Saturday, August 2, 2014

We Tortured Some Folks: Obama Defends Brennan and Admits War Crimes

Four words uttered during President Barack Obama's Friday White House press conference sum everything up: "we tortured some folks". It was an admission of how far that America has fallen since the dawn of the twenty first century, the phony war on terror, the real wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the coming ones in Europe and the Middle East. The days of America always being the "good guys"  is over. Gone forever is the tremendous amount of global goodwill that came after our fathers and grandfathers saved the world from totalitarianism and suffering under the yoke of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. This is what it can be distilled down to: "we tortured some folks".  The sitting leader of the 'free world' just admitted that this country committed war crimes of the type that had the leaders of the Axis powers hanged for at the post-war tribunals held at Nuremberg and Tokyo. These are dark and terrible days to be an American as lawless charlatans like Obama drag us into what will be a full-blown fascist state in the coming years if something isn't done now to slow the juggernaut.

Obama's presser was largely used to defend his hand-picked CIA Director John Brennan, a vicious thug who was forced to confess to his lies after an investigation found that the agency was indeed spying on a key Senate committee that was investigating torture. Brennan had flat out fibbed about this when called out by the Senate Intelligence Committee overlord Dianne Feinstein and has now been exposed as a liar. Obama is standing by his man. Brennan is however in good company, Obama's Director of National Intelligence James Clapper perjured himself by lying to Congress over the nature of NSA surveillance programs. Obama stood by him too. Both men are still serving in their posts despite being exposed as liars and having covered up unconstitutional activities in the capacity of their jobs. Both men are also defended by the biggest liar of them all: Barack Obama. How far out of control does this all have to go before Americans finally wake up and demand that the rule of law be restored and the criminals in high places held accountable?

The entire system is breaking down with the protection by the government of those who either have the money to purchase influence or who serve as lackeys for the regime. The haughty Obama and the US elite, particularly those in the political class are drunk on hubris and openly flout both domestic and international law. This is the era of the potent intoxicant of American exceptionalism and those in power who have sipped it believe that they are untouchable and able to act with impunity. The American empire though is built upon a foundation of shifting sand and economic fraud. Thanks to Obama's hand-picked finance industry fixer and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the same Wall Street casinos that crashed the economy in 2008 were allowed to not only avoid accountability but have been given and endless supply of low interest money with which to gamble. The too big to fails are now bigger than ever and the next implosion of this house of cards - which is coming - will take the economy down for good. Even almighty Rome fell, it took time but the fall was abetted by the decadence and impunity of a rotten ruling class. The late writer I.F. Stone put it perfectly: "all governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out". The hookah seems to be getting quite a workout at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue these days.

You know that things are spinning out of control when even the beltway propaganda organ and defender of the entrenched power of the surveillance state Gomorrah is even calling for Obama to fire Brennan for his lies. An editorial in The Washington Post, "Obama Should Fire John Brennan" states the obvious:

An apology and an internal review board might suffice if this were Brennan or intelligence leaders’ first offense, but the track record is far from spotless. In 2011, Brennan claimed that dozens of U.S. drone strikes on overseas targets had not killed a single civilian. This remarkable success rate was not only disputed at the time by news reports — even supporters of the drone program called it “absurd” — but as the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the New York Times both reported later, President Obama received reports from the very beginning of his presidency about drone strikes killing numerous civilians.

As Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser at the time, Brennan would have received these reports as well, so either Brennan knew that his claim was a lie, or he is secretly deaf. Similarly, Brennan denied snooping on Senate computers six weeks after Feinstein first made the accusation to the CIA in private, which means either that he was lying, or he had ignored a serious charge against his agency for six weeks, then spouted off about it without any real knowledge — hardly the behavior expected of an agency director.

And last year, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied under oath to Congress when he told Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and the Senate Intelligence Committee that the National Security Agency did not collect any kind of data on millions of Americans, a claim later disproved by documents leaked by former NSA employee Edward Snowden. Despite Clapper receiving criticism from both sides of the aisle, the damage to Clapper’s and the White House’s credibility on intelligence and civil liberties issues and, well, the fact that lying to Congress is a crime (though one that’s difficult to prosecute), Obama has not disciplined Clapper in any way.

Sadly, it’s unlikely that this latest incident will encourage Obama to finally induce some accountability in the intelligence community: White House press secretary Josh Earnest called the CIA’s illegal activities mere “misunderstandings.” But as Brennan said when he denied the allegations, “if I did something wrong…he is the one who can ask me to stay or to go.” It’s time for Obama to take that responsibility head-on and start to restore in U.S. intelligence agencies some semblance of responsibility to the Constitution and the public.

No amount of public outcry or newspaper editorial writing will compel Obama to do the right thing and give Brennan his walking papers. Nor will it be quietly done through Brenner 'voluntarily' submitting his resignation for the sake of preserving the credibility of the US government. There is no credibility left to preserve and with each passing day, outrageous scandal, revelation of unconstitutional conduct and lies to justify more wars the institutionalized cancer of corruption further eats away at what was once a strong and vibrant system of democracy.

The man of hope and change has turned out to be the man of dashed hope and chump change.