Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Snuggly the Security Bear & a Valentine's 'Torture Trifecta'

Finally! The US warrantless-wiretapping scandal made simple, from satirist Marc Fiore: The Spies who Love You!

What's that you say? You wannu get into the weeds? If so, go read bmaz at Firedoglake (or just about anyone at FDL, lately; they've gotcher weeds). In the meantime, here are two things that I have tattooed on my arm about US Pres. Bush's warrantless wiretapping program:

  1. This program began BEFORE 911: former Qwest CEO says that the National Security Agency (NSA) approached telecom corpses about the program on Feb 27, 2001 (6 months before 911)
  2. “We’re one bomb away from getting rid of that obnoxious [FISA] court” --David Addington, Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff and former legal adviser (NY Times)
Here's Keith Olbermann on the Preznit's latest attempts to win retroactive immunity for the telecoms and his administration:
It is bad enough, sir, that you were demanding an ex post facto law that could still clear the AT&Ts and the Verizons from responsibility for their systematic, aggressive and blatant collaboration with your illegal and unjustified spying on Americans under this flimsy guise of looking for any terrorists who are stupid enough to make a collect call or send a mass e-mail.

But when you demanded it again during the State of the Union address, you wouldn’t even confirm that they actually did anything for which they deserved to be cleared.

“The Congress must pass liability protection for companies believed to have assisted in the efforts to defend America.”

Believed? Don’t you know? Don’t you even have the guts Dick Cheney showed in admitting they did collaborate with you? Does this endless presidency of loopholes and fine print extend even here? If you believe in the seamless mutuality of government and big business, come out and say it! There is a dictionary definition, one word that describes that toxic blend.

You’re a fascist — get them to print you a T-shirt with fascist on it! What else is this but fascism?
(Video here)

Yes, fascism, "the seamless mutuality of government and big business," that F-iest of F-words, is OUT. Out in the open. And it's not just for spying on Americans.

Remember that Addington quote I had tattooed on my arm? Well, I'm a sucker for symmetry so here's what I have on my other arm:


“the blood of the hundred thousand people who die in the next attack will be on your hands.”--David Addington to Jack Goldsmith (Office of Legal Counsel, US Dept. Justice, 2003-2004).

Here's the full context:
Goldsmith...agreed with the president’s determination that detainees from Al Qaeda and the Taliban weren’t protected under the Third Geneva Convention, which concerns the treatment of prisoners of war, but that different protections were at issue with the Fourth Geneva Convention, which concerns civilians. Addington, Goldsmith says, was not persuaded. (Goldsmith told me that he has checked his recollections of this and other meetings with at least one other participant or with someone to whom he described the meetings soon after.)
Months later, when Goldsmith tried to question another presidential decision, Addington expressed his views even more pointedly. “If you rule that way,” Addington exclaimed in disgust, Goldsmith recalls, “the blood of the hundred thousand people who die in the next attack will be on your hands.”
Well, we know that so-called "al Qaeda" or "Taliban" prisoners were tortured. But what we didn't know before this month is that the Bush Admin has been paying private intelligence contractors to torture prisoners. CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden has spilled the beans (Wall St. Journal, via TPM):
The CIA's secret interrogation program has made extensive use of outside contractors, whose role likely included the waterboarding of terrorist suspects, according to testimony... from the CIA director and two other people familiar with the program.

According to two current and former intelligence officials, the use of contracting at the CIA's secret sites increased quickly in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, in part because the CIA had little experience in detentions and interrogation. Using nongovernment employees also helped maintain a low profile, they said.
So now we can add private intelligence contractors to the list of private--unaccountable--citizens who have been hired to torture prisoners in US custody, as we've known about private military contractors for quite a while now. CACI contractors, for example, were accused of torture in a suit brought by 256 Iraqi prisoners (Dec 2007). Despite the lawsuit against them, CACI was recently awarded millions more in contracts (Jan 2008).

There's that "seamless mutuality of government and big business" thing again.

Before I sign-off for now, I want to leave you with Scott Horton's piece, "The Valentine's Day Torture Trifecta:"
On Valentine’s Day the Bush Administration was out on a mission, straight from the Orwellian Ministry of Love. That ministry of course served in Nineteen Eighty-Four as the center for torture. And as the shortest month reached its middle point, three apologists appeared on behalf of the administration to explain to the American public that they needed to relax and start getting comfortable with torture. It’s the new American Way, after all.
Horton goes on to quote three men: Steven Bradbury (Office of Legal Counsel, USDOJ), President Bush, and Sen. Joe Lieberman (Connecticut for Lieberman party). Please go & read the whole thing. It's enough to make your blood run cold on Valentine's Day.

h/t to:
*Crooks & Liars & the Rachel Maddow Show (Feb 15) for the Marc Fiore Cartoon
*Sam Seder Show (Feb 17) for Scott Horton's Valentine's Day Torture Trifecta
*UPDATE: I first saw the Bradbury testimony when skdadl posted a link to the video at BnR


Blogger skdadl said...

As you know, Kitty, Bradbury just left me gaping. In that exchange with Nadler, you see how insolent and smug his attitude was at the outset -- as with Lurita Doan and Sara Taylor, all you can think is the noive, eh?

And then the equivocation, the sophistry, and the clear admission that they might torture again if they feel like it, and if the OLC justifies it it will be legal again, although it isn't now, although it was before.

Good thing the Senate keeps refusing to confirm this guy, but Dubya is going to keep him anyway. I guess he kind of has to.

2/19/2008 7:08 AM  
Blogger Godammitkitty said...

You were 100% right about the Bradbury testimony, skdadl. I should have linked to your BnR post, too (both you AND Horton posted the germane video w/Nadler & Bradbury).

The timing of all of these brazen admissions* is curious. It must have something to do with the 2008 campaigns. I noticed that McCain voted AGAINST the waterboarding bill last week, which he probably wouldn't have done if he weren't being assailed by the right-wing of his party.

*"admission" might not be le mot juste here.

2/19/2008 2:55 PM  

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