Tuesday, April 5, 2022

John Kiriakou

John Kiriakou is the CIA whistle-blower who revealed the truth about the torture program.  Here are a few conversations he's had in the last few days about this topic.

And he's also done an audio podcast with Robert Scheer for Scheer Post which has posted a transcript -- excerpt:

RS: Hi, this is Robert Scheer with another edition of Scheer Intelligence, where the intelligence comes from my guests. In this case, an intelligence agent from the CIA—John Kiriakou, who was recruited out of George Washington University in Washington by his professor. Went into the CIA, learned Arabic, spent a lot of time in different places, hotspots of the world, but particularly in the Middle East. And who was responsible for the capture of what was then alleged to be the No. 3 member of al-Qaeda. And this was considered a big achievement; he spent many hours with this fellow, until he was turned over to others. And at the end of the day he was, Abu Zubaydah, he was tortured. 

And we’ve had a newsbreak in this. Remember, as we’re getting ready for maybe World War III, and we’ve got the Cold War back with Russia—what happened in the war on terror? We know Afghanistan is a mess; we know Saudi Arabia is as solid as ever with its own convictions and values, sometimes murderous. And now the U.S. is going to, and the West is going to depend more on Saudi oil. And what happened in this war on terror? Who caused it? What was the account? 

And we had just the newsflash that we’ve not had any trials or anything where we might learn who these folks were and what they did, but five key witnesses, including the one that John was involved in capturing at Guantanamo, that there’s a plea deal. And they might—they won’t have a trial where we could learn something, but they might be held in Guantanamo after all of this torture and what have you, to just die, their life, so-called naturally. 

John, what do you make of it all? Where are we? Is this the end of the tale? And what do we really know? 

JK: Well, rather than being at the end of the beginning, which we were for many years, it seems, it looks like now we’re at the beginning of the end. You know, the sad part about this whole situation that’s dragged on now for 20 years—it was 20 years ago this week that we captured Abu Zubaydah. The sad part is that there’s no justice that will be had in this scenario. In the end, Abu Zubaydah was not allowed to face his accusers in a court of law. Well, not just Abu Zubaydah, but Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other three—they were not allowed to face their accusers in a court of law; they were never charged with a specific crime. They were never allowed to have a jury of their peers judge their behavior. 

And so as a result, we’ll never really know what they have to say in this case. For all these years, these 20 years, the CIA and the Pentagon have kept their testimony secret—in many cases, top secret—and you know, I think historically we’re going to be lesser for it. We’ll never know the lessons that could have been learned because of the 9/11 attacks, because we’re not allowed to know them. 

RS: Well, just so we don’t sound like these conspirator-thesis people that everybody loathes, let me just say that what you said about “not knowing” is really what the 9/11 Commission Report told us. This was the—

JK: That’s right.

RS: — assembled by President Bush, and there’s a disclaimer in the 9/11 Commission Report, a very honest disclaimer that the narrative they developed of what this plot was, and how it was carried out, was flawed because they were not allowed to talk to the key witnesses. 

And, you know, that they weren’t even allowed to talk—this is the 9/11 Commission, these people had the highest security clearance—they were not allowed to talk to the people, in the CIA and elsewhere, who interviewed the key witnesses. So, they were dependent upon stuff that came from, basically, the torturers, through a third party in the government, to develop their narrative. 

And one of the virtues, of course, of an open public trial—we might have learned something about it: what was their relation to Saudi Arabia, why did they do what they’re alleged to have done. And for all our claims about being a society of law, these people were tortured. And tell us about it, because you sat there—what was it, 56 hours—

JK: Fifty-six hours.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, April 5, 2022.  It's time for a specail counsel to be appointed for Hunter Biden, the Kurds do not have to sacrifice yet again to make the US government happy, and much more.

Starting with Jonathan Turley and his latest column at THE HILL:

“We absolutely stand by the president’s comment.” With those words, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield reaffirmed that President Biden maintains his son Hunter Biden did “nothing [that] was unethical” and never “made money” in China.

Those claims appear demonstrably false — and they make the positions of both the media and Attorney General Merrick Garland absolutely untenable.

For the media, the ongoing investigation of Hunter Biden by U.S. Attorney David Weiss in Delaware has presented a growing danger of self-indictment over its prior coverage (or noncoverage). Weiss has called a long line of witnesses before a grand jury, and there is growing expectation of criminal charges against Hunter Biden.

Nothing concentrates the mind as much as a looming indictment.

Thus, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and other media faced the embarrassing prospect of an indictment based on a story they previously suggested was either a nonstory or Russian disinformation. Suddenly, in recent days, they all rushed to declare the story legitimate, 18 months after the New York Post reported it in October 2020.

What quickly emerged, though, was a new narrative: None of this implicates President Biden. On CNN, White House correspondent John Harwood declared, “There is zero evidence that Vice President Biden, or President Biden, has done anything wrong in connection with what Hunter Biden has done.” Anchor Brianna Keilar then added for emphasis that Harwood was making “an important distinction.”

It was important, but not because it was true. While many media figures now willingly admit the legitimacy of Hunter Biden’s abandoned-laptop story, they are avoiding what the emails found on that laptop actually contain. Hundreds of emails appear to detail a multimillion-dollar influence-peddling enterprise by the Biden family, including Hunter Biden and his uncle James Biden.

An ongoing investigtation is taking place.  Joe Biden and the White House are not at liberty to comment.  IAs the head of the federal government, it is inappropriate for him to comment.  From the beginning, the problem has not only been the lies from Joe on behalf of his son, it has also been that he doesn't grasp his role.

It is time for a speical prosecutor.  One should have been appointed long ago but this behavior demonstrates that the rules are not being followedc and will not be followed.  This is outrageous.  Joe has created a standard for his son that is inappropriate and goes to how he is repeatedly attempting to steer the investigation with his comments as president of the United States.

He is not standing back.  If this were his best friend, as president of the United States, he would not be able to comment.  This is his son.  We are seeing that Hunter means all ethics go out the window.  Gee, wonder what message that passed on to Hunter growing up?  

He has put himself into this conflict.  He didn't have to speak.  The appropriate response is "We do not have any comment at this time as a result of this being an ongoing investigation."

More to the point, this issue came up during the primaries and Joe lied repeatedly.  His son did nothing wrong!!!!  No, his sond id huge wrongs.  These were ethical issues and they should have been addressed then.  They weren't.  But Joe ran for the nomination knowing this was out there.  

He may have thought he could bully the press intos ilence on this matter foerever.

Well he bet wrong.  

That's on him.

And now it is necessary for a special prosecutor to be appointed.  

He has made it clear that he intends to put a thumb on the scales of justice, that he is unable to prevent himself from doing so.  

And it's time for the press to stop coddling him and his crooked son.  The editorial board of THE BOSTON HERALD notes:

Here’s how we see all this. A free press must remain vigilant and non-partisan while hunting for lies, crimes, abuse and neglect while calling out politicians and pundits who try to quash a good story just because it doesn’t fit the narrative of the prevailing political winds.

The New York Times and Washington Post can be great newspapers. They sometimes do meaningful work. They just need to get out of their own way.

The AP needs to stop trying to be the voice of America and just chase down the news. If a tweet or post somewhere in the cesspool of trolls and scam artists on the web does warrant coverage, then have at it. But a running feature of every little oddity that fires up TikTok is just a waste of time.

Joe Biden has become a portrait of hypocrisy.  He's recently begun screaiming War Crimes at others.  Richard Medhurst notes:

“Putin is a war criminal” — guy who pushed for Iraq war in the senate, and less than a year ago drone striked an entire Afghan family (the Ahmadi family), followed by a Pentagon cover up

The World Can't Wait's Debra Sweet notes:

While the victims of U.S. wars are nameless, U.S. media is 24/7 on the tragic death Russia is bringing to Ukraine. Children, pregnant women, elderly have all died there, just as they have in Yemen by the Saudis with U.S. weapons, as they died in Libya by U.S./NATO forces.

People here are being led to cheer for a dangerous U.S. escalation, including a direct war with Russia that could ensue from a "no-fly zone," up to and including a nuclear exchange. Everyone should oppose Russia's aggression, but no one who understands what the U.S. empire has done across the globe should be cheering for U.S./NATO war on Russia.

Our WarCriminalsWatch.org site has a curated series of worthwhile background readings on this situation:

Russia’s Ukraine War Heightens Urgency Around Biden’s Nuclear Weapons Strategy
Sara Sirota, The Intercept

“Anti-Authoritarianism” as a “Cover” for Supporting U.S. Imperialism
Bob Avakian, Revcom.us

The Plank in Uncle Sam’s Eye: A Plea for Humility as War Pigs Move to “Close the Sky”
Paul Street, Counterpunch.org

Calling Russia’s Attack ‘Unprovoked’ Lets US Off the Hook
Bryce Greene, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting

How the U.S. Started a Cold War with Russia and Left Ukraine to Fight It
Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies, CodePink.org

Time for the US to take the lead for peace in Ukraine: The US’s Aggressive Expansion of NATO Created This Horror; The US Can and Should End It
Dave Lindorff, This Can't Be Happening

'Let Them Kill as Many as Possible': The Roots of US Militarism in Russia and Around the World Brian Terrell, Common Dreams

OMG, War Is Kind of Horrible  David Swanson, Let's Try Democracy

War Torn: Continental Drifters and the Nationless Nation  Nick Turse, Tom Dispatch

On Iraq, at THE HILL,  David Schenker offers nonsense:

For Washington and other supporters of a sovereign and prosperous Iraq, the October 2021 Iraqi parliamentary elections were a success. Contrary to expectations, Iranian-backed Shiite Islamist parties and their militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, or Hashd, were defeated at the ballot box. The Hashd lost not to Western-oriented candidates but to another credible local Shiite party whose leader’s hashtag, #NeitherEastnorWest, was an unambiguous call for an Iraq dominated by neither Tehran nor Washington. The election results mitigated toward the establishment of a new, majoritarian government — the first since the 2003 U.S. invasion — capable of pursuing better governance and an independent Iraq.

It’s cruel irony that this potential outcome, a longstanding U.S. aspiration for Iraq, appears to have been undermined in part by Washington’s best friends in Iraq: the Kurds.

The big winner in the electoral contest was Muqtada al-Sadr, a Shiite cleric whose Sairoun political party won a plurality of the seats in the Iraqi Council of Representatives. In the aftermath of the 2003 invasion, Sadr’s “Mahdi army” emerged as a leading adversary of the U.S., and the firebrand was nearly targeted by U.S. forces. More recently, however, Sadr, an unabashed populist who tapped into the electorate’s resentment of Iranian overreach in Iraq, has developed into a somewhat more responsible politician. 

How stupid do you have to be to write that garbage.  Moqtada's cult turned out.  Not in the numbers they have in previous elections -- he had a huge fall off.  But they did turn out.  He was not the clear winner.  A clear winner would be someone who had enough seats to move forward without having to partner with anyone else.  He had a few more seats.  But coaltitions could have been cobbled together without his seats.

Does the idiot even understnad how it works in Iraq or how many MPs are needed to form a coalition?  

What a lying moron.

ANd now he wants to?  Blame the Kurds.

The Kurds are not the problem.

Yes, the KDP wants the presidency and yes the PUK wants the presidency.  My take?  The KDP got sigfinicantly more seats in the eleeciton so they should have the presidency.  The PUK has consistently lost support -- a trend that no one wants to talk about in the US because it requires admitting facts that the US doesn't want to admit.  Including?  That every time there's a problem, the US government expects the Kurds to sacrifice their own goals and save the US government's ass by 'coming together' with some other side.

I don't think the PUK deserves the presidency.

That's my opinion.

That doesn't mean that they don't have the right to fight for it.  That doesn't mean the KDP doesn't have the right to fight for it.

But, yet again, another American has emerged to insist that it is time for the Kurds to sacrifice for the 'good' of Iraq.

In other words, for the good of what the US government wants in Iraq.

Elections were held October 10th.  There is no president still.  That's not the Kurds fault.  It is the fault of Moqtada al-Sadr who does not know how to assemble a governmentt.

Iraq had a poltiical stalemate in 2010 that lasted eight months.  There the problem wasn't Nouri couldn't assemble a government.  Back then, the problem was Nouri al-Maliki lost the election and refused to step down as prime minister.  Eventually, Joe Biden led a negotiation resulting in The Erbil Agreement which named Nouri prime minister-desigante.  Nouri imemediately put together a government.

This is the a six month political stalemate and it has lasted this long because Moqtada is incompetent.

That's where you start laying the blame, not at the Kurds.

The following sites updated:

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