Who's The Jack Murtha For Torture Investigations?

I've been traveling the last few days after finishing my first year of law school. Sitting in the airport Friday afternoon, I couldn't believe what I saw: the entire narrative about torture had been yoked by Republicans to be about Nancy Pelosi. Seems like the first big political success they've had since January. Blatantly dishonest, but successful.

But nearly lost is the notion that torture is illegal. And lost is the uncomfortable truth: the Bush administration tortured detainees for political cover after the Iraq invasion - no 'ticking time bomb,' no '24' impending attack. The Bush administration tortured because they wanted an Iraq-9/11 connection that didn't exist - but no one's talking about it. Or what should be done about it.

And with the White House "looking forward," the opportunity to enforce the rule of law is slipping away.

Back in late 2005, opposition to the Iraq war was floundering. The Senate easily defeated timetable measures. The only resolution with enough support to pass had weak language about how 2006 "should be a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty." It was Republican-written.

But then, on November 17th 2005, Jack Murtha stepped forward. As a former Marine who originally voted for the war's authorization, Murtha's voice cut through the Washington conventional wisdom that dissent about sustained occupation only came from the far left.

Is there a Jack Murtha for torture?

Whose call for a special prosecutor would get the political media's (and the White House's) attention?

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Americans Not Buying Latest Hit on Pelosi

Considering the extent to which the media has been frothing at the proverbial mouth in recent days over the Republican-driven "controversy" surrounding a briefing Nancy Pelosi received from the CIA in 2002 (see, for example, a piece today in the The Politico by a GOP operative on a potential coup against the Speaker), you might think that the American public is actually buying the story. Turns out, that's not really the case.

Forty-three percent (43%) of voters nationwide say that it's at least somewhat likely that the Central Intelligence Agency misled Nancy Pelosi about the use of waterboarding when interrogating prisoners.

But the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey also found that 41% say it's not likely the CIA did so.

What's so remarkable about these numbers is not just that more Americans believe Pelosi than believe the GOP talking points about the CIA (though the fact that history appears to be on her side does help in this regard), but rather that these findings come from Rasmussen, which leans noticeably against the Democrats relative to other surveys (per Pollster.com, Rasmussen's estimate of Barack Obama's approval rating is a full 6.6 points lower than the trend estimate of all other national surveys). Moreover, Rasmussen's own polling finds that the CIA's favorable rating is noticeably higher than that of Pelosi, so the fact that the pollster finds the American people to be giving her, rather than the CIA, the benefit of doubt speaks that much more loudly.

These numbers aren't necessarily bound to change the coverage of this manufactured controversy, because the establishment media's willingness to follow the cues of the right wing noise machine is not to be underestimated. But it is worth bearing in mind when reading or hearing stories about the purported weakness of Nancy Pelosi with regards to these CIA briefings that just 2-in-5 voters, led by self-affiliating Republicans already out to oppose the Speaker, are buying the charges.

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It's Us vs. The Rest Of The Country

In the wake of the torture, pictures, military tribunal fracas, yet more proof that the grand old "liberal media" is much more interested in conflict drama than, you know, reporting and yet more proof that we can't count on them to help protect the rule of law.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090517/ap_o n_an/us_democrats_security_analysis

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Bob Graham Backs Up Nancy Pelosi on CIA Briefings

I don't really understand the furor over Nancy Pelosi's statements about intelligence briefings she received from the CIA in the fall of 2002. Perhaps it's because I turned in my cable box in advance of driving up from Berkeley to Portland yesterday, so I missed all of the inane left-right arguments on the daily talk shows. Then again, perhaps it's because it's a wholly manufactured"controversy" that bears little relation to the truth. Here's Florida's Bob Graham, the Democrat who chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2002, explaining his interactions with the CIA at the time, which largely corroborate the thrust of Pelosi's statements.

"Several weeks ago, when this issue started to bubble up, I called the CIA and asked for the dates in which I had been briefed," Graham tells Robert Siegel. "They gave me four: two in April of '02, two in September."

Graham says he consulted his logs "and determined that on three of the four dates there was no briefing held."

He adds: "On one date, Sept. 27, '02, there was a briefing held and, according to my notes, it was on the topic of detainee interrogation."

Graham says the CIA was initially reticent when he told the agency what he had found in his notes.

"They said, 'We will check and call back,'" Graham recalled. "When they finally did a few days later, they indicated that I was correct. Their information was in error. There was no briefing on the first three of four dates."

Graham says the agency offered no explanation regarding how it came up with the other dates.

Here Graham confirms that the CIA is, right now, not being entirely truthful about the intelligence briefings it gave -- or apparently did not give -- to leading members of Congress in the fall of 2002. Graham also explains that when he was briefed by the CIA, the agency did not bring up waterboarding at all.

But that's not all. Graham also added an important point in this interview with NPR yesterday: Context. In the same period as the CIA briefing of Pelosi and the one and only CIA briefing of Graham, the CIA was promulgating an erroneous National Intelligence Estimate on the purported existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. As Graham put it, the CIA at the time was not "following the admonition to speak truth to power" but was rather "trying to speak what it thought power wanted to hear."

So what we have here is the Speaker of the House explaining that she was not briefed on waterboarding in September 2002 when she was the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, while the CIA says that around the same time as it was trying to sell Congress and the nation on the notion that Iraq had WMDs it told her about waterboarding. What we also have it the then-Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee saying that he was not briefed on waterboarding during his (separate) meeting with the CIA, and that, what's more, the CIA was not truthful to him in recent weeks about the extent of the briefings he received from the agency. Hmmm... whom to believe?

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Tell CBS To Fire David Feherty

In fact tell Golf Magazine to fire him also.

This little bug Ferherty has suggested that US military troops would kill Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid if given them chance.

Writing in D Magazine Ferherty offers up this gem, "if you gave any U.S. soldier a gun with two bullets in it, and he found himself in an elevator with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Osama bin Laden, there's a good chance that Nancy Pelosi would get shot twice, and Harry Reid and bin Laden would be strangled to death."

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