Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Secret CIA Report: We can't even Disrupt Al-Qaeda AT GITMO!

Apparently, if we are bent on disrupting the activities of Al-Qaeda all over the world, we're going to have to start 80 miles off of Key West.  

The Smoking Gun isn't known as a major font of investigative journalism, but today they dropped a doozy.  Featured on their site  is a 12 page Secret CIA report about terrorist organizations in prisons, and specifically how Al-Qaeda has created a highly efficent organization INSIDE CAMP X-RAY ITSELF!

The report, prepared in August 2002 by the CIA Counterterrorist Center's Office of Terrorism Analysis, concluded that while detainees at Guantanamo Bay facilities were organizing and communicating in accordance with al-Qaeda training methods, U.S. officials were hamstrung to counter these moves without the aid of "inside sources."

Little Tip for the fellas at Gitmo? This is going to come as shock to you, but it's awful hard to motivate someone to risk his life to help you when you are hooking electrodes up to his genitalia or "waterboarding" him every day.  People seem to resent that for some reason.  

On the Other hand Al-Qaeda seems to have no trouble at all recruiting:

The CIA report, notes that Guantanamo detainees enforced a code of conduct and sought to shield the identity of leaders through the use of surrogates. Additionally, inmates reportedly sought to "put their training into practice by establishing cellblock leaders and dividing responsibility among deputies for greeting new arrivals, assessing interrogations, monitoring the guard force, and providing moral support to fellow detainees, among other tasks."

Still its not really their fault, I mean, "No one could  have anticipated" that a cellular terrorist network would spring up in a Prison of all places.  After all it isn't like the report says that Al-Qaeda training manuals explicitly includes instruction on how to create prison networks or anything.  Okay, so they do.  But really that's no reason to believe they'd actually work now is it.   I mean its not like there's any history of this sort of thing happening anywhere else in the world ever now is there?.

I mean, when the South African authorities jailed Mandela and all the other members of the ANC on Robben Island, it isn't like an ANC training school later nicknamed "Resistance University" sprung up there,  


 Oh. never mind.  

 Well how about when the British made the decision to confine all suspected IRA and UDL terrorists to a prison called Long Kesh(aka "the Maze)  why that  worked out splendidly, there were absolutely no problems there at now were there?  


Bad example.

This report is pretty devastating to the whole raison d'etre for for this awful stain on our national honor.  Gitmo was supposed to be necessary keep us safe, the excesses of Camp X-ray were supposedly for our protection.   This was to be the  place that Gen Richard Meyers once swore was filled only with " very, very dangerous people...these are the sort of people who would chew through a hydraulics cable to bring a C-17 down."

Yet, despite the incredible and often inhumane security that these men were subjected to; they've  had no trouble at all setting up a complex organization and communications network, literally under the noses of the guards there.  It's become a place that facilitates the activities of the bad guys, not prevents them.

And really, this isn't all that surprising to anyone who has ever worked with inmates or prisons before.  Ask any corrections officer about the criminal gangs that operate with near impunity at most major state and federal facility.  They are an almost inevitable by product of prison life.   Prisoners have all the time in the world to think up ways to screw with their captors, and dominate each other.  And even though they have incredibly limited resources, people  tend to get amazingly resourceful in that situation.   Prisoners  wind up using things in ways their  captors could never imagine until its too late.  

 IF you want a perfect example of this domestically, read  This Story About how the Aryan Brotherhood's leaders sent Orders to chapters nationwide from their cells in a Colorado Supermax prison using cryptographic methods invented by Francis Bacon, library books, and even invisible ink made primarily from their own urine.  

Even the CIA report itself concludes that

 since such activities may be "constrained by countries' need to follow the rule of law and other typical investigative hurdles, it may be possible only to mitigate, not prevent, terrorist use of prisons for their own purposes.

The bottom line then is, all we really did by creating Camp X-ray was to lock up a whole lot of formerly innocent men, with a few dozen Al-Qaeda operatives adept at recruiting, training, and using them for their purposes. Indeed Some of the folks released from Gitmo who weren't militants when they were taken there have returned home and taken up arms against us.  Apparently they were a little miffed at the whole "locked in a cage and tortured 3000 mile from home for no reason" thing.  Go figure. Meanwhile by it's very existence, Gitmo has caused our country to all but abandon any claim we ever had to moral high ground on human rights.

Way to strike a crushing blow against our enemies in the "war on terror " guys.  

Post Populace POUNDS Prevaricating PNAC Poppa Perle !

You have to forgive the alliteration.   That happens sometimes when I get giddy.  It's not everyday that you get to watch Richard Perle get smacked around  online by an angry mob of citizen-journalists.  (got me so fired up, I almost wanted to storm  the Bastille).

This glorious sight was brought to you by none other than the WashingtonPost.com and it's "live Online" chat feature.

As StevenD Has already brilliantly diaries The perpetually clueless Perle, was back beating the war drums again  this time against Iran and North Korea  (he's simply disgusted that Bush is   negotiating with these countries and concludes that it's such a chick move that it must be Condi's Fault)

Today, the Post had him do a live Chat with its readers,  and friends, let me tell you, 'tweren't a pretty sight.  For sheer Schadenfruede fun, it even beat watching  somebody take a wiffle bat to the nuts on America's Funniest Videotaped Injuries:

Now while reading the Transcript of this chat its very important to keep this disclaimer from the WaPo's website in mind:

Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions.

In other words the heavy-sack beating of Perle that follows is NOT the result of some sort of "deck-stacking" by our side.  The Post's chat moderators go out of their way to try to "balance" chat comments from both sides of an issue.  That there were so few questions supporting Perle, gives you an idea of how lopsidedly negative the response to this article really was.

It was so bad in fact, that  felt the need to defend himself generally even before answering a single specific question:

I would  like to state, in response to many inquiries, that No, I am NOT in fact Beelzebub, Lord of Lies, or any other demonic minion  or incarnation of Satan.  Yes, I DID sell my soul to him and swear to do his bidding on earth, but I don't really think that's relevant to the discussion of the geopolitical strategy outlined in this article.

Okay, not really.  

What he really DID say however, was:

Many of your questions have stated or implied that I am recommending military action against Iran, or against Iran's nuclear weapons program. But nowhere in the article do I say that.

 I  do believe that we need--and do not have--a serious political strategy for Iran at the center of which would be vigorous support for the internal opposition to the dictatorship of the mullahs.

Hunh. Wonder why people would think that.  I mean just because you've advocated that very position in nearly every OTHER public statement you've made in the last five years;  that's no reason to think you are pushing for war here now is it?

and then the Inquisition of Perle got down to the nitty-gritty, and folks I've haven't recently been prouder of my fellow citizens than I was for the relentless cross examination that followed,

Phoenix, Ariz.: As we are so bogged down in Iraq I ask what military options are available?  ... why should anyone give your words any attention after how ill informed you were about the outcome in Iraq? Was not democracy going to spring up spontaneously?

Excellent Question.  Mr Perle?

Richard Perle: Speaking of ill-informed, can you find any statement from me that democracy would "spring up spontaneously?"

Whoa. I see you've decided to go with the ol "duck the important part of the question completely" gambit.   A little defensive there, are we Buckaroo?  And since you asked, I CAN find This statement that's close enough in my book:

"A year from now, I'll be very surprised if there is not some grand square in Baghdad that is named after President Bush. "- Richard Perle American Enterprise Institute conference on September 22, 2003

Well it was only the second question of the Chat, maybe he was just getting warmed up.  

let's try a more focused question:

Ft Myers, Fla.: Mr. Perle, there is a remarkable consistency between your assertions today on Iran, and your alliance with the Pentagon group four years ago who insisted that Iraq had WMD. Why should we give you and AEI yet another free pass?

Richard Perle: I don't know which "assertions" you have in mind. Do you believe that Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons?

Ahh that retrograde Amnesia can be such a bitch can't it, next time, wear a helmet when you go hunting with VPO Cheney.   Well you may not know, Mr Perle,  but I'm pretty sure Ft. Meyers meant:

When you insisted that Even one defector claiming Saddam had a weapons program was enough evidence to invade or when you later insisted the WMDs had simply been moved to Syria ); never mind that it had already been conclusively proven that they never existed at all

and along those same lines we GOT to give this guy mad props, he even signed his NAME to the question (which got another crappy non-answer)

Cripple Creek, Colo.: Sir, Who will you support in the coming civil war in Iraq, Shites, Sunnis or Kurds? Who was the first to come up with the hocum about the WMD's in Iraq? Thank you for your considered answers.

Sincerely, Jim Bailey

Rock on Jimbo!   and frankly thereafter Perle went into terse non-Answer mode for the rest of the chat but that didn't stop  the excellent questions from flowing:

Vienna, Va.: After reading your Outlook piece, I'm a little confused as to whether you are simply misguided as to the actual recent history of USA-Iran relations or simply one of those people who is tired of waiting for Armageddon and wants to bend the facts to speed things along....[long very readable recitation of indisputable facts]..So my question is this: Do you not actually understand Iran? Or are you a madman yourself, even worse than Ahmadinejad?


Fairfax, Va.: You're closely associated with those who thought invading Iraq was a good idea. History isn't finished with it yet, but already it's clear it was poorly thought through. Did you draw any lessons from that experience that you bring to this latest set of policy recommendations on Iran?

Potomac, Md.: Why is Iran more dangerous than Pakistan? Pakistan has nuclear capabilities and a modern delivery system in the form of U.S.- supplied long-range F-16 jets. Pakistan is a proven non-proliferation violator....


Santa Fe, N.M.: Ignominious retreat?

I'm wondering what you would prefer, Mr. Perle: yet another war without a clearly-defined objective?

And how do you propose to do that? Would we need a draft to bulk up the military? Would that be accomplished by redirecting funds now devoted to pork-barrel military equipment projects or by extending the US's indebtedness to China?


and the hits kept coming.  Hell THIS is what passed for a pro-Perle question in this chat:

Washington, D.C.: I quite a fan of yours, but not in this case. Why do you say that agreeing to join the Europeans in the discussion -- if they first suspend enrichment -- is tantamount to caving in? The alternative is that we may be forced into a military strike on their nuclear facilities, which might sour otherwise friendly Iranians on us for another generation....why NOT give negotiations a chance?

Well, well ,well. I understand those folks joining an online chat at 11 am on a Monday are a self-selecting group.  However, given the partisan battle ground the Live Online chats usually become when someone controversial is on, I was pleasantly stunned at how one-sided that conversation got in an awful hurry.

Perle and his cronies are up to their old tricks but it really does look like "that dog jest won't hunt no more".  It appears that the Great PT Barnum was finally wrong afer all.  There really IS a limit to the credulity of the American people, and I think they may have hit it in spades when it comes to reckless military adventures in the Middle East.

Open Mike reveals W's governing Philosophy : just gonna make it up

The whole world (or at least the Media) seemed a-twitter yesterday about the fact that an open mike yesterday confirmed that our President's vocabulary extends to Anglo-Saxon vulgarities  (one wonders why Bush's infamous F-ck Saddam We're taking him out!" quote never garners this sort of attention)

However, in focusing on the saltiness of the President's vocabulary (and his egregious, Alanis Morrisette level, misuse of the term Irony) a very important moment on that tape has been completely overlooked .  

In a completely unguarded moment The underlying philosophical root of George W. Bush's governing style was revealed.  From his very lips we heard him reveal the central guiding principle of his Geo-political strategy, indeed his very Presidency.  Without further ado, I give you that principle:

Bush: No. Just gonna make it up

 almost Zen  is it not?  In retrospect, it should have been so obvious, how could we have missed it?:

"I'm just gonna make it up".  

Such an elegantly simple response to the vagaries of the world of sometime inconvenient facts is it not?    Clearly,  in hindsight, it is all  pervasive part of Bush Strategy for dealing in every crisis that he  has faced:

Look at Justifying the War with Iraq::

Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.

- Speech to UN General Assembly September 12, 2002

"We've discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical weapons across broad areas."

-Cincinnati Museum Center on Oct. 7, 2002

We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have.

-Radio Address February 8, 2003

Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.

- Address to the Nation March 18, 2003

You remember when Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons, And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong. We found them."

- Interview with TVP Poland

Already, the Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations.

- State of the Union Address - 2004 1/20/2004

Brilliant! Nary a fact in sight!  Bush wanted a war for which there was no justification.  So he reached down deep inside of himself and "made something up".

 In fact, making something up, wasn't so easy as it looked either.  As Ron Suskind recently Pointed Out in the 1% solution: It took careful preparation:

Under this strategic model, reading the entire N.I.E. would be problematic for Bush: it could hem in the president's rhetoric, a key weapon in the march to war. He would know too much."

You see, it's so much harder to "make something up", when you have too many facts cramping your style.

 Now I can see carpers and critics trying to asset that this strategy is flawed, that sooner or later the lies would be exposed, and then the president would be in real trouble. Oh ye of little faith, this philosophy is all purpose you see, when necessary a master such as Bush can merely make more things up to cover his previous inventions:

From Speech at Ft. hood Texas April 2005

" The toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad will be recorded, alongside the fall of the Berlin Wall, as one of the great moments in the history of liberty."

 "Because of you, the people of Iraq no longer live in fear of being executed and left in mass graves. Because of you, freedom is taking root in Iraq. Our success in Iraq will make America safer, for us and for future generations. "

"From the beginning, our goal in Iraq has been to promote Iraqi independence"

"Iraqis have laid the foundation of a free economy, with a new currency and independent central bank, new laws to encourage foreign investment, and thousands of small businesses established since liberation"

But for a True Master of BS-fu, you needn't be limited to a single subject either.  It works just as well Domestically as it does on foreign policy:

Watch it work On Social Security:

THE PRESIDENT: That's kind of sad, isn't it? Excuse me for interrupting. You've got younger Americans saying, don't count on Social Security. I guess the word is getting out -- slowly, but surely -- we've got a problem with Social Security, to the point where you've got some people saying, don't count on it. As a matter of fact, I saw a survey where it said younger workers feel like they're more likely to see a UFO than get a Social Security check. (Laughter.) Excuse me for interrupting.

On Domestic Disasters and incompetence like  Katrina:

"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."

-on "Good Morning America," Sept. 1, 2005,

The good news is -- and it's hard for some to see it now -- that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before.

-touring hurricane damage, Mobile, Ala., Sept. 2, 2005

"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."

-touring hurricane-ravaged Mississippi, Sept. 2, 2005

Heck this amazing philosophical tool can even handle major lawbreaking and scandals!

For example, the NSA wiretaps:

First, our international activities strictly target al Qaeda and their known affiliates. Al Qaeda is our enemy, and we want to know their plans. Second, the government does not listen to domestic phone calls without court approval. Third, the intelligence activities I authorized are lawful and have been briefed to appropriate members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat. Fourth, the privacy of ordinary Americans is fiercely protected in all our activities.

We're not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans. Our efforts are focused on links to al Qaeda and their known affiliates. So far we've been very successful in preventing another attack on our soil.

You see? None of that turned out to be true, but didn't it sound good?

Clearly, we have wronged this President.  I and so many others have been quick to dismiss him as a clueless, feckless, ill-informed lout.  However it appears we've failed to see the subtleties of this man to fully appreciate that his every act conforms with his deepest held animating principle:

"Just gonna make something up"

DOJ really Said it! : "The president is always right"

Old and Busted: Infallible Popes.

The New Hotness: Infallible presidents.

  Move over Pope Bennie! there's a NEW inerrant Sheriff in Town!

Apparently there's to be no more mucking about with Speaking ex cathedra  and thrones of St Peter when we need an infallible pronouncement, now we need only wait on Pearls to fall from "The Deciders'" lip, as he too is, apparently, "always right" as well.

Or so sayeth an apparently otherwise intelligent and

Senior DOJ official while testifying before congress yesterday
 When Our Man, Sen. Patrick Leahy grilled him on Gitmo and Hamdan


LEAHY: The president has said very specifically, and he's said it to our European allies, he's waiting for the Supreme Court decision to tell him whether or not he was supposed to close Guantanamo or not. After, he said it upheld his position on Guantanamo, and in fact it said neither. Where did he get that impression? The President's not a lawyer, you are, the Justice Department advised him. Did you give him such a cockamamie idea or what?

BRADBURY: Well, I try not to give anybody cockamamie ideas.

LEAHY: Well, where'd he get the idea?

BRADBURY: The Hamdan decision, senator, does implicitly recognize we're in a war, that the President's war powers were triggered by the attacks on the country, and that law of war paradigm applies. That's what the whole case --

LEAHY: I don't think the President was talking about the nuances of the law of war paradigm, he was saying this was going to tell him that he could keep Guantanamo open or not, after it said he could.

BRADBURY: Well, it's not --

LEAHY: Was the President right or was he wrong?

BRABURY: It's under the law of war -

LEAHY: Was the President right or was he wrong?

BRADBURY: The President is always right.

Now if this had been some obsequious WH poltical appointee, or RNC functionary, such a Kool-aid flavored statement might not have been so suprising,  after all we EXPECT them to kiss the boss' ass, that's what they are there for.

However, this was Stephen Bradbury, the Assistant Attorney General  in the Department of Justice.  Moreover , Bradbury, a former Supreme Court Clerk (Thomas-natch)  heads the Office Of Legal Counsel .  The Office serves as the Executive Branch's Lawyer.  They are the ones who advise not only the other Departments but the President himself on what is and is not legal, and what law, court judgments and opinions mean.

So what then is the Paragon of legal thinker's answer to what to do when he President obviously interprets the key holdings a Supreme Court Judgment? (as Leahy pointed out he so clearly did here)   How does Bradbury correct him, and uphold the rule of law?  The answer is he doesn't.  Instead he apparently does whatever mental gymnastics are required to make the president right and the law and statutes wrong.   He can do this because, by his own admission "The president is always right" ,

This is going too damn Far.  I don't care how Unitary the executive is, its a Lawyer's JOB to tell a client when he has his head colorectally inserted legally speaking.  The client is not a customer, and no matter how much they may not like it they are NOT alwys right, and it is our duty to the client and to our profession to set them straight.

Unfortunately Bush seems to have a strict, "invertebrates only" policy when it comes to hiring functionaries.   It was one thing when the President surrounded himself with glassy eyed loyalists whose sole qualification for their jobs were the number of birthday cards they'd sent him proclaiming him the "bestest president ever".   It worse when he packed his "spontaneous town Hall meetings" with carefully screened and meticulously selected loyalists.  But THIS is going too far.  .  They can make all the image manipulating PR they want, But I draw the line at altering the Fabric of reality (or even the Corpus juris) to make this dolt infallible.