Monday, July 29, 2013

Engelhardt: Edward Snowden (whistleblower) v. Robert Seldon Lady (torturer)

I'm re-posting this must-read article essentially for its must-be-readacy.

This CIA Operative Indicted for Extraordinary Renditions Vanished from the Map—Twice

After years in absentia, poof! Robert Seldon Lady, convicted of kidnapping by Italy, reappeared out of nowhere. Then he was gone again.

Recently, [retired CIA operative . . . and convicted kidnapper . . . Robert Seldon] Lady proved a one-day wonder. After years in absentia — poof! He reappeared out of nowhere on the border between Panama and Costa Rica, and made the news when Panamanian officials took him into custody on an Interpol warrant. The CIA's station chief in Milan back in 2003, he had achieved brief notoriety for overseeing a la dolce vita version of extraordinary rendition as part of Washington’s Global War on Terror. His colleagues kidnapped Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, a radical Muslim cleric and terror suspect, off the streets of Milan, and rendered him via U.S. airbases in Italy and Germany to the torture chambers of Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt. Lady evidently rode shotgun on that transfer. . .

. . . Last week, the Panamanians picked him up. It was the real world equivalent of a magician’s trick. He was nowhere, then suddenly in custody and in the news, and then — poof again! He wasn’t. Just 24 hours after the retired CIA official found himself under lock and key, he was flown out of Panama, evidently under the protection of Washington, and in mid-air, heading back to the United States, vanished a second time. State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters on July 19th, “It's my understanding that he is in fact either en route or back in the United States." So there he was, possibly in mid-air heading for the homeland and, as far as we know, as far as reporting goes, nothing more. Consider it the CIA version of a miracle. Instead of landing, he just evaporated. And that was that. . .

. . . This version of how it all works is so much the norm in Washington that few there are likely to see any contradiction at all between the Obama administration’s approaches to Snowden and Lady, nor evidently does the Washington media. Its particular blind spots, when it comes to Washington’s actions, remain striking — as when the U.S. effectively downed the Bolivian president and his plane. Although it was an act of seemingly self-evident illegality, there was no serious reporting, no digging when it came to the behind-the-scenes acts of the U.S. government, which clearly pressured four or five European governments (one of which may have been Italy) to collude in the act. Nor, weeks later, has there been any follow-up by the Washington media. In other words, an act unique in recent history, which left European powers disgruntled and left much of Latin America up in arms, has disappeared without explanation, analysis, punditry, or editorial comment here. Undoubtedly, given the lack of substantial coverage, few Americans even know it happened . . . This, then, is our world: a single megapower has, since September 2001, been in a financing and construction frenzy to create the first global surveillance state; its torturers run free; its kidnappers serve time at liberty in this country and are rescued if they venture abroad; and its whistleblowers -- those who would let the rest of us know what “our” government is doing in our name — are pilloried. And so it goes.

Thank you Tom Englehardt

This article stunningly sums up the cognitive dissonance, the sheer banality and mind-blowing obtuseness of the GovCo here in the good ol' United Security States of America; and the massive levels of complete lap-dog co-operation the mainstream Media Complex offers up; the cowards. Make no mistake, it matters nothing if the Top Dog at the Top is a local guy, who spouts the particular brand of lies I want to hear. When it comes to advancing the Security and Surveillance machines, and protecting the interests of a few elite sons-of-bitches who were born rich and thus get to fuck everybody over, it's always a race to the bottom, to see who's willing to sink the lowest into that swamp of authoritarianism.

My personal savior, Bill Hicks, had a riotous bit about what happens when you win the Presidency. I'll let him do the honors:

My new theory on becoming the President is similar to my personal savior's, but not exactly the same. I also envision a meeting of all the old military/industrialist/banking scumfucks calling the President into their lair. But, rather than the classic Video of the Grassy Knoll From a Different Angle scenario, I see the top two candidates coming in BEFORE they get elected, and then the interview starts:

BANKSTER: So, you wanna be President?

POL: Oh yeah!

BANKSTER: How badly?

POL: Like, really, really fuckin badly, man. I mean excuse my french and all but-!

BANKSTER: Ok, we get it. Would you bomb wedding parties?

POL: Oh yeah!

BANKSTER: Enthusiastically?

POL: Oh totally, man, totally. I can't wait! Light 'em up, a ha ha ha!

BANKSTER: Great. Order the extra-judicial murder of U.S. Citizens?

POL: Extra? . . . what now?

BANKSTER: Judicial - no trial. Hit list. Dead. Light 'em up.

POL: Well . . .

CEO/GENERAL: Yes or no question chief, yes or no.

POL: Yes. Yes I would.

BANKSTER: Hunt down people who tell the truth about our activities to the ends of the Earth, and then lock them in solitary confinement for 20 months?

POL: . . . I'm sorry could you repeat that?

BANKSTER: Whistleblowers. Hunt them to the ends of the earth. Throw them in solitary for years at a time.

POL: . . . Oh, whistleblowers? Yes. I mean yeah, light 'em up.

BANKSTER: Great. Would you move mountains and dig oceans to allow torturers and convicted kidnappers to go unpunished?

POL: Yes.

MEDIA MOGUL: Congratulations, Governor. It looks like Florida might go your way next month.

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