Fascist Obama & Personality Over Principle Progressives
The CIA Director will be John Brennan.
Norman Pollack in “Architect of Terror” points out some of the dimensions of Brennan’s oversight (familiar territory already to him): armed drones, targeted assassinations, rendition, black holes, subsidies to domestic fascist groups for breaking up "radical" rallies, and other “cloak and dagger” sadism.
Pollack also writes: “In Obama, the Agency, along with JSOC, has its impressario, cheerleader, and now tactical adviser, rolled in one.”
Obama’s decision to nominate him speaks volumes about his own similarly fascistic leanings and willingness to violate international law—Brennan and his vast expansion of Bush’s campaign of assassination, and further expansion of secrecy, for that program, and presumably all matters under the head of national security.
Why such extreme secrecy? To hide war crimes. Period. Placing Brennan at CIA serves one purpose only, to magnify and attach greater significance to Obama’s military doctrine: in addition to drones (and assassination) the greater emphasis on paramilitary operations, Obama + Brennan = the doctrine and practice of permanent war.
Stephen Lendman in “Serial Killer Heads CIA”:
CIA originally had five missions. Four dealt with collection, coordination and dissemination of intelligence.
The fifth is vague. It lets agency operatives "perform such other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the National Security Council may direct."
This mandate turned "CIA into the personal, secret, unaccountable army of the president." Doing so prioritizes lawless covert operations.
They include overthrowing democratically elected governments, assassinating heads of state and key officials, propping up friendly despots, snatching individuals for "extraordinary rendition," treating them harshly in torture prisons, and using drones as instruments of state terror.
CIA is more active than ever, said Johnson. It's mostly a global Mafia hit squad. It's incompatible with democracy.
Lendman goes on to point out that on March 8, 2013, “rogue” senators approved John Brennan as CIA chief 63-34.
Targeted assassinations reflect official US policy. They're longstanding. They occur worldwide. No one's safe anywhere. Heads of state are vulnerable. So are US citizens.
A bathroom break ended Paul's filibuster. Serial killer Brennan now heads CIA. He's Obama's maestro of murder. His mandate is kill, kill, kill. Expect him to take full advantage. No one's safe anywhere.
In January, the New York Daily News headlined "Pull back the curtain on drones," saying: "Brennan, more than any other single official, represents" Washington's lethal drone policy. "No politically appointed official in US history has played such a prominent role in killing so many people outside of a war zone as John Brennan." He was heavily involved in Bush/Cheney's torture policy. A classified Senate Intelligence Committee report includes lawless interrogation practices.
Most Democrats support him. So do some Republicans. Congressional profiles in courage are few and far between. They're practically non-existent.
Lendman declares that appointing Brennan “sanitizes crimes of war against humanity. They are too grave to ignore.” He also warns, “Expect drone wars to continue. They'll expand worldwide. So will targeted assassinations.”
Patrick Martin in “The New York Times defends drone murder” writes of the grotesque minimization of Obama’s drone assassination program:
Here the Times article descends into Orwellian language. In one passage, it states that the Constitution “generally requires judicial process before the government may kill an American.” In fact, American citizens’ constitutional rights are inalienable rights, not optional extras which the US government should “generally” respect, but that it can violate whenever it feels the need to do so.
The very fact that the Times adopts such a position reflects the fact that broad sections of the American ruling class would not object to extra-constitutional, police-state rule—the preparations for which are well advanced.
... The US Senate then approved the nomination of John Brennan, the mastermind of the administration’s drone assassination program, to head the CIA.
The way in which the media and political establishment have greeted these developments—including in particular the “left” defenders of Obama—are a grave warning to the working class. First under Bush and then under Obama, the ruling elite has utilized the attacks of September 11 to justify torture, assassination, kidnapping, indefinite detention without trial, state spying on every person and every form of communication, state censorship.
As the battlefield expands, so will the number and character of the targets.
Glenn Greenald in “Three Democratic Myths used to demean the Paul filibuster”
All of this has taken place with very little public backlash: especially over the last four years. Worse, it has prompted almost no institutional resistance from the structures designed to check executive abuses: courts, the media, and Congress. Last week's 13-hour filibuster of John Brennan's confirmation as CIA director by GOP Sen. Rand Paul was one of the first - and, from the perspective of media attention, easily among the most effective -Congressional efforts to dramatize and oppose just how radical these Terrorism-justified powers have become. For the first time since the 9/11 attack, even lowly cable news shows were forced - by the Paul filibuster - to extensively discuss the government's extremist theories of power and to debate the need for checks and limits.
All of this put Democrats - who spent eight years flamboyantly pretending to be champions of due process and opponents of mass secrecy and executive power abuses - in a very uncomfortable position. The politician who took such a unique stand in defense of these principles was not merely a Republican but a leading member of its dreaded Tea Party wing, while the actor most responsible for the extremist theories of power being protested was their own beloved leader and his political party.
Greenwald spells out the number of high profile Dems who stood up for principle involving Rand’s filibuster effort -- you can pathetically count on one hand -- over those succumbing once again to cowardly and amoral political tribalism and cronyism.
Some Democrats, to their credit, publicly supported Paul, including Sen. Ron Wyden, who went to the Senate floor to assist the filibuster. Sens. Jeff Merkley, Pat Leahy and (independent) Bernie Sanders all voted against Brennan's confirmation, citing many of the same concerns raised by Paul. Some prominent progressive commentators praised Paul's filibuster as well: on CNN, Van Jones - while vowing that "I love this president" - said "Sen. Rand Paul was a hero for civil liberties" and that "liberals and progressives should be ashamed."
Meanwhile, a large bulk of the Democratic and liberal commentariat - led, as usual, by the highly-paid DNC spokesmen called "MSNBC hosts" and echoed, as usual, by various liberal blogs, which still amusingly fancy themselves as edgy and insurgent checks on political power rather than faithful servants to it - degraded all of the weighty issues raised by this episode by processing it through their stunted, trivial prism of partisan loyalty. They thus dutifully devoted themselves to reading from the only script they know: Democrats Good, GOP Bad.
They prefer to ignore the fact that the politician they most deeply admire is a devoted defender of those policies. After stumbling around for a few days in search of a tactic to convert this episode into an attack on the GOP and distract from Obama's extremism, they collectively settled on personalizing the conflict by focusing on Rand Paul's flaws as a person and a politician and, in particular, mocking his concerns as "paranoia" (that attack was echoed, among others, by the war-cheering Washington Post editorial page).
The reality is that Paul was doing nothing more than voicing concerns that have long been voiced by leading civil liberties groups such as the ACLU. Indeed, the ACLU lavishly praised Paul, saying that "as a result of Sen. Paul's historic filibuster, civil liberties got two wins". In particular, said the ACLU, "Americans learned about the breathtakingly broad claims of executive authority undergirding the Obama administration's vast killing program."
But almost without exception, progressives who defend Obama's Terrorism policies steadfastly ignore the fact that they are embracing policies that are vehemently denounced by the ACLU. That's because they like to tell themselves that only Big, Bad Republicans attack the ACLU ... It's remarkable indeed how frequently, in the Age of Obama, standard partisan Democrats embrace exactly the policies identified by the ACLU as the most menacing. Such Obama-defending progressives also wilfully ignore just how much they now sound like Sarah Palin, Karl Rove, and George Bush when ridiculing concerns about due process for accused Terrorists:
Greenwald writes of the colossal “empathy gap” of the Obama progressives, particularly for Muslims and Muslim Americans.
Greenwald notes that Falguni Sheth, writing in Salon declared that “Democrats embraced party tribalism”. Greenwald:
She argues in particular that as Democrats attack Paul on the grounds of his support for racist policies, they support or acquiesce to all of these War on Terror policies that have an obvious racial - and racist - component, in light of the very specific types of individuals who are imprisoned, and whose children are killed by drones, and whose rights are systematically abridged.
Greenwald also quotes Amy Goodman:
"Senator Paul's outrage with the president's claimed right to kill US citizens is entirely appropriate. That there is not more outrage at the thousands killed around the globe is shameful … and dangerous."
Rand Paul has been described by some progressives as succumbing to paranoia. Over-reacting with fear-mongering to the drone assassination policy of the president.
Greenwald believes the roots are being planted deeply and successfully for the ever escalating abuse of executive authority, further erosion of our Constitutional rights and serious threats to our personal welfare if or when we try to exercise our rights to assemble and dissent.
Indeed, the whole point of the Paul filibuster was to ask whether the Obama administration believes that it has the power to target a US citizen for assassination on US soil the way it did to Anwar Awlaki in Yemen. The Awlaki assassination was justified on the ground that Awlaki was a "combatant", that he was "engaged in combat", even though he was killed not while making bombs or shooting at anyone but after he had left a cafe where he had breakfast. If the Obama administration believes that Awlaki was "engaged in combat" at the time he was killed - and it clearly does - then Holder's letter is meaningless at best, and menacing at worst, because that standard is so broad as to vest the president with exactly the power his supporters now insist he disclaimed.
The phrase "engaged in combat" has come to mean little more than: anyone the President accuses, in secrecy and with no due process, of supporting a Terrorist group. Indeed, radically broad definitions of "enemy combatant" have been at the heart of every War on Terror policy, from Guantanamo to CIA black sites to torture.
From Washington’s Blog:
Secretive, unaccountable agencies are making life and death decisions which effect our most basic rights. They provide “secret evidence” to courts which cannot be checked … and often withhold any such “evidence” even from the judges.
The government’s indefinite detention policy – stripped of it’s spin – is literally insane, and based on circular reasoning. Stripped of p.r., this is the actual policy:
-- If you are an enemy combatant or a threat to national security, we will detain you indefinitely until the war is over
-- It is a perpetual war, which will never be over
-- Neither you or your lawyers have a right to see the evidence against you, nor to face your accusers
-- But trust us, we know you are an enemy combatant and a threat to national security
-- We may torture you (and try to cover up the fact that you were tortured), because you are an enemy combatant, and so basic rights of a prisoner guaranteed by the Geneva Convention don’t apply to you
Since you admitted that you’re a bad guy (while trying to tell us whatever you think we want to hear to make the torture stop), it proves that we should hold you in indefinite detention
See how that works?
The government also wants to expand its assassination program to cover “associates of associates” of Al Qaeda.
And – given that political dissent is now considered terrorism, and protesters considered low-level terrorists – does that mean that dissent or protest makes one a “combatant”?
Constitutional scholar, Johnathan Turley, is also cited by Washington’s Blog who brings up the “personality over principle” stance of so very many so-called progressives and the Orwellian spin of Obama’s and Holder’s faux-legal stance on drone assassination:
We previously discussed how Attorney General Eric Holder wrote a letter confirming that the President would have authority to kill citizens on U.S. soil without a charge or conviction. His answer triggered a principled filibuster by Sen. Rand Paul and another embarrassment to Democratic Senators who, again, chose personality over principle in staying silent.
It is not clear what Holder means by “engaged in combat” since the Administration memo shows that the Administration is using an absurdly broad definition of “imminent” threat under the kill list policy. Since the Administration has continued to assert that terrorists are engaged in a war against the U.S., the terse reply of Holder seems designed to preserve later flexibility.
... it is astonishing how citizens, including so many liberals and civil libertarians, Obama is saying that his appointment of a non-binding committee satisfied due process and relieves any need for judicial review. Moreover, if the President has the inherent authority to kill a citizen in Canada, it is not clear why such inherent authority would not exist a few hundred yards away in Detroit. The Administration has said that it can use the unilateral power when it considers a capture to pose undue risk to its personnel.
What is particularly striking is that we have a president who is asserting the right to kill any citizen but the Administration has classified memos on that authority and the Attorney General will only give a Senator a terse two line conclusory statement on scope. The Administration appears to believe that there is little need to explain the details on killing citizens, such as how it defines “combat.” Obviously, if there is a war occurring in the United States, a president has the right to put down insurrection or attacks on the federal government. These strikes concern targeting terrorists. One can easily foresee this or a future president insisting that an alleged terrorism conspiracy is a form of combat.
It would seem an obvious thing to explain how they define combat and whether an alleged terrorist would fall into it. Does this mean that there will be a category of non-combatant terrorists for domestic strikes? How is that defined? It seems like a hole big enough to fly a drone through....
Fascism has come to America on little Democratic Obama feet.
All the valiant, now passed on, American heroes and heroines must be spinning in their graves at the profound collective sell-out of Obama and his loyalists of morality and democratic law.
[cross-posted at open salon]