Monday, December 15, 2014

I tried to get out, but the money and the yayo pulled me back....,

thenation |  A central player in the Bush-Cheney’s torture program is Jose A. Rodriguez, who, according to The New York Times, was then the head of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center during the worst of the barbarity—the rectal hummus flushes, drills, dogs, broken limbs, sexual humiliation and assault, sleep deprivation, intense heat, intense cold, blood thinners, beatings and deaths from exposure. When agents in the field began sending e-mails to voice dismay, Rodriguez told them to shut up: “Strongly urge that any speculative language as to the legality of given activities or, more precisely, judgment calls as to their legality vis-à-vis operational guidelines for this activity agreed upon and vetted at the most senior levels of the agency, be refrained from in written traffic (email or cable traffic).” “Such language is not helpful,” he said. Rodriguez was involved in an earlier scandal regarding Bush-Cheney torture, fingered for destroying “videotapes recording the interrogations of top al Qaeda operatives.”

Rodriguez was born in Puerto Rico and joined the CIA in 1976. Nineteen seventy-six was a key year in the evolution of the national security state—the high point of congressional efforts to rein in the imperial presidency (Gerald Ford was forced to sign his “no assassinations of foreign leaders’ pledge that year) and the start of the New Right’s efforts to build a workaround those regulations (i.e., Iran/Contra). Rodriguez spent most of his career in Latin America, bridging the Cold War and the war on drugs. His background is sketchy—there’s not too much public information on what he was doing where in Latin America and his autobiography is vague. According to the The Wall Street Journal, Rodriguez “is a product of what one former agency colleague called ‘the rough and tumble’ Latin American division, which was responsible for thwarting Russian aggression in that part of the world. That strategy eventually evolved into the Iran/Contra scandal.” The Latin American Division was thick into Iran/Contra, and Rodriguez was involved in Panama when Noriega was in charge, that is, at the height of the scandal. He was in Mexico in 1990, where he served as CIA station chief at the beginning of that country’s descent into narco-NAFTA madness.

After 9/11, he was tapped by the CIA to manage its torture program—even though he didn’t speak Arabic and had no experience in the Middle East. He apparently had other talents. Mark Mazzetti in the Times writes that he “won praise while in the job for an aggressive strategy to capture, detain and interrogate leaders of Al Qaeda.” Rodriguez’s promotion to a top slot in Washington’s torture program is a pretty stark example of Latin America’s serving as “empire’s workshop.” Elsewhere, I’ve given an overview of the torture techniques the United States helped work out in Latin America during the Cold War (as have others, including Patrice McSherry here). These included waterboarding, a technique called, in Spanish, “el submarino.” (After a 1992 investigation, the Pentagon destroyed copies of the seven infamous torture instruction manuals it had used to train Latin American allies; Marcy Wheeler, though, writes that Dick Cheney and his legal counsel, David Addington “saved the only known copies” for their personal files).

More recently, though, with the return of the Latin American left to political power, the region has refused to participate in Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld’s global torture archipelago, that is, its extraordinary rendition program, which implicated every region of the globe, even peace-loving Scandinavia, except South America.

As for Rodriguez, after he retired from the CIA he went private, walking through that “revolving door” that connects Langley to any one of those Virginia-based private security companies (Blackwater apparently recruited him, but he chose another firm). In any case, he is back in the public eye, writing one op-ed after another defending torture. “I know it worked,” he insists, contrary to critics who say that forced rectal flushing garnered no serviceable intelligence. He’s joined other former CIA officials to set up a webpage to push back on criticism:


CNu said...

Is it a question of "moral conscience" when you know that the goons with the firepower, the technology, and a seemingly unbounded license to kill are on the other side of that contest? At this juncture, it's unseemly and unmanly to ask Elizabeth Warren or anyone else to risk their own personal safety to go against the not-see goon squad that has shown itself above the law.

makheru bradley said...

The goons have always been there. That didn't stop people of moral conscience, many of whom were killed, from moving against injustice. As Dr. King said: "Cowardice asks
the question - is it safe? Expediency asks the question - is it politic?
Vanity asks the question - is it popular? But conscience asks the
question - is it right?" I know a lot of people are afraid to challenge power, but fear does not guarantee safety from tyranny. I'm not asking Warren to do anything. Just wondering if she chooses to run for prez in 2016, will she do so as a Democrat?

DD said...

Not to piss in the punch, but MLK was shot dead when he went from Phase1-RACE to Phase2-POOR. That stopped him.

I'm not being flip, Makheru.

If you want to see a successful resistance, where they don't have any of our inflated sense of self and know exactly what they are up against, look no further than Afghanistan. USSR, USA, Iraq, Iran....those "folks" have something to stand for and others to stand with (tribe is thicker than water.)

Everyone has a plan, and talk is cheap. You want a resistance, be prepared to go all Hector Salamanca. And he still lost...

makheru bradley said...

You moved from Dr. King to Afghanistan to a movie character, so I have no idea what point you are attempting to make. For the historical record we Dr. King never moved from racism, as evidenced by his speeches and writings in the 1967-1968 timeframe.

“I'm convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values...When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered.”

If anything it was Dr. King’s potential to coalesce various elements of struggle that made him the ultimate threat.

The Taliban were overthrown. They are resisting occupation. Dr. King mobilized tens of thousands of people into social action to resist injustice. People who have risked their own lives in the fight for justice don’t need fictional characters.

However, my primary reason for responding to Bro. Nulan was to agree that Barack Obama has once again betrayed the people who supported him by aligning himself with the interest of the 1%. I mentioned Sen. Warren because she is seen by many as the leading politician who is opposed to the oligarchy.

CNu said...

Sorry to hear you couldn't see where DD was pointing. To me, it was as clear as if he was pointing at a full moon. (I'm not entirely sure you have to have been a Breaking Bad fan in order to follow the thought - matter fact - my son argued to me that Hector's doing in of Gus had less to do with Hector and his murderous kin than it had to do with Walter White and his fully unleashed machinations - to wit, who thought out the entire endgame and provided Hector with the explosive?)

1. TPTB are infinitely more concerned about the aggregation of the poor, Bacon's Rebellion 101.
2. TPTB are infinitely more concerned about genuine tribal affiliations than they are about the tissue-paper thin "ism" of race.
3. The Soldier's Rebellion scared TPTB worse than anything else we'd done in the 20th century.

Vic78 said...


This What You Want To Do?!?!?!?! - Reap The Whirlwind....,