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June 18, 2007


no, not the first time in this administration

nor for the reagan administration

nor for the nixon administration.

the funny thing is, like a lot of public lying,

anyone who has ever worked in any organization anywhere for any length of time

knows this trick -

sometimes it is best not to ask and not to know (but that's just an overt pretense. you do know, just not for the record or in any traceable way).

humans have been using this "protective device" for thousands of years.

we all know about it.

but these guys make a great (implicit) pretense of their being the only ones who have ever used this dodge -

and it is a calculated dodge.

in rumsfeld's case, i'm certain it was not just a dodge, but a lie.

i'm confident he was briefed in private by someone he trusted (like carbonne) about just what had gone down at abu ghraib.

i recall that in one of his press conferences where he was being pressed for an explanation of why it took so long for abu grhaib to make it into public view, rumsfeld, if i recall correctly, said,

"well we told you about it in the january press release."

which press release, as it turned out, had made an oblique reference which only those who knew what was happening could have interpreted.

i'm confident rumsfeld was one of the few who could interpret that press release.

Light blogging continues. Having a lot of trouble keeping up, and I'm just reading these things.

I'd say that Rummy was either lying his *ss off, or had made very very sure that he could say he didn't know, in a way that left it impossible to prove that he did actually know before he testified.
(I don't know how you could prove which was correct without at least two eyewitnesses. Which would require at least two people willing to say that they were present when he was told how bad it really was.)

In both civil and criminal cases of fraud, knowledge of falsity is a key element of the crime. A statement may be false without being fraudulent if the speaker did not know the statement was false. But the speaker may not "wilfully ignore" the truth, or speak with deliberate indifference to the truth or falsity of the statement, particular when access to the true facts is available.

This concept of "wilful ignorance" is the common principle uniting virtually all of Bushco's conduct. Which means that everything they say is as good as a lie, even when they don't "know."

Thank God you're only light blogging, I've got court tomorrow, and would like to get some sleep.

The Bushies no longer have plausible deniability because they have used this trick too many times; it is now just SOP.


that was a very helpful explanation

and yes this behavior is the hallmark of the bush admin


I'm praying the men who took the orders from civilian leadership to get actionable intelligence by any means necessary decide their integrity is worth more than what they risk by going public with the truth. I have faith in the military.


April 26, 2007
The Puppet Who Cleared the Way for Iraq's Destruction
Wolfowitz's War

As defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, was driven from public life thanks to the catastrophe of Iraq, and for the moment at least lurks in obscurity. Wolfowitz, his deputy until 2005, contributed in almost equal measure to the debacle, yet managed to slide from the Pentagon into the presidency of a leading international institution with every chance to redeem himself. Blame for torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, bungling over troop levels, chaos in Iraq's reconstruction, and the general meltdown in Pentagon management has all too often been laid at Rumsfeld's door alone. However, Wolfowitz was an energetic enabler of these outrages and many other notorious initiatives.

To cite just one example: among the most infamous documentary testaments to Rumsfeld's place in the hierarchy of torture is the First Special Interrogation Plan for use at Guantanamo that received his approval in December 2002. It cleared the way for prolonged sleep deprivation, 20-hour interrogations, and sexual and religious humiliation, along with other favoured techniques. But as the document signed by Rumsfeld notes, the plan had earlier been reviewed and approved by "the deputy", ie Wolfowitz.

There are indications that Wolfowitz was even more hands on when it came to Abu Ghraib. At the May 2006 court martial of Sergeant Santos Cardona, who was one of the low-ranking personnel called to atone for the collective sins of the military establishment, testimony from one of the interrogators alleged that Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were in direct contact with the prison and received "nightly briefings" on the intelligence being extracted under torture...."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but while there were pictures of sexual harassment, and of terrorizing with dogs (hints of bestiality?), I don't recall any pictures of water-boarding, or of sleep-deprivation, i.e. forms of torture that do not come across as sexual in some sense. Certainly no pictures of people being lined up and shot, or dismembered....

And so, given our general desensitization (relatively speaking) to images of "sexual" acts, we may not ourselves have reacted strongly enough to the images of Abu Ghraib. They may have failed to push our most sensitive buttons.

"Water-boarding" was particularly obscure to my own mind--a concept, and a vague one at that, until I saw a drawn image of how it's done, not a movie of the actual deed.

If footage exists anywhere in the world of these processes--of executions and dismemberment in particular, as practiced by folks recognizably American or British--it should be made into a full-length documentary that circulates on the web.

To suggest that the Pentagon (and the Administration) were not hypersensitive to any negative news from Iraq in 2003 and 2004 is absurd and naturally dishonest. The 4 months prior to Rumsfeld's May 7 testimony were feverishly spent calculating fallout and doing damage control. These people are despicable (and criminal).
As you indicate, this is part of a bigger picture that reveals the entire Bush/Cheney approach to governance; politicize everything and destroy dissent (oh and by all means, don't get caught).

EW, this is light posting? Great work!

Heaviest light bloggging EVAH!

The Bushies no longer have plausible deniability because they have used this trick too many times; it is now just SOP.

Agreed. This administration's mode of operation has been one, big deadly wordgame.

Nothing quite so serious, but there's a fellow running for school board in our Virginia district who's of Haitian decent. He said he used to live in Florida and was a bona fide, registered Republican who fell in line with Jeb Bush's form of No Child Left Behind. Then he saw how it operated -- money was handed out left and right to rich families to move their children out of poorer-operating schools -- leaving his Haitian friends behind. He's now a registered Democrat who's willing to speak out against this regime in our area -- at a local level. You really have to admire what he's doing.

The part of this that is most tragic is that unless America reacts very strongly to this behavior (and maybe this won't be enough) our power, derived not from money but from a moral higher ground, will be lost. They worshipped money and they don't realize that God was sanctioning the values of democracy, not capitalism.

We have lost more than we realize with these torture episodes. It makes me sick, and it should make all of us sick and ashamed. But we must fight the power of their lies and the denial. It's too easy to look the other way because it is all too disgusting. It must be impeachement for the whole administration, war crimes. I don't see how america can maintain it's integrity if this is not how we respond to the behavior.

The one thing the arabs fear about americans, the one thing the chinese fear about americans, has been validated by this behavior. We have another truth to tell.

just watched sy hersh interviewed by amy goodman, and an interesting point was brought up with regard to all this.

seems that, despite all this IMplausible deniability, someone mentioned somewhere that the prez was involved in the discussions about the situation prior to rummy's testimony. how could the prez know and rummy not?

at some point they're going to have to square that contradiction.

People need to be put in jail over stuff like this.

The notion of "plausible deniability" simply does not apply here. Given the extensive efforts by John Yoo, David Addington, et al. to provide a legal framework to conduct torture, any suggestion by senior level administration officials that they were unaware of the application of their theoretical efforts is utterly implausible.

As someone commented yesterday, willful ignorance is not the same as innocence. I believe Rumsfeld knew exactly what was up in January. If he chose to not be informed of the details that is not the same as not knowing at all.

And lets just say he didn't know. What does that say of his leadership if his subordinates felt free to freelance in such abominable ways? Yep. I'm not buying that either. If one of Rummy's minions really did decide to take matters into his own hands, Rummy would have his head on a platter. Afterall, look what he did to Taguba for doing his job and finding out things Rummy didn't want him to find.

These guys have always been control freaks. All of them. It is ludacris to think that they didn't know what was happenning.

Any chief of staff to a SecDef would have been fired on the spot if he had really failed to notify his boss that a) the claims of torture and abuse in country during wartime were credible, b) there was extensive photographic evidence, some of it deeply disturbing, in easily distributable digital form, and c) the allegations were so serious that a two-star officer had been assigned to investigate them, thus ensuring that the results would be distributed directly to the top of the chain of command.

If the SecDef knew it, the joint chiefs and head of Central Command knew it. And the theater commanders knew it, as did the CIA, Special Forces and "outside consultants" who could also be implicated.

Given the visibility and potentially explosive character of the matter being investigated, a staff member would have been duty-bound to keep their superiors fully informed during and after Gen. Taguba's investigation. They would not have done so only when following orders.

It's also hard to accept at face value that Taguba was given this assignment because he was the next two-star in line. He and those giving him the assignment knew what every Gitmo-assigned JAG officer knew: their assignment was severely career limiting.

Taguba had been a straight arrow for thirty years, so everyone above him knew he wasn't going to bury the lede. Whatever he found out, he'd put it in his report. The only damage control they did was to severely limit the scope of his inquiry - a factor they should have known would have been prominently laid out in his report.

The subsequent fate of Gen. Taguba confirms that the top of the chain of command knew much more than they admitted. They were shooting the messenger. That they "fixed" this problem by putting the former head of Gitmo in ultimate command of Abu Ghraib is only added confirmation. As with Rumsfeld's response to problems at Walter Reed, the only thing they were going to fix was not letting the pictures or stories out.

Rummy should be tried and convicted of treason, then handed over to the International Tribunal for War Crimes.

To help understand how torture became a part of America's policy toward detainees, check out the now-infamous August 1, 2002 torture memorandum, also known as the Bybee Memo, co-authored by Jay Bybee, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) and his deputy John S. Yoo. The OLC was "once called the conscience of the Justice Department".
I would like to see the thread of responsibility followed from the Bybee Memo down the food chain to the scandal at Abu Ghraib.

Jay Bybee is now a Federal Appellate Judge.
John Yoo is a law professor at Berkeley's Boalt Hall Law School, training a new cohort of fascist attorneys
These two bear substantial responsibility for Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.
They should both be in jail.

John Yoo is a disgrace to Boalt Hall. It is hard to believe the institution could have changed so much in the 30 years since I graduated that it is now turning out fascist-leaning students, and I seriously doubt that.

It looks as if he has spent more time away than there, and they now seem to have him teaching more specialized courses, though how a law school could ever have let someone like him anywhere near a Con Law course is mind-boggling.

orionATL ,

you are correct in that first comment. And it is that way in big business and big science too.

There is always a lot of twisting and turning away of the eyes and the head when it come to bad news.

A few years ago I suggested Boalt fire Yoo and Glenn Greenwald was against the idea for academic freedom reasons.
But don't serious ethics violations trump academic freedom?
Maybe Yoo is just a harmless disgrace to Boalt, but doesn't Boalt's image require a separation?
How would a polling of Boalt alums on Yoo at their alma mater turn out I wonder?

Plausible Deniability ???

there ain't no plausible deniability for crimes against humanity

just ask erlichman about that one

you might want to ask Wilhelm Kietel, Herman Goring, or a host of other german war criminals how that "Plausible Deniability" thingy works out in an International Court

btw, you might want to check out the how those germans were tried. the Allies assumed the sovereign powers of the German Nation, and sentenced the NAZI regime under German law. so all that time the NAZIs spent changing German law to make their actions legal was a waste of fucking time, cuz those laws were declared illegal in the tribunal

kinda makes you wonder how stupid george and dick are

PS< I don't have to wonder how stupid john yoo is. the "Geneva Conventions" memo written by john yoo is a mirror image of a memo written by Wilhelm Kietel. Wilhelm Kietel recieved the death penalty, and the "Geneva Conventions" memo was the particular piece of evidence that qualified Kietel for the death penalty. john yoo is supposed to be a lawyer ??? he should study some history too



earl of h,

well said.

i'd add,

there is something so very childlike in the bush administration's lies,

so childish that most adults would be embarrassed to even make such arguments in public.

my wife, a sibling, one of my (adult) children, a colleague,
would give me one hard look,
and my face would go sheepish.

how do these guys keep a straight face?

this endemic right-wing public lying would be a joke, were it not so damaging to the nation.

actually, now that i've written that,

i wonder if it wouldn't be better to attack it with ridicule, rather than counter-facts.

jesus' general needs more recruits.

alabama: Correct me if I'm wrong, but while there were pictures of sexual harassment, and of terrorizing with dogs (hints of bestiality?), I don't recall any pictures of water-boarding, or of sleep-deprivation, i.e. forms of torture that do not come across as sexual in some sense. Certainly no pictures of people being lined up and shot, or dismembered....

What are you on about, alabama? One of the most chilling early pictures from Abu Ghraib is of two guards grinning and giving thumbs-up over the plastic-wrapped body of a man who had been beaten to death by "contractors" (the victim was Adel al-Janabi).

Another (in the much later release of additional photos) was of a room where the floor and walls were covered with spattered blood and other bodily fluids.

Another is of a naked prisoner standing with his arms outstretched, covered in blood and shit.

I guess that Lynndie-with-a-leash really blocked everything else out for some people.

Does this blog make my brain look fat ???

has ANYBODY noticed a difference between "Light blogging" and "real blogging" ???

I don't care what anybody says, I don't think this "Light Blogging" has any less calories than the regular stuff

it tastes the same, it looks the same, it still has the same amount of the cream on top


so what's the point ???

I want all of the fat, all of the salt, all of the carbs, and all of the caffine

end the innertube diet experiment NOW

no more "Light Blogging" allowed

who's with me ???

Yo, Nell, there is supposedly a whole bunch of stuff that the public has never seen

Sy Hersh reported about it, and our congresscritters have seen it, but there are a lot of photos AND MOVIES from abu ghraib that we haven't been able to see

apparently the video would cause revulsion amongst the population if it were released

like that's a valid reson to cover it up

nell (18:13)

you really need to go back and read alabama more carefully.

her/his comments were thoughtful

and they were concerned with what we might not yet know about abu ghraib,

things worse still than the sexual humiliation deliberately visited on the arab prisoners, courtesy of general miller and donald rumsfeld.

Come, now. "What did they know and when did they know it?" Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld set up these torture chambers and themselves ordered prisoners be tortured. They knew it all, and they were the first to know it.

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