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"I'd vote for Condi!"  That was Facebook's COO, Sheryl Sandberg's response in a Parade magazine interview (March 9, 2014, page 10) by Lynn Sherr, when they were discussing the possibility of a female president being able to help change the status quo.

Of course, by the time I got to that part of the article/interview, I've already gotten over my initial shock of seeing former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, featured prominently on the cover of the March 9th issue of Parade, under the title "3 Influential Women, ONE POWERFUL MESSAGE."

The subtitle just added to the sense of irony: "What Condoleezza Rice, Sheryl Sandberg, and Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chávez want girls everywhere to know."

As I was reading the article and digesting the visuals, and content, what kept coming to mind is "So, this is how history is whitewashed, how the victors rewrite it, how powerful propaganda works, by using something wholesome and uplifting, like the International Women's Day, to buttress the image of controversial figures."  I was seeing it right there, in real time.

As an alert citizen, I've come to the conclusion that the Bush administration committed war crimes (including war profiteering), and that Condoleezza Rice played a central role in the malfeasance.  As such, key members of his administration should have been subjected to investigations and possible prosecution for a host of high crimes and misdemeanors if we had a functional legal system.  But regardless, at a minimum they should have been universally discredited and shamed for their involvement in one of the most shameful chapters of this country's history.

Instead we have Ms. Rice being exalted as an example of "one powerful message" girls everywhere should know...

Here are a couple of findings from the "U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence" report released on June 5th, 2008:

“Before taking the country to war, this Administration owed it to the American people to give them a 100 percent accurate picture of the threat we faced.  Unfortunately, our Committee has concluded that the Administration made significant claims that were not supported by the intelligence,” Rockefeller said.  “In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent.  As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed.”

“It is my belief that the Bush Administration was fixated on Iraq, and used the 9/11 attacks by al Qa’ida as justification for overthrowing Saddam Hussein. To accomplish this, top Administration officials made repeated statements that falsely linked Iraq and al Qa’ida as a single threat and insinuated that Iraq played a role in 9/11.   Sadly, the Bush Administration led the nation into war under false pretenses.  

“There is no question we all relied on flawed intelligence.  But, there is a fundamental difference between relying on incorrect intelligence and deliberately painting a picture to the American people that you know is not fully accurate.

Fast forward to today, when The New York Times reports that "Feinstein Publicly Accuses C.I.A. of Spying on Congress."
Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California and the chairwoman of the committee, suggested on the Senate floor that the agency had violated federal law and said the C.I.A. had undermined Congress’s constitutional right to oversee the actions of the executive branch.


Ms. Feinstein leveled the new charge as part of a lengthy public recounting of the years of jousting between her committee and the C.I.A. over the legacy of the detention program, which President Obama officially ended in January 2009.

The disclosure comes a week after the first reports that the C.I.A. late last year had carried out a separate search of computers used by her staff. The C.I.A. said it carried out the search to uncover how the committee gained access to an internal review of the detention program cited by Democratic lawmakers critical of the program.

Calling the present conflict a “defining moment” for the oversight of American spy agencies,” Ms. Feinstein forcefully denied that committee staff members had obtained the internal review improperly, saying that the internal document had been made available as part of the millions of pages of documents that the agency had given the committee to conduct its investigation.

Now, given our sordid recent history, when government functionaries with apparent conflicts of interests have refused to hold accoutable the most consequential criminals of the times, including members of the Wall Street Criminal Racketeering Cartel TM, I see this hole kerfuffle between the Senate intelligence committee and the C.I.A. as just another installment of political theater.  Nevertheless, I do find the investigation useful for me, as a citizen wanting to have an informed opinion about our current state of affairs.

My take, my opinion, my conclusion on all this is that the C.I.A. is basically going out of its way to prevent the public from knowing the extent of malfeasance and criminality (including war crimes) prevalent during the Bush administration, post 9/11.

Here's another take on the issue, from AlterNet: "Key Senator Blasts CIA for Coverups, Intimidation to Halt Probe into Agency's 'Un-American and Brutal' Torture Programs"

In a bombshell statement on the floor of the US Senate, Feinstein, normally an administration loyalist, accused the CIA of potentially violating the US constitution and of criminal activity in its attempts to obstruct her committee’s investigations into the agency’s use of torture. She described the crisis as a “defining moment” for political oversight of the US intelligence service.

Her unprecedented public assault on the CIA represented an intensification of the row between the committee and the agency over a still-secret report on the torture of terrorist suspects after 9/11. Resolution of the crisis, Feinstein suggested, may come this week at the White House.

Feinstein, who said she was making her statement “reluctantly”, confirmed recent reports that CIA officials had monitored computer networks used by Senate staff investigators. Going further than previously, she referred openly to recent attempts by the CIA to remove documents from the network detailing evidence of torture that would incriminate intelligence officers.

She also alleged that anonymous CIA officials were effectively conducting a smear campaign in the media to discredit and “intimidate” Senate staff by suggesting they had hacked into the agency’s computers to obtain a separate, critical internal report on the detention and interrogation programme.

[The emphasis is mine]

Basically they are doing everything possible to suppress the truth about Bush's torture program; because, of course, if the truth is known it may lead to serious consequences for those involved in the crimes.

As I said, at this point I don't think our captured government is going to do anything meaningful about the findings of this report, regardless the level of criminality and malfeasance.

However, the voting public can.  And the United Nations or other countries could also take some steps to hold war criminals accountable, unless the whole world is willing to admit that only leaders of weak third-rate powers can be held accountable for crimes.

And this brings me back to Ms. Rice.  I do hope that all the truth about these war crimes come to light, and I do hope that those involved are fully identified so they can never be in a position to whitewash history.

I think the most powerful message our society would want girls (and boys, and citizens everywhere) to know is that nobody is above the law, that those who commit crimes will be held accountable, regardless of their station in life.

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Comment Preferences

  •  How cute! (22+ / 0-)

    Dianne Feinstein suddenly cares about the 4th Amendment.

    Tyrion Lannister: "It's not easy being drunk all the time. Everyone would do it if it were easy."

    by psychodrew on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 12:05:05 PM PDT

  •  If there is anyone out there... (7+ / 0-)

    that doesn't give two shits about this, then I will gladly donate them.

    If debugging is the process of removing bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in.

    by kharma on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 12:11:44 PM PDT

  •  The CIA protects no one but itself. (10+ / 0-)

    "So listen, oh, Don't wait." Vampire Weekend.

    by Publius2008 on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 12:45:37 PM PDT

  •  I Remember the Crazy Run-Up To The War On Iraq... (8+ / 0-)

    like yesterday-- the lies, the smears, the total abandonment of political oversight-- and it still leaves me outraged. I credit the whole charade, though, with knocking the scales from my eyes. Till then, I actually believed most politicians were fundamentally good people. Silly, naive me.

    I still long for justice, though it may be a long shot. If it takes 30 years to get BushCo to the Hague, then I say, Long Live Dubya'-- for 31!

    "A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or tragedy"-- James Madison

    by Bad Cog on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 12:58:39 PM PDT

  •  The CIA has been a rogue operation... (7+ / 0-)

    ...from the start.

    Their arrogance has finally caught up to them.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 01:13:41 PM PDT

  •  what a bunch of hooey.. (5+ / 0-)

    They knew what was going on..when it was going on. I remember Alan Dershowitz talking about redefining torture before the bombs fell on Afghanistan. Legalizing torture was no secret, and for these people to pretend that they did not know is laughable. Pisses me off.

  •  Hi Ray! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093, WB Reeves, Hey338Too

    Interesting diary on an important topic.

    I was wondering, doesn't this story show that some aspects of the system are still working?
    -The Intelligence Committee has apparently put together a study of the CIA detention program that is in-depth/accurate enough to raise concerns at the CIA.
    -Feinstein has taken the issue of the CIA's actions public and is calling for an investigation.

    I don't feel we have the full story yet, but it's hard for me to interpret that as "just another installment of political theater". If Feinstein wanted to keep this quiet, she could have, and if the Intelligence Committee had wanted to blow this off, they could have.

    •  Unless and until someone is actually held (6+ / 0-)

      accountable it doesn't show that the system is working. The creation of reports is not "the system working" in any meaningful sense. If the system were working we'd have Rule of Law, which we've got nothing close to right now.

      This came out because the CIA accused Feinstein's staff of violating the law, not just because the torture papers were unveiled. It seems to me that this is CIA over-reach more than anything else.

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 02:45:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, WB Reeves, Hey338Too

        I did say "some aspects of the system". And you're right, the CIA accusation does point to over-reach, and likely triggered Feinstein's decision to go public.

        An interesting aspect of this is the "separate, critical internal report on the detention and interrogation programme" that triggered the CIA response. I wonder how that ended up in the Intelligence Committee's hands?

    •  Hi erratic! No, I think it is political theater. (4+ / 0-)

      I think Feinstein is doing the true and tried Kabuki Theater, a lot of huffing and puffing, indignant comments, public denunciations that are all meant to make the public believe that this stuff is being taking seriously.

      I've seen this picture before, with the Wall Street Criminal Racketeering Cartel TM, when they bring all the criminal banksters in front of congressional committees, to be publicly reprimanded (while their sit there with their gangsters' smug faces), and nothing happens.

      Until I learn that criminal charges have been filed, reaching the the highest levels, I'll call political theater.

      •  So you don't think that Feinstein (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        is serious about any of this, she's just pretending to be offended?

        What about the report? Do you think it actually contains relevant and important information about the CIA detention program?

        •  Feinstein serious? Bwa-ha-ha-ha..... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ray Pensador, lunachickie, kharma

          she's just lobbying for more perks.  Actually, she may well be insulted that the CIA would dare to spy on HER people

          There will be some deck chairs rearranged.

          Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

          by bobdevo on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 03:11:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  If she was serious then she'd release the report (5+ / 0-)

          There is literally nothing stopping her from reading it into the record and effectively declassifying it. As a Senator she has the power to do that with no legal repercussions.

          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

          by AoT on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 03:14:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I guess I don't see the fact that she (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            WB Reeves, AoT

            hasn't done so yet as proof that she's not serious. But yes, if the report doesn't come out, then this was all pointless.

            A more cynical interpretation would be that this is all a performance, to create an impression of legitimacy for a toothless report.

            •  Really? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kharma, Ray Pensador, erratic
              I guess I don't see the fact that she hasn't done so yet as proof that she's not serious.
              What would it take to convince you?  

              This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

              by lunachickie on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 04:00:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, if she hasn't released the report in a month (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                then it'll be pretty clear. I'm skeptical, but it's still possible.

                If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                by AoT on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 04:13:15 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Wait, what? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  kharma, Ray Pensador
                  If she was serious then she'd release the report
                  if she hasn't released the report in a month then it'll be pretty clear. I'm skeptical,

                  This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

                  by lunachickie on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 04:20:19 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  They can both be true (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    I'm extremely skeptical that she will release the report, but it could happen. I suppose I could also rephrase that to "If she is serious she will release the report."

                    Again, I think the likelihood of that is somewhere between fuck and all.

                    If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                    by AoT on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 04:30:19 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Hi Luna! (0+ / 0-)

                I basically agree with AoT - if the report comes out, that'd be proof that she's serious. I don't know enough about congressional protocol to know what the ramifications of the tactic AoT described - "reading it into the record and effectively declassifying it".

                I find situations like this interesting, because they seem to pull back the curtains a bit. I doubt that this is the kind of discussion that the CIA would want to be having out in the open, and it seems like the Intelligence Committee has gotten access to some information that the CIA didn't want them to have. It's hard for me to reconcile the interpretation of this as "political theater" with one that the report does contain relevant and important information about the detention program.

                My questions to Ray still stand - what's your response to them?

                So you don't think that Feinstein is serious about any of this, she's just pretending to be offended?

                What about the report? Do you think it actually contains relevant and important information about the CIA detention program?

                •  Hi erratic! I thought I answered your question (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  erratic, Ironic Chef, lostinamerica

                  clearly.  I'm perplexed as to why the question still stands... Other people in this thread also answered it along the same lines; unless people involved in these crimes end up being charged, prosecuted, and if found guilty, imprisoned to serve long sentences, I consider it political theater.

                  If there are no actual serious consequences, then this is just one more example of failing to address moral hazard.

                  Just like government officials turning a blind eye to the massive crimes perpetrated by Wall Street, and the massive war crimes committed by the Bush administration, and the ongoing constitutional violations being committed by the current administration.

                  Regarding Feinstein's seriousness about the report, given the fact that she has been one of the top defenders of the NSA illegal and unconstitutional activities, I'm disposed to pre-distrust anything she's doing and I actually see this process of "generating a report" as yes, political theater, where some outrageous revelations may be disclosed, and we'll go through the typical news cycles of recriminations, but at the end of the day no one will be held accountable, i.e., charge with a serious crime.

                  Regarding "political theater," my views coincide with these gentlemen:

                  Chris Hedges:

                  Corporations write our legislation. They control our systems of information. They manage the political theater of electoral politics and impose our educational curriculum. They have turned the judiciary into one of their wholly owned subsidiaries. They have decimated labor unions and other independent mass organizations, as well as having bought off the Democratic Party, which once defended the rights of workers. With the evisceration of piecemeal and incremental reform—the primary role of liberal, democratic institutions—we are left defenseless against corporate power.


                  A handful of corporate oligarchs around the globe have everything—wealth, power and privilege—and the rest of us struggle as part of a vast underclass, increasingly impoverished and ruthlessly repressed. There is one set of laws and regulations for us; there is another set of laws and regulations for a power elite that functions as a global mafia.

                  [The emphasis is mine]

                  John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney
                  The United States has experienced fundamental changes that are dramatically detrimental to democracy. Voters’ ability to define political discourse has been so diminished that even decisive election results like Barack Obama’s in 2012 have little impact. That’s because powerful interests — freed to, in effect, buy elections, unhindered by downsized and diffused media that must rely on revenue from campaign ads — now set the rules of engagement. Those interests so dominate politics that the squabbling of Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, is a sideshow to the great theater of plutocracy and plunder. This is not democracy. This is dollarocracy.

                  [The emphasis is mine]

                  I hope that at least you can now agree that I answer the question.  Again, you don't have to agree with my answer, but I stand by it.


                  •  Thanks Ray! (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Ray Pensador

                    And yes, this does make your position more clear. My interpretation is that you think that the report might be real (in that it does contain important information about the CIA detention program) and Feinstein's position on getting the report released, and her complaint about CIA interference might be real (although you mistrust her based on her past actions) but since you don't think that the perpetrators of illegal actions within the CIA detention program will be prosecuted, it's all political theatre.

                    Is that accurate?

                    •  That's a fair assessment; the only thing I will (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      erratic, lostinamerica

                      add is that by now the system is so rigged that it's set up to go through these motions (investigations, pronouncements, condemnation, hearings), all of which fools some people into believing that the problems are being (seriously) addressed, but it all ends short of people being held accountable (i.e., criminal charges).

                      •  Cheers Ray! (3+ / 0-)

                        This does help explain a core difference in our perspectives. I share your desire for justice, and outrage that there haven't been more tangible consequences for those responsible for eg Iraq, the financial scandals, and so on. But I consider this kind of corruption to be basically intrinsic to society - part of human nature. As is the commitment to justice and working for the general good. When people are involved, things get messy. For example, if you start looking at the American Revolution close-up, it's not too pretty!

                        So in a situation like this one, I'm more interested in what's being achieved, eg additional information about the detention program, more specific identification of the responsible parties,...and less focussed on the ideal outcome, eg the responsible parties being brought to justice (which I doubt will occur, however much I might want it to).

                        Carry on!

                        •  Yes, we have a fundamental difference of opinion (3+ / 0-)

                          when it comes to these issues. My view is that once the rule of law ceases to be applied to all equally, then what you have is tyranny.

                          •  A serious question; can you think of a time (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            erratic, Hey338Too

                            that we can document, anywhere, over all the years the human race actually has had any kind of law, where that law was applied equally to all the people under it?

                            If not, perhaps the problem lies in the fact that we are human beings, rather than in any particular governmental system.

                            At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

                            by serendipityisabitch on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 10:59:44 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I can almost hear the water splashing all over the (0+ / 0-)

                            place... Here's one example:

                            Here's how Judge Rakoff, who sits on the Federal District Court in Manhattan, characterized the situation in a recent The New York Review of Books article titled "The Financial Crisis: Why Have No High-Level Executives Been Prosecuted?"

                            Five years have passed since the onset of what is sometimes called the Great Recession. While the economy has slowly improved, there are still millions of Americans leading lives of quiet desperation: without jobs, without resources, without hope.


                            But if, by contrast, the Great Recession was in material part the product of intentional fraud, the failure to prosecute those responsible must be judged one of the more egregious failures of the criminal justice system in many years. Indeed, it would stand in striking contrast to the increased success that federal prosecutors have had over the past fifty years or so in bringing to justice even the highest-level figures who orchestrated mammoth frauds. Thus, in the 1970s, in the aftermath of the “junk bond” bubble that, in many ways, was a precursor of the more recent bubble in mortgage-backed securities, the progenitors of the fraud were all successfully prosecuted, right up to Michael Milken.

                            Again, in the 1980s, the so-called savings-and-loan crisis, which again had some eerie parallels to more recent events, resulted in the successful criminal prosecution of more than eight hundred individuals, right up to Charles Keating. And again, the widespread accounting frauds of the 1990s, most vividly represented by Enron and WorldCom, led directly to the successful prosecution of such previously respected CEOs as Jeffrey Skilling and Bernie Ebbers.

                            In striking contrast with these past prosecutions, not a single high-level executive has been successfully prosecuted in connection with the recent financial crisis, and given the fact that most of the relevant criminal provisions are governed by a five-year statute of limitations, it appears likely that none will be. It may not be too soon, therefore, to ask why.

                            [The emphasis is mine]

                          •  Ray, your answer not only doesn't limp, (0+ / 0-)

                            it hasn't a leg to stand on. Are you saying that during the 1970s and 1980s there was impartial justice for all under the law? Everybody? Long haired hippies and welfare queens and those freaky gay people and draft dodgers and the poor in their nice new public assistance housing all got equal justice with, oh, say, your average suburbanite or old New England money? My memory isn't that short, but perhaps yours is.

                            More egregious doesn't mean that lesser degrees of inequity didn't exist, it only means that things were worse than usual, usual being pretty far out of whack to begin with.

                            At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

                            by serendipityisabitch on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 08:51:49 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You're implying that Serendipity (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            is "carrying water" for the administration? That seems unnecessary - why not take her comment seriously?

                            Your quote from Rakoff makes a good point, that previous financial crises were followed by prosecutions.

    •  And fwiw, more details on the incident (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      serendipityisabitch, Hey338Too

      in this Slate article:

      The Senate and the CIA at War

      Not long after, documents started going missing again. This batch of ghost papers would come to be known as the “Panetta review,” referring to Leon Panetta, the former CIA director. They represented an internal summary of what had been provided to the intelligence committee. “What was unique and interesting about the internal documents was not their classification level, but rather their analysis and acknowledgment of significant CIA wrongdoing,” said Feinstein.

      The power of these Panetta documents and the fact that they had gone missing didn’t become apparent until the Senate put together its final report in 2012, six years after first learning about the program and 10 years after the program had started. The CIA responded to the 6,300-page Senate report with a 122-page rebuttal in June 2013. What surprised investigators was that the agency’s rebuttal contradicted the conclusions that had been in the Panetta documents. “Some of these important parts [of the Senate report] that the CIA now dispute … are clearly acknowledged in the CIA’s own internal Panetta review,” said Feinstein. “How can the CIA’s official response to our study stand factually in conflict with its own internal review?”

      The contradiction suggests that the CIA was trying to conceal its wrongdoing when it removed the Panetta documents from the network investigators were using. Fortunately for Senate investigators they had printed out the Panetta review before it disappeared. When they saw the discrepancy between what had been written internally and what was being said in public, they decided to remove the physical copies from the CIA in case someone there tried to destroy them as they had previous evidence.

      •  If these things lead to people being charged with (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        war crimes, obstruction of justice, and any other crimes related to these activities, then we're talking about a serious effort.

        Given our recent history of government cover-ups of massive Wall Street crimes, as well as Obama's decision not to investigate war crimes committed by the Bush administration, I seriously doubt that any of this is going to lead to criminal charges at the highest levels.

        •  Even that is window dressing, it's not about a few (0+ / 0-)

          patsies doing time. Early on in the 1820's a major party formed over the issue of government secrecy, the Antimasonics, included Seward and JQA, which became the abolitionist backbone that won the civil war. It takes people who are willing to change the conversation and the structure. JFK/RFK came out of that tradition. Carter, also during whose administration the Church Committee presided, ending with pushback in the October Surprise and other electoral tampering.

  •  How much longer will John Brennan remain (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, kharma

    in office?

    The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

    by lysias on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 02:37:10 PM PDT

  •  The only way to stop this shit is to (6+ / 0-)

    put some of these motherfuckers in jail.


    They got away with torture.  They got away with murder.  They got away with fudging data to permit the Iraq invasion and 150k to 1M civilian bodies.

    It's illegal for them to act inside the United States.

    Put these fuckers in jail.

    Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

    by bobdevo on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 03:03:25 PM PDT

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