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More on Torture – McCain from the floor of the Senate

As I mentioned almost two weeks ago, we needed to wait until more of the facts were available before coming to a definitive conclusion concerning the role of “enhanced interrogation techniques” in the eventual killing of Osama bin Laden. On one hand, you have Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Cheney and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey stating that the trail to bin Laden started with the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. On the other hand, you have a recent Washington Post op-ed by former POW Senator John McCain, in which states, “I asked CIA Director Leon Panetta for the facts, and he told me the following: The trail to bin Laden did not begin with a disclosure from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times. The first mention of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti — the nickname of the al-Qaeda courier who ultimately led us to bin Laden — as well as a description of him as an important member of al-Qaeda, came from a detainee held in another country, who we believe was not tortured. None of the three detainees who were waterboarded provided Abu Ahmed’s real name, his whereabouts or an accurate description of his role in al-Qaeda.”

Both sides of this torture debate are probably wrong. Intelligence and torture are not parts of an all-or-nothing proposal. There are multiple shades of gray. Was everything that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed spewed out under torture wrong? I doubt it. I think that he probably did give us some valuable information. On the other hand, could we have possibly gathered information from Khalid Shaikh Mohammed through other methods? Probably. Our interrogators seem to be very skilled at garnering information over a period of time.

Our moral compass seems to have been broken for some time. We’ve adopted a “win at any cost” type of mentality. It is as if we were prominently playing some sort of reality game. Whether it is reelecting Senator David Vitter or Representative William “cash in my freezer” Jefferson because he is a senior politician and will bring more money to the state, it is simply wrong. Why the good people of Arizona are putting up with the craziness of Senator John Ensign who has proven himself to be unfit to represent anyone is beyond me. In the name of laissez-faire capitalism and open markets, we allowed the American people to get ripped off for over $13 trillion in which Wall Street banks got rich and the rest of us got to see our housing nest eggs depreciate in value.

Torture is wrong.
Wherever you want to draw that line in the sand (on one side there’s torture and the other side there is no torture), I want to be far away from that dividing line. Now, conservatives always come up with the 24-hour scenario (based on the Kiefer Sutherland series 24 hours). What if you detain a terrorist who you “know” has information about an impending terrorist attack? Getting that information will save hundreds, if not thousands, of American lives. What you do? In my opinion, you get special permission from Congress to use your enhanced interrogation techniques on this specific terrorist at this specific point in time. I’m hoping that we can find our moral compass before it is too late.

By |2011-05-13T12:45:37-04:00May 13th, 2011|Bin Laden, Party Politics, Torture|Comments Off on More on Torture – McCain from the floor of the Senate

CNN, you should be ashamed

This is simply a game to these guys (CNN). The game goes like this – let’s invite somebody big on the show like Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Cheney or former president George W. Bush. The guys at CNN have read their books. We know they are completely unapologetic for a war which was started on false pretenses. We know, from reading their books, that not one of them significantly questioned the intelligence. (There were several books which clearly revealed that the White House was pumping up the intelligence [read the book Hubris for an excellent read].) Instead, they pushed the intelligence. It was Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby who went down to CIA headquarters and personally sifted through raw intelligence. They would find raw snippets of intelligence and then ask the CIA why this or that was not in the official report. We knew Curveball was fabricating at the time. The Germans didn’t trust him or believe him. This is fact. For Donald Rumsfeld to weasel around and say anything different is simply nauseating. But this is the game. The announcer, Candy Crowley in this case, it really doesn’t matter who, will ask the question in multiple different ways trying to “get at the truth.” Yet, we would all have to be born yesterday to think that Donald Rumsfeld did not know the questions beforehand. Donald Rumsfeld is as skilled as anybody at this word game. CNN knows this. Yet, they want to get “great ratings.” So, they book Donald Rumsfeld. They (CNN) get increased ratings. Donald Rumsfeld sells more books and we, the American people, get the shaft. We get absolutely no meaningful information from this interview.

The whole thing is a charade. It is a waste of our time. Why isn’t this guy in jail somewhere?

By |2011-02-21T07:06:31-04:00February 21st, 2011|Bush Administration, Iraq|Comments Off on CNN, you should be ashamed

Remember Curveball?

Let’s go back in history. Let’s go back to those dark days of 2001 and 2002. These were days after an airliner crashed in Pennsylvania, an airliner crashed into the Pentagon and, of course, the twin towers fell. America wanted revenge. We wanted blood. Sure, the attacks were launched from Afghanistan but as Donald Rumsfeld said, there aren’t any good targets in Afghanistan. So, the administration decided to go after a long-time nemesis, Iraq. The administration decided that we needed overwhelming evidence that Iraq was not only a threat to its neighbors but a threat to us, here in America. They need to convince us that Iraq was an immediate threat. The Bush administration went after us in a multiple different ways in a coordinated media blitz. First of all, and most scary, they needed a nuclear threat. Iraq was trying to obtain yellowcake uranium from Niger. Secondly, and this dovetails into the uranium story, Iraq was buying these high-grade aluminum tubes which “could only be used to centrifuge high-grade uranium.” Thirdly, an Iraqi official met with Al Qaeda in Prague. This was the Al Qaeda connection. This connected Iraq to our source of rage, the attacks on September 11th. Finally, we had the mobile biological labs. These were all lies, but that’s the beauty of the Bush administration. It wasn’t just one lie, but several lies, which took us years to unravel.

This brings us to Curveball. The first time I remember reading about Curveball was in Richard Clarke’s book, Against All Enemies. Richard Clarke described curveball as a pathological liar. He was an Iraqi citizen in German custody. The Germans didn’t trust his information. The Americans did not have the ability to directly question Curveball. Yet, somehow, this guy’s wild fantasies were uttered as fact by the Bush administration. It appears that Curveball has surfaced. He has admitted, his lies but it is too late now. Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people have died. We’ve spent hundreds of billions of dollars and have really nothing to show for it. Saddam Hussein is dead. The sons of Saddam Hussein are also dead. Now, all of this destruction isn’t Curveball’s fault. The Bush administration is to blame for ginned up lies. If it hadn’t been Curveball they would have found someone else’s lies to push onto a gullible American public.

From TPM:

Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, codenamed “Curveball” by German and American intelligence officials, now admits he made up tales of mobile biological weapons trucks and clandestine weapons factories in Iraq, information that was used by the Bush White House to press the case for war. He also says he’d do it again.

“Maybe I was right, maybe I was not right,” Janabi told The Guardian. “They gave me this chance. I had the chance to fabricate something to topple the regime. I and my sons are proud of that and we are proud that we were the reason to give Iraq the margin of democracy.”

In a series of meetings with the Guardian in Germany where he has been granted asylum, he said he had told a German official, who he identified as Dr Paul, about mobile bioweapons trucks throughout 2000. He said the BND had identified him as a Baghdad-trained chemical engineer and approached him shortly after 13 March of that year, looking for inside information about Saddam’s Iraq.”I had a problem with the Saddam regime,” he said. “I wanted to get rid of him and now I had this chance.”

In his crucial speech to the U.N. in the run-up to the war in 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell quoted intelligence information supplied by Janabi as justification for the Bush administration’s case against Iraq. Years later, reports would show that many within the CIA were expressing serious doubts about Curveball’s credibility at the time.

By |2011-02-18T12:33:35-04:00February 18th, 2011|9-11, Bush Administration, Iraq|Comments Off on Remember Curveball?
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