Posted by: quiscus | December 7, 2008

December 7, 2008

1.  Oklahoma City:

“It’s true that there is a lot of skepticism regarding the destruction that took place at the Murrah building. This report by Brigadier General Benton K. Partin argues that demolition charges were used at the Murrah building to destroy support columns, which caused the demolition damage at the builiding; “Bomb Damage Analysis of Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building”. This report which is based on blast effects studies conducted at Eglin Air Force Base, suggests that the Anfo bomb that was detonated in front of the Murrah building would not have been able to produce the effects seen in Oklahoma; “CASE STUDY RELATING BLAST EFFECTS TESTS TO THE EVENTS OF APRIL 19, 1995 ALFRED P. MURRAH FEDERAL BUILDING OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA”. There are many unresolved issues surrounding OKC.

Partin presents his observations that cutter charges were used on interior columns of the Murrah building to cause the observed damage. There were also reports in the media on the day of the OKC bombing that unexploded bombs were removed from the building.”

2.  Afghanistan:

“In sum, well in advance of the 9/11 attacks the US government had made preparations to move against the Taliban and create a compliant regime in Kabul and a direct US military presence in Central Asia. The 9/11 attacks provided the perfect impetus, stampeding US public opinion and reluctant allies into supporting military intervention.

One might agree with John Ryan who argued that if Washington had left the Marxist Taraki government alone back in 1979, “there would have been no army of mujahideen, no Soviet intervention, no war that destroyed Afghanistan, no Osama bin Laden, and no September 11 tragedy.” But it would be asking too much for Washington to leave unmolested a progressive leftist government that was organizing the social capital around collective public needs rather than private accumulation.

US intervention in Afghanistan has proven not much different from US intervention in Cambodia, Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama, and elsewhere. It had the same intent of preventing egalitarian social change, and the same effect of overthrowing an economically reformist government. In all these instances, the intervention brought retrograde elements into ascendance, left the economy in ruins, and pitilessly laid waste to many innocent lives.

The war against Afghanistan, a battered impoverished country, continues to be portrayed in US official circles as a gallant crusade against terrorism. If it ever was that, it also has been a means to other things: destroying a leftist revolutionary social order, gaining profitable control of one of the last vast untapped reserves of the earth’s dwindling fossil fuel supply, and planting US bases and US military power into still another region of the world.

In the face of all this Obama’s call for “change” rings hollow.”

3.  A newly published academic paper:

“One of the most significant puzzles surrounding the official complicity hypothesis involves the
collapse, and presumed demolition of Building 7. Why, Griffin asks, would the administration
have demolished WTC-7 “thereby undermining the claim that the Twin Towers collapsed
because of the impact of the airliners combined with the heat from the jet-fuel-fed fires” (p.135)?
But notice that the demolition of WTC-7 is anomalous, from the perspective of the official
complicity hypothesis, only if we assume that the individuals responsible for that event were
(exactly) the same individuals who conspired to bring about the other more tragic, and more
widely publicized events that occurred on that day.

The suggestion that different individuals may have been responsible is not preposterous. Suppose
that there existed a (relatively small) group of core 9/11 conspirators within the US
administration.x Suppose further that everyone within this core group agreed to participate in a
certain restricted plan of action. In order for this plan to succeed, however, it’s likely that others –
individuals beyond the core group – would need to perform certain unusual actions, or respond to
various events in certain unusual ways. So it’s likely that these individuals would have been lied
to, or told partial truths about the real plan of action. Serious suspicions may therefore have
arisen, outside of the core group, that something unusual – possibly even something of historic
significance – was about to occur. (And of course there is considerable evidence to suggest that
foreknowledge of some of the very specific details of the 9/11 attacks was in fact quite
widespread.xi) It’s not unreasonable to suppose, therefore, that some individuals beyond the core
group may have decided to seize the opportunity presented by the 9/11 conspirators and to extend
their plan without the knowledge or consent of those conspirators. Alternatively, some of the
core conspirators themselves may have broken ranks and either extended the original plan
themselves or deliberately leaked information about that plan, without the knowledge or consent
of their fellow conspirators. Different conspirators may have agreed to participate in the original
conspiracy for very different reasons and the temptation to exploit and, in particular, profit from this moment in history may have been overwhelming.

We know that WTC-7 contained a great deal of valuable and highly sensitive information.
Certain individuals likely benefited tremendously from its destruction. It’s quite possible, then,
that those who planned the destruction of WTC-7 seized the opportunity presented by the group
of core conspirators, without any concern for whether this event would undermine the official
explanation of the collapse of the Twin Towers.

“Given the massive planning that must have gone into
the whole operation, why was there not a carefully formulated, plausible cover story that would
be told by everyone from the outset” (136)? The worry, in other words, is that if government
officials had orchestrated 9/11 in some fashion, they simply would not have botched its execution
so badly. In particular, they would not have exhibited such an incredible level of incompetence
when it came to communicating with the public and promoting the official narrative through such
channels as interviews and press releases.

One can’t assume, however, that every official statement concerning 9/11 was made by a
government conspirator who was fully “in the know.” And it wouldn’t be surprising, under the
official complicity hypothesis, if the statements of conspirators conflicted with the statements of
non-conspirators. Furthermore, it’s not plausible to assume that the core conspirators could have
controlled the speech and behavior of every other senior government official, forcing them to
conform to a single coherent master narrative. Communication between different government
officials and different government agencies takes considerable time and effort at the best of
times. Events unfolded quickly on 9/11 and the days thereafter, and there was much to attend to
besides public relations. It would of course have been incalculably even more difficult to
promulgate a consistent government narrative had events spun out of control. If major unforeseen
events occurred on 9/11 – either through chance or as a result of the efforts of individuals outside
the core group – then it would not have been possible simply to release a prepared cover story
taking account of these events. Senior government officials would therefore have been left to
their own resources, trying to make sense of a tragedy of monumental proportions while
struggling to appear in control, to secure the peace, and to calm public hysteria. Under these
circumstances, it’s not difficult to imagine a government official making false or exaggerated or
deliberately misleading claims.

One should also not underestimate the role of psychological factors during times of extreme
shock and emotional distress. Even if government conspirators had planned and facilitated the
major events of 9/11, they may not have anticipated every detail, or imagined, fully and vividly,
what it would be like to live through these events, knowing that they bore some responsibility for
them. (Imagine, in particular, a conspirator brought into the fold very late in the game – even on
the morning of 9/11, perhaps, as the attacks were unfolding.) Would it be surprising if some
conspirators made some preposterous statements under these truly awful circumstances?
Something as simple as hubris may also explain some of the more troubling anomalous
statements. Apparently neither Donald Rumsfeld nor Rudolph Giuliani could restrain themselves
from boasting that they had privileged advance knowledge of some of the events of 9/11,xii a
curious thing to do if you’re trying to cover your tracks. Not so curious, however, if you yearn for
opportunities to demonstrate your superiority over others. And of course these individuals did
indeed hold positions of extreme privilege and power. So perhaps the core conspirators were
simply not terribly concerned about how the events of 9/11 unfolded or with who said what —
confident that, from their positions of privilege and power, they could effectively control the
media and manipulate public opinion whatever transpired.”

4.  Another newly published paper:

”  The Ghost in the Machines: Evidence of Foreknowledge
in the WTC Hard Drive Recoveries”

5.  “A new “Hillaryland”, the word coined for devotees of the first lady in the 1990s, is being assembled for Foggy Bottom, where the State Department is based, in sharp contrast to the bold example set by Barack Obama’s cabinet “team of rivals”, composed of the president-elect’s former competitors and opponents.”

6.  “Children ‘executed’ in 1950 South Korean killings

Probe finds children among those killed in 1950; dozens may have been killed by US ally

The killings, details of which were buried in classified U.S. files for a half-century, were intended to keep southern leftists from aiding the invaders at a time when the rightist, U.S.-allied government was in danger of being overrun by communist forces.

“When the people from the other side (North Korea) came here, they didn’t kill many people,” he said, contrasting that with “indiscriminate” killing by southern authorities

The AP has reported that declassified U.S. military documents show U.S. Army officers took photos of the assembly line-style executions outside the central city of Daejeon, where the commission believes between 3,000 and 7,000 people were shot and dumped into mass graves in early July 1950.

Other once-secret files show that a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel reported giving approval to the killing of 3,500 political prisoners by a South Korean army unit he was advising in Busan, if the North Koreans approached that southern port city, formerly spelled Pusan.”

7. ” Mumbai attacks: police admit there were more than ten attackers

India’s police have acknowledged for the first time that more than ten terrorists carried out the Mumbai attack – and at least two managed to escape.

8.  Today is Pearl Harbor Day, and the official story is obviously a bunch of crap:

“We were told how the President was in his study on Sunday for a day of rest, confident nothing would happen after his appeal the night before to Hirohito not to precipitate war. He was chatting with Harry Hopkins and fiddling with his stamp collection, while Mrs. Roosevelt entertained in another quarter one of her innumerable groups of uplifters. Then – all of a sudden – out of a clear sky, came news of the attack on Pearl Harbor. It’s a good picture, but utterly fraudulent. That is not the way things happened. The preceding night – Saturday – the government had got hold of the text of that very document which the Japanese would present the next day. It went to Mr. Roosevelt at 10 P.M. Hull. Knox and Stimson had it. They knew now what was to happen. Hull telephoned Knox and Stimson to meet him next morning for a conference at 10.

Consider the situation that night. The President and his three aged and slow-moving cabinet members knew everything – all save the hour and point of attack. Far out in the Pacific the blow would fail. What, in the name of simple common sense, would men of ordinary intelligence do? They knew at that very moment the Japanese ships and planes and subs and troops, under cover of darkness, were moving to their appointed targets. They knew that out in that vast Pacific were two commanders, wretchedly equipped, depending solely on them for information. Would you not suppose the very first act would be to notify General Marshall and Admiral Stark and then, instantly, Admiral Kimmel and General Short? Would you not think that if Marshall and Stark were not in their offices, they were to be hunted through the town, roused from their slumbers to give them this tremendous news? No. The old gentlemen called a conference among themselves for the next day and went home for the slumbers so essential in their advanced years. The President had the news at 10 P.M. He, too, did nothing, Worse than this, a naval aide wag told not to give Admiral Stark his copy o£ the Japanese note until next morning. Why?

Can we believe that, thus warned, the High Command in Washington, on the edge of such a precipice, would not with whatever speed science had yet devised get this tremendous news and its implication to the Commanders in Hawaii? Instead the three aging secretaries sat down to a conference. General Marshall did not get the news until 11:25 A.M. He then sent a warning message to General Short. There was yet an hour and three-quarters before the explosion. The most precious hour and three-quarters the War Department had ever lived through. Time to get many of the ships in motion. Time to get every available man mobilized. Time to get every available plane off the ground. General Marshall had a scrambler phone which would reach Short instantly. He had also the Navy’s powerful shortwave transmitter. Instead of using these he sent the message to General Short by commercial radio at or near 12:18 P.M., Washington time. That would be 6:48 A.M. Honolulu time. It reached Honolulu at 7:33 A.M. The Japanese planes were at that moment winging to their kill. The message was sent through the streets as the bombs were falling. Thus delayed it reached Army Intelligence office at 11:45 A.M. to be decoded. It was delivered to General Short at 2:58 P.M., hours alter the great base had been destroyed. Why did not General Marshall use the government’s short-wave apparatus? Why did he not use his scrambler phone which would have put this information in the hands of General Short from two and a half to an hour and a half before the attack? His explanation to the Roberts Commission was that he was afraid it might be intercepted, What would have been the difference? If intercepted the Japanese would merely know what they knew already. But Short would have known it also.

While the American public was still stunned by the news of the Pearl Harbor attack, three ideas were promptly fed to the people by the government. One was that the damage was slight. The second was that Kimmel and Short were responsible. The third was that the President was taken completely by surprise.

In time nearly all of these vessels were reclaimed. A few were out in a month. But generally the damage had not been repaired until the Japanese had completed the conquest of the Philippines, Malay and Singapore and much of the rich Indies of the British and Dutch and stood at the gateway to Australia, Why had Knox lied? To deceive the Japanese? Hide from them the extent of our losses? The Japanese knew them only too well He lied to deceive the American people who had been led to believe the Japanese would be a pushover and who, had they known the full extent of the losses, would have been more clamorous for the heads of the guilty.

His commission went to Pearl Harbor and investigated. But it was specifically enjoined from investigating the other segments of the story in Washington. Certain essential documents were deliberately concealed from it. It came up with the expected indictment – putting the blame on Kimmel and Short and calling for their court-martial. That fixed the black spot on the Commanders. They were relieved of their posts. They were forbidden to make any statement or enter into any discussion of their innocence. And it was then announced there would be no court-martial. The black spot was fastened on the two helpless victims to stay. The White House took over the management of the whole affair. Army and Naval officials, when asked for statements, said: “The White House is doing the talking.” And it did none. It wanted to forget the case. It said: “Let’s get on with the war.”

There is a story of profound importance yet to be told about the state of peace so far as America was concerned before Pearl Harbor. Certainly we had not declared war. But we had sent an army across the sea to Iceland to join the British army there; we had been sending arms, ammunition and destroyers and planes as a gift to Britain and France and China. We had been with our warships hunting down German submarines for British planes and even bombing them. On November 25, W. Averill Harriman, the President’s agent in London, said: “The United States Navy is shooting the Germans – German submarines and aircraft at sea.” And on September 20, 1941, a dispatch from Hyde Park reported that “More than half of the United States Navy is forced to remain in the Pacific at a time when the United States is operating against German and Italian submarines and air raiders in the Atlantic.” In the Pacific we had cut off all shipments and trade of essential materials with Japan and frozen and seized here $130,000,000 of her funds, which Walter Lippmann called “a declaration of economic warfare.” We had sent an American military mission to China and an American economic adviser to Chiang Kai-shek. We had sent General Chennault with a large number of American army fliers to China to fight with Chiang’s army. At the Atlantic Charter meeting, Churchill had urged Roosevelt to send an ultimatum to Japan at once. He replied saying: “Let me baby her along for another three months.”

General Short continually begged for more planes, more men, more detection equipment. Instead of getting reinforcement in the imminent peril of war, the two men had to fight continually to hold what they had. Kimmel too had protested frequently. He advised against “backing into war. If we have decided on war it would be better to take direct defensive action.”

The stripping of the naval and airplane and military defenses of Hawaii – particularly of the naval defenses – was another great cause of the disaster at Pearl Harbor. And this was done by the amateur Commander-in-chief over the advice and protests of his military and naval advisers and of Admiral Kimmel and General Short.

9.  Describes Bush also:

“One does not become president of the United States or Army Chief of Staff through gross stupidity. It was FDR himself who said: “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”

[And more on Pearl Harbor]

According to this latter interpretation, FDR sacrificed the fleet because Hitler had to be stopped. Otherwise, once the Germans and Japanese finished subduing Europe and Asia, they would turn on America, and conquer the whole world, with Hitler’s troops eventually goose-stepping through New York City. Also, it is said, FDR cared deeply about those suffering in Hitler’s concentration camps. Only by inciting the Japanese to attack would America have the unity and resolve to support Roosevelt in these noble objectives.

This explanation, however, does not withstand scrutiny. The overextended Germans gave up any hope of invading Britain as feasible, and if the Germans were incapable of an amphibious assault across the English Channel, they certainly could not have launched one across the Atlantic. As Charles Lindbergh reasoned before Pearl Harbor: “Let us not be confused by this talk of invasion…. Great armies must still cross oceans by ship…. No foreign navy will dare approach within bombing range of our coasts. Let us stop this hysterical chatter of calamity and invasion.”

The claim that Roosevelt was motivated by opposition to totalitarianism and concern for concentration camp victims is sharply contradicted by his support for Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. Like Hitler, Stalin was an international aggressor. Few remember that the 1939 invasion of Poland — World War II’s immediate spark — was actually a joint invasion by Germany and the Soviet Union. In 1939-40, Stalin also invaded Finland, occupied Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, and annexed part of Romania. Furthermore, Stalin, like Hitler, slaughtered millions of his own people, including some six million during the Ukrainian genocide (1932-33) alone. Nevertheless, FDR, without bothering with congressional approval, began bestowing lend-lease aid on Stalin in 1941, assistance that would ultimately amount to $11 billion (more than $100 billion in today’s currency).

As former President Herbert Hoover recalled: “In June 1941, when Britain was safe from German invasion due to Hitler’s diversion to attack Stalin, I urged that the gargantuan jest of all history would be our giving aid to the Soviet government. I urged that we should allow those two dictators to exhaust each other. I stated that the result of our assistance would be to spread Communism over the whole world…. The consequences have proved that I was right.

George Marshall, Army Chief of Staff, was thoroughly documented as a Communist sympathizer in America’s Retreat from Victory (1951) by Joseph McCarthy, the U.S. senator whose accusations, though maligned for decades, have been historically vindicated. Marshall’s intervention on behalf of Mao Tse-tung, at the height of the Chinese civil war, is just one of many examples of his leftwing leanings. As for his infamous “horseback ride” of December 7, 1941, which allegedly prevented him from warning Pearl Harbor in time, that cover story was inadvertently blown by Arthur Upham Pope, in his 1943 biography of Maxim Litvinoff, the Soviet ambassador to the United States. Litvinoff first arrived in Washington on the morning of December 7th, 1941 — a highly convenient day to seek additional aid for the Soviets — and, according to Pope, was met at the airport that morning by General Marshall.

Hopkins, Hiss, White, and Marshall represent just a handful of known Soviet agents and abettors within the Roosevelt administration. FDR’s most severe sanctions against Japan — such as his all-out embargo and closing of the Panama Canal to Japanese shipping — came in July 1941. On June 22, 1941, the Germans had invaded the Soviet Union and were decimating the Soviet armies before them. Stalin’s worst fear was that Japan would join its Axis partner and invade from the East. Had this occurred, especially without FDR’s $11 billion in aid, it is virtually certain that the Soviet Union would have been destroyed and world Communism with it.

It is logical that the Soviet agents in the Roosevelt administration, like Stalin himself, panicked in July 1941 and urged the President to take extreme measures against Japan. Roosevelt’s embargo was joined by the British and (with U.S. pressure) the Dutch. The embargo forced Japan to divert attention from Russia, and to instead invade Southeast Asia in an attempt to obtain the raw materials — especially oil and rubber — which the embargo denied them.

This Communist-globalist interpretation will seem radical to many, but is most consistent with the facts. Leaders do not allow their own fleet to be sunk, and thousands of their countrymen to be murdered, out of “nobility.” If Roosevelt and Marshall were motivated by nobility, why did they not send a last-minute warning to Hawaii, so our men could have at least been at their guns when the Japanese arrived? If noble, why did Washington continue using Kimmel and Short as scapegoats even after the war was long won? And if it was necessary to provoke the Axis powers to war to stop aggression and brutality, why was it never necessary to provoke Stalin — an equally brutal and aggressive dictator?”

10.  And more on Pearl:

“Stinnett reveals that Roosevelt’s plan to provoke Japan began with a memorandum from Lieutenant Commander Arthur H. McCollum, head of the Far East desk of the Office of Naval Intelligence. The memorandum advocated eight actions predicted to lead Japan into attacking the United States. McCollum wrote: “If by these means Japan could be led to commit an overt act of war, so much the better.” FDR enacted all eight of McCollum’s provocative steps — and more.

While no one can excuse Japan’s belligerence in those days, it is also true that our government provoked that country in various ways — freezing her assets in America; closing the Panama Canal to her shipping; progressively halting vital exports to Japan until we finally joined Britain in an all-out embargo; sending a hostile note to the Japanese ambassador implying military threats if Tokyo did not alter its Pacific policies; and on November 26th — just 11 days before the Japanese attack — delivering an ultimatum that demanded, as prerequisites to resumed trade, that Japan withdraw all troops from China and Indochina, and in effect abrogate her Tripartite Treaty with Germany and Italy.

After meeting with President Roosevelt on October 16, 1941, Secretary of War Henry Stimson wrote in his diary: “We face the delicate question of the diplomatic fencing to be done so as to be sure Japan is put into the wrong and makes the first bad move — overt move.” On November 25th, the day before the ultimatum was sent to Japan’s ambassadors, Stimson wrote in his diary: “The question was how we should maneuver them [the Japanese] into the position of firing the first shot….”

The bait offered Japan was our Pacific Fleet. In 1940, Admiral J.O. Richardson, the fleet’s commander, flew to Washington to protest FDR’s decision to permanently base the fleet in Hawaii instead of its normal berthing on the U.S. West Coast. The admiral had sound reasons: Pearl Harbor was vulnerable to attack, being approachable from any direction; it could not be effectively rigged with nets and baffles to defend against torpedo planes; and in Hawaii it would be hard to supply and train crews for his undermanned vessels. Pearl Harbor also lacked adequate fuel supplies and dry docks, and keeping men far from their families would create morale problems. The argument became heated. Said Richardson: “I came away with the impression that, despite his spoken word, the President was fully determined to put the United States into the war if Great Britain could hold out until he was reelected.”

Richardson was quickly relieved of command. Replacing him was Admiral Husband E. Kimmel.

It was long presumed that as the Japanese fleet approached Pearl Harbor, it maintained complete radio silence. This is untrue. The fleet barely observed discretion, let alone silence. Naval intelligence intercepted and translated numerous dispatches, some clearly revealing that Pearl Harbor had been targeted.

The Navy has traditionally followed the rule that, when international relations are critical, the fleet puts to sea. That is exactly what Admiral Kimmel did. Aware that U.S.-Japanese relations were deteriorating, he sent 46 warships safely into the North Pacific in late November 1941 — without notifying Washington. He even ordered the fleet to conduct a mock air raid on Pearl Harbor, clairvoyantly selecting the same launch site Admiral Yamamoto chose two weeks later.

When the White House learned of Kimmel’s move it countermanded his orders and ordered all ships returned to dock, using the dubious excuse that Kimmel’s action might provoke the Japanese. Washington knew that if the two fleets met at sea, and engaged each other, there might be questions about who fired the first shot.

The Roberts Commission, assigned to investigate the Japanese attack, consisted of personal cronies of Roosevelt and Marshall.
[Just like the 9/11 Commission.]  The Commission fully absolved Washington and declared that America was caught off guard due to “dereliction of duty” by Kimmel and Short. The wrath of America for these two was exceeded only by its wrath for Tokyo. To this day, many believe it was negligence by the Hawaii commanders that made the Pearl Harbor disaster possible.

11.  “Barack Obama will put forward retired Gen. Eric Shinseki as Secretary of Veterans Affairs in his cabinet..

Here is what Shinseki told the Senate Armed Forces Committee on 25 February 2003, about the force level required in Iraq after the Baath government was overthrown:

‘ I would say that what’s been mobilized to this point — something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably, you know, a figure that would be required. We’re talking about post-hostilities control over a piece of geography that’s fairly significant, with the kinds of ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems. And so it takes a significant ground- force presence to maintain a safe and secure environment, to ensure that people are fed, that water is distributed, all the normal responsibilities that go along with administering a situation like this.”

Note that Shinseki was aware of how big Iraq is (168,753 square miles or about the size of California); he was aware that there would be “ethnic tensions” after the fall of the Baath; and he cared about preventing looting (“safe and secure environment”) and about people having food and potable water. Some of the military duties he mentioned are required of occupying militaries by international law. Rumsfeld either did not know or did not care about any of these considerations.

“If Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and [former undersecretary for defense Douglas J.] Feith had listened to Shinseki, there wouldn’t be as many wounded veterans to take care of,” Cole said. “I think this is a way of saying, ‘Here was a career officer who had valuable insights who was shunted aside by arrogant civilians, and we’re not going to make the same kind of mistakes.’ ” ‘

And then there is the sad, sad situation of some 36,000 US troops who were wounded in Iraq badly enough to go to hospital, along with thousands more who have brain trauma not recognized at the time. Wolfowitz’s boilerplate about how horrible war is will do them no good. The cost to the US public of two divisions of wounded will probably come to $2 trillion over the decades. Gen. Shinseki, disregarded at a crucial moment by civilian ideologues, will now have the opportunity to look after the Vets. ”

12.  Worth reading:

“Depression 2009: What would it look like?”

13.  “A Historic Moment: The Election of the Greatest Con-Man in Recent History

Nothing speaks to Obama’s deep and abiding commitment to become the savior of the US empire as clearly as his willingness to appoint to the highest position of policy making the most mediocre failed politicians and generals merely because of their demonstrated willingness to pursue the course of military-driven empire building even in the midst of a collapsing domestic economy and ever more impoverished and drained citizenry.

Just as Obama’s electoral campaign and subsequent victory will go into the annals as the political con-job of the new millennium, his economic and political appointments will mark another ‘historic’ moment: The nomination of corrupt and failed speculators and warmongers.”

14.  “Miller doesn’t merely want former officials who write such books to be stigmatized and scorned, though he does want that.  Far beyond mere disapproval, he actually wants to vest presidents — or at least the new President — with the formal legal power to block publication of these books in the first place:

Just as mergers and marriages that flourished on handshakes and vows had to turn to coarser arrangements once the stakes of break-up became high, the politician-aide relationship now needs its contract. In other words, it is time for the political prenuptial. Barack Obama should simply require key advisers and officials to sign a binding contract of confidentiality as a condition of employment. Aides should pledge not to disclose anything they see until, say, five years after their boss leaves office.
That is an atrocious idea.  For one thing, it’s hard to see how enforcement of these silencing contracts could be permitted in light of the First Amendment.  And I doubt that Obama, for appearance reasons if nothing else, would take this proposal seriously.  But those matters aside, the thinking behind this proposal is common among Beltway insiders and reveals much about the ways of Washington.
The attribute that defines Beltway culture as much as anything else is obsessive, gratuitous secrecy.  The vast bulk of what takes place of any consequence occurs away from the public eye.  Even laws which Congress enacts are proposed, negotiated and written behind closed doors with lobbyists and operatives.  By the time these bills are even known to the public, let alone openly “debated,” their outcome is a foregone conclusion.  Floor “debates” and Congressional votes are pure theater, empty rituals with no purpose other than to ratify pre-ordained outcomes that were determined in secret.

In light of that, it’s staggering that people like Miller, now that there’s a Democratic administration on the horizon, would be plotting and advocating still new presidential powers to further strengthen the wall of secrecy behind which our Government operates.  One of the very few reasons that we have learned anything meaningful about what the Bush administration did was because people inside the administration decided, for whatever reasons, to shed light on it, to leak it, and to describe what they saw and heard.

One of the very few ways that sunlight ever breaks through all of that and illuminates what our political leaders actually do is when insiders — whether driven by noble whistle-blowing, or profit-seeking, or vindictiveness, or score-settling — decide to pull the curtains back.  A healthy democracy requires, at a bare minimum, awareness on the part of the citizenry of what their political leaders are doing.

Public disclosure is a critical check on abuse of power.  There’s no greater ally for improper actions than darkness.  As Balko put it:

The president’s political appointees are public servants. Their salaries are paid by taxpayers. What they do and say on the public payroll should be accessible to the public, to the courts, and to congressional oversight. If a presidential aide fears that advice he gives the president could subject him to legal action or congressional subpoena down the road, he shouldn’t give advice that’s of questionable legality or that’s ethically dubious in the first place. It really is that simple.
Part of what motivates this Beltway fixation on secrecy is an ignoble attribute of human nature, or at least an attribute of a certain common psyche.  The more exclusive a club is, the more privileged someone feels to belong to it.  The fewer people with access to certain information, the more special those who have been granted access to it — Beltway insiders and source-pleasing journalists — believe themselves to be. “


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