Installing a Torture Fan at CIA

Exclusive: The CIA’s torturers can breathe a sigh of relief after President-elect Trump tapped a defender of “enhanced interrogation techniques” to become CIA director, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo, an open aficionado of torture practices used in the “war on terror,” to be CIA director shows that Trump was serious when he said he would support “waterboarding and much worse.”

Earlier, there had been a sliver of hope that that, while on the campaign trail, Trump was simply playing to the basest instincts of many Americans who have been brainwashed – by media, politicians, and the CIA itself – into believing that torture “works.” The hope was that the person whom Trump would appoint to head the agency would disabuse him regarding both the efficacy and the legality of torture.

Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas.

Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas.

But such advice is not likely from Pompeo, who has spoken out against the closing of CIA’s “black sites” used for torture and has criticized the requirement that interrogators adhere to anti-torture laws. He has also opposed closing the prison at Guantanamo, which has become infamous for torture and even murder.

After visiting Guantanamo three years ago, where many prisoners were on a hunger strike, Pompeo commented, “It looked to me like a lot of them had put on weight.”

There is little doubt that the champagne was flowing on Friday at CIA headquarters, from the seventh-floor executive offices down to the bowels of that building where torture practitioners have been shielded from accountability for 15 years in what amounts to the CIA’s internal “witness protection” program.

Indeed, relief over the Pompeo appointment came in the nick of time. For one fleeting moment earlier in the week, there was some panic at the hint that the International Criminal Court might show more courage than President Barack Obama in bringing torture perpetrators to justice.

That suggestion caused a moment of angst up and down the CIA’s ladder of authority, from supervisory felons, such as Director John Brennan and agency lawyers, down to the thugs hired to implement the amateurish but gruesome regime of torture depicted in gory detail in the Senate Intelligence Committee investigative report,

Published in December 2014 and based on original CIA documents, the report’s Executive Summary revealed a range of gruesome practices from the near-drowning sensation of water-boarding to the forcible rectal feeding of detainees.

Pompeo’s Defense

Pompeo responded to the findings by personally attacking Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein. He claimed she had “put American lives at risk” and he called CIA participants in the torture program “heroes, not pawns in some liberal game being played by the ACLU and Senator Feinstein.”

Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (left) argues with ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern about the Senate torture report on CCTV America’s “The Heat” on Dec. 11, 2014. (Screenshot from program)

Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (left) argues with ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern about the Senate torture report on CCTV America’s “The Heat” on Dec. 11, 2014. (Screenshot from program)

Pompeo seemed to be taking his cue from former chair of the House Intelligence Committee Pete Hoekstra, R-Michigan, who, right after the Senate report was released, boasted to me on live TV that he had been briefed on “90 to 95 percent” of the cruel practices laid bare in the Senate investigation. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Clashing Face to Face on Torture.”

Torture also has its supporters in the Senate, which will be called on to confirm Pompeo as CIA director. At a Senate hearing on May 13, 2009, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, gave a tip of the cap to the Spanish Inquisition, which he cited as proof that torture could elicit some useful confessions (as it was used in the Fifteenth Century to detect “crypto Jews” and to burn several thousand heretics at the stake).

During a hearing on detainee interrogations, Sen. Graham said: “Let’s have both sides of the story here,” pointing out that there could be evidence that torture produced “good information.” Graham added, “I mean, one of the reasons these techniques have survived for about 500 years is apparently they work.”

On Wednesday, I was given nine minutes on radio to comment on the ICC’s tentative move to seek accountability for American torture practices. But Pompeo’s nomination on Friday is sure to dispel the brief moment of anxiety among the CIA’s torturers.

Congressman Pompeo is living proof that you can get all A’s at West Point, graduate first in your class, and still flunk the Constitution with its quaint Eighth Amendment prohibition against “cruel and unusual punishment.” Not knowing the Constitution and the Bill of Rights apparently makes you a good pick to head the CIA.

As member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), Pompeo also was protective of the National Security Agency’s systematic abuse of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against illegal searches and seizures.

The selection of Pompeo came a few days after Vice President-elect Mike Pence told ABC that he would model his handling of the job after former Vice President Dick Cheney under President George W. Bush.

Though Pence may have meant Cheney’s assertive role and interaction with Congress, there was also Cheney’s advocacy for “regime change” wars and what the Bush administration called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” which earned Cheney the label from The Washington Post, “Vice President for Torture.”

Cheney has never been repentant about his aggressiveness in the “war on terror.” “I’d do it again in a minute,” he has declared.

Real Expert on Torture

Yet, even as Bush-Cheney apologists found excuses and euphemisms for torture, Gen. John Kimmons, head of Army Intelligence, told a Pentagon press conference on Sept. 6, 2006 – the same day he knew that President Bush planned to advertise the efficacy of his “alternate set of procedures” – that torture did not result in sound information.

President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney receive an Oval Office briefing from CIA Director George Tenet. Also present is Chief of Staff Andy Card (on right). (White House photo)

President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney receive an Oval Office briefing from CIA Director George Tenet. Also present is Chief of Staff Andy Card (on right). (White House photo)

Conceding past “transgressions and mistakes,” Kimmons insisted: “No good intelligence is going to come from abusive practices. I think history tells us that. I think the empirical evidence of the last five years, hard years, tells us that.” (Emphasis added)

That’s also what I learned as a young Army Intelligence officer 50 years ago. Cheney, Hoekstra, Graham, Trump, Pence and Pompeo can keep whistling on the dark side, but there is zero evidence to challenge what Gen. Kimmons had to guts to point out on that important day. The Senate Intelligence Committee report of December 2014 should have long since laid to rest the canard that torture “works.”

On a moral level, I also cannot quite fathom the attitude of Pence – who says, “I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order” – tolerating torture and torture advocates. If memory serves, Jesus Christ was tortured to death.

Lest I seem to be coming down too hard on how so many fundamentalist Christians wink at (or applaud) torture, I must concede that – after 9/11 – the growing acceptance of practices like torture, previously widely condemned as totally unacceptable behavior, gained willing acceptance among many non-fundamentalist Christians, as well.

Many years ago when I studied ethics at Fordham, New York City’s Jesuit university, I was taught that there was one immutable category called “intrinsic evil,” which included slavery, rape and torture.

Somehow, torture slid out of that category when Fordham’s president, Rev. Joseph M. McShane, SJ, succumbed to the “celebrity virus,” and decided to ask alumnus (then-White House aide on counterterrorism and now CIA Director) John Brennan to give the Commencement address in 2012.

Brennan had publicly defended the practice of extraordinary rendition (aka kidnaping, most often for torture). Brennan was also on the routing for emails regarding CIA torture procedures. (It is important to note that, without a demonstrated “need to know,” no one is included as an addressee on such delicate matters.)

Adding insult to the injury of giving Brennan such an important invitation, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in “Humane Letters” (what might seem like a sick joke), as fellow honoree, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, applauded from the same platform.

When a number of graduating seniors objected to this profaning of their graduation, President McShane gave a glib gloss on torture and drone killings in these words: “We don’t live in a black and white world; we live in a gray world.”

(A group that I helped found, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, has written a number of Memoranda on torture and most recently on the CIA’s cover-up of torture, an issue completely neglected in the corporate media.)

Ray McGovern works for Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He served as an Army Intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for a total of 30 years, and is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

60 comments for “Installing a Torture Fan at CIA

  1. Michael K Rohde
    November 21, 2016 at 16:51

    The FBI has conducted numerous studies on interrogation and they all say the same thing. Torture victims will say anything to get the torture to stop. Anything to stop the pain. That includes telling the interrogator what you think they want to hear to stop the pain. The information is inherently unreliable because of the desperation of the victims to stop the pain. It doesn’t produce actionable information that will stand up in court and often causes innocents to be swept up as well as the guilty to go free. If if is unreliable, then it is irresponsible to use it. So what’s the point?

  2. November 20, 2016 at 22:41

    Just want to second Howard Mettee’s comment above. Thank you Ray and also all who participated in this excellent discussion. I learned a lot.

  3. November 20, 2016 at 16:16

    Thanks to you Ray and VIPS for your quiet but thoughtfully relentless, respectful but unfailingly critical, views about torture and the failure of our American political leadership to own up and fly right. Our institutions are not showing the ability to stand up to their responsibilities lately, but the courage you guys and VIPS show every day should be an example to them. At least your leadership is not lost on all of us, please continue to hang in there as a voice of pride in what’s left of our tattered country, and what it can once again be. .

  4. Herman
    November 20, 2016 at 11:05

    Our light of hope for the president elect grows dimmer each day.

    Still, if he makes an honest effort to warm relations with our “adversaries” he has my support. Can anyone tell us why China and Russia are still our enemies?

    • November 20, 2016 at 15:26

      Herman

      Thats easy, those countries will not bend the knee to the Beltway Warriors and their intent to rule the world. Also the Rothschild family certainly are not fans of Russia and China because they will not allow them rule finance and take a cut of every single transaction , in their nations. In short the guys who want to own and rule the world are thwarted by Presidents Xi and Putin therefore they are an evil that must be dealt with.

  5. Marc
    November 20, 2016 at 08:03

    There is a common, and potentially important, error in this article, namely the statement that torture is contrary to the prohibition in our Constitution of cruel an unusual punishment. Torture is not meted out as punishment but as a tool for gaining information or revenge or just plain sadistic satisfaction. Acts of torture — battery, kidnapping, inflicting pain on a non-consenting person, etc — are prohibited by the ordinary criminal code, and the perpetrators should be prosecuted as criminals.

    • Sam F
      November 20, 2016 at 12:11

      Torture is prohibited also by the prohibition of use of evidence obtained by coercion (testimony against one’s self) and by international treaties prohibiting war crimes.

  6. Peter Loeb
    November 20, 2016 at 07:54

    ANDREW JACKSONS AND DONALD TRUMPS IN US HISTORY

    Times have changed but the basic violence which made
    Andrew Jackson an immediate popular hero in his time
    differs from Donald Trump, President -elect, but only
    in specifics, (In fact many previous Administrations
    shared these traits from both current political parties.

    An excellent analysis of Andrew Jackson by Michael Paul
    Rogin is in his major work:

    “FATHERS & CHILDREN : ANDREW JACKSON AND THE
    SUBJUGATION OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN” (Alfred A Knopf,
    1975).

    This book should be required reading before analyses of
    the 46th President-to-be. It should be seen as a basic
    ingredient in the American personality as expressed.
    While these traits began earlier both in the US and
    in the world, Andrew Jackson represented a pinnacle of
    America’s immediate gratification in the exercise of
    power.

    An example of failure to learn the l”lessons of
    history” is exemplified in F.G,. Sanford’s comment
    above. Though well-intentioned, such responses
    fail to grasp these expressions of violence as
    long-established and wildly popular intrinsic
    parts of American history.

    We have idolized many times over those who
    shoot dead a young volunteer who failed
    to follow orders, Jackson’s own fraudulent and
    dishonesty as a land speculator, Jacksonwho when
    the then young
    Supreme Court made a decision Jackson as
    President disagreed with he said, “Marshall
    has made his decision. Let him enforce it!”

    Rogin wrote in his introduction (p.3);

    “America clearly began not with primal innocence
    but with acts of force and fraud.”

    —–Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

    • Anon
      November 20, 2016 at 09:50

      Agreed. I suggest adding clarification that these currents of selfishness, ignorance, hypocrisy and malice are always present in a large population and its history, as are the threads of understanding and decency, so the real issues are the means by which the latter may govern the former traits at times or over long periods.

    • Bill Bodden
      November 20, 2016 at 14:47

      While these traits began earlier both in the US and in the world,…

      Contrary to juvenile propaganda about America being a leader towards a new moral and enlightened world, the United States has just joined the club for abusive authoritarians, dictators, and autocrats. The histories of other empires – British, French, Belgian, German and Dutch to name just Europeans – are at least as appalling and barbarous as our own. Where some nations have managed to incorporate civilized and humane policies – national health care, social security, etc. – there have always been forces against these trends. We can count on the oligarchs of the Republican and Democratic parties to maintain this regressive behavior.

  7. November 20, 2016 at 01:33

    The United States employed waterboarding against the Philippine citizens during the Spanish American War and of course used all forms of abuse and dishonesty in dealing with Native Americans. There is no way to reconcile the teachings of Jesus Christ with the government policies of inhumane treatment of any person near or far. There is a certain type of Christian who believes that we are somehow morally justified in doing whatever is expedient to protect our country. The CIA must be thrilled to have these pro-Israel adherents on board. We seem to be a people enamored with violence against others, and at the same time ignorant of blowback and the likely response in the future by the oppressed. We are not hated for our freedoms, but for our pride and arrogance. I am thankful for men like Ray who are not afraid to speak truth to power. If you have the opportunity, tell Mr. Graham and Mr. McCain to shut up!

    • Joe Tedesk
      November 20, 2016 at 02:46

      Well put.

  8. Zachary Smith
    November 20, 2016 at 01:21

    “The Rev. Joseph Michael McShane, S.J., (born June 19, 1949) is an American Jesuit priest, noted theologian and the current President of Fordham University.”

    This fellow is scary. And no kind of “Christian” whatever unless one uses the definition of “Christian” found in Ambrose Bierce’s dictionary. I’d wager that Mr. McShane believes the Spanish Inquisition was fully justified, for after all, “We don’t live in a black and white world; we live in a gray world.”

    And if Francis or some other Pope brought torture back to “keep up with the times”, McShane would be right on board with that one too. Gray, gray, and gray. One wonders about the sort of folks who hired this fellow as a University President.

  9. Douglas Baker
    November 20, 2016 at 00:51

    Congressman Mike Pompeo is a well endowed Koch sucker on the Koch milk truck squiring out tea bag money spread like liquid merde to fund the Koch boys desire to bring fascism to America as they hold fast to their parents’ dream for The United States of America.

  10. Fergus Hashimoto
    November 20, 2016 at 00:47

    Ray McGovern objects to CIA torture, but not to Hamas torture, which is equally cruel and has been attested to by the same human rights advocates that denounce the CIA´s crimes.

    • Zachary Smith
      November 20, 2016 at 00:57

      You forgot to provide any kind of evidence for your claim.

    • rosemerry
      November 20, 2016 at 04:51

      Oh please! Hamas is blamed for so much; was started by Israel; was elected as NON CORRUPTED but not allowed even to start governing in 2006. Of course it has cruelty in its behavior, but does not compare at all to the USA or Israel.
      Ray, of course, is against ALL torture, even by Christians!!!

    • Bill Bodden
      November 20, 2016 at 14:22

      Ray McGovern objects to CIA torture, but not to Hamas torture…

      And he also had nothing to say about torture in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and several other “stans.” Presumably, Mr. McGovern was constrained at the time by the thought it might be better to get our own house in order before we throw stones at others’ houses.

  11. Ellen Murphy
    November 19, 2016 at 23:33

    Backwardsevolution, Well, I went to a thrift store and found an orange jump suit in which i stood at the peace vigil and walked around with my Close Guantanamo sign. I marched around a few other places too, went to jail over Depleted Uranium but not over torture, I’m sad to say. I’ve been writing to Chelsea from the beginning of her wrongful imprisonment and torture, and my antics against war go way back. (Maybe way, way back, as I’m nearing 80). But please, Backwards, turn around. This is really it, as I’m sure you know, on many critical levels. It’s evolve or nothing. For me, though I did try to answer your question, listing my creds is not evolving. As MLK said, “I’ve decided to stick with love.” Although I fail frequently, I’ve learned Love is truly a force that can lead, guide, transform, and tell us what to do. She’s no softy, that Love. Let’s try it.

  12. November 19, 2016 at 23:29

    I’m sorry, Ray, but the continued amnesia regarding the fact the Obama administration engages in torture eviscerates your argument by making it seem so partisan. True, the use of isolation, sleep and sensory deprivation, manipulation of temperature, light, sound and diet, the instillation of fear, and a stated goal of making a prisoner experience hopelessness and helplessness (the “Futility” technique) – all of these types of psychological torture are not as headline grabbing as waterboarding! But these are all allowed in the Obama-approved Army Field Manual. While in 2015 the UN Committee Against Torture, which polices a treaty against torture the US signed, condemned a number of the above field manual practices as abuse and torture (causing psychosis!), I don’t believe I ever have seen an article about this at ConsortiumNews.

    I very much appreciate this site, and your anti-torture article, but the failure to tell the whole story belies the very stance you take. It also doesn’t explain to the public how the acceptance of torture “lite” by the Democrats, along with the failure to push accountability for the torture crimes under Bush/Cheney, has led to the very situation we are faced with today.

    • Zachary Smith
      November 20, 2016 at 00:25

      Mr. Kaye is entirely correct. Looking back to the Bush Torturers and forward to potential Trump Torturers while ignoring Obama’s very real torture work in the “present” just isn’t right.

      Obama has been a disaster of historic proportions on this and other fronts, and that’s a plain fact. That he might have been even worse doesn’t hack it with me as a defense of the man.

    • Bill Bodden
      November 20, 2016 at 14:15

      I caught Obama say when he ruled against torture that he was against torture “in the United States.” The only conclusion I could draw from that was it would be vile and squalid business as usual outside the United States. There was one probable exception that I know of in the case of the abusive treatment applied to then-Bradley Manning at the Quantico Marine Base brig. The UN rapporteur on torture never got to investigate this contemptible conduct to confirm it was torture, but it was despicable and struck many people as in violation of the 8th Amendment of the Constitution against cruel and unusual punishment. Of course, as we have come to learn since the Bush/Cheney misrule, the Constitution applies only when it is politically expedient. Obama, the former Constitutional Law professor thought the abuse inflicted on Manning was “appropriate.”

  13. Ellen Murphy
    November 19, 2016 at 22:56

    Thank you for another great piece, Ray. Though I was taught by the sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, and not the Jesuits, I too recall “intrinsic evil.” Apparently, when Trump attended Fordham, he missed out on that. (unless I’m mistaken—I think he did attend). I was never one of the “give Trump a chance” folks, but I was a “I’m horrified, but let’s see what his actual policies are” person. No more. He has shown us clearly. We must stand up now.
    Time for a nonviolent, moral revolution.

    • backwardsevolution
      November 19, 2016 at 23:06

      Ellen Murphy – did you stand up against torture when Obama, Bush and Clinton were doing it? Because torture is not new. They’ve been using it forever. Chelsea Manning has been subjected to torture under Obama (the man who said he was going shut down Guantanamo). Is it just because Trump is doing it? I’m not judging you, but I am curious as to whether you stood up previously to the use of torture or whether you just want to do it now.

      • doray
        November 20, 2016 at 12:33

        Well, I did! I’ve been speaking out against the Dems since Clinton was in office. And yes, it’s MADDENING when complacent Dems defend Obushma and Killary as if they’re not the same war criminals the Shrub and his Dick are. Obomba is a murderer. Hillary is a murderer. Our national policy is disgusting and both Dems and Reps are scum and one of the main reasons nearly half of Americans are independent voters. Too bad they couldn’t elect a non-violent candidate who stood for a future we could believe in. Americans are addicted to war and violence. It’s a sick, sick nation that doesn’t even realize it’s mentally ill. The first step to solving a problem is to admit you have one. America’s manufactured manifest destiny mandate prevents that from ever happening. We’re exceptional, don’tcha know? Torture and murder in the name of righteousness is okay with God as long as you’re fighting them evil Muslims. Or Mexicans. Or Blacks. Or uppity women. Or anyone who’s not on the wealthy white male manifest destiny boat. Trump was born and raised on the boat. That’s evident by his cabinet choices. Goddess help us all!

  14. backwardsevolution
    November 19, 2016 at 22:55

    Bill Bodden – read a lot of what Bob Altemeyer had to say. So much of it could be applied to what we’ve been living under for the last four decades. Even before Trump came along, many people were commenting on how Orwell’s “1984” was alive and well. Listening to telephone conversations, reading emails of citizens, and when people complained about things like the bank bailout or illegal immigration, they were told, “Too bad.” It has been a quiet coup, an underground authoritarianism. The elite establishment have used the useful idiots on the left to pursue their agenda, and they have complied. The elite have used divide and conquer tactics and have kept groups dependent on government in order to get their way. When you are dependent, you do not speak up against your benefactors. And, sadly, most dependents aren’t even aware that they are dependents, so they wouldn’t know to speak out anyway. Altemeyer says:

    “The most remarkable thing about Donald Trump as an authoritarian leader, in my mind, is that he’s so obvious about it. Look at his comments about Vladimir Putin, Saddam Hussein, and Kim Jong-un. While he has some negative evaluation of each, he praises all three for becoming autocrats and using their power to dominate their countries. How hard is it to see what he’s hoping to do? Who will stop him if he becomes President?

    What to do?

    If the analysis above is correct (and if I adopted Donald Trump’s style I would guarantee you 1000% that it is 1000% correct) then I would say, as calmly as I can, that American democracy is at a pretty important crossroads today. But we have been in trouble before, and faced more difficult tests. We can meet this one too.”

    Here Altemeyer is unaware of the silent coup that has already taken place, oblivious to it. It was carried out by Bill Clinton, Bush Jr., Obama (lots of progressive leadership in there) and those before them.

    “Wanna-be tyrants in a democracy are just comical figures on soapboxes when they have no following. So the real…threat lay coiled in parts of the population itself, it was thought, ready someday to catapult the next Hitler to power with their votes.”

    It is always the followers who dictate the leader, not the other way around. Are followers just inherently evil people who wait for a tyrant, would rather crush an illegal than go on a picnic with the family, or do they get pushed, prodded and provoked into voting against those who have hurt them? For instance, is Putin really an aggressor, or does he first get provoked and then he acts? And is anyone who now speaks out against what the Democrats have done and disagrees with their policies now to be labelled a Hitler?

    I like that Trump stands for peace and negotiations between countries, that he is against the secretive trade treaties (TPP and TTIP), that he wants to get a handle on illegal immigration, but I do NOT agree with his stance on torture. Who could even do something like that? Hopefully he disbands NATO, stops the wars, and then maybe there won’t be a need (in their minds) for torture. I just think that Trump is ill-informed in this area, and hasn’t thought it through. Perhaps someone can get to him, an expert on the subject, and not a neo-con.

    As far as I can see, it has been the liberal/progressives who have been the violent ones during this election (the violence at the Trump rallies, the violence now). A lot of these so-called “tyrant followers” actually voted for Obama last time. They had the same hopes for change that everybody else did, and they saw their country pushed further down the tubes and sold off (especially under Clinton).

    I just don’t think that Altemeyer lives in reality. I don’t think he sees the damage that has already been done. He views the country as having been some sort of utopia and is just now sliding down hill, whereas the “tyrant followers” view the country and having already slid down hill, and they want to bring it back up, restore the Constitution to its rightful place.

    • backwardsevolution
      November 19, 2016 at 23:02

      Bill – and what do Vladimir Putin, Saddam Hussein, and Kim Jong-un, along with Gaddafi and Assad, all have in common? They are all against someone else (the United States and their puppets) dominating them! They want to be independent, but that is a “no no” as far as the West is concerned. If you’re not open to allowing the U.S. and its puppets to come in and loot you, do their bidding, then you’re labelled a dictator.

      I think the author has got it all backwards.

  15. Joey
    November 19, 2016 at 21:21

    So, didn’t take long to destroy any illusions.

    The worst of two evils?
    Or, the best of two evils?

    Torture yourself, and choose, if you wish.
    Then, celebrate your barbaric choice.
    And carry on.

  16. Bill Bodden
    November 19, 2016 at 20:14

    With so many authoritarians and authoritarian followers/Tea Partiers pledging allegiance to the Trump flag and the republic for which it will stand now taking over in Washington and metastasizing throughout the nation there is much to be said for reading Bob Altemeyer’s book – The Authoritarians – and his “Comment on the Tea Party Movement” available for free at http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/. If the Trump juggernaut, the Republican Party, Libertarians, and the Democratic National Committee are among your enemies Altemeyer’s books will help you understand them.

    • Bill Bodden
      November 19, 2016 at 20:22

      “Donald Trump and Authoritarian Followers” is at Bob Altemeyer’s new website: http://theauthoritarians.org/. Bob Altemeyer has retired from the University of Manitoba which may close down the website referred to above.

  17. Robert Anderson
    November 19, 2016 at 19:47

    Fascism. It CAN happen here.

  18. F. G. Sanford
    November 19, 2016 at 18:07

    Some may recall Mike Huckabee’s recounting of his “patriotic” upbringing. He said that if he misbehaved, “My father laid on the stripes and I saw stars”. Of course, I realize it’s not “politically correct” to mention it, what with today’s “Social Justice Warrior” mentality, but there are plenty of rational behavioral scientists out there who concur. They keep their opinions to themselves. Homoerotic sadomasochism and Christian fundamentalism go hand in hand. I’m not going to mention any names, but there have certainly been cogent examples in both Houses of Congress. A few of them have run afoul of the law in recent memory. People who have followed the events and are aware of the facts may wonder how an apparently well educated retired military officer serving as a spokesperson can seem so bereft of facts and understanding. One would assume that he or she receives briefings, is appraised of the facts, understands the issues, has a handle on historical perspectives and can conversantly exchange pertinent ideas. That would be a mistaken assumption. When these people appear to be bewildered, evasive, misinformed or mendacious, it is because they are. A service academy “education” is a collection of cliches strung together into a four year curriculum. For the most part, there is no depth, breadth, nuance, critical thinking, analysis or intuition involved. Your typical “ring knocker” graduates with a well developed repertoire of quips, put-downs, smart remarks, wisecracks and insults with which he or she confronts the first leadership assignment. Leadership by fear and intimidation, if successfully employed in the first tour, may lead to a career. This state of affairs will not likely improve until some sort of military tribunal, national scandal or resounding military defeat dictates otherwise. Some older folks may recall that TV series with Vic Morrow. Products of the “chicken factory” – a reference to the eagle insignia worn by Colonels – was how the grunts referred to newly minted academy graduates. The best and brightest graduate from places like Rutgers or Penn State, then get a commission. In the meantime, my guess is that any district attorney with enough guts could indict Jose Rodriguez. After all, The Constitution says “No Person shall be deprived”, not “Some persons may be deprived”. So…where is the moral courage to specify charges? Torture is now a permanent part of our national identity. Unless some SOB finally goes to the slammer where he belongs, The Constitution will remain, as George W. Bush put it, “Just a goddamned piece of paper”.

    • Bill Bodden
      November 19, 2016 at 19:14

      This state of affairs will not likely improve until some sort of military tribunal, national scandal or resounding military defeat dictates otherwise.

      Not much cause for optimism there. We have had the national scandals (Iraq sanctions and war, torture report, F-35 monumental waste, etc.) and resounding military defeats (Vietnam and Afghanistan quagmire) but the only lessons learned there were how to cover up, so that leaves military tribunal in which case we may as well forget the whole thing.

    • Sam F
      November 19, 2016 at 20:11

      Abuses of the Constitution are now extreme and very deliberate in all three federal branches, which regard the Constitution and democracy itself with extreme contempt. This is the late stage of subversion of democracy by economic oligarchy, now almost complete.

      The good news is that if Trump discredits the GOP, the progressives have the chance to recover. But only if they eliminate MIC/WallSt/zionist funding of non-Repub parties, and overcome the oligarchy tools of mass media divisiveness and suppression. If they fail in future elections, then after 20-60 more years of corruption the US will be economically depressed and hopefully suffer a resounding defeat in its military adventurism, which could cause the riots that suppress or overthrow oligarchy. But improvement by violence is seldom much better than what it replaces.

    • Zachary Smith
      November 20, 2016 at 00:28

      Unless some SOB finally goes to the slammer where he belongs, The Constitution will remain, as George W. Bush put it, “Just a goddamned piece of paper”.

      Exactly.

    • Joe Tedesk
      November 20, 2016 at 02:13

      I was on a ship with a really great Captain who told me how lucky he was to have Andy. Andy was a young LtJg and he came from a family of ship navigators who piloted the Great Lakes. Andy never stood a watch while at sea, because that really great Captain would pull surprise visits to the Bridge, and if the Officer on Deck didn’t answer the Captains questions correctly you heard…..get me Andy. Here again the moral is when weeding through your staff of personal gain seekers, it’s nice to find at least one who does know what they are doing. Funny thing about Andy, he didn’t want to Pilot ships for a living. Andy was a true Cincinnatus.

      Mike Pompeo is smart. He sounds smart enough to past the required test, but morally unfit for the shop. I would recommend people read about Nazi interrogator Hans Scharff, and his America counterpart Sherwood Ford Moran, bio’s, and then see how to get information that can be relied upon as probable good Intel. Although, sadly torture plays well in the American public opinion polls. Could this be because most citizens don’t serve, and will probably never be captured by the enemy. John McCain is against torture.

      I’m still dancing like a Winkie Guard now that Clinton and Bush are out of the way. Although, if President Trump doesn’t deliver…oh well I’ll save that for another day.

      • Joe Tedesk
        November 20, 2016 at 02:43

        I’d like to add to this by asking this question; will Mike Pompeo shut down the CIA connection to the ‘moderate rebels’? I say moderate with sarcasm.

        Also are the Kagan’s gone, and what about Tori? Powers, Rice, what about them?

        Maybe while scrutinizing Trump’s appointees, we should see what’s leaving the stable.

        The one thing is for sure, Trump will be in the news 24/7 from now on. Think about this, if Romney doesn’t become Secretary of State Donald gets to say…. Your fired! Maybe Bill Maher will get nominated for Secretary of Agriculture (the weed)…. Your fired!

  19. delia ruhe
    November 19, 2016 at 16:56

    It’s not too late, Obama, to release that whole report on torture that you refused to release when it came out. If you don’t, you are gonna regret it.

    • Bill Bodden
      November 19, 2016 at 19:18

      Whatever reasons Obama had/has for not releasing the whole report will remain in effect for the remainder of his term in office and will continue through Trump’s.

  20. November 19, 2016 at 16:19

    Ray:

    Evidently the powers to be never learn that there is a technology that allows reaching anyone in this world.

    It requires a higher level of integrity to decide using it. Obviously you don’t understand and have no interest in finding out.

    Just keep snoozing in the stone age with your thinking.

    Have a great weekend anyway.

    • Zachary Smith
      November 19, 2016 at 17:42

      Perhaps you could rework your post so readers could have a clue about whatever it is you’re talking about.

      • November 19, 2016 at 18:07

        I have demonstrated several times that with concentrating on an individual for a couple of weeks when his birth data are known to create surprising events.

        God helps us if a foreign nation develops this technology.

        The Intelligence agencies are obviously not interested. They are comfortable with the security provided when on the Federal payroll

      • Zachary Smith
        November 19, 2016 at 18:28

        God helps us if a foreign nation develops this technology.

        Weaponized astrology, huh?

        Sorry I bothered you.

      • November 19, 2016 at 19:18

        Depends on what you call weaponizing. With parapsychology anyone in this world can be reached. Astrology provides the timing and the location from where the attack should be made, It will take the power away from the targeted individual that wants to start a war in which many will be killed.

        I am 86 years old and lived through 5 years of ruthless occupation by the Nazis. Anyone living in this world can do without that kind of experience.

        A para team does not kill, maim or destruct anything. Just make the truth known what is happening.

    • November 20, 2016 at 14:51

      What in Hades are you trying to say?

  21. FobosDeimos
    November 19, 2016 at 14:49

    That’s it. I’ve already given up all hope that a Trump presidency might have some tiny beneficial effect on the current sordid state of world affairs. He is appointing people who look and sound like the cast of a 1950’s Class B horror movie, only these pathetic monsters are real and criminally dangerous. Of course I don’t regret a bit that an awful warmonger like Hillary Clinton was stopped from driving the USA into a war with Russia, but I now believe that the cohort of fanatic racists and illiterate clowns surrounding Trump (himself a lunatic egomaniac) will achieve the same result rather soon. In the end, it looks like this is all that the US is able to give to the world as its imperial days are over: chaos and destruction.

    • Bill Bodden
      November 19, 2016 at 15:31

      In this past election there was no lesser evil, just two versions of similar malevolence offering an ominous future.

      • FobosDeimos
        November 19, 2016 at 19:01

        Yes, I know, but it’s nevertheless disheartening to see how quickly the evil that won has dispelled any doubts about its true, dark character.

      • A Bankrupt Greek
        November 19, 2016 at 20:52

        We preferably wait and see.

        Btw,are you also Greek?

        Whatever the outcome, Greece is fucked 99,9% by that Erdogan lunatic…

      • Antonia
        November 20, 2016 at 18:58

        You are so right. I am more afraid of Erdogan than I am of Putin. Western Europeans are rather stupid.

    • Sam F
      November 19, 2016 at 19:48

      But in fact this is the foundation of hope rather than despair, because of the two intolerable candidates Clinton is down and Trump has only begun to discredit the Repubs. That is exactly what progressives need to Unify themselves around a platform that is both progressive and serves the working class. It will happen only if progressives can keep MIC/WallSt/zionist money out of the non-Repub campaigns in 2018 and 2020. It will happen only if Trump self-destructs, so cheer anything good that he does, and cheer when he discredits the Repubs.

  22. SteveK9
    November 19, 2016 at 13:52

    What do you think of Michael Flynn … hope there?

    • A Bankrupt Greek
      November 19, 2016 at 20:48

      Flynn is a weird one…

      He was a lifelong Democrat that got disillusioned with the Obama foreign policy and got terminated 2 years ago from his top head position (Director of Defence Intelligence Agency). He openly disagreed with the support the Americans were giving to the Syrian Rebels and the general destabilization of the Iraq-Syria theaters.

      A year ago CIA published a file that said that Flynn had also opposed the official-unofficial creation of an Islamic State whose intention would be to push Asad out of his leadership.

      In 2014,he was photographed attending an event in Moscow and sat right behind the Russian President.

      A Retired American General. Was invited to Moscow. Sat near the Russian President.

      There is something here….

      • rosemerry
        November 20, 2016 at 04:41

        He seems to be for détente with Russia (surely a good thing) but a fanatical and lying foe of anything but eternal enmity for Iran. A recent LobeLog article (sorry I am unsure of link) reported about twenty of his suggestions for dealing with Iran. All bets are off for him.

  23. Bill Bodden
    November 19, 2016 at 13:35

    On a moral level, I also cannot quite fathom the attitude of Pence – who says, “I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order” – tolerating torture and torture advocates. If memory serves, Jesus Christ was tortured to death.

    Christians (like other followers of religions) come in a variety of models. Pence’s Christianity appears to be a composite of a Crusader and a Spanish inquisitor updated with a dose of Salem witch hunter.

    • Russell Haas
      November 19, 2016 at 21:17

      Before you further blacken the image of Crusaders and the Spanish Inqusition, could you back up your accusation with facts<\?

      ie How do the Spanish inquisition's actions compare with those of England's Court-of-Star-Chamber?

      How do the burnings of witches in Protestant Europe compare with those in Catholic Europe?

      How about 30,000 to 0?

      Please do not let yourself get sucked into the 21st Century edition of the 'Leyenda Negra' (the Black Legend)

      • Sam F
        November 19, 2016 at 22:16

        I’m very sure that he did not intend to compare Catholic and Protestant abuses, but only to pick well known examples of both.

      • Bill Bodden
        November 19, 2016 at 22:55

        Thank you, Sam

  24. Bill Bodden
    November 19, 2016 at 13:22

    President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo, an open aficionado of torture practices used in the “war on terror,” to be CIA director shows that Trump was serious when he said he would support “waterboarding and much worse.”

    In the 1950s there was a political theme about threats from “the enemy within.” The popular enemy at that time was communism. Now America has a new “enemy within.” The barbarians from the right wing of the political spectrum have taken over.

    • Frank
      November 20, 2016 at 12:50

      You bet! I pointed out Trump’s neocon connections early on and got hell for it. Now from comments across the net it looks like Trump is losing his core support and fast. I thinks websites that pushed this guy without putting up the copious internet evidence during the campaign may fold up in the next year or so. We have Mr.Torture who wants to murder Snowden and Assad,Ole Reefer Madness Sessions and Lobbyist for Turkey(ISIS supporter) General Flynn. Mitt Romney who looks to be Trump’s secretary of state is a protege of John Bolton and the Project for the New American Century and Mentally ill Mad Dog Mattis who continually opines about the joys of killing people. From the frying pan into the fire.

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