Monday, May 4

Psychologists? Check. Ex-Army? Check. Think Consuming Coca-Cola™ Is Sinful? Check. Okay, The Program's All Set.

SCOTT C., presently on such a roll he's practically a one-man double-play team, brought us word last Friday of Michael "The Audie Murphy of the Glorious Patriotic Internet De-Pantsing of Scott Beauchamp" Goldfarb jumping on another burning tank to strafe The National Socialist People's American Broadcasting Company:
ABC runs a report showing the names and faces of two CIA contractors who may have had a role in the waterboarding of KSM and Abu Zubaydah. The network apparently outsourced this report to a freelancer named Matthew Cole, whose record in Nexis includes just three bylines...

That's forty-seven words, and our two major contentions are already smoking hulks, which, I believe, in Weekly Standard parlance is known as "par", if not "earning your bonus".

We'll get to that in a moment, but first, could someone please explain to me what is gained by typing "KSM" without ever committing to "Khalid Sheikh Mohammed"? Is it the time savings? Sheesh, I type 35 wpm with a strong tailwind, and it must take me all of two seconds. Not only can I spell it now, I can give you two variants. "Abu Zubaydah", who is never "AZ" for some reason, I have to look up every time. Is it the illusion of being an Insider? The sweet, sad nostalgia for childhood's lost GI Joe or walkie-talkie? The faint tightening of the scrotal sac at the thought of piercing bound, naked, hairy brown men?

Okay, the answer is d) all of the above; I knew it all along. So let's begin: one, ABC reveals the identities of two CIA contractors, which will lead to Goldfarb demanding to know--rhetorically, since his possession of the "real" answer is already built into the question--whether the Obama administration will investigate the leaking of their identities; two, it turns over contol of its entire news operation to a leftist reporter with an obvious agenda and almost no experience...
-- two stories for Salon (one of which about "how Bush administration aid to Pakistan helps fund insurgents who kill U.S. troops"), and one for the San Jose Mercury News just two days after 9/11 reporting "anxiety about a backlash" among Muslims, who assure the reporter that the attack "has nothing to do with Islam."

which is the point at which we start to get really curious, since we'd already clicked the link to the ABC story and seen "Brian Ross" at the top of a tripartite byline, with ABC producer Joseph Rhee riding the caboose.

This, of course, doesn't mean Ross' name wasn't basically just slapped on Cole's work; we don't know, and neither does Goldfarb. What it most certainly does mean is you've got Ross bringing the story to ABC's table, a guy who is something less than a raging Bolshie, and something less than a believable reporter, but Goldfarb ignores him, for some reason. Which leads us to do a bit of searching. We don't have Nexis, though we believe it exists, even though Goldfarb says it does. We do have the Google. We type "Matthew Cole". There's a confusion of 'em. We type "Matthew Cole salon". The fourth link mentions The New York Observer, Wired and GQ on his resumé, alongside Salon; typing "Matthew Cole wired" gets us his home page, which links to stories in New York Magazine, Details, ESPN, and Congressional Quarterly as well. Now, I'm not sure what Nexus sets you back per month, but I think The Google's free. Although it's likely my own search took a lot longer, especially as it had so many more items to find.

But these are small potatoes, and not particularly new; we were even more curious about the insistence those names had been leaked, something we were just about to explore when the next paragraph sucker-punched us.
Cole repeats the now throughly debunked claim that Zubaydah and KSM were waterboarded 83 and 183 times respectively.

Now, we pride ourselves in remaining fairly-well informed, politically, for someone who also gets a modicum of fresh air and occasional exercise not related to chasing those damn Henderson brats off the lawn. Yet somehow the thorough debunking of the 83/183 waterboardings stories had escaped us. Perhaps because we don't have Nexus. So back to the free search grind, which, we're surprised to learn, doesn't exactly confront us with cascading debunkings but does, eventually, lead to a FAUX story from last Tuesday, in which "a U.S. official with knowledge of the interrogation program" told The Fair and Balanced Network that it was all a big misunderstanding; that's 83 and 183 pourings of water, not sessions. Geez, we're not barbarians!

Well, at this point I'm not sure it's even necessary to go on, since we obviously don't torture people, and I've been a fool to question FAUX, the Bush administration, the CIA, and the Standard all these years. This leaves clearing up who leaked the identities of two CIA-associated medical professionals who were only trying to Save America Herself. By now I'm so thoroughly versed in googling I've thinking of trying the Advanced Search, but I type in "Mitchell Jessen" first and, Lo! and Behold! the two, both former military officers who had been involved in SERE, the simulated torture of military personnel for training purposes, and who were known as The Mormon Mafia have, in fact, been in the news and connected to the CIA torture program since 2005 at least, when James Elmer Mitchell was interviewed by Jane Meyer for this piece in The New Yorker; both men, their company, their rather remarkable lack of credentials, and the, er, shocking circumstances of their swift rise to prominence in the highly competitive emerging field of Bio-Electrical Interface Applications Consulting, all featured prominently in stories in Vanity Fair (by Katherine Eban) and Salon (by Mark Benjamin), in 2007, at which time they were said to be under investigation by the Bush Defense Department.

(Incidentally, the reasonable reader could have understood from the first sentence of that ABC piece, which references a new focus on the two, that ABC wasn't revealing their identities, their CIA connections, or anything else. In fairness to Mr. Goldfarb, it really isn't all that easy to make shit up constantly.)

Investigate the Leakers! Y'know, I went to grade school, through fourth grade, with a kid named Roger Knox. He was considered "slow" in the book larnin' department, but I thought he was the funniest and wittiest ten-year-old around. We combined forces on an unofficial, hand-lettered class newspaper--he drew the comics--which landed me in my first pot of political hot water. And every so often he'd suddenly turn his desk upside down, and start scribbling on the seat with crayons while gobbling handfuls of school paste. The teachers would just declare an early recess and march us off quietly. This is, no doubt, what ought to have been done with the whole Phony MSM Outrage Gotcha! Cult long ago, and perhaps now should expand to include the Flotsam That Used To Be A Political Party altogether (though I'd personally opt for at least one straightforward report on the real Swiftboating/Kerngate business in the hopes it might dilute Phony MSM Outrage Gotcha! of the Week by 10% or so).

We will leave Mr. Goldfarb to shriek about fluoridation, low-hanging power lines, and snooty squash-court reservation clerks; it was good, though, to be reminded of Mitchell Jessen (I'd seen, and forgotten, Eban's Salon piece, back in the day when this seemed like heaping dirt on a still-dangerous Cheney-Bush regime, instead of digging dirt up).

And it's interesting to reconsider how, in addition to the enormity of ignoring the law, raging concerns over our security, and the importance of rationality and semantic consistence to our daily well-being, and torturing in our names; in addition to lying about it and concocting legal wormholes to wriggle away through; in addition to ignoring all evidence of torture's ineffectiveness and then co-opting the actual intel accomplishments of standard interrogation techniques, to consider, I was saying, just how fucking puerile and stupid and sordid the whole business was. You just wanna torture somebody, waterboarding's been on the menu for centuries. What we need to ask ourselves is what sort of "experts" "devise" (or "reverse engineer", in an absurd attempt to pretend crossing "Jesus" off the script of a pretend torture session, and replacing it with "Mohammed" in a real one constitutes expertise) the naked anthill, pee-pee photographin', suppository-obsessed and feces-smeared, Sammy-Hagar-turned-up-to-11 playground routines while imagining they're doing anything other than torturing people in custody? Let's say it again: you can either piss your pants on a daily, if not hourly, basis over the SPECTRE of global terrorism, or you can defend this sort of Laurel and Hardy meet Dr. Strangelove and discover they all have an abiding interest in psychosexual infantilism. Not both. We may have been paying Mitchell Jessen $1 M/yr tax free. A little street recognition should be small price to pay. We're entitled to know who approved this little government-sponsored Musical Theatre for Sexual Psychopaths program. Not to mention locking 'em up.


Jordan said...

If FOX says it, it MUST be wrong.

Subjectivity FTW!

Next thing you'll tell me is that Fascism is rightwing, socialism just hasn't been tried yet and we can trust terrorists....

TM said...

Come now, Jordan, it's not so much that the Fox story is wrong, but that it is a case of irrelevant hair-splitting.

As for your last paragraph, that sounds like a long-running argument you're having inside your head with an imaginary foe.

Jordan said...

Not exactly, it was a string of common wisdom I've said in the past and I hear today :)

The problem with your use of the term hair splitting is that it draws the line between ideological-fitting ideas and real facts.

The fact that KSM's 183 wasn't weeks long torture, but every single time they poured water on him, even a drip, means that (SURPRISE!!!) the methods were not evil imperialist ventures, but professional intelligence program that gave us ample intelligence on AQ and its plots.

I know you aren't the first to be shocked at this, but you won't be the last. Don't worry, friends. ;)

Julia said...

In fairness, once Jordan comes by and lets us know that he actually is still in high school, this becomes sort of depressing. Chances are his parents don't know any better either.

R. Porrofatto said...

Congrats, Doghouse, on your new troll! Have a cigar! And awwww, he's so cute! That "three guys getting water splashed in their face" and "now tell me we can trust terrorists" is so precious, even if it is a little infantile. He shows real potential to grow into a specimen you can be proud of. (If he spits one of those "libtards typically unwilling to debate my fierce arguments" rejoinders then you hit the jackpot, D!)

Joyful Alternative said...

Just issue him the standard invitation: Jordan, you're now going to undergo water splashing on your face for your summer vacation in sunny Gitmo!

You can surely take it longer than Andrew Sullivan, can't you?

Come on, I double dare you.

TM said...

I was so upset to hear a story about a woman who was raped 183 times by an attacker, but then someone assured me that it was actually only 183 "thrusts" in a couple rape sessions.

I so relieved to hear that, and I felt a little bad for the rapist, because he wasn't that evil after all.