Saturday, December 13, 2014

Liz, lies, war and more

Lizmania. Talk of an Elizabeth Warren candidacy is getting serious. This piece in the New Republic is obviously designed to push her into taking the plunge. I'm not sure, though, that the psychological buttons which work on other people will also work on her.

One thing's certain: Elizabeth Warren is now the official Democratic Not-Obama. One can point to her and say: "This president does not represent this party, at least not all of this party." Warren has come to stand for something that Hillary Clinton should stand for -- but, alas, does not.

(The Christian Science Monitor discusses the perception that Warren may be the Ted Cruz of the left. No. That is so wrong. The left has nothing this.)

Although I would love to see Warren in the White House, I think that it is even more important to see her lead a movement to restore the Democratic party to its core values. As I mentioned in last night's post, this new movement needs a name.

(It also needs a clear statement of goals. A manifesto. A narrow focus. A plan. And, dare I say it, a hierarchy. Let's have no more otiose "Occupy"-style pseudo-movements which flail around without aims or leadership. That shit has been tried and it failed.)

Fake news story of the day. This one's hilarious: The New York Post wants us to believe that "Sexy Russian spy Anna Chapman tried to seduce whistleblower Edward Snowden on orders straight from the Kremlin, according to a defector."

Why? Why on earth? Is she supposed to convince him to defect to Russia? He's already in Russia.

The KGB defector in this case is one Boris Karpichkov. I hope Boris provides us with similar amusements in the future. For his next trick, perhaps he'll tell us that he's the grandson of Tsar Nicholas II. (No, wait: That's been done.)

Syrian war fakes. There have been so many that we now have a wiki-style page devoted to sorting them out. Maybe there should be a link to this image, which attributes the following bogus quote to Maram Susli: "Gas the kikes. Race war now."

Financial apocalypse watch. In a recent post, I noted that I'm keeping track of the growing number of commentators who offer dire warnings of a new economic collapse. Here's another one. It comes from one of the UK's most astute observers, Robin Ramsay:
On 21 October financial journalist, author and occasional Lobster contributor Dan Atkinson sent out an e-mail:
‘Main story headline in yesterday’s edition of City AM : “The City is back: Number of people working in London’s financial sector soars past its pre-crash peak” So how’s that “re-balanced economy” working out for you all?’
Indeed: it’s the same old same old. The City is booming, so London and the southeast is booming and migrants flock to London to service the people with the money. The global gamblers are still gambling; debt and derivative volumes are still rising. We are heading for another big crash and this time the state will not be able to bail out the UK bank.
The false confession theory. In the past, I've opined that the CIA employed torture not to produce usable intelligence but to produce false confessions -- an idea that many others have voiced over the years. This theory is gaining ground. In fact, it's far more than a mere theory.

First, we have this piece, which points out that the most telling details are to be found not in the Senate Intelligence Committee report (the one everyone is talking about) but in another report entirely, produced by the Senate Arms Services Committee.
Senator Levin, commenting on a Armed Services Committee’s report on torture in 2009, explained:
The techniques are based on tactics used by Chinese Communists against American soldiers during the Korean War for the purpose of eliciting FALSE confessions for propaganda purposes.
Next, we go to this McClatchy story from 2009 (which I think I discussed in a previous post):
The Bush administration applied relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's regime, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a former Army psychiatrist.

Such information would've provided a foundation for one of former President George W. Bush's main arguments for invading Iraq in 2003.
Former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that the interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration...
A former U.S. Army psychiatrist, Maj. Charles Burney, told Army investigators in 2006 that interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility were under "pressure" to produce evidence of ties between al Qaida and Iraq.
Why did this 2009 story receive less publicity than the more recent Intel Committee report? For one thing, the new report is more easy shaped into a narrative that flatters American prejudices: Yes, we "tortured some folks," but we did it for the right reasons: To protect the citizens of the United States. The 2009 report, by contrast, said the unthinkable: We tortured people so that they would offer false confessions that could be used to justify a war.

The second narrative is not the one that the Powers That Be want to see preserved for posterity in high school history books.

Hey, hey, APA: How many folks did you torture today? For more on the "false confession" theory, see this Truthout article from 2011, which discusses the shrinks who helped the Agency do what it did. Take special note of this passage:
While they were still under contract to the CIA, the two men formed the “consulting” firm Mitchell, Jessen & Associates in March 2005. The “governing persons” of the company included Kearns’ former boss, Aldrich, SERE contractor David Tate, Joseph Matarazzo, a former president of the American Psychological Association...
(Emphasis added.) A few days ago, I noted that the APA condemns any psychologist who participates in torture. As a reader correctly added, that's the line which the APA takes now.

The big footnote. Sam Husseini, in a HuffPo piece published yesterday, endorses the false confession theory. He found an interesting footnote in the Intel Committee's report:
Footnote 857 of the report is about Ibn Shaykh al-Libi, who was captured in Afghanistan shortly after the U.S. invasion and was interrogated by the FBI. He told them all he knew, but then the CIA rendered him to the brutal Mubarak regime in Egypt, in effect outsourcing their torture. From the footnote:

"Ibn Shaykh al-Libi reported while in [censored: 'Egyptian'] custody that Iraq was supporting al-Qa'ida and providing assistance with chemical and biological weapons. Some of this information was cited by Secretary Powell in his speech at the United Nations, and was used as a justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Ibn Shaykh al-Libi recanted the claim after he was rendered to CIA custody on February [censored], 2003, claiming that he had been tortured by the [censored, likely 'Egyptians'], and only told them what he assessed they wanted to hear. For more more details, see Volume III." Of course, Volume III has not been made public.

So, while CIA head John Brennan now says it's "unknowable" if torture led to information that actually saved lives, it's provable that torture led to information that helped lead to war and destroyed lives.

Nor was al-Libi the only one tortured to try to make the case for war.
Looks like a truth which could be told in detail in 2009 is now something to be whispered in a footnote. Of course, 2009 was a rare year. Things could be said then that can't be said now.

It's amazing how hard we have to fight for our own past. The "false confession" theory is, at this point, pretty much a proven fact -- yet you can bet the rent money that this theory won't make it into your kid's American history textbook. Suggested title for said textbook: We are AWESOME!

Awesome coincidence! I wrote the preceding paragraph just a few minutes before I decided to check out Bob Parry's site. Lo and behold...
At least since the presidency of Ronald Reagan, any substantive criticism of the United States has been treated as unpatriotic.

Indeed, a journalist or a politician who dares point out any fundamental flaws in the country or even its actual history can expect to have his or her patriotism challenged. That is how debate over “how we’re not awesome” is silenced.

Fox News may be the poster child of this anti-intellectualism but the same sentiments can be found on the Washington Post’s neocon editorial pages or in the higher-brow New Republic. If you dare point out that America or one of its favored “allies” has done some wrong around the world, you’re an enemy “apologist.” If you regularly adopt a critical stance, you will be marginalized.
I'll add this: Anyone who continuously feels compelled to insist on his greatness must feel awfully insecure. That's true of individuals, and I think that something similar can be said of nations.
United Front Against Austerity (UFAA:

Do you find yourself gazing wistfully at portraits of Franklin Roosevelt?

Review the following [New Deal Democratic Party Platform] for economic reform: if you agree with most or all of these measures, you might be a New Deal Democrat. Don't panic – there are many millions like you. Please visit to learn about the symptoms and to get help.

• A 1% Wall Street Sales Tax on derivatives, stocks & bonds
• Nationalization of the Federal Reserve to issue long-term, interest-free credit for infrastructure and industry
• A nationwide freeze on foreclosures and student loans
• Bankruptcy and re-regulation for zombie banks
• A 10% protective tariff on ALL imports
• Parity – a fair price guarantee for farmers
• Medicare for All
• Stronger Social Security
I suspect Mitchell and Jessen, now that their names are known, will need to spend a large portion of their blood money on personal security.

The radical Islamists are not exactly known for their sweet, forgiving attitudes.
Dire warnings of economic collapse? David Stockman explains how we got into this mess, and why the house of cards is teetering;
There's no indication that Elizabeth Warren wants or has any plan to run for the WH in 2016. Which is a good thing because she would not win. Her strength is exactly in what she's been doing this week: stoking the conscience of the Democratic Party, reminding the sell-outs that primary representation of corporate/financial interests is in direct opposition to Party principles: supporting the country's middle-class/working class, the backbone of the Nation. Without a vital, healthy middle-class all things fall apart.

I listened to Moran [a self-defined liberal] this morning decry Warren's objections of the Wall St. Bailout Amendment as a form of grandstanding. Look at the funding for NIH, he said. Look at the funding we got for R&D and infrastructure.

What does any of that mean if we allow the banks to roll us into another financial abyss, to insist that the US taxpayer backstop risky, toxic speculation? There are some trade-offs we cannot afford to make. More shocking still is the likes of a Jamie Dimon calling legislators, whipping the vote. I don't know what the hell that is but it has nothing to do with what the Democratic Party supposedly represents.

As for lies? That appears to be the country's stock and trade right now. When crooks and liars are never prosecuted, never called out for wrong-doing, we encourage more bad actors, pushing the honest brokers to the sideline who simply cannot compete when the game is rigged. The press bangs the drum for the status quo and the public drowns in propaganda.

The Democratic Party can go with the flow or buck the corrosive elements. The President has already staked his position--with the crooks.

Something about Warren just rubs me the wrong way. I can see the word fake all over her. I am sure I will not vote for.
When you say no more Occupy movements, I hope you don't exclude street activism, because the Elite are not going to surrender as a mere result of polite parliamentary mannered arguments, not that Obama and Biden wouldn't try and squash those.
"Elizabeth Warren is now the official Democratic Not-Obama. "

And it's the same chumps that gave us Obama. At least they are in the opposition now. Fools before, maybe learned something.

Not that I am believing too much of what she says. Let's see her stop something before she's claimed for real.
"Elizabeth Warren is now the official Democratic Not-Obama. "

And it's the same chumps that gave us Obama. At least they are in the opposition now. Fools before, maybe learned something.

Not that I am believing too much of what she says. Let's see her stop something before she's claimed for real.
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