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May 12, 2009


Do as I say not as I do.

Well done. (You probably saw Andrew Sullivan and Scott Horton's pieces on how Goldberg and Reynolds changed their tune as soon as it became apparent that the abuses at Abu Ghraib went much higher up.)

Isn't Krauthammer on that list as well?

Batochio: A couple of the links go to two of the Sullivan pieces you reference.

The only non-horrible reason I can think of for this action by the Obama administration is that they were told by the Saudis/Pakistanis etc. that if we didn't get the British to redact what was done to Binyam Mohamed then they would stop cooperation with the United States' intelligence services.

Eric: Are you sure No. 4 wasn't authored by now_what?

Link for my 3:03pm comment in case the html doesn't magically come back:


Thanks for reposting the link text, Ugh.

I tend to support GG's guess at the rationale: collusion with the British government. Neither government wants the full details of Binyam Mohamed's captivity, torture, and interrogation to come out.

Why do you mention the Saudis at all? There's no connection with Mohamed's case.

I always wondered how Bush could be so blind as to use the expression "bad apples", when the gospel of Matthew is so clear about bad apples: They grow on bad trees.

"Neither government wants the full details of Binyam Mohamed's captivity, torture, and interrogation to come out."

Possibly this Moonie News is accurate, possibly not: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/12/obama-threatens-to-limit-us-intel-with-brits/

[...] At issue is whether the British courts will disclose a seven-paragraph summary of the treatment of Binyam Mohamed, a former detainee who was released from Guantanamo Bay prison in February.


In February, the British Foreign Office claimed that the U.S. government had threatened to reduce intelligence cooperation if details of the interrogations and treatment of Mr. Mohamed were disclosed.


Clive Stafford Smith, an attorney for Mr. Mohamed, said in a telephone interview that he was disappointed.

"What they are doing is twisting the arm of the British to keep evidence of torture committed by American officials secret," said Mr. Smith, a U.S. citizen. "I had high hopes for the Obama administration. I voted for the guy, and one hopes the new administration would not continue to cover up evidence of criminal activity."

Why do you mention the Saudis at all?

Only because of similar threats made by them to the UK in the past.

Also, btw, Nell, dunno if you've read this Esquire piece of a couple of years ago on Task Force 121 and Stanley McChrystal.


Wimpy wuss Jesse Ventura:

[...] I'm bothered over Guantanamo because it seems we have created our own Hanoi Hilton. We can live with that? I have a problem. I will criticize President Obama on this level; it's a good thing I'm not president because I would prosecute every person that was involved in that torture. I would prosecute the people that did it. I would prosecute the people that ordered it. Because torture is against the law. KING: You were a Navy SEAL.

VENTURA: That's right. I was water boarded, so I know -- at SERE School, Survival Escape Resistance Evasion. It was a required school you had to go to prior to going into the combat zone, which in my era was Vietnam. All of us had to go there. We were all, in essence -- every one of us was water boarded. It is torture.

KING: What was it like?

VENTURA: It's drowning. It gives you the complete sensation that you are drowning. It is no good, because you -- I'll put it to you this way, you give me a water board, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I'll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders.

KING: Even though you know it's not going to happen -- even though before it, you know you're not going to drown.

VENTURA: You don't know it. If it's -- if it's done wrong, you certainly could drown. You could swallow your tongue. You could do a whole bunch of stuff. If it's it done wrong or -- it's torture, Larry. It's torture.


KING: A lot of things to go into, Jesse. What do you make of the Cheney/Limbaugh --

VENTURA: I don't have a lot of respect for Dick Cheney. Here's a guy who got five deferments from the Vietnam War. Clearly, he's a coward. He wouldn't go when it was his time to go. And now he is a chicken hawk. Now he is this big tough guy who wants this hardcore policy. And he's the guy that sanctioned all this torture by calling it enhanced interrogation.


D'oh! Apologies, Eric, I read this one quickly and didn't check the links. Well done once again.

@Gary: No, I hadn't seen that; thanks very much for the pointer.

I'm as sickened and frightened by Obama's Afghanistan and Pakistan war policy as by anything he's doing and not doing. It seems to me that the worst elements are in the ascendancy, combined with a basic autopilot approach that guarantees horrible, horrible results.

nicely done

Reagan had his faults, but he was very anti-torture. That's what commies did.

I'm really sick of the whole mess. This Christmas I vote we use all three branches of the federal government as ornaments on the whitehouse tree.

Reagan had his faults, but he was very anti-torture.

Dream on. During his terms in office the CIA taught, supervised, and sat in on torture all over Central America. Tens of thousands of officers from Latin America were trained by U.S. military in torture and the national security state doctrine that encourages it at the School of the Americas at Ft. Benning. Reagan backed all the way the death-squad governments of El Salvador, who routinely tortured, and the U.S. war there that was minutely supervised by U.S. military and CIA.

He was certainly opposed to and horrified by the torture of William Buckley, the CIA station chief in Iran, whose torturers sent videos to the White House. But it didn't make him lift a finger to stop U.S.-sponsored torture; it just encouraged him to okay the lawless operations that came to be known as 'Iran-Contra'.

"But it didn't make him lift a finger to stop U.S.-sponsored torture"

I haven't the faintest problem believing he didn't know it was going on, and believed it wasn't going on.

Ronald Reagan was never exactly good at making sure he was reported to on details, and making sure he was reported to accurately.

To put it mildly.

Note that the statement wasn't about what went on during the Reagan administration; it was a statement about what RR personally believed.

Yes, that old devil plausible deniability -- the key to the maintenance of the "we don't torture" myth since 1947.

Until the Bush-Cheney regime's fascist base moved to open advocacy (after it was no longer possible to keep up the charade that the crimes were restricted to bad-apple grunts, a process that reached its peak with W's nonchalant acknowledgement a year ago of having ordered waterboarding).

This is a fine piece of research. It's another fine example of just how much there is a detachment from reality with these people.

I just wish you didn't use a Broken Social Scene lyric as your title. Especially that one, as much sense as it makes.

"Yes, that old devil plausible deniability"

Reagan had something uniquely stronger: he had a personal will-to-disbelieve, a personal will-to-not-even-hear, about facts he didn't want to believe in. This is a guy who refused to believe that his administration had dealt arms-for-hostages until he was beaten over his head and shoulders, over and over and over again, by his own leading officials.

On anything lesser, even when he temporarily accepted a correction, he almost always went right back to believing in the myth he preferred to believe in.

Of course, if you spin that the right way, he becomes a "visionary," rather than a fantasist.

Great work, Eric...thanx!

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