[Post corrected below.]
While I’ve been off tending various wounds, a number of interesting stories have come over the transom. All of them deserve more unpacking, but for now I’d just like to make note of a few of them for the dwindling number of eyes still casting a gaze this way now and again. Hope to be writing more here soon.
As the Masters of the World (or in most cases, the Masters’ temporary flunkies in high office) gather at the G20 summit in Australia, Patrick Smith provides a fascinating look at some behind-the-scenes developments that could help make the bewildering facade of American foreign policy make more sense. You will not be surprised to find that it centers around our monied, militarized elites’ desire to retain and expand their domination of the world — no matter what.
Glenn Greenwald rightly excoriated President-in-Waiting Hillary Clinton for the enthusiastic support she is receiving from, well, our monied, militarized, domination-desiring elites. Greenwald rightly pays particular attention to the fact that Clinton’s budding campaign is being lovingly embraced by unreconstructed neo-cons, who see a Clinton presidency as a restoration of the glory days of the PNAC crowd.
Yet in that same week, Greenwald's First Look enthusiastically announced the hiring of a long-time imperial courtier (and sometime writing partner of top neocons) for his radical, dissident, speaking-truth-to-power journal, The Intercept. Sharon Weinberger is joining the payroll of oligarch Pierre Omidyar’s house organ to lead “our investigative reporting on intelligence, military affairs, government surveillance and the Snowden archive,” said the press release from the journal's departing editor-in-chief, John Cook.
As Scott Creighton notes, Weinberger indeed knows a lot about intelligence, military affairs and government surveillance — from the inside. You can read of her fascinating work history and her close connection to some of the most vociferous proponents of our monied, militarized elites’ domination agenda here.
To be fair to First Look, however, it is likely that they knew nothing about her background when they hired her. After all, Greenwald has famously declared that he knew nothing about Omidyar — and his extensive involvement in our monied, militarized elites’ domination agenda — when he first took the oligarch’s money. Anyway, suffice it to say that the appointment of an old friend like Weinberger to head up investigations of the imperial power structure will not exactly have said power structure shaking in its boots.
[Passages corrected after a reader pointed out that the announcement of Weinberger came from Cook, not Greenwald, as the original post had it.]
Bringing it all back home, sending it out there again
At Firedoglake, Jeff Kaye tells the inspiring story of a gritty Chicago cop who brought the highest standards of Homeland law enforcement to his patriotic service of our whole god-blessed country at the Bastion of Freedom in Guantanamo Bay. Here’s a snippet:
July 2003, Guantanamo. A sole man was kept in a darkened solitary cell for months on end. For many days in a row he was interrogated 16 hours a day. Loud music blared constantly, dogs menaced. Guards cursed him, banged on his cell at all hours to keep him awake. The temperature in the cell was purposely set close to freezing. An interrogator told the prisoner about a dream he had, one that supposedly had other detainees digging a grave and carrying a coffin with the prisoner’s number on it.
Another interrogator, actually the chief of a “Special Projects Team” at the American naval base prison, lied and told the prisoner his mother had been detained, and that if he did not cooperate she would be brought to Guantanamo and kept as the only woman prisoner there. The implication of the threat against his mother seemed dire. The chief of the SP team produced a forged letter to back up his contention. But the prisoner had nothing to admit, and kept telling interrogators the truth, until finally he gave in under torture and told them what they wanted to hear.
The Guantanamo prisoner was Mohamedou Ould Slahi. The interrogation team leader in charge of Slahi’s “Special Project” torture was then-Lieutenant (and former Chicago homicide detective) Richard Zuley.
Meanwhile, also in 2003, another man sat in solitary confinement in an Illinois prison. Lathierial Boyd had been sentenced to 82 years in jail for the alleged shooting of two men, one of whom, Michael Fleming, died at the scene; the other was permanently paralyzed. Police called it a revenge drug murder. Both the victims and Boyd were African-American.
For 13 years Boyd had proclaimed his innocence. He told the story of how Chicago police officers had hid witness testimony, fabricated evidence, lied in reports, and coerced witnesses. In 2002, his plight picked up some news interest after a Chicago television station’s investigation dug up new evidence (see video), but Boyd, a former fashion model, remained in jail awaiting another appeal. He told anyone who would listen, “I am dying in here man, can’t you see I am dying.”
According to recent legal filings, one of these cops was alleged to have withheld the fact the sole survivor of the shooting, Ricky Warner, could not identify the shooter, nor could any of those who viewed the police line-up.
This same cop was said to have coerced Warner’s father to say his son had been threatened by Boyd. The cop fabricated evidence for the father to look at. He also convinced Warner to ID Boyd as the man who shot him and his partner. In this, the cop worked together with other Chicago police. Later, the cop allegedly helped fabricate a piece of evidence for Warner to use to help “lead” interrogators to Boyd.
The cop was the same man who years later led Slahi’s torture, Richard Zuley.
Man, ain't it grand to be exceptional?