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Installing a Torture Fan at CIA


#1

Installing a Torture Fan at CIA

Ray McGovern

President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo, an open aficionado of torture practices used in the “war on terror,” to be CIA director shows that Trump was serious when he said he would support “waterboarding and much worse.”


#2

Only bad guys torture.

It's not necessary. It shames America. Thank god one good man speaks out against it. Thank you Ray McGovern, a good American.


#3

If "the left" and others had been paying attention and as vocal about the abuses and security-state apparatus of Obama & Co as they are fearful of what Trump and his appointees might do, and the previous Republican administrations, we might have a better foundation to fight Trumps brand of fascism. Obama did little or nothing to reign-in the growing police-state and endless war as policy - he directed a do-nothing Justice Department in AG Eric Holder - a charming con-man Manchurian Candidate that pulled the wool over the eyes of the liberal establishment, its apologists, and much of the "left" with soothing rhetoric devoid of justice or commitment to the 99%.

Neither Obama nor the Clinton's build any Democratic/progressive base or really rolled-back the worst of RepubliCon administrations, in fact they embraced what those administrations had built in financial injustices and police-state apparatus, and added to it, lapping-up Obama's phony rhetoric and deceptions like Mother's Milk. The trust people put in Obama was unjustified to put it mildly, he is and has been a major part of the problem.......including being one of the worst environmental stewards ever, and like the Clinton's, ignored the plight of people of color, and where we find ourselves now.


#4

'On a moral level, I also cannot quite fathom the attitude of Pence – who says, “I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order” – tolerating torture and torture advocates. If memory serves, Jesus Christ was tortured to death.'

Note that Pence never puts being an American in his list...


#5

"Congressman Pompeo is living proof that you can get all A’s at West Point, graduate first in your class, and still flunk the Constitution with its quaint Eighth Amendment prohibition against “cruel and unusual punishment.” Not knowing the Constitution and the Bill of Rights apparently makes you a good pick to head the CIA."

Echoes of he was First in His Class Clinton and Constitutional law professor Obama, oh what the credentialed get away with! All three manifest a serious void in their elite educations, the humanities, to include serious study of ethics.


#6

Short answer Pence is an Evangelical, and not a real Christian. Phil Zuckerman Professor of Sociology and Secular Studies, Pitzer College, Claremont, California. Please read Professor Zuckerman's, The Blog in the 3/3/2011 Huffington Post titled "Why Evangelicals Hate Jesus."


#7

Nothing really new in that article, but it is a good synopsis of the evangelical deception. For the benefit of other readers I shall restate my comment:

Note that Pence never puts being an American in his list because evangelicals hate that Jesus implored people to help the less fortunate among them--and then the poverty rate in America would have to become a pertinent talking point among the evangelicals themselves.


#8

John Roberts would personally advocate for Obama, as he similarly did after ACA, that torture is not punishment, because it is used to obtain information, not as payback. He might argue further that it couldn't possibly be punishment, since there were no charges brought that they would serve as punishment for.


#9

Thank you for stating it so well. For those who missed it, I'll add Glenn Greenwald's excellent article that appeared on CD a week ago:


#10

First, Obama said he would, and could have closed, Guantanamo. What happened? Nada, zilch, ditto nothing. Torture still goes on there and who knows where else in the US black sites (aka dungeons). Maybe he thinks his promises will make a good defense someday before the World Court. Second, the Clinton machine is responsible for you, Ray, even feeling like you have to write this piece. Bernie in every imaginable likelihood should have been our President elect. Love you Ray, but this is the gamble the Democratic Party establishment made with our future. Now "we", at last, must deal with their unforgivable corruption. We'll have to see where this all ends up. My feeling is that the last chapter of American history so far as the US role in it is being written. Possibly that of human history, likewise.


#13

Thanks for your comment. Nope, voted for Jill Stein, thank you. The President has a bully pulpit and failed to use it. He made a comment early in his presidency at a WH dinner for liberal democrats who were disappointed in his inaction on his promises, like closing Guantanamo. His reply was "remember what they did to MLK." LUV BACK


#15

Any amerikan elected official who advocates the breaking of US or International law is unfit for office and embarrasses the country through such admissions, and should be removed from office with forfeiture of all pay and benefits!


#16

Where are your comments regarding Trump on torture prior to the election? I mean, he cheered torture directly, stoking cheers at his rallies, promising more not less, and to make it legal. He did this time and time again.

Almost every time I called this out, then someone would re-direct the criticism away from Trump and make it about Obama, Clinton, etc.

And I had covered THAT territory too, over and over and over again. Over and over and over again.

And here we are, as I was convinced, that Trump was dead serious about torture.

Ah, no biggie was the chorus from the "left".


#17

Don, I suggest you get to work taking care of the right wing jerks in Canada, instead of apologizing for right wing jerks like Obama.

Obama intentionally blocked prosecution of those at the CIA, and the US military who engaged in torture. He sought criminal prosecution, and then jailed John Kiriakou who was the whistleblower at the CIA calling out the torture in the CIA.

His administration also prevented any criminal investigation or prosecution of those who were the architects of the overall torture program in the Bush Administration.

And go ahead and call me a racist, because that is your fucking shtick. Ineffective as it is.


#18

It is always a bit eerie to get Ray McGovern's views of CIA and executive action. I am regularly astounded at the apparent segmentation within the organization, especially given that it apparently was at some point designed to communicate intelligence.

Whichever lines I try to read between, it seems pretty palpable that McGovern was both briefing a president regularly and unadvised with respect to a particular spectrum of CIA activity. I am sure that he knew pretty well that such things existed and presumably that they impinged upon the work that he was asked to do in various ways that were not spoken directly. Still, he spends a good deal of time and thought working out things that someone fairly high in a more unitary organization might be expected to know.

I do not mean to suggest that he does not know more than we do--or, at least, certainly more than I do. But he still pauses to speculate about matters that by their nature have to be very close to central operations, things like Kennedy assassinations and the like. So, when McGovern is speculating that Barack Obama does not know whether or not the CIA killed John Kennedy nor under exactly what conditions it might decide to kill him, he posits that Obama is working with a sort of exploding Rubik's cube.

You have to figure that this sort of thing becomes contextually relevant to the way that not only the president but everyone else up and down and along all sides of an informational network might ask and answer questions. McGovern was apparently briefing the president regularly and aware that some other pipeline of information within the organization existed that at least influenced and may well have determined decisions.

Now, of course all sorts of other people would have been talking to the president, and no one need be surprised that many if not most of those conversations would be confidential, nor that some might be influential.

Still, it may be worthy to note that not all sorts of influence are the same.

So here, for instance, McGovern repeats the basically accurate observation that torture does not "work"--that is, it does not elicit reliable intelligence. Very well, but by what intelligence might we imagine that this is the administration's goal?

There are certainly other possibilities. A variety of motivations throughout an organization is certainly typical if not entirely universal. For no particular reason should politeness dismiss the likelihood that personal sadism should be a factor in this, particularly but not exclusively with respect to those actually administrating torture. Fear and ignorance are apt to be reasons as well.

However, there is another far more broadly significant reason that would have to do more directly with the affairs of state than with the personal pecadillos of individuals involved. Torture is not really a way of getting information, but a way of giving it: torture scares people in order to intimidate resistance and inhibit dissent.

If we are going to address the failure of torture, we need to see how it fails to achieve its real goals, not the goals that torturers put forward to try to excuse themselves and soft-soap their colleagues into collusion and tolerance.

I think that we would decide that McGovern is right either way, honestly. But it seems like there might be some lessons in the analysis, particularly since it might at once apply to a range of political activities that are of a more or less coercive character.


#19

Please keep in mind,

That Trump is only saying what Clinton was already doing as Senator. Did Clinton ever once object to Torture as Senator or Secretary of State?

Never. In fact, she seriously asked if Jullian Assange could be droned since he was releasing her emails. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Trump is more honest. At least we know what we are dealing with. And my favorite part is the Christian Right. They love torture. They are very comfortable with it (pardon the ominous pun.) If something happes to Trump, we are in a lot of trouble, imho.

Think the Crusades...


#20

So, those protests against the TTIP in Germany during Obama's visit back in April, the protests in Greece last week against Obama, and the protests in Lima a few days ago, against Obama and his push for the TPP-- those protesters must be US racists on vacation abroad?

Give it a rest, already. Yes, the rest of the world is aware that racism exists in the US, however it's not the reason for outrage against his policies both at home and abroad. Many of the world's people have legitimate fury against Obama policies which have nothing to do with his race. I don't think those innocent victims of his bombings of 7 countries (where brown people live, btw) are thinking about his race. I saw a Syrian woman interviewed on DN this week, when asked about her feelings on Trump's election, responded, it doesn't matter who the President is, they care nothing for us.

Just want to add this to Psy Chicken's excellent response to your tiresome 'Obama can't do anything because of racists' meme.


#21

Crusades? That was bringing Truth and Righteousness unto the Heathen, just like burning witches (or Albigensians or those who followed John Wycliffe, and indeed those who later were Protestants) was a.ok.

Trump, like Hitler in Mein Kampf, meant what he said.


#22

It is absolutely clear from this appointment that Trump is a puppet controlled by Vladimir Putin from Moscow via implants in Trump's skull which receive daily emails from the Kremlin sent via Hillary Clinton's email server. Vlad was once a Colonel in the KGB and we all know what the KGB used to do, don 't we? That proves it.


#23

Why the hell are you playing the Clinton card with me, when you know damn well I have called out Clinton and Obama, and every other Democrat who has indirectly or directly promoted torture, or tried to protect those who engaged in it.

My point is that YOU and others DID NOT call out Trump for advocating MORE torture and WORSE torture, and TO MAKE IT LEGAL.

Did you? If you did, then I stand corrected. Show me instances where you did call out Trump on this, and I'll drop it.

He certainly is HONEST about wanting to EXPAND, and PILE ON the crimes against humanity, AND he wants to make it legal.

THAT of course would be domestically as well. Now you are going to tell me how torture exists in this country already, AS IF Trump promoting and intensifying the acceptance of torture AND wanting to make it legal doesn't represent a dangerous escalation.