The Watering Hole, Monday, April 7th, 2014: Torture

Over the past month or so, there’s been a lot of talk about the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the previous administration’s CIA torture program (oh, excuse me, “enhanced interrogation techniques”.) Chair of the Committee Senator Dianne Feinstein has accused the CIA of accessing Congressional computers and deleting memos and other evidence. Last week brought the news that Senator Feinstein is pushing to have the results of the report made public, in order to “ensure that an un-American, brutal program of detention and interrogation will never again be considered or permitted…”

Cue the attacks, specifically on FauxNews: First, former CIA Director Michael Hayden questions Senator Feinstein’s possible “motivation for the report” is “emotional.” An excerpt from the ThinkProgress article:

“Citing specifically Feinstein’s line about not using such techniques again, Hayden told Fox News Sunday host Chis Wallace, “Now that sentence that, motivation for the report, Chris, may show deep emotional feeling on part of the Senator. But I don’t think it leads you to an objective report.”

A surprised Chris Wallace asked,

“…You’re saying you think she was emotional in these conclusions?” Hayden did not respond specifically to Wallace’s question, but rather said simply that only portions of the report had been leaked but it did not tell the whole story.”

Despite whatever Hayden believes the “whole story” to be, the portions that have been leaked seem to be quite detailed and very damning, as discussed in this March 31st article from WaPo.

“Officials said millions of records make clear that the CIA’s ability to obtain the most valuable intelligence against al-Qaeda — including tips that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011 — had little, if anything, to do with “enhanced interrogation techniques.””

It does not seem possible that Hayden’s “whole story” could in any way mitigate the fact that torture was systematically used, both here and abroad at “black sites”, supposedly in the name of our “security.”

From the Washington Post article on Hayden’s “emotional” characterization:

“Former CIA and National Security Agency director Michael Hayden suggested Sunday that Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) might have compromised the objectivity of a report on CIA interrogation techniques because she personally wants to change them…Hayden suggested Feinstein feels too strongly about the issue on an “emotional” level.”

Feinstein struck back at Hayden’s comments later Sunday by calling her committee’s forthcoming report “objective, based on fact, thoroughly footnoted, and I am certain it will stand on its own merits.”

In a statement, Feinstein noted that the committee’s investigation began in 2009 and the report’s conclusions “came from documents provided by the CIA and the result is a comprehensive history of the CIA program. The only direction I gave staff was to let the facts speak for themselves.”

“I believe last week’s 11-3 vote to declassify the report demonstrates that both sides agree that Americans should see the facts and reach their own conclusions about the program,” she added.

Raw Story tells it slightly differently:

“Yeah,” Hayden replied dismissively, noting that a Washington Post columnist had reported that “Sen. Feinstein wanted a report so scathing that it would ensure that an un-American, brutal program of detention and interrogation would never again be considered or permitted.” [Emphasis mine, in that I have been unable to find to which “Washington Post columnist” Hayden is referring, nor any such reporting that Senator Feinstein had directed how “scathing” the report should be.]

“That motivation for the report may show deep emotional feeling on the part of the senator,” Hayden opined. “But I don’t think it leads you to an objective report.”… ““You’re asking me about a report that I have no idea of its contents,” Hayden admitted.

[The notion that Hayden has “no idea of” the report’s “contents” seems pretty ludicrous; regardless of his professed ignorance, it didn’t stop him from attacking the Senator for one moment.]

Raw Story also provides us with cyborg former Vice-President Cheney’s reaction, which also sparked an invitation from Senator Angus King (I-ME) to have Cheney waterboarded:

“The accusations are not true,” Cheney told college television station ATV last week. “Some people called it torture. It wasn’t torture.”

“If I would have to do it all over again, I would,” he insisted. “The results speak for themselves.”

Sorry, the report’s results do speak for themselves:

“A report that has been completed by the Senate Intelligence Committee, however, has found that the CIA misled the government and misstated the effectiveness of the so-called enhanced interrogation program. The report concluded that the CIA lied when it said it had gotten “otherwise unobtainable intelligence that helped disrupt terrorist plots and save thousands of lives.”

“I was stunned to hear that quote from Vice President Cheney,” Senator King explained. “If he doesn’t think that was torture, I would invite him anywhere in the United States to sit in a waterboard and go through what those people went through, one of them a hundred and plus-odd times.”

And finally Cheney’s spawn, Liz, reliably shouts “Benghazi!” Again from Raw Story:

“Fox News contributor Liz Cheney on Sunday argued that a United States Senate report on Bush-era torture was “political” and that lawmakers should spend more time investigating President Barack Obama’s role in failing to prevent terrorist attacks in Benghazi.

“If you’re going to say that we should not have conducted the enhanced interrogation program, if you’re going to say that we shouldn’t have waterboarded three terrorists, then you’ve got to say that you’re willing to accept the consequences of that,” the former vice president’s daughter said on a Sunday morning Fox News panel. “You’ve got to be willing to say how many American lives would you have been willing to put at risk because you didn’t want to waterboard Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.”

“Fox News political analyst Juan Williams quipped that Liz Cheney was the “good daughter,” but the American people had a right to know what the CIA was doing in their name, and if the techniques were effective.

“I want to start by agreeing with Juan,” Liz Cheney shot back. “That we need more congressional oversight… of Benghazi, for example.”

She added that the Senate did not produce a “fair report” because it was “written entirely by Democratic staffers.”

“The Republicans wouldn’t participate!” Williams replied. “People not only wouldn’t cooperate, [the CIA] tried to spy on the U.S. Senate.”

Liz Cheney concluded by saying that she had “missed Juan” during her absence from Fox News for a failed Senate run in Wyoming.

[Yeah, how’d that work out for ya, Lizzie? Finally found out that no one in your home state likes you?]

A couple of the commentors on that Daily Kos thread could have helped Juan Williams bitch-slap that she-devil:

JW: I got a better idea Liz, why don’t we focus on the 22 embassy attacks that happened under your daddy’s watch.


[Quoting Liz Cheney] “If you’re going to say that we should not have conducted the enhanced interrogation program, if you’re going to say that we shouldn’t have waterboarded three terrorists, then you’ve got to say that you’re willing to accept the consequences of that,”…Yes. I am fully willing to accept the consequences of that. Reports tend to tell us there are no real consequences of it, but even if there were, that’s the “sacrifice” I’m willing to make in order to live in a civilized world.

I think that I would just go with what Sheppard Smith once blurted out “emotionally”: “THIS IS AMERICA AND WE DON’T FUCKING TORTURE!”

This is our daily open thread–what’s on YOUR mind?


80 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Monday, April 7th, 2014: Torture

  1. The only reason Senator Diane Feinstein’s ’emotions’ bothers scum like Hayden and Liz Cheney, is because, unlike them, she isn’t a sociopath.

    However, a report isn’t going to permanently deter the neocons from using torture again, should they return to power in this country. Putting them on trial, convicting them, and sending them to prison will. No legislative act by our Congress has exonerated even one of them. Nuremberg set the precedent that, ‘following orders’, is not a valid defense for war crimes.

    • I didn’t use bold in my comment. Maybe a tag is left open in the article?

      • Yep. I am in bold, too — and i don;t know how to do bold or italics (otherwise I’d be using them 🙂 ).

        • I guess it’s time for a Zxbe’s Zoo Tools Zootorial. This page was created by our own Zxbe, just for us! The code generated works at most sites, with the exception of Democratic Underground, who has their own tag generator in their comment box, but theirs works pretty much the same.

          Just type or paste the text you want to bold, italicize, or whichever, then highlight the text, and click the button for the desired effect. It puts the tags on both sides. Then highlight again to copy and paste here.

          To do the link, type or copy the text, such as a title of an article, and paste into the main box. Then go back to the page you’re linking to, copy the url from the address bar, and go back to Zootools, make sure the text is highlighted, then click the http button, and paste the URL into the box that pops up. Click OK on the popup box, and the link code will be entered around your text, copy it, and paste it here, and it will end up here,like this. Most common mistake is to forget to highlight the text, but it still posts the link, it just looks funny.

          Use the eyeball button to preview if the code works, it will even let you click on the links to see if they work!

  2. “That motivation for the report may show deep emotional feeling on the part of the senator”

    Better call up Mr. King, among others. Anyone that say’s investigate Benghazi more is probably being a bit emotional as well.

    In fact, YOU sound a little emotional here… apparently an internet filled with consentual adults doing all kinds of strange, bizzarre, even grotesque things is just not good enough for you? An actual unwanted violation must occur for you to get your rocks off?

    I do not understand the psychology of torture apologists.. “sadism” isn’t it — there must be more. And I really don’t understand all the self-proclaimed “Christians” who support torture. And only those with IQs below “asbestos floor tile” level think “enhanced interrogation” means anything but torture.

      • Well, I don;t know if I would bank on the analogy — I’d have to consider it some. It is a monster from Lovecraft’s mythology. Being genetically engineered amorphous monsters that can not only mimic speech, but mimic physical appearance… hmmmm…. Shoggoth is sounding better and better here…. and they make a cry that sounds like “tekeli, tekeli!”…. hmmmm… awfully similar to Bengazi.

        HOLEY MOLEY! The whole right wing is comprised of shoggoth!!!

  3. Want to Fight the Corporate Takeover? Start with a Pint at the Pub

    Why should investors always have the upper hand in “development” plans when the resource at stake is a beloved building or public space? Why should the divine right of capital necessarily prevail?

    How refreshing to learn that England has created a special legal process for preventing market enclosures of community pubs. There is even a Community Pubs Minister, whose duty it is to recognize the value of pubs to communities and to help safeguard their futures. So far, some 100 pubs have been formally listed as “assets of community value.”

    We had community bars until the Baptists passed a law banning liquor and beer being sold within 100 yards of residential areas, after midnight. Then one by one the bars moved to commercial areas far enough away you always had to drive or take a cab to get to them. I might drink in one every now and then as long as I could walk home after.

  4. Watching Joe Scum on MSNBC is much easier when listening to Amy Goodman on Free Speech TV. 😀

    • forty years ago, Micky was doing a play at our local theater, as would many movie and television stars…..they thought it was a vacation package for them to come to a small town and live among the locals for a month.

      Micky cornered my dear old mother in the local grocery store, got down on one knee and sang to her…the highlight of her life!!

    • Whether it be the true cover, or not, it is fitting! (except the President is left handed)

  5. I don’t much care who wins tonight’s championship basketball game, but if Kentucky wins we could be treated to more of Mitch McConnell’s Pander Parade, where he he attempts to awkwardly dribble a basketball — or even better, try and spin it on his finger.

  6. With a wink and a nod and a “look the other way,
    “We’re keeping you safe.” the torturers say.

    No report, no matter how scathing, will end torture. Neither will imprisoning those who torture.

    For there will always be those who use any and all means available to get more power over the populace. Republicans wanted their “Pearl Harbor” moment, and got it on 9/11. Fear upon fear; anthrax mailings, beltway sniper. And the people turned a blind eye to torture, nay, even supported its use. In Europe, where there is a collective sense of “never again” after the horrors of the holocaust were revealed, leaders turned a blind eye, and aided and abetted the Bush/Chaney kidnapping and torture regimen.

    But torture works – just watch TV. Torture always gets the information just in the nick of time to stop the ticking time bomb and save thousands of lives. On TV. In the real world, not so much.

    We were lied to. But we wanted to believe the lie. And Chaney, if he could, would do it all over again.

    But maybe, with the release of this report, we won’t be so eager to believe the lie all over again. Maybe enough of us will remember this report, will point to this report, and will speak out against torture, no matter how seductive the euphamism of the day sounds. And maybe, just maybe, those who speak out against torture will be heard the next time our political leaders want to take us down Cheney’s “dark side.”

  7. Supreme Court won’t hear appeal of New Mexico gay-bias case

    WASHINGTON — In a victory for gay rights, the Supreme Court on Monday turned down an appeal from a New Mexico photographer who claimed a free-speech right to refuse to shoot a wedding album for a same-sex couple.
    The photographer was charged with violating the state’s anti-discrimination law, which requires businesses to serve customers and clients without regard to their race, religion or sexual orientation.
    The case of Elane Photography had drawn wide attention because it posed a religious-freedom challenge to state anti-discrimination laws. It was credited with spurring legislative campaigns in Arizona and Mississippi to strengthen the religious-freedom rights of business owners.
    Elaine Huguenin, the photographer, said she took photos of “traditional” weddings but that it would violate her religious beliefs to shoot photos of a wedding of two women.
    The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the appeal is not a ruling, but it is significant that the appeal did not attract the four votes needed to grant a hearing.,0,126351.story#ixzz2yDTd0CO3,0,126351.story#ixzz2yDTK1SXd

  8. The Texas race was rained out yesterday. It’s starting now on broadcast Fox with Danica starting 24th. The field is running official laps under yellow to help the jet dryers finish drying the track. A couple of cars passed too close to the jet dryers and had their hood flaps blow up, forcing them to pit to have them reseated, and caused them to restart at the rear of the field.

  9. Gingrich: Ousting Of Mozilla CEO ‘Blatant Example’ Of The Left’s ‘New Fascism’

    Newt Gingrich compares the ouster of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich over a $1000 donation to an organization supporting CA’s Prop 8 to fascism on ABC’s This Week, April, 6, 2014. No one on the panel bothered to explain the definition of fascism to Gingrich following his remarks.

    Fascinating that anyone would even HAVE to explain to Newt “the definition of fascism,” but apparently there’s just some stuff that Gingrich simply doesn’t quite comprende. What a freakin’ doofus. 😯

  10. It was predictable, but the Russians have verified the target with one ping only:

  11. QOTD:

    “Imagine this. Hillary Clinton, Andrew Cuomo, Elizabeth Warren and multiple lesser Democratic notables travel halfway across the country to kiss the ring of a Palestinian-American billionaire who has shown himself willing to spend tens of millions of dollars subsidizing presidential campaigns. The billionaire has some provocative views. Six months earlier, he suggested that if Israel does not end its nuclear weapons program, America should drop an “atomic weapon…in the middle of the [Negev] desert that doesn’t hurt a soul.” If that doesn’t work, America should drop “the next one…in the middle of” Tel Aviv. The billionaire insists that there is no such thing as the Jewish people. It’s a hoax; the Jews “have fooled the world very successfully.” And he declares that “There isn’t a” Jew “alive who wasn’t raised on a curriculum of hatred and hostility toward the” Palestinians.

    Change the words “Democrat” to “Republican,” “Israel” to “Iran” and “Palestinian” to “Jewish,” and that’s exactly what just happened. Leading contenders for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination spent last weekend wooing and feting a billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, whose views – if directed at Jews—would put him in the company of Louis Farrakhan and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,” – Peter Beinart, Haaretz.

    • Stewart covered this very effectively last week I thought. Sickening really.

    • I’m also a bit put off by the casino magnate thing. YMMV, but this is not a business I’d be proud to associate with. Yeah, it’s legal, and maybe those dollars don’t come at the cost of any more misery than those earned in health insurance, or the MIC, but still.

  12. Hayden told Fox News Sunday host Chis Wallace, “Now that sentence that, motivation for the report, Chris, may show deep emotional PMS based feeling on part of the Senator. …

    bold subtext addition all mine….

    • Really? He said that!!?? Wow, better open a new box of c**kpunches for that misogynist bastard.

  13. President Barack Obama will sign two new executive orders on equal pay for women Tuesday, Politico reports. The executive actions coincide with “Equal Pay Day” — the date that symbolizes how far into 2014 women must work to earn the same amount of money men earned last year.

    Both executive orders mirror provisions of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which Congress has twice failed to pass. One would prohibit federal contractors from retaliating against employees who share their salary information with each other. The provision is inspired by Lilly Ledbetter, the namesake of the first bill Obama signed on equal pay in 2009, who worked for nearly 20 years at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. before discovering that men in her same job with equal or lesser experience were earning significantly more money than she was.

    The second executive order will instruct the Department of Labor to create new regulations requiring federal contractors to report wage-related data to the government, in the hope that it will hold them more accountable for salary differences based on sex or race.

  14. Also unconfirmed tweets on Euromaidan than there are pictures of Russian tanks on the other side of the border with ‘humanitarian slogans’ painted on them for when they come in to ‘protect the Russians’ in Eastern Ukraine.

    The riots today seem to be a relatively small number of people – I have seen several reports that people being arrested are either coming from Russia or are being paid by FSB agents to riot….. Putin does not want the Ukraine election to go ahead – I think he will send tanks in the East right after Easter – and then I have no idea what will happen.

  15. Today was an absolutely GLORIOUS day in Oregon! I think it probably got up to about 75 degrees, and I have all my windows open for the first time since I’ve lived here. 🙂

    • It only hit 60 here on the frozen tundra but, after the weather we’ve been having, I broke out a pair of shorts to wear around the house. Part of that, to be fair, is because the people moved out of the apartment below me and left their heat on full blast. I finally figured out what was going on when my apartment hit 75 with the heat off and the windows open. I set the thermometer on the floor and it hit 83! No wonder the cat was climbing all over stuff. The floor was just too damned warm for him. I sure am looking forward to sleeping with a window cracked open for the first time since October!

    • Don’t be so hard on the ‘christian’ man, he only broke a few of the commandments and he’s realllly, reallly sorry he was caught.
      Next time he’ll avoid all cameras!

      Monday afternoon saying that he was asking for forgiveness “from God, my wife, my kids, my staff, and my constituents who elected me to serve.”

      • Oh well that’s alright then – you can even take a dump in a diaper for a paid professional and still be the Senator from Alabama in the GOP, God says its cool

        • Louisiana. But a dump is a dump for a paid patron regardless of what God you chose as your get out of jail free card.

          • Alabama, Louisiana…. is there a difference? 🙂 (HoR abuse in 3,2,1… 🙂 )

  16. Neutered is a dolt:

    Gingrich: Unlimited Campaign Spending Equalizes Middle Class And Billionaires

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