Church Committee 2.0: TSP, Main Core & PROMIS?
July 23, 2008 1:12 PM   Subscribe

Is Congress gearing up to hold a new American Truth Commission? What new horrors would they find if they did? The last time we tried this we uncovered MK/ULTRA, plots to kill Castro & Project SHAMROCK. One of the most significant outcomes was a little thing called FISA. After 30 years it may finally be time to wash out our national dirty laundry again.
posted by scalefree (45 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Your first link is redirecting to the Salon home page in Firefox for some reason, but seems to work fine in IE.
posted by JaredSeth at 1:14 PM on July 23, 2008


I went for the print version because I hate multipage articles. This one may work better, or it may not. Blame Salon.
posted by scalefree at 1:17 PM on July 23, 2008


Previous post on Main Core.
posted by homunculus at 1:18 PM on July 23, 2008


So it looks like Salon's redirect specifically targets at least metafilter.com as a referrer rather than just blanket targeting anything that's not salon.com, though it's still a dick move either way. How cute. For your conveniences, so you don't deal with annoying things like copying and pasting the URL or reading a multipage article, I have set up a link you may click on to see the clean version.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 1:30 PM on July 23, 2008 [5 favorites]


Or we could just not link to salon.com. It's not like we really need 100 salon articles a year.

Or maybe I'm confusing them with slate. I can never tell the difference. They all look alike to me.
posted by Eideteker at 1:47 PM on July 23, 2008


Is Congress gearing up to hold a new American Truth Commission?
They sure better be.
posted by Flunkie at 1:47 PM on July 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


As glasnost and perestroika led to the liquidation of the Soviet empire, will Obama be our Mr. Gorbachev?
posted by hortense at 1:57 PM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


This congress doesn't have the balls.
posted by notsnot at 2:00 PM on July 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


When COINTELPRO Comes Calling
posted by homunculus at 2:04 PM on July 23, 2008


Surely this will be the...
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:05 PM on July 23, 2008


Some sort of 'Bush truth commission' is so important. I really believe this administration was corrupt down to it's very foundation, and I think we'd be shocked to learn of all the thing that were done without consent or legal standing.

I hope I'm wrong. I hope there is a truth commission, and the findings are the Bush regime was just incompetent, and not evil on top of that. But I doubt it.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 2:12 PM on July 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm sure some of the key figures will be soon be ecstatic to learn of Dubai's excellent investment opportunities and lack of extradition arrangements with the United States.
posted by tinkertown at 2:16 PM on July 23, 2008


Well that's very interesting, although not really surprising, it's funny to see PROMIS popping up again, wasn't it a feature of plenty of late 80's and early 90's government malfeasance talk? I admire that some people at Salon are acting like real journalists. If you read histories of the Nixon era and the Pentagon Papers you can see many examples of actual brave and principled work by American journalists, it's jarring in comparison to the nonsense and fluff that goes on today.

If I was a billionaire I would hire a team of internet geniuses to work out a way to PUNCH A WEBSITE IN THE DICK VIA TCP/IP. SALON IT'S 2008, NO FUCKING POPUPS DAMMIT.
posted by Divine_Wino at 2:16 PM on July 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm really torn about this. On one hand, I really really really want to see a metric assload of karma visited upon this administration. On the other hand, I really really really want to see some positive light at the end of this tunnel. And another umpteen years of investigation and recrimination just sounds like a slow swim back through the deep, dark septic tank to me.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:21 PM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


*waits for actual truth machine.*
posted by chugg at 2:21 PM on July 23, 2008


The Congress that just gave the telecom companies illegal-wiretapping immunity is going to spearhead an investigation into … illegal wiretapping?

Excuse me if I don't hold my breath.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:22 PM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you look into the bucket of truth, you might not like what you see.
posted by d-programmers at 2:32 PM on July 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Well that's very interesting, although not really surprising, it's funny to see PROMIS popping up again, wasn't it a feature of plenty of late 80's and early 90's government malfeasance talk?

It was a feature of many conspiracy theories, especially after an investigative reporter who was investigating the theft of PROMIS was found having committed an extremely unlikely suicide and his files turned up missing.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:41 PM on July 23, 2008


I think the key to making it happen will be extending the scope of it well past Bush's term so it tars both parties thickly enough that the inevitable cries of partisanship & revenge for Clinton can be easily discredited. I think tracing the history of PROMIS & Main Core would be an excellent place to start, which would reach back to Reagan. From there they could follow the legacy of the First Earth Battalion from Star Gate ("as you know, I can travel through time") to Guantanamo. And then round it out with a tour of the Office of Special Plans, Truth From These Podia & other tales of domestically targeted Information Operations.

Bush was clearly the worst of the lot of recent Presidents, but he didn't start from scratch. Let's haul it all out into the light, I say.
posted by scalefree at 2:41 PM on July 23, 2008


I think the way forward here is probably something like the South African Truth and Reconciliation process. That is, give everybody immunity from prosecution in return for testimony. That way it removes a lot of the aura of score-settling (no, it's not about trying to put Bush and Rove in jail, much as they probably richly deserve it), and it also would vastly increase the amount of information uncovered. There'd be a kind of magnifying effect; as each person testifies more and more would come to feel that their safest bet was to testify as well so as to earn immunity.

I know a lot of people would rather sacrifice clearing the record for the joy of seeing Rove and Bush et al. do time, but A) the satisfaction of seeing someone "brought to justice" wears of pretty quickly when you hit year 15 of the endless courtroom back-and-forth and B) it's far more important that Congress starts asserting some control over the Executive on these matters than that any individuals "get what's coming to them."
posted by yoink at 2:52 PM on July 23, 2008 [6 favorites]


give everybody immunity from prosecution in return for testimony.

I'm all for this as long as you only get immunity if you testify. There is no way that Bush would risk his Legacy by publicly admitting that he had done wrong. So we can just let everyone around him do it for him and then send his ass to the Hague (or pick your own war-crimes tribunal).
posted by quin at 3:15 PM on July 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


And another umpteen years of investigation and recrimination just sounds like a slow swim back through the deep, dark septic tank to me.

So you think our elected officials should be allowed to loot the Treasury, start wars based on lies that kill hundreds of thousands, torture people to death, etc. etc., and simply get away with it because the idea of trying them for their numberless crimes is simply too, too depressing?

How do you expect to avoid this happening again, if you make it clear that there are huge possible gains and zero possible downside?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:16 PM on July 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


"and then send his ass to the Hague (or pick your own war-crimes tribunal).

It wouldn't break my heart any to let him spend his golden years as Gitmo's last detainee...
posted by stenseng at 3:17 PM on July 23, 2008


He may plan on spending his golden years at the ranch in Paraguay,(no extradition treaty)
like granddad's pal Fritz Thyssen
posted by hortense at 3:30 PM on July 23, 2008


For future notice, you can use anonym.to to get past the salon redirect, like so.
posted by puke & cry at 3:37 PM on July 23, 2008


Daily Show: Bush’s All-Star Team of Liars and Deceivers
posted by homunculus at 3:50 PM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ya don't need congress. The Prez can pardon.

'my fellow americans. There are those who claim the nation is rotten to the core. Having just been on the campaign trail, I don't believe that for a moment. But in the interest of determining what has happened and so that we can prevent whatever in the future, we need to know who did what to whom.

so here's the deal. 14 days. Fill out this form admitting what you have done to violate fed/state/local laws and with whom you've done it. And for those crimes, you will get a pardon from the office of the president. If you don't fill out a form, and you are found guilty after due process of law, you will be punished to the max. extent allowed. To help make sure nothing is buried, all the forms filled in will be on-line, part of the trend in open records.'

There ya go - a nice pile of paperwork, my own pardon for running red lights, and a nation-wide prisoners dilemma. Plus mocking of various people for positions they held. And a whole buncha people soiling their britches when The Prez gets assassinated about, oh, day 13. Or when the web site accepting the form goes down on day 13.
posted by rough ashlar at 4:01 PM on July 23, 2008


Is Congress gearing up to hold a new American Truth Commission?

God I hope not ...

All these things seem to accomplish is letting the guilty and culpable play like they are making amends for their crimes and misdeeds.

Ultimately, it's like a committee-led version of Gerry Ford pardoning Nixon so the nation can "move on"; the criminals still get to run free, they still get to equivocate and pass the blame onto others and when they can make a grab for power again later, they'll make a play for it (like two of Nixon's staunchest supporters just before he was driven from office, Cheney & Rumsfeld laid the blame at the foot of the media, "subversive elements on college campuses", etc., and got their act more polished for the next time around).

What America needs to do is atone for its sins, not simply admit to having sinned.

Until it does that, it will never move forward, it will never progress.

Sure, a truth commission or some other fact finding is a necessary first step, but ultimately the guilty must be held to account.

To paraphrase Hunter S. Thompson, 'Dammit, if you want this to be a nation of laws, then God damn it, start apply those laws to everyone, starting with the criminals at the top.'
posted by Relay at 4:56 PM on July 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Metafilter probably has the dubious honor of being the most widely-read left-wing crackpot conspiracy blog, evar: It's called coincidence, you hippie freaks! Sorry, just feeling a bit presidential. Or maybe it's just gas.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:09 PM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Eh. Call me when Bush & Cheney are serving life in Guantanamo. Then I'll believe it. (And never stop rejoicing, but that's another thread entirely)

/bitter, bitter cynicism
posted by Space Kitty at 8:44 PM on July 23, 2008


From the Salon story:

"While reporting on domestic surveillance under Bush, Salon obtained a detailed memo proposing such an inquiry. . . The memo was written by a former senior member of the original Church Committee..."

That means either Gary Hart or Walter Mondale... and, well, let's just face it, it's Gary Hart.
posted by markkraft at 10:27 PM on July 23, 2008


Don't need to jail the perps.

Simply take all their money and wealth. Put it back into the system from which they stole it.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:33 PM on July 23, 2008


If you're having trouble with Salon blocking access to articles linked from MeFi:

1. type "about:config" in the URL bar in FireFox
2. scroll down the row with the first column "network.http.referrerHeader"
3. right-click, choose "Modify"
4. set value to zero
5. presto! Salon (and indeed everyplace else on the Interwebs) doesn't know where you're coming from anymore

Also, we should definitely do something to taint this administration's legacy... what if we were to name some sort of unpleasant public works project in California after him? That'll show him!
posted by Mayor West at 6:30 AM on July 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


The GW Bush Memorial border fence?
posted by garlic at 7:17 AM on July 24, 2008


garlic: I think the George W. Bush Sewage Plant has a much better ring to it.
posted by Orb at 8:35 AM on July 24, 2008


"Simply take all their money and wealth. Put it back into the system from which they stole it."

You know, I've always wondered if the RICO statues could be applied to things like this?

Could you, say, file a RICO prosecution of Halliburton or KBR over their failure to deliver (as promised under a contract) good/services in Iraq, and then, working in concert with Congress, earmark all monies recovered from the suit to go to VA hospitals?

I'd like to see conservatives try to oppose that bill.
posted by Relay at 9:53 AM on July 24, 2008


Slate's interactive guide: Who in the Bush administration broke the law, and who could be prosecuted?
posted by homunculus at 10:07 AM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Interview with the author of the Salon article.
posted by homunculus at 3:40 PM on July 25, 2008


It was a feature of many conspiracy theories, especially after an investigative reporter who was investigating the theft of PROMIS was found having committed an extremely unlikely suicide and his files turned up missing.

There's more on Danny Casolaro and what he was investigating in this article:

Stalking the Octopus: For 20 years Kenn Thomas of Steamshovel Press has been tracking the oily tentacles of world conspiracy — and shaking readers out of their reality tunnels
posted by homunculus at 10:18 AM on July 29, 2008


PROMIS is the emblem of the dawn of the age of transparency. It's a scandal leftover & unresolved from the 1980s, come back to haunt us with interest because we didn't have the political will to deal with the problem when it first reared its ugly head. Everybody knows the basic plotline but all this time we've been unwilling to pay the price of admitting the truth. And so the problem of PROMIS lay festering in the shadows of the global intelligence community, the final secret tainting everyone it touches. I really do see it as the realization of the mythical "Electronic Pearl Harbor" that's become the empty cant of the INFOSEC community. Much like the breaking of Germany's Enigma cypher in World War II, the value of the intelligence product harvested from PROMIS makes it our most treasured secret whose existence can never be revealed. But the lines of influence & power that connect both the trojaned & untrojaned copies of PROMIS (which ones are which? who can tell the difference? who holds the keys?) make the secret of its existence ever more unsustainable even as its continued use becomes more & more inherently corrupting as the lies needed to hide it from our sight grow ever larger & more evil until the final rite of blasphemy is spoken and our dirtiest secrets, PROMIS & Main Core, are mated to each other & spawn an offspring that heralds the end of democracy, the end of a free & open society. Absolute power married to total lack of accountability breeds a bastard child capable of unspeakable evil.

This is so much bigger than Bush. We really have to drive a stake through this thing while we still can.
posted by scalefree at 11:37 AM on July 30, 2008


The Vast and Dangerous Transfer of American Spying to Mercenary Companies
posted by homunculus at 3:54 PM on August 2, 2008


Prelude To Terror
posted by hortense at 11:02 PM on August 2, 2008


Would Barack Obama prosecute the Bush administration for torture? Obama's brain trust wants to form a commission on torture and call Bush officials as witnesses.
posted by homunculus at 11:44 PM on August 3, 2008


Lawrence Lessig on the coming "i-Patriot Act"
posted by homunculus at 10:52 PM on August 5, 2008


The Why-Haven’t-You Impeached-the-President Tour
posted by homunculus at 3:53 PM on August 15, 2008


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