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We’re all anti-American now

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After 9/11 my wife put an American flag bumpersticker on our car. Some lefty friends were opposed to flagwaving then, but my wife said she was reclaiming the things she loved about America, from Walt Whitman to John Muir.

In the years after 9/11 she and I both moved into political camps where many folks dislike America, and blame America first, hate the idea of American exceptionalism. I held out against that feeling. As Pete Seeger said to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee in 1955, “I love my country very deeply, sir.”

Dianne Feinstein

Dianne Feinstein

There’s no flag bumpersticker on our car these days; it’s a time of deep shame for Americans. And it should be. The Senate’s report on CIA torture is a landmark in the course of American status in the world. The report shows we can be brutal bastards, that the cruelty and sadism went well past even the official benchmarks of acceptable behavior set by the thugs at the top. It’s a national disgrace. Even Senator Feinstein’s courage in exposing it has been overshadowed by the absurd conversations from Americans who oppose its exposure: Wolf Blitzer saying it has aided ISIS. Thereby defiling the First Amendment, by which he prospers. John McCain’s great speech applauding the disclosure has been overshadowed by all the Republicans who oppose it and the reporters prevaricating about whether terrorizing a prisoner and dragging him naked through the cold is torture. White House press secretary Josh Earnest’s effort to restore “the moral authority of the United States around the world” at the White House press conference today looked like something out of SNL or South Park.

It’s not just the CIA. The Senate’s document drop about rectal savagery and other forms of invasive and inhumane treatment follows on the Garner grand jury and the Ferguson demonstrations, and the fresh awareness of racial inequities in our criminal justice system– along with cable TV lawyers seeking to defend the police slaughter of a man for selling loose cigarettes. On the Senate floor two days ago, Cory Booker denounced the terrible imbalance in incarceration rates on a racial basis– three out of ten young black men, one in 78 young white men face a future with prison, as I recall the statistics. My wife has been doing prison tutoring and advocacy for the last two years and I know that the imbalance is structural: bright young men are deprived of equal opportunity. In the last year, my wife and Ali Abunimah have both been talking up Alexander’s The New Jim Crow. When Max Blumenthal said to me two years ago, There’s apartheid in America, I bridled and started to ask where else would you want to live. Now I shut up. I can hold no brief for this criminal justice system; and friends say there are a lot of other good places to live.

In retrospect, my argument for America in the last ten years was largely neoliberal. Like Cory Booker (or Stephen A. Smith, who praised law enforcement on ESPN even as he described his routine harassment), I’d been lifted by America, felt it was hypocritical to be biting the hand that fed me. Now I ascribe my good quality of life to the accident of empire, material good luck, in which there’s little virtue and plenty of exploitation. I used to believe our record on civil and human rights was special. Now that pride has gone down the tube. I think of my leftwing lawyer friend who said to me a year ago, “Just about everything the U.S. does overseas makes people’s lives worse.” I have no answer to him.

Bringing the Debate to You

The whole country is ashamed. Tom Friedman’s column yesterday was the best sign of this; only someone with his pomp and insensitivity could begin a column the day after the Senate report with such cheap nationalist propaganda: “Why do people line up to come to this country? Why do they build boats from milk cartons to sail here?” We’re still the greatest, he said, and everyone wants to emulate us.

Yes: Sweden, Poland, and Thailand and the other black sites. They’re no better than us either.

And if others are just as bad, so what? What’s the point of mounting a defense to the actions the Senate detailed? This is no time to be explaining this away on realist terms, it’s a time to hang your head, a time to be listening to the victims, criticizing the political culture from Washington to Washington state, exposing the militant nationalism that propelled us into the Middle East disaster, and granting more discursive power to the lefties who have been telling us this about the country all along for the last ten years. Like Chris Matthews putting on Joe Margulies, Abu Zubaydah’s attorney.

Time to reassess our ideas of ourselves. Myself I have no idea where that will take me, except that I’ll be looking hard at my own belief in American exceptionalism. I had it, I don’t think I ever want it back. It was a mythology. Losing it feels like the only good thing about this moment.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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163 Responses

  1. on December 11, 2014, 3:07 pm

    Thinking back on all the American flags being displayed on cars in the months following 911 I recall a very insightful statement by a black female friend.

    She noted that she felt like she was down south with all the cars driving by adorned with the Stars and Bars confederate flag.

    • ckg on December 11, 2014, 8:59 pm

      I think the last time I flew a U.S. flag on our front porch was in the days after 911. But that was as much from fear as pride.

      • Abu Malia on December 16, 2014, 11:37 am

        “I think the last time I flew a U.S. flag on our front porch was in the days after 911. But that was as much from fear as pride.”

        When we (wife and me) were looking at a house in Minnesota’s 6th congressional district (Michelle Bachman’s former district) about 2 yrs ago, I noticed almost all my neighbors had a prominent flag pole in the front yard. One of the conditions i put on the offer (purchase agreement) was the removal of the flag pole in the front yard.

        As a black man with a mixed race wife we were already an anomaly in this lily white neighborhood. I don’t thing the removal of the flag pole prior to our moving in endeared us to our new neighbors – I know of the fear you mention ckg. Sometimes i wonder if it would have been more diplomatic (for lack of a better word) to have left the flag pole alone and just elect not to hoist the bloody flag.

      • Pippilin on December 16, 2014, 1:04 pm

        I’ve never displayed the flag or an image of it, anywhere. Somehow I felt that that would be akin to worshipping an object, like the golden calf.

      • Philemon on December 20, 2014, 8:31 pm

        Insurance scam! Oddly enough, that was my first thought on 9/11.

        Well, right after, “It wasn’t a Cessna?!”

    • Krauss on December 12, 2014, 2:43 am

      Every empire has its own mythology. America for a long time even resisted calling itself an empire, claiming it was morally different.

      In reality, America’s dominant ethos has always been liberal hegemony, which it shares with its progenitor, the British Empire.

      Liberal hegemony means that liberal democracy must rule, but it also means that “universal values”(which we define) must also rule. If anyone says no, they are reactionary barbarians and all methods are justified to bring them asunder into submission or even extermination.

      That’s part of the reason why people are so “shocked” at this report. It sweeps the rug under their feet. Still, a kind-of/sort-of defence of America runs along the lines of power and that power corrupts.

      Is China a better state? Would India be? Neither are nearly as powerful as the U.S. military. And remember that America was pretty cautious (abroad) once it became the largest power in 1870. China just passed that moment. In 20-30 years from now, we’ll see if China is as peaceful as it is now.

      And yes, America committed colonization and worse on the Native Americans, but so has China on the Tibetans.

      Nothing of this excuses America’s deeds, but does this mean that America is worse than other nations, that there is an inherent moral failing? Or does this mean that these are the natural consequences of unparallelled power?

      Maybe a bit of a realist take. One of the benefits of the (relative) decline of American power is that people aren’t going to start all these wars as easily. Another thing is that non-whites tend to be less militaristic than whites in their support for militant foreign policy.

    • Daniel Rich on December 13, 2014, 4:27 am

      @ Giles,

      Some people saw the stars of David.

      “The controversial report published Tuesday by the United States Senate Intelligence Committee on the torture methods used by the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) revealed that the Agency’s lawyers used the rulings from Israel’s Supreme Court to construct a legal case to justify the illegal interrogation methods. “

      • Antidote on December 13, 2014, 6:11 pm

        “Some people saw the stars of David.”

        Sure. Others see the Swastika. If it’s not the Germans, it’s the Jews. Predictable. Has been going on for more than a century now. Yawn.

        I see the Stars and Stripes, nothing else. Same as ever.

  2. gracie fr on December 11, 2014, 3:19 pm

    CIA torturers and police officers who murder innocent unarmed Americans share one thing in common: impunity for violent crimes that violate global human rights commitments. The impunity they share reveals systems of separate — and unequal — justice across the United States……Police violence in our communities is one example. CIA torture, or the Agency’s documented assassination of U.S. citizens (even their children) without trial, is another….

    • CloakAndDagger on December 11, 2014, 6:19 pm

      It surprises me that people are surprised. I shake my head as my fellow Americans stare at this with disbelief. To hear Jon Stewart and Colbert talk about this with expressions of incredulity makes me want to spit in their faces because this is either contrived shock or they are two really stupid men.

      These things happen because we are so gullible. We bestow such a high level of trust on those who govern us despite so much evidence from the past that should have filled us with skepticism. All through our history, even before the Internet, we have been lied to and deceived by those in power and those in the shadows with the real power. We have witnessed events like JFK, MLK, RFK, and all the cover-ups surrounding their assassinations, which would have implicated the CIA, but we refused to believe our eyes. There is much surrounding the death of ‘Honest Abe’, but things were easier to cover up then.

      We pooh-poohed them all as conspiracy theories and we continue to do that to this day. How could we consider that 9/11 was an inside job despite all the evidence that shows that the official story doesn’t hold water, when we refuse to believe that our officials are capable of actual evil?

      To Phil: we should hang our head in shame – not because we are capable of torture, but because we are such gullible fools that we can convince ourselves that those that we bestow power on without any transparency are not capable of doing this and worse.

      Democracy requires a vigilant citizenry. What could save us now is realizing that what was just released is merely the tip of the iceberg. What those in power have actually done and continue to do is an order of magnitude more horrifying than this that shocks us. Why didn’t we learn that after Vietnam?

      Believe it. All that you refused to believe is not only possible, it is very plausible. Only then can we begin to hold those villains accountable for their many sins. Bush and Cheney walked away without paying for their crimes. Obama too, will walk away without paying for his. If we don’t rise up somehow, the only ones who pay will be you and I.

      The first step to recovery is admitting that the majority of Conspiracy Theories are, in fact, Conspiracy Facts. Only then can we begin to challenge what we are told and unveil the hidden reality of our predicament.

      • just on December 12, 2014, 8:42 am

        +1, C&D.

      • Daniel Rich on December 13, 2014, 7:21 pm

        @ CloakandDagger,

        The moment they throw in fancy words like

        ‘rendition flights’,

        ‘quantitative easing’ and

        ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’

        every single red flag in my existential being is raised and I know I’m being ‘had.’

        The next step is to silence those who have doubts by means of law/s.

        Japan: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is planning a state secrets act that critics say could curtail public access to information on a wide range of issues, including tensions with China and the Fukushima nuclear crisis. The new law would dramatically expand the definition of official secrets and journalists convicted under it could be jailed for up to five years.

        US: Criminal codes in Iowa and Utah were used this year to keep secrets on factory farms by threatening jail time for anyone working undercover and taking pictures or video of animals without permission.

        But Iowa and Utah were not the first to adopt what we now call “ag-gag” laws. About 20 years ago, there was a similar push for these laws in farm states with very similar language adopted in North Dakota, Montana and Kansas. LINK

        Germany: “Holocaust denial, the denial of the systematic genocidal killing of millions of European Ethnic minorities (including Jews) by Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, is illegal in a number of European countries.[1] Many countries also have broader laws that criminalize genocide denial. Of the countries that ban Holocaust denial, a number (Austria, Germany, Hungary, and Romania) were among the perpetrators of the Holocaust, and many of these also ban other elements associated with Nazism, such as Nazi symbols.” LINK

        So, how do we stay well informed, as most of what really happens, happens in places where we do not have access to?

        FWIIW: I sincerely believe in the fact that the truth does not need any law.

      • CloakAndDagger on December 13, 2014, 11:25 pm

        @ Daniel Rich

        So, how do we stay well informed, as most of what really happens, happens in places where we do not have access to?

        Aye, there’s the rub.

        This is the eternal fight between light and darkness. The denizens of the dark will always try to extinguish the light (truth) because transparency is the bane of evil. As Ron Paul says: the NSA and the CIA should be abolished. Democracy cannot thrive where secrecy reigns.

        It is stupid for us to continue to play the game that was set up by those in power. As in Las Vegas, the house always wins. As long as we think that we can take back our government by elections that are rigged on a sloped playing field, we will continue as the slaves that we are.

        Only a forcible acquisition of of the reins of government will allow us to unshackle ourselves.
        Don’t ask me how to set this in motion.

      • Citizen on December 21, 2014, 1:56 pm

        Ever since the killing of JFK there has been much factual dispute about our government’s official explanation of crucial events that have greatly changed America’s lives and those impacted by our foreign policy. 9/11 is the most obvious where intelligent criticism of the official explanations has been dismissed as insane conspiracy theory. Due to documentation classification, inter alia, our government does not allow the public to connect every dot re what’s been done in our name here and abroad. Those in power lump intelligent inquiry by citizens trying to be informed as spinners of tales of aliens come here from outer space. I think, along with Ron Paul, inter alia, that not one war fought by America since WW2 has been justified, except maybe the Korean War. Goering told anyone listening it’s easy to move a democratic society like us–simply by the use of Fear tactics. He said that at Nuremberg. Most Americans wouldn’t even know who Goering was, nor anything about Nuremberg. Nobody knows this better than Chaney.

      • lysias on December 21, 2014, 4:20 pm

        Well, the Senate’s torture report has served to remind us that the 9/11 Commission’s account of how 9/11 happened is all based on the testimony of detainees who were tortured, and to whom the staffers of the commission were denied access. That testimony has zero evidentiary value.

      • CloakAndDagger on December 21, 2014, 6:13 pm

        @ lysias

        9/11 Commission’s account of how 9/11 happened is all based on the testimony of detainees who were tortured

        If I recall, they had already decided how 9/11 happened on 9/11 before any of us even had a chance to figure out what was happening. Somehow, they had already identified the 19 hijackers and pronounced them dead, long before a number of them showed up alive. Amazing detective work given the complete lack of evidence. Kind of like the current blame-Korea-for-Sony, even though there is no evidence for the same, and it is almost certain that they didn’t do the hacking.

        And so it goes…

  3. pabelmont on December 11, 2014, 3:48 pm

    USA exceptionalism? Understood differently by different people.
    One view: Americans are human, others (or some others) (or dark skinned others — even tho many Americans, not others, are dark skinned) are not; and because not human, may be “done to” as we would not like to be “done to”; without concern or guilt. “Warfare is not terrorism — sir! terrorism is inhuman, but warfare is peachy keen” — he explained.

  4. Keith on December 11, 2014, 3:54 pm

    PHIL- “Time to reassess our ideas of ourselves. Myself I have no idea where that will take me, except that I’ll be looking hard at my own belief in American exceptionalism. I had it, I don’t think I ever want it back. It was a mythology.”

    Mondo-Pilger? That’ll be the day! Don’t forget that you have a lot of catching up to do.

  5. Dan Crowther on December 11, 2014, 4:35 pm

    Welcome Aboard, Phil!

    • gamal on December 11, 2014, 7:40 pm

      “I know that the imbalance is structural: bright young men are deprived of equal opportunity”

      fuck me Phil we all have an equal opportunity to sell out, bless you, what happened to Jewish smarter than others? respect man its a brutal white supremacist world out there, none of us come out this alive, look at Annie a paragon, we love and respect you man, your efforts are exemplary, you are like, almost our equal, innit.

  6. just on December 11, 2014, 4:52 pm

    I’ve been ashamed for so long… our foreign policy stinks & our government and actions are deeply hypocritical. I want the US to be so much better. The CIA paid 2 contractor psychologists $81 million to advise them on the torture program, but we can’t afford to take care of our elderly properly. We have endless war, but we can’t afford to tackle climate change…..

    I was just reading this article in The Guardian about the released Gitmo prisoners who have been held for 12 years without charges:

    “Over the past 12 years, Ali al-Shaaban has experienced precious little human kindness. Detained in Pakistan as a suspected al-Qaida member in the months after the 9/11 terror attacks, he was transferred to the US military prison at Guantánamo Bay, where he was held for more than a decade.

    This week, however, the 32-year old Syrian has been the subject of a wave of affection in a country half a world away from his homeland: government officials offer him warm embraces; total strangers wave to him and offer words of encouragement.

    Shaaban is one of six Guantánamo prisoners who were flown to Uruguay on Sunday to begin new lives as refugees. The six – four Syrians, a Palestinian and a Tunisian – were never charged, and were cleared for release in 2009, but the US struggled to find countries willing to receive them until the Uruguayan president, José Mujica agreed to accept them.

    “We are so happy to be here,” he told the Guardian in his first public comments since arriving in Montevideo. Shaaban spoke by phone from inside the city’s military hospital, where the six men are recovering under friendly but tight guard.

    “They get hugs from Uruguayan officials, friendly waves and the thumbs up from the other patients at the hospital, the Uruguayan reception team even bought bathing suits for them,” said Michael Mone, the Boston trial lawyer who secured Shaaban’s release from the US government.”


    President Mujica and the people of Uruguay put us to shame.

    ( the attorneys for these men are US heroes, imho)

    • just on December 11, 2014, 5:17 pm

      PS ( from The Guardian article)

      “The harsh treatment lasted up to the moment the prisoners descended from the US military plane in Montevideo early on Sunday.
      The men spent their entire nine-hour flight to freedom in handcuffs, shackles, blindfolds and “ear defenders”, their lawyers said.
      “When they arrived, the Uruguayans refused to let them walk off the plane in shackles, they insisted that they be allowed to take their first step on Uruguayan soil as free men,” said Mone.”

    • John Douglas on December 11, 2014, 10:41 pm

      RE: “Just: I’ve been ashamed for so long.”

      Every charge that Phil and others, Just included, makes against the U.S. is true. The U.S. is an oligarchy that wreaks havoc, death, destruction, pain on a worldwide basis. U.S. policies also wreak havoc on U.S. citizens, denying them just compensation for labor while favoring those with hyper-avarice syndrome and a willingness to bribe lawmakers on every side of the isle. I despise this, but it does not shame me. Shame and guilt belong to the evil doers, to the hypocrites and the greedy, to the war-mongers and the liars. Conversely, I am not proud of it, not “proud to be an Amurikan” and wouldn’t be even if America were all the things it defenders wrongly claim it is. Show me some of the (many) things I’ve done wrong or the (many) stupid things I’ve said and wrote, and you’ll see some shame. The converse, pride in country, is not only a philosophically unjustified feeling, based upon false ideas, it’s a dangerous practice, a mob emotion, vestiges of tribal nationalism that are far better left behind. Think of the false, vicarious pride felt by American Jews in the face of the 1967 Israeli victories, and think of where that false pride has gotten us, the Palestinians and Israel.

    • Walid on December 12, 2014, 5:11 pm

      “I’ve been ashamed for so long…”

      Wrong emotion, just, you’ve done nothing to be ashamed of. You’d be right to say that you’re angry with what’s been happening around you because you have no control over it, but shame has nothing to do with it.

      John Douglas in his reply to you started off on the right foot when he said that he’s done nothing to be ashamed of, but in midstream he took off on something or other about it being wrong to have any sense of pride in one’s country, which is also wrong.

      I’m not an American and I surely feel no shame whatever for what America is doing, but I am critical of some of its actions although not to the point of considering myself anti–American as most Americans are expressing themselves absurdly here. This torture shit is bad news, but in honesty, how many other countries are not into some form or degree of torture? It doesn’t make it right, but it’s there in all its ugliness everywhere.

      • just on December 12, 2014, 5:26 pm

        OK~ I am ashamed and angry.

        Our legendary hypocrisy is what makes me most c.r.a.z.y. I certainly am not “anti- American”.

      • Walid on December 12, 2014, 5:53 pm

        I know you’re not anti-American, just, and I’m sure neither is Phil. The term is being used here as a figure of speech to denote your distress.

      • just on December 12, 2014, 7:03 pm

        US hypocrisy:

        “The US is poised to impose sanctions on Venezuela over the sometimes-violent suppression of anti-government protests which racked the country earlier this year.

        The US Congress passed a bill this week to punish officials involved in the February-to-May clashes, which resulted in 43 deaths, including victims on both sides of the divide.

        White House aides said Barack Obama – who had been hesitant to take action during the height of the unrest – was now ready to sign the bill into law.

        “We have not and will not remain silent in the face of Venezuelan government actions that violate human rights and fundamental freedoms and deviate from well-established democratic norms,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, told a news conference on Thursday.

        The bill will deny visas and freeze the US assets of current and former Venezuelan officials who ordered “significant acts of violence or serious human rights abuses against persons associated with the anti-government protests”.

        The Cuban-American sponsor of the bill, Democratic senator Robert Menendez, said the sanctions sent an “unequivocal message” to the Venezuelan government.

        Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro responded with defiance, describing the proposed US measure as insolent. “They can stick the sanctions in their ears or wherever else they’ll fit,” he said in a televised speech. “If the crazy path of sanctions is imposed, President Obama, I think you’re going to come out looking very bad.””

        see what I mean, Walid. I do appreciate Maduro’s response, though.


      • Walid on December 13, 2014, 1:59 am

        “The US is poised to impose sanctions on Venezuela over the sometimes-violent suppression of anti-government protests which racked the country earlier this year. ”

        Just, it’s neither the hypocrisy nor the suppression of anti-government protests that have anything to do with it, there are similar abuses eleswhere, especially in Arab states where the US turns a blind eye because it’s in its interest to do so. Likewise, the US is helping the Ukrainians with their “democracy”.

      • just on December 13, 2014, 9:25 am

        So how does Israeli treatment of Palestinians at peaceful protests protect our “interests”?

        Why no sanctions nor threats to do so by anybody?

      • John Douglas on December 13, 2014, 5:54 pm

        Walid, I should have spoken more clearly. I have certainly done things for which I am ashamed, but it was I who did these thing. I have not tortured anyone or given the orders to do so and then lied about it. I am angry about that but not ashamed. I didn’t do it. Pride is other side of this coin. For example in WW II, men and women from all walks of life became soldiers for a time, fought bravely, some died, then returned to civilian life. I admired that beyond words. And every one of these people should be proud of what they did. But I cannot be proud of it because I had no part in it. I happen to love the U.S., but only under the proviso that the U.S. is not equivalent to the crooks, bribe-takers, warmongers and liars that run the U.S. on the national scale. What is local is what is great about the U.S., national policy is too often criminal.

      • NoMoreIsrael on December 14, 2014, 12:55 am

        I feel no shame at the actions of Dick Cheney—merely revulsion, as I expect any sane human being would. But I do feel shame after seeing Citizenfour. I know I haven’t got the courage of an Edward Snowden. The recognition that not many do is no comfort whatsoever. I am not willing to suffer that way for my convictions. I’m no Danial Berrigan either. That is a source of shame. I remember Chomsky’s debate with Buckley and Chomsky saying he felt shame at not having the courage to do more during Vietnam.

      • Stephen Shenfield on December 18, 2014, 4:16 pm

        Not quite everywhere perhaps? Costa Rica, which has no armed forces? Do they torture people in Denmark?

        On the other side, the US compares favorably with many countries in the sense that this has all come out into the open, though it took some time.

    • Brewer on December 15, 2014, 2:29 am

      Thanks for the steer to that article. Is that Pepe Mujica a Prince or what? I first came across a video of him and his old VW some time ago – thought it was a put-on but he is the real deal:

      Must watch:

  7. eljay on December 11, 2014, 4:53 pm

    Tom Friedman’s column yesterday was the best sign of this; only someone with his pomp and insensitivity could begin a column the day after the Senate report with such cheap nationalist propaganda: “Why do people line up to come to this country? Why do they build boats from milk cartons to sail here?” We’re still the greatest, he said, and everyone wants to emulate us.

    Friedman is an ass, and his comment about America is the same sort of ass-like, apologist comment Zio-supremacists make about supremacist “Jewish State” or that the rapist makes with regard to his “activities”.

    Being better than the worst is not the same as striving to be as good as the best, and it does not absolve America, Israel or the rapist of the acts of injustice and immorality they committed in the past and continue to commit.

    • Felipe on December 11, 2014, 6:09 pm

      Such is the hubris that comes with an almost-criminal arrogance compounded by willful ignorance of what successive US government have done throughout the world. But in many ways, it is hardly surprising. Since Roman times western imperial elites along with their courtiers and adulators have believed that their temporary power and dominion was in, one way or another, a sign of Providence or divine favor; “the gods/God favor(s) us” they thought, “We can do no wrong”, “how else can one explain our full spectrum dominance?”

    • Walid on December 12, 2014, 5:58 pm

      “Why do people line up to come to this country?”

      Friedman’s timing for coming out with this is shitty, but other than that, it is a fact. In spite of its warts, just about everywhere, people are actually lined up to try to get into the US. Same with Canada, Australia and most European countries.

      • Sammar on December 13, 2014, 3:28 am

        My family emigrated to the US in the early 80s. A few years later we obtained US citizenship and what a happy and proud day that was. After 20 years in the US, I moved to the ME. Now I am seriously considering renouncing my US citizenship. Americans living back home may be successful in wearing blindfolds and getting their world view from FOX News and CNN – and even CNBC does not bring the truth and nothing but the truth. Or the newspapers that follow government guidelines.

        But Americans overseas are more aware of the truth and when it was said that publishing the torture report was going to put Americans lives overseas in danger we were not worried at all. The findings in the torture report are common knowledge in the ME, nobody here was surprised by the contents of the report. Therefore the lack of masses stampeding to attack the US embassies, as fear mongers would have us believe. Nobody in the US media seems to wonder about that? A few cartoons led to mass uprisings but people just shrugged when the CIA report came out because for them it was old news. At best they were surprised at the uproar it created back home in the US.

        What is really sad is that both the US and Israel constantly get away with committing war crimes while sitting in judgement over other countries that wreak much less havoc in the world. I am ashamed and I am angry that by force of my citizenship and my right to vote I may be considered part of this. Most of all, I am just sad that the US and Israel, both countries that started out as a solution to end human suffering and persecution and torture have now become the biggest protagonists for the abuse of power.

      • NoMoreIsrael on December 14, 2014, 12:57 am

        Ironically, many if not most are lined up to come here because United States sponsored terrorism and oppression made their home states unlivable.

    • Stephen Shenfield on December 18, 2014, 4:19 pm

      The fact that so many people from Mexico or Haiti are desperate to get into the US is largely a result of policies that the US has imposed on these countries, destroying the livelihoods of their small farmers in the interests of US agribusiness.

  8. joemowrey on December 11, 2014, 5:00 pm

    Thanks Phil. The awakening process can be a long a painful one. I laud you for your continued process over the years. But as Keith points out, you have a lot of catching up to do.

    You might begin by not congratulating Feinstein for doing what she took an oath to do, protect and defend the Constitution. Instead, this war-mongering hypocrite usually protects her own interests first and foremost. She is a despicable war profiteer, among other violations of U.S. law and her oath of office. Perhaps I am being overly cynical, but it wouldn’t surprise me to discover that the ‘courage’ you suggest she has demonstrated is in some way benefitting her financially. Certainly she must view it as of some use to her politically. Otherwise she wouldn’t bother.

    During her time as leader of the Senate’s Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee (2001-2005) she and her husband, Richard Blum benefited enormously from decisions she made directing appropriations to two defense contractors whose interests were largely controlled by her husband.

    She has also been a staunch defender of the many illegal domestic spying programs rubber-stamped by our absurd FISA court system. Oh, well she did get a little upset when the CIA was caught spying on her and her committee! How dare they!

    Her support of all of our illegal and immoral wars of aggression is also a crime.

    Anyone who has reached the level of power and influence represented by membership in our Senate is by definition a criminal and a corrupt hypocrite. That’s the very nature of our fetid corporate political system. Once we all realize that, then some real awakening will begin to occur.

    • CloakAndDagger on December 11, 2014, 6:34 pm


      Limited hangout.

    • Mooser on December 11, 2014, 6:45 pm

      Just as a tangent, I remember posters of Feinstein ‘shooped into black-leather leotard and whip, and the caption “Dianne Feinstein” for Dominant Mistress of San Fransico” back in the day 1979 I think it was, when she was running for Mayor, after an appointed term.

    • Brewer on December 15, 2014, 2:49 am

      “She is a despicable war profiteer, among other violations of U.S. law and her oath of office “

      Bullseye !

      Remember that around 80% of the report is redacted. She was probably considered a safe pair of hands at this time – just before Christmas when the sheeple are down at the mall.
      I don’t know what its like up there but down here in Kiwiville it hasn’t got a fraction of the press it should have. Had it been a fortnight earlier it would have sunk our neo-con PM’s “anti-terror” bill which enables unwarranted surveillance (among other gems):

  9. ivri on December 11, 2014, 5:20 pm

    Not all is lost tough – there are still other superpowers in the world, as China and Russia

    • just on December 11, 2014, 6:46 pm

      What does that even mean?

      The good news is that lots of Americans freely criticize their country and its practices and try to improve things.

      Can’t wait to see you criticize and seek to improve Israel~ even once.

      That’s the difference.

      • oldgeezer on December 11, 2014, 7:34 pm

        Lots of Israeli’s do as well. Typically the criticism is the failure to cleanse the place of Arabs faster or to build illegal settlements faster on stolen land. But hey. it’s criticism.

      • just on December 11, 2014, 7:35 pm

        Yes they do, oldgeezer.

        Not ivri.

      • just on December 11, 2014, 8:04 pm

        I did not read your comment carefully enough, oldgeezer……. I apologize. I get your point, of course.

        There are wonderful Israelis that criticize their gov’t.~ B’Tselem, Zuchrot, Ta’ayush, Gideon Levy, Amira Hass…etc.

      • oldgeezer on December 11, 2014, 8:09 pm


        No need to apologize whatsoever :) There are indeed many moral and caring Israeli’s. I guess my comment was meant to denigrate their efforts as I am mindful that they are ostracized, reviled and labelled as traitors quite frequently by the public and political leadership. Indeed those groups and individuals actually put their lives at risk to do the right thing when considering the current environment in Israel.

      • ivri on December 12, 2014, 3:11 am

        @Just: “What does that mean?”
        It means that before you give up on your flag as a beacon for the rest world think of the EXISTING alternatives for leading it. If I were an American I would be waving the flag as high as possible, being greatly proud of the global role of my country, e.g. saving the world three times in row from big dangers to it: The Nazis, Stalin and the Jihadists – isn`t that exceptional?

      • ivri on December 12, 2014, 3:23 am

        Criticism is a flexible word: if it is constructive it is OK, but e.g. the “criticism” of many on this site of Israel is no more than a euphemism for something far more sinister

      • RoHa on December 12, 2014, 5:17 am

        “e.g. saving the world three times in row from big dangers to it: The Nazis,”

        The USSR and the British Empire did most of the hard work, and shed the most blood, for that one.


        When was the world saved from Stalin?

        “and the Jihadists”


      • RoHa on December 12, 2014, 5:25 am

        “the “criticism” of many on this site of Israel is no more than a euphemism for something far more sinister ”

        Oooooh! Sinister forces at work! Do tell us more.

      • eljay on December 12, 2014, 7:52 am

        >> ivreee: Criticism is a flexible word: if it is constructive it is OK, but e.g. the “criticism” of many on this site of Israel is no more than a euphemism for something far more sinister

        Much (most?) of the criticism of many on this site of the Palestinians is not constructive. It is, therefore, nothing more than a euphemism for something far more sinister.

        When will Zio-supremacists learn to love their children more than they hate Palestinians?

      • Mooser on December 12, 2014, 11:31 am

        “The Nazis, Stalin and the Jihadists – isn`t that exceptional? “

        Lions, and tigers and bears, oh my!

      • Mooser on December 12, 2014, 3:46 pm

        “the “criticism” of many on this site of Israel is no more than a euphemism for something far more sinister ”

        I think he means the song parodies. At least I haven’t submitted any of dirty limericks.

      • RoHa on December 12, 2014, 4:52 pm

        I notice ivri doesn’t mention the Japanese as danger to the world, even though the Americans were the main force against them. Isn’t Asia included on his map of the world?

      • Mooser on December 13, 2014, 6:18 pm

        I notice ivri doesn’t mention the Japanese as danger to the world,”

        Nor the Chinese threat. It was only a few decades ago guys like “ivri” were always saying “Please, don’t squeeze The Chairman!”

      • Philemon on December 20, 2014, 7:53 pm

        Well, from the British point of view (Roha is quite right), Australians were fair game, and as for the people of India… the less said, the better.

        The old USSR (or in cyrillic, CCCP) had a predeliction for massacres, for all sorts of reasons, or for no reason at all, except that they were setting one segment of society, or ethnic group, against another in accordance with Philip II of Macedon’s dictum: “divide et impera” (Well, if Philip II spoke Latin, you know…)

        Occasionally the CCCP tried to palm the odd massacre off on others, but most of the time they modestly admitted that it was all their own work.

    • Keith on December 12, 2014, 5:47 pm

      IRVI- “…there are still other superpowers in the world, as China and Russia”

      Neither is a superpower. Both are under assault from the empire, particularly Russia. The US is engaging in reckless brinkmanship in the Ukraine which may result in the termination of the species. Our war mongering Congress is competing with the war monger in chief to see who can be more reckless. Things are coming to a head and the next two years are going to be extraordinarily dangerous.

      • ivri on December 13, 2014, 4:14 am

        Relax, you have been apparently swallowing too much of those scare-mongers. The reality is the opposite. Putin is not Stalin and he in fact plays the West`s game, money and power, only does that as a competing brand. Take my word for it – nobody cares too much about Ukraine and surely not that much so as to even come close to a war. Sleep well.

      • Mooser on December 13, 2014, 12:19 pm

        And after that cogent analysis of world affairs from our know-nothing correspondent “ivri”, a word from our sponsor:

        “Remember, Jewish parents, don’t let your college kid go to Hillel in a handbasket! There’s plenty of late-model, guaranteed used cars at Balnes Motors.”

      • Keith on December 13, 2014, 2:30 pm

        IRVI- “Relax, you have been apparently swallowing too much of those scare-mongers.”

        Credit where credit is due, it takes real talent to be this misinformed, assuming that you are sincere. As for Putin, he is not the problem, our neocon inspired empire is the problem. Putin has done a masterful job so far in dealing with US/NATO aggression in view of his relatively weak position. Your comment did, however, provide me the opportunity to provide a link to an excellent analysis by Diana Johnstone.

        “For over a year, the United States has played out a scenario designed to (1) reassert U.S. control over Europe by blocking E.U. trade with Russia, (2) bankrupt Russia, and (3) get rid of Vladimir Putin and replace him with an American puppet, like the late drunk, Boris Yeltsin.” (Diana Johnstone)

      • Walid on December 13, 2014, 2:55 pm

        “Putin has done a masterful job so far in dealing with US/NATO aggression in view of his relatively weak position. ”

        Keith, Putin made a fundamental mistake that others before him tried and ended up in big trouble. Saddam, Gadaffi, Chavez, the Iranians; it was moving away from the petro-dollar. Nobody does it or even hints at trying to do it stays alive. Now he’s doing it in his mega deals with China and India; it’s only a matter of time. The US threw Ukraine at him to soften him up. With his breakeven at over $100, $65/barrel is knocking the wind out of his sails. Nobody messes with the US.

      • ivri on December 13, 2014, 4:41 pm

        Walid: “Nobody messes with the US”
        …. and its intimate allies and/or protégés

      • Keith on December 13, 2014, 5:15 pm

        WALID- “…Putin made a fundamental mistake that others before him tried and ended up in big trouble. Saddam, Gadaffi, Chavez, the Iranians; it was moving away from the petro-dollar.”

        Disentangling themselves from the global financial system is essential if Russia, China, Iran,etc, wish to function as independent states. Unfortunately, this may be too little, too late. I don’t think that Putin and Russia alone can withstand the full spectrum of forces applied, his only hope being strong support from China which has yet to occur. Agreeing to a pipeline years in the future doesn’t cut it. Unless China has the means and the will to dump $500 billion in US Treasuries onto the secondary market with the warning that another $500 billion will be forthcoming if Uncle Sam doesn’t back off, I don’t see the empire as changing course. I doubt that China is capable of such an act without destroying its own economy. In fact, China appears committed to empire and to enlarging its own role within the imperial architecture. Below, I supply a quote and a link to an interesting article by Andrew Gavin Marshall which discusses these changes to the global political economy. Finally, I think that the US has already achieved its primary goal of blocking potential Russia/EU economic and military cooperation. And yes, the petro-dollar is an essential component of global financial control.

        “First, we must properly address the nature of China’s rise in the world order. What we are witnessing is an historically unique situation. For the first time, the rise of a ‘new’ power is taking place not in the context of rising against the hegemonic powers of the time, but within the hegemonic order. In short, China’s rise has not been a rise against America, but rather a rise within the American world order.” (Andrew Gavin Marshall, 2011)

  10. HarryLaw on December 11, 2014, 5:27 pm

    President Putin said it best in that op-ed in the New York Times . “And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”

    • just on December 11, 2014, 6:53 pm

      I wish Vladimir Putin would tell Israel the same thing.

      He’s correct, of course.

  11. JLewisDickerson on December 11, 2014, 6:04 pm

    RE: “Yes: Sweden, Poland, and Thailand and the other black sites. They’re no better than us either.” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: According to the executive summary, the CIA found it necessary to make payments to officials (very discretely, I assume) in some of the black site countries in order to grease the skids. I wonder if those officials reported the income on their tax returns. The American Empire’s CIA corrupts virtually everyone and everything it touches!

    • JLewisDickerson on December 11, 2014, 6:20 pm


      ● “The draft memo cited the ‘Israeli example’ as possible basis for arguing that ‘torture was necessary…” ~

      ● “CIA atty also described Israeli precedent w regard to the ‘necessity defense’ that has been invoked by CIA and DOJ” ~

      SOURCE –

    • JLewisDickerson on December 11, 2014, 9:45 pm

      P.P.S. ‘Necessity defense’ per Sharon: Force is the only thing the Arabs understand. And the only alternative to force is more force.

      SEE: “Force, provocation, disaster…. more force”“, by David Bromwich –

    • JLewisDickerson on December 13, 2014, 7:32 am

      RE: “[T]he CIA found it necessary to make payments to officials (very discretely, I assume) in some of the black site countries in order to grease the skids.” ~ me (from above)


      . . . But the contractors were not the only players who received large payments under the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program. According to the report, “the CIA provided millions of dollars in cash payments to foreign government officials” to get foreign governments to host and support secret CIA detention sites. For example, the report says that one country that hosted a secret CIA detention facility rejected the transfer of Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, the architect of the 9/11 attacks, but the decision was reversed after the U.S. ambassador to that country intervened. The next month the CIA provided more than $1 million to an unidentified party in that country, the report says. According to a cable referenced in the report, “the CIA Station speculated that the change of position was ‘at least somewhat attributable… to our gift of $ [redacted] million….” Khalid Shaykh Muhammad was reportedly held by the CIA in Poland and Romania before being transferred to Guantanamo Bay.

      CIA officials were keenly aware about how easy it would be for them to use money to get certain countries to facilitate the CIA interrogation program. “Do you realize you can buy [Country Redacted] for $,” one chief of station is quoted as saying in the report. Coincidentally, the payments to foreign government officials to facilitate torture occurred at the same time that the U.S. Justice Department was operating the biggest enhanced Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement effort ever, going after dozens of U.S. companies that had allegedly made payments to foreign government officials for business purposes. CIA headquarters also encouraged CIA Stations to construct “wish lists” and “think big” in terms of proposed financial assistance to the arms of foreign governments that could help with the program, the report says. . .

      SOURCE –

  12. Oscar on December 11, 2014, 6:34 pm

    Spectacular essay, Phil. When you’re passionate about a particular topic, it’s damn near impossible to find another writer as articulate and persuasive as you. I’ve appreciated your writing since way back in the days of SPY and New York — especially SPY.

    • annie on December 12, 2014, 12:12 am

      i agree, spectacular. and phil has been extra hot lately (imho).

  13. JLewisDickerson on December 11, 2014, 6:51 pm

    RE: “I’ll be looking hard at my own belief in American exceptionalism. I had it, I don’t think I ever want it back. It was a mythology. Losing it feels like the only good thing about this moment.” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: ‘Twas the day before Thanksgiving!*

    FROM the albulm A Crooked Road (2010) by Darryl Scott:


    It’s the day before Thanksgiving I’m not feeling much of thanks
    Just a low-grade desperation leaves me reeling in the ranks
    Just when I think I’m getting somewhere it’s somewhere further to fall

    It’s the day before Thanksgiving that is all

    I don’t believe the pilgrims sat with Indians for a feast
    A self-proclaimed holy savior doesn’t break bread with his beast

    But then again he had a musket and the Indian had a knife
    And the musket man could make him eat for life

    I don’t believe this country’s manifestering destiny
    Someone just cooked it up and it is fed to you and me

    They tell us who to love in war and never ask for help
    And they cannot stand us thinking for ourselves . . .

    . . . So it’s turkey breast and stuffing with gravy on the top
    Mashed potatoes, peas and dinner rolls, you use them like a mop
    Got my position at the table, got a child to say my grace
    And a wife and boss that keeps me in my place

    It’s the day before Thanksgiving I’m not feeling much of thanks
    Just a low-grade desperation leaves me reeling in the ranks
    Just when I think I’m getting somewhere it’s somewhere further to fall
    It’s the day before Thanksgiving that is all

    Darrell Scott, The Day Before Thanksgiving [VIDEO, 04:15] –

    ● To download a free mp3 of Darrell Scott’s song, “The Day Before Thanksgiving” ~

    • JLewisDickerson on December 11, 2014, 7:00 pm

      Darrell Scott, The Day Before Thanksgiving [VIDEO, 04:15] –

      • just on December 11, 2014, 7:05 pm

        I’ve been “collecting” his music since you introduced me to him on Thanksgiving… thanks JLD.

    • on December 12, 2014, 8:57 am

      We ain’t gonna vote our way out of this mess.

    • JLewisDickerson on December 12, 2014, 1:45 pm

      P.P.S. I think it is time to rebrand Thanksgiving as “Oligarch Appreciation Day”.

  14. American on December 11, 2014, 7:54 pm

    I love my country, I HATE MY GOVERNMENT.

    Been telling ya and telling ya……our government and its Elite-dom Shadow government is 90% rotten to the core.
    And they aren’t going to reform themselves.
    So people better start thinking about how to get rid of them in a rigged dual monarchy system.
    And you cant do it by being ‘respectful’ of the son of a bitches.
    Take out the garbage.

  15. just on December 11, 2014, 11:42 pm

    Another gem.

    How can any parent raise (never mind rejoice) that their 14 y ochild designs a killing machine?

    Billions for what?

  16. just on December 12, 2014, 9:46 am

    “The Ominous ‘Cromnibus,’ A Budget Bill That Should Have Died
    It’s a story of missed opportunities that is as significant as the Wall Street giveaways, the kowtowing to fossil fuel interests and gratuitous swipes at conservative boogeymen that were written into this monstrosity. Most conspicuous is the absence of any real effort to address the plight of millions of people who remain untouched by the so-called economic “recovery” of the past few years … “the bill has no major new investments in infrastructure …” said Lindsay Koshgarian of the National Priorities Project … Of the total budget, $1.1 trillion, 55 percent is devoted to military spending …”

    Yep. 55% on the MIC.

    • Citizen on December 13, 2014, 9:47 am

      There’s $3.1 billion in total aid for Israel plus $619.8 million in defense aid. ALso 1.3 billion for Egypt plus 130 million on condition Egypt does not earn it do to humanitarian or civil rights violations. I read somewhere Israel is scheduled to get 3.7 billion from US in 2015.

  17. Kay24 on December 12, 2014, 11:13 am

    We should all be ashamed. This is not the America we knew and was proud of. This is disgusting, and what we may associate with a rogue nation, or a brutal dictatorship with. Bush, Cheney, and their neocon zionists, who did not care a damn for the country, but more for their wealthy defense contractors, and arms manufacturer buddies, lied and took us into an unnecessary war, and were never held accountable. This will only encourage any future President, who may be gung ho to start wars again. To allow thugs in US uniform to inflict pain on helpless human beings, is despicable. We have lost our moral authority, and now I understand my friends from around the world, who criticized us so much, who look down on US policies, it’s endless wars, interference in other nations, and the massacre of innocent civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq, for wars that did not give us Bin Laden, nor WMD’s in Iraq.

    The message here is, American leaders can lie to the country, and get away with murder. It is appalling that the idiot Bush, and his conniving side kick, Cheney, used false intelligence to dupe the country, and dragged into a costly, and never ending war, for which we pay for even today.
    The savagery of the torture, and their disgusting methods, should make us ashamed that it was all done in our name. This is something we might have condemned rogue nations like North Korea for. We are such big hypocrites trying to preach to the rest of the world about human rights, and what do you know, we are one of the worst. This is uncivilized behavior from the world’s superpower, who demands for human rights around the world, and condemns those who abuses it.

    How can we condemn terrorist groups, when we are no better?
    We keep giving the world reasons to hate us, and reasons to harm us.
    Shame on us, America, and that we paid other nations to help us stoop to such horrible crimes.

    • Walid on December 12, 2014, 2:44 pm

      “Shame on us, America, and that we paid other nations to help us stoop to such horrible crimes”

      Over 50 countries participated directly or indirectly in America’s torture program and one of them was Canada, but at least it ended up apologizing for it and paying damages. The Canadian federal police force (the Mounties) snitched to the Americans about a Syrian-Canadian being an al-qaeda agent. The US arrested him at JFK and sent him to Syria under its renditions program.The Syrians kept him locked up at Damascus notorious torture facility known as the “Palestine Branch” for over a year to be tortured. Syria finally admitted that the Canadian was not guilty and released him.

      On his returnto Canada, he sued the Canadian government, the US, Jordanian and Syrian ones for wrongful detention and torture. Only Canada came clean. Prime Minister Harper issued a formal apology to the man and his government settled out of court by paying the victim $11.5 million. The federal police commissioner resigned as a result of the force’s (RCMP) blunder.

      Full story on the Syrian Canadian, Maher Arar:

      • oldgeezer on December 12, 2014, 2:52 pm

        As a Canadian I take no joy from the settlement or apology that was made. No amount of I’m sorry or cash can erase the torture he was subjected to. If had only been detained and not tortured then our government would have still failed in it’s duty to defend a citizen. It acted as a traitor to our nation and it’s values. It participated in crimes.

        Equally as bad is the case of Omar Khadr. A child used illegally by the Taliban as a warrior. Arguably a victim of abuse by his own father in doing so. Held while still a child in Gitmo and likely subjected to torture. Our nation turned it’s back on him. Repetitive but our nation turned it’s back on a child. A victim.

      • Kay24 on December 12, 2014, 8:14 pm

        I remember this story. How appalling and disgusting this poor guy and his family had to endure this horrible mistake. It seems there is indifference, when it comes to Arabs and Muslim lives.
        No one cares, and those responsible for horrible mistakes are not held accountable.
        Bush and Cheney deserves to be tortured exactly the same way, and that would be too good for the criminals.

    • RoHa on December 13, 2014, 2:11 am

      I would have phrased that as “Cheney, and his idiot front man, Bush”.

  18. RobertB on December 12, 2014, 11:14 am

    The CIA’s Torture Orgy
    100 or More Prisoners Tortured to Death in US Detention.

    Sending troops to protect dictators threatens all of us

    By Seumas Milne

    December 11, 2014

    ” “The Guardian” – – We may have known the outline of the global US kidnapping and torture programme for a few years. But even the heavily censored summary of the US senate torture report turns the stomach in its litany of criminal barbarity unleashed by the CIA on real and imagined US enemies.

    The earlier accounts of US brutality in Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo pale next to the still sanitised record of forced rectal “infusions” and prolapses, multiple “waterboarding” drownings and convulsions, the shackled freezing to death of a man seized in a mistaken identity case, hooded beatings and hanging by the wrists, mock executions, and sleep deprivation for up to 180 hours.

    What has been published is in fact only a small part of a much bigger picture, including an estimated 100 or more prisoners tortured to death in US detention. Added to the rampant lying, cover-ups and impunity, it’s a story that the champions of America’s “exceptionalism” will find hard to sell around the world.”

    • just on December 12, 2014, 12:19 pm

      Thanks for posting & linking to that, RobertB.

      (Seumas Milne is a hero of mine)

    • oldgeezer on December 12, 2014, 2:59 pm

      I wonder about the estimated 100 or more claim. At one point there had been roughly 150-ishdeaths at Baghram(sp?) airbase alone that had been categorized as homicide. I suspect his estimated 100 or more is vastly understated.

      • just on December 12, 2014, 3:02 pm

        I bet you are correct, oldgeezer.

      • Mooser on December 13, 2014, 12:22 pm

        What I get a kick out of is thinking how many Americans, at all levels were involved in the torture program. And now they can bring their experience and training back to civilian life, for everyone’s benefit.

  19. just on December 12, 2014, 11:39 am

    “A UN expert on human rights has repeated his call for the US to live up to its international legal obligations and prosecute senior officials who authorised the use of torture.

    Ben Emmerson, the UN special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, said Eric Holder, the US attorney general, is under an international obligation to reopen inquiries into senior officials alleged to have breached human rights.

    Asked whether George W Bush should be prosecuted, Emmerson told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that as a head of state he enjoyed special immunity, but other senior officials should face charges.

    “Certainly those at higher levels involved in the commitment of an international crime, a crime of universal jurisdiction, are liable to be charged,” he said.

    In a previous statement, following the damning Senate report on the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITs) such as waterboarding, Emmerson pointed out that the UN convention against torture required states to prosecute acts of torture where there was sufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction. He pointed out that Barack Obama had already admitted five years ago that the US regarded the use of waterboarding as torture.

    “There is therefore no excuse for shielding the perpetrators from justice any longer,” said Emmerson, a British international lawyer serving in the independent post since 2010. He made the comments immediately after the report was released by the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday.”

    Q: What did Truman say? A: “The buck stops here.”

    No “special immunity”, Mr. Emmerson.

    • just on December 12, 2014, 12:10 pm

      From the above linked article:

      “Former CIA directors have lambasted the Senate report as a one-sided attack by Democrats. Its three directors when torture took place – George Tenet, Porter Goss and Mike Hayden – blasted it as “marred by errors of fact and interpretation”, in the Wall Street Journal.

      Dick Cheney, the former vice-president who continues to defend CIA torture, called the report “full of crap”.”

      And Cheney said he would “do it all again in a minute”.

      • Kay24 on December 12, 2014, 8:22 pm

        Cheney has no heart, nor a conscience. He is Dr. Evil, and his ability to be indifferent to the consequences of their war crimes shows a similarity to how serial killers think and act. No remorse, no apology, and they would “do it all again in a minute”.

  20. just on December 12, 2014, 12:05 pm

    Of consternation to me is this:

    “The CIA repeatedly cited an Israeli high court decision to justify torture, according to the long-awaited US Senate report on the agency’s torture program.

    This latest disclosure comes just months after revelations that the Obama administration relied on an Israeli high court ruling to justify targeted killings of American citizens without trial. ”

    Why we rely on Israel’s abysmal court “rulings” and history of human rights abuses, etc. is @ the core of our problems. Hardly anyone dares speak about how this “special relationship” is tearing at our very fabric and is harming our national security.

    It’s sickening.

    • marc b. on December 12, 2014, 2:11 pm

      Too much for one post. A few points:
      1. None of this is a consequence of incompetence. The incompetence argument rests on a fundamental misunderstanding of the utility of torture. CIA et al know perfectly well the unreliability of information gained through torture. In fact, much Cold War interest in interrogation techniques arose from the Chinese/Soviet ability to elicit false confessions, which serve several purposes, two of which are a. a confession, implying guilt, or more accurately heresy; and b. confessions as exploitable material for propaganda purposes. (So we get KSM confessing to acts he couldn’t possibly have committed or plots he couldn’t have been involved in. Nonetheless, he confessed, so we must be under attack.) All this has the same feel as the Inquisition.
      2. The complete lack of inquiry or oversight of the program is an opportunity for experimentation. Did the CIA/military need doctors/psychologists to advise them on proper application of techniques of the stress position, sleep deprivation, water torture? No, but it is useful to have the available raw material for experimentation of other techniques. See for example the evidence of sexual humiliation, denigration of religious symbols and beliefs, etc. I haven’t read the whole Senate report, but I see/hear of no reference to the opportunity for experimentation that certainly was taken advantage of.
      3. The program is an opportunity to recruit informants, through torture, behavior modification, blackmail (every detainee has a family tree at risk.) Also, see the long list of ‘escapees’ who later become involved in organizations and plots against western interests, further justifying the unending GWOT.
      4. Torture, as accepted as a necessary evil in response to spectacular events, essentially implicates all governments. If I remember correctly, there were at least 60 countries implicated in direct collusion with the interrogation/rendition programs, and very little resistance from those countries not directly cooperating. This is neo-liberalism in action, simultaneously assuming that the world is its oyster, and corrupting to ensure loyalty for the future. Compliance doesn’t necessarily mean protection, however. See Libya and Syria and what they got in return for cooperating with the GWOT.
      5. Israeli legal justifications are not the limits of its influence. As I remember, there were several early reports of Israeli experts on site in Iraq and elsewhere at the initiation of the torture programs.
      6. The garishness of physical torture should not overshadow the more devastating effects of psychological torture. This is a Cold War revelation, the greater efficiency of psychological pressures. There were several meetings amongst the intelligence services professionals at which this turning point was analyzed, one in Montreal I believe where the parties discussed the value of sensory deprivation techniques (experiments then being carried out at McGill in Montreal) as a means of quickly inducing mental trauma, obliterating the will to resist.

      • just on December 12, 2014, 3:08 pm

        Impressive post, marc b. Thank you very much.

      • Walid on December 12, 2014, 4:16 pm

        “There were several meetings amongst the intelligence services professionals at which this turning point was analyzed, one in Montreal I believe where the parties discussed the value of sensory deprivation techniques -”

        That was nothing in comparison to what the CIA did in Montreal in the late 50s and early 60s in the name of fighting the Cold War. At the McGill teaching hospital, The Royal Victoria’s Allan Memorial Institute, the CIA with the knowledge of the Canadian Government conducted a series of tests on the effect of LSD as a potential truth serum on mentally handicapped patients without the patients’ permission or that of their legal guardians; the testing on vulnerable, trusting hospital patients were transformed into virtual vegetables through doses of “electroconvulsive therapy” 30-40 times more powerful than usual, sensory deprivation, hallucinogenic and paralytic drugs, and other psychological and physical tortures.

        Similar testing was being conducted in the US that included testing on children as young as 8 years old. Legal action was taken by patients in the US and Canada against both governments but both got away by paying token amounts.

        Full story for those interested:

      • oldgeezer on December 12, 2014, 4:40 pm

        Yes another proud part of our Canadian History.

      • marc b. on December 12, 2014, 5:01 pm

        some of that is part of what I was referring to walid. Ewan Cameron was the psychopath responsible for much of the atrocities. I think it was him who was taking in patients to be treated for depression and the like, only to subject them to massive drug dosages, psychic driving (exposure to repeated recordings while drugged or otherwise restrained) and other shite. Donald Hebb was working at McGill around the same time and he was a pioneer in sensory deprivation studies, although I don’t believe that his motivations were the same as Cameron’s. I had read that there was some confusion about the role of the two of them, although it seems clear that Hebb’s research was exploited by the intelligence services even if that was not his intent.

      • Walid on December 12, 2014, 5:24 pm

        Oldgeezer, some of that history was glorious and some of it a little less and this could be said about most countries. Despite a few road bumps along the way such as with renditions and the Royal Vic story, until a few years back, Canada’s name was among the cleanest in the world. Even today, compared to other Western countries, it’s still up there among the best.

      • oldgeezer on December 12, 2014, 5:27 pm

        Oh I am proud to be a Canadian, Walid. I do think my country is great. I do feel shame about some of the episodes in our past and rather than gloss them over we need to be aware of them so that we can try to not repeat them. Way off topic but the residential scandals with respect to indigenous peoples is another huge black mark.

      • Walid on December 12, 2014, 5:47 pm

        “Oh I am proud to be a Canadian” (Oldgeezer)

        Me too.

      • seafoid on December 12, 2014, 7:20 pm

        Torture is not about getting information. It’s about control.
        But it didn’t work in Iraq.

        This is why :

        It doesn’t work in Palestine either.

      • annie on December 12, 2014, 9:21 pm

        marc, that is an interesting link.

  21. Baruch B on December 12, 2014, 2:09 pm

    Phil I guess if you and Max were a little older and had to face the Vietnam draft your development would have been different. One was forced to confront the US system personally and deal with life. I faced the draft and checked out Israel at age 19. I didn’t have all the understanding I have today of Israel, but I knew something was wrong after I went. And surely I knew early on there are things wrong with the U.S. There would never he a kind of noble obligation in my liberalism or my socialism. I never went through a neocon stage. When I joined the Socialist Party I learned quickly which faction was a precursor to the neocons and which faction was still interested in socialism. Erich Fromm’s pamphlet on socialism sold, Max Shackman’s book sat on the shelf. Hardly anyone wanted to hear from a pre-neocon. And Norman Thomas did say the U.S. Flag needed a good washing, not a burning. After all even if we are not the best place we live here and need to change it. In any case I am neither shocked or surprised by the report. Much was known before the confession. It is important that it came out. Nonetheless let us not be surprised.

  22. lysias on December 12, 2014, 2:11 pm

    Nazism had largely been discredited in Germany by the military defeat of 1945, but it took the Nuremberg Trials to open most Germans’ eyes to what had been going on under the Nazis.

  23. lysias on December 12, 2014, 2:14 pm

    If our government won’t put those responsible for the torture on trial, and won’t hand them over to an international court for trial, can any court, international or otherwise, try them in absentia?

    • just on December 12, 2014, 3:14 pm

      Hostage isn’t here….. ;-(

      I looked around a bit~ perhaps Italy…

      • lysias on December 12, 2014, 3:29 pm

        Yes, Italy tried all those CIA people involved in the abduction of that imam in absentia.

      • lysias on December 12, 2014, 3:31 pm

        Of course, that abduction took place in Iraly, which gave the Italian courts jurisdiction, but I think it is a principle of international law that, for egregious violations of international law like piracy, there is universal jurisdiction, and any country can try people accused of them.

      • just on December 12, 2014, 3:48 pm

        Here you go, lysias:

        “A leading German human rights lawyer has called on prosecutors across Europe to “get active” and prepare to seize any CIA agents and US officials involved in torture who enter their territories.

        Wolfgang Kaleck said the US Senate committee report on CIA torture was giving new impetus to European resolve to hold those in positions of power responsible for the use of unacceptable interrogation techniques.

        “We’re preparing reams of dossiers, and demanding of prosecutors that they do the same for those who are named in the report and those known as the higher-ups who directed and conducted this system,” said Kaleck, the director of the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) in Berlin.

        “If these people enter European territory, they need to know that they’ll run into severe trouble,” he told the Guardian.

        He said now was the moment for prosecutors and judges to show their bravery.

        “What I’m expecting is that the report gives a new push and motivation for prosecutors and judges to pursue this community of criminals with courage,” he said.

        “If [former CIA director] George Tenet were to come to Berlin for a summit next week and we demand his arrest, we need to be ready and to ensure we have prepared the case in advance.

        “We on European soil have to get ready to act seriously.”

        Kaleck, who has represented Khaled El Masri, a German national of Lebanese descent who was wrongly seized by the CIA in 2004, said the ECCHR would begin taking steps on Monday to put pressure on the German government to make extradition requests to the US for those involved in the abduction and to mediate with the US on El Masri’s behalf.”

        [email protected]

      • Antidote on December 13, 2014, 5:23 pm

        “perhaps Italy…”

        sure, let’s continue the Nuremberg hypocrisy and have the corrupt Italian amnesiacs go after the US/CIA – and Israel.

        The Italians love to put everyone on trial but themselves. As did the so-called “civilized nations” who put the German – and Japanese – “barbarians” — but not the Italian fascists — on trial (even though Italy launched a genocidal gas attack on Ethiopians years before the Germans moved into war and genocide.

        Italian war criminals die in their beds with pensions while the country goes happily after German and other war criminals, present or absent. Such an inspiring example

      • annie on December 13, 2014, 6:26 pm

        a 2001 article about a 75 year old crime? really dumpster diving there antidote.

      • Antidote on December 15, 2014, 9:31 pm

        “a 2001 article about a 75 year old crime? really dumpster diving there antidote.”

        I have no idea what your point is, annie. That 75 year old crimes are irrelevant? You know there is no statute of limitation on crimes against humanity and torture, and the Italians know this too. They do still go after German fascists, after all, as does everyone else, including the Germans.

        Do you mean that articles published in 2001 are too old to be relevant today?

        Surely, you have linked to older articles than 2001?

        At any rate, here is another 2001 article, for your consideration:

        That MAY 17, 2001

        Bob Kerrey, CIA War Crimes, And The Need For A War Crimes Trial

        Fragging Bob:

        by Douglas Valentine

        By now everybody knows that former Senator Bob Kerrey led a seven-member team of Navy Seals into Thanh Phong village in February 1969, and murdered in cold blood more than a dozen women and children.

        What hardly anyone knows, and what no one in the press is talking about (although many of them know), is that Kerrey was on a CIA mission, and its specific purpose was to kill those women and children. It was illegal, premeditated mass murder and it was a war crime.

        And it’s time to hold the CIA responsible. It’s time for a war crimes tribunal to examine the CIA’s illegal activities during and since the Vietnam War.

        More recently:

      • annie on December 16, 2014, 10:29 am

        my point was that if your intention is the skewer italy (which i assumed it was) you should try to include some current information.

      • lysias on December 16, 2014, 4:17 pm

        Are any of the Italians involved in the genocide in Ethiopia still alive?

        By the way, today’s Guardian today contains an article by Abu Zubaydah’s lawyer calling for foreign courts to try people guilty of the U.S. torture under universal jurisdiction. I link to it in a more recent thread on the CIA torture. (By the way, Israelis guilty of war crimes could also be tried in foreign courts under universal jurisdiction.)

  24. JLewisDickerson on December 12, 2014, 3:26 pm

    RE: “I’ll be looking hard at my own belief in American exceptionalism. I had it, I don’t think I ever want it back. It was a mythology. Losing it feels like the only good thing about this moment.” ~ Weiss

    FROM WIKIPEDIA (American exceptionalism):

    [EXCERPT] . . . Parts of American exceptionalism can be traced to American Puritan roots.[30] Many Puritans with Arminian leanings embraced a middle ground between strict Calvinist predestination and a less restricting theology of Divine Providence. They believed God had made a covenant with their people and had chosen them to provide a model for the other nations of the Earth. One Puritan leader, John Winthrop, metaphorically expressed this idea as a “City upon a Hill”—that the Puritan community of New England should serve as a model community for the rest of the world.[31][32] This metaphor is often used by proponents of exceptionalism. The Puritans’ deep moralistic values remained part of the national identity of the United States for centuries, remaining influential to the present day . . .

    SOURCE –

    MY COMMENT: The John Lewis from whom my mother’s family is partly descended was opposed to Cromwell and the Puritans/Calvinists. Consequently, they banished him from England/Wales to Barbados for a couple of years. When he was able to return he began selling his property, and despite being of a fairly advanced age, he left (along with a few other family members) for Virginia in 1653.
    This might help explain why I have a nearly pathological aversion to any notion of “American exceptionalism”.

  25. eugene weixel on December 12, 2014, 5:40 pm

    They lost me in 1968

  26. seafoid on December 12, 2014, 6:58 pm

    “Why do people line up to come to this country? Why do they build boats from milk cartons to sail here?”

    That Friedman argument reminds me of Billy Joel

    The real answer is political economy, of course.

    “When Max Blumenthal said to me two years ago, There’s apartheid in America, I bridled and started to ask where else would you want to live. Now I shut up. I can hold no brief for this criminal justice system; and friends say there are a lot of other good places to live. ”

    J-live is good on this

    “If it’s war time or jail time, time for promises
    And time to figure out where the enemy is
    The same devils that you used to love to hate
    They got you so gassed and shook now, you scared to debate
    The same ones that traded books for guns
    Smuggled drugs for funds
    And had fun lettin’ off forty-one
    But now it’s all about NYPD caps
    And Pentagon bumper stickers
    But yo, you still a nigga
    It ain’t right them cops and them firemen died
    The shit is real tragic, but it damn sure ain’t magic
    It won’t make the brutality disappear
    It won’t pull equality from behind your ear
    It won’t make a difference in a two-party country
    If the president cheats, to win another four years
    Now don’t get me wrong, there’s no place I’d rather be
    The grass ain’t greener on the other genocide
    But tell Huey Freeman don’t forget to cut the lawn
    And uproot the weeds
    Cuz I’m not satisfied”


    Time brings change and that’s not what I’m opposed to
    Recognise what the elders had to go through
    So that you wouldn’t have to
    Ask and they show you
    That’s how you build a nation.. civilisation
    We do it through the music if you don’t use it you lose it
    You show the people clear water how can they refuse it
    But if they never knew it existed they couldn’t choose it
    The rich guy he plans it so you never understand it

    I found this the other day- the audacity of delusion about Obama back in 2008

    And Harper’s Index from 2009 :
    Percentage of Americans who think their life fulfills an important purpose : 94%

  27. Kay24 on December 12, 2014, 8:28 pm

    Well, it seems Rosie O’Donnell may get the Helen Thomas treatment:

    “Rosie O’Donnell panned for selling anti-Israel artwork featuring Syria photo
    Outspoken co-host of ‘The View’ was selling two works purporting to show Gaza; blogger calls her out on use of Syria photo.

    The View” co-host Rosie O’Donnell has drawn criticism for selling anti-Israel artwork on her official website that purports to show children in Gaza, but actually uses a photo from war-torn Syria.

    The outspoken TV personality had been selling two limited-edition acrylic works that were critical of Israel’s actions in Gaza during the summer war with Hamas, according to One of them shows a collage of images, including her child, stills from the animated movie “Frozen” and an image of a father carrying a wounded child.

    The work is titled “Israel Begins Bombing Gaza,” and O’Donnell’s website originally presented it with this quote from her: “This man carries a baby about the same age as the one I sit next to, watching Frozen.”

    • just on December 12, 2014, 8:40 pm

      Hurrah for Rosie~ her motivations were right, she just got the wrong photo……

      • Kay24 on December 12, 2014, 9:06 pm

        She does have some courage unlike many others. I hope she sticks to her guns and not cave in to pressure with some type of apology to appease the haters. No decent human being could have watched the horrible massacre by Israel in Gaza and not feel compassion for those poor kids. She can apologize for the wrong photo, but still show criticism for what Israel did.

  28. Daniel Rich on December 13, 2014, 12:00 am

    As the upcoming flick by Angelina ” I am NOT a Camp Event’ Joliet will no doubt tells us, the Japanese were bloodthirsty animals back in WWII, that treated their enemies with disdain and thus tortured and killed them with a tantalizing ease.

    When we found out our GIs had been water-boarded, well, we hanged those responsible in a heartbeat. Yeah, what a difference a day makes…

    I find myself at a point [in life] where I respect Russian PM Putin more than anyone I can think of in the West [or here in the East]. How did that happen?

    This may seem unrelated news, but to me it says it all: Air New Zealand wins 2015 Airline of the Year and not a single US company in the top10.

    • RoHa on December 13, 2014, 2:14 am

      I’ve been on some crummy airlines, but they haven’t waterboarded me yet.

      • Daniel Rich on December 13, 2014, 8:11 pm

        @ RoHa,

        Q: I’ve been on some crummy airlines, but they haven’t waterboarded me yet.

        R: That’s because you never flew North Korean Airlines.

  29. Jabberwocky on December 13, 2014, 8:24 am

    People are drawn to America as the world’s largest economy and deceived in to believing that the country is somewhere ‘exceptional’ because of Hollywood ‘propaganda’. The ability of the USA to control it’s image is declining with the Internet; more and more people are aware of the discrimination and racism. The disgrace of poverty and lack of access to healthcare for a substantial minority of the population and the myth of social mobility.

    William Blum provides good insight into the USA’s attempt to influence world affairs and the fact that the USA has not ever really been a force for good. Try “America’s Deadliest Export – Democracy”. The revelations of the Senate Inquiry are simply a superficial affirmation and the reactions of war criminals like, Cheney just show that many American’s are deluded about what deTocqueville meant when he described Americans as being exceptionally practical and less interested in intellectual pursuits. I guess Americans embracing exceptional as special just confirms deTocqueville’s point!

    All I can think is that Osama Bin Laden won more than he expected on 9/11 because the mask has dropped and the aggressive, self serving bully is more on show than it ever has before. Although American’s can still delude themselves that 9/11 was jealousy of American ‘freedoms’ and not a result of Americans killing millions of non-Americans and being proud of it in the best colonial imperialist sense of pride.

    • Antidote on December 13, 2014, 5:37 pm

      “the ability of the USA to control it’s image is declining with the Internet”

      yeah! The internet will save us all

      • Jabberwocky on December 14, 2014, 3:35 am

        When I first moved to the USA in February 1989 I arrived at JFK and stayed in White Plains. I was exposed immediately to the poverty sub-culture where the local McDonald’s was staffed by poor Hispanic staff that could not communicate in English.

        On travelling in to Grand Central Terminal for my first day of work at an office on 42nd Street, I was appalled to have to step over homeless people living in the station and to be greeted with the stench of stale urine. On my way to the office there was a homeless shelter run by a church but during the winter people would still die in doorways because of the terrible cold.

        This is a reality comically displayed in the North Korean propaganda but, in my experience, non the less true and something I saw in many cities of the ‘richest’ country in the world.

        Not something that Hollywood shows of the exceptional America. The Internet now allows a diverse source of information – like Mondoweiss, and other sources of information. When the UN Human Rights Commission issued a report this month on the USA; these ‘alternative’ sites were the only places that covered the report. The US Main Stream Media is controlled by the oligarchs for whose benefit the USA is run. The 99% are propagandised and deluded to believe in their exceptionalism. Exemplified for me when national sporting competitions are called “World Series” and American football have “Worls Champions”. The United States of Anosognosia!

  30. just on December 13, 2014, 9:18 am

    “Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) called on President Barack Obama to bomb Iran in the White House Christmas party this week, she told the Washington Free Beacon Thursday.

    Bachmann who announced she was retiring from the Congress at the end of the year, recounted the talk she had with the president: “I said, something to the effect of, ‘Mr. President, you need to bomb the Iranian nuclear facilities, because if you don’t, Iran will have a nuclear weapon on your watch and the course of world history will change,’” the Washington Free Beacon reported.

    According to Bachmann the president answered “Well Michele, it’s just not that easy.””

    Mr. Obama should have said something else.

    bye-bye, Michele. take your toxic garbage with you.

    (WWJD @ a WH Christmas party? What would he say?)

    • JLewisDickerson on December 13, 2014, 9:48 am

      RE: “Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) called on President Barack Obama to bomb Iran . . .” ~ just


      I am convinced in my heart and in my mind that if the United States fails to stand with Israel, that is the end of the United States . . . [W]e have to show that we are inextricably entwined, that as a nation we have been blessed because of our relationship with Israel, and if we reject Israel, then there is a curse that comes into play. And my husband and I are both Christians, and we believe very strongly the verse from Genesis [Genesis 12:3], we believe very strongly that nations also receive blessings as they bless Israel. It is a strong and beautiful principle.” ~ Michele Bachman, 5/20/11

      SOURCE –

      • RoHa on December 13, 2014, 6:39 pm

        For politicians to be totally insane is quite normal. But to reveal it in this way and still get elected (rather than committed) shows that the electorate is either inattentive or similarly insane. Either way, a scary prospect.

  31. RobertB on December 13, 2014, 10:41 am

    What’s the Next Step to Stop Torture?

    “The grim details about the CIA’s torture techniques – from waterboarding to “rectal rehydration” – have overwhelmed the final defenses of the torture apologists. Now the question is what to do with this evidence and how to make sure this behavior doesn’t happen again, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.”

    By Ray McGovern

    December 12, 2014

    “I want you to listen to me,” said George Tenet lunging forward from his chair, his index finger outstretched and pointed menacingly at CBS’ Scott Pelley, “We don’t torture people; we don’t torture people; we don’t torture people; we don’t torture people; we don’t torture people!”

    Appearing on “60 Minutes” on April 29, 2007, to hawk his memoir At the Center of the Storm, former CIA Director Tenet was imperiously definitive on the issue of CIA and torture. Could he have thought that repeating his denial five times, with the appropriate theatrics, would compel credulity? Is this the kind of assertion over reality that worked at CIA Headquarters during his disastrous tenure?

    The frequently pliant Pelley seemed unmoved this time – since the basic facts about the CIA’s waterboarding and other torture of “war on terror” detainees were well known by then. You would have had to be deaf and dumb to be unaware that Tenet had eagerly embraced the role of overseer in the Bush/Cheney “dark side” torture centers after 9/11.

    In the memoir – a kind of apologia sans apology – Tenet was less self-confident and pugnacious than on “60 Minutes.” While emphasizing the importance of detaining and interrogating al-Qaeda operatives around the world, he betrayed some worry that the chickens might some day come home to roost. Enter the feathered fowl this week with the release of the Senate report on CIA torture and all the mind-numbing details about lengthy sleep deprivations, painful stress positions, waterboarding and “rectal rehydration.”

    One remaining question now is whether egg on Tenet’s face will be allowed to suffice as his only punishment, or whether he and his deputy-in-crime John McLaughlin will end up in prison where they, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and several other senior officials properly belong.

    • just on December 13, 2014, 12:15 pm

      Thanks RobertB.

      Thanks Ray McGovern (*hero*).

  32. just on December 13, 2014, 12:21 pm

    Via Max B:

    “To mark release of the SSCI Report, Oscar Award-winning documentary, “Taxi to the Darkside” is streaming for free: ”

    RIP and I am so sorry, Dilawar & his family and friends.

  33. Antidote on December 13, 2014, 6:05 pm

    “McCain’s great speech”

    What is great about this speech? oh right, America and Americans:

    “We need only remember in the worst of times, through the chaos and terror of war, when facing cruelty, suffering and loss, that we are always Americans, and different, stronger, and better than those who would destroy us.”

    This, on a nutshell, is the problem with America and Americans, including Mr. Weiss.

    Get in into your heads, finally: You are neither different from, nor stronger or better than anyone else, including your enemies. past and present. Stronger – maybe. But that does not make you better. Not at all.

    What made you stronger? Democracy? Freedom? Or the kind of stuff you whine about as being unAmerican? War. Torture. Lies. Land theft. Genocide. Racism

    “Bomb-bomb-bomb Iran” McCain is incapable of delivering a “great speech”

    • Mooser on December 14, 2014, 12:46 pm

      “Bomb-bomb-bomb Iran” McCain is incapable of delivering a “great speech””

      Gee, as I remember, he couldn’t deliver bombs very well, nor fly an airplane competently.

    • RoHa on December 14, 2014, 5:21 pm

      I have heard that he made some speeches for the North Vietnamese that were at least adequate.

  34. piotr on December 13, 2014, 10:37 pm

    I did not look at the reports, so I wonder if it touches upon horrific stories like the one published by Scott Horton in Harper’s. If you bother to check, it is a story of senseless sadistic murder in Guantanamo, cover-up so brazen that it takes breath away and, the cherry on top, total impunity achieved by the refusal of Obama Administration to investigate.

    Extra buttresses of that impunity are American refusal to join ICC, efforts to emasculate ICC, and huge diplomatic effort to assure that other countries will not cooperate in prosecution of American war criminals. There is a certain circular logic at work: what should you do when you can do anything, being “the last remaining superpower”. Number one, assure that you can get away with murder. But then, wouldn’t it be a wasted effort without committing any murders? Furthermore, even piddling countries can get away with some murders, torturing here and there and so on, so to show that we are number one we have to do it on a scale that befits our global position.

    And, of course, accountability is the reverse of impunity, impunity shows might, and accountability, weakness. Of course, in any large enterprise there will be some participants so minor and manifestly week that they can be held accountable, like Specialist Lynndie England.

    • just on December 14, 2014, 10:01 am

      Thanks, piotr.

      Your comments are very much appreciated by me.

  35. Kay24 on December 14, 2014, 9:48 am

    Seems like the Beebs is getting a bit nervous. If only his predictions would be wrong! Will the world finally do the right thing for the Palestinians, and will the US once again, back the wrong side? Another reason to be ashamed of our government.

    “Netanyahu: Let there be no doubt – Palestinian proposal at UN will be rejected
    Arab FMs to urge Kerry: Don’t veto Palestinian proposal to UN Security Council; Kerry to hold feverish negotiations and meetings over the next few days in Europe to try to reach a compromise on a Security Council proposal.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel would stand up against any possible diplomatic assault at the United Nations, telling ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem that the Palestinian resolution calling for the end to occupation by 2016 would be rejected.”


    • just on December 14, 2014, 9:59 am

      Why does Netanyahu always frame his statements in war terms?

      I hope and pray that the US does not go against the will of the world and justice.

      (What in the heck is a “diplomatic assault” mean anyway? It’s an oxymoron.)

  36. just on December 14, 2014, 10:18 am

    Cheney is completely insane on MTP this morning.

    (He’s always been crazy; it’s worse.)

  37. mcohen. on December 16, 2014, 3:02 am

    i love america…….john wayne,paul newman,clint eastwood,great guys…..great music….grand funk,bob dylan,talking heads…..thats what i love about america great entertainment….seinfeld,dallas,…..all good……my favourite however was the Whole Earth Catalog produced by a guy named stewart brand… sort of became a all things good bible …still have all the catalogs and a few of the magazines.great stuff

    it is hard to believe that at the same time the great stuff was happening the other stuff was happening in vietnam

    so thats it …a balance between the great stuff and the other stuff

    the other stuff,like torture,is being balanced by what………..bullshit hand wringing and woe is me leftist articles of shame….pitiful

    get up and onto the street and chase the beast with a pitchfork.

    • amigo on December 17, 2014, 10:16 am

      “thats what i love about america great entertainment….seinfeld,dallas,…..all good “mccohen.

      Did you forget a few.

      Jerry Springer/Survivor/The drudge and Fox News .

      A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

  38. lysias on December 22, 2014, 6:38 pm

    NYT editorial calls for prosecuting the Bush administration officials involved in the torture.

  39. kalithea on December 26, 2014, 10:36 pm

    It takes humility to be sincere and admit that one was caught up in an illusion that tainted one’s judgment and kept one from seeing and thinking straight at times, an illusion that was and is sadly sold as righteous and is still shared by a herd too often bent on vengeance and then mostly seeking global superiority and control. This exceptionalism is rife with hypocrisy and…racism. One has to risk being ridiculed and becoming outcast to release truth into the world but I believe that denying exceptionalism is forging the path to greater humanity and compassion.

    It’s okay to shatter the American illusion of exceptionalism to construct a sane, more inclusive reality. Sure as someone else wrote here, other countries participated in this shameful chapter of American history, but America was leading many in this moral decline.

    And let’s rather call Feinstein and McCain broken clocks that are right this once in the broad context of political interest for the former and a string of misguided policies as a rule for both. Regardless, it was a pleasure reading this article.

    • Citizen on December 28, 2014, 6:10 pm

      I was brought up by my government to revere Old Glory, and I served it in a combat unit when I was a teen-ager, and simultaneously then watched Americans wipe their ass with it, babbling about justice and human rights. It’s true I saw myself being spit on even as I was becoming aware why. I learned a lot before turning old enough to vote in those days, and now when I look at the American flag, I see Sheldon Adelson and Dick Chaney–and Obama and McCain. And AIPAC. So, yes, I’m anti-American now too re the banner to this MW article.

      You can say, that’s an American Gentile’s version of the articles introduced on this blog detailing how an American Jew became an Anti-Zionist Jew.

  40. Kathleen on January 5, 2015, 6:58 pm

    Wow Phil what a piece. And did not even get near the hundreds of thousands that are dead, injured and millions displaced as a result of our invasion We should be ashamed. Terribly ashamed. Remember when Marcy Wheeler and team were going through some of the earliest torture documents released quite awhile back over at EMPTYWHEEL’S. All were in shock complete and utter shock and shame. I had encouraged others to read what had been released back then and now a far more comprehensive report. Most Americans do not want to know they want to continue to walk blindly behind the mythology of “U.S. exceptionalism” I never ever bought this hooey. Just as I have never been part of a religious, ethnic group etc who bought that they were somehow exceptional. Dangerous and destructive ways of thinking…

    Yes we should be ashamed. And not likely that we will hear our leaders etc enter a national 12 step program…where we admit our wrongs, etc. A book Tom Hayden had written years ago about the only true way for the U.S. to move forward is to admit to the atrocities we have committed in the creation of the U.S., maintaining and expanding empire and the continued effort to hold up the myth of exceptionalism. A dose of humility and accountability could do our nation some real good

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