Friday, February 08, 2013
Disgusting Congress, Disgusting Witness
KILLER BARRY O'S RIGHT HAND TERRORIST JOHN BRENNAN DECLARED YESTERDAY TO THE SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE ["Iraq snapshot," "Thoughts on today's Senate Intell hearing (C.I.)," "The disgraceful Dianne Feinstein (Ava)," "Brennan likes torture (Wally)" AND "Brennan tries to weasel"] THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE MISUNDERSTOOD THE LARGELY SECRET PROGRAM THAT ALLOWS KILLER BARRY TO KILL PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD -- EVEN AMERICAN CITIZENS.
BRENNAN'S NONSENSE WAS LAPPED UP BY A GROUP OF SENATORS WHO HAVE MOLESTED AND BEATEN THE CONSTITUTION FOR YEARS.
WITH NO RESPECT FOR DEMOCRACY -- THE COMMITTEE CHAIR IS ALWAYS TOO BUSY WONDERING WHAT DEFENSE CONTRACTS SHE CAN STEER HER HUSBAND'S WAY -- AND EVEN LESS FOR HUMAN LIFE, THEIR CONFIRMING BRENNAN SEEMS A GO.
REACHED FOR COMMENT BY THESE REPORTERS THIS MORNING, DIANNE FEINSTEIN EXPLAINED SHE HAD JUST FINISHED PUTTING HER UGLY WIG ON AND WAS NOW HEADED OUT TO THROW "ACID IN THE FACES OF THE MASSES. WHAT I WOULDN'T GIVE FOR A DRONE, YOU KNOW? IT WOULD SAVE ME SO MUCH TIME AND EFFORT."
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Attending the Senate Intelligence Committee today was an odyssey into the absurd. Senator Dianne Feinstein, you may remember, condemned the classic film Zero Dark Thirty. While some idiots rushed to echo her, we pointed out that of course the Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee would condemn it -- Zero Dark Thirty is an indictment against Feinstein who has served on the Intelligence Committee and looked the other way on torture over and over. Feinstein was having a hissy fit as a man shouted something to the effect of, "You are betraying democracy when you assassinate justice!" She also whined about how, she did not feel, there were enough capitol police. She actually had it cleared twice. Medea Benjamin (of CODEPINK) yelled, "Why, Dianne, why?" as the room was being cleared.
The shouters were CODEPINKers -- not all CODEPINKers were shouting, however. Not shouting but in that section was Ann Wright. Some of the people around her had painted their hands pink, some held up signs -- and I would say they wree the size of construction paper, not big signs, 8 1/2 by 11 inches. There was one large sign calling Brennan a national security risk. DiFi had a fit about those as well insisting there would be no signs allowed in the hearing either. After wasting everyone's time clearing the room twice -- and scowling (sadly, her face has frozen like that), DiFi wanted to then lecture everyone present.
She wanted those present to know what good citizens didn't do. "They don't show signs." What a bully in a bad wig. And as she lost it repeatedly, it was hard not to think how lucky she is that so many of the Committee's hearings are closed to the public. Feinstein is the public servant who loathes the public.
Why were people upset? Because President Barack Obama nominated John Brennan to be the CIA Director.
And probably because they knew Feinstein was going to rubber stamp him. What else was she going to do? She served on the "Intelligence Committee" when torture took place. She was briefed on it and she looked the other way. She buried it and she mitigated it and she's part of the refusal to hold people accountable for torture. In a functioning government, she would have been forced to resign from the Committee. Instead, she tries to pretend she has the ethics to criticize a film that exposes the widespread use of torture.
In her ridiculous opening remarks, she pushed the lie that civilian deaths from drone strikes were minimal ("typically been in the single digits") and claimed that she and the Committee had provided strong oversight ("significant oversight") of The Drone War. She was lying again. When Feinstein lies, her voice goes flat and in the roof of the mouth. It's a weird sound but that's her tell. And she was lying in her opening statements. Those that don't know her tell had only to listen to Senator Ron Wyden's first exchange to grasp that there has been no oversight and DiFi was lying.
If you're new to The Drone War, The World (PRI) has created this folder of audio reports on the topic. Drones are robot planes. The operator isn't in the plane, they're elsewhere. The drones capture video. That's generally a live feed. When we speak of the drones involved in The Drone War, we're speaking of drones with more than video capability. These drones are weaponized. John Brennan is usually referred to by the press as the "architect."
DiFI and others would claim that they wanted to focus on CIA issues. But no one asked the obvious: Can you keep it in your pants or will you also sleep around making yourself a security risk? That is why the hearing was held in the first place. CIA Director David Petraeus had to step down because he couldn't keep it in his pants. When that happens, maybe the first question to the next nominee should be about the topic that forced a resignation?
Brennan noted he joined the CIA in 1980. That was about all the facts he could muster in his opening remarks but that was probably one more factual truth than Chair Dianne Feinstein managed in her long, long opening remarks. Brennan was yammering away about his family -- no, that really didn't belong in the opening remarks, when a man began shouting about a teenager (I believe he was referring to 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki who was an American and who was killed by a drone) when DiFi felt the need to pause the hearing. As the man was led away, he urged the Committe, "Stand up against torture, stand up against drones to not confirm this man."
Brennan then wanted to go on about his own three children. A woman stood, held a baby doll over her head and shouted, "Speaking of children, I speak for the mothers of children who are killed in the drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia and anywhere else. And the Obama administration refuses to tell Congress. They won't even tell Congress what countries we are killing children in. Senator Feinstein, are your children more important than the children of Pakistan and Yemen? Are they more important? Do your job! World peace depends on it. We're making more enemies -- "
DiFi's not really good with children, never has been. And she only has one child, for the record. That's probably confusing because she's on husband number three, but she only has one child. (And that's obvious by her inability to handle anything that strays from a schedule.)
"The next time," Feinstein informed Brennan, "we're going to clear the chamber and bring people in one by one."
What a petty little tyrant. I've been at hearings at the height of the Iraq War. I've seen real outbursts, prolonged ones. No one had to call a recess, no one had to pout. (In fairness, DiFi's unhappy life has made the corners of her mouth sag so she forever appears to be pouting.) A woman then stood up with a list of the names of children killed in The Drone War.
It was too much for Dianne Feinstein. She insisted that the room be cleared and "that the CODEPINK associates not be permitted to come back in."
After a recess, the hearing started again and it wasn't good for Brennan. Without CODEPINK interrupting, it became obvious how like Arvin Sloane he was. He sounds like him, he looks like him. Arvin Sloane was the maniac and CIA baddie on Jennifer Garner's Alias. Ron Rifkin played him.
Despite yammering away forever, neither Feinstein nor Breenan noted the reality that Alice K. Ross, Chris Woods and Sarah Leo did in December with "The Reaper Presidency: Obama's 300th drone strike in Pakistan" (The Bureau of Investigative Journalism). None wanted to note that, in Pakistan alone, The Drone War has resulted in about 3,468 deaths -- with as many as 893 of those being civilians. 176 of those were children. So, no, DiFi's lie about each year's civilian killed are not in the single digit. Well they may be, the 'report' the Senate Intelligence Community gets may say that. But it's a lie if it does. DiFi also 'forgot' to mention that the United Nations
Vice Chair Saxby Chambliss: As Deputy Executive Director, you received the daily updates from the time of Abu Zubaydah's capture throughout his interrogation including the analysis of the lawfulness of the techniques putting you in the position to express any concerns you had about the program before any of the most controversial techniques -- including water boarding -- were ever used. Now we found a minimum of 50 memos in the documents within the 6,000 pages that -- on which you were copied. What steps did you take to stop CIA from moving to these techniques you now say you found objectionable at the time?
John Brennan: I did not take steps to stop the CIA's use of those techniques. I was not in the chain of command of that program. I served as Deputy Executive Director at the time. I had responsibility for overseeing the management of the Agency and all of its various functions and, uh, I was aware of the program. Uhm, I was uh-uh cc-ed on some of those documents but I had no oversight of it. I wasn't involved in its creation. I had expressed my personal objections and views to some Agency colleagues about certain of those EITs such as water boarding, nudity and others where I professed my personal objections to it. Uh, but I did not try to stop it because it was -- uh -- you know, something that was being done in a different part of the agency under the authority of others. Uh, and it was, uh, something that, uh, was directed by the, uh, the administration at the time.
So Brennan gave his silent approval. And he never took it to "the ones directly above you," as Chambliss pointed out by listing all those higher at the time than Brennan in the CIA. Confronted by Chambliss with AB Krongard's remarks that Brennan was more involved in the torture than he's letting on, Brennan fell back on "I don't recall." Buzzy Krongard was Executive Director of the CIA. Asked by Chambliss about the e-mails describing various torture techniques being sent to him, Brennan insisted he got ton of e-mails but he wasn't in the loop on torture.
Senator Ron Wyden started his first round of questioning by noting the meeting he and other senators had with Brennan last week.
Senator Ron Wyden: As we discussed then, I believe the issues before us have nothing to do with political party and have everything to do with checks and balances that make our system of government so special. Taking the fight to al Qaeda is something every member of this Committee feels strongly about. It's the idea of giving any president unfettered power to kill an American without checks and balances that is so troubling. Every American has the right to know when their government believes it's allowed to kill them. And ensuring that the Congress has the documents and information it needs to conduct robust oversight is central to our democracy. In fact, the Committee was actually created in response to lax oversight of programs that involved targeted killings. So it was encouraging last night when the President called and indicated that effective immediately, he would release the documents necessary for senators to understand the full legal analysis of the president's authority to conduct the targeted killing of an American. What the president said is a good first step towards ensuring the openess and accountability that's important and you heard that reaffirmed in the Chair's strong words right now. Since last night, however, I have become concerned that the Department of Justice is not following through with the president's commitment just yet. 11 United States Senators asked to see any and all legal opinions, but when I went to read the opinions this morning, it is not clear that that was what was provided. And moreover on this point, with respect to lawyers, I think what the concern is, is there's a double standard. As the National Security Advisor and you volunteered to your credit, you are not a lawyer, you asked your lawyers and your experts to help you and we're trying to wade through all of these documents and the reason I'm concerned is that it's not yet clear that what the president committed to has actually been provided. And finally on this point, the Committee has been just stonewalled on several other requests -- particularly with regards to secret law. And I'm going to leave this point simply by saying, I hope you'll go back to the White House and convey to them the message is not yet following through on the president's commitment. Will you convey that message?
John Brennan: Yes, I will, Senator.
Senator Ron Wyden: Very good. Let me now move to the public side of oversight, making sure that the public's right to know is respected. One part oversight is Congressional oversight and our doing our work here. The other is making sure that the American people are brought into these debate. Just like James Madison said, this is what you need to preserve a republic. And I want to start with the drone issue. In a speech last year, the President instructed you to be more open with the public about the use of drones to conduct targeted killings of al Qaeda members. So my question is: What should be done next to ensure that public conversation about drones so that the American people are brought in to this debate and have a full understanding of what rules the government's going to observe when it conducts targeted killings?
John Brennan: Well I think this hearing is one way because I think this kind of discourse between the legislative and the executive branch is critically important. I believe that there needs to be continued speeches that are going to be given by, uh, given by the executive branch to explain our counter-terrorism programs. I think there's a misimpression on the part of some American people who believe that we take strikes to punish terrorist for past transgressions. Nothing could be further from the truth. We only take such actions as a last resort to save lives when there's no other alternative to taking an action that's going to mitigate that threat. So we need to make sure that there's an understanding. And the people that were standing up here today, I think they really have a misunderstanding of what we do as a government and the care that we take and the agony that we go through to make sure that we do not have any collateral injuries or deaths. And as the Chairman said earlier, the need to be able to go out and say that publicly and openly, I think, is critically important because people are reacting to a lot of falsehoods that are out there and I do see it as part of my obligation and I think it's the obligation of this Committee to make sure the truth is known to the American people and to the world.
It's a damn shame idiots like Glenn-Glenn Greenwald were allowed and encouraged to hijack Zero Dark Thirty because Kathryn Bigelow's film demonstrates what a liar Brennan is. There is no mistaken impression (the real term, not "misimpression") on the part of the American people. What's really going on, and this is in Kathryn's film, is that "last resort" is not a last resort. These people making these decisions are declaring everything a "last resort." That's what the interrogation in the first act of the film is about. The prisoner has no knowledge of a bombing that will take place in 24 hours. He is tortured. Over and over. "Last resort" and "threat"? No, not in the 'ticking time bomb' sense that has taken up the bulk of the discussion of terrorism.
Should people torture?
No. It cheapens and deadens you, it destroys any real sense of a legal system. But proponents use the ticking time bomb argument. This argues that if you could stop Miami from being bombed in 24 hours if you were allowed to torture a suspect, you should do it. This ticking time bomb argument allowed for a lot of hiding. The torture was never about something in 24 hours. It was about getting information -- something interrogation has long done. Sometimes well, sometimes poorly. And as the film makes clear, torture was allowed because an attack today or an attack two years from now were all treated as an "immediate threat" and torture was the first choice while being presented as a "last resort."
Brennan grasps what idiots like Glenn-Glenn didn't. And Brennan is playing word games with a Committee that's either too stupid to grasp that or honestly doesn't care. And that's very important because if you're going to infer that Americans can't be targeted on US soil and Brennan's playing word games then we're being denied the reality that, as with torture, the never-ending supposed threat (labled "immediate threat" always by the government) will mean US citizens can be targeted with government killings while on US soil. Anything else is lie and Brennan told a lot of lies in the hearing.
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