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‘60 Minutes’ Grills Tenet

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Posted on May 4, 2007

George Tenet’s combative interview with “60 Minutes” is as fascinating as it is upsetting. The former CIA director careens between defensive ire and finger-pointing at an administration he says distracted us from the biggest threat to our nation’s security.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:


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By Fat Clemenza, May 10, 2007 at 3:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Meanwhile in a secluded house on Long Island…..

Jon Stewart:  You fingered Joe Wilson on the WMD for Barzini, Carlo.
George Tenet:  Mikey I swear on my kids….
Jon:  Ahhhh, that little farce you played with the WMD.  You think that could fool a Corleone?  Barzini is dead.  So is Cumio… Rumsfeld… Wolfowitz… Feith… Bolton…Netanyahu… Scooter “The Helmet” Libby… That Jew in Miami, Hyman Perle…. Today I settle all family business so don’t tell me you’re innocent.
George:  Mikey, I…(starts to sob into hands, broken and ashamed)
Jon:  Admit what you did.  (Mike rubs his shoulder)  Get him a drink. Come on, you think I’d take that shiny medal away from you?  I’m putting you on a plane to Vegas.  That’s your punishment…Tom (Mikey takes ticket from Tom)  Here’s a cheque also for 4 million dollars.  Only don’t tell me you’re innocent….....It insults my intelligence.  Who approached you?
George: Netanyahu.  Mikey I…
Jon:  Get out of my sight.

(George sits in car.  Ray McGovern sat quietly in the back seat, silhouetted.)
Ray:  Hello Carlo….

Later as Connie comes running in distraught.
Ann Coulter:  You bastard, you cold hearted bastard…

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By cann4ing, May 8, 2007 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment

re comment #68832 by Louise.  I sincerely appreciate the kind words, especially coming from a Truthdigger who has provided so many astute comments.

I had the delightful opportunity to personally speak with Dennis Kucinich about this last Sunday when he came to speak at the home of a supporter near my home in Thousand Oaks, CA.  Mr. Kucinich drew the loudest ovation when he noted that there is no statute of limitation on war crimes; that we, as a nation, must hold those who are responsible for torture accountable, even to the extent of criminal prosecution regardless of what their prior level of office and by promising that he would seek justice for these war crimes once he is elected.

Afterword, I had a few moments alone with the candidate to discuss the prospects for a repeal of the Military Commissions Act (MCA)—an act that purports to give the President unfettered discretion to declare anyone an “enemy combatant,” deprives all non-citizens of their constitutional right to due process of law by eliminating habeas corpus and purports to retroactively immunize anyone who committed war crimes in service of the so-called “war on terror.”  Mr. Kucinich promised he would introduce legislation seeking to repeal the MCA but cautioned that he did not have the votes to get it passed. 

I think we should all follow-up first in asking Mr. Kucinich to follow through and then in seeking to shame our so-called Congressional “leaders” into supporting it.

Finally, when “Unmasking the stupidity of torture” was first published by the Ventura County Star, I E-mailed it to Truthdig and asked that they publish it as a report.  That request was ignored.

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By Louise, May 8, 2007 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks Ernest Canning, for sharing UNMASKING THE REAL STUPITY OF TORTURE
A story that should be on every front page of every news paper in this country. 

The most egregious and disgusting and contemptible stain on our face. That our nation, our military and therefore we the people engage in torture. Something we always thought was reserved for the slime-ball perverts of the world.

This practice, along with kidnapping and murder, training for, and supporting the lowest of all possible standards of human behavior, has been going on under the banner of “democracy” for more than just the past six and a half years. That fact speaks volumes to a hidden truth.

This Bush may like to call himself the decider, but he is not the starter. He is just one, in a long line of people who call themselves leaders in a free nation, when in fact they have been driven for generations by one goal. Taking advantage of the freedoms we treasure, to make money, to gain power and to diminish those who they would enslave.

It’s not even a race or gender thing. They happily use any and all.

Long ago, these people chose themselves to be Americas Aristocracy. Those who will bend to their will may become patrons in their court. But those who do not bend to their will, whether in the military, a bureaucrat, or the people who prepare their food, will become surfs. Tenet is one who chose to bend to their will. Be an accepted member of the royal court as it were. And he has been handsomely rewarded.

“George Tenet cashes in on Iraq”

The fact that the “aristocracy” has been successful to this point owes not to their superior looks or charisma, or even intelligence, because they are not superior in any way. What they are is amoral. Only because they have taken every opportunity to insert themselves into government positions and politics, and religion when necessary, have they succeeded. Because it is the nature of good people to accept their leaders are honest, good people become slaves.

Thanks to the internet, now we all have access to the truth. The miles and miles, and millions and millions of written words documenting what and who they are is out there for all to see. All one needs do is look.

And again, thank you Ernest Canning.
I hope you re-post UNMASKING THE REAL STUPITY OF TORTURE at every opportunity.

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By Hammo, May 8, 2007 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

In George Tenet’s new book, pre-9/11 activity and inactivity of the Bush administration is explored.

Take a look at the article by Robert Parry:

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By johnnyfarout, May 8, 2007 at 9:26 am Link to this comment

I watched these clips and then mused on this for a couple of days. I didn’t want to watch them again. They are too disturbing. What knocked me silent was the staged blatant lying this Ex-Head of the CIA is doing. Not that I am surprised, after all he is a spook and a professional, and as such is a professional liar. The truth never passes before his mind except as a shadow caste behind the scenes of what he wants everyone who hears him talk to believe. In the world of secret agents and “intelligence”, the truth is the victim. We of the Viet Nam era know this in our bones. Any utterance from an official of the US government is a lie. The CIA created Bin Laden. The CIA has used ‘black ops’, and its drug money and war lords, since WWII, to further their own agendas and create a world of feigned ignorance and lies to keep themselves under cover. Do I think their plans are common knowledge to themselves, any one of them at a time…? Certainly not. What is disturbing is that the interviewer here did not burst out laughing at Tenet’s poor histrionics. A 7 year old would know he was lying. He tells it himself that he is lying: “Listen to me! We do not torture!” Who does he think he is fooling? This is the chief Inquisitor telling you all his acts are pure and good. It is freedom and goodness and kindness that is pouring vinegar down your nose, not a torturer! It is nonsense that this man asks to be excused of “human errors”. This level of underworld character does not fail at his job…he and his minions create all of what happens. G. Bush senior was once head of the CIA. Nothing these men say is transparent. The terrorists are in Washington DC, and we are suffering their terror and so is the rest of the world. They are emboldened by their powers. They are professional liars. Their storm troopers will come into your home and lie straight into your face. Their twisted tongued worst will set up the slaughter of us all for their own nefarious ends. Even that this Tenet character is speaking out like this is part of some scheme. Believe that. No doubt. Quadruple triple think is de rigueur with these scum. 9/11 was their greatest achievement in this time and they are not going to let the truth be part of the story. Freedom will be what they allow us. Freedom is them telling us our history over and over in this brave new world.

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By DennisD, May 6, 2007 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

60 Minutes doesn’t “grill” anyone anymore and hasn’t for many years. It may have something to do with being part of global corporate conglomerate of don’t bite the hand that controls us.

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By Lee, May 6, 2007 at 8:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Men of honor- Men of dollar- Men of horror, can’t tell the difference?

But I think everyone is missing the most important point about this thoroughly political prevaricator.

He has really great hair. And in American TV politics, that’s the important credential.

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By MattNet, May 5, 2007 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Torture is not necessarily stupid if the intended purpose is not gathering information but rather manufacturing “confessions” and producing “intelligence” to bolster the policy aims of the regime.  Using torture the administration can create all the confessed “terrorists” they need to convince the gullible public that we must fear the “enemy”; you know, the ones who “hate our freedoms”.

The reality, of course, is that the terrorism is coming from the criminal regime itself.

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By sns, May 5, 2007 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

cry me a river of crocodile tears….......he’s orchestrating his escape w/ this book and interview; these people have been running things for a long while and ethics are always an afterthought…

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By John F. Butterfield, May 5, 2007 at 5:36 pm Link to this comment

You don’t know what a grilling is.

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By QuyTran, May 5, 2007 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

American people are smart, vey smart. Only those who work for Bush/Cheney in their damned administration are stupid. Among them are Tenet, Rice, Rove, Wolf…
and a lot of members in House and Senate…you name them. We feel sorry for the Freedom Medal given to those guys because they did not deserve to to accept

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By Hammo, May 5, 2007 at 11:05 am Link to this comment

The American people are not as stupid as many in Washington seem to think. Americans are seeing through many of the deceptions coming out of those associated with the Bush-Cheney administration.

Can we turn the corner on this sad part of the American experience and head in a better direction and find better leaders? Take a look at:

“Recognizing the dangerous people in our world is necessary” (American Chronicle)

-  -  -

“Iraq invasion and occupation, Gulf Coast hurricane disaster have links” (American Chronicle)

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By cann4ing, May 5, 2007 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

“Listen to me.  We do not torture!”  George Tenet.

That statement reveals that there is no reason to trust anything this bureaucratic spook has to say.

The following is an extended version of my op-ed piece that had been published in the Ventura County Star on 4/4/07 entitled “Unmasking the real stupidity of torture.”  Because of its length, it is posted in two parts, the second posted first because of the Truthdig format of posting first comments at the bottom.


As I read the banner headlines about the slew of confessions purported to have been voluntarily made by alleged 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, I could not hbut recall the many “confessions” made by purged Soviet officials at Stalinist show trials after lengthy confinement and torture.  Then I thought about my father, James R. Canning.

In 1942, five years before my birth, my father, then a plant manager of a British manufacturing firm in Shanghai, was arrested by the Japanese Kempetai and transported to Bridge House, an infamous torture chamber, where he was kept for several months in a filthy cage whose tiny dimensions permitted him to neither lie down nor stand.  He was interrogated; asked to sign a confession that he was a British agent.  My father refused for two reasons.  First, it wasn’t true.  Second, he believed he had been asked to sign his own death warrant.

At that point my father was taken to another room and “water boarded.”  Several soldiers held him down on a wooden platform.  One held a sponge over his mouth and nose while another poured water onto the sponge.  Several hours and multiple occasions in which he lost consciousness later, my father signed the confession.  His interrogators, dissatisfied with his wobbly signature, returned to his cage the next day and gave him the choice of another round of “water boarding” or signing a new confession.  He signed.

“Water boarding” is but one of a sophisticated array of “interrogation techniquests” that the Bush administration has employed in the so-called “global war on terror.”  During a Feb. 17, 2006 Democracy Now! interview, Professor Alfred McCoy noted that in “the most famous of photographs from Abu Ghraib, of the Iraqi standing on the box, arms extended with a hood over his head…, you can see the entire 50-year history of CIA torture….From 1950 to 1962, the CIA ran a massive research project…., spending over $1 billion a year to crack the code of human consciousness, from both mass persuasion and the use of coercion in individual interrogation.”

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By Outraged, May 5, 2007 at 9:49 am Link to this comment

I saw the original and I won’t subject myself to it again from this “piece of work”.  Brittany Spears speaks truth to power more often than Tenet.  So the question is: “What’s wrong with this picture?” 

My message to George Tenet:
You did not make a “mistake”, deliberately and with forsight you endorsed and supported lying to America, the UN, and Iraq.  Your actions caused hundreds of thousand of people to die and made the WORLD a more dangerous place.  You wasted untold billions of the AMERICAN TAXPAYERS’ money which could have gone to fighting terrorism and ACTUALLY making the WORLD safer.  BTW quit trying to invoke that sorry-ass, “some of the people at the CIA are very good at what they do and should be commended.”  This is not rocket science George, we know that.  That’s why you should’ve listened.

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By cann4ing, May 5, 2007 at 9:38 am Link to this comment

“Unmasking the real stupidity of torture,” Part II

The research project culminated in the 1963 KUBARK Counterintelligence Manual.  This previously secret CIA manual states that it is ‘intended as a guideline for interrogation of resistant subjects.”  KUBARK cites studies on sensory deprivation involving hooded subjects, including one experiment in which 17 volunteers lay inside a tank type respiratators; their arms and legs within “comfortable but rigid cylinders to inhibit movement and tactile contact.”  The only sound was the dull repetitive humming of the respirator motor.  Only 6 of the 17 paid vounteers completed the 36 hour test.  “The results confirmed…that (1) the deprivation of sensory stimuli induces stress; (2) the stress becomes unbearable for most subjects; (3) the subject has a growing need for physical and social stimuli, and (4) some subjects progressively lose touch with reality…”

The other technique, self-inflicted pain, was based on a 1956 CIA-commissioned Cornell University study of KGB interrogation techniques.  KUBARK reports that individuals “of considerable moral or intellectual stature often find in pain inflicted by others a belief that they are in the hands of inferiors, and their resolve not to submit is strengthened.”  However, when “the individual is told to stand at attention for long periods, an intervening factor is introduced.  The immediate source of the pain is not the interrogator but the victim.”

These twin techniques can be seen in photographs of hooded detainees, made to kneel for hours on end in stress positions.  In “A Question of Torture,” Prof. McCoy observes that these thechniquests have been “refined through years of practice.  The method relies on simple, even banal procedures—isolation, standing, heat and cold, light and dark, noise and silence—for a systematic attack on all human senses.  The fusion of these physical and psychological trauma whose sum is a hammer-blow to the fundamentals of personal identity.”

Perhaps my legal training has created a bias for application of the rule of law, but I would submit that a multi-national application of international standards for bringing the perpetrators of 9/11 before the bar of justice would have proved far more effective than executive lawlessness exercised in the name of a never-ending, Orwellian “war on terror” that, itself, threatens the very legal fabric of our constitutional democracy.

The torturer can extract a “confession.”  He can use it as an excuse for executing his victim.  But, in the absence of corrporating evidence obtained by professional law enforcement, he can never be certain he has extracted the truth.  Therein lies the stupidity of torture.

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