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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Unthinkable becomes almost a done deal: no breach to far for this presidency

Mendacity, murderous spinelessness, indifference: real horrors abroad
Editing by Carolyn Bennett

With drone strikes in Pakistan having accelerated since 2008, the CIA has been transformed into a quasi-military force and as a spy agency, CIA instincts are to wage war the way it runs covert actions – in secret, by its own rules. Therefore, U.S. president’s nomination of his architect of the secretive deadly drone program to head the CIA should not be confirmed ─ if at all − until the nominee publicly commits to getting the CIA out of the killing business. [Naureen Shah writing in the Guardian]

U.S. Drone destruction in Yemen
Proven lies qualify high public office

 The bodies of civilian dead are never pictured even when these deaths are reported,” Naureen Shah writes today at the Guardian.

Reports that drone strikes having killed more than 100 children “have sullied the international reputation of the United States” and led the United Nations to call for an investigation; but within the United States, “there is little if any public interest in debating the cost of drones on civilian lives.”

In yesterday’s Guardian, Glenn Greenwald recounted that before Barack Obama’s first inauguration, a controversy had erupted over reports that the president-elect intended to appoint John Brennan as CIA director and that opposition to this man had “centered on the fact that Brennan, as a [George W.] Bush-era CIA official ─

Yemenis protest
U.S. drone strikes
had expressly endorsed the Bush programs of torture (other than water boarding) and rendition and also was a vocal advocate of immunizing lawbreaking telecoms for their role in the illegal Bush NSA eavesdropping program.

he opposition caused Brennan to withdraw his name from consideration but the president pushed aside the concerns of the people of the United States. The Obama government, Greenwald recalls, then appointed Brennan as top counter-terrorism adviser, a position in which Brennan “exerted at least as much if not more influence as he would have done as Director of the CIA.” As top counter-terrorism adviser, Greenwald wrote ─

Brennan last year got caught outright lying when he claimed Obama’s drone program caused no civilian deaths in Pakistan over the prior year.

He also spouted complete though highly influential falsehoods to the world in the immediate aftermath of the Osama bin Laden killing, including claiming that bin Laden ‘engaged in a firefight’ with Navy SEALS and had ‘used his wife as a human shield.’

Pakistanis protest U.S. drone strikes
Brennan has also been in charge of many of Obama’s most controversial and radical policies, including ‘signature strikes’ in Yemen - targeting people without even knowing who they are - and generally seizing the power to determine who will be marked for execution without any due process, oversight or transparency.

In his nomination announcement on Monday, Naureen Shah recalls, the U.S. President “complimented Brennan on recognizing the responsibility to be as ‘open and transparent as possible’ about counter-terrorism policies and Brennan himself pledged ‘full and open discourse’ – though only with ‘appropriate elective representatives.’” However, Shah writes, it would be naive to expect the CIA, too accustomed to secrecy and under a Brennan directorship, to engage fully with the American public about the drone program.

If Brennan and Obama were serious about transparency over killing, they would extract the CIA from the drone program altogether. America’s premier spy agency should no longer also be its chief assassin.” But this will not happen.

Somalis suffer U.S. drone strikes
Signature character of a head of state

 “The reason the president needs a new CIA chief, Greenwald writes, “is because David Petraeus was forced to resign. Here we see the ethos and morality of imperial Washington:

Past support for torture and rendition does not disqualify one for a top national security position; only an extramarital affair can do that.

It is a perfect illustration of the Obama legacy that a person who was untouchable as CIA chief in 2008 because of his support for [the Bush government’s] most radical policies is not only President Obama’s choice for the same position”; but this nomination “will encounter very little resistance.

“Within this change one finds one of the most significant aspects of the Obama presidency:

His conversion of what were once highly contentious right-wing policies into harmonious dogma of the D.C. bipartisan consensus.… The eagerness to deceive and his long record of supporting radical and unaccountable powers make Brennan the perfect person to run the CIA [and] it seems clear that this is Obama’s calculus.

Sources and notes

“New director John Brennan must kill the CIA's drone assassination policy ─ Brennan’s nomination is the time to restore the CIA to being a spy agency and end its role as a remote-control death squad” (Naureen Shah), January 8, 2013, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/08/john-brennan-cia-assassination-drones

“John Brennan's extremism and dishonesty rewarded with CIA Director Nomination ─ Obama’s top terrorism adviser goes from un-confirmable in 2008 to uncontroversial in 2013, reflecting the Obama legacy” (Glenn Greenwald, guardian.co.uk), January 7, 2013,


Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy


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