Tag: Leon Panetta

Aug 24

They’re Fired Up, They’re Ready To Go

Fear not, wanderers in this WTF Wilderness.  Be not dismayed, let not your hearts be troubled.  Lift up your eyes like you never have before, and behold the shiny objects flashing around the White House and the DNC.  Look upon them in wonder and sing hallelujah, for salvation is at hand.   Again.  

Fired up!    

Ready To Go!

I hope Obama and the clap louder crowd at Kos Communications will forgive me, but I’m not fired up.  I’m not ready to go.  The idiocy on full display every hour of every day on the campaign trail exposes how far gone this country’s political system is.  We don’t see any real political debate, we don’t hear any real political commentary, there’s no dialogue about the fundamental problems we’re facing, no real solutions are offered. It’s not a campaign.  It’s a beer commercial.  

Tastes Great!   Less Filling!

U.S. In Distress Corporate capitalism tastes great.  No, it’s less filling.  Gosh, I just can’t decide who’s right, it has so many appealing features.  It’s not perfect yet, but perfection is so close the Beltway binge-drinkers can almost taste it.    

Their friends at the five-hundred billion dollar Beltway Brewery are really cranking out the suds, the bipartisan beer trucks are rumbling down the highways of America, driven by austerity alcoholics with places to go and people to see.  

It’s Happy Hour, it’s always Happy Hour here at the Trickle Down Tavern, so drink up everyone, order another round, put another trillion dollars in the jukebox.  Yeah, I know, Too Big To Fail is the only song on it, but what the hell, get over it, quit pouting and grow up, be a patriotic patriot and praise the plutocrats, they created this paradise of prosperity and are disappointed because we haven’t been grateful enough, so grab a beer-soaked flag and wave it on high.


Jul 19

Consequences of the War on Terror

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The consequences of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s loose lips with secret information about the informant in the assassination of Osama bun Laden in Pakistan, has put many lives at high risk.

More Damage from Panetta’s Vaccine Ruse: UN Doctor on Polio Vaccine Drive Shot; Hundreds of Thousands Denied Polio Vaccine

by Jim White at emptywheel

As one of only three countries in the world where polio is still endemic, Pakistan launched a three day vaccination drive yesterday with a target of vaccinating the 318,000 children in North and South Waziristan who have not received their vaccinations. Across all of Pakistan, the goal is to vaccinate 34 million children under the age of five. The drive is being held despite a push by the Taliban to prevent vaccinations in tribal areas. The Taliban’s ban on vaccinations is aimed at stopping US drone strikes in the tribal areas and is in response to the vaccination ruse by the CIA.  Dr. Shakeel Afridi pretended to be doling out hepatitis vaccines in a failed attempt to retrieve DNA samples for the CIA from the bin Laden compound when it was under surveillance prior to the attack that killed Osama bin Laden. Today, a UN doctor and his driver were wounded when a shooter opened fire on them in Karachi. The doctor was reported to be working on the vaccine program. [..]

It seems that Leon Panetta’s approval of and subsequent public confirmation of Afridi’s vaccine ruse is a problem that just continues to affect the lives of more and more children every day. Although the Pakistani government’s vaccine drive is legitimate and urgently needed, Panetta’s poor judgment is putting that drive at risk and assuring that it will fall far short of the rate of vaccination needed to prevent a record year for polio cases in Pakistan.

The consequences are that the informant, Pakistani doctor Shakeel Afridi, was jailed for 33 years in May, 34 million children are at risk and trying to save those lives can get you killed. MR. Panetta should be sentenced to driving doctors and aid workers in North and South Waziristan for the rest of his life.

Apr 29

National Security Musical Chairs

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

While everyone was focusing on the bogus issue of President Obama’s citizenship and busily examining the authenticity of the newly released long form, there was a national security shake up going on that finally got it’s 5 minutes of attention by the media. Defense Secretary Robert Gates had announced that he would be leaving the Pentagon this year. There was some speculation about his replacement that included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She has since made it clear that she was not interested and would remain in the critical job steering Obama’s rudderless foreign policy. By law, the Defense Secretary must be a civilian and disqualified if having served in the military in the last 10 years, thus eliminating any of the current or recently retired generals.

The President met this morning with his national security advisors at the White house and announced that current CIA Director Leon Panetta would be replacing Gates and Gen. David Petraeus, the current Afghan war commander, would take over the CIA. The other announcement at the meeting was that Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who was ambassador to Iraq under President Bush, would move to Afghanistan to become the Ambassador there, replacing Karl Eikenberry. One of the most experienced diplomats in the foreign service Crocker has also served as Ambassador to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Marine Lt. Gen. John Allen would replace Petraeus as the commander of the war effort in Afghanistan. Not yet decided, or atleast not announced today was who would replace retiring Gen, Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Once again, as we did with Bush CIA Director, Gen. Michael Hayden who continued to wear his uniform, the military dominates the national security agencies. As David Dayen puts it

So the merging of the military and the intelligence community is complete. Within a few years it’ll just be one big black op. The good news is they can cut the military budget then, and put everything into the secret, off-the-books intelligence budget so as not to raise suspicion.

h/t David Dayen at FDL

The New York Times

Susan Crabtree at Talking Points Memo

Oct 23

US Wants MORE CIA in Pakistan, $ for Weapons, Using Wikileaks as Excuse

Like clockwork in being timed with the latest wikileaks release:

After increasing the number of drone attacks in September, now the US is pressuring Pakistan to let in more covert paramilitary and CIA forces to increase the unknown, classified number that are already there – to support the death by drones program that is killing an unknown number of militants and civilians.  The story in the WSJ also says that Pakistan’s Inter – Services Intelligence agency, ISI, is currently doing most of the intelligence gathering and that CIA chief Leon Panetta has called them “very cooperative.”

Wall Street Journal:


The Obama administration has been ramping up pressure on Islamabad in recent weeks to attack militants after months of publicly praising Pakistani efforts. The CIA has intensified drone strikes in Pakistan, and the military in Afghanistan has carried out cross-border helicopter raids, underlining U.S. doubts Islamabad can be relied upon to be more aggressive. Officials have even said they were going to stop asking for Pakistani help with the U.S.’s most difficult adversary in the region, the North Waziristan-based Haqqani network, because it was unproductive.

Pakistani officials believe the CIA is better able to keep details of its operations largely out of the public eye, although the agency’s drone program has received widespread attention and is enormously unpopular with the Pakistani public.

U.S. military forces on the ground remain a red line for Islamabad. A senior Pakistani official said if the Pakistan public became aware of U.S. military forces conducting combat operations on Pakistani territory, it would wipe out popular support for fighting the militants in the tribal areas. Whether covert CIA forces would cross that line however, remains an open question.

Back in July, the public relationship wasn’t so cozy.

HuffPo, 7/6/10


…. but the US – Pakistan relationship is at the heart of Washington’s counterterrorism efforts.

But the CIA became so concerned by a rash of cases involving suspected double agents in 2009, it re-examined the spies it had on the payroll in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. The internal investigation revealed about a dozen double agents, stretching back several years. Most of them were being run by Pakistan. Other cases were deemed suspicious. The CIA determined the efforts were part of an official offensive counterintelligence program being run by Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the ISI’s spy chief.

Recruiting agents to track down and kill terrorists and militants is a top priority for the CIA, and one of the clandestine service’s greatest challenges. The drones can’t hit their targets without help finding them. Such efforts would be impossible without Pakistan’s blessing, and the U.S. pays about $3 billion a year in military and economic aid to keep the country stable and cooperative.

Pakistan has its own worries about the Americans. During the first term of the Bush administration, Pakistan became enraged after it shared intelligence with the U.S., only to learn the CIA station chief passed that information to the British. The incident caused a serious row, one that threatened the CIA’s relationship with the ISI and deepened the levels of distrust between the two sides. Pakistan almost threw the CIA station chief out of the country.

July 2010 – HuffPo says 8 years after the war in Afghanistan, a very poor and not very large country, was not going so well, the Obama administration finally became “concerned” about their intelligence partners in the region.   Three months after the first batch of wikileaks were released,  April 5, 2010.    

Jul 09

What else was the CIA lying about?

Crossposted at http://www.dailykos.com/story/…


Panetta: “Agency officials did indeed mislead Congress and did so since 2001.”


    ” Congress was not adequately informed about unspecified post – 9/11 activity, classified activity. ”

Investigate and Prosecute Bush/Cheney


    Now that Torture News Roundup has been discontinued for the time being I would like to carry on the hard work of Meteor Blades, Valtin and Patriots Daily News Clearinghouse.

    This will be an ongoing series of diaries detailing the evidence of criminal behavior engaged in by the Bush/Cheney Administration as well as the need to fully investigate and prosecute the Bush/Cheney Administration. I would like to find two or three other diarists who want to contribute to this series on a rotation so that we can keep others informed on a daily basis. If you wish to contribute please e-mail me at ministryoftruth@live.com

    Some reports state that the lies were in regards to torture, others say they are not. Who is to say what these “false statements” were? I will leave the issue of what the CIA was lying about be discussed in the comments below.

Jun 29

CIA Crucified Prisoner In Abu Ghraib

from Sherwood Ross, June 28, 2009

The Central Intelligence Agency crucified a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, according to a report published in The New Yorker magazine.

“A forensic examiner found that he (the prisoner) had essentially been crucified; he died from asphyxiation after having been hung by his arms, in a hood, and suffering broken ribs,” the magazine’s Jane Mayer writes in the magazine’s June 22nd issue. “Military pathologists classified the case a homicide.” The date of the murder was not given.

“No criminal charges have ever been brought against any C.I.A. officer involved in the torture program, despite the fact that at least three prisoners interrogated by agency personnel died as a result of mistreatment,” Mayer notes.

An earlier report, by John Hendren in The Los Angeles Times indicted other torture killings. And Human Rights First says nearly 100 detainees have died in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Apr 15

Panetta’s Defense of CIA Interrogators Undercut by New DoJ Disclosures

Panetta’s Defense of CIA Interrogators Undercut by New DoJ Disclosures

by Jason Leopold,

Antemedius, April 14, 2009 – 2:22pm

  CIA Director Leon Panetta has consistently stated over the past several months that agency interrogators who participated in the Bush administration’s sadistic torture practices should not be subject to “any investigation, let alone prosecution,” because they were following legal advice provided by the Justice Department.

   In March, Panetta said he agreed to cooperate with a Senate Intelligence Committee “review” and “study” on CIA interrogation methods on the condition that he received assurances from committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Republican Co-Chair Kit Bond (R-Missouri) that they would not attempt to “punish those who followed guidance from the Department of Justice.”

   “That is only fair,” Panetta said. “Their goal is to draw lessons for future policy decisions” and [they] won’t seek to punish those who participated in the program.

   On Thursday, in announcing the closure of the “black site” prisons where the torture took place, Panetta said CIA “officers who act on guidance from the Department of Justice – or acted on such guidance previously – should not be investigated, let alone punished. This is what fairness and wisdom require.”

   However, Panetta’s defense was dealt a serious blow last week when the Justice Department revealed in a letter sent to a federal court judge that 92 interrogation videotapes the CIA destroyed were made between April and December 2002.

   The Justice Department’s legal opinion authorizing the CIA to use specific interrogation methods, including the near-drowning technique known as waterboarding, was not issued until August 1, 2002.


Apr 14

Gitmo Attys Advise Panetta: Preserve Torture Evidence

My ex-wife has been representing a Guantanamo detainee for a few years now.  She took a case she couldn’t afford and has devoted a significant portion of her resources the last few years to seeking justice for a foreign stranger accused of committing terrorist acts.  The struggle has been difficult, because her opponent has been the richest, most powerful country in the world–the government of the United States of America.  Her inability to sleep well while someone tortured in her name is the reason I fell in love with her forty years ago.  We scarcely communicate, now that our wonderful children are grown, but we did exchange emails today.  The impersonal letter she forwarded to me, the subject of this diary, brought me to tears.  This diary is to share one small development in a long, difficult struggle being carried forward by a few Americans who stand up for human rights.

Feb 07

Democracy Now Debate: Horton vs Ratner on Renditions, Appendix M

A fascinating debate took place at Democracy Now! yesterday. With Amy Goodman as host, Harpers Magazine’s Scott Horton, and President of Center for Constitutional Rights, Michael Ratner, went at it on the subject of Obama’s renditions and interrogation policies, including the existence of coercive interrogation instructions in the Army Field Manual. These policies have been a matter of some debate ever since Obama issued his executive orders regarding the issues a few weeks ago.

(An excellent companion piece to this debate would be the interviews Goodman did with former CIA analyst Melvin Goodman and Michael Ratner last November, when it was announced that Obama was staffing his transition team with John Brennan and Jami Miscik. The former was a supporter of wireless wiretapping and extraordinary rendition, while the latter was involved in the scandals around “faulty” intelligence in the run-up to the war in Iraq.)