Humint Events Online: December 2019

Saturday, December 28, 2019

"The Report"-- Revisiting Bush Administration War Criminals

"The Report" is just an OK movie, which is too bad, because it needed to be great. 
Very few of the policymakers who enabled the grotesque, systematic torture of terror suspects in the aftermath of 9/11 have faced consequences for their actions. Many of them are still prominent in public life. Most are far more familiar than Dan Jones, the obsessive author of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program—better known as the “Torture Report.” Jones, portrayed by the talented actor (and improbable sex symbol) Adam Driver, deserves to be recognized as a hero, and the human rights abuses he meticulously exposed deserve to be memorialized. 
The perpetrators deserve to face justice, but this perfectly adequate Amazon Original might be as close as they ever get. Written and directed by Scott Z. Burns (Contagion, The Bourne Ultimatum), The Report belongs to the rich tradition of Beltway procedurals, stretching from 1976’s All the President’s Men to 2017’s The Post—real-life thrillers set in wonky, earnest Washington, a city that on film consists entirely of marble monuments, brutalist office buildings, parking garages, and the odd Georgetown mansion. 
It’s a well-established template, and well suited to a story that’s inherently difficult to film: A tiny team of Senate staffers, led by Jones, spends years in a windowless basement reviewing millions of emails to reconstruct the facts of the CIA’s torture program under George W. Bush, and then some of the most powerful figures in Barack Obama’s administration nearly prevent the resulting document from being released. 
What makes "The Report" unusual is that the events it depicts took place only a few years ago, and the cast—Annette Bening as Senator Dianne Feinstein, Jon Hamm as Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Ted Levine as CIA Director John Brennan—is tasked with representing people who still wield enormous influence. 
The film gets the main facts right. Beginning almost immediately after 9/11 and continuing for most of the Bush presidency, the CIA authorized a secret torture program based on zero scientific evidence, one that clearly violated international treaties to which the United States is a signatory. 
Dozens of terror suspects, many of them totally innocent, were seized in countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan and taken to black sites hosted by U.S. allies, where they were subjected to horrific interrogation procedures. CIA officials poured water on rags over their faces to simulate drowning, slammed them against walls, forced them to listen to high-decibel heavy metal overnight to prevent them from sleeping, stripped them naked and blindfolded them, and sealed them alive in virtual coffins. At least one detainee died in captivity as a result of these methods; countless others were physically injured, suffer from PTSD, have been radicalized against the U.S. in ways they weren’t previously, and can never be fairly tried in court after what they’ve been through. 
As "The Report" takes great pains to emphasize, not a single bit of actionable intelligence came out of any of this savagery. No ticking time bombs were disarmed, no terrorist plots were foiled. Detainees only ever confessed to lies or to information the CIA had already collected through the slow, diligent work of earning trust that torture completely undermines. 
The program was openly encouraged by Vice President Dick Cheney; defended by neoconservative pundits like the late Charles Krauthammer; legally justified in a memo by Justice Department official John Yoo (played by Pun Bandhu, Yoo is now a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of a recent New York Times op-ed arguing against Donald Trump’s impeachment); and designed and executed by a pair of almost comical scam artists who pitched the CIA on their sadistic methods and made off with millions in public funding. James Mitchell (Douglas Hodge) and Bruce Jessen (T. Ryder Smith), the Air Force psychologists responsible for the CIA’s Enhanced Interrogation Program, are accurately portrayed as such obvious frauds that it’s hard to fathom how the CIA entrusted them with interrogating terror suspects—a reaction that many CIA officers who witnessed their dehumanizing tactics firsthand shared. 
To "The Report"’s great credit, it doesn’t let the Obama administration off the hook for its efforts to bury the report. 
If torture is the Bush administration’s crime, the coverup—and the fact that today Bush gets fawning media coverage for painting veterans, watching football with Ellen Degeneres, and offering candy to Michelle Obama—is mostly on the Obama administration. 
Arguably the central villain of the film is John Brennan, now a regular talking head on MSNBC, where he excoriates the Trump administration for its complicity in all kinds of corruption and criminality. 
But as dramatized in "The Report", on Brennan’s watch, the CIA illegally spied on Senate staffers (for which Brennan personally apologized to Feinstein) and tried to intimidate Dan Jones with baseless criminal charges, simply to protect the reputation of the agency. The authoritarian threat Brennan denounces in the Trump White House was made possible by officials like him.

I've started watching this but since I'm familiar with the basic story and the gruesome torture program run by the Bush administration, it's not super captivating. Still, it's good they made this and I hope it gets some needed attention.
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Friday, December 27, 2019

Trump Loves War Criminals

Testimony about Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher from men in his platoon -- testimony that was dismissed by Trump when he defied military justice to protect Gallagher from punishment:

 “The guy is freaking evil.”

“The guy was toxic.”

“You could tell he was perfectly OK with killing anybody that was moving.”
Platoon members said they saw Chief Gallagher shoot civilians and fatally stab a wounded captive with a hunting knife. Chief Gallagher was acquitted by a military jury in July of all but a single relatively minor charge, and was cleared of all punishment in November by Mr. Trump.
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Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Thoughts on Christmas Eve 2019

I feel bad that I haven't posted more lately. However, I've kept this blog going for 15 years now, and that's a long time and I don't even know how useful it is to post here anymore.

I do appreciate anyone who still comes here to see what I have to say.

But another reason I haven't posted more is that the news has been so fast paced and just nuts that it's hard to keep up -- it's hard to know what is key to highlight. There hasn't been much time to think about conspiracy stuff, especially 9/11 and the topics I normally have covered here-- although at the same time, mainstream politics seems like one big conspiracy these days, with all the Republican weirdness and treachery.

So it's painfully clear that the American president (Trump) is:
1) a psychopath, sadist and bigot -- personally and policy-wise
2) delusional, freakish moron, who doesn't seem capable of coherent thought
3) a pathological liar and conman
4) a puppet/agent/useful idiot of Russia, who spouts Russian propaganda

As bad as George W Bush was, Trump is a new sort of fresh hell-- more clearly evil and deranged on a day to day basis, than I remember GWB ever being.

What's particularly frightening is Trump's complete and evil denial of the ongoing climate crisis, even as new ecological catastrophes keep occurring. Right now, the continent of Australia is literally on fire and setting heat records. The Amazon rainforest-- the lungs of the planet-- is being burned down at a frightening rate by a psychopathic administration in Brazil.

Given the need for the US on global climate leadership, Trump is the worst possible person and the GOP is the worst party to be in charge of the US right now. The future of much of life on earth is in the balance and we are led by an unstable madman. Damn straight it is frightening.

Thank GOD that Trump was finally impeached, although there are so many other charges that could've been brought against him, it's was somewhat of a letdown. And of course, the GOP is being unbelievably dickish about the whole thing.

It's nuts and frightening that the criminal lunatic Trump has completely taken over and molded the GOP in his corrupt image. They are now a party of Russian assets-- all gaslighting traitors like Trump. The Republican party has to be destroyed and burnt to the ground is we are to have any progress in this country.

The 2020 election could not be more important. 

Trump getting re-elected and the GOP retaining control of the Senate would be a death knell for the climate and civilization.

So much of my energy for the next year will be spent on politics and working to get the GOP out of power.

On the less mainstream and more "conspiracy" side of things, I have really enjoyed Greg Bishop's podcast Radio Mysterioso in the past couple of years, giving me much food for thought. I really recommend people check it out if they have time.

Getting back to 9/11, I have been looking into the idea of whether Russia had anything to do with 9/11-- I am researching that topic a bit and hope to write something up at some point. Certainly they have put out a lot of disinfo on 9/11, which I think is interesting.

On that topic, I have started rereading Tarpley's book "Synthetic Terror 9/11: Made in USA". He does discuss the faceless cabal behind 9/11 and leaves it somewhat mysterious.

What fascinates me is how Bush went to the underground nuclear bunker Offut air force base on 9/11 and seemed to be preparing for a nuclear war.

So, I'm working on this, though I have no timeline for completion at all.

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Monday, December 09, 2019

Nation Shocked to Find That Longest War in Nation's History Was Enabled by Official Lies

THE AFGHANISTAN PAPERS A secret history of the war


U.S. officials constantly said they were making progress. They were not, and they knew it, an exclusive Post investigation found.

A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable. 
The documents were generated by a federal project examining the root failures of the longest armed conflict in U.S. history. They include more than 2,000 pages of previously unpublished notes of interviews with people who played a direct role in the war, from generals and diplomats to aid workers and Afghan officials.

No one in the Pentagon has lost a job because of lies or incompetence in Afghanistan. 

$1 trillion spent, over 2000 US soldiers killed, thousands more wounded and maimed, countless innocent Afghanis killed and countless lives destroyed. 

Where is the freaking accountability over this incredible waste and human travesty???


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Sunday, December 08, 2019

Trump Endgame Soon?

We are nearing an important reckoning when the Supreme Court of the US decides whether Congress can see the President's taxes as part of their oversight responsibilities.

 One such case will likely be decided in the coming week.

 Most legal experts say Trump has no case-- no real legal arguments for shielding his taxes from oversight.

 There's no doubt that Trump is hiding his taxes so desperately for a reason-- they almost certainly contain evidence of serious crimes.

 If the Supreme Court decides, as is predicted, that Congress can see Trump's taxes, the lid will be blown off his whole scammy presidency and it's really hard to see even Republicans supporting clear evidence of financial entanglements with Russia.

He will be forced to resign or it will add serious impetus for impeachment.

 If the Supreme Court decides against all precedent that Trump's taxes can be concealed against normal oversight, the Supreme Court will have lost every bit of credibility it ever had and we are truly done as a country.

We will need to blow up the whole government and start over, is how bad that will be.

 So fasten your seatbelt, some big shit is coming down in the very near future.

Some tweets used as inspiration:

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