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Keith Olbermann on Torture and Conspiracy

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Posted on Nov 6, 2007
keith olbermann

In another of his stirring commentaries, the “Countdown” host suggests that the story of Daniel Levin, who was fired from the Justice Department after he experienced waterboarding and called it torture, reveals that “the presidency of George W. Bush has now devolved into a criminal conspiracy to cover the ass of George W. Bush.”

Watch it:

(via Largest Minority)


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By ca, November 16, 2007 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


Lying to congress.
Authorising Torture (war crime)
Election Fraud (hard to prove doesn’t mean he didnt)
Illiegal search and seizure authorization (disobaying FISA)
Warrentless Wiretapping

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By Kodiak, November 16, 2007 at 10:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#112030 wow I’m surprised anyone but a liberal fan boy would post on this.  But seriously people what crimes has Bush committed.  Starting a war?? no… reacting to a direct attack on the US sure…  Attacking Iraq?? no simply acting on the sanctions put forth in the past which were repeatedly violated (namely rockets with too great a range.) and which his predecessors lacked the courage to wade through the constant assaults on his character and finish something that should have been over with in the Clinton or Bush Sr. presidency.  NO WE DID NOT INVADE IRAQ FOR NUCLEAR WEAPONS. but we did find them contrary to what the largely LIBERAL media wants you to believe.  Election fraud?? doubtful but no provable either way.. but you problem with the election results shouldn’t be based on the outcome so much as the process for which it is obtained… seriously win most of a state get all the votes…seems kind of archaic.  Why not if i win 2 regions of a hypothetical state that gets 5 electoral votes, i get 2 votes who ever won the other 3 regions gets those 3… seems logical..that way you have a more accurate outlook on how states want to vote.. so no more of the people in Florida that were too stupid (sorry but they were) to fill out a simple ballot that 1st graders were able to.

I apologize for not putting that into paragraphs but i have to get to work…typing this up on the fly

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By ocjim, November 13, 2007 at 9:25 am Link to this comment

I have waited so long for someone in the news to reveal Bush for the tyrannical misanthrope that he is. For someone worse than Nixon and much more dangerous, especially with a corporate media and a wimpish opposition, what are we going to do to save our country when impeachment is off the table?

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By boggs, November 11, 2007 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

W. has spent his life learning to cover his A**, because he has been raised to believe that money can buy him out of any situation, and it always has. Money has paid for ‘lost documents’, ‘desertsion from a military post’, even bought him an election win by the Supreme Court.
All you republicans and evangelicals got exactly what you deserved when you voted for this clown.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 9, 2007 at 11:10 pm Link to this comment



Well done, again!

I especially like the image of George W. Bush in an orange jump-suit and manacles being led off to spend the rest of his life in a Federal prison.

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By Unapologetic Liberal, November 9, 2007 at 12:21 am Link to this comment

THANK YOU KEITH.  So refreshing to see a mainstream reporter calling Bush for what he is: an evil, cowardly, morally bankrupt piece of sh*t.  And the go-along-to-get-along crowd in Congress is equally culpable for this mess.

I don’t just want him out of office anymore.  It’s not enough.  You belong in prison, you craven traitor to everything good America has ever represented.  Rot there, pleass.

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By Gerald Vest, November 8, 2007 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Olberman is one of best there is in reporting the news as it is and challenging all who lie, deceive and give us false reports. I wouldn’t miss his nightly reports on the crimes commited by this Administration. Come on America, awaken to the fact that there are few reporters who will stand up for our country and for our Constitution—Olberman for President.

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By GrammaConcept, November 8, 2007 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment

....demons only experience relief from their own tortured torment
    when human beings are suffering…

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By Eric L Prentis, November 8, 2007 at 11:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hurray for Keith Olbermann, he is a patriot and worth two of the US Congress and all of the mainstream media. Olbermann for president!!!!

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By Robert, November 8, 2007 at 9:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sometimes we need to look back in time to see how ridiculous certain practices and procedures are. 

The Franciscan Monks took detailed notes regarding the torture of those suspected of being witches during the inquisition.  See, witches were the “terrorists” of their time and were believed responsible for every bad thing that could befall a community.

We don’t have to guess as to what happened but can read the exact words, centuries old, which tell us what they did and that torture does not work!

If you waterboard someone they will do the following:

1. Confess to being a witch.

2. Confess to riding around on a broom or stick.

3. Confess to the charge of being able to change into an animal like a cat or a dog.

4. Confess to being part of a conspiracy whereas they have meetings with the Devil where they sing, dance, have orgies and plan mayhem.

5. Confess that they control the weather and are thus responsible for ships lost at sea.

I’ve read many of these confessions and the saddest ones are clearly the ones where the people have no idea as to what a witch does.  They were tortured beyond description until they came up with something to satisfy their tormentors. 

The state, whether secular or not, loves confessions.  It loves to see it own brutality justified by these fanciful tales.

The question now is: what are we the people going to do about it?

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By Outraged, November 8, 2007 at 9:01 am Link to this comment

Several commenters have highlighted the fact that torture is used to illicit a CONFESSION, I agree.  So possibly those who endorsed this torture NEEDED a confession.  How and why were those planes flown into the WTC…here’s the confession….

As it was with Galileo, the church couldn’t possibly allow him to run around telling everyone the earth revolved around the sun when they had been telling everyone (through God, of course) they KNEW that it didn’t.  Consider the implications to the church had Galileo spoke.

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By cyrena, November 8, 2007 at 6:44 am Link to this comment

#112217 by Paolo

•  If you want usable intel, befriend the captive. Show him that, contrary to the propaganda he’s heard, our side is really quite civilized and will not torture him. That’s how you get real, usable intel. Make the subject unsure that he’s really on the side of the “good guys.” Make him question his premises.


Herein lies the real issue. Our current torturers aren’t interested in intel, they just wanna torture for the sake of torturing. That’s the bottom line, because what you’ve been embarrassed to point out, is what anybody knows. 

•  If you torture, you just confirm to the captive that he’s on the side of goodness and morality, and he’ll tell you any lie he figures you’ll swallow.

•  Actually, I’m embarrassed that I have to point all this out to Americans, who used to be a moral people. Makes me kind of sick to the stomach, you know?

Yep, I know exactly what you mean about the sick stomach. I had a constant bout of it a couple of years ago, as I went through all of the arguments that Cheney was putting forth, to be able to exclude the CIA from the torture laws, and specifically the sexual humiliation and other techniques that involved that type of pain or harassment. I mean, he argued HARD for being able to continue those ‘enhanced interrogation techniques”. What IS it about these sickos running the government, that are so committed to torture of all varieties, but especially the sexual stuff? Yeah, that’s just more than stomach turning.

And, you’re right about KSM too. They tortured him so bad he confessed to EVERYTHING under the sun, the moon, the stars, and even some stuff we never even heard of. Whatever it was, he ‘confessed to it’, even if it meant he had to be in 16 places at the same time.

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By Paolo, November 7, 2007 at 7:48 pm Link to this comment

Torture does not reveal the “truth.” Torture elicits “confessions.” The Soviets under Stalin did not torture to elicit facts; they did so to elicit “confessions.”

When Galileo was confronted with his “heresy” of believing in a heliocentric system, he was shown the instruments of torture, whereupon he (sensibly) renounced his beliefs.

Heck, if I was about to be tortured, I’d say anything they’d want to hear. Up with Communism! Up with Fascism! Hip Hip Hooray! Yes, I was an evil libertarian, but now I know I was in error! Long live the state! Long live our Glorious Leader!

Khalid Sheik Mohammed, so far as I have heard, did not reveal any important facts when we TORTURED him. We did, however, get a “confession” that he was behind the whole 9-11 “plot.” What more could a Bush loyalist ask for?

If you want usable intel, befriend the captive. Show him that, contrary to the propaganda he’s heard, our side is really quite civilized and will not torture him. That’s how you get real, usable intel. Make the subject unsure that he’s really on the side of the “good guys.” Make him question his premises.

If you torture, you just confirm to the captive that he’s on the side of goodness and morality, and he’ll tell you any lie he figures you’ll swallow.

Actually, I’m embarrassed that I have to point all this out to Americans, who used to be a moral people. Makes me kind of sick to the stomach, you know?

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By rodney, November 7, 2007 at 7:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No one else in the media speaks the truth and calls and confronts the Bush Administration for all of the lies deceptions and illegal activity that has been going on in the White House since 2000. Keith is a American hero. Keep speaking the truth. The rest of the media doesn’t seems to have the balls to do so, especially the Democrats.

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By cyrena, November 7, 2007 at 6:10 pm Link to this comment

#112107 by Douglas Chalmers

•  Quote Catholic Church’s Catholic Encyclopedia: “Curiously enough, torture was not regarded as a mode of punishment, but purely as a means of eliciting the truth…...

Douglas, that’s what you get for quoting the Catholic Church’s Catholic Encyclopedia..

What did they think the Roman Soldiers were doing to Jesus Christ? Was that supposed to be interrogation, or punishment?

I’ll look for the stuff from my Law and Torture course, and try to send it along to you. In reality, torture was used from the beginning, (even in Medieval times) as a form of punishment/entertainment. Remember the guillotine, and all of that? The people of the village would come to the town/village square to see their fellow citizens tortured, which was to end in death. So, I don’t know where the Catholics get off claiming it as a form of interrogation, when in fact it’s primary purpose (at last for them) was punishment, and a method of entertainment or ‘example’ for anyone else who might try something foolish.

Then again, the Catholics have done their own fair share of re-writing history to their own image and likeness, just like everybody else. And before anybody even gets revved up, NO…I’m not flaming or dissing Catholics, seeing as how that’s what I used to be myself, and my grandma was more Catholic than the Pope. Still, it’s another one of those…”it is what it is” things.

Anyway, I’ll ask our torture expert here if she remembers about when, (and under what circumstances) torture began to be incorporated for interrogation.

It’s hard to really track it (at least for me) because there’s so much evidence to verify that torture doesn’t work for these purposes anyway. And, that’s been the documented fact for several decades. There’s no way to know if somebody is telling you anything of value, (because most of the time they don’t know) or if they’re just telling you something/anything that the interrogator wants to hear, just to stop the torture.

As for ‘eliciting the truth’, that’s what TRIALS are for. That was the original meaning of the word, at least in legal terminology. “To find the truth”. So, who knows, maybe the Catholics somehow concocted something from that. Trial-torture-truth.

As we know, even trials don’t solicit the truth anymore, and even when they do, who cares? Example, I. Lewis (Scooter)Liebowitz/Libby. Maybe we should have just tortured him, instead of bothering with that trial.

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By GrammaConcept, November 7, 2007 at 5:19 pm Link to this comment

Dear Kevtao,.............................................................................(#112117)

      What would you suggest?

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By 1984, November 7, 2007 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

we should legalize prostitution in this country…not for the men and women who actually do that. because we have politicians who are the biggest ones of all…keith keep up the good work…

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By kevtao, November 7, 2007 at 10:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Daniel Levin’s self-sacrifice and for that matter Keith Olbermann’s commentary heroism will be largely ignored by the zombie populace of this country. Whether it is an economic collapse from the staggering fiscal debt we cannot possibly avoid or morally bankrupt people in control of the government or a combination of these things, we are seeing the start of the end of this great experiment. For those who paid attention during History class, nothing is finite and this so called empire is going to fall under the weight of it’s own corruption and decay. And unfortunately, considering all of the suffering that has already taken place due to our ignorance and hubris, it’s really only the beginning of the collapse.

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By mary, November 7, 2007 at 10:01 am Link to this comment

Since I never miss any of Keith’s work, I can say that each time he speaks with such passion and truth I feel like maybe, just maybe, we can save this great nation of ours.  Congress better listen up.  Keith speaks for all knowing Americans….

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By Douglas Chalmers, November 7, 2007 at 9:34 am Link to this comment

Some history on the T-word…...

Quote Catholic Church’s Catholic Encyclopedia: “Curiously enough, torture was not regarded as a mode of punishment, but purely as a means of eliciting the truth…... The general rule ran that torture was to be resorted to only once. But this was sometimes circumvented—first, by assuming that with every new piece of evidence the rack could be utilized afresh, and secondly, by imposing fresh torments on the poor victim (often on different days), not by way of repetition, but as a continuation (non ad modum iterationis sed continuationis), as defended by Eymeric; “quia, iterari non debent [tormenta], nisi novis supervenitibus indiciis, continuari non prohibentur.” But what was to be done when the accused, released from the rack, denied what he had just confessed…?”

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By don knutsen, November 7, 2007 at 9:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Senators Schumer & Feinstein have joined the republican lite crowd.Rather then stand up for what, in the pre-Bu$h years was taken for granted, that america does not torture like some 3rd world country. They have joined Lieberman in enabling these criminals to continue our race away from everything america once stood for. We have lost our morale compass as a nation under these thugs in charge. When our soldiers are captured in any of the Cheney/Bu$h wars for profit they will be tortured and we will have no right to condemn it. An indictment of these criminals is the only way to turn this around, and voting out of office any of those politicians who have enabled them to continue must be a part of that process as well.

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By Marshall K, November 7, 2007 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

We may be a two party system, but we can replace these spineless neowimps in the primaries.  Wanted: principled progressives to unseat stale political hacks.  Feinstein and Schumer, see you in the unemployment line!

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By MS, November 7, 2007 at 8:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If someone could just trick Bush into an illicit
sexual act in the Oval Office, there would be grounds to impeach!  Sadly, that’s the only meaning attached to the words honor and integrity these days.  That’s what Bush has restored to government, honor and integrity.  The American people are so focused on the religious right version of honor and integrity which only involves sex, that they can’t see how far we’ve devolved in the last 7 years.  I so wish Canada would take more immigrants.
PS: Haha, my secret word to comment here was MORAL, another word with only sexual connotations for the religious.

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By azyuwish, November 7, 2007 at 7:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ve posted this video to my blog and sent to friends.  This is off the charts GREAT.  Thank you, thank you, Mr. Olbermann.

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By grandmamimi, November 7, 2007 at 7:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Lawyers and people of this country could take
a lesson from the Pakistanis. We all NEED to hit
the streets and DEMAND accountability!

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By GW=MCHammered, November 6, 2007 at 11:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Repeating sycophant and injurious mistakes with a smirk is NOT optimism, it’s most others definition of <u>crazy</u>. And the following all-too-familiar are NOT character traits:

  * Grandiose sense of one’s own abilities or achievements
  * Fantasies about having exceptional power, attractiveness or success
  * Sense of belonging to an exclusive group of people who truly understand each other
  * Need for constant praise
  * Expectations of special treatment
  * Exploitation of other people
  * Lack of empathy for other people
  * Envy of other people or a belief that you are the subject of other people’s envy
  * Haughty or arrogant behaviors
They are symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. And likely just part of a bigger malady called Bu$Co.

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By CJ, November 6, 2007 at 10:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Maybe one day, Olbermann will get to causes beyond symptoms of diseased democracy, though I’m not holding my breath. Keith thinks government is merely a matter of litigation, of somehow abiding by Constitutional law, which he thinks isn’t really a function of political interest.

In short, Olbermann is a moderate to conservative liberal who still doesn’t get it. (He appears liberal only in the context of intensely conservative media.) Democracy isn’t simply a matter of rule of law, which comes only AFTER establishing participatory, democracy, wherein all are equal at an ECONOMIC level, and wherein media types wouldn’t exist to engage in talking down, interested only espousing their own (self-interested) opinions, not in the least in reading or hearing your own. Like every other commentator, conservative or liberal, he doesn’t get that America was never structured as a participatory democracy. Hell, even George Will knows that much!

The whole point, Mr. Olbermann, is the wielding over power over so-called “masses.” In our particularly clever case, mostly using carrot instead of stick. Carrot amounts only to promise of American Dream, realizable by a few, only because not realizable by most, and vice versa.

Not MSNBC, not Olbermann, not any in mainstream media, can be bothered with reality beyond legalities (legalisms), which of course are subject to interpretation by judges who, for the most part, can interpret the same law in a host of different ways, depending on their political perspectives and/or loyalties.

What liberals and conservatives alike refuse to admit is that ours is not only merely a REPUBLIC, but otherwise merely a capitalist “democracy.” Which is how come media pundits like Olbermann are interested only in talking down to you, while they can’t really be bothered with your own opinions, most especially if yours is more informed than theirs.

And which is how come Bush/Cheney worry not in the least what pundits say, because they DO get it: especially that the left in general has proven itself lame, most particularly liberal leftists dreaming of identification and charity (for which Orwell had no use either), fully accepting conservative philosophy as expressed in social Darwinist ideology, while hoping only to ameliorate effects of brutality that stems from acceptance of that philosophy of “human nature.”

It’s all very nice to tut-tut this and tut-tut that, but thus far, and over my almost 60 years, not a wit of doing that has made a wit of difference. Ike was more honest and upfront than anyone since, and he was a Republican. At least he didn’t engage in the imaginary, yammering of legal niceties, as he understood perfectly the nature of the beast, for what it actually is: a state constituted of a military-industrial complex, by now on steroids.

So thanks, Keith, but get serious, man, along with rest of pundits, all of whom are making way too-good a living while thinking they get it, when they don’t remotely get it. Ya’ll can talk to one another on our screens, more or less well-informed, amongst yourselves, while the rest of us try to get by on less than a mil a month, and without recourse to or concern for legal niceties, assuming those might amount to a little more than looking to score the dream via tort.
Will Hillary be better than Bush? Not much. Same with the rest of candidates, so pitiful have we become, while we continue to spend up a storm with that ultimate upper-class weapon, the credit card.

How about something like a REAL commentary on possible CAUSES?

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By 911truthdotorg, November 6, 2007 at 9:43 pm Link to this comment

Just watched this on PBS…very disturbing.

No wonder why they hate us. This monster is creating terrorists faster than a GM assembly line.

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By xypher, November 6, 2007 at 8:17 pm Link to this comment

Many Democrats are unwilling to do their jobs and hold Mr. Bush accountable for his crimes, the least of which is election fraud.

I want to say it’s time to vote 3rd party but, the elections are rigged and we are only going down this same spiral until the American People wake up and demand that our Constitution is upheld…and that every vote is counted.

Our Government has no decency left. The world is left to wonder as to why we have not removed this despot from office. Instead our lawmakers allow it to happen.

What happened to the America the world looked up to?! Now, we are just another rogue nation that cannot be trusted. Thank you Mr. Bush.

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By cyrena, November 6, 2007 at 8:07 pm Link to this comment

For any of you who would like the text of Keith’s commentary, you can find it here.

Thanks Keith. You do good work, especially in these times when exposing truths is such a dangerous occupation.

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By Waz, November 6, 2007 at 7:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank God for Levin, for Olberman. Schumer and Feinstein have showed their true nature. We won’t forget that when it was time to stand up and be counted,
they turned into rats and ran down into a sewer, to join the Great Destroyer himself, GWB.

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By JimM72, November 6, 2007 at 6:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ah gee what a surprise!

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By Don Stivers, November 6, 2007 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

Too bad our Congressmen and women will not pick up on this.  Fienstien published a big column in the newspaper stating why Mukasey has EARNED her vote.  Has she been blackmailed?  Naw!  She’s just another politician that is as low as George Bush and his dimwitted creeps.

What a bunch of SAD creeps!!!!

I DO hope Keith’s editorial is listened to.

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By GrammaConcept, November 6, 2007 at 5:09 pm Link to this comment

Go Keith!

                              Live Long And Prosper.

Wamth and Courage,


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