Lying Afield

August 8, 2013

liar-liar-pants-on-fireFoggy again this way-too-early Thursday on California’s north coast as we grind on through the week.
The weekend is beckoning.

In the spirit of the nowadays, Holden Caulfield reminds us: “I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It’s awful. If I’m on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I’m going, I’m liable to say I’m going to the opera. It’s terrible.”

(Illustration found here).

A couple of examples of war and liars from near-a-decade ago. First, battlefield lying (via Democracy Now!):

The U.S. government has now admitted its troops used white phosphorus as an incendiary weapon against Iraqis during the assault on Fallujah a year ago.
Chemical weapons experts say such attacks are in violation of international law banning the use of chemical weapons.

The Pentagon”s admission comes after a week of denials that it used white phosphorus as a weapon in Fallujah.
While reporters have noted the use of white phosphorus since the war began, it only became a major story last Tuesday when Italian state broadcaster RAI TV aired the documentary “Fallujuah: The Hidden Massacre.”

And off-shooting the NSA bullshit, this among President Obama’s archives (via the Guardian):

Obama co-sponsored a 2007 bill, introduced by Senator Russ Feingold that would have required the government to demonstrate, with “specific and articulable facts”, that it wanted records related to “a suspected agent of a foreign power” or the records of people with one degree of separation from a suspect.
The bill died in committee.
Following pressure from the Bush administration, lawmakers had abandoned a similar 2005 measure, which Obama also supported.

The measure Obama supported in 2007 is actually similar to the House amendment that the White House condemned earlier this month.
That measure, introduced by Reps Justin Amash and John Conyers would have ended bulk phone records collection but still allowed the NSA to collect records related to individual suspects without a warrant based on probable cause.
The 2007 measure is also similar to current proposals introduced by Conyers and Senator Bernie Sanders.

Obama co-sponsored at least two measures that would have made it harder for the government to issue nondisclosure orders to businesses when compelling them to turn over customer data.
One 2007 bill would have required the government to demonstrate that disclosure could cause one of six specific harms: by either endangering someone, causing someone to avoid prosecution, encouraging the destruction of evidence, intimidating potential witnesses, interfering with diplomatic relations, or threatening national security.
It would have also required the government to show that the gag order was “narrowly tailored” to address those specific dangers.
Obama also supported a similar measure in 2005.
Neither measure made it out of committee.
The Obama administration has thus far prevented companies from disclosing information about surveillance requests. Verizon’s surveillance court order included a gag order.

Hope and change was actually nope and disarrange — Hahahaha!

Well, it appears this country is not-so-slowly becoming a liars paradise. Or maybe it’s just the way these assholes use words, and how these words are used in a sentence, or paragraph, or a guest spot on Leno (via The Atlantic):

LENO: It’s safe to say that we learned about these threats through the NSA intelligence program?
Is that a fair assessment?
OBAMA: Well, this intelligence-gathering that we do is a critical component of counterterrorism.
And obviously, with Mr. Snowden and the disclosures of classified information, this raised a lot of questions for people.
But what I said as soon as it happened I continue to believe in, which is a lot of these programs were put in place before I came in.
I had some skepticism, and I think we should have a healthy skepticism about what government is doing.
I had the programs reviewed.
We put in some additional safeguards to make sure that there’s federal court oversight as well as congressional oversight, that there is no spying on Americans.
We don’t have a domestic spying program.
What we do have are some mechanisms where we can track a phone number or an email address that we know is connected to some sort of terrorist threat.
And that information is useful.
But what I’ve said before I want to make sure I repeat, and that is we should be skeptical about the potential encroachments on privacy.
None of the revelations show that government has actually abused these powers, but they’re pretty significant powers.

Yes, indeed. This morning from the New York Times:

The N.S.A. is not just intercepting the communications of Americans who are in direct contact with foreigners targeted overseas, a practice that government officials have openly acknowledged.
It is also casting a far wider net for people who cite information linked to those foreigners, like a little used e-mail address, according to a senior intelligence official.

Hints of the surveillance appeared in a set of rules, leaked by Mr. Snowden, for how the N.S.A. may carry out the 2008 FISA law.
One paragraph mentions that the agency “seeks to acquire communications about the target that are not to or from the target.”
The pages were posted online by the newspaper The Guardian on June 20, but the telltale paragraph, the only rule marked “Top Secret” amid 18 pages of restrictions, went largely overlooked amid other disclosures.

The Snowden disclosures opened a can of worms, which weren’t even used during the latest US threat bullshit closing embassies around the world. This from TechDirt yesterday: But an intelligence official said the controversial NSA programs that gather data on American phone calls or track Internet communications with suspected terrorists played no part in detecting the initial tip.
And a lot of people are confused. Again from the NYT on the lame excuses:

The government of Yemen issued a rare public rebuke to the Obama administration on Tuesday, declaring in a statement that the evacuation “serves the interests of the extremists” and undermines cooperation with the United States.
As if to answer the gesture, Yemen announced Wednesday that it had foiled a spectacular plot to bomb oil pipelines and take over major ports — an assertion that was greeted by analysts both here and abroad as little more than cynical political theater aimed at proving that Yemen was capable of defeating Al Qaeda on its own.
The diplomatic shutdown may have been especially jarring, analysts say, because the administration has portrayed Al Qaeda as a waning force in the past year.
“The impression the administration left was that Al Qaeda was dead or close to dead,” said Bruce Riedel, a former Central Intelligence Agency case officer and a Brookings Institution scholar.
“In which case, why are we so worried about a conversation between two Al Qaeda leaders?”

Right, but lying is a precious commodity. So tiffed, Obama played the spoiled bitch, cancelled a visit and a chat with Vladimir Putin — a move to slap the Russian president for granting Snowden temporary asylum, but it simply proves the lie to the end.

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