in? Not that there's plenty to tell, but in whose interest?

    I used to say on the ole Intel Dump that the whole "torture debate" (as if there ever were a debate!) was simply a stalking horse for the establishment of a police state. After the coup of 2000 US Intelligence was never about collection on foreign threats to aide in the formulation of policy decisions, but rather to provide material of whatever reliability to justify what the executive had already decided to do.

    The greatest threat to the current set up is that the American people - as atomized and distracted as they are - might start seeing through the endless scams and rip offs they are being subject to by an elite which has not only lost the intention to effectively govern, but has lost the notion of what responsibilities and trust governing entails . . . for them its all about holding on to what they've got.

    Any wonder that the pseudo-red neck was followed by the pseudo-African American . . .


    On a personal note, however, things are going great. The youngest, fresh from HS graduation, left this morning for her first summer job away from home. Oldest is here on break full of stories from the corporate world. I'm up to my eyeballs with compositions to grade this being the most hectic time for an educator as any teacher knows . . . so it'll be slow going as to my contributions for another couple of weeks.

  2. As much as anything can be, I think the Gulf of Mexico has become a physical allegory of what this country has become, a our national picture of Dorian Gray.

    What we are doing day after day in this world is destroying us, and apparently there's no way to stop or even slow the process down, nor is there any national leadership with a desire to do so as I see it. There are a few individuals who try and who fight, but they don't run things.



  3. Oh, hullo, seydlitz. I won't go as far as intent for a police state, but I will go as far as a political state of being, in that foreign and domestic situations were ( under Bush/Cheney ) and are manipulated to foster a certain environment conducive for ruling political powers to stay ruling.

    We know what Bush did, and now Obama as you wrote has not changed the Bush era system much if at all and has brought back the old Clintonian triangulation machine.

    Unfortunately for Bush and the rest of us, the economy couldn't sustain the corruption and evil of the system that was running the country and Obama is leading us into an instability based upon sweeping problems under the rug.

    Or under a shower of toxic dispersant.

    BTW, school's out for me last Friday. More on that later buddy.



  4. "our national picture of Dorian Gray"

    I think BasilBeast has hit it on the head.

    The last few weeks have been incredibly demoralizing between watching the White House triangulate their way INTO the oil spill, the minor meltdown on Wall Street (and the pundits handling of the crisis/non-crisis), the Court decision to expand the Bush-era detainee policy, and the revelations we're now seeing about the hideous ineffectiveness of the Bush-era detainee program.

    I can't decide if the ship of state is approaching the waterfall with such great speed because it is rudderless or because it is being intentionally aimed for the waterfall.

  5. seydlitz,
    As an additional comment to your cogent cmts-i've never understood HOW the VP became a member of the Chain of Command and could issue orders or directives..
    This was a total usurption of power and is totally wrong.
    Nobody seems to care.

  6. BB and Seydlitz,
    I don't think that we're headed for a police state, i think we're there.
    What we're headed for is a military -police state.

  7. Pluto,
    We are headed for the waterfalls because our leaders lack the qualities of leadership.

  8. jim-

    As to the VP in the chain of command, I think it had something to do with the Pretz at the time being a leadership vacuum . . .


    So basil, tell us your story . . . sounds like a career move . . .

  9. I'd say it's about time to retire that sense of American exceptionalism. The "shining city on the hill" is nothing more than just another conglomeration of people who got lucky, riding on the coattails of a lot of brilliant guys and even more guys who were willing to work hard and also go out and kill other humans for the tribe.

    Inasmuch as the pot of brilliant guys seems to be drying up and the formerly large pot of guys willing to work hard and to kill others is also shrinking drastically, I'd say this latest incarnation of human empire's days are numbered.

    Billions will miss what this nation used to be, the hope and all that. Few will miss what it became.

  10. A couple of other enablers of the police/military state are getting closer.

    There's a bill in Congress to remove the whole reason behind the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision to create "Miranda" rights. Suspects will have the right to remain silent until a lawyer is present, but without telling suspects that they have this right.

    The case was Miranda vs. Arizona. Well whaddya know...

    We're moving troops to the Mexican border. Is there any reason why this wouldn't fall afoul of Posse Comitatus? Did Congress authorize this when I wasn't looking? You have to stretch pretty far to call this an insurrection.

    And this border troop issue was also precipitated by Arizona.

    The Civil War demonstrated that the US doesn't allow states to secede from the Union. Is there anything in the law to keep the Union from kicking a state out?

    Just kidding, of course. I think...



  11. Almost,
    The SC has pretty much emasculated Miranda with the latest decision on the topic.
    See today.
    Today we killed No. 3 of AQ in theater and whacked his wife and kids and grand kid all in one swoop.
    A great moment for freedom and democracy.
    I wonder if Eichmann is advising us on these tactics?