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Waterboarding Our Democracy

Posted on Dec 11, 2007
AP photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta

Speak up, Ms. Speaker:  Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi fields questions about Iraq at a press conference on Capitol Hill last April.

By Robert Scheer

When the CIA destroyed those prisoner interrogation videotapes, was it also destroying the truth about 9/11?  After all, according to the 9/11 Commission Report, the basic narrative of what happened on that day—and the definition of the enemy in this war on terror that George W. Bush launched in response to the tragedy—comes from the CIA’s account of what those prisoners told their torturers.  The commission was never allowed to interview the prisoners, or speak with those who did, and was instead forced to rely on what the CIA was willing to relay. 

On the matter of the existence of the tapes, we know the CIA lied, not only to the 9/11 Commission but to Congress as well.  Given that the Bush administration has for six years refused those prisoners any sort of public legal exposure, why should we believe what we’ve been told about what may turn out to be the most important transformative event in our nation’s history?  On the basis of what the CIA claimed the tortured prisoners said, President Bush launched a “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT), an endless war that threatens to bankrupt our society both financially and morally.   

How important to the 9/11 Commission Report were those “key witnesses”?  Check out the disclaimer on Page 146 about the commission’s sourcing of the main elements laid out in its narrative:

Chapters 5 and 7 rely heavily on information obtained from captured al Qaeda members. ... Assessing the truth of statements by these witnesses ... is challenging.  Our access to them has been limited to the review of intelligence reports based on communications received from the locations where the actual interrogation took place.  We submitted questions for use in the interrogations, but had no control over whether, when, or how questions of particular interest would be asked.  Nor were we allowed to talk to the interrogators so that we could better judge the credibility of the detainees and clarify ambiguities in the reporting.  We were told that our requests might disrupt the sensitive interrogation process.

Videos were made of those “sensitive” interrogations, which were accurately described as “torture” by one of the agents involved, John Kiriakou, in an interview with ABC News.  Yet when the 9/11 Commission and federal judges specifically asked for such tapes, they were destroyed by the CIA, which then denied their existence. 

Of course our president claims he knew nothing about this whitewash, and he may be speaking the truth, since plausible deniability seems to be the defining leadership style of our commander in chief.  But what about those congressional leaders who were briefed on the torture program as early as 2002?  That includes Democrats such as Nancy Pelosi, who has specialized in heartfelt speeches condemning torturers in faraway places like China.

Pelosi press aide Brendan Daly told me that The Washington Post report on her CIA briefing was “overblown” because Pelosi, then the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, thought the techniques described, which the CIA insists included waterboarding, were merely planned and not yet in use.  Pelosi claimed that “several months later” her successor as the ranking Democrat, Jane Harman, D-Calif., was advised that the techniques “had in fact been employed.”  Harman wrote a classified letter to the CIA in protest, and Pelosi “concurred.”  Neither went public with her concerns.

Harman told The Washington Post, “I was briefed, but the information was closely held to just the Gang of Four.  I was not free to disclose anything.”  The “Gang of Four” is an insider reference to the top members of the House and Senate intelligence committees and not to the thugs who ran Mao’s China during the Cultural Revolution.

Not only did the congressional Gang of Four fail to inform the public about the use of torture by our government, but it also kept the 9/11 Commission in the dark.  Pelosi testified before the commission on May 22, 2003, but uttered not a word of caution about the methods used.  However, more than two years later, on Nov. 16, 2005, Pelosi stated correctly that on the basis of her “many years on the intelligence committee,” she knew that “[t]he quality of intelligence that is collected by torture is ... uncorroborated and it is worthless.”

Having admired Pelosi for decades, I hope I am missing something here.  If she and the others in the know have another version of these events it’s time to come clean.  As matters now stand, they not only concealed torture but, more significantly, they abetted the waterboarding of our democracy.



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By cann4ing, December 12, 2007 at 8:24 pm Link to this comment

Also impressive, 911truth, is the number of former officials from the Reagan & Bush I administration who agree with Gage.

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By 911truthdotorg, December 12, 2007 at 8:04 pm Link to this comment

I, along with 249 other people, had the great opportunity to see Architect Richard Gage in person last Sat night. He spoke for 4 hours about the
collapse of the **three** WTC buildings on 9/11.

Only a fool could walk away from that presentation still believing the official lie. Before he began, he counted 39 people who believed the lie. When he was finished, only 2 sheeple still did. He asked them to explain why, but they left.

Check out his website and watch his presentation online.

Google videos: 9/11 Press for Truth, 9/11 Mysteries,
Loose Change, Terror Storm, America: Freedom to Fascism

Oh, and Frank, you really need to wake up.

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By 911truthdotorg, December 12, 2007 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment

I have a very strong feeling that #1 is the real reason for #2.



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By driving bear, December 12, 2007 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

Now you know why impeachment is off the table.
If impeachment proceeding were to go forward it would be revealed that the dems in congress were at best negligent in their duty or at worst accomplices to bush

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By truthdug, December 12, 2007 at 6:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Aluminum (airplanes) and sulfur(gypsum and possibly other sources), were present in the WTC debris cloud without the need for thermite or explosives. Air force crash test videos show that aluminum airframes disintegrate into clouds of aluminum dust upon impact with hardened surfaces like steel beams and concrete. Same thing happened at the Pentagon. You can watch a video of an F-4 disintegrating into a dust cloud upon impact with a concrete wall here:

“118 eyewitnesses, some suffering severe bodily injury, spoke of explosions.”

Hundreds of eyewitnesses every year report seeing the Virgin Mary or ghosts, but that’s beside the point. When did these explosions happen? There was an “explosion” each time one of the planes hit the towers.

“Some of the witnessed talked of molten iron, not in puddles but describing a Dante-esque scene of flowing, dripping iron.”

How could a witness know they were looking at molten iron, and not molten-something-else? Did they have superhuman chemical analysis vision? Or was it just speculation?

“his theory is corrobated by some of those eyewitnesses who witnessed the effects of very large explosions in the basement.”

What witnesses? Have you seen the specific accounts with names, or are you just repeating a claim made on a website? What ‘effects’ did they witness? Without directly witnessing a blast, how did they distinguish the effects of explosives vs. effects of an impact higher in the building? If they directly witnessed a blast, how did they witness it without dying? Why are the “effects” of a basement blast not evident on any video? How did these massive explosions manage to happen without an air pressure surge blowing out the windows at the lower levels?  This does not show up on videos of the WTC at the time of impact, or collapse. In any case, the building collapse happened from impact level on down, not from the base.

“reports, even from Giuliani himself, confirmed the presence of an inferno under the rubble pile. The US Geological Survey has reported in a ten day period they looked at millions of gallons of water were sprayed on the rubble pile, and still the inferno persisted… for 100 days.”

Thermite or explosives generate massive heat that would dissipate quickly. They are not continuous heat sources. Molten metal cools quickly when doused with water, no matter how you initially render it molten. Neither thermite nor explosives would explain persistent infernos under the rubble, as this heat would dissipate relatively quickly. What would create sustained heat?  How about tons of building materials and wood furniture, burning slowly and hotly under an insulating heap of debris and ash.

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By Paolo, December 12, 2007 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment

The biggest question about 9-11 is why there was such a hurry to clear the site without doing extensive forensic investigation. After all, WTC 1 and 2 were both specifically designed to withstand the impact of an airliner. Don’t you think extensive analysis is called for so future buildings can be made better? Don’t you think extensive analysis is called for to find out exactly how and why the buildings failed?

After all: this was the crime of the century. Don’t you think a thorough investigation is called for?

Please don’t tell me the laughable 9-11 commission was anything but a whitewash, done well after the fact, well after all the rubble had been cleared.

I’m not a “conspiracy buff.” It may be that WTC 1 and WTC 2 fell as a direct result only of an airliner impact. It may be that falling debris, plus a diesel fire, somehow brought down WTC 7 (in a perfect, symmetrical fall at near freefall speed). But, now that all the rubble is cleared and all the steel recycled through China, no further research is possible.

Ask yourself the question: Qui bono? That is: who benefits? What has the 9-11 event been used to justify?

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By cyrena, December 12, 2007 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment

#119701 by writeon

•  Surely torture is a form of terror?

YES. It is one of the highest forms of terror. Maybe THE highest form of terror. 

•  If we are willing to use terror against prisoners that have no defence, don’t we in reality become just like the terrorists?

YES. We’ve already gone beyond becoming like the terrorists.

•  What exactly is the difference between them and us morally?

NO difference. Well actually, the terrorists are MORE moral, because at least they claim a cause, and resort to terror when absolutely nothing else has worked. In fact those who the US has deemed to be ‘terrorists’ are in fact not any different from the soldiers on the battlefield, where we (as you mentioned) accept a level of violence due to the primitive nature of men in battle. The only difference here, is that these ‘acts of terror’ (specifically suicide bombings or other bombings) are just a form of ASYMETRICAL WARFARE!! They don’t have a standard battlefield in political violence, and they don’t have the standard tools of legitimate warfare. So, what do they do, to bring attention to the fact that the US (or the West in general) has been stealing their land/resources, or disrespecting their humanity, or creating overwhelmingly unbearable conditions for their survival on/in their own space? Well, they resort to asymmetrical warfare, and we call them terrorists.

In reality of course, WE are the terrorists, and the practice of torture makes us the worst of the worst among them.

•  Aren’t we saying that the ends justifies the means, just as the terrorist do?

YEP!! Even when it doesn’t, as is the case of torture, because it simply doesn’t work.

•  Where do we draw the line if the end justifies the means? Surely we will eventually resort to torturing the terrorist’s wife and children, if this means saving innocent american lives.

Actually, we’ve already resorted to torturing the terrorists’ families, and it has LONG been part of the torturer’s bag of psychological tricks to threaten the prisoner with harm to his family. And yes, there ARE many women and children locked up and currently undergoing torture, because of their family connections to those who have been designated as ‘terrorists’. I don’t know of any here in the US, (though that doesn’t mean they don’t exist in some secret prison here) but this has been a standard practice for the CIA (to imprison and torture family members in other locations) for the past several years.

And, last but probably most importantly, if WE know all of this stuff, because over the past 3 years, this torture debate has been raging, and so many independent journalists and other scholars have researched it so thoroughly, then there is NO WAY that we can accept that our political hacks (ie Nancy Pelosi) haven’t known it all along as well.

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By endbushwar, December 12, 2007 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

Until I SAW the video of the second plane I believed the GOVs story. After I SAW that plane I believe NOTHING that ANYONE says in the EXECUTIVE, LEGISLATIVE or JUDICIAL federal government.  As measure of our PLIGHT we look to the high court of PAKISTAN for judicial leadership.  THE JOSE PADILLA TORTURE tape LOST??+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ai_n6264639     ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++      911 air traffic controler tapes DESTROYED +++++++++++++++++++++++++    +++    We the people need a new investigation.  An investigation based on evidence not heresay…............

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By sdemetri, December 12, 2007 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

Truthdug, the specific compounds were, if you are interested, which I doubt, but since you asked… aluminum, iron, and sulphur, depending on the sample. And I’ll add, this work is ongoing. More results are expected. These samples were taken from apartments nearby that were, after the windows were all blown out, inundated in the dust cloud that accompanied the destruction. They were not from the direct work-site where oxy-acetylene cutting torches were used. Besides, an oxy-acetylene torch would not leave the same chemical signature. The distinct lack of any sort of calcium spike appearing in samples of spheres looked at by X-EDS indicates the sulphur was not likely to have originated from gypsum board. So, yes, the physicist who has done the research and written about it, did take that into account.

Analysis of some of the steel showed sulfidation, highly unusual in a situation where no explosives were present. There have been reports of swiss-cheese like holes in steel members, where the edges thinned down to a knife blade thinness, also highly unusual except where extreme temperatures were present, extreme enough to evaporate steel. 

118 eyewitnesses, some suffering severe bodily injury, spoke of explosions.

“Puddles of molten steel…?” No, many reports, even from Giuliani himself, confirmed the presence of an inferno under the rubble pile. The US Geological Survey has reported in a ten day period they looked at millions of gallons of water were sprayed on the rubble pile, and still the inferno persisted… for 100 days. Some of the witnessed talked of molten iron, not in puddles but describing a Dante-esque scene of flowing, dripping iron. Hydrocarbon fires don’t burn hot enough to generate this type of scene in a steel framed building. High explosives in the basements very plausibly explains it. This theory is corrobated by some of those eyewitnesses who witnessed the effects of very large explosions in the basement. Why there? Any demolitions guy would tell you to dislodged the base of supports, making the whole building more unstable.

Peer-reviewed work is a more trusty source of information of a scientific nature. Lacking a true forensic criminal investigation by the NIST, FEMA, or the hobbled, underfunded, compromised 911 Commission investigation, it is easy for folks like you to trust what the government and their spokespeople say. You don’t have to think much about it, especially when they do everything they can to squelch debate. But, I’m pretty confident you don’t give a damn. Pity. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to explain to you this little bit, at any rate.

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By Dwight VW, December 12, 2007 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment

Frank, you say:

“Your ‘evidence’ had been out there for all to see for 6 years now, along with the evidence for the mainstream account of events,”

Do you not see that “evidence for the mainstream account of events” has now been placed into serious question?  Your “rational people in general” should consider this, if they are rational.

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By cann4ing, December 12, 2007 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

is this the real world or a test:  Thanks for the link.  What a powerful speech especially when set against those of our present idiot in chief and post 9/11 events.

JFK’s words bare repeating: 

“The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society….The dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweigh the dangers which are cited to justify it….”

“There is little value in ensuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it and there is a very grave danger that an announced increased in secuirty will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship or concealment.”

I hadn’t previously seen the clip of the removal of the secret service agents from the back of the JFK limo just prior to the assassination.  The most powerful account demonstrating CIA/anti-Castro Cuban complicity in the JFK assassination is Mark Lane’s “Plausible Denial” which is based on his defense of Liberty Lobby and former CIA agent Victor Marchetti in a libel action brought by E. Howard Hunt because Marchetti identified him as a participant in the assassination.  in 1985 a federal jury rendered a verdict for Liberty Lobby, the jury foreperson explaining that on the evidence presented they were convinced that the CIA killed JFK and that Hunt was a part of it.  Interesting that the video immediately following the one you linked to contains Hunt’s eventual deathbed confession.

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By TruthDug, December 12, 2007 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

9/11 conspiracy buffs, make up your minds:

Was it thermite that brought down the WTC or explosives? Because thermite does not explode, nor does it cause seismic disturbances like those some claim. If you were using thermite to cut the WTC support beams, why also use explosives? To tip off everyone off that it was staged, with obvious explosions?  On the other hand, if there were explosives, why do none of the videos show windows blowing out from explosions?  Are those windows made of glass tougher than steel beams?

What is this about evidence of “compounds that suggest thermite residue…“blah blah” Oh, you don’t know what the specific alleged compounds are? You don’t know the allegedly suspicious compound on the steel is sulfer, loads of which was in the gypsum sheetrock throughout the WTC as well as other sources in the building? Oh, you didn’t know?

What is that talk about puddles of molten steel under the buildings? You saw photos of molten metal on a website and it must be steel, right? You did a chemical analysis of the photo you saw on the internet to rule out the possibility that it is molten aluminum (airplanes) or some other mix of alloys and organic material that become molten at much lower temperatures? Oh, you can’t do that with photos, can you? So you were just accepting what you read on a website that it was molten iron/steel? I see.

What’s this about particles or tiny “spheres” in the wreckage dust discovered by some physicist that were super-duper analyzed to show they were once molten iron, from the steel beams?  So, the only time steel could have melted in the area and released these particles is with a thermite charge on the beams? You are sure of this?  So there weren’t dozens of WTC cleanup workers cutting (melting) steel beams in the wreckage with oxy-acetylene torches and thermal lances before transporting the pieces away, in the process releasing loads of these residue particles into the wreckage area? Wait, you and your internet physicist didn’t take that into account?

So you have both the expertise and opportunity to directly verify the info you read on conspiracy websites, before you accept it as fact, though the majority of actual experts dismiss it? 

I have a request for the conspiracy theorists: Please go buy some breath mints. You all have been talking out your arses so much it is starting to stink in here.

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By Robert B. Livingston, December 12, 2007 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment

Scheer has been missing plenty if he has been admiring Pelosi “for decades.”

Has he been aware how completely impossible it has been for antiwar activists in San Francisco to get an audience with Pelosi?

... and why can’t Scheer utter the name “Cindy Sheehan”?

Cindy also admired Pelosi once—but she knows now how Pelosi has protected Bush and Cheney from answering for their crimes (especially by keeping “impeachment off the table”).

She is now running against Pelosi in San Francisco to represent the majority of San Franciscans (and Americans) who are fed up with lies and deceit.

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By skippyjones, December 12, 2007 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am glad Mr. Scheer points out that the only evidence upon which the entire story of 9/11 is based was just destroyed by the central intelligence agency.  no one has ever seen this evidence - despite it having been requested by the 9/11 commission and the federal judiciary.  you needn’t accuse me of being a conspiracy theorist - call me an impartialist who cannot accept prosecutorial evidence that has only been seen by the prosecutors and denied and then destroyed when requested by commission investigators and then again by the judiciary.  This really isn’t an open issue.  Their sophistry may indeed deny that the tapes were ever properly ‘subpoenaed’ - which only proves that will can always trump reason when the political stakes are big enough - because reason is what conspirators and apologists are quickest to sacrifice. 

I will say this - Beware the effort to make this about ‘waterboarding’ - by watching that hand, we do not see what the other is doing - and that is the trick of every illusionist and con artist since the dawn of time.

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By weather, December 12, 2007 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“show me who you walk with and I’ll tell you what you are”

Please free us the remarkable arrogance and manipulating deceit that is Israel:Earth’s little shop of horrors.

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By Mudwollow, December 12, 2007 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

I guess Nancy Pelosi can be admired for the many years of holding things together. It’s resulted in her rising to her current place of power. That’s politics. That’s why she doesn’t want to rock the boat. That’s why Nancy Pelosi early on decreed “impeachment off the table”. But admiring Nancy Pelosi is a bit like admiring a successful mafia boss. As many do.

Yeah them 9/11 conspiracy nuts do tend to grind. Hell I still haven’t given up on the JFK conspiracy yet. I believed Oswald when he said he was a patsy. That makes everything that’s happened up to and beyond 9/11 a continuation of the same coup.

Nancy’s just doing her part to concentrate wealth in the hands of the few. An unfortunate consequence of this eternal game is the torture of our planets life-support systems along with its many creatures. Including us.

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By americatheblind, December 12, 2007 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

Boy, it’s a real wonder why every country in the world looks at us as the hypocrites of the world.  “We have a democracy”, no we don’t; we don’t support or advocate torture”, but we sure support extreme interrogations; “we will fight the terrors on there soil so we don’t have to fight them here”, yeah only if their soil has a boatload of oil buried beneath it!  Does anybody every wonder why we didn’t invade North Korea when they were trying to develop a nuclear bomb (shit they actually tested one)?, or why we as The Great United States of America didn’t come to the aid of the people of Pakistan when the president instated Martial Law a couple of weeks ago, or why we aren’t up in arms about the poor girl who was gang rapped in Saudia Arabia, who is to receive 200 lashes for going public with the allogations?

Sometime you will hear people say, “boy it’s surprising we haven’t been attacked since 9/11”, but these are the people who actually believe our government.  Our government only imposes our “strict democratic morales” when we have something to gain.  Why hasn’t one of our sports stadiums been bombed on a Sunday?  Because there is too much money to be made.  Wait until they have an agenda, like lets say Project for the New American Century, and you will see how fast our government can make things happend when billions of dollars are to be made.  Disgusting is the only word to discribe how truly corrupt and evil our political leaders have become.

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By TAO Walker, December 12, 2007 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment

Theamericanpeople are being stuck with the bill for all this (the merely money part is the absolute least of it) by virtue of three simple words appearing in the preamble to their Constitution.  That’s right, “We the People….”  The entire burden of responsibility for everything done in their name and wrapped-up in their gory old flag rests, finally, solely upon their own slap-happy heads.

The supra-national plutoligarchy has never worried for even a minute that their self-absorbed subject/citizenry would be able to shift that killing debt onto those selfsame privateering “global” gangbangers who’ve now made-off with all the real loot.  Nor do they lose any sleep over the great reckoning already being exacted from the lower class (There’s only just the two, after all.) by peoples around the world who cannot and won’t tolerate anymore abuse from the entertainment-addled underwriters of the allamericanempire.  That’s of no real concern to the 2%, either, though,....for reasons becoming daily more painfully obvious even to the most die-hard true-believers among the “homeland” peasantry.

Theamericanpeople were for the most part only too pleased to lap-up their share of the down-tricklings, when they foolishly believed they were the “exceptional” ones calling-the-tune.  It is time now to pay The Piper, however, and even abject poverty of the most degrading kind (as visited by “Chicago School” disciples upon so many others under the “taxpayer”-provided guns of U.S. “enforcement”) will be beyond the reach of americans, once their precipitous “decline” bottoms-out.

We’re all going to see if averageamericans can muster even a token demonstration of the over-hyped (and under-practiced) qualities they’ve always been so fond of telling the rest of us they are so exceptionally possessed-of.  This old Savage has watched them for a long time, and has no great expectation of the outlook for them being anything but exceedingly grim.

Unless they decide and agree to take our Medicine, anyhow….but the chances of that look slim-to-none right now.


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By vet240, December 12, 2007 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

To me, the question is simple. If I had documentation that would clear me of any charges fo using torture or any other charge I would safeguard them until I could reveal those documents. On the other hand If I destroy those documents I imagine you would come to the accurate conclusion they must have contained proof that I was in fact involved in torture.
What a sad day we have allowed ourselves to participate in. Yes we are complicit. By not demanding that our Government prosecute the President and the Vice-President, by not demonstrating in the streets for the ending of that costly nightmare in Iraq and Afghanistan we validate their actions.

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By Action4Justice (AFJ-AXJ), December 12, 2007 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great Comment,

Ya, Democrats were all in on it…we all know 9-11 was an inside job…time the American People wake up and impeach all of these criminals…

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By this real world or a test?, December 12, 2007 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

RE: #119649 by Frank on 12/12 at 4:50 am
(148 comments total)

Seriously, will you people ever give the 9/11 conspiracy stuff a rest? 


Frank - it’s the regime that never fails to cite “the lessons of 9/11” with every new attack on the constitution or lethal 3rd-world aggression. And, to be perfectly clear, it’s the “official conspiracy theory” that can’t stand up to the evidence. Moreover, had the so-called opposition seized on the crimes of 9/11 and forced a serious transparent investigation, this regime would have been gone before it could launch on Iraq.

As for your citing JFK, serious research reveals the same faction is responsible. Their legacy includes Coups in Guatemala and Honduras, Iran, Chile, Vietnam, Loas, Cambodia (to name a few) and operations such as Bay of Pigs, Gulf of Tonkin, Gladio, Iran Contra, Mano Blanco, WTC ‘93, OKC, Cole, 9/11, Madrid, Bali, 7/7. Black-ops/psy-ops is their stock in trade - instilling fear, sowing chaos, failing states, then selling “protection” - oldest racket in the book.  This rogue network doesn’t work for governments, they serve the New World Oligarchy.

JFK failed to learn what he might have from his father’s rum-running days, dealing with mobsters. It seems he thought his office would protect him. He was taken out shortly after declaring war on the rogue network in this speech:

Here’s the security stripping, inside-job smoking gun:

As for the rogue network’s mission and reach, we don’t have to speculate. We have it from the source:

“Deception is a state of mind and the mind of the state.” - James Jesus Angelton - Director of CIA Counter Intelligence (1954-74)

“The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media.” - William Colby - Director of the CIA (1973-76)

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By Blueboy1938, December 12, 2007 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

The media in general are complicit in soft-peddling the central technique in the torture debate:  “waterboarding.”  It is a euphemistic fraud!  Sounds vaguely recreational, like “snowboarding” or “skateboarding,” doesn’t it?  When described, however, it is noted that unconsciousness can result from “breathing water,” “but they [the subjects, human beings after all, however criminal] can be easily revived.”  That means they have gone through all the same agonizing trauma as an actual drowning victim, including suffocation to the point of unconsciousness.  The possibility of “revival” isn’t uppermost in the minds of either an actual drowning victim or that of a torture subject from this “enhanced interrogation technique,” another euphemistic fraud.  They think that they are dying.  That is, by the administration’s own definition (AAG Jay Bybee, Aug. 1, 2002: “Physical pain equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying . . . death.”), torture.

It’s time to drop “waterboarding” from the dialogue and call it what it is:  “aborted drowning torture”!

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By 13 Martyrs, December 12, 2007 at 11:41 am Link to this comment

I think this is a defining moment for the Democrats and in particular for Nancy Pelosi. When the Democrats gained control of Congress, most of us saw it as a sign of hope that sanity would somehow be restored to our government. But Pelosi’s lack of leadership and the Democrats’ repeated caving in to the Bush administration demonstrates their considerable weaknesses. Now we have evidence that Pelosi was aware of the torture tapes and kept quiet about it. Our standard bearer of what is right, ducked the big one and her silence to me is an indictment on her weak position as speaker. I’m surprised that this hasn’t been met with more outrage from Democrat voters.

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By measles, December 12, 2007 at 11:24 am Link to this comment

Thank you! Finally, someone has been able to provide a probable link between the deception rampant amongst the administration and intelligence community and the truth about the event which led us into this never-ending war. I only hope that even more holes (as if any are lacking) in the official account of the 9/11 tragedy are exposed so that we as a nation will finally know the truth.

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By Scott, December 12, 2007 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

We should not only have impeachment “on-the-table” but a full and complete investigation…

You know what you folks really need Ernest, a re-constituted counry, a brand new constitution. The old one doesn’t work judging by where its taken you, which is off the rails.

Most of all, you need a government that is afraid of you.

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By heaavyrunner, December 12, 2007 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

I read a comment on the Huffington Post by someone who described themselves as a long time Democratic insider in San Francisco who related that the rumor was that Pelosi got her first big rise in politics by performing fellatio on JFK!

Apparently the confessions were so clearly forced that the tapes had to be destroyed.  I have known for years that these clumsy patsies were just that.  There has been no investigation of 9/11 by any official body that makes any sense at all.  Where are the travel records of the 19 guys with box cutters?  Why were none of their names on the airline passenger manifests on 9/11/2001?  We are supposed to believe that they materialized on board the aircraft like astronauts in an episode of Star Trek.  “Beam them up Scotty!” 
I know some planes hit those buildings and then an hour or so later the big skyscrapers were blown to smithereens.  I can see that on the video tape. The 9/11 Commission members were all lawyers and politicians.  Are you kidding me?  Where were the structural engineers and scientists and forensic experts?  How about just a couple of gum shoe detectives with subpoena power? 

This is a fact: There have been no subpoenas issued, no indictments and zero trials regarding the biggest crime in American history.  How about some obstruction of justice indictments against the people who ordered the evidence from the crime scene destroyed before an investigation was complete?

Why were no members of the Armed Forces disciplined after the complete failure in defending New York City and Washington, D.C. on 9/11/2001?  Several colonels were relived of command recently over that incident where H-bombx were flown unknowingly over the Mississippi river basin.  Why no discipline over the failings on 9/11?

The neocons have patterned there activities after the Nazis in so many ways, why should a Reichstag fire strategy be a surprise?

It is my understanding the Kalid Sheik Mohammad, or as FOX news calls him, “KSM,” has also confessed to betting on baseball while he was coaching the Reds.

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By ForeverDem, December 12, 2007 at 9:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good post ElkoJohn! I couldn’t agree more.  Pelosi is an absolute DISGRACE!  A true BUSH FASCIST enabler if there ever was one…

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By cann4ing, December 12, 2007 at 9:29 am Link to this comment

Pelosi should step down.  She should be replaced as Speaker by Dennis Kucinich.  We should not only have impeachment “on-the-table” but a full and complete investigation should be initiated regarding both Pelosi’s and Harmon’s roles in this sordid affair.  Whether it was merely “proposed” or actuated, waterboarding is torture.  Torture is a war crime.  Agreeing to do nothing as part of the so-called “Gang of Four” makes a mockery of checks and balances and the rule of law.

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By SamSnedegar, December 12, 2007 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

“ endless war that threatens to bankrupt our society both financially and morally…”

sorry, but our society is already financially bankrupt, and while not a tinfoil hat wearer, I challenge you or anyone to prove to me that there IS an “al qa’ida,” let alone that IT masterminded nine eleven.

Oh, there are a shitload of people running around the muslim world trying to claim as much credit for nine eleven as they can, but my opinion is that better than 99% of them are little more than boasters who, knowing all the real conspirators are dead, are trying to horn in on the fame by saying they were a part of it.

Don’t blame me; blame John O’Neill, for it was he who invented al qaeda as a name for the unknown and unseen enemy. If he had named them nov schmozz kapop, then you and all the rest would be planning forays against the NSK . . . the truth is that if there were no real al qa’ida, then BOTH sides of the terrorism struggle would have to INVENT such an organization, the terrorists to hide their real NON-organization with a red herring one, and the rest of the world so as to give the shadowy enemy a name we could propagandize and hate. (The bunch of ragtags who went to Iraq and became AQII had another name before they went to Iraq, and just adopted the AQ name when they got there.)

Torture? The thing tortured most in all of our 21st century endeavors is the TRUTH.

Don’t accept my word on this; just tell me how you intend to prove some suspect is a member of al qaeda or al Qa’ida or anything that is SECRET, therefore really nameless. Do you really think there is some bank account somewhere that is paying the wages of the “aq” members and taking fica and withholding for income tax out of their pay? If you look them up in the phone book do you expect to find them in businesses and also in the yellow pages under “demolition specialists?”

The absent hijacker, Moussaoui, ADMITTED quickly to being a member of al qaeda, not because he was, but because he WASN’T. He knew full well that (a) no one could ever prove he was a memeber of such a group, and (b) that there was no such group except as a generic for bin Ladenites.

I’m not saying Mo Atta’s group didn’t have a name, just that it wasn’t al qaeda or anything else we have heard yet. It could have been cell number 69 or some other number . . . or possibly Mo’s Mujadeen. Maybe FATWAlter or FATWAlly for short. I wonder what name the con artists who led Padilla down the primrose path gave their group, and thus for whom he thought he was working, for surely that too was another diversion to keep the FBI chasing its own tail and hunting down red herrings.

There are no investigative journalists left, just liars and book writers who get paid vast sums to run from the truth.

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By mythbreaker, December 12, 2007 at 9:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Frank, can I be frank? The answer is no, we got set-up like a bowling pin and you suffer from either denial or deceit?

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By Rhonda, December 12, 2007 at 9:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you, Robert Scheer, for validating my disappointment in Nancy Pelosi.  I wrote her any angry email yesterday saying she was complicit in the torture and renditions because she knew and said nothing.  Then I thought maybe I didn´t have all the facts.  But from what you have written, she has been completely closed mouthed about what she has known.  And this does seem to indicate her knowing has everything to do with why ímpeachment is off the table and why other crimes and offences of the administration go unchallenged.

Maybe Democracy is too weak a form of government to endure.  It is too easily open to abuse.  But it´s really hard to let the dream die…...

I still fervently hope that all the evidence against this horrible administration will be collected and used against those who are the worst criminals, with dishonorable mention of Nancy Pelosi.

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By Anonymous, December 12, 2007 at 8:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well now it’s public and quite clear why impeachment is off the table, proper investigations haven’t been carried out, and the grave crimes against our constitution go unpunished.  It’s not that the democrats are spineless.  It’s simply because they are COMPLICIT in the very crimes of this administration that they have publicly lambasted.  Fake opposition indeed…

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By Don Stivers, December 12, 2007 at 8:41 am Link to this comment

I am a fan of yours Mr. Scheer but how could you have not seen through Nacy, impeachment is off the table, Pelosi from the start of her reign as the leader of the house?  From that statement, “Impeachment is off the table.” one should have suspected something was covered up.  I know I did the moment she said it.

I had high hopes for the Democrats to clean house.  (I am a Republican who did not vote for this buffoon, Bush and his cohorts).

What a shame.  What a shame.  And now it is out in the open why she took impeachment off the table.

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By ProDem, December 12, 2007 at 8:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good post ElkoJohn! - I could not agree more.

Pelosi is such a disgrace, and so pathetic it boggles the mind!  She has to be a Bush enabler by choice! Discusting!!

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By ElkoJohn, December 12, 2007 at 8:02 am Link to this comment

We have the worst criminal prez in the history of our so called republic. How can anyone admire Pelosi when she refuses to impeach, and continually blames Republicans for her impotence.

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By writeon, December 12, 2007 at 7:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Surely the use of extreme violence, in others words, torture; is something we should just not be doing. Even if torture worked, it would still be wrong.

Whilst one can understand the use of terrible levels of violence on the battlefield, as men turn into primatives fighting for survival; the use of torture on essentially defenceless prisoners is something else. Surely torture is a form of terror? If we are willing to use terror against prisoners that have no defence, don’t we in reality become just like the terrorists? What exactly is the difference between them and us morally? Aren’t we saying that the ends justifies the means, just as the terrorist do?

Where do we draw the line if the end justifies the means? Surely we will eventually resort to torturing the terrorist’s wife and children, if this means saving innocent american lives? Who decides how many american lives are at risk before we make the decision to use torture? A million? Ten thousand? A hundred? Ten? How do we weigh the worth of a human life? What scale of morality do we use to balance the lives? Do we really allow George Bush to decide who is to live and who is to die?

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By sdemetri, December 12, 2007 at 6:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

With regard to Frank’s comment about our “evidence being out there for six years now…” you apparently have not been paying much attention to what is “out there.”

A Freedom of Information Act request by the New York Times, granted in 2005, two years ago, uncovered the recorded accounts of firefighters and first responders working for the New York Fire Dept. The commissioner requested the stories of these responders be recorded to avoid the “collective memory” that accompanies such events after conversations and interactions influence how an event in remembered by those involved. The records were collected in Oct 2001 through Jan 2002, and immediately removed from public view until 2005 and the FOIA request being granted. Of the over 500 interviews archived, 118 of them speak specifically of explosions before the buildings were completely destroyed. You are incorrect to say there is no new evidence.

The work of physicist Steven Jones also is new in the past couple of years. Residues of explosives-type compounds have been found on steel and dust particles from the buildings and surrounding environs. Scanning electron microscopic evidence bears out the presence of spheres of what were once molten iron, X-ray-energy dispersive spectroscopy, the same methods used by fire investigators in arson investigations when explosives are suspected, have found evidence of the same compounds one would expect to find if the common military explosive thermate was used as a cutting charge.

Also significant, but completely ignored by the 911 Commission, and the NIST report is the presence of flowing pools of molten iron in, not one, but three separate locations…under each of the buildings that were completely destroyed. The thermodynamics of this phenomena points not to hydrocarbon fires, which lack the energy to create these infernos, nor to gravity-induced fires generated in the collapse, but to the use of high energy explosives, the most plausible explanation for such an unusual and unprecedented finding.

You are incorrect to disparage the efforts to explain these observable phenomena by scientific analysis by comparing them to a far-fetched theory of aliens in the desert. That connection is unwarranted and unfounded. The observed evidence in the destruction of the WTC towers is available for research if the will to research it is there.

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By mary, December 12, 2007 at 6:47 am Link to this comment

The sooner we can clean out the DC toilet the better, both parties.  Let’s hope the Democratic nominee will raise above the crap and release every piece of paper on this administration.  It’s the only way to begin to clean up the mess.  It’s way past time to remove and replace very one of those in office today.  It will take time, but this is the only way out of this mess.  Every time I think these guys can’t get more ridiculous, I’m wrong….

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By mythbreaker, December 12, 2007 at 6:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Frank, can I be frank?
When you see who was Not at the WTC in their offices, let alone in NY(funny how many were in London)on 9/11 that says it all.

You keep lying to yourself w/the hopes this will just go away? Don’t hold your breath.

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By ocjim, December 12, 2007 at 6:15 am Link to this comment

Like Scheer, I too have admired Nancy. With this disclosure, a mind made more cynical by the Machiavellian rule of Bush might ask did you make a deal to be more tyrant-Bush friendly and decide not to impeach because of this dirty secret.

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By Hammo, December 12, 2007 at 5:12 am Link to this comment

As Scheer indicates, there seems to be a bipartisan reluctance to look into certain troubling matters, from activities associated with the “war on terror” to the 9/11 attacks.

Hopefully, honorable people within government and our society will continue to try to uncover the truth.

Related info in the article ...

“Viewpoints on 9/11 attacks span continuum of concerns”

American Chronicle
September 11, 2006

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By Frank, December 12, 2007 at 4:50 am Link to this comment

Seriously, will you people ever give the 9/11 conspiracy stuff a rest?  Isn’t the JFK assassination and Area 51 enough for you to obsess over?  The world has enough delusional belief systems already, without conspiracy theorists adding to the pile claiming the September 11th, 2001 attacks were perpetrated by Bush/CIA/Neocons/Israel/Illuminati/Vatican/Insert-random-group-here.

Your “evidence” had been out there for all to see for 6 years now, along with the evidence for the mainstream account of events, and the vast majority of the public, elected officials, scientists, engineers, rational people in general, all think your conspiracy theories are bunk.  You’ve had your day in the court of public opinion, and you’ve lost badly.  That’s never going to change. Get on with your lives. Please.

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By RdV, December 12, 2007 at 4:28 am Link to this comment

Ms Pelosi, the congressional Leona Helmsley, the mask of tight skin tautly stretched, the “total woman” ruffles, the prissy enunciation, the scoffing of protestors violating the sanctity of her gated community—which in an unguarded moment she regreted were not legally protected so she could have them arrested and removed like the homeless. Elitist Ms Nancy has hit her stride as another Nancy-Nancy Reagan in her heyday, with her disdain for the little people. Ms “let them eat cake” Nancy Pelosi who enabled and abetted one abuse, after another violation, after endless criminal acts, while bleating excuses and pandering to majority views against the Iraqi invasion. Wonder if Ms Nancy Pelosi would tacitly approve and wash her hands of crucifixtion as torture? After all, Jesus was a terrorist who threatened the status quo of the ruling elite.
    Give me real woman, thinking, feeling, caring Cindy Sheehan, who has suffered the abuses of challenging the elites—the elites propped up by and admired by the likes of Mr. Scheer.

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By Verne Arnold, December 12, 2007 at 3:58 am Link to this comment

Ooooops!  Redundancy not intended; too far down and didn’t see it.  Sorry.

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By Verne Arnold, December 12, 2007 at 3:51 am Link to this comment

“Having admired Pelosi for decades, I hope I am missing something here.  If she and the others in the know have another version of these events it’s time to come clean.  As matters now stand, they not only concealed torture but, more significantly, they abetted the waterboarding of our democracy.”

I came in to this article wanting to be impressed, but I am left wanting.  We have all been duped, blinded by our naiveté and ideologies; it is time to shed these burdens of belief and see things for what they are.  The duplicity and aggressive bullying with its’ subsequent lying, has I fear, taken us past the tipping point for a viable democracy.  I’m not even convinced we are a democracy anymore….truly!  The best description of our present form of government is fascism.  Look it up!

There is a fatal flaw in our political process in that it is so easily subverted.  I for one am no longer convinced Democracy is the best or even a viable form of government…it is open to too many abuses.  There is also a fatal flaw in our politicians…almost all of them!  We as citizens ask for too much as well; we have become selfish, apathetic, non-involved, too dependant, and wanting “safety” from womb to tomb.  We abhor responsibility.  This is our fatal flaw.  We are no longer a nation of independent risk takers.  Maybe our time is over and the rot will continue to leach its way through our society as we fade into the darkness.  63 years is not a long time in historic views, but the speed of our demise in those 63 years is startling. 



There is a fatal flaw in our political process in that it is so easily subverted.  I for one am no longer convinced Democracy is a viable form of government…it is open to too many abuses.  There is also a fatal flaw in our politicians…almost all of them!  We as citizens ask for too much as well; we have become selfish, apathetic, non-involved, too dependant, and wanting “safety” from womb to tomb.  This is our fatal flaw.  We are no longer a nation of independent risk takers.  Maybe our time is over and the rot will continue to leach its way through our society as we fade into the darkness.  63 years is not a long time in historic views, but the speed of our demise in those 63 years is startling.

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By cyrena, December 12, 2007 at 3:43 am Link to this comment

#119608 by antispin



Mr. Scheer, I THANK YOU!! This is indeed I fine piece, and hopefully we ALL appreciate it. I was particularly riveted by the ‘disclaimer’ that you included from the 9/11 Commission Report. I didn’t recall it, and wondered how I could possibly have missed it, having been over that thing at least a dozen (if not more) times.

So, I went in search of my own well worn copy, and sure enough, I HAD read it, (and marked it appropriately) but had somehow ‘forgotten’. Actually, that’s not right. It’s more like I simply failed to make the excellent connections/analysis that you’ve made here. Indeed, this is extremely helpful and informative.

Meantime, same thing with the issue on Pelosi. I never went so far as to have a bumper sticker, and I guess I can’t even say that I’ve ever been a real ‘admirer’ but certainly as a California I did vote for her, and I could never have imagined her as such a danger. Still, even for those who have been, I cannot see where you’ve ‘missed’ anything here. Matter of fact, it’s just another one of those “it is what it is” things, and it’s OK if we figure it out late, rather than never at all. I mean, imagine the massive world destruction that could have been saved if we’d actually been able to DO something, after nearly everybody figured it out about Dick Bush?

Any time in the past 7 years that we could have (or would have been willing to) IMPEACH(ed) those SOB’s, would have saved more destruction/murder/mayhem/etc than we’ll ever be able to measure.

Great job!!

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By PatrickHenry, December 12, 2007 at 3:31 am Link to this comment

Pelosi has got to go, Sheehan in 08’.

If these good Democrats are nothing more than Republican ass kissers then we must rid ourselves of them.  My friends and myself plan to get rid of Steny Hoyer the Israel firster next election cycle.

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By blog-on-dude, December 12, 2007 at 12:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Getting closer, Robert, close enough to come out. Say it. You know it: The 9/11 coup is an open secret in Washington, Wall Street, City of London, in corridors of power the world over. As the rivets start popping, seems bulging and the Ship of State takes on more water; rats have been fleeing for some time and the inevitable comes into sight: the biggest constitutional crisis since the Civil War, global financial meltdown and possibly global economic chaos — the neocon, rogue network grows more desperate by the day to launch on Iran and start WWIII.

Time is nigh for all progressives to raise their voices and demand charges of high treason against the upper echelons of the entire regime past and present. Do it before they do another 9/11 - a pretext to launch on Iran.

If the progressives won’t, then the generals in the counter-coup faction must, and probably will. But, it must happen soon. The Barksdale nukes almost made it to the MIddle East. You can be sure more plans are in the hopper. Do something!

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By antispin, December 11, 2007 at 11:11 pm Link to this comment

Wow.  Thanks to Mr. Scheer for this fine analysis.  I feel his sense of betrayal.  I want answers.  I had a “Pelosi for President ‘07” bumper sticker on my car until about mid-November, when I rubbed it off…those sticky glues - it can take some elbow grease.

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