Thursday, December 11, 2008




Continuity Error: Top Dems Want Obama to Keep Bush Torture Program
Written by Chris Floyd

Ray McGovern reports on the Congressional Democrats now urging Barack Obama to seek the same kind of "continuity" in the Bush torture programs as he has displayed in keeping Bush Family capo Robert Gates as top warlord in the Pentagon. (Glenn Greenwald has more.) McGovern:

From change-you-can-believe-in, we seem to be slipping back to fear-you-can-trade-on.

Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, has publicly warned those in charge of the administration transition that “continuity is going to be pivotal in keeping us safe and secure.”

Thus, he argues, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and CIA Director Michael Hayden should stay in their posts.

If that were not enough, Reyes told Congress Daily’s Chris Strohm that he [Reyes] had advised the Obama team that some parts of what Strohm referred to as “CIA’s controversial alternative interrogation program” should be allowed to continue.

Using some of the same euphemisms and circumlocutions employed by the ersatz-lawyers hired by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, Reyes fired this shot across the bow of Barack Obama’s transition ship:

“It gets back to a world that is very dangerous. … There are some options that need to be available. … We don’t want to be known for torturing people. At the same time, we don’t want to limit our ability to get information that’s vital and critical to our national security. That’s where the new administration is going to have to decide what those parameters are, what those limitations are."
Someone needs to tell Reyes what those parameters – what those limitations – should be. They are set by the Geneva Accords and the U.S. War Crimes Act of 1996.

McGovern also notes the Mafia-style squeeze put on one of the few Pentagon figures who tried to shine a light into the great gulag darkness, Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, who investigated the tip-of-the-iceberg atrocities at Abu Ghraib:

Taguba issued a tough report, which was then leaked to the press — and thus was largely responsible for preventing the scandal from being swept entirely under the rug. Rather than thank Taguba for upholding the honor of the U.S. military, the Bush administration singled him out for ridicule, retribution and forced retirement.

Taguba told Seymour Hersh of a chilling conversation he had with Gen. John Abizaid, then head of Central Command, a few weeks after Taguba’s report became public in 2004. Sitting in the back of Abizaid’s Mercedes sedan in Kuwait, Abizaid quietly told Taguba, “You and your report will be investigated.”

“I’d been in the Army 32 years by then,” Taguba told Hersh, “and it was the first time that I thought I was in the Mafia.”

Of course, if General Taguba had paid heed to one of his predecessors, Gen. Smedley Butler, he would have already known the true nature of the organization he was running with. Butler, a popular officer who refused to take part in an coup d'etat planned by America's corporate elite (contrast the behavior of, say, Colin Powell, who happily joined the Bush gang after the Supreme Court coup in 2000, then happily helped instigate a war of aggression that has killed a million civilians), had this to say, in 1931, about his tenure in America's war machine:

"I spent 33 years...being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism....

"I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1916. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City [Bank] boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the rape of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street....

"In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested....I had...a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals, promotions....I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate a racket in three cities. The Marines operated on three continents..."

You ought to see the operation now, Smedley. Both you and Capone were pikers compared to the goons in charge today. But yes, by all means, lets have "continuity" in this endless, ever-expanding racket, where the blood money never stops rolling in.


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