Belated News: Anthrax Case Flawed

Here is the GAO report released today, two years in the making, a study done for unnamed “congressional requesters.” In past years, the requesters have been listed, but in this case, they are not. This most likely reflects the sensitivity of this matter. Why so sensitive?

Because the FBI botched its investigation, never had even the shred of a case against Ivins, and this is not the first time they were called out on it. The 2011 National Academy of Science (NAS) report pointed out the same things as this GAO report: that FBI and its contractors developed methods that were not validated. They never proved that the anthrax in the letters actually grew from parent spores in Ivins’ flask, as FBI purports. This failed claim forms the linchpin of the FBI’s entire case.

Here is the 2011 WaPo editorial on the need for a comprehensive investigation, following release of the NAS report. Today’s GAO investigation did not fulfill the WaPo’s request to include an investigation of the case against Ivins himself.

Following the NAS report, in October 2011, veteran investigative reporters at McClatchey (Greg Gordon, who is amazing), PBS’ Frontline and ProPublica dug deeper into the case than anyone so far had done, and created a TV show, a huge online cache of documents on the case, and several journalistic pieces, like this one.  Their work revealed new pieces of evidence that further undercut the FBI’s case, like this and this. One article explored the validity of the FBI’s scientific evidence…

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/12/2-u-s-government-agencies-say-fbis-anthrax-case-full-holes.html

Woodrow Wilson: An American Traitor

Despite warnings, Woodrow Wilson signed the 1913 Federal Reserve Act. A few years later he wrote:

“I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of  credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men.

We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most  completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world no longer a  Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.” ~ Woodrow  Wilson

http://www.fromthetrenchesworldreport.com/woodrow-wilson/115730

The Christmas Truce Of 1914

It was exactly 100 years ago this month when the Christmas Truce of 1914 occurred, when Christian soldiers on both sides of the infamous No Man’s Land of the Western Front, recognized their common humanity, dropped their guns and fraternized with the so-called enemies that they had been ordered to kill without mercy the day before. As mentioned in last week’s column, the truth of that remarkable event has since been effectively covered up by state and military authorities (and the embedded journalists at the time) because they were angered (and embarrassed) by the breakdown of military discipline.

In the annals of war, such “mutinies” are now unheard of. The generals and (as well as the saber-rattling, chest-thumping politicians and war profiteers back home) rapidly developed strategies to prevent such behavior from happening again.

Christmas Eve of 1914 was only 5 months into World War I, and the cold, weary, homesick soldiers found themselves not heroes, as expected, but rather miserable, frightened and disillusioned wretches living in rat- and louse-infested trenches. Most of them had dreamed heroic dreams when they had signed up to kill and die for King and Country a few months earlier, and hey had been fully expecting to be home for the holidays.

Lower echelon officers on both sides of No Man’s Land, who were suffering right along with the troops, allowed a lull in the war – just for Christmas Eve. Then they allowed the troops to sing Christmas hymns, and many of the not-yet hardened soldiers started to recognize the humanity of the demonized “other” that had been fingered as sub-humans deserving of death.

And so the merciful spirit of the season came upon them; and they disobeyed orders that forbade fraternizing with the enemy by laying down their weapons and mingling with them in the area between the trenches.

Unknown to the higher echelon commanding officers – who were enjoying good food and drink in their warm bunkers out of the range of the artillery barrages and machine gun bursts – the grunts on either side of the battle line suddenly sensed the stupidity of killing someone that was just like them and who had never done them any harm.

Many of the men that experienced the moment knew that something deeply profound had happened: a spiritual experience of mutual respect and love that epitomized their mutual Christian upbringing – and they refused to fight and kill when the war was ordered to re-start.

Some soldiers were punished for their disobedience and many of them had to be replaced with fresh troops that had been in the reserve trenches the day before (corporal Adolf Hitler was among the ones who did not experience the front line fraternization.)

The Christmas Truce of 1914 had come close to ending the futile and ultimately suicidal war that destroyed 4 empires and an entire generation of young men that had been bamboozled into joining up…

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-forgotten-christmas-truce-of-1914-unlearned-lessons-which-could-have-prevented-a-century-of-war-1914-2014/5420256

Why Did They Torture?

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on how the US government tortured detainees at Guantanamo and at secret “black sites” all over the world has focused on how they did it: rectal feeding, hanging detainees by their arms, “stress positions,” beatings, etc. The prurience of this focus is fairly obvious, and typical of decadent societies in general – which is not to say that the details of “how” are irrelevant. They underscore the moral bankruptcy of the regime that permitted these practices. Yet this preoccupation with the sordid details tends to overlook the “why” of it – the key to understanding what the neocons in control of the national security apparatus during the Bush years were really after…

http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2014/12/18/why-did-they-torture/

The U.S. torture was as diabolical as any ever perpetrated:

According to a number of global mainstream media sources, the Pentagon is covering up a disturbing video that was never made public with the rest of the recent torture report.

According to various well respected journalists, including Seymour Hersh, the appalling video was recorded at Abu Ghraib, the notorious US torture dungeon in Iraq that made headlines roughly a decade ago, when the inhumane tactics being used at the prison were exposed.

Sadly, it seems that the evidence released years ago was only scratching the surface.

While the video has remained under wraps thus far, Hersh says it is only a matter of time before it comes out.

Abu Ghraib torture child rape

Giving a speech at the ACLU last week after the senate torture report was initially released, Hersh gave some insight into what was on the Pentagon’s secret tape.

In the most revealing portion of his speech he said that:

“Debating about it, ummm … Some of the worst things that happened you don’t know about, okay? Videos, um, there are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib … The women were passing messages out saying ‘Please come and kill me, because of what’s happened’ and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It’s going to come out.”

“It’s impossible to say to yourself how did we get there? Who are we? Who are these people that sent us there? When I did My Lai I was very troubled like anybody in his right mind would be about what happened. I ended up in something I wrote saying in the end I said that the people who did the killing were as much victims as the people they killed because of the scars they had, I can tell you some of the personal stories by some of the people who were in these units witnessed this. I can also tell you written complaints were made to the highest officers and so we’re dealing with a enormous massive amount of criminal wrongdoing that was covered up at the highest command out there and higher, and we have to get to it and we will. We will. You know there’s enough out there, they can’t (Applause). …. So it’s going to be an interesting election year.”

Put into context with another speech that Hersh gave earlier this year, it becomes clear that the women who witnessed these young boys being raped were actually their mothers…

http://www.hangthebankers.com/us-soldiers-raped-iraqi-boys-in-front-of-their-mothers/

A great way to promote democracy and American values: Rape boys in front of their mothers!  Related:

The logic that torture is a “stain” on US history is the heart of the problem, since it blocks an honest reading of whatever “values” Washington actually stands for.

“This is not who we are. This is not how we operate,” were the words of President Barack Obama commenting on the grisly findings of a long-awaited congressional report on the use of torture by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

But what if this is exactly who we are?

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/12/18/whitewashing-cia-torture-we-are-not-so-awesome-after-all

Must watch video:

Given that it was known that torture doesn’t work, the motive was either to produce false confessions or satisfy the sick urges of the torturers or both:

Mark Costanzo (Claremont McKenna professor of psychology) and Ellen Gerrity (Duke University professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences) note in a study published in the journal Social Issues and Policy Review:

As early as the third century A.D., the great Roman Jurist Ulpian noted that
information obtained through torture was not to be trusted because some people are “so susceptible to pain that they will tell any lie rather than suffer it” (Peters, 1996).  This warning about the unreliability of information extracted through the use of torture has echoed across the centuries.

Lawrence Davidson – history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania – points out today:

In 1764 Cesare Beccaria [an Italian criminologist, jurist, philosopher, and politician who had a profound effect on America’s Founding Fathers] published his groundbreaking work, On Crimes and Punishments. Beccaria had examined all the evidence available at that time and concluded that individuals under torture will tell their interrogators anything they want to hear, true or not, just to get the pain to stop.

The successful and ruthless general Napolean Bonaparte wrote in 1798:

The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. The poor wretches say anything that comes into their mind and what they think the interrogator wishes to know.

This ancient wisdom has been verified by the top American interrogation experts over the last 100 years.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/12/weve-known-1700-years-torture-produces-false-confessions.html

The Phoenix Program

The Phoenix Program (Vietnamese: Chi?n d?ch Ph?ng Hoàng, a word related to fenghuang, the Chinese phoenix) was a program designed, coordinated, and executed by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA),United States special operations forces, special forces operatives from the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV),[1] and the Republic of Vietnam‘s (South Vietnam) security apparatus during the Vietnam War.

The Program was designed to identify and “neutralize” (via infiltration, capture, terrorism, torture, and assassination) the infrastructure of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (NLF or Viet Cong).[2][3][4][5] The CIA described it as “a set of programs that sought to attack and destroy the political infrastructure of the Viet Cong”.[6] The major two components of the program were Provincial Reconnaissance Units (PRUs) and regional interrogation centers. PRUs would kill or capture suspected NLF members, as well as civilians who were thought to have information on NLF activities. Many of these people were then taken to interrogation centers where many were tortured in an attempt to gain intelligence on VC activities in the area.[7] The information extracted at the centers was then given to military commanders, who would use it to task the PRU with further capture and assassination missions.[7]  …

http://www.fromthetrenchesworldreport.com/operation-phoenix-between-1965-and-1972-the-cia-oversaw-a-torture-program-that-killed-between-26000-and-41000-people/115467

Now what was Obama talking about when he said the USA tortured contrary to our values?   Professions, maybe; values no way.