Saturday, December 20, 2014

Semi-Open Weekend Thread: The Fairer Sex? There were Female Nazis Too. Introducing the CIA Report's 'Queen of Torture'

As is our habit, do consider this our semi-open weekend salon.

I hope that you have a good weekend feeding the gross and ugly maw of American greed and consumerism. My only purchase has been a copy of the new Planet of the Apes movie that was on sale for 13 dollars at Target. The powers that be claim that today is the best day for bargain hunting. I am going to wait until Sunday or Monday--the sales will be extended--to see what Chinese sweatshop produced clothing items I can procure.

What is your shopping strategy? Do you have any "must have" items that you are still searching for?

Today's sojourn to downtown Chicago will consist of looking for chaos and trouble as the consumer drones run amok, topsy turvy, bumping into each other for cheap gropes, pick-pocketing, and to experience the triumph of spending their money faster than everyone else.

Repeat after me:


Hail Festivus!

The shame of a nation continues. The mass media has nurtured a limited attention span among the American people. What should be the outrage of the year or decade is massaged into a tiny box of fleeting attention that lasts a minute or a second. Subsequently, the CIA torture report has already been thrown down the American people's memory hole (I doubt that will be the case for the country's enemies abroad).

Moreover, as I wrote here, and also explained in my opening promo on the last episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, the United States is a violent and bloodthirsty country where torture was and remains the norm. In many ways--as revealed by recent polling data in support of torturing "terrorists"--the United States people do not have a conscience. I worry that American exceptionalism serves as a mask for mass sociopathy. Am I alone in my concern?

Bush, Cheney, and the other architects of, participants in, and enforcers of America's torture program should be put on trial for war crimes. In that trial that will never be, one of the defendants should be be a woman, she who is one of the head monsters.

The New Yorker offers the following details on the 'Queen of Torture':
The NBC News investigative reporter Matthew Cole has pieced together a remarkable story revealing that a single senior officer, who is still in a position of high authority over counterterrorism at the C.I.A.—a woman who he does not name—appears to have been a source of years’ worth of terrible judgment, with tragic consequences for the United States. Her story runs through the entire report. She dropped the ball when the C.I.A. was given information that might very well have prevented the 9/11 attacks; she gleefully participated in torture sessions afterward; she misinterpreted intelligence in such a way that it sent the C.I.A. on an absurd chase for Al Qaeda sleeper cells in Montana. And then she falsely told congressional overseers that the torture worked. 
Had the Senate Intelligence Committee been permitted to use pseudonyms for the central characters in its report, as all previous congressional studies of intelligence failures, including the widely heralded Church Committee report in 1975, have done, it might not have taken a painstaking, and still somewhat cryptic, investigation after the fact in order for the American public to hold this senior official accountable. Many people who have worked with her over the years expressed shock to NBC that she has been entrusted with so much power. A former intelligence officer who worked directly with her is quoted by NBC, on background, as saying that she bears so much responsibility for so many intelligence failures that “she should be put on trial and put in jail for what she has done.” 
Instead, however, she has been promoted to the rank of a general in the military, most recently working as the head of the C.I.A.’s global-jihad unit. In that perch, she oversees the targeting of terror suspects around the world. (She was also, in part, the model for the lead character in “Zero Dark Thirty.”)
Her conclusion that there were black Muslim terrorists hiding out in Montana (Montana? Really? Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle need to team up with Mel Brooks to make a satire about said mess) is laughable except for the violence inflicted on her prey to obtain it:
As NBC recounts, this egregious chapter was apparently only the first in a long tale, in which the same C.I.A. official became a driving force in the use of waterboarding and other sadistic interrogation techniques that were later described by President Obama as “torture.” She personally partook in the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the architect of the 9/11 attacks, at a black site in Poland. According to the Senate report, she sent a bubbly cable back to C.I.A. headquarters in 2003, anticipating the pain they planned to inflict on K.S.M. in an attempt to get him to confirm a report from another detainee, about a plot to use African-American Muslims training in Afghanistan for future terrorist attacks. “i love the Black American Muslim at AQ camps in Afghanuistan (sic). … Mukie (K.S.M.) is going to be hatin’ life on this one,” she wrote, according to the report. 
But, as NBC notes, she misconstrued the intelligence gathered from the other detainee. Somehow, the C.I.A. mistakenly believed that African-American Muslim terrorists were already in the United States. The intelligence officials evidently pressed K.S.M. so hard to confirm this, under such physical duress, that he eventually did, even though it was false—leading U.S. officials on a wild-goose chase for black Muslim Al Qaeda operatives in Montana. According to the report, the same woman oversaw the extraction of this false lead, as well as the months-long rendition and gruesome interrogation of another detainee whose detention was a case of mistaken identity. Later, in 2007, she accompanied then C.I.A. director Michael Hayden to brief Congress, where she insisted forcefully that the torture program had been a tremendous and indispensable success.
Once again we are reminded that women are not the gentler and fairer sex. The Queen of Torture is part of a bureaucratic machine of violence and cruelty that rewarded and incentivized the violation of basic human rights by its members and agents.

History provides many such examples of female monsters. For example, the Queen of Torture can trace her line back to female Nazis:

The Daily Mail, in a story about the recent book Hitler's Furies, details how:
Blonde German housewife Erna Petri was returning home after a shopping trip in town when something caught her eye: six small, nearly naked boys huddled in terror by the side of the country road.

Married to a senior SS officer, the 23-year-old knew instantly who they were. 
They must be the Jews she’d heard about — the ones who’d escaped from a train taking them to an extermination camp. 
But she was a mother herself, with two children of her own. So she humanely took the starving, whimpering youngsters home, calmed them down and gave them food to eat.
Then she led the six of them — the youngest aged six, the oldest 12 — into the woods, lined them up on the edge of a pit and shot them methodically one by one with a pistol in the back of the neck. 
This schizophrenic combination of warm-hearted mother one minute and cold-blooded killer the next is an enigma and one that — now revealed in a new book based on years of trawling through remote archives — puts a crueller than ever spin on the Third Reich.
Because Erna was by no means an aberration. In a book she tellingly calls ‘Hitler’s Furies’, Holocaust historian Professor Wendy Lower has unearthed the complicity of tens of thousands of German women — many more than previously imagined — in the sort of mass, monstrous, murderous activities that we would like to think the so-called gentler sex were incapable of.
America's Queen of Torture has many sister ancestors:
Because Erna was by no means an aberration. In a book she tellingly calls ‘Hitler’s Furies’, Holocaust historian Professor Wendy Lower has unearthed the complicity of tens of thousands of German women — many more than previously imagined — in the sort of mass, monstrous, murderous activities that we would like to think the so-called gentler sex were incapable of.

The Holocaust has generally been seen as a crime perpetrated by men. The vast majority of those accused at Nuremberg and other war crimes trials were men.

The few women ever called to account were notorious concentration camp guards — the likes of Irma Grese and Ilse Koch — whose evil was so extreme they could be explained away as freaks and beasts, not really ‘women’ at all. 
Ultra-macho Nazi Germany was a man’s world. The vast majority of women had, on Hitler’s orders, confined their activities to Kinder, Küche, Kirche — children, kitchen and church. Thus, when it came to responsibility for the Holocaust and other evils of the Third Reich, they were off the hook.

But that, argues Lower, is simplistic nonsense. Women were drawn into the morally bankrupt conspiracy that was Hitler’s Germany as thoroughly as men were — at a lower level, in most cases, when it came to direct action but guilty just the same.
The Nazis were put on trial at Nuremberg. America's monsters will not face any consequences for their deeds in this, the mortal world. This is the American way. Those white folks who lynched, tortured, and murdered black folks by the many thousands were "respectable" citizens...there were Presidents of the United States who were KKK members.

Cheney, Bush, and the Queen of Torture will be feted by their supporters, deified by a sociopathic authoritarian-leaning American people.

Do you have any news items, or information, personal or in the public interest that you would like to share?


The Sanity Inspector said...

Looks like that one particular batch of Black Lives Matter protesters, who were filmed chanting for dead cops, got their wish today, in Bed-Stuy. Social media is going to be a tornado of effluvium for the rest of the day.

Buddy H said...

Her name is Alfreda Frances Bikowsky.

KissedByTheSun said...

I was actually remarking about the potential future backlash this will cause. Wasn't calling you out in particular. Apologies for the misunderstanding.

The Sanity Inspector said...

No worries. And yes, I agree on what coming, so far as black people being exhorted to denounce this crime. No one's ever demanded that I denounce it when a brilliant white loner with mental disorders shoots up a public place. I mean, not all of those descriptors apply to me!

I just hope Sharpton has the decency to be quiet for the rest of the news cycle. This isn't the first time his rabble rousing has cost people their lives.

chauncey devega said...

"Rabble rousing?" "Cost people their lives?"

Do clarify. Dr. King was a rabble rouser too.

Miles_Ellison said...

Black people can denounce this crime when white people denounce theirs. Then the conversation can truly start. Not until then.

The Sanity Inspector said...

History has vindicated Dr. King. It may do so for the Rev. Sharpton also--but that's more than I can imagine. I can't think of a single social problem in his long career that he's left better than he found it, or hasn't parlayed into greater personal gain. The only explanation for him that I can think of is that good heroes are hard to find, and when there are none to be found people settle for whoever else seems best.

KissedByTheSun said...

Still not exactly sure how Sharpton

chauncey devega said...

All of those black folks who are happy that Sharpton has intervened for, given money to, called attention to issues, etc. etc. would beg to disagree. As someone who reached out to him when I was in college and he showed up gratis, I can vouch for him leaving things better than he found them.

I wonder why conservatives are so color aroused by him and Jesse Jackson. Odd fixations.

The Sanity Inspector said...

“To blame the mayor and others is not what we need,” Sharpton said. “The
blame game will only lead to further kinds of venom and further

As if his vision for America ever consisted of anything else...

joe manning said...

If Mussolini was fascism with a smile, Sarah Palin fascism in a bikini, and Jessica Castain fascism in a torture suit, its safe to assume that there's no shortage of women nazis.

I'd like to think that the torturers constitute a deviant subculture but the more society is demoralized the greater the contagion. For example, In Judgement at Nuremberg the Spencer Tracy character said that to hear the German people tell it they were all deaf, dumb, and blind, so couldn't be held responsible for what happened.

I think that mass demoralization happens when the cognitive conception of "truth" deviates radically from the moral conviction of rightness, and the two cannot vary at random for very long. Keep the faith baby!

chauncey devega said...

You need to work on your sanity Sanity Inspector. Sometimes you have a lucid moment but then fall back into Right-wing talking point foolishness. Please do offer something substantive, i.e. examples or move along from this thread.

joe manning said...

The murder of the two cops has nothing whatsoever to do with the movement against police violence. The media's attempt to connect the two strains credulity.

Gable1111 said...

Hillary Clinton is deemed to be "serious" because she is a "hawk" on foreign policy. Translation: warmonger. For all the talk of women being independent and "different," when it comes to positions of power, women who have gotten ahead in the game did so mimicking the worst impulses and styles of men. The systems calls for it. Changing the system from within is a pipe dream.

Gable1111 said...

The Washington Post, that beacon of freedom and human rights, weighed in on Cuba:

"In Cuba’s case, that means listening to the brave freedom fighters Mr. Obama spurned. Mr. Obama’s prescription was not the only alternative to what he saw as the failed policy of the past half-century. Opposition leaders from throughout the island have agreed on four immediate demands to put before the government: the release of political prisoners; the end of repression against human rights and pro-democracy groups; the ratification of international covenants on human rights; and the recognition of Cuban civil society groups."

I really love the "ratification of international covenants on human rights" demand. This is the one thing the US refuses to do itself, lest it be held criminally responsible for violation of those same principles.

I was waiting for this, when the elites would wax self righteously about "human rights" when they've just abandoned any moral high ground left, if there ever was any. I didn't think they were this morally blind to do so this soon in the wake of the torture report.

The idea of the US lecturing any nation on human rights, in light of what's been divulged in the redacted torture report is just incredible. And the irony of high-handedly holding Cuba responsible for human rights, even as sitting right on Cuban soil is Guantanamo, a virtual house of horrors, where even known innocence has not been a bar too high for torture, is just to much.

But no, "exceptionalism" says the US does not have to live by the rules it demands of others.

Gable1111 said...

Of all the leaders involved in the movement for police accountability, why is Sharpton singled out as a "rabble rouser?" I've seen nothing but responsible behavior from Sharpton, unless somehow speaking out and calling for justice is now irresponsible?

This is not an attack, but a real question, because I really don't understand the "logic" of those who say speaking out for justice and accountability is anti-police.

Gable1111 said...

Sharpton and Jackson have not been perfect, but who among ANY OF US has? So we can set aside their faults alongside anyone else's who may have an opinion here. He and Jackson have been a positive force, and have stood with both the Garner and Brown families calling for peaceful protest.

That "odd fixation" is really the fear of blacks who are able to command a diverse audience and unapologetically speak truth to power, someone who can destroy their simple minded arguments of hatred in short order. They fear them for their power and ability to pull back the covers and expose their azzes for even the most inclined to willful ignorance to not be able to deny.

The Sanity Inspector said...

It's best if I go back to lurking for now, as I don't trust myself to address this issue further. Don't want to exasperate present company who have been gracious enough to put up with me even thus far.

chauncey devega said...

Your comments are more than welcome. I think folks, myself included, would like some examples of Sharpton's "rabble rousing". Nothing more than that...

Gable1111 said...

OK, that's fine. I'm not judging, if that is your opinion. However I believe that if you are going to make an accusation like that its only fair that you are expected to back it up.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

Cancelling a movie release due to terrorist threats: bad, stupid, immoral, wrong, weak.

Torturing individuals who may or may not have ties to terrorists:good, strong, Patriotic, necessary.

Look at how our gov responds.
President Obama: We will not take this threat lightly. We need to assist corporations like Sony that could be vulnerable to cyber attacks.*

*cannot help the poor in America who are devastated by a poverty beyond their control. The richest get every protection the government has to offer.

anonymous said...

I think you might want to look at this.
Fox Affiliate Caught Altering Protester Chant Vid…: