Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Pelosi Forced Cheney to Order Torture!

The hoopla over Nancy Pelosi and CIA briefings is pretty ridiculous, a calculated distraction by Republicans and the CIA, happily abetted by journalists, most of whom don't want to do any real reporting on this subject (and aren't even covering it well as a dispute, let alone fact-checking it). Is it really news that the Bush administration consistently misled Congress, even in secret briefings, and the CIA has a long history of doing just that? Is it so hard to realize that John Boehner, Newt Gingrich and other Republicans are shameless hypocrites here? Isn't it funny how a relatively minor dispute, where the facts back Pelosi, is being sold as a condemnation of her? Isn't it funny how that dispute seems to have elicited more fury from Republicans and more coverage from reporters than any of the many revelations of wrongdoing by the Bush administration on the same front? Ya know, the Bush administration - the folks who actually did this stuff? The people who ordered torture, and who reportedly did so to justify their war of choice with Iraq? What about the CIA destroying torture tapes, and torturing in the first place?

Gingrich and other Republicans have to know this is bullshit, but they're raging like rabid dogs with little cause. In contrast, Pelosi took impeachment off the table. It's all a farce.

The GOP doesn't want a full investigation. Much of the press doesn't want a full investigation. Pelosi, for any of her other faults (personally, I'm not a big fan of Pelosi or Reid), supports an investigation. Given all this "contention," a full investigation is just what we need.

Emptywheel's done a superb job on fact-checking the Pelosi story, including in "Mark Mazzetti, the Gray Lady’s Grammar-Impaired Spook Stenographer":

C'mon, NYT, don't you remember how embarrassing it was when Judy Miller was playing warmonger stenographer in 2002? Then why are you guys whoring yourself out to serve disinformation again?

I'm speaking of this post on Nancy Pelosi's press conference spelling out reaaaalllyyyy slowly that the CIA lied when it briefed Pelosi and Goss on torture in 2002. When I first looked at the post, the headline said something like, "Pelosi says CIA misled Congress" (sorry, I didn't get a screen cap; I should have known). Now it has shifted its focus back onto the fact that a Pelosi staffer--not the CIA, as required by law--informed Pelosi that CIA was in the torture business in 2003...

As a spook stenographer, Mark, I'm sure you're familiar with the National Security Act, but if you need a primer, why not read about it on the pages of the NYT? You'll see that the National Security Act requires the Administration inform Congress--arguably, the entire intelligence committees--about their covert ops. Requires. But instead, what happened here is that CIA took up torturing, and then, when they "briefed" Pelosi and Goss on it in September 2002, they didn't tell them they were already doing it. They didn't get around to revealing that until five months later--and six months after they had gotten into the torture business.

That is a violation of the law--some might even consider it news. But not the NYT!!! Nope, the NYT is going to keep recycling Porter Goss' carefully parsed statements and imply they refute Nancy Pelosi when they don't. The NYT is going to obsess over the fact that a staffer told Nancy Pelosi something that CIA should have told her almost a year earlier.

But the NYT is not, apparently, going to tell its readers that the CIA broke the law.

Emptywheel is really a must-read site if you want to follow this story or others related to torture. She unpacks Leon Panetta's statement here. Meanwhile, one of her latest, "A Dick Cheney Torture Trifecta!" covers Judith Miller and Stephen Hayes claiming (as Emptywheel puts it) "Pelosi's in trouble because Dick Cheney tortured." She also dissects Victoria Toensing's latest hackdom – continuing a fine torture apologist tradition, Toensing just ignores central pieces of evidence.

Tbogg also has a good take, in "Nancy Pelosi is the new Lynndie England":

Due to "process" reporting we have learned that the Torture Years were not the responsibility of the Administration who demanded them, the legal counsel who found legal justification for them, the medical personnel who stood by and watched, the media talking heads who justified torture based upon a TV show, or the actual torturers who unquestioningly did the dirty work.

Now the Village elders have decided that Nancy Pelosi is a witch who turned us into awful people and by burning her we will be made whole again.

Digby has more in "Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad GOP?" capturing David Brooks wanking away about how awful Pelosi is. Jim Webb is a big disappointment, and David Gregory apparently doesn't just oppose prosecutions – he doesn't want any investigation, either. Pretending this is somehow a bipartisan scandal is his angle now. Of course, most people pushing for a full investigation don't give a damn about protecting Pelosi, they just want the truth – if she was negligent, all the better that it comes out. Desiring the truth and accountability on torture is not a partisan issue, and should not be.

There's more on this, including Media Matters' "Media let GOP change the subject in torture debate" and "The right's tortured shell game." DougJ at Balloon Juice also has a good post.

The GOP are howling for Pelosi's head, despite the facts being against them on this rather minor matter, and a mountain of damning evidence towering over them on the overall story, since their party authorized torture and mostly said nothing about it - or defended it. Most of the press wants its news cycle story – Pelosi and CIA conflict! – and has its conclusion in place – there should be no investigations into torture. The obvious news story would be, hey, GOP, why are you going rabid over this when a) you're wrong, and b) you never made anywhere near this big a stink over much bigger crimes by your own leaders? Why do you suddenly love the CIA when you've trashed them so often before? Aren't you big, stinking hypocrites trying to hide the truth and avoid all accountability? Why should we believe you?

Then there's the CIA angle – hey, CIA, why did you do something illegal? Why do you claim you briefed Pelosi about this, when Bob Graham (who's damn reliable on this) contradicts you? Even if what you said was correct, you'd be telling Pelosi months after you started torturing people. Why did you tell her so late? Oh, and why were you torturing people? Why did you destroy those torture tapes when you were told not to? Why should we believe you?

The Democratic leadership should take a lesson from the GOP and actually push for impeachment when it's clearly warranted, since the GOP will demand resignations over stupid things and the press generally will not call them on it. Meanwhile, the civically-minded should use this sideshow to push for a full investigation into the torture regime and all human rights abuses. David Gregory and others in the Beltway don't want that to happen, and just don't want to do the work to prevent the actual abuses from happening again. Morality and the law require that we ruin David Gregory's day.

(Cross-posted at The Blue Herald)

1 comment:

jacksmith said...

STOP! The Attacks On Speaker Pelosi

Last time they tried to attack Speaker Pelosi ( second in line to the President of the United States) it was about her alleged abuse of military transportation. This attack as expected turned out to be bogus. It turned out that the previous Speaker (Hastert - a Republican) made far more use of military transportation. It turned out that Speaker Pelosi was possibly overly prudent and too self-restrained in her use of military transportation.

Now Republicans are trying to attack her about allegedly having been told by the Bush administration about things she was not told about, like water boarding. Republicans are attacking her because she is being so effective at getting the peoples work done in congress, like healthcare. And Republicans want to stop her. Don't put up with that. Every time they attack Speaker Pelosi they are attacking you and the rest of the American people. If they go after her, go after them even harder.

They are trying to con Speaker Pelosi and the American people. And here is how it works. Approximately 6 years ago CIA had a briefing with Pelosi and congress, but DID NOT tell congress and Pelosi that the Bush administration was using torture ( water boarding ) on detainees. Then the Bush administration sent in Porter Goss to head the CIA and to destroy, and doctor records in part to make it look like Pelosi, and the Democrats in congress were onboard with the illegal torture of detainees by the Bush administration.

See, apparently at these intelligence briefings members of congress are not allowed to take notes. And if they do, they are not allowed to keep them. Apparently the CIA makes notes, but the members of congress are not allowed to see those notes either. And they can't tell anybody about what was said at the briefings. But the CIA can come back six years later and claim they told members of congress something six years ago that they did not tell them at that time. And they can use falsified notes to substantiate their claim. Planting disinformation was the type of thing the CIA became very good at during the time Porter Goss was a young CIA agent. Just gotta love it. :-)

If you will remember, their was a mass exodus of senior CIA officials after Porter Goss took over. And the complaint at the time was that longtime, highly experienced agents were being replaced by other people based mostly on their political loyalties to the Bush administration and their extreme right-wing ideologies. Which is just exactly what you need if you want people who will be willing to break the law under orders. Sound familiar? I don't think you can trust any CIA records after Goss took over.

I have nothing but the utmost respect, and admiration for the dedicated and patriotic members of OUR! Central Intelligence Agency. When the Bush administration betrayed one of OUR! agents (Mrs. Wilson) it made me boiling MAD! I think our new Director Pennetta has got some internal investigation and agency house cleaning to do. If you backtrack on the individuals that have been making the false attacks on Speaker Pelosi, and trace who they have had contact and conversations with, you should be able to connect the dots and catch your conspirators.

The key that the CIA records are falsified is Sen. Bob Graham and his journal, and common sense. :-) By the way, I think Mr. Pennetta is an excellent choice to head the CIA and fix it.

They are trying to kill healthcare reform. And continue our healthcare crisis. Don't put up with that.


To The Congress Of The United States:

If it is true that you are not allowed to have or make any permanent records of your intelligence briefings for later clarifications, and protection, that is ridiculous. That leaves all of you vulnerable to just this type of scam that is being perpetrated on Speaker Pelosi. So here is what you can do about it to protect your-selves in the future.

Members should be able to make notes and other recordings of these briefings. Then these briefings and recordings can be reduced to a computer file that can then be encrypted and digitally signed with a detached digital signature using key encryption. Then each of you can encrypt, and sign each others copy of the record that can only be unlocked with the other parties key. And both parties copies can be verified with each others copy of the files detached digital signature.

Very easy. Very secure. No more exposure to falsified records down the road. :-)

You see, it almost doesn't really matter what CIA allegedly did or didn't tell Speaker Pelosi, and congress. Because the briefing format is so deficient of any checks, balances, or verification that all we know is that all external briefing accounts support Speaker Pelosi's version of events. Pelosi and congress should have been given every benefit of the doubt. And that should have been it.

There are many other booby traps out there set for you congress. Be careful.

God Bless You

jacksmith — WORKING CLASS

p.s. I still think the timing of Sen. Bob Graham's ruptured cerebral aneurism was suspicious. More so now, than before.