With the manufactured Benghazi scandal tying with the IRS for the story that the right is pretending is a story, it’s worth looking back at what a real scandal looks like. Most people think of Watergate when they think “scandal” but by Nixon standards, Watergate is just a little icing on the cake.
The premise behind the Benghazi scandal is that the President failed to label the attack an “act of terror,” and misled Americans about the attack; both for political reasons. Some Conservatives are even calling for impeachment. Aside from the dubious nature of the allegations, it may be worth asking the right to examine the plank lodged in its eye before inventing a speck in the President’s.
Consider, for instance, Nixon sabotaging the Paris Peace Accords for blatantly political reasons. Christopher Hitchens wrote in his compact but explosive expose on Kissinger, The Trials of Henry Kissinger,
In the fall of 1968, Richard Nixon and some of his emissaries and underlings set out to sabotage the Paris peace negotiations on Vietnam. The means they chose were simple: they privately assured the South Vietnamese military rulers that an incoming Republican regime would offer them a better deal than would a Democratic one. In this way, they undercut both the talks themselves and the electoral strategy of Vice President Hubert Humphrey. The tactic “worked,” in that the South Vietnamese junta withdrew from the talks on the eve of the election, thereby destroying the peace initiative on which the Democrats had based their campaign.
The recently released Johnson tapes confirm that not only is Nixon partially responsible for the tens of thousands of Americans and Vietnamese who needlessly died after the talks fell apart, but Johnson was aware of the “treason.”
And what about the Iran-Contra affair? Even today, many Americans may be surprised at just what the Reagan administration did: high level officials secretly sold weapons to Iran through Israel (to get hostages freed for political purposes) and then used the money to illegally fund the Contras in Nicaragua. After tens of thousands of innocent civilians were maimed by the guerrilla forces that were fighting against the elected government of Nicaragua, the Nicaraguans took the U.S. to the World Court and won. The court found the U.S. guilty of “hereof which involve the use of force, has acted, against the Republic of Nicaragua, in breach of its obligation under customary international law not to use force against another State.” Reagan ignored the decision and the U.S. used its position on the Security Council to block any enforcement of the judgement.
But, what about the IRS targeting Tea Party groups? Well, a little paperwork certainly is annoying, but it’s hardly the worst thing the U.S. government has done to political enemies. Consider COINTELPRO, the FBI’s program to disrupt domestic political organizations. The program included reporting members of the Socialist Workers Party to their bosses, a “war” against to discredit Rev. King Jr. and after spending years subverting the Black Panthers, evenually assassinating a Black Panther leader, Fred Hampton. Read that twice.
We could discuss Ford giving Suharto a go ahead to invade East Timor, Operation MONGOOSE, the recent discovery that the U.S. killed enemies of the Pakistani government for access to airspace, but the larger point remains: the Benghazi “scandal” is a product of the right-wing echo chamber, not legitimate outrage over truly nefarious actions. Those who follow hyperlinks will note with despair that most of my sources come from foreign media, where most of the reporting on real scandals occurs. The American media (with the exception of outlets like Antiwar.com free of commercial censorship) will largely report on minor scandals, leaving the good stuff to be buried decades in the future. Even today, most Americans know of Watergate, but few know of COINTELPRO and the Paris Accords.
When the Iran-Contra scandal broke out, President Reagan went on national television and played dumb. He claimed he had no knowledge that high-level members of his administration were illegally selling arms to the Iranian regime and using the proceeds to fund the Nicaraguan Contra rebels, despite legislation prohibiting such aid. It was dubious at best, but he decided that being an incompetent president who doesn’t even know what’s going on in his own administration was better than being blamed for willfully breaking the law.
I can’t help but wonder if that scenario is playing itself out again. According to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, President Obama didn’t know anything about the Justice Department’s nefarious snooping on Associated Press journalists. I find that extremely hard to believe.
According to the AP, the Justice Department monitored the work and personal phone records of more than 20 reporters and editors for months. From the very beginning of the Obama reign, there has been a war on whistleblowers, an effort to strike fear into those who might leak information to the press, a fight to make the Imperial Presidency more secret than it has ever been. Until now, the administration seemed to brazenly parade its achievement of prosecuting more people under the Espionage Act than all previous administrations. But with this latest fiasco, the administration seems to have crossed the line: now, they are too embarrassed to admit it.
“This investigation is broader and less focused on an individual source or reporter than any of the others we’ve seen,” said Steven Aftergood, of the Federation of American Scientists told The Washington Post. “They have swept up an entire collection of press communications. It’s an astonishing assault on core values of our society.”
Jacob Heilbrunn at The National Interest writes that “leaks have always plagued presidents” and that “they are a function of a national security state that has always aspired to total control in the post-World War II-era.”
“It is no small irony that Obama, who declared that he would halt the George W. Bush administration’s violations of personal freedoms, has exceeded the mendacity of his predecessors in creating a new star chamber to hunt down his detractors and enemies,” Heilbrunn adds.
The government would not say why it sought the records. Officials have previously said in public testimony that the U.S. attorney in Washington is conducting a criminal investigation into who may have provided information contained in a May 7, 2012, AP story about a foiled terror plot. The story disclosed details of a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an Al Qaeda plot in the spring of 2012 to detonate a bomb on an airplane bound for the United States.
In testimony in February, CIA Director John Brennan noted that the FBI had questioned him about whether he was AP’s source, which he denied. He called the release of the information to the media about the terror plot an “unauthorized and dangerous disclosure of classified information.”
…The May 7, 2012, AP story that disclosed details of the CIA operation in Yemen to stop an airliner bomb plot occurred around the one-year anniversary of the May 2, 2011, killing of Osama bin Laden.
The plot was significant both because of its seriousness and also because the White House previously had told the public it had “no credible information that terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda, are plotting attacks in the U.S. to coincide with the (May 2) anniversary of bin Laden’s death.”
…Brennan talked about the AP story and investigation in written testimony to the Senate. “The irresponsible and damaging leak of classified information was made … when someone informed The Associated Press that the U.S. government had intercepted an IED (improvised explosive device) that was supposed to be used in an attack and that the U.S. government currently had that IED in its possession and was analyzing it,” he wrote.
It’s unsurprising that the spying program was done in response to a leak on a foreign policy issue. No area invites secrecy and spying like “national security.” After all, the crowning foreign policy achievement of the Obama presidency has been, in the words of Georgetown law professor Rosa Brooks, “the unreviewable power to kill anyone, anywhere on earth, at any time, based on secret criteria and secret information discussed in a secret process by largely unnamed individuals.”
Last year, the government rejected an unprecedented amount of Freedom of Information Act requests. “The administration cited exceptions built into the law to avoid turning over materials more than 479,000 times, a roughly 22 percent increase over the previous year,” The Associated Press reported in March.
“We’ve seen a meteoric rise in the number of claims to protect secret law, the government’s interpretations of laws or its understanding of its own authority,” Alexander Abdo of the ACLU told the AP. “In some ways, the Obama administration is actually even more aggressive on secrecy than the Bush administration.”
However “irresponsible and damaging” the leaks were in John Brennan’s mind, the sweeping seizure of journalists’ phone records is a far greater scandal. This was a witch hunt to enforce the Obama administration’s demands for total secrecy. And after the leaking of internal White House and State Department emails revealing an effort to cover-up terrorist involvement in the Benghazi attacks as well as the just-released information on IRS policy of giving “special attention” to taxpayers who “criticize how the country is being run,” Obama’s second terms looks like its the biggest scandal of all.
“If we’re getting back together you need to lose weight for me”
Then tell the cunt, “If we’re getting back together, you need to grow a bigger dick.”
Bigger? I wish I could grow a dick at all. I water the seed, give it sunlight, but no Penis for pat
Well, maybe consider super growth ‘for plants that need an extra boost.’
Well to be honest my dad yanking on it has made it start growing
This is an old family picture.
My family does not support my being in the LGBTQIA community. They actually are opposed to it. They tell me every day that its disgusting and that it’s sinful and I’ll go to hell for liking women.
I moved out when I was seventeen, and in January I moved back in with them because I couldn’t handle everything that was going on. Every day one of my five siblings tells me to go back to Minnesota. My little brother Charlie (the black baby in the picture) is now 8 and he constantly physically attacks me and tells me that I’m not his sister and to leave. My other siblings make it very obvious and clear that they don’t want me here and my parents tell me constantly that they’re gonna kick me out soon.
I’ve been saving every penny for a bus ticket to Oregon to stay with my best friend and today I found this picture in my sisters’ room ON DISPLAY. Not hidden. On display. They cut my face out of the picture.
And that… That was just the last straw.
I don’t care if anyone reblogs this or whatever, I don’t wanna get popular, I just want people to know that this is not what a family looks like. This is not something people should have to go through.
This is no life.
this post just broke my heart. It takes a strong person to survive experiences such as this.
That ISN’T a family - that’s not how normal human children act. They were EXPLICITLY TAUGHT to hate her, it was probably one of her abusive parents’ insane plans to guilt-trip and shame her into heterosexuality. That is abusive to her and to the younger children - the parents are abusing the children by teaching them to be thoughtless, hateful bigots, while abusing the gay girl, by blaming her, as though she was the one to teach the younger kids to be thoughtless, hateful bigots.
Bigoted ass-jockeys, like her parents, have no business being welcomed into a community of rational, compassionate people. It should be made clear to them that their primitive, abusive behavior WILL NOT be tolerated in that community.
Please, get out of there and go to your friend in Oregon. I’ll pay for your damn bus ticket, then I will personally call your parents to tell them exactly why I paid for you to leave and exactly how inhuman, destructive, and abusive their insane behavior is.