Quotable: Larry Wilmore on affirmative action


Posted in BushCo Death Watch, Quotable Notables, W is for Weak (and Stupid). Comments Off on Quotable: Larry Wilmore on affirmative action »

Happy Human Rights Day!


“We will impose sanctions on those who defend human rights!” Once more, a Venezuelan cartoonist — this time, it’s Uncas — hits the nail on the head.

And in honor of Human Rights Day, here’s another fine example of how the US doesn’t lead when it comes to human rights, it just crushes them underfoot, like Orwell’s boot stomping on a human face forever:

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence today released the executive summary of its long-awaited “Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program,” describing in more than 500 pages a dysfunctional agency so unprepared to handle suspected terrorist detainees after 9/11, that the CIA bought into private contractors’ proposals for torture, and then lied to Congress, President Bush, the Justice Department, the public, and to itself about the purported effectiveness of the program.

The Senate release includes a 6-page foreword by committee chair Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), a 19-page list of 20 specific Findings and Conclusions, and a 499-page Executive Summary which details the development of the torture program after 9/11. The longest single section of the Summary, from page 172 to page 400, eviscerates the CIA’s “eight primary CIA effectiveness representations” along with 12 “secondary” ones by showing either there was “no relationship” between the cited success and detainee information “during or after” the CIA’s use of torture, or that such information was otherwise available and even obtained prior to the use of torture.




Oh yeah, and on top of that, LIES, LIES AND MORE FUCKING LIES:

Including 2,725 footnotes to specific CIA documents, the Senate report shows a pattern of repeated factual inaccuracies by CIA in communications with the Justice Department (to get legal cover for the program), with the White House (including false information inserted in the President’s Daily Brief and one of President Bush’s major speeches), with the Congress (Appendix 3 starting on page 462 provides more than 30 pages of false statements in testimony by former CIA director Michael Hayden), and even inside the Agency itself.


The report cites CIA documents showing CIA officers at the secret detention sites repeatedly protested the torture program — one interrogator called the program a “train wreak” [sic] and wrote “I intend to get the hell off the train before it happens.” But higher-ups, including CIA directors George Tenet, Porter Goss, and Hayden, overruled objections and kept the program going until President Obama ended it in 2009. The head of CIA counterterrorism operations, Jose Rodriguez, even reprimanded CIA officers at one site for their protests, warning them to refrain from using “speculative language as to the legality of given activities” in CIA cables.

It’s not a question of who fucked up, at this point; the list of those who didn’t fuck up is infinitely shorter.

Of course, none of this comes as any great surprise to me; BushCo was a veritable fuck-up factory. It churned ’em out assembly-line style, from start to finish. There is nothing that Weak ‘n’ Stupid touched that didn’t turn to ca-ca. Appropriately, for someone descended from royalty, ol’ Dubya sure does have the reverse Midas touch.

And there is no doubt in my mind that every torturer-jack of them belongs in The Hague, and locked up shortly after. But don’t take MY word for it…

A U.N. human rights expert said a report that the U.S. Senate released on Tuesday revealed a “clear policy orchestrated at a high level within the Bush administration” and called for prosecution of U.S. officials who ordered crimes, including torture, against detainees.

Ben Emmerson, United Nations special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, said senior Bush administration officials who planned and authorized crimes must be prosecuted, along with as CIA and other U.S. government officials who committed torture such as waterboarding.

“As a matter of international law, the U.S. is legally obliged to bring those responsible to justice,” Emmerson said in a statement issued in Geneva. “The U.S. Attorney General is under a legal duty to bring criminal charges against those responsible.”

Unfortunately, THAT’s not going to happen. Practically the first thing His Barackness did upon setting foot in the Oval Office was to amnesty all these war criminals, torturers and murderers. Translation: NO HOPE OF A FUCKING PROSECUTION EVER. And, by the way, that’s illegal:

International law prohibits granting immunity to public officials who have engaged in acts of torture, he said.

“The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorized at a high level within the U.S. government provides no excuse whatsoever. Indeed, it reinforces the need for criminal accountability,” Emmerson said.

Torture is an international crime and perpetrators may be prosecuted by any other country to which they might travel, he added.

Incidentally, that’s the very reason Henry Fucking Kissinger no longer sets foot outside of US soil. There’s an international warrant out for his arrest, for war crimes dating all the way back to the Vietnam War.

His Barackness would be well advised to reverse that amnesty now, if he doesn’t want to become complicit — and a war criminal, and suffer the same fate — himself. But — oops! — it’s already way too late for that.

Happy Human Rights Day, indeed, my US friends. How does it feel to live in a country where that phrase has become totally meaningless?


US asked Honduras to harbor old CIA asset, according to former president Zelaya


Oh, oh. What have we here? Evidence that the United States of Amnesia (see no evil, hear no evil, admit no evil) was actually embarrassed enough about one of its old terrorist employees to try to fob him off on a Latin American country that wanted nothing to do with him? Yup, it sure looks that way…

The former president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, attested today in Ecuador that the United States is exercising a systematic plan of interference in the internal affairs of his land, something he personally witnessed while he was head of state. During the working sessions of the Latin American Progressive Meeting, which concludes today, the ex-leader explained that during his presidential period, the attempts at interference were many and constant, upon which he concluded that the person ordering them in Honduras was Washington’s ambassador.

Zelaya recalled that as soon as he was elected, the first call he received was from that diplomatic representative of the US government, who congratulated him, invited him to lunch, and after sharing a meal, handed him an envelope, to be opened later in his office.

Inside the package was a list of the ministers he was to nominate, who were persons close to him during the electoral campaign, but also infiltrated agents of the CIA.

Another of the initial incidents was that the US ambassador petitioned him for political asylum for Luis Posada Carriles, via the foreign minister. Zelaya described Posada as an international terrorist, author of multiple assassinations. Acceding to the request would have been considered a gesture favorable to rapprochement.

The former president, who was ousted from office via a coup in 2009, finally decided not to give asylum to Posada Carriles. He followed it up later with the resolution to withdraw concessions granted to US oil companies by previous administrations.

“And that is grave, because it is interfering with the economic interests of the imperialists,” Zelaya asserted.

Zelaya commented that because he had not permitted US interference, they began to accuse him of taking orders from the then Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez.

The situation arrived at such a point, he said, that in a meeting with the then president of the United States, George W. Bush, the latter asked him irately if he was giving Chávez what he wasn’t giving Washington.

The Honduran politician said that the decisive moment when the North American government decided against him was when they proposed to him that the city of San Pedro Sula become the site of a summit of the Organization of American States (OAS).

At that juncture, Zelaya recalled, “I accepted, but only if they would derogate the [legal] instruments approved decades ago to expel Cuba from that entity, which happened.

“I only wanted to repair an historic error that way,” Zelaya said, and added that this occurred on June 3, 2009. The coup d’état took place on the 28th of the same month.

Zelaya considers it necessary to analyze not only how subversive forces organize coups to expel progressive governments, but also the later effects of such events.

Relative to that, he mentioned the problems Honduras continues to live through following the coup, where for example violence has increased at impressive levels.

With the presence of the representatives of 35 parties and political movements from some 20 countries, the regional forum has been extended for two days to broach various questions over the progressive struggles of the area, as well as how to strengthen unity in the face of conservative restoration.

Translation mine.

So, it seems that the US interference in Honduras goes a lot deeper than just the coup of June 28, 2009. Even as soon as Mel Zelaya was elected, he was already facing the prospect of having to take instructions from Washington, relayed by the then US ambassador…or else. One of them was which government ministers to name; another was political asylum for the Bush the Elder’s nasty little dog, the CubanaBomber, Luis Posada Carriles (who is still stinking up Miami, predictably, though he is by all accounts a very illegal immigrant). Those two, I’m sure you’ll agree, are pretty damn shocking, and unacceptable to a democratically elected, sovereign head of state. And the third request, relatively benign, was to hold the OAS meeting in San Pedro Sula. That one was the only one Zelaya could agree to…on the condition that Cuba be let back into the OAS, after its expulsion following the 1959 revolution. Of course, as we well know, Cuba is still out of the OAS.

And Zelaya? Well, we all know what happened to him, too. Hustled out of country in his pajamas, en route to the Dominican Republic, in the wee hours of June 28, 2009. A military coup, covered up by a pseudo-democratic “parliamentary” veneer, in which a right-winger docile to all US commercial interests in Honduras was installed as “president”, while death squads dormant since the end of the 1980s were resurrected to wreak havoc and terror on progressive activists all over Honduras, and to silence the most vocal critics of Washington and its new, “democratic” Honduran puppets.

Other interesting notes: The oil concessions awarded by previous governments to US firms, which Zelaya no doubt knew were grossly exploitive and unfair to Honduras. He revoked those, probably with an eye to copying Chavecito’s very successful “sow the oil” scheme in Venezuela. Of course, duplicating an observed success is not the same thing as handing Honduran oil over to Venezuelan government interests! But to Washington’s paranoid mind, the two were one and the same. That no doubt helped seal Zelaya’s unholy fate, along with the equally unacceptable request that Cuba be brought back into the OAS.

It’s things like this that make a joke of the US’s claims to be a supporter of “freedom” and “democracy”, not to mention war criminals of at least two US presidents and their Secretaries of State. When, oh when, will we see them brought to trial in The Hague?


Horror in Honduras


Former Honduran first lady Xiomara Castro visits Rafael Barahona in hospital. The municipal councilman and current mayoral candidate was fired upon in an apparent death squad ambush, as the news agency ANNCOL reports:

Individuals driving in a tourism vehicle closed the road to a car driven by a municipal council member of the Honduran political party LIBRE, Rafael Barahona, in a sector of the El Country neighborhood in Comayagüela, firing at least ten bullets at the director, and striking him in the left hand and arm.

Geovanny Ordóñez, Barahona’s assistant, stated that the attack took place near the store “La Fogata”, on a street in El Country, where they were also struck by a car which hit the left side of Barahona’s car and “they fired on him from the car, nearly 10 shots, but he covered himself with his left arm and only two shots hit him.”

“Thank God he fled and ended up at the La Granja post, where the Red Cross came to give first aid and now we’ve brought him to hospital here [at the Hospital San Jorge, La Granja]”, said Ordóñez.

Ordóñez added that the individuals who made the attempt on Barahona’s life were driving a tourism vehicle, and that the violent act took place around 9:10 p.m.

From the hospital centre, information was released stating that the former mayoral candidate and current municipal councillor was out of danger and in stable condition, and of the entire attack by the gunmen against him, there was only one bullet in his left hand and forearm, and that surgery had been performed to remove the projectile, which could affect the nerves of Barahona’s hand.

Former Honduran president and LIBRE deputy, Manuel Zelaya Rosales, along with his wife, former presidential candidate Xiomara Castro, and dozens of directors, arrived at the San Jorge hospital to keep Barahona company.

In a statement to the media, Manuel Zelaya declared that “the wave of violence keeps growing in the land, and that Barahona is a councilman, a mayoral candidate, and that here they don’t respect anyone at all, neither children, nor young people, nor women. It’s lamentable what’s going on in Honduras.”

Asked if the crime might be an attempt against the LIBRE party, Zelaya said that “we can’t make such a judgment yet, but what I can tell you is that we are going to a demonstration against this crime tomorrow. It seems it was to create terror, to intimidate. Tomorrow’s sit-in (Tuesday, May 13th) won’t be stopped, we’re going to the National Congress peacefully, but we’re going to protest.”

The LIBRE party has called upon its base to demonstrate on Tuesday the 13th at the National Congress to demand that magistrate-representatives be named to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) from the two largest opposition political forces, the LIBRE party and the Anti-Corruption Party (PAC).

Former president Zelaya called upon the authorities to “analyze the security problem, as security policies are failing and need to be analyzed. Twice, motions have been presented calling upon the minister of security of the Congress, Arturo Corrales, and he doesn’t want to attend. So it seems to me that we have to analyze everything that’s going on, with the goal of finding solutions, that’s our proposal.”

Asked if the deputies and directors of the LIBRE party felt persecuted, Zelaya replied that “LIBRE feels that the opposition’s rights aren’t being recognized. LIBRE won almost a million votes and they don’t want to give us even one representative in the TSE. That’s the conformation of a dictatorship in Honduras.”

Zelaya stated that the crimes in Honduras, according to human-rights organizations, were in large part due to “death squads who are simply ignored by the state but which exist in the land. That’s worrisome for Honduras, that there’s a culture of death and groups interested in doing physical harm to life. They are applying a de facto death penalty in Honduras.”

Translation mine.
So we can see that there’s still a definite pattern of fascism going on in Honduras. There is no respect for life, for safety, or even for election results. The LIBRE party, in fact, won 80% of the votes in the latest presidential election, but at the last moment there was a sudden reversal of the tendency, and no recount. It’s eerily reminiscent of the situation in Florida in 2000, where the election was flipped at the last moment from Gore to Bush, handing the presidency to that undeserving pretender. It’s also just like what happened in Mexico to Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who was winning until a sudden last-minute flip — and no recount — handed the election to his right-wing rival.
And to back up this dirty electoral trickery, they’re using that old Central American standby for right-wing political reinforcement: the death squad. Remember the 1980s? They do. Because, in fact, that evil decade never really ended…and neither did the political patterns it set in motion. And when Honduras tried to vote its way out of that made-in-USA crisis during the last decade, Washington decided to throw its support behind the fascists, and backed their coup to the hilt. To this day, there’s nothing to be heard out of there about this but a deafening silence…except, maybe, when the obnoxious Lanny Davis rears his head and starts babbling bullshit about what great friends of democracy the putschists actually are. Meanwhile, the former coup leader is currently making an ass of himself, aligning with the equally fascistic opposition of Venezuela.
It would be more shocking if it weren’t all so painfully predictable.


María Corina Machado, the patriotic…Panamanian?


The other day, I saw that a certain right-wing Venezuelan parliamentarian, legendary for whining to anyone who will listen (including the Shrub, above) about how her country’s been ruined, had spoken to the OAS using Panama’s seat. At the time I wondered how that could be — and why was that even allowed? She wasn’t allowed to kvetch about Venezuela, so that much was good. But what the hell was she doing there when she had a parliamentary seat back home to occupy? Why was she neglecting her own duties?

Well, mystery solved:

The president of the Venezuelan national assembly, Diosdado Cabello, informed on Monday that María Corina Machado had quit being a deputy of the Republic upon accepting and exercising her duty as alternative representative of the government of Panama before the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington.

Cabello pointed out that the right-wing spokeswoman violated Article 191 of the Venezuelan constitution, which states: “Deputies of the National Assembly may not accept or exercise public charges without losing their investiture, except in cases of docent, academic, accidental or assistant activities, always without exclusive dedication.”

“Being there (in the OAS), Ms. María Machado made declarations, actions, petitions, as a funcionary of the Panamanian government. That is public, notorious and communicational, when she acted she was accepting any duty the Panamanian government gave her,” said the president of the Venezuelan parliament, who also read out Panama’s communiqué to the OAS, in which Machado’s accreditation was solicited “as an alternate representative of the delegation of the Republic of Panama before the OAS, as of this date (March 20, 2014).”

Cabello said that this was not an accidental nomination, not for one day but “as of this date”, and Machado currently occupies a seat as alternate representative of Panama before the OAS.

Machado also violated Article 149 of the Venezuelan constitution, which states: “Public functionaries may not accept charges, honors or recompense from foreign governments without the authorization of the National Assembly.”

“That would be a violation of Article 149, because being a public functionary, she accepted a charge from a foreign government without the authorization of the National Assembly,” Cabello pointed out, referring to Machado’s nomination to the OAS, where she expressed her support for violent actions perpetrated inn certain sectors of the country from February 12 onward, on the part of shock-groups of the Venezuelan right, which have caused the deaths of more than 30 persons, as well as much damage and destruction, with the objective of unseating the government of President Nicolás Maduro, elected by the majority of the people.

The right-wing spokeswoman, the National Assembly president pointed out, represents “a government hostile to the government and people of Venezuela”.

On March 5, the Venezuelan government decided to suspend political, diplomatic and economic relations with Panama, following the interference of the government of Ricardo Martinelli in Venezuela’s internal affairs, and having promoted sanctions against Venezuela at the OAS.

Cabello recounted that last week, the Attorney General of Venezuela had received proofs in order to initiate an investigation and trial against Machado, on presumption of involvement in crimes against the independence and security of the nation, calls to violence, instigation to crimes, terrorism, violations of the Constitution, and treason, with the objective of promoting a coup d’état and foreign intervention in Venezuela’s internal affairs.

With the objective of rescinding her parliamentary immunity, the president of the National Assembly, along with the socialist bloc, presented the Attorney General with documents which give evidence of the alleged ties of Machado to the events in question.

On Monday, the deputy stated that now there was no need to strip Machado of parliamentary immunity, “because according to Article 191, according to this nomination (on the part of Panama), and according to her own actions and behavior, Ms. Machado has ceased to be a [Venezuelan] deputy.”

Cabello said that the opposition spokeswoman had the right to express herself and associate as she liked, but not to violate the national consitution.

He added that the now ex-deputy, who had signed the Carmona Decree which derogated all the powers of the Republic on April 12, 2002, will no longer have access to the Parliament, and her seat will be occupied by a replacement deputy, with all attributions according to law.

“What does it mean that she is not a deputy? That she doesn’t have parliamentary immunity, she doesn’t have access to the National Assembly (as would any deputy), she can be directly investigated for all the things that have been taking place, and to that can be added, with more force — high treason,” stated Cabello.

Last Friday, at OAS headquarters, María Corina Machado received the rejection of the hemispheric organization, which decided not to make public her speech in the Ordinary Session of the Permanent Council.

In a customary debate over OAS meetings, Nicaragua proposed to hold a closed-door meeting, a proposal which received the support of 22 ambassadors of the member states, while 11 voted against and one abstained.

Following the vote, the Brazilian representative, Breno Dias da Costa, who voted in favor of the closed-door session, stated that this decision was not to “impede a dialogue, but to prevent a ‘show’ for an outside audience.”

Translation mine.

So, there you have it. MariCori wasn’t fired; she quit. She thought she was going to get a greater international platform for her crapaganda. But this move is gonna backfire on her, because the name of Martinelli and his government, just like that of her “democratic unity table” back home, is MUD.

Actually, it’s backfired already, as the rejection of the OAS ambassadors has clearly shown. Rather than let MariCori have an open bully pulpit, they moved to a closed-door session. And while she wasn’t shut out, she was forced to shut up about Venezuela, at least…a country in whose parliament, as of her appearance at the OAS in Panama’s seat, she is now persona non grata. Ha, ha.


Compare and Contrast: Bradley Manning vs. Dubya


There is something just so ass-backward about this, isn’t there?


Festive Left Friday Blogging: Here, have my earworm.

This has been in my head all day, for reasons understandable if you’ve been reading me lately. Now, let it infiltrate YOUR head:

Oh, you want lyrics too? All righty then:

Working Latin America

The Yankee is afraid that you’ll rise up,
Working Latin America,
I don’t know, why don’t you do it?
The Yankee is afraid of the Revolution,
The Yankee fears the call:
Yankee go home!
Yankee go home…

And rising up over the Amazon,
Comes the rebel cry of the Carioca*,
And comes to unite with his brother,
The Venezuelan worker…

Working Latin America,
Working Latin America,
Latin America…

Lift up in your hands the flag of the Revolution
Working Latin America,
and shout, forcefully:
Yankee go home!
Yankee go home!
Yankee go home!

“Gringo, go home.
The workers of Latin America are telling you:
Gringo, go home!
Yankee go home!”

Lift up in your hands the flag of the Revolution
Working Latin America,
and shout, forcefully:
Yankee go home!
Yankee go home!
Yankee go home!

Translation mine.

*A Carioca is a native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Since the Brazilian Amazon region borders on Venezuela’s own Amazonas state, there is a geographic connection between the two lands. Alí Primera is making the case for unity between the workers of these two and all other Latin American countries, as well. And I like to think he’d smile if he saw how Chavecito’s election paved the way for Brazil’s Lula and Dilma, who are from the Workers’ Party, and both strong allies of Venezuela…and its workers.

Posted in Brazil is the Bomb!, BushCo Death Watch, Festive Left Friday Blogging, Huguito Chavecito, The United States of Amnesia. Comments Off on Festive Left Friday Blogging: Here, have my earworm. »

Iraq, ten years later: Rumsfeld edition

I don’t know if Rummy tweeted this himself, or if he had a flunkie do it for him. But I rather hope he did it himself, just to see the outpouring of, er, AFFECTION that followed:



The Petraeus scandal widens

Meet another possible participant in the Petraeus affair…one whose strange behavior came to light in the course of the FBI’s investigation into some other strange behavior:

US general John Allen, chief of the NATO mission in Afghanistan, is being investigated for sending “inappropriate” e-mails to Jill Kelley, the same woman who received threatening messages from Paula Broadwell, the alleged mistress of ex-CIA chief David Petraeus, according to sources at the Pentagon.

This revelation comes a few hours after FBI agents searched Broadwell’s home. Petraeus had to step down due to his extramarital affair. Now the Petraeus scandal has touched the man who was to be chief of the NATO mission in Afghanistan, who was found in the course of the investigation to have exchanged numerous e-mails with Jill Kelley, described as a family friend of Petraeus.

General John Allen, 58, was assigned to the supreme command of the allied forces in Afghanistan starting next spring. Allen was to appear at a Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday, but the White House has suspended his nomination.

The investigation has been confirmed by the US Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, who announced early Tuesday morning on board a flight to Perth, Australia, that he ordered the investigation of the US’s troops in Afghanistan, and that the inspector general of the Pentagon was going through some 20,000 to 30,000 pages of documents, many of them e-mails, according to the New York Times.

Panetta read a communication to the journalists who were also travelling with him to the Australia-US summit, stating that he had been informed by the FBI on Sunday of the investigations surrounding the general and his relations with the woman said to be a victim of cyber-stalking by General Petraeus’s biographer-mistress.

Asked by reporters whether the FBI had decided upon a criminal investigation, the defence secretary said that “that will be up to the FBI to decide”, although he didn’t rule out a possible connection to the Petraeus scandal.

Panetta said that the general, who, like Jill Kelley, is married, denied having behaved inappropriately, and added that he “deserves due process”, also emphasizing his successful leadership in the Afghan war.

Meanwhile, at 9:00 p.m. on Monday, a group of FBI agents entered the home of Paula Broadwell in Charlotte, North Carolina. They inspected the home over the course of two hours, then left the premises without recording any of what had transpired during the search.

The scandal blew open when the FBI began to investigate some menacing e-mails allegedly sent by Broadwell to Jill Kelley, a Washington socialite and family friend of Petraeus.

Kelley and her husband, Scott, sent out a press release stating that they have been friends of the Petraeus family for the past five years, and asking that their privacy be respected. Sources of CNN described Kelley as an “innocent victim”. After the scandal broke, Petraeus was forced on Friday to go before the media to acknowledge that he had had a love affair with Broadwell, a 40-year old “journalist” who had written his biography, and to tender his resignation.

Translation mine.

Suddenly, we have a pretty good idea of why Jill Kelley lawyered up with a very high-powered attorney yesterday. I guess this answers Gawker’s question! If Jill Kelley has been carrying on with a general — not Petraeus, but another commander in the Afghan war, this one much more recent, and tapped to head the entire NATO mission come next spring — it would explain a lot. There is a lot more at stake here than just some titillating extramarital hanky-panky; we are now looking at more than one possible very high-level national security breach. At the very least, this means two generals will be under investigation, and an exhaustive search of their e-mail correspondence, both personal and professional, is in order. Might as well inspect them all, say I…and do a radical rethink of why the CIA and the US military have so much power to begin with, while you’re at it. All this military hagiography is surely NOT good for the country.

Now, the only thing I still wonder is who was the FBI agent who sent shirtless pics of himself to the glamorous Mrs. Kelley, who looks like she could be a cousin of the Kardashians (albeit a much more tastefully dressed one.) Josh Marshall says he makes Petraeus look like the sanest of the bunch, and I’m inclined to agree. Hey, who’s to say we can’t enjoy the theatricality of this whole spy circus a bit? There’s gonna be plenty of serious shit surrounding the Benghazi débâcle before long. Might as well enjoy the comic relief while we can get it, kiddies…

PS: The plot thickens. Perhaps we should call our new soap opera As the Pentagon Turns? Also, oops!

PPS: And more thickening! NPR reports that Paula Broadwell is NOT the actual author of All (Up) In (My Vagina), the hagiography of Fmr. Gen. Petraeus. That honor goes to a WaHoPo columnist, Vernon Loeb. Which begs the question: Just exactly what WAS she doing the whole time she was with the general? Clearly not just compiling research files, ha ha.

PPPS: And back to Jill Kelley. Think I should wank-list her for not understanding what “honorary” means?


A few random thoughts on a former general

I have a terrible confession to make: When the news of the Petraeus sex scandal broke this past week, my first reaction was to chuckle. Not in the usual “ha ha, another cheatypants got caught, serves him right” sense (although there was no small amount of Schadenfreude there, either); it was more out of a sardonic sense of irresistible metaphor. It was all about an irony that had been hiding, as all such ironies do, in very plain sight.

And yes, I have to admit, the embarrassment of it all tickled me, too. Aren’t intelligence agents constantly being warned about the dangers of seduction, when they’re not being instructed to use it to gain information they can’t get any other way? How delicious, then, to see the head of the world’s most feared and hated spy agency caught in the same trap his covert agents have set repeatedly, all over the world. And how hilariously ironic that the same terrorist traps the FBI keeps setting in vain, under the auspices of the so-called Patriot Act, ended up catching not some obscure cell with nefarious world-takeover plans, but a four-star general who’d at one point led the war against precisely such insurgencies. Or so we’re told by our lovely presstitutes.

After all, the former general and CIA director wasn’t just boinking some boring little bottle-blonde secretary; the Other Woman was his chief hagiographer. She was a military veteran and West Point grad herself. Just like him, she was in the business of selling neoconservatism, bad ideologies, and wars that cost a fucking fortune in every conceivable sense. She did not keep a low profile, as Other Women are wont to do. She was constantly thrusting herself into the spotlight to sing his praises (and promote her magnum opus). She was the person who spit-shined his medals to a high gloss in a “biography” that seemed to be written, at times, from straight inside his pants. There was no pretense of objectivity, only a constant, unremitting effort to elevate David Petraeus to divinity. A divinity which, even then, we peaceniks and Dirty Fucking Hippies knew he did not deserve.

But the media brushed right past us. It ignored what the former intelligence professionals were saying, too, about the BushCo wars being unwinnable. They hopped right on the pro-war bandwagon. They praised the “brilliant” strategy and lost sight of the reality on the ground. Gosh oh golly gee wow, isn’t David Petraeus wonderful? Yeah, that Iraq surge went great. So great that Iraq is now permanently fucked. Petraeus made that.

And that’s not all he made. He damn near dragged the Obama administration into yet another unwinnable neo-con war, this one with Iran. And on the flimsiest and dumbest of pretexts, too:

One person familiar with the Obama administration’s thinking said President Obama was never close to Petraeus, who was viewed as a favorite of the neoconservatives and someone who had undercut a possible solution to Iran’s nuclear program in 2011 by pushing a bizarre claim that Iranian intelligence was behind an assassination plot aimed at the Saudi ambassador to Washington.

As that case initially evolved, the White House and Justice Department were skeptical that the plot traced back to the Iranian government, but Petraeus pushed the alleged connection which was then made public in a high-profile indictment. The charges further strained relations with Iran, making a possible military confrontation more likely.

At the time, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, a favored recipient of official CIA leaks, reported that “one big reason [top U.S. officials became convinced the plot was real] is that CIA and other intelligence agencies gathered information corroborating the informant’s juicy allegations and showing that the plot had support from the top leadership of the elite Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the covert action arm of the Iranian government.”

Ignatius added that, “it was this intelligence collected in Iran” that swung the balance. But Ignatius offered no examples of what that intelligence was. Nor did Ignatius show any skepticism regarding Petraeus’s well-known hostility toward Iran and how that might have influenced the CIA’s judgment.

As it turned out, the case was based primarily on statements from an Iranian-American car dealer Mansour Arbabsiar, who clumsily tried to hire drug dealers to murder Saudi Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir, though Arbabsiar was actually talking to a Drug Enforcement Agency informant. Arbabsiar pled guilty last month as his lawyers argued that their client suffers from a bipolar disorder. In other words, Petraeus and his CIA escalated an international crisis largely on the word of a person diagnosed by doctors of his own defense team as having a severe psychiatric disorder.

Despite the implausibility of the assassination story and the unreliability of the key source, the Washington press corps quickly accepted the Iranian assassination plot as real. That assessment reflected the continued influence of neoconservatives in Official Washington and Petraeus’s out-sized reputation among journalists.

The neocons, who directed much of President George W. Bush’s disastrous foreign policy and filled the ranks of Mitt Romney’s national security team, have favored a heightened confrontation with Iran in line with the hardline position of Israel’s Likud Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In the post-election period, it is a top neocon goal to derail Obama’s efforts to work out a peaceful settlement of the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program. The neocons favor “regime change.”

If ever there was a reason to be glad Mitt Romney lost the election, there it is. One more foreign policy disaster. Brought to you by the same PNAC/Likud faction that brought you the Afghan and Iraq catastrophes. Let’s not forget that Iran was always on the keeker; it was part of the “Axis of Evil”, remember?

Thankfully Barack Obama wasn’t dumb enough to fall for that flimsy tale. (You can see now why he was wise to end the Iraq invasion, too, can’t you? We’ll talk more about Afghanistan when he realizes it’s past time to shut that one down, too. Maybe now he’ll finally start firing all those BushCo leftovers on his team and start fresh with sane people. Hope ‘n’ change, people — get the fuck ON with it.)

Meanwhile, the same media imbeciles who were so busy promoting every highly-polished Petraeus turd that they couldn’t even look up for an instant, are in mourning. The same David Ignatius who took the Iranian lunatic’s lie and ran with it is now weeping tears of blood. Too bad he forgot something:

Ignatius adoringly adduces the following quote from Petraeus as proof of the ex-general’s acute vision: “As I see it, strategic leadership is fundamentally about big ideas, and, in particular, about four tasks connected with big ideas. First, of course, you have to get the big ideas right — you have to determine the right overarching concepts and intellectual underpinnings to accomplish your organization’s mission.

“Second, you have to communicate the big ideas effectively through the breadth and depth of the organization. Third, you have to oversee the implementation of the big ideas. And fourth, and finally, you have to capture lessons from the implementation of the big ideas, so that you can refine the overarching concepts and repeat the overall process.”

Got that? That’s probably right out of Petraeus’s PhD dissertation at Princeton, or from a how-to book that might be called “Management Rhetoric for Dummies.”

If only Petraeus and his colleague generals remembered the smaller – but far more relevant – ideas inculcated in all of us Army officers in Infantry School at Fort Benning in the early Sixties. This is what I recall from memory regarding what an infantry officer needed to do before launching an operation – big or small – division or squad size.

Corny (and gratuitous) as it may sound, we were taught that the absolute requirement was to do an “Estimate of the Situation” that included the following key factors: Enemy strength, numbers and weapons; Enemy disposition, where are they?; Terrain; Weather; and Lines of communication and supply (LOCS). In other words, we were trained to take into account those “little ideas,” like facts and feasibility that, if ignored, could turn the “big ideas” into a March of Folly that would get a lot of people killed for no good reason.

Could it be that they stopped teaching these fundamentals as Petraeus went through West Point and Benning several years later? Did military history no longer include the futile efforts of imperial armies to avoid falling into the “graveyard of empires” in Afghanistan?

What about those LOCS? When you can’t get there from here, is it really a good idea to send troops and armaments the length of Pakistan and then over the Hindu Kush? And does anyone know how much that kind of adventure might end up costing?

To Army officers schooled in the basics, it was VERY hard to understand why the top Army leadership persuaded President Barack Obama to double down, twice, in reinforcing troops for a fool’s errand. And let’s face it, unless you posit that the generals and the neoconservative strategic “experts” at Brookings and AEI were clueless, the doubling down was not only dumb but unconscionable.

Small wonder all the talk about “long war” and Petraeus’s glib prediction that our grandchildren will still be fighting the kind of wars in which he impressed the likes of David Ignatius.

Ike Eisenhower wasn’t kidding when he talked about the Military-Industrial Complex. And Smedley Butler wasn’t talking out his hat either when he said that war was a racket. What Ray McGovern, the veteran intel pro who opposed these wars from the outset, understands that the media doesn’t, is that wars are not won or lost on the basis of who’s got the “big ideas” and “overarching concepts”. The people on the ground don’t give a shit for those. And the locals will only see foreign invaders and oppressors, NOT Big Ideas And Overarching Concepts. They’re not stupid; they know what a foreign uniform and gun mean. Their hearts and minds are not winnable with big talk; you might as well be tossing cluster bombs to their kids as candy from the tank turrets.

The salesmanlike bullshit of Petraeus ought to be apparent even to those of us who don’t have the privilege of a West Point officer-training course. If you’ve heard similar things from some civilian in a cheap suit and dismissed it accordingly (and I have, and I bet you have too), why buy it when it comes courtesy of some big-brass guy with a folksy-shucksy grin and a chestful of medals?

Oh yeah, that’s right: the only bright spot, if you can call it that, in the Bush Recession, was that there were plenty of job opportunities for young, poor, barely-educated cannon fodder. It’s the economy, stupid! At a time when well-paying manufacturing jobs are being cut and shipped overseas to where labor is so cheap that at times it amounts to outright slavery, what’s left at home? The so-called service economy. Which is also so poorly paid that it might as well be slavery. You can’t afford rent, much less a starter home, on a McJob paycheque. So when the handsome young guys in the spiffy uniforms approach you, ever so personably, at the mall, trying to interest you in the Army/Navy/Air Force/Marines, and tell you you can get your college education and better job opportunities that way, you start to think of entering a different kind of service opportunity, one that will glorify you some day as a Veteran. Assuming that you come out alive. Would you like fries with that?

So yeah, the snickering from my corner is full of a sense of vindication. What has the whole neo-con project been, if not a vast international fuckfest replete with lies, deception, doubletalk and crapaganda? One in which the media whores focused with lover-like intensity on the well-polished turds falling from the lips of “institute” hacks and four-star generals alike, while troops on the ground were killing and dying for, well, nothing?

Ah, maybe I shouldn’t say nothing. They killed and died, committed atrocities and fell victim to atrocities, for something, all right.

They did it all for bullshit.