Sunday, June 12, 2016

I.T., Drone Home

*Updated below.


The ingrained depravity of the American ruling establishment can be found right in the media framing of perhaps the most depraved government policy of all. From the Wall Street Journal:
 At the center of a criminal probe involving Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information is a series of emails between American diplomats in Islamabad and their superiors in Washington about whether to oppose specific drone strikes in Pakistan.
The 2011 and 2012 emails were sent via the “low side’’—government slang for a computer system for unclassified matters—as part of a secret arrangement that gave the State Department more of a voice in whether a Central Intelligence Agency drone strike went ahead, according to congressional and law-enforcement officials briefed on the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe.
Some of the emails were then forwarded by Mrs. Clinton’s aides to her personal email account, which routed them to a server she kept at her home in suburban New York when she was secretary of state, the officials said. Investigators have raised concerns that Mrs. Clinton’s personal server was less secure than State Department systems.
So the scandal is not so much that a brutal White House/CIA murder squad exists. It's not so much that as a politically appointed bureaucrat and glass ceiling-breaking mob boss godmother, Hillary Clinton herself was grotesquely granted final say on the high-tech hits.

 The really horrendous scandal making elite eyeballs bleed is that she used an unsecure homebrew server to rubber-stamp extrajudicial assassinations. She let Deep State secrecy go by the wayside simply for her own selfish convenience.  She inartfully co-mingled her public and private affairs. Which people to turn into bug-splat in Pakistan and which people to invite to Chelsea's pricey society wedding got all mixed up in a basement in Chappaqua, New York.

It's not so much the breach of ethics and the breach of common law and the gross violations of basic human rights. It's the breach of etiquette. It's the breach of "national security" that has the spooks and the suits wringing their hands.

The Wall Street Journal's big scoop continues: 
Law-enforcement and intelligence officials said State Department deliberations about the covert CIA drone program should have been conducted over a more secure government computer system designed to handle classified information.
State Department officials told FBI investigators they communicated via the less-secure system on a few instances, according to congressional and law-enforcement officials. It happened when decisions about imminent strikes had to be relayed fast and the U.S. diplomats in Pakistan or Washington didn’t have ready access to a more-secure system, either because it was night or they were traveling.
If Hillary Clinton is indicted, it won't be for anything so mundane as murder. It will be for failing to take care to properly cover up state-sponsored murders. It will be for potentially allowing potential murder victims to get prior warning of their imminent demises by Predator missile.

To the extent that Hillary's heretofore unknown role as Lady High Executioner is being covered at all, it's being framed around how her arrogance got in the way of her discretion. She put the reputations of her peers in the Establishment at high risk. "Hillary Approved CIA Drone Assassinations With Her Cell Phone" screamed the banner headline in Salon.

Now, to be fair, the Salon article does immediately launch into the fact that Clinton only nixed two of the requested strikes, while putting her personal stamp of approval on dozens more, killing an untold number of innocent civilians, including women and children. Information on 22 of the drone strikes were in emails stored on her private home server in Chappaqua.

Oh, and just incidentally, Hillary Clinton is indeed under criminal investigation by the FBI. This factoid was passive-aggressively confirmed in a White House press briefing on the very same day that President Obama heartily endorsed her as his successor and loyal partner in drone warfare. It's kind of his insurance policy;  she can't very well indict the Kill List president after he so kindly palmed off ultimate responsibility for Terror Tuesdays on her, can she? Like Obama before her, she will look forward, not back. Whether this is from the Oval Office or from a luxury suite in Club Fed is still an open question. Though highly unlikely, maybe she'll get the chance to savor both. The wheels of justice do grind slow, especially when they're attached to the presidential armed vehicle appropriately known as "The Beast."

Meanwhile, the Terror Channel (a/k/a CNN) actually blamed Christmas for Hillary's failure to be judicious about the extra-judicial drone executions. Under the "politics" section, CNN Justice Correspondent Evan Perez helpfully blogged:
The (drone e-mail) exchange in question took place over the December holidays when multiple officials were away from the office and without access to their classified email, and some of the emails were ultimately sent to Secretary Clinton's private email server, according to the official.
The FBI has not yet interviewed Clinton as part of its investigation. As CNN first reported, investigators have not found evidence to support criminal charges against Clinton and none are expected, but no final determination will be made until that interview has taken place.
As Mike Lofgren outlined in his book Deep State, CNN and other networks are largely funded and controlled by what Dwight Eisenhower called the Military Industrial Complex -- currently comprised of a conglomerate of defense contractors, corporate-funded think tanks, Wall Street bankers, private equity and media moguls, Silicon Valley billionaires, and their political puppets, consultants and lobbyists.

 "They advertise their wares on the Sunday shows," wrote Lofgren."They use taxpayer dollars for propaganda campaigns to push their wares...Whether they intended it or not, the contractors have succeeded in normalizing the abnormal by transforming the sale of a killer drone into the ethical equivalent of a Mad Men pitch for a new mouthwash brand." 

Since the Justice Department secretly opined that presidential executions of thousands of innocents ("militants") are perfectly legal, Hillary Clinton will not and cannot be charged with homicide nor even depraved indifference to human life. At the most, according to the rules set by and for the powerful, she merely committed a clerical faux pas, potentially resulting in a few red faces in some very high places. Barring any expansion of the FBI inquiry into her sketchy family financial empire, the most she can probably expect from DronemailGate is a slap on the wrist on grounds of sheer ineptitude.

Another President Clinton, meanwhile, would be the ideal personification of COG (Continuity of Government.)  Her election is necessary for the continued smooth running of the Apparatus. She's a cog in the machine, whereas Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump would be spanners in the works. (The Donald wouldn't be able to stop bragging about each and every successful Kill List hit. And then he'd send a bill for crashed Reaper Drones to the Muslims in tribal areas to really teach them a lesson and Make America Great Again.)

 The Obama administration itself is just a continuation of both Clintonoid economic policies and Bush military and surveillance policies, both of which were birthed by right-wing Nixonian paranoia and neoliberal Reaganism.  So of course Hillary Clinton is the most "qualified" candidate the country has ever known. She will continue the continuance of the continuation.

Hillary Laughs It Up With Lucky Libyan Survivor (NY Times)

She'll continue the Unaccountability Project as well, glibly spreading the manure of the dirty wars and political dirty tricks around to ensure that no one person's hands get completely filth-encrusted. If everyone is responsible, then no one can be responsible.  Hillary is the Super Glue to keep all the Deep State club members bound safely together in their corrupt web of money, mutual goals and careerism.

So rather than waste precious time comparing Trump to Hitler and Mussolini, perhaps we should spend more time asking why Obama and Clinton are so much like Bush and Cheney. Perhaps we should admit that a form of fascism is already here, and has been for a very long time. Trump is merely one of its more obviously putrescent symptoms.

"Unhappy events abroad have retaught us two simple truths about the liberty of a democratic people. The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic State itself. That, in its essence, is fascism -- ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any other controlling private power. The second truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if its business system does not provide employment and produce and distribute goods in such a way as to sustain an acceptable standard of living. Both lessons hit home. Among us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing." -- FDR, message to Congress, 4/29/38.


*Update: The above post was largely researched and written before this morning's massacre in Orlando, Florida. The subject matter does tie in, in a way. It's still too soon to tell whether the shooting was the act of a deranged homophobe, or ISIS-inspired, or both. Blowback in response to the American drone assassination program and other acts of aggression is not out of the question.

 Readers, please feel free to use comments to talk about the shooting, or whatever else concerns you today. 

Stay tuned and stay braced for all the politicians waging all the wars to jockey for camera position to cry their copious crocodile tears and politicize this to the max. Stay tuned for the NRA urging us all to arm ourselves.


Pearl said...

A little ray of sunshine in the gloom:

Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer discusses the 2016 election and how the progressive movement can continue to incite political change.

Jay–Ottawa said...

Let's see...Orlando or Pakistan? Eh, I'll go for the disaster with the bigger count.

Obama is so clever, a genius playing chess on ten levels. For years he gets a subordinate to carry on as The Decider, or at least one of them, for the Kill List. YES, brilliant! This gives him cover and provides her with creds to be the next Commander-in-Chief, something like an apprenticeship program. If Clinton ends up in the White House, she can't very well charge Obama or Bush with drone murder, can she? Clinton: "Been there, done that, got the T-shirt!"

Everybody's doing it, has done it, or will do it. So, hit lists become OK, at least normal. We got presidents who got precedents to back them up. Once again, the torch passes smoothly in another quadrennial relay race for the top job in the greatest democracy on earth.

Can't have a president emeritus put in a holding cell by a new commander-in-chief who herself would then have to be hung up for the same reasons in an impeachment trial, can we? This isn't Brazil, but it would be if we let the prissy anti-drone purists take over.

But not to worry. Bernie's on their team now. He'll handle this in his quiet, gentlemanly way. His hands are clean, except for a vote or two in support of the nasty war stuff. He'll use his influence to bargain hard behind closed doors to put an end to this open-ended mafia hit list shit. Or else!

Karen Garcia said...

One of CNN's talking heads bloviating about the shooting today was one Juliette Kayyem, identified only as a "security analyst."

Coincidence abounds. She happens to be married to Federal Judge James Barron, the same DOJ lawyer who wrote the secret opinion "legalizing" Obama's drone assassinations. Of course, the much-vaunted Senate gridlock disappeared when it came time to confirm him to his seat on the bench.

The Deep State web gets very tangled. So thank goodness for Google.

Obama seemed muted as his press con today. I have a feeling that the shooter was himself at least a minor player in the Deep State. He worked for a multinational corporation that does "security" for the govt. Judging from the couture he was wearing on social media, he also seemed to be a big fan of the NYPD. He doesn't quite fit the favorite media profile of the "terrorist."

Cirze said...

Not so fast.

The really horrendous scandal that is making elite eyeballs bleed is that she used an unsecure homebrew server to rubberstamp a whole slew of extrajudicial assassinations. She let Deep State secrecy go by the wayside simply for her own selfish convenience. She inartfully co-mingled her public and private affairs.

I shouldn't be mentioning this, but since we're all family . . .

As an employee with a top-ranked DoD-secured account firm I was able over 15 years ago to access classified information from my home.

Yep. And it was about as far from home-brewing as you can get. It was their policy to allow communication and work to be done at home as the situation necessitated (because they were GETTING PAID FOR IT TO OCCUR ASAP).

So, tell me about her home-brew setup again, please.

I don't believe a word of what we're hearing as the real raison d'etre. The uses of this channel as far as I can see are yet to be divulged to the teeming masses - who aren't actually told anything that's important you know.

But of course you do.

My guess is that whatever went over those lines (metaphorically) is way more interesting than just whom they were bombing that day, permissions granted, or even why. I mean, come on, Obama brags about that stuff.

I'm not a conspiracist! But as someone who's been around for way too long, it doesn't come too hard to see this as regal smoke and mirrors - and did you read about the CIA connections of the latest Muslim lone assault rifle gay shooter (although his wife says he was never religiously motivated but always had a large boulder on his shoulder)?

Not to worry though, kiddies.

Everything will fade into the background in a week or two. And we'll be expected to join Cecile Richards (Ann's lovely daughter - saw her on CSPAN this a.m.) in applauding Hillary Clinton as our greatest woman ever. Er, I meant candidate for President.

Swallow hard and try not to retch.

Love your work!

Unknown said...

Re: the shooting. The Shooter's father claims it was not religiously motivated, though he himself seems to be imvolved in anti-Afghan government politics, in that he used to post Youtube vids discussing Pashtun nationalism(in Dari!?!) and speaking of "our brothers, the Taliban". So the notion of "political Islam" is not one that is wholly unfamiliar to the shooter, who, indeed claimed affiliation with ISIS, and ISIS in return claimed him as one of their own. For what that's worth.

Valerie Long Tweedie said...

Three things:

I find the response to the shooting in Australia to be "more of the same." It is not that people don't realise that this is a tragedy, but it seems to be the new norm. Our gun laws are seen to be insane to the rest of the Developed World and are seen as the reason for so much gun violence in the U.S. Be it ISIS related or a domestic gunman, the problem, as seem by the rest of the world is too many guns that are far too easy to get.

Your quote, Karen, from FDR . . . one I hadn't seen before . . . was powerful in its simplicity and straight forwardness.

Annenigma, I owe you a huge apology for shooting back at you when you first mentioned, a couple of years ago, Elizabeth Warren might one day go over to the dark side. You are a prophet in your own land and I didn't heed your insight. I am sad to see it happen, but I guess everyone has his or her price. Unlikely, she will be the VP as the Hillaristas are counting on a bunch of Republicans changing sides . . . since Hillary is REALLY a Republican anyway . . . and voting for her. For some inane reason, the Republicans I know HATE Elizabeth Warren. Plus, no way Warren will get a cabinet position like Secretary of the Treasury since Hill is so indebted to the big bankers. It will be interesting what Warren gets for her loyalty.

I DO give Bernie credit for stamina in the face of defeat. It was a rigged game. Before this election, I didn't even know SuperDeligates existed but now it is easy to see that those in control have a kill switch embedded in the system in case a true Democrat gets to close to winning.

annenigma said...

Karen, what a clever title for this post. I don't know how you come up with these things and on such a regular basis.

@Valerie - Thanks. By the way, I just ran across a reference to the Greens which might explain their falling out with Nader or whatever happened that you referenced some time ago. This is at Counterpunch titled 'Bernie Sanders' Orchestrated Demise'. Here's just one quote but you might want to read the whole thing. He sounds more than a little bitter but it's always worth reading lots of points of view.

"But Sawant’s 'new party' in this case is, again, the middle-class, pro-capitalist Green Party, which has regularly urged its supporters to vote Democrat in 'swing states' or simply declined to seek ballot status in these contested states'."

In reference to putting pressure on Bernie to run third party he says this: "Asking Bernie Sanders, a lifelong capitalist politician with a 98 percent Democratic Party voting record, to run as a candidate independent of and against the party he has assiduously supported for his entire career is like asking the proverbial leopard to change its spots."

voice-in-wilderness said...

This discussion reminds me that Hillary has nothing to fear from the FBI investigation. President Obama will just issue a blanket pardon for her before he leaves office.

The reference to a secret Justice Dept opinion that legalized drone strikes, remind me of the old question as to whether a tree falling in the forest makes any noise if nobody hears it. if the opinion is classified, then what standing does it have? Wouldn't it be a breach of security to even say it exists, much less what it contains?

annenigma said...

Obama says "The country needs to think about the risks we are willing to take in being so lax about how we make very powerful firearms available to people in this country"

Meanwhile Obama approved a military weapons sale to Vietnam.

We're spreading our gun culture to the whole world and no one makes the connection.

Anonymous said...

Bargirl here, and tired, have been wanting to write, but swamped at work. Quick note: I guess the Orlando shooter is in process of being outed. It was on Chris Hayes tonight. I was at work, but... I read about it before the shift started. Missed watching the Hayes report.
Why isn't the NYT reporting this?
Seriously, is anyone surprised? It wasn't ISIS, it wasn't mental illness, it wasn't guns, it wasn't a spurned lover, it wasn't self-loathing, it was all of those things and a spilled slurpee combined. 50 innocent men killed for just bizarre reason we don't understand.


Anonymous said...

Bargirl again, still tired:

Check the Palm Beach Post report:

And this from Gawker re a Brazilian TV interview with ex-wife's current boyfriend:

"Mateen was married at least once, to a woman named Sitora Yusufiy, who said Sunday that he was unstable and abusive during their brief marriage. Yusufiy, who is now dating a Brazilian man, also sat for an interview with Brazilian TV Monday. Speaking in Portuguese, her boyfriend said in the interview that she had described Mateen as having “gay tendencies” and said his dad had called him gay in front of her on several occasions.

The boyfriend also said Yusufiy told the FBI her ex-husband was unstable and that she did not believe he was part of a terrorist group.

“The FBI asked her not to tell this to the American media,” he claimed.

Their accounts echoed others who came forward Monday saying Mateen was part of the gay scene. Mateen was a regular at Pulse, the Orlando nightclub he attacked Sunday, patrons say—as often as twice a month. While he was there, he spoke of a wife and children and would often get so drunk he had to be escorted out of the club."

Seriously - the FBI asked her not to tell this to the American media? Holy Cow.

annenigma said...

This article links Hillary's own war, Libya, and her favorite campaign, aka speech, contributor. From the Wall Street Journal behind a paywall:

Libyan Fund Alleges Goldman Took Advantage of Its Naivet√© - Lawsuit claims the bank exerted ‘undue influence’ over officials at the sovereign-wealth fund

Libya’s sovereign-wealth fund, in a long-awaited trial that started Monday, alleged Goldman Sachs took advantage of its lack of financial sophistication to draw it into losing trades.