Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Cynical Politics Behind the Release of the CIA Torture Report

I want to begin this post by assuring my readers (both of you, hi!) that I am glad the CIA torture report, even in its heavily redacted form, was allowed to be released before the new Senate Republican majority hit town and sank the the whole thing to the deepest recesses of the Mariana Trench. ANY report being released that speaks at least some of the truth about what the CIA was up to doing during the Bush years is at least better than no report at all.

That said, the only really surprising thing about the report is that anyone was surprised by what it contained--namely details about what we already knew. The CIA tortured prisoners at so called "black" sites around the world? Check, we already knew that. Numerous other countries participated in torture and rendition? Check, we already knew that. Torture is ineffective as an intelligence gathering device and actually destroys a so-called democracy's credibility when it claims to be a bastion of human rights? Check, we already knew that. Obama isn't going to do jack shit to hold any of the torturers or those who gave the orders accountable? Check, check and fucking check already.

But rather than express my outrage over what the report says, as is being done in many other quarters, I'd like to instead focus on the individual who is most responsible for getting it out the door before it slammed shut: namely the senior U.S. Senator from California, and lame duck chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, Dianne Feinstein. Who is Dianne Feinstein anyway? Well, she is currently the oldest and one of the wealthiest members of the Senate with a net worth by some reports nearly in the nine figures. She is a Democrat and supposed "liberal" who voted for the Iraq War and the Patriot Act and also for the hideous FISA law removing judicial oversight of the executive programs that spy on U.S. citizens. Not only that, her husband is an investment banker who has made countless millions from defense war contracts.

In other words, she seems like just the kind of fake liberal sellout Democrat who might have chosen delay the report's issuance until Mitch McConnell's new Intelligence Chairman could bury it forever. So why did she do it? Was it the remorseful act by an aging old woman who as mortality approaches is feeling a pang of conscience after selling out every young Californian idealist who ever believed in her? Excuse me if I say, not bloody likely. Feinstein strikes me as another Madeline "half a million dead Iraqi children was worth it" Albright type of crusty old stain upon the human race--in other words not the kind who has any conscience at all.

Nope, my personal belief, having no direct knowledge of the situation, is that this was a way for a Democrat whose party just took a major electoral shellacking and is fast on its way to political irrelevancy to try once again to demonstrate to the idiots voters who support her party that there really is a difference between her tribe and the red one. We Democrats may be "Republican lite" on most issues, Feinstein is saying, but at least we are willing to issue a damning report that states what everybody already knew. And for that it's working beautifully. Right on cue, conservative "news" outlets like Fox and the Wall Street Journal immediately fell in line, blasting the report on a strictly partisan basis. Meanwhile, some of the right's more unhinged troglodytes started spewing the kind of fascist rhetoric guaranteed to get (male and female) liberals' panties into a bunch and frothing at the mouth to--make sure they vote Hillary in 2016. That'll learn 'em.

This whole spectacle is, of course, sound and fury signifying nothing, as here in America at least the report will be largely forgotten about by the general public before the new year even rings in. And if overseas outrage should generate another international terrorist attack or two, all the better to keep that War on Terror gravy train a-flowing for war profiteers like Ms. Feinsein's hubby.

As for the CIA itself, the report will change nothing. Obama had already curtailed the agency's worst GWOT abuses (well after the Inside-the-Beltway consensus had already decided torture was counterproductive), so the agency will claim that there is nothing that needs changing. The whole debacle will certainly be another major public relations black eye for Langley, but really, after decades of abuses and spectacular failures and fuck ups, could the image of America's top spy agency really get any worse?

Bonus: "I don't really give a good fuck what you know or don't know--but I'm gonna torture you anyway"


  1. Both of us readers?!?! I hope that's not because I've been clicking on the site twice a day...

    1. Kidding! I was actually hoping to generate a few more comments, :)

  2. Seems my prior comment didn't get through. Surveillance state activity? But yes, you have more than two readers. :)

    1. Don't what happened with your other comments--but thanks for sticking with it!

    2. It is probably just a glitch in my feed. My first comment merely stated your summation of there being no hope for America anymore in your newest post. It happens to every empire, though maybe not on the scale of the Nazis.

  3. Very good article and timely; I am a very cynical person and I find the enormity of this situation overwhelming. William Lind wrote a series of article under the title "On War". I still read the articles which I saved.
    The tyranny that the Athenian empire imposed on others it finally imposed on itself.