zacherydtaylor

zacherydtaylor
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Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. ------------------------------------------------- This blog is anonymous and it is mainly about important issues that I think we need to address as a society; to read a summation of the subjects that I have attempted to cover and some of my best blogs see the links listed below. ------------------------------------------------- This blog is also cross posted at Blogspot for those of you who don't have an open Salon account to post replies. http://zacherydtaylor.blogspot.com/?view=sidebar

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FEBRUARY 8, 2013 11:50AM

Code Pink: peace outlawed by murderers

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The hardest questions have been effectively outlawed; while those that praise activities that can't be justified by any reasonable standard have also praised John Brennan.

Dianne Feinstein indicated that this is a serious matter; implying that the Code Pink protesters weren't behaving in a serious manner when they protested the confirmation of John Brennan however I suspect if they had an opportunity to ask their questions in a more reasonable manner they never would have done this in the first place. The commercial media rarely if ever gives them or any other sincere peaceful protesters adequate time to explain their views so some of them use what ever tactics they can to draw attention to their cause. this is regrettable but it is the fault of the commercial media and the political establishment for declining to give them adequate opportunities in the first place.

It may seem as if some of these questions that the senators have been giving him are tough but I doubt if they would compare well to the questions that many critics of the drone program, including those at Code Pink and elsewhere, and the methods being used in the war on terror would ask if they had the opportunity but they're rarely ever given that opportunity. They have done an enormous amount of good work for those that seek it out but many people that rely on the information the commercial media outlet provide may be ignorant of this, not because they're stupid, but because they're not presented with the information they need; instead the commercial media and the political establishment provide an enormous amount of non-stop propaganda from many of the same sources that are given one opportunity to speak after another while those with opposing views are relegated to the fringes or low profile web pages that only a much smaller percentage of the public find out about.

Much more information is available for those that know where to look for it and it is important to get the word out about more reliable sources and the fact that the commercial media no longer has any credibility. For more information see Code Pink's web page or many other alternative media outlets, or the following articles from both alternative sites and the commercial media.

CIA DIRECTOR HEARING PROTEST

Watch CodePink's demonstration outside Hart Senate Building before John Brennan's hearing and at the hearing itself. Eight CodePink members were arrested for speaking out and Senator Feinstein ordered all "CodePink" associates be "evicted" from the hearing. ..... Complete article and video

As I was preparing this Bruce Gagnon was following up with another article on the subject, "THE DRONE DEBATE IS EXPANDING"


Democracy Now was also airing an episode on the subject while I was preparing this and they went into more details and included responses from Medea Benjamin.

Jeremy Scahill: Assassinations of U.S. Citizens Largely Ignored at Brennan CIA Hearing

President Obama’s nominee to run the CIA, John Brennan, forcefully defended Obama’s counterterrorism policies, including the increased use of armed drones and the targeted killings of American citizens during his confirmation hearing Thursday. "None of the central questions that should have been asked of John Brennan were asked in an effective way," says Jeremy Scahill, author of the forthcoming book, "Dirty Wars." "In the cases where people like Sen. Angus King or Sen. Ron Wyden would ask a real question, for instance, about whether or not the CIA has the right to kill U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, the questions were very good. Brennan would then offer up a non-answer. And then there’d be almost no follow-up." Scahill went on to say, "[Brennan] has served for more than four years as the assassination czar, and it basically looked like they were discussing purchasing a used car on Capitol Hill. I mean, it was total kabuki oversight. And that’s a devastating commentary on where things stand." Complete transcript and video


CODEPINK Repeatedly Disrupts Brennan Hearing Calling Out Names of Civilians Killed in Drone Strikes

Thursday’s confirmation hearing for CIA nominee John Brennan was briefly postponed to clear the room of activists from CODEPINK after they repeatedly disrupted Brennan’s testimony. One woman held a list of Pakistani children killed in U.S. drone strikes. Former U.S. diplomat Col. Ann Wright interrupted Brennan while wearing a sign around her neck with the name of Tariq Aziz, a 16-year-old Pakistani boy who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011. Wright and seven others were arrested. We speak to CODEPINK founder Medea Benjamin, who also disrupted the meeting and recently visited Pakistan to speak with victims of drone strikes. "It’s not only the killing, it’s the terrorizing of entire populations, where they hear the drones buzzing overhead 24 hours a day, where they’re afraid to go to school, afraid to go to the markets, to funerals, to weddings, where it disrupts entire communities," Benjamin says. "And we are trying to get this information to our elected officials, to say, 'You are making us unsafe here at home,' to say nothing of how illegal, immoral and inhumane these policies are." Complete transcript and video


Brennan Defends Drone Strikes, Even On Americans

WASHINGTON (AP) — CIA Director-designate John Brennan strongly defended anti-terror attacks by unmanned drones Thursday under close questioning at a protest-disrupted confirmation hearing. On a second controversial topic, he said that after reading a classified intelligence report on harsh interrogation techniques, he does not know if waterboarding has yielded useful information. ....

Brennan, 57 and President Barack Obama's top anti-terrorism aide, won praise from several members of the committee as the day's proceedings drew to a close, a clear indication that barring an unexpected development, his confirmation as the nation's next head of the CIA is on track.

"I think you're the guy for the job, and the only guy for the job," said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

The panel will meet in closed session next week to permit discussion of classified material.

Brennan bristled once during the day, when Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, accused him of having leaked classified information in a telephone call with former government officials who were preparing to make television appearances.

"I disagree with that vehemently," the nominee shot back. .... Complete article


Ironically it appears that if his confirmation is prevented it will only be because some senators vote against him because he didn't keep enough secrets about the activities that clearly shouldn't be happening at all; not for the right reasons.


Lawmakers consider regulating drone strikes

WASHINGTON — CIA Director-designate John Brennan's vigorous defense of drone strikes to kill terror suspects — even American citizens — overseas is causing key lawmakers to consider lifting secrecy from what has become an important weapon in the fight against al-Qaida.

Brennan, President Barack Obama's top counterterror adviser, was grilled for more than three hours Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee on the drone program he leads, as well as on the CIA's harsh interrogation techniques during the Bush administration, which he denounced, and on leaks of classified information to the media, which Brennan vehemently denied being a part of. .....

In a long afternoon in the witness chair, Brennan was questioned on other issues, such as the use of waterboarding and other interrogation techniques in the George W. Bush administration. He declined to say whether he believes waterboarding, which simulates drowning, amounted to torture, but he said firmly it was "something that is reprehensible and should never be done again."

Brennan, 57, is a veteran of more than three decades in intelligence work. He withdrew his name from nomination to head the CIA four years ago amid questions about the role he played at the CIA when the Bush administration approved waterboarding and other forms of "enhanced interrogation" of suspected terrorists.

On the question of waterboarding, Brennan said that while serving as a deputy manager at the CIA during the Bush administration, he was told such interrogation methods produced "valuable information." Now, after reading a 300-page summary of a 6,000-page report on CIA interrogation and detention policies, he said he does "not know what the truth is." Complete article


There have been many more reports on this subject from both alternative and traditional outlets; some of the ones from traditional outlets have attempted to argue about how this can be justified in a country that is “governed by the rule of law.” They have attempted to state or imply that it is a matter of obtaining the right balance. In at least a couple of cases some of these people have argue\d that they thought that Barack Obama could be trusted to do this but they were worried about whether other presidents that followed could be trusted as much.

The simple obvious response should be that this can’t be justified at all in a country that is “governed by the rule of law;” the fact that they’re attempting to do so strongly implies that this country isn’t currently “governed by the rule of law.” Or at least those with the most power aren’t “governed by the rule of law.” When they come up with things that are clearly illegal they reinterpret the law and make it clear that the “the rule of law” only seems to imply to those without adequate political power.

If there is any doubt about that some people might want to read “Underage US drone victims finally identified by name” where Judy Mendelbaum lists 119 children that were killed by drones based on research by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. If the Obama administration could be trusted to make these choices there would be no need to target these children or downplay or ignore the significance of it. If the commercial media could be trusted to cover this they would have paid much more attention to it. If they were arguing that these deaths didn’t occur then they should make that case; but that doesn’t seem t o be what they’re doing. They seem to be trying to ignore it and hoping that most people won’t notice it.

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There were some who argued not to topple the Taliban, if that wouldn't have been very popular, as what would have been required would have been to have a trial in a third party country, which would have given Bin Laden a big platform. That was also the argument for not killing him as to a martyr, probably also to do some things one wanted to do anyway, if grabbing him wasn't easy either, as to what happened at Tora Bora or no.
And then, Pakistan funnels militants into Afghanistan to compete with India, its much beloved "strategic depth."
We got drawn in in 1998 when they almost went at it, and if it happened again, China and probably Russia come on the table, Reservoir Dogs style, as to reasons to try to get a political outcome that are an improvement, like drone strikes might be as to dissuading Pakistan and Pashtuns from establishing a very anti-Western government that would cause problems in Jammu-Kashmir.
Granted, there exists a policy industry and industrial complex that sees things through such lenses that reinforces such things, although there is little reason to believe that if we merely massively retrenched our presence overseas that there would not be a radically different world with its own physical security concerns that cannot easily be settled absent the credible threat of use of force, alas.
It may be the case that drone strikes are a bad idea for other reasons, as to "hearts and minds," because of the "collateral damage" issue that of course has very serious ethical ramifications as well. At least we aren't firebombing and/or carpet bombing Pashtun villages, although the British did the equivalent to no small effect in what they called "punitive expeditions." Drone strikes from that point of view almost reveal a lack of "stomach." It also may well be the case that those lobbying against drone strikes do so out of their effectiveness, then turning to other "asymmetric means" of "information warfare."
And again, the fundamental question from a Realpolitik view is: Is it in American interest to try to shape outcomes overseas, or is this folly, or, do we have any choice anyway, and just dive in and hope for the best, folly often being a part of survival in a world in which there is no world government, and if there is international law, states enforce it according to their interests rather often, which means force is rather often latent in interstate relations.
It could also be a dangerous atavism too, although to coordinate State activities on the scale required requires one State probably, and then the Powers compete to be that State.... like the Warring States of Ancient China. That by the way is a deeply rooted conception in Chinese strategy to this day, as to what the alternatives would really look like more than likely.
[r] code pinks are people of conscience ready to be arrested (and often are) to push back against an amoral governmental and corporate matrix jeopardizing our troops and millions of fellow humans for the sake of craven corporate agendas -- to occupy and rob other countries. To make them "client" states and to tally up occupied countries to proxy counterpoint China and Russia. This is post-cold war lawlessness and ruthlessness.

Zachd, did you catch Moyers this week. Taibbi who is great and then two guests on the drone and assassination travesty. One guy said that 50 countries are working on drone technology and wonder how the US will feel when those foreign drones start looking for targets on American soil! His woman guest said that Al Awlaki's cell phone was more respected and valued than Awlaki's life. To eavesdrop on his phone Obama and Brennan would have needed a warrant, but to kill him under Obama's horrifying executive over-reach they just did with NO oversight. THIS IS SO WRONG -- IMPEACHABLE I BELIEVE!!!

It is amazing the desensitization of so-called progressives about Brennan. The United States of Amnesia as Vidal coined it. Or the Obama personality cultism. Obama's popularity is UP, incredibly, the more he drones and surveils illegally. Instead of impeachment, it's craven Team Dem doing its hype and bobble-headed Americans shrugging it off.

Such little transparency from Obama. He claims he has "secret laws" that give him permission to murder US citizens without due process. And the media reports it and Congress except for a few with conscience like Wyden sell their souls as colluding criminals.

best, libby
i'm not sure if assassination programs work even in the short term, and it's likely the long term result is widespread contempt for the usa, and occasional '9/11' events.

but, very typically, in the usa the protest has been directed to 'not in my town, if you please.'

i think a people who will not struggle for democracy will be endlessly faced with the need for protest, and find usually that protest is useless. the willingness of americans to leave their safety and prosperity in the hands of politicians means the nation will continue to be run to enhance the careers, to gratify the egos, of politicians and bureaucrats.
This issue is getting attention in the world media at least. The Code Pink protests occurred about the same time secret drone bases were discovered in Saudi Arabia. Some members of the Saudi royal family are seriously upset about having any US military presence near Islam's holy sites. The juxtaposition caused the BBC and Radio New Zealand to have a series of features about the legality and morality of Obama killing people who have never been charged or tried with drones.
good article by john paul stevens on how the executive branch has overrun the whole US govt and this is a good case study. its strange to contrast this nomination with hagel happening at the same time. the drones need to be REELED IN. they have been for more than half a decade now.
First of all I have added a few additional paragraphs to the article if anyone is interested; this includes an excerpt from Democracy Now and a few additional closing comments.

Don, we got involved in this situation long before 1998; in fact the US government helped create the situation where Osama bin Laden was able to rise to power dating abck at least to 1978 when Zbigniew Brzezinski lured the Russians into what he called the “Afghan trap.” There are many more problems with US foreign policy dating back decades which I didn’t go into in this post but it is extensive and it includes several coups in Iran, Guatemala, Chile and other locations.

The traditional media and political establishment has been making their argument based on the assumption that the US government has the high moral ground. The evidences simply doesn’t support that assumption if you look at the details not just the propaganda.

Libby, the belief that people of conscience should risk being arrested is absurd; or at least it would be an a system that truly values justice. The people that should fear the rule of law are those that have been committing these crimes against humanity including the killing of many children.

I didn’t catch Moyers but there have been many other stories on the subject that I have looked at and found that in most cases the most trust worthy sources weren’t the highest profile ones. I’ll look for Moyer’s in the reruns or on the internet when I get the chance.

The so-called progressives presented by the commercial media seem to be ignoring almost as much reality as the conservatives that they gain brownie points by debunking.

Al, I’m sure they don’t even work in the short term; they just create an enormous amount of propaganda to make it seem like they might be justified; or at least to those that don’t pay much attention or apply any scrutiny.

This may come back to our back yards eventually and it might be like the old saying, “first they came for the Jew; but I’m not a Jew; then they came for ……”

Dr Bramhall, even before this was covered around the world I suspect that opinions every where but here, and in the UK and, perhaps a few other locations where US propaganda dominates strongly opposed these strikes especially when people might be in danger of being struck by them. These people might have recognized that there was no way they could look to the US for protection since they were the ones running the drones and some of them might be inclined to sympathize with the “terrorists,” making it counterproductive. It is only those living in propaganda fantasy land that thinks this is justified.

Vzn, I’ll have to check out that article when I get the chance; ironically the objections I have to Hagel might be considered assets to his critics in the Senate and the things they object to are things that many rational people might think make him more qualified than the existing establishment.

Thanks all