President Barack Obama went before the television cameras Friday afternoon to defend CIA Director John Brennan and the agency itself, while admitting for the first time that the CIA tortured prisoners at secret “black site” prisons. “We tortured some folks,” Obama declared almost casually. He then proceeded to excuse and justify the torturers.
In the course of his White House press conference, Obama declared his “full confidence” in Brennan only one day after the release of a CIA inspector general’s report that exposed the CIA chief as a brazen liar. Brennan had denounced claims by the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, of illegal and unconstitutional CIA spying on the committee staff, which was investigating the CIA torture program carried out during the administration of George W. Bush. The inspector general’s report admitted that the spying had taken place.
The CIA’s surveillance of the Senate, which is legally mandated to oversee the agency, is a stark expression of the unchecked powers of the unelected spooks and generals who run the intelligence and military agencies. The fact that the top US spy agency can carry out secret torture programs, act to sabotage a congressional probe of this criminal activity, and then go scot-free reflects the disintegration of American democracy and the emergence, behind the formal trappings of elections, etc., of the framework of a police state.
Obama’s discussion of torture deserves to be considered in some detail, because his argument summarizes in a few sentences the sophistries and lies employed by official Washington to cover up its crimes against the world’s population.
Brazen liar describes so many of them: Dianne Feinstein, Barack, James Clapper, John Brennan, etc.
I don't get how we can justify putting people to death for crimes and yet we never insist upon the death penalty when it comes to the crimes of the government, to the officials who illegally spy, who lie us into wars, who are responsible for the deaths of so many innocents.
Barack deserves to be on trial for his crimes, not holding a Nobel Peace Prize.
What meaning terms like "justice" would have if they applied to all people and applied to all people equally.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Iraqi Christians continue to be targeted. Bishop Suriel, the Bishop of Melbourne - Coptic Orthodox Church, Tweeted:
Mosul, the cradle of Christianity in Iraq since the first centuries, is now purged of its entire Christian population. The ruthless and purposeful savagery of the attacks by the fundamentalist Muslim terrorist organization The Islamic State (IS) formerly known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), is truly inconceivable. Yet, most world leaders remain silent in the face of the murder of innocent children and horrific beheadings of civilians. We question why the media has not highlighted the unprecedented systematic eradication of the city’s entire Christian population. We also question why the Australian government have yet to comment and condemn this gross deprivation of human rights.
There is only silence.
Silence, that sends a resounding message of indifference to the murders of innocent lives at the hands of extremist Muslim groups. Silence, which attributes lesser value to the lives of Christians in the Middle East. Silence, that surrenders to the power of radicalism and the inhumane brutality of groups such as IS.
The silence has included the White House which waited until yesterday to have an official meet with representatives of Iraqi Christians.
We've been noting the White House needed to get active for some time.
Now it's becoming an issue with US House Rep Trent Franks releasing the following statement.
For those who are not helped by streaming video, here's the transcript of what's being said.
US House Rep Trent Franks: Mr. President, last month, 55 colleagues of mine and myself sent you and Secretary Kerry a letter asking that you actively prioritize security and humanitarian support for the Christian community in Iraq. We specifically warned you of the dangers and brutality of the terrorist group ISIS who are now rampaging across Iraq and terrorizing the vulnerable Christian population. In the letter, we specifically pointed out that "parts of Syria and Iraq that have previously fallen under the rule of ISIS have witnessed summary executions, beheadings and even crucifixions." And that "absent immediate action, we will most certainly witness an annihilation of a faith community from the lands they've inhabited for centuries." Tragically, Mr. President, you simply ignored us again -- as you've done so many times before. And now ISIS, the group you once likened to a junior varsity basketball team, is beheading its way across Iraq and has declared that there will be "nothing for the Christians but the sword" if they do not convert. Mr. President, last week, ISIS torched an 1800-year-old church in Mosul and deliberately and insidiously destroyed the historic tomb of Jonah. Last Sunday, for the first time in 1600 years, there was no mass in Mosul. The head of Iraq's Christian community said, "For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians." And now images of ISIS' beheadings, crucifixions, rape, torture and mass execution are all over the internet and social media. Just yesterday, I met with a group of NGOs based in Iraq who told me that ISIS recently beheaded 6 Christians and then proceeded to play soccer with their decapitated heads. Mr. President, ISIS's targeting of Christians has been systematic and horrifying and Iraq's Christians in the area are now nearly extinct. It can rightly be called "targeted religious cleansing." And, sir, it is a crime against humanity. And yet, Mr. President, we have not heard a single word from you -- even as a literal Christian genocide is taking place at this very moment, you have not uttered even one syllable about what your administration is doing or planning to do to relieve or protect these persecuted Christians in Iraq. So now speaking with you and pleading with you directly, sir, I once again repeat the words we wrote in our letter to you a month ago: "We urge you and your administration to urgently and actively engage with the Iraqi central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to prioritize additional security support for these particularly vulnerable populations and provide emergency humanitarian assistance to those effected communities. Absent immediate action, we will most certainly witness the annihilation of ancient faith community from the lands they've inhabited for centuries. Mr. President, if you continue to ignore this Christian genocide in Iraq, history will record that it was you who idly stood on the sidelines and knowingly let it happen.
We have repeatedly noted the perception issue.
Maybe we should have spelled it out for the hard headed ones in denial?
Barack can't lose religious support in the US and have any chance of accomplishing anything in his second term.
He's had a religious problem throughout his national career.
He claimed Jeremiah Wright as an inspiration. Then when Wright's sermons got a little bit of examination, Barack began to walk away and he (and Michelle) flat out attacked Wright on national television in response to Wright's remarks that Barack was just a typical politician.
Prior to Wright, Barack appears to have had no real encounters with a church.
Certainly, after becoming President, he failed to attend a church regularly.
Some of Barack's supporters state and write publicly that Barack doesn't really believe in God.
If that's true, there's nothing wrong with that. Unless, of course, you go around insisting you do believe and you are a Christian.
Barack already has one religious problem -- what's going on in Gaza and how to respond without antagonizing certain elements of the US electorate. He has another emerging religious problem that no one wants to talk about or acknowledge.
Barack is the deporter in chief. That is registering in Catholic communities -- both due to the fact that a large number of Latinos and Latinas deported are Catholic and also because the Catholic faith has always had a strong activist wing. Barack is taking a hit there.
And now he's unable to decry the persecution of Christians.
He has stated he is a Christian, he has stated he was baptized and much more.
His failure to provide leadership on this issue hurts him.
Christians who care deeply about this issue, for example, are left to wonder if Barack lied about his own faith? Or if he just doesn't care about what happens to Iraqi Christians?
That's the thing about silence -- if you create it or foster it, others will rush in to fill the silence with something, anything.
And not everyone's been silent in the US. Members of Congress have spoken out. In fact, Tuesday, US House Rep Anna Eshoo's office issued the following.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) released the following statement after the House and Senate passed her bipartisan legislation to create a special envoy at the State Department to focus on the plight of religious minorities in the Middle East and South Central Asia. Co-sponsored by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), the bill now awaits the President’s signature.
“Today the world is bearing witness to the persecution and eradication of religious minorities in some of the most imperiled regions on earth,” said Eshoo. “Christians in the Middle East and South Central Asia are being tortured, killed and live in fear simply because of their religion. The stories are countless, and the response has been meager.”
“With enactment of this legislation, America is appropriately stepping up its response and will be more capable in providing aid to religious minorities. A special envoy at the State Department will focus on the freedom and survival of religious minorities. Time is running out and this critical problem deserves to be treated as a high priority,” Eshoo concluded.
While some emphasize the silence, others play the numbers in their own coverage. Gwynee Dyer (London Free Press) explains, "There were still about 60,000 Christians in Mosul when the United States and its sidekicks invaded Iraq 11 years ago. By last year, it was down to 30,000. Only two months after the arrival of the ISIS extremists, there are none. Most have fled to Kurdistan with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. They are not going back, and if they can they will leave the Middle East entirely." All Christians have not left Mosul.
We've noted that a number have had no choice but to remain and are in hiding.
I've also a missed a point of the hiding in plain sight. My apologies for that. Voice of the Martyrs explains, "There is another group of Christians in northern Iraq too: those that were born into Muslim families but have consciously made the choice to reject Islam and follow Jesus. It is important to understand that these believers do NOT have a choice to pay a tax and save their lives. These converts are, in the eyes of IS, apostates. If IS fighters learned of their faith, they would give these believers two choices: return to Islam or be killed."
Yael Rein (San Diego Jewish World) notes, "The United Nations Security Council condemned the persecution of minorities in Iraq."
Peter Jesserer-Smith (National Catholic Register) explains:
For the past two months, the Register has brought you the stories of the Iraqi Christians’ desperate condition at the hands of the militants of the Islamic State. They are a sea of refugees robbed of everything, begging the world to let them survive. They haven’t just lost their property and homes — they have been robbed of their identity, their culture, and their history.
He goes on to note the August 6th Global Day of Prayer for Peace in Iraq and that's a good time for us to note Aid to the Church in Need's announcement on the Global Day of Prayer for Peace:
NINA notes a Kirkuk roadside bombing left one police member injured, 2 more Kirkuk bombs left three people injured, the Operations Command of the Island and the Desert declared that they killed 53 suspects in Haditha, . . . Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) counts 266 dead today with another and 18 injured.
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