Beltway Braces for a Very Cratchit Christmas

Today’s Washington Post informs us that “for the holidays, the spies say they’ll scrimp.”

This year's CIA party will be much more subdued.

[W]ith budget cuts looming, party plans are being pared back for the Director of National Intelligence and the CIA. …

Under then-director Leon E. Panetta last year, the CIA brought in shipments of California wine, and served fried oysters, grilled shrimp and quesadillas. His predecessor, Michael V. Hayden, made sure there were musicians playing Irish music while stations set up inside the agency’s cavernous headquarters hallway served drinks and hors d’oeuvres. …

But the CIA and DNI both acknowledged this week that the events this time around will be smaller, cheaper and off-limits to the press. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said the holiday austerity reflects the nation’s financial condition.

“Scaling back our holiday celebrations is just another small example of our commitment to making sure that we continue to make wise fiscal decisions across the board,” Clapper said in a prepared statement.

The measures come at a time when the Obama administration is also probably eager to avoid any appearance of opulence amid the sour economy and soaring national debt.

Tiny Tim celebrates the good fortune of the military-industrial complex.
Elsewhere in the Post, though, we read that while “home prices continue to fall, D.C. bucks trend.” And — oops! — I left out the last graf of that other story:

Indeed, the party savings are probably more meaningful symbolically than financially. A U.S. official said the annual DNI party typically cost about $50,000, or roughly the cost of a single Hellfire missile, and a fraction of the $54 billion spy budget this year.

(Second link via David Friedman.)

Group Calls for Annulment of the APA’s Presidential Task Force on Psychological Ethics & National Security (PENS) Report

From Boiling Frogs:

Leading scholars and human rights groups from a range of fields — including psychology, medicine, law, military, and intelligence — have joined together in spearheading a broad-based effort to annul and delegitimize the American Psychological Association’s deeply flawed 2005 Report of the Presidential Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security (the PENS Report). In a joint declaration the coalition states:

Despite evidence that psychologists were involved in abusive interrogations, the PENS Task Force concluded that psychologists play a critical role in keeping interrogations “safe, legal, ethical and effective.” With this stance, the APA, the largest association of psychologists worldwide, became the sole major professional healthcare organization to support practices contrary to the international human rights standards that ought to be the benchmark against which professional codes of ethics are judged- the “do no Harm” standard.

Further, the coalition points out the inherent bias in the Presidential Task Force membership, where six of the nine voting members were on the payroll of the U.S. military and/or intelligence agencies, and five having served in chains of command accused of prisoner abuses. The group cites other significant conflicts of interest by the Task Force’s unacknowledged participants, such as the spouse of a Guantánamo intelligence psychologist and several high-level lobbyists for the Department of Defense, and direct funding for psychologists by the CIA.

The Coalition has launched a petition calling for the annulment of the APA’s PENS Report as part of their joint effort to remove psychologists from torture and abusive interrogations.

Why are they so dangerous?

Why Julian Assange (and Wikileaks) are so dangerous. In Assange’s own words – – –

Sun 31 Dec 2006 : The non linear effects of leaks on unjust systems of governance

…different structures of power are differentially affected by leaks (the defection of the inner to the outer) [and] its motivations may become clearer.

The more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie. This must result in minimization of efficient internal communications mechanisms (an increase in cognitive "secrecy tax") and consequent system-wide cognitive decline resulting in decreased ability to hold onto power as the environment demands adaption. Hence in a world where leaking is easy, secretive or unjust systems are nonlinearly hit relative to open, just systems. Since unjust systems, by their nature induce opponents, and in many places barely have the upper hand, mass leaking leaves them exquisitely vulnerable to those who seek to replace them with more open forms of governance. ja-conspiracies.pdf

Why you MUST be shielded from Wikileaks!

You will know you have spoken the truth when you are angrily denounced; and you will know you have spoken both truly and well when you are visited by the police. –J. B. R. Yant

Apparently the folks from Wikileaks.org have spoken both truly and well. Which is why you must be shielded from them – – –

"The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State." –Chief Nazi "Information Officer" Dr. Joseph P. Goebbels

Thus the American establishment — including opinion mills from both halves of the War Party — is actively looking for any which-way it can to repress the release of more of it’s mortal enemy to "we the people." The methods of repression include a very shakey prosecution of head Wikileaks dude, Julian Assange, threats in fact, to persecute him all over the world, an on-going investigation of Wikileaks by Mr. Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder, presumably to invoke the Espionage Act, etc.

There have also been calls to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by U.S. Representative Peter King (R-NY) to have Wikileaks declared a Foreign Terrorist Organization, or FTO on a par with al’Qaeda. That would open Wikileaks associates to assassination, etc. as per the latest White House push to authorize executive kill lists.

Is it just me, or does it seem as if the U.S. establishment — in fact, establishments world wide [1] — are as terrified by the truth as they want us to be of al’Qaeda?

Perhaps Wikileaks front dude Julian Assange and company aren’t aware of the dangers the truth poses, not only to the state as Goebbels revealed, but to those ill-advised enough — or brave enough — to reveal it.

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. –George Orwell

If you’re going to start talking the truth, keep one foot in the saddle of your fastest horse. –Chinese proverb

So, is your foot in the saddle?

No? It’s OK, but how about the next best thing: Support these brave folks, not only wikileaks, but the folks brave enough to put antiwar.com up for more than 12 years, etc.

Notes:

[1]

"This disclosure is not just an attack on America’s foreign policy interests. It is an attack on the international community," Clinton said, following talks in Washington with Turkey’s foreign minister. –[Hillary] Clinton accuses WikiLeaks of ‘attack’ on the world return

OOPS! Again.

…allegedly "hacked" software, in the case of the CIA, is now being used to guide killer drones to their targets, according to IISI’s legal pleadings, despite the fact that the modified software doesn’t function properly… –CIA Drone-Code Scandal Now Has A Big Blue Hue

Antiwar Radio on Pacifica

Antiwar Radio’s Scott Horton will be interviewing investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill. Mr. Scahill, the author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Army, will take a critical look at the Washington Post’s Top Secret America. KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles/98.7 Santa Barbara, Friday, July 16 at 5:00 PM Pacific. Listen live here.

Last week, Mr. Horton interviewed Gareth Porter and Michael Hastings for KPFK. The archive can be heard here.