Flopping Aces http://floppingaces.net Sat, 20 Dec 2014 07:19:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 A CIA Official of the “Torture” Program Identified http://floppingaces.net/2014/12/19/a-cia-official-of-the-torture-program-identified/ http://floppingaces.net/2014/12/19/a-cia-official-of-the-torture-program-identified/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 18:49:40 +0000 http://floppingaces.net/?p=105087 Continue reading ]]> Who are they?

Who are they?

One of the battles between the CIA, White House, and Feinstein’s SSC that held up the release of the completed Report for months was over the use of pseudonyms within the Report. The CIA feared reprisal for anyone mentioned within the Report- even pseudonyms not being enough to safeguard identity. Astute readers can easily piece together and identify some of the players in the Report by playing connect-the-dots and fill-in-the-blank. NBC News’ Matthew Cole has essentially done just that- everything except actually naming her:

The expert was not identified by name in the unclassified 528-page summary of the report, but U.S. officials who spoke with NBC News on condition of anonymity confirmed that her name was redacted at least three dozen times in an effort to avoid publicly identifying her. In fact, much of the four-month battle between Senate Democrats and the CIA about redactions centered on protecting the identity of the woman, an analyst and later “deputy chief” of the unit devoted to catching or killing Osama bin Laden, according to U.S. officials familiar with the negotiations.

NBC News is withholding her name at the request of the CIA, which cited a climate of fear and retaliation in the wake of the release of the committee’s report in asking that her anonymity be protected.

While the two psychologists who developed the “enhanced interrogation techniques,” Dr. James Mitchell and Dr. Bruce Jessen, quickly became household names as a result of the report – including being the subjects of a “Saturday Night Live” skit” – scathing criticism of the expert’s role in defending the program went nearly unmentioned.

The expert — one of several female CIA employees on whom “Maya,” the lead character in the movie “Zero Dark Thirty,” was based — has previously been identified in the media as a CIA officer involved in the rendition program. But the Senate report offers the first detailed account of the depth of her involvement. It quotes from emails, memos and congressional testimony, to document her unique role in what it says were misrepresentations about the efficacy of the CIA’s program, which President Barack Obama has said included torture. The report does not ascribe any motive for the alleged misrepresentations.

I won’t name her here within this blogpost; but it isn’t too difficult for anyone to ascertain who she is by doing a little research.

Another CIA officer, referred in the Report as CIA Officer 1 and the “junior officer” who was put in charge at the Salt Pit and who is held responsible for the death of detainee Gul Rahman, is already known.

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Obama Lies to Cubans, and Exposes His Real Purpose http://floppingaces.net/2014/12/18/obama-lies-to-cubans-and-exposes-his-real-intent/ http://floppingaces.net/2014/12/18/obama-lies-to-cubans-and-exposes-his-real-intent/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 05:10:49 +0000 http://floppingaces.net/?p=105083 Continue reading ]]> Cuban Military Junta

Cuban Military Junta

President Obama is being applauded by his pandering members of the left’s publicity machine for poking a stick in the eye of the GOP and its likely 2016 Presidential candidates.  The economic geniuses at the NYT pretend that there is suddenly a long line-up of American corporations running for their executive jets ardently anxious to unwrap the supposed Christmas present being handed to them and awaiting them in Cuba.

We’re excited to sell average Cubans a couple of  Chevys?  Or perhaps three of four Teslas? How?  Cubans are broke. Fifty cars were sold in Cuba during the past 6 months.  The Castros and the military hold all the money.  The Castro family has been filling its personal bank accounts with plunder since the revolution. At the same time it has used government funds to agitate mobs clamoring for communism in Central and South America, to finance and support existing dictatorships, and to finance terrorism against the United States.

The Castros accumulated so much cash offshore in 50 years that now they’ll perhaps spend a few of those hard-earned Dollars, (not the “Cuban Convertible Pesos – CUC,” or the lowly “Cuban Pesos – CUP”) on a tractor or two, . . . umm, oh hang on, America is already a principal supplier of products to Cuba.  So what gives?   Easy: Banking and credit.  The bankers are looking for direct access to the Castro generals, rather than having to circumnavigate around sanctions through European or Canadian banks.  While it is entirely possible that Obama is looking for a pretext to close Guantanamo before he leaves office and turn over the land to Castro, the banks don’t much care — they have their eyes on cash.

Increasing “business” and “financial” ties with these military dictators will make these thugs richer, increase their power, broaden their influence, and accomplish absolutely nothing of substance for the Cuban citizenry. We cannot change their mindsets and their ideologies, and certainly cannot change their relationships to the forceful acquisition of personal wealth.

The apologetic MSM is confused, so it pretends that sanctions did not work and therefore any change will be an improvement.  The MSM was as surprised as everyone else to Obama’s startling Cuba announcement yesterday. The MSM suggests this may have been a move against Putin’s plans to establish a base in Cuba — of course the fact that Putin and his Russia are now in very serious financial trouble with a rubble crashing worse than the price of oil probably means Putin regrets his recent waving of Cuba’s $32 billion debt. Putin has more critical problem than placing a base in Cuba. Are we witnessing a race to see who kisses Castro most effectively?

Obama’s teleprompter gibberish spewed more inane idiocies which had nothing to do with his real agenda.  The confused international community looking for rationale cannot find any because it doesn’t understand who and what Obama is, stimulating the guessing to flow in abundance.

Obama claimed of his Castro deal, “Where we disagree, we will raise those differences directly.”  Really? When? Why were those differences not raised prior to an agreement?  Why was there no qui pro quo? Why NOTHING on freedom, on voting, on elections, on release of confiscated property, etc., etc.   The speech was full of embarrassing clichés ensuring that we heard Obama believed in motherhood and apple pie, however, he could not help betray his feelings toward America when he told Castro, “Today I want to be honest with you. . . . let us leave behind the legacy of both colonization and communism . . . “   There it is.   The single most telling word to waft across the airwaves from his teleprompter, “colonization.”    He continues to harbor the sentiments which drove his father to become an activist against America.  In his mind these are two truths, . . .  America spreads colonization, while Cuba is a communist nation. He doesn’t grasp that only one of those is almost a fact.

TIME praises Castro

TIME praises Castro

The Stalinist Castro junta, which controls every element in Cuba’s economy and has a history of committing extortion on foreigners, on its own people, and on foreign corporations, will enjoy new-found wealth, status, and influence.  In Havana, the Castro funded and orchestrated celebrations of Obama’s announcements, may play well in the White House, but mean nothing to a vast majority of Cubans.  The Cuban people have been insulted and the rest of the world is confused.  Obama has not helped Americans drowning in poverty, or improved the plight of Americans sinking into despair from years of unemployment, but he tells Cubans that he is going to bring them freedom and wealth?  Perhaps they too have heard his speeches on Obamacare.

The apology tour continues.

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(Mis)Perceptions, Assumptions, and Perpetuations: How We Keep Racism Alive http://floppingaces.net/2014/12/18/misperceptions-assumptions-and-perpetuations-how-we-keep-racism-alive/ http://floppingaces.net/2014/12/18/misperceptions-assumptions-and-perpetuations-how-we-keep-racism-alive/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 21:49:55 +0000 http://floppingaces.net/?p=105078 Continue reading ]]> Apparently an interview with People magazine:

The Obamas talked with People magazine about dealing with their “own racist experiences,” as the magazine described.

Michelle Obama told one story that recently took place, even as she was first lady of the United States.

“I tell this story – I mean, even as the first lady – during that wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf. Because she didn’t see me as the first lady, she saw me as someone who could help her. Those kinds of things happen in life. So it isn’t anything new,” Michelle Obama, who is 5’11”, said.

She also said that her husband, Barack Obama, was asked to get coffee when he was wearing a tux. “He was wearing a tuxedo at a black-tie dinner, and somebody asked him to get coffee,” she told People.

The president told his own experiences. “There’s no black male my age, who’s a professional, who hasn’t come out of a restaurant and is waiting for their car and somebody didn’t hand them their car keys,” Obama told the magazine.

Here is Scott Pelley on September 29, 2011 reporting on the First Lady’s Target excursion:

Click here to view the embedded video.

What is the AP photographer, Charles Dharapak doing following her around to take a photo(op) of her in Target if she didn’t want recognition?

michelle-obama-SHOPPING

I don’t think I would have recognized her right away in that getup.

Here was Michelle Obama on David Letterman relaying her Target story:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Not a hint of racism. How did a sweet, charming story get turned into an opportunistic story on race-relations?

I’m actually pressed for time; but just want to relay an experience I had of my own:

During my final year of college, I was an in-store detective. Sometimes, you wanted to blend in to catch people. Other times, you want to be known out in the open as “security” for the sake of deterrence and to discourage shoplifting; basically, protect the potential criminal from giving in to his own nature.

I was one of those who actually did my job and actively scrutinized every customer who would walk into the store. I profiled, and by process of elimination, I would figure out who to prioritize and keep track of, and who was “ok”. Most of how I profiled came down to behavior. And unfortunately, because blacks have been unfairly followed around in stores, some black customers would display some of the basic behavioral characteristics you looked for in shoplifters, such as shifty eyes and paying attention to you and store personnel instead of the merchandise. So then I had to determine whether the behavior was due to hypersensitivity on their part as an honest customer wondering if you were going to stereotype him and follow him around (as a stereotypical store employee), or if it was due to a desire to steal. It was a real art, figuring it out.

Unfortunately, I had a couple of incidents where customers who happened to be black, walked out in the belief that I was targeting them because of skin color, rather than behavior. One time, I was able to clear things up with one of the customers. He actually accepted my explanation, which was good. But another customer came away from the experience finding his preconceived notions of black stereotyping by the store to have validity because he happened to catch my attention within the moment he stepped into the store (where there were only about 3 other customers in the store that I had already given initial screening to). He probably went on to tell his buddies how he got followed around/watched in a store and racism is alive and well in Westwood, CA; and they’d tell their friends, and so on, and so on…..after all, why should his friends not believe him?

And so, some of those who seek out racist attitudes will find their belief system given confirmation, even if it’s a fabrication of their own imaginings.

Tom Hanks once walked into the store I was working at…and asked me if there was a waste basket and if I could throw his Starbucks coffee away for him. I did as the customer asked. And that was that.

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Gruber The Most Recent Person To Lie About ObamaCare (Guest Post) http://floppingaces.net/2014/12/18/gruber-the-most-recent-person-to-lie-about-obamacare-guest-post/ http://floppingaces.net/2014/12/18/gruber-the-most-recent-person-to-lie-about-obamacare-guest-post/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 19:19:00 +0000 http://floppingaces.net/?p=105051 Continue reading ]]> Gowdy-Gruber

To say that Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC) “lit into” Dr. Jonathan Gruber, architect of ObamaCare, when Gruber appeared before the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee would be an understatement. Gowdy’s questioning of Gruber was brutal. (see video here) His final question was, “Today your defense is that you’re not a politician. Is that the best can you come up with?” That question illustrates the degree of disdain in which Gowdy holds Gruber. And so should the rest of us.

But Gruber isn’t the only person who lied to us. It seems that fearless leader Barack Hussein Obama and his former Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary Kathleen Sebelius lied to us about ObamaCare as well.

Here are four lies that Obama himself told us about ObamaCare:

1. The Individual Mandate is not a tax.

In September 2009, when asked by George Stephanopoulos if the individual mandate in ObamaCare was a tax increase, Obama said, “I absolutely reject that notion.” Stephanopoulos pressed Obama to admit that the individual mandate was a tax. Stephanopoulos read the definition of “tax” from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. To that Obama responded “George, the fact that you looked up Merriams Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you’re stretching a little bit right now. Nobody considers that a tax increase.” Not true!

Obama’s own Justice Department repudiated his “not a tax” statement by noting that the penalty [for not having health insurance] is imposed and collected under the Internal Revenue Code, and that people must report the penalty on their tax returns. If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck.

And we get this from Yale Law School professor Jack Balkin: “Obama has not been honest with the American people about the nature of this bill. This bill is a tax.”

In July 2012, Obama said, “… if you’ve got health insurance, you’re not getting hit by a tax.” Did Obama say that people without health insurance were “hit by a tax”? We have to carefully parse his (or his Teleprompter’s) words. There’s precedent for that action.

Obama, you would like to, but you can’t have it both ways. It either is or isn’t a tax.

Regarding the tax question, Gruber said:

This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO [the Congressional Budget Office] did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies.

2. “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

Obama has said several versions of that lie, to which he clings this day. But…

“Many people who buy their own health insurance could get surprises in the mail this fall: cancellation notices because their current policies aren’t up to the basic standards of President Barack Obama’s health care law.”

Why? An IRS analysis dated 19 Jul 10 concluded that “… 66 percent of small employer plans and 45 percent of large employer plans will relinquish their grandfather status by the end of 2013.”

As Guy Benson at TownHall said, “‘Canceling’ and ‘changing’ do not equal ‘keeping,’ which was the promise.”

Obama lied to us even after the IRS analysis was released. Again, Obama tries to have it both ways.

3. “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Period.”

Here is yet another example of Obama lying to us. After the IRS analysis became public, Obama ceased saying that because changing health insurance policies usually meant changing doctors. But TODAY, on a White House web site, is that statement.

4. The “Slacker Mandate” has reduced the uninsured by 3.1 million.

Obama claims that the “slacker mandate” – the rule that lets parents keep their “children” on their private insurance plans until age 26 – had reduced the number of uninsured 19-25 year-olds by over 3 million. There are two factors in play here: the 3.1 million figure and HHS’s methods.

HHS estimated at 64.4% the number of 19-25-year-olds with insurance in the third quarter of 2011. It estimated 74.8% insured in the fourth quarter of 2012. It then multiplied that increase (10.4%) by 29.7 million (the number of 18-24 in 2011 according to the Census Bureau) to arrive at the 3.1 million. Never mind that Obama made claims about 19-25 year-olds, but cited a figure calculated using data about 18-24 year-olds. And there is the assumption that the number of 18-24 year-olds didn’t change from 2011 until 2012.

About the methodology,

… the biggest source of confusion is found in HHS’s methods. What HHS did amounts to little more than a “back of the envelope” calculation. To really get at how many young adults are newly covered under their parents’ policies would require surveys asking very detailed questions about the source of insurance.

So, HHS was just guessing.

Regarding ObamaCare itself, Gruber said:

Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever … that was really, really critical to get the thing to pass. Look, I wish … we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not. …

“[I]f you had a law which explicitly said that healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed.

With mathematics, it takes only one illustration of something postulated being incorrect to disprove it. The same goes for Obama.

Now we get to Kathlene Sebelius. Her lie was her lack of consistency when she said that “HHS can’t release ‘unreliable’ data.” Well, how “unreliable” is defined determines whether she lied or not, so look at these releases and determine for yourself if she lied. The following are on-line enrollments in ObamaCare federal exchange.

  • October 2013 – 106000
  • Through November 2013 – 365000   (note how the November total includes October enrollments)
  • Through 29 December – 1100000
  • Through 31 December – 2100000 in both federal and state exchanges   (mixing apples and oranges)

The October and November 2013 enrollment reports for Obamacare exchanges were released 11 days after the end of the reporting period. According to then-HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the delay was necessary to ensure the accuracy of the data.

But isn’t it funny that “unreliable” enrollment data (December) that made ObamaCare enrollment look good got released 13 days before it was verified as accurate?

Patrick Buchanan may have said it best:

The American people are not lacking in intelligence, but they are trusting, often lacking in knowledge, and they do rely on elected representatives to read and understand those thousand-page bills in Congress. And their faith is often misplaced.

“Faith Misplaced” indeed. We were downright lied to!

Cross-posted at The Pot Stirrer

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The Stupid Continues to Burn http://floppingaces.net/2014/12/17/the-stupid-continues-to-burn/ http://floppingaces.net/2014/12/17/the-stupid-continues-to-burn/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:26:47 +0000 http://floppingaces.net/?p=105058 Continue reading ]]> Un frickin’ believable!

Copies of ‘torture’ report hand delivered to terror suspects, blocked from CIA officials:

Full disclosure took a back seat to the CIA’s green movement last week when agency big shots blocked officials from printing out hard copies of the Senate Democratic report on terrorist interrogations, fearing it was “killing too many trees.”

Meanwhile, paper copies of the report from Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein were hand-delivered to terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay — though not the rebuttals from the CIA or Republicans on her committee.

I decided to collect these into one post instead of clutter the Most Wanted section. So bear with me.

Oh, the Hillarity:

NEW YORK (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday she’s proud to have been part of an administration that “banned illegal renditions and brutal interrogations” and said the U.S. should never be involved in torture anywhere in the world.

First, renditions began under Bill Clinton; and last I read, they still go on under the current PotUS.

As for “banning” brutal interrogations, a number of the techniques for which the CIA has been criticized- sleep deprivation, isolation, and more- are still on the menu in the Army Field Manual. Just ask Amnesty International.

Furthermore, the last HVT to receive CIA swimming lessons was KSM in 2003. The CIA program itself was pretty much dead by November-December of 2007. Yes, ended on Bush’s watch. Obama’s 2009 EO “banning” torture was redundant. It essentially echoes much of the same that Bush said I. His 2007 EO.

Maybe congress should legislate a ban on torture (define it in non-vague terms) and waterboarding specifically if they hate it so much? (They didn’t ban it when Congress passed the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act; and they didn’t ban waterboarding in 2006 with the Military Commissions Act. As Marc Thiessen points out in his book, Congress “explicitly rejected an amendment by Senator Ted Kennedy to ban waterboarding by a vote of 53 to 46.”).

Marc Thiessen’s Courting Disaster, pg 214-215:

President Bush did not shy away from making hard choices. One of the criticisms he faced during his time in office is that he made too many of these hard decisions alone, without involving Congress. This “go-it-alone” approach, critics argue, undermined the administration’s policies; it invited the judiciary to overturn them. As Jack Goldsmith and Benjamin Wittes put it in the Washington Post, “Bush’s approach avoided congressional meddling but paradoxically sloughed off counterterrorism policy on the courts. Over time, the judiciary grew impatient with ad hoc detention procedures that lacked clear and specific legislative authorization, and judges began imposing novel and increasingly demanding rules on the cammander in chief’s traditionally broad powers to detain enemy soldiers during war.”

There are several problems with this argument: First, the judicial branch has overturned Bush’s counterterrorism policies without regard to congressional approval. In June 2006, the Supreme Court ruled in Hamdan that the administration’s military commissions were unconstitutional, and instructed the administration to work with Congress on a compromise. The president did just that. A few months later, he secured passage of the Military Commissions Act in which Congress and the Executive Branch together established a new system of military commissions and declared that captured terrorists did not have the right to challenge their detention in federal courts.

What was the result? The Supreme Court overturned this compromise two years later in the Boumediene decision and gave terrorists at Guantanamo Bay an unprecedented Constitutional right to habeas corpus, allowing them to contest their detention in federal courts. It did not matter whether the president acted unilaterally or in concert with Congress- the judicial result was effectively the same.

The reason the president did not involve Congress in many of the early decisions is because Congress did not want to be involved in those decisions. Several senior Bush administration officials recounted for me how, when top Congressional leaders were first briefed on enhanced interrogation techniques, they were asked whether such briefings should be conducted more widely on Capitol Hill. They replied, “No, why are you even telling us?”

Meanwhile, KSM refuses to be escorted by female guards, prolonging his pre-trial hearings for 3 years now:

KSM’s treatment at Guantanamo Bay, his lawyer said, has been “cruel, inhuman, and degrading.” Much of the time spent over the past three years in pre-trial proceedings has been on perceived mistreatment. Time has been spent on whether KSM should be given a pillow to sit on while riding from the detention center to court, whether attorney communications have been kept private, and now, his extraction from his cell by female guards.

“My client hasn’t been waterboarded since 2003, but there are many more subtle forms of coercion,” Nevin said.

Despite having been held by the U.S. government since his capture in 2003, KSM hasn’t lost his vanity. He uses a combination of cafeteria ingredients to dye his beard—fruit juices and berries, as well as cumin and turmeric to alter his facial hair to a bright color.

And Janet Hamlin, an AP sketch artist who has drawn KSM in the past, once told NPR that the accused terrorist once complained that she drew his nose all wrong. According to NPR, he apparently told her, “Touch it up.”

He doesn’t care about prolonging his detainment without charge or trial. It’s on taxpayer’s dime, afterall:

The cancellation of this week’s proceedings also had a taxpayer cost. To facilitate the proceedings the government paid between $150,000 to $170,000 for a chartered flight between Andrews Air Force Base to Guantanamo Bay, a Pentagon spokesman said. Add to that the per diems paid for the 105 military commission personnel who attend the proceedings, which cost more than $16,000. This does not include the cost of housing press, NGOs and staff at Camp Justice, a number of expeditionary tents set up near the courtroom; nor the time and effort spent organizing the proceedings.

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Schoolhouse Rock, Ronald Reagan and messaging to save the country http://floppingaces.net/2014/12/16/schoolhouse-rock-ronald-reagan-and-messaging-to-save-the-country/ http://floppingaces.net/2014/12/16/schoolhouse-rock-ronald-reagan-and-messaging-to-save-the-country/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 00:47:13 +0000 http://floppingaces.net/?p=105048 Continue reading ]]> I was in elementary school during the country’s Bicentennial celebration. From Bicentennial quarters and the new $2 bills to plays about our founding fathers to the most spectacular fireworks I’d ever seen, 1976 was a yearlong celebration of American history, and living in the DC area I felt like I had a front row seat to the entire experience. Coming of age at that time and at that place probably explains why I’ve always been a huge fan of ABC’s Schoolhouse Rock.

My favorite segment was always I’m just a Bill, a story where the lovable little Bill explains how he becomes a law. As much as I love I’m just a Bill, the reality is that that’s not how things actually get done in Washington. While things weren’t really that simple even back in 1976, today reality bears almost no resemblance to that story at all. A far more accurate characterization of the today’s process can be found in Saturday Night Live’s recent spoof.

Something else memorable happened in 1976. Ronald Reagan challenged Gerald Ford for the GOP nomination. He lost, but in doing so he set the stage for his eventual triumph four years later.

What do Schoolhouse Rock and Ronald Reagan have to do with one another? Both were the gold standard of communication. And they were effective. Schoolhouse Rock was so engaging that today, some forty years later if I see I’m just a Bill I find myself singing along with it:“I know I’ll be a law someday, or at least I hope and pray that I will, but today I’m still just a bill.” And I’ve talked to lots of people who tell me the same thing. Schoolhouse Rock talked to us in a framework we enjoyed and took difficult subjects and made them tangible. And we ate it up.

Ronald Reagan spent his life doing the exact same exact thing. From General Electric Theater to campaign debates to countless speeches given as a private citizen and as president, Ronald Reagan had a way of connecting with an audience and make them feel like he was talking to them across the back yard fence.

And why does any of that matter? Because there is a lesson to be had, particularly for [mc_name name=”Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)” chamber=”senate” mcid=”C001098″ ]. If you communicate with people in a framework they enjoy and do so in a way that connects with them, they’ll listen, and if they like you, you just might be able to change the world.

Today Ted Cruz finds himself defined by everyone around him. He’s been called an obstructionist, a fraud, a wacko bird, and a bully… and those are all from Republicans! The media and the Democrats don’t exactly like him either.

The point is… if Ted Cruz wants to help the United States return to its rightful place as the economic engine of the world, if Ted Cruz wants to help the country cut through the regulatory morass that suffocates prosperity, if Ted Cruz wants to basically change the way Washington works, whether from the Capital or the White House… he has to take control of his message.

In a world where YouTube stars have more followers than hit primetime TV shows have viewers, where companies from HBO to Netflix to Yahoo are producing their own original content, where someone can turn six seconds of campy video into gold, and where mainstream media are losing readers and viewers by the day, Senator Cruz should take a page from Schoolhouse Rock and Ronald Reagan: He should create a user friendly platform where he can share his ideas and define himself rather than letting the media do it for him. Just as Schoolhouse Rock created compelling vignettes about everything from multiplication to verbs to the American Revolution, he should create vignettes that talk about issues and how they actually affect citizens, and what he wants to do about them. Saying you’re against overregulation is one thing, but demonstrating the how EPA lunacy drives up corn prices or harms engines is something else. Obamacare’s restaurant menu labeling regulations sound reasonable until diners discover that it will drive up prices and will make menus as confusing as the information booklets that seem to be included with every prescription you ever get. Saying the tax code is dysfunctional is one thing, but showing voters how much companies and individuals waste each year trying to comply is something else. Connecting ideas and issues to people make them real. A great example to follow might be Bill Whittle’s Afterburner, where he treats viewers to weekly pieces (usually sub 10 minutes) looking issues big and small, and usually explaining why they’re important.

The first of the GOP primaries is about a year away and Ted Cruz finds himself in a situation very similar to Reagan’s back in 1976, with a media that mocked him, with Democrats who loathed him and a GOP establishment that feared him… except, unlike Reagan, Cruz doesn’t have decades of goodwill to build on. Given that, Cruz has two options. Continue to allow his enemies to paint the picture of him for the American people, or do the job himself and tell them who Ted Cruz is, what he stands for and why it’s important… to them, the average citizens. Whether it’s a weekly 10 minute Afterburner type piece or a monthly reality show style segment connecting with everyday people the way Bob Graham did with his “Workdays”, Senator Cruz has to take control of his story and make it worth watching. If he does that, not only might he become president, he might just help save the country in the process.

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“Torture” Architect Breaks His Silence http://floppingaces.net/2014/12/16/torture-architect-breaks-his-silence/ http://floppingaces.net/2014/12/16/torture-architect-breaks-his-silence/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 21:40:01 +0000 http://floppingaces.net/?p=105042 Continue reading ]]> mrz121614dBP20141215114531

One of the torture boogeymen- one of the architects of the CIA program- did an interview with Megyn Kelly. His perspective and that of “Beale”, really should be listened to.

Click here to view the embedded video.

For 9 years, it’s been the critics who have been at liberty to shape the battle-space narrative on “torture” as it pertains to the CIA detention and interrogation program that began and ended on Bush’s watch (not Obama’s), exposed in 2005 by WaPo. And the critics continue to distort the narrative and feed into the worst imaginings and distorted perceptions of our enemies abroad as well as that of fellow Americans, here at home.

Without interviewing key officials, there’s no context in the Feinstein Majority Views Report. I’ve read online comments from low information headline news readers who do not even realize it is a lopsided, non-bipartisan committee Report. “Torture” has been thrown around out there for so long now, that it’s an accepted, unchallenged definition to many Americans (and global citizens). Yet, you know what? According to a number of recent polls, Americans still don’t care. That’s disheartening to the Kos Kiddies, who grumble most of these uncaring Americans must be church-goers.

The 524-page executive summary of the tabloid investigation reads like Democratic staffers data-mined then drew partisan observations without contextualizing. Imagine strangers going through your emails and then trying to make sense of it all without ever interviewing you about them.

The early days of the Program were chaotic. They were overwhelmed, under-staffed/trained to deal with setting up a competent detention program in the heyday of the war(s), immediately after OEF. So they were self-correcting as they went; and by Rodriguez’ account, after the initial growing pains and after August 2002, the program was functioning smoothly and managed professionally. The Report mentions the abuses, but seems to fail in noting where corrective measures and reprimands were administered:

Michael Hayden, the CIA director from 2006 to 2009, told The Sunday Times that the report was “relentlessly accusatory” and the CIA had admitted to errors in the early years of the interrogations.

“A case in point was a contractor [David Passaro] who used a flashlight to beat a detainee…it was reported immediately and he was prosecuted and convicted in North Carolina and was sentenced to [eight years] prison [in 2004].”

Similarly, the CIA had reacted swiftly when the Gul Rahman died of hypothermia. “The agency made a big mistake. “It put a young officer into a position for which we had not prepared him. The incident was immediately turned over to the Department of Justice. It has been investigated twice and each time prosecution was declined.”

Feinstein’s report concluded Rahman was not a terrorist but a victim of “mistaken identity”.

Hayden said outrage over rectal rehydration had been uninformed. “It was a medical procedure, not an interrogation technique.” Rather than using a needle or feeding through the nose, it “was considered to be the safest approach for a non-compliant detainee and so that’s why it was done”.

119 HVTDs were enrolled in the CIA Program. Of these, 26 were apparently wrongfully placed into it. Of the 119, 39 HVTs experienced some form of EIT. Of those 39, only 3 were ever given CIA swimming lessons. The last was KSM in 2003.

A number of the techniques which the CIA is being maligned for- such as sleep deprivation and isolation- are not unique to the CIA EIT menu and are part of the arsenal of techniques used by military interrogators, as per Army Field Manual, and approved of by the Geneva Conventions. Under the current PotUS who signed an executive order in his 2nd day in office that for all intents of purpose essentially said the same thing as the previous PotUS’ 2007 EO, the CIA is still allowed to use “questionable techniques”.

Holder even had trouble in 2009 in not contradicting his own self on the issue of whether or not waterboarding arises to the legal definition of “torture”.

Do not hold your breath on any cascade of prosecutions to pour out of the DoJ. After several investigations, including Holder-Durham in 2009-2012, that ship has already sailed.

CIA Fact Sheet Regarding the SSCI Study on the Former Detention and Interrogation Program

Lawfare Blog has done a good job of even-handedly covering the Majority Views, Minority Views, and CIA Rebuttal in a series of posts.

Thoughts on the SSCI Report, Part I: Introduction and Overview

Findings, Conclusions and Areas of Dispute Between the SSCI Report, the Minority and the CIA: Part 2


Findings, Conclusions and Areas of Dispute Between the SSCI Report, the Minority, and the CIA: Part Four

Findings, Conclusions and Areas of Dispute Between the SSCI Report, the Minority, and the CIA: Part Five

Here’s the latest post by one of its contributors:

The SSCI Report and Its Critics: Torturing Efficacy

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Obama’s allies the Taliban slaughter more than 130 at a school in Pakistan http://floppingaces.net/2014/12/16/what-exactly-does-it-take-for-the-taliban-to-become-our-enemy/ http://floppingaces.net/2014/12/16/what-exactly-does-it-take-for-the-taliban-to-become-our-enemy/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 16:28:46 +0000 http://floppingaces.net/?p=105039 Continue reading ]]> Taliban-attack-on-Peshawar-school-4

Back in 2011, Joe Biden let America know that the Taliban wasn’t our enemy:

Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That’s critical. There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy because it threatens U.S. interests. If, in fact, the Taliban is able to collapse the existing government, which is cooperating with us in keeping the bad guys from being able to do damage to us, then that becomes a problem for us.

Around the same time Hamid Karzai claimed that Barack Obama said the same thing to him:

Last year, during my visit to Washington, in a very important briefing a day before I met U.S. President [Barack Obama], his national security adviser Tom Donilon, and senior White House officials, generals, and intelligence officials, the national security adviser met with me. He told me: “The Taliban are not our enemies and we don’t want to fight them.”

Our “not-enemies” attacked a school in Peshawar, Pakistan. They killed at least 130 people and committed some heinous acts:

Taliban terrorists allegedly burned a teacher alive and made the students watch during their attack on a Pakistan school which left over 130 people dead.

According to a NBC News report, citing an unnamed military official, the terrorists stormed the Army Public school in Peshawar, in north-west Pakistan, and committed the horrific act as well as detonating a suicide bomb which killed a number of students.

“They burnt a teacher in front of the students in a classroom,” the unnamed military source told the US TV network.

“They literally set the teacher on fire with gasoline and made the kids watch.”

At least six militants entered the Pakistani school wearing security uniforms, before massacring an estimated 132 people and injuring another 122.

Several have been reported to be beheaded.

Despite the Taliban taking credit for the attack, Barack Obama cannot bring himself to mentioning their involvement:

The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s horrific attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims, their families, and loved ones. By targeting students and teachers in this heinous attack, terrorists have once again shown their depravity. We stand with the people of Pakistan, and reiterate the commitment of the United States to support the Government of Pakistan in its efforts to combat terrorism and extremism and to promote peace and stability in the region.

This regime insists that the Taliban is not the enemy despite evidence to the contrary. Returning vets are the enemy and Americans who disagree with Obama are “enemies” but the Taliban is not? Whisky Tango Foxtrot? It probably doesn’t make much difference, really. Obama doesn’t want any captured prisoners so he doesn’t have to interrogate them. That’s so messy. He just kills them along with their families in drone strikes. Then again, were we to capture any, we’d have to speak politely to them and treat them no worse that we’d treat an Ivy League grad student or risk the ire of Dianne Feinstein and the left.

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The ACLU vs. America http://floppingaces.net/2014/12/15/the-aclu-vs-america/ http://floppingaces.net/2014/12/15/the-aclu-vs-america/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 17:55:24 +0000 http://floppingaces.net/?p=105026 Continue reading ]]> Nope. Not their war against Christmas; but their war against our military:

The Obama administration is withholding hundreds, perhaps even thousands of photographs showing the U.S. government’s brutal treatment of detainees, meaning that revelations about detainee abuse could well continue, possibly compounding the outrage generated by the Senate “torture report” now in the public eye.

Some photos show American troops posing with corpses; others depict U.S. forces holding guns to people’s heads or simulating forced sodomization. All of them could be released to the public, depending on how a federal judge in New York rules—and how hard the government fights to appeal. The government has a Friday deadline to submit to that judge its evidence for why it thinks each individual photograph should continue to be kept hidden away.

The photographs are part of a collection of thousands of images from 203 investigations into detainee abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan and represent one of the last known secret troves of evidence of detainee abuse. While the photos represent disturbing images from the Bush administration’s watch, it is the Obama administration that has allowed them to remain buried—all with the help of a willing Congress.

The president may have entered office promising a new era of transparency—and was even prepared to release at least 21 of the photos in 2009. But Obama pulled back at the last minute at the urging of his top commander in Iraq, who worried the graphic images could generate a backlash against U.S. troops.

“We’re not dismissive of the fact that some people could react badly to the publishing of the photographs,” said the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer, the lead lawyer in a decade-long legal dispute with the government over the photos. But this does not mean, he continued, that there should be a “massive heckler’s veto that terrorist organizations can wield over the public’s right to know.”

“The public has a right to know what happened in these military detention facilities,” Jaffer added, “in the same way it has a right to know about what happened at the CIA black sites.”

The Daily Beast notes that in 2009, al-Maliki warned that “Baghdad will burn” if these photos were released. But now with American (semi)withdrawals in Iraq and Afghanistan:

today, five years later, there are less than a tenth that number serving in those two countries. And while U.S. officials warned about reprisal attacks in response to the “torture report” and other documentation of American atrocities, that backlash has so far failed to materialize.

Abuses and atrocities are not right and bring shame and dishonor to our country. We know they’ve occurred. We’ve acknowledged that these incidents have occurred (203 investigations into alleged mistreatment of detainees, according to the Daily Beast). We’ve reprimanded, prosecuted, and court-martialed our own over substantiated cases. Of what good does it serve anyone except America’s enemies and those with a morbid abuse fetish and those with a political self-loathing of our country in releasing these photos, at this time in history? We know abuses have occurred. Releasing photos and reawakening the memories of abu Ghraib (from 10 years ago) only picks at a national scab and reignites the fevered imaginings of Islamist ire. They will not look at us and think to themselves, “America is a moral nation for releasing torture photos.”

And liberals like Greg still wonder why Jose Rodriguez (who had the legal authority to do so) had foresight and acted unilaterally in destroying 92 CIA video tapes of Zubaydah and al-Nashiri’s interrogation sessions?

Has there ever been another country that has done more moral hand-wringing and navel-gazing than ours? As if the wrongful abuses that have happened in OIF and OEF and in the GWoT are unique to America and our recent conflicts and not something pandemic to human history, in all wars and throughout all of human history?

What is unique in the annals of human history is the extent to which we western countries are willing to go in self-flagellation.

It is not Dick Cheney, John Yoo, Jose Rodriguez, Michael Hayden (current whipping boy of the torture alarmist left, who wasn’t CIA Director until May 2006 when the CIA program was temporarily suspended- and essentially ended by Dec 2007), and other Bush boogiemen who have “harmed America’s moral standing in the eyes of the world”. It is the hyperbolic hysteria and comparisons to the Khmer Rouge, Spanish Inquisition, Japanese WWII officers; the distortions and partisan howling over findings in a deeply lopsided Report that represents the weight of governmental authority because it came from the desk of a U.S. lawmaker:

These false comparisons shoot across the world on the internet and 24 hour cable news, and are taken as fact by millions. And then the same critics who spread these lies blame the CIA for undermining America’s moral standing.
-Marc Thiessen, Courting Disaster, pg 141

There are real problems with the CIA and its history. However, all the Feinstein “Torture” Report does is feed into the conspiratorial villainous nonsense that so many in the anti-American universe embrace. It confirms their worst wild imaginations.

And now it’s apparently time to throw our military under the bus and drive over them, yet again.

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The last honest man http://floppingaces.net/2014/12/15/the-last-honest-man/ http://floppingaces.net/2014/12/15/the-last-honest-man/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 14:23:59 +0000 http://floppingaces.net/?p=105028 Continue reading ]]> Vice President Dick Cheney waits in the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington

In the Weekly Standard Bill Kristol nominated a response from Dick Cheney to a Chuck Todd question as “Answer of the Year”:

I hereby nominate Dick Cheney’s answer to Chuck Todd’s question about a United Nations official who’s called for the criminal prosecution of U.S. interrogators, as the 2014 Sunday Show Answer of the Year:

CHENEY: I have little respect for the United Nations, or for this individual, who doesn’t have a clue and had absolutely no responsibility for safeguarding this nation and going after the bastards that killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11.

Todd interviewed Cheney on Meet the Press and Cheney was unapologetic:

Former Vice President Dick Cheney unapologetically pressed his defense of the CIA’s use of harsh interrogation techniques Sunday, insisting that waterboarding and other such tactics did not amount to torture and that the spy agency’s actions paled in comparison to those of terrorists targeting Americans.

“Torture, to me … is an American citizen on his cellphone making a last call to his four young daughters shortly before he burns to death in the upper levels of the Trade Center in New York on 9/11,” Cheney said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “There’s this notion that there’s moral equivalence between what the terrorists did and what we do, and that’s absolutely not true. We were very careful to stop short of torture.”

He ridiculed the notion that any of it put our troops at more risk:

Cheney also disputed the notion that any American taken prisoner overseas by terrorists was now at greater risk of being subjected to techniques like those used by the CIA.

“He’s not likely to be waterboarded. He’s likely to have his head cut off,” the former vice president said of a potential American taken hostage by a group like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. “I haven’t seen them waterboard anybody.”

And he made one thing very clear:

“I’d do it again in a minute,”

He even suggested that the interrogators were heroes who should be decorated for their work.

Like him or hate him, you have to respect the guy. He is consistent. He is principled. He is honest- perhaps the last honest man. He made a decision and he sticks by it. Unlike pathetic democrats, he doesn’t lie about his past. And we know for a fact that Nancy Pelosi is an execrable stinking liar.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Pelosi denied ever knowing about waterboarding but proof of her deceit emerged long ago:

Intelligence officials released documents yesterday saying that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was briefed in September 2002 about the use of harsh interrogation tactics against al-Qaeda suspects, seeming to contradict her repeated statements that she was never told the techniques were actually being used.

In a 10-page memo outlining an almost seven-year history of classified briefings, intelligence officials said that Pelosi and then-Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) were the first two members of Congress briefed on the tactics. Then the ranking member and chairman of the House intelligence committee, respectively, Pelosi and Goss were briefed Sept. 4, 2002, one week before the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The memo, issued to Capitol Hill by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Central Intelligence Agency, notes that the Pelosi-Goss briefing covered “EITs including the use of EITs” on Abu Zubaida. EIT is an acronym for enhanced interrogation technique, and Abu Zubaida, whose real name is Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein, was one of the earliest valuable al-Qaeda members captured. He also was the first to have the controversial tactic of simulated drowning, or waterboarding, used against him.

Pelosi knew. They all knew. In the aftermath of 9-11 democrats would do anything to find and punish the plotters of the attacks and prevent another.

With one known exception, no formal objections were raised by the lawmakers briefed about the harsh methods during the two years in which waterboarding was employed, from 2002 to 2003, said Democrats and Republicans with direct knowledge of the matter. The lawmakers who held oversight roles during the period included Pelosi and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), as well as Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan).

Individual lawmakers’ recollections of the early briefings varied dramatically, but officials present during the meetings described the reaction as mostly quiet acquiescence, if not outright support. “Among those being briefed, there was a pretty full understanding of what the CIA was doing,” said Goss, who chaired the House intelligence committee from 1997 to 2004 and then served as CIA director from 2004 to 2006. “And the reaction in the room was not just approval, but encouragement.”

Between 2001 and 2007 68 members of Congress were briefed on EIT’s:

The report (embedded below) shows that the CIA briefed at least 68 members of Congress on the CIA interrogation program, including “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITs) . It details the dates of all congressional briefings and in most cases, the members of Congress in attendance and the specific subjects discussed. Keep in mind though, that the topic for each one of these meetings was interrogation of prisoners.

For example in April 2002 both the House (HPSCI) and Senate (SSCI) committees on intelligence were briefed on the “Ongoing Interrogations of Abu Zubaydah, who was mentioned in the Feinstein report. According to the report, at this time EITs were referenced but there is no evidence they were discussed in detail. However later meetings not only discussed but gave examples of EITs being used, (but attendees weren’t mentioned). Finally near the end of 2002 we see that the most Senior members of the House and Senate committees had meetings totally devoted to EITs.

How many times have you seen me write that liberals have zero long term memory?

It’s worth it to once more remind them what their miserable hypocrite leaders once said:

Feinstein:

On May 26, 2002, Feinstein was quoted in the New York Times saying that the attacks of 9/11 were a real awakening and that it would no longer be “business as usual.” The attacks, she said, let us know “that the threat is profound” and “that we have to do some things that historically we have not wanted to do to protect ourselves.”

Jay Rockefeller:

“He’s in safekeeping, under American protection. He’ll be grilled by us. I’m sure we’ll be proper with him, but I’m sure we’ll be very, very tough with him.”

When Blitzer asked about how KSM would be interrogated, Rockefeller assured him that “there are presidential memorandums that prescribe and allow certain measures to be taken, but we have to be careful.” Then he added: “On the other hand, he does have the information. Getting that information will save American lives. We have no business not getting that information.”

Now they want you to forget what they said and they want to batter those who did the work they once cheered. It’s despicable. Once the new Congress is seated hearings should be held in which these members fo Congress should be called in to testify and publicly reminded of their past words.

This is what makes Dick Cheney so admirable. He is an honest man, undeterred by the opinions of those who were spoiled teenagers in September 2001 and now have grown into full blown smartass liberals with 20-20 hindsight. He is the noble contrast to those scofflaws who would rewrite history. He spurs us to remember what it really was like in those dark days and how astonishingly and inherently duplicitous democrats are.

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