JUNE 2009 Black Hole CAse Study
by Alex Miller
What? You thought there wouldn’t be controversy in the new administration?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stepped into a media firestorm in late April and May 2009, fanning the flames of the torture debate raging in the wake of the Bush administration’s departure. Currently pushing for a truth commission to review the methods and legal justifications used by Bush’s Justice Department and the CIA in their self-serving "Global War on Terror," Pelosi got caught in a media "gotcha" game of unusual intensity when several of her prior statements regarding what she knew of these methods, and when she knew it, appeared to contradict one another. Part blowback from the recent Cheney offensive, wherein the former Veep alleges that the Obama administration is rolling back the protections so carefully put in place by their predecessors and placing the nation at risk for further attack, part Pelosi’s own fault in not finding her political backbone earlier, and too finely parsing her statements, the controversy came to boiling point in mid-May, and has probably served to make the Speaker’s position somewhat tenuous, while virtually guaranteeing the creation of just such an investigative committee as she desires.
So the question becomes, was this ham-handed, shoot-yourself-in-the-foot politics at its worst, or a carefully manipulated ploy to achieve a Machiavellian end, namely, the full exposure of Bush’s illegal actions and possible war crimes?
The basic controversy involves a September 2002 briefing, and whether and to what extent Pelosi, then ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee which oversees CIA operations, was briefed on the use of "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques," or EITs, in questioning supposed al Qaeda operatives captured in Afghanistan in 2001. Some of these techniques, such as waterboarding, which simulates drowning, had traditionally been banned and deemed torture, and were prosecuted by American courts as recently as World War II.
Pelosi alleges that she was briefed only on possible techniques to be used in the future. She claims that she was not informed at the time of the briefing that the CIA, which had received Justice Department approval for the use of the technique the month before, had already employed EITs some 83 times on al Qaeda chieftain Abu Zabaydah in the ensuing period.
Pelosi contends she was not aware that waterboarding had been used until February of 2003, after she had resigned her position on the Intelligence Committee to become House Minority Leader. At that time the new ranking Democrat, Jane Harman (D-CA), was informed the technique had been used, and a staffer at that meeting conveyed this information to Pelosi. Harman wrote a letter of protest to the administration about its use of the controversial interrogation method, with which action Pelosi says she "concurred," but she did not co-sign the letter. Pelosi has been essentially consistent with this version of the facts since it was first disputed by Bush administration officials in December 2007, although this still begs the question of why she did not protest even the contemplation of the use of EITs at that time, and why she didn’t formally sign on to Harman’s letter of protest later.
As recently as February 25, 2009, Pelosi repeated her contention that the briefing she had received was in regards only to possible techniques contemplated for future use, not actually employed. "They were talking about an array of interrogations that they might have at their disposal.... But I can say flat out, they never told us that these enhanced interrogations were being used."
The issue of torture became a front page story again in late April 2009 when the Obama administration made public four 2002 Justice Department memos approving the use of EITs, including waterboarding. On April 23rd, Pelosi reiterated her stance on the September 2002 briefing: "We were not ... told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation techniques were used."
CIA statements and records released on 5 May 2009, however, indicate that Pelosi was briefed about the actual use of EITs in the September 2002 meeting, though waterboarding per se is not specified. Conservatives and the media were quick to pounce on the possible inconsistency, and accuse the Speaker of rank hypocrisy in tacitly supporting, if only through her silence, techniques which now, in a more favorable political climate, she strongly condemns.
On May 8, Pelosi once again asserted that she was only briefed on possible EITs to be used in future, if necessary. But the media smelled blood in the water, and the controversy continued to flare. On May 14, Pelosi called a press conference and upped the ante, specifically charging the CIA with "misleading" her:
The CIA briefed me only once on some enhanced interrogation techniques. ... the only mention of waterboarding at that briefing was that it was not being employed.... Those briefing me in September 2002 gave me inaccurate and incomplete information.... In February 2003, a member of my staff informed me that [other legislators] had been briefed about the use of certain techniques which had been the subject of earlier legal opinions.
When a reporter challenged her to state directly that she was accusing the CIA of lying, Pelosi replied, "Yes, misleading the Congress of the United States."
The CIA was not slow to respond, with current Director Leon Panetta issuing a memo to his employees the following day: "Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values. As the Agency indicated previously in response to Congressional inquiries, our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing ‘the enhanced techniques that had been employed.’ Ultimately, it is up to Congress to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened."
The situation is made more complex by conflicting recollections of other congressional leaders at contemporaneous CIA briefings. Democratic Senators Bob Graham of Florida, Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Dianne Feinstein of California assert that they were not told of actual use of the EITs in their briefing three weeks after Pelosi’s. But Republican Representative Porter Goss of Florida, then Chair of the House Intelligence Committee and subsequently CIA Director, states that he was fully informed the EITs were being used, raising the question of selective disclosure based on the Bush administration’s assessment of political allies or opponents. That is, were fellow Republicans fully informed, but Democrats kept partially in the dark? Or has it become politically expedient for Democrats to acquire selective memories of the briefings, in an attempt to downplay their own culpability in the EITs’ employment?
The astrological interweavings of this event are complex and multi-layered. Comparing the charts of Nancy Pelosi, the CIA, and the dates of the original September 4, 2002 briefing and the May 14, 2009 press conference, with the added emphasis of asteroids Nancy and Lie, among others, indicates that someone is certainly not being honest here. The question is, who?
Created 18 September 1947, the CIA has an apparent propensity for lying: a close conjunction of Mercury and Neptune at 10 and 9 Libra inclines them to be less than forthcoming, and not always provide full disclosure. Outright deception is not unlikely, but the conjunction opposes a Quasar at 10 Aries, indicating that while the CIA can fool some of the people all of the time, their lies are eventually exposed, as Quasars shine a spotlight on whatever they touch, illumining it for all to see. Additionally, the agency’s Sun at 24 Virgo conjoins the USA’s natal Neptune at 22 Virgo, suggesting that this tendency toward disingenuousness is even more marked when dealing with the nation directly. It also exactly opposes asteroid Chaos at 24 Pisces, a situation the CIA often fosters in undermining unfriendly regimes. Uranus at 26 Gemini exactly opposed the Galactic Center at 26 Sagittarius, as well as a Saturn/Pluto conjunction at 17 and 14 Leo, which both conjoins a volatile Maser at 13 Leo and squares a reality-warping Black Hole at 16 Taurus, indicates their involvement in shake-ups and revolutions (Uranus) having global (Galactic Center) impact, and a propensity toward destroying or eroding (Pluto) other governments (Saturn). Saturn/Pluto is also a very appropriate symbol for an agency whose business (Saturn) is secrets (Pluto).
But Pelosi, born 26 March 1940, has her issues with truth as well. Natal Mercury at 17 Pisces exactly squares a Black Hole at 17 Sagittarius, and Black Hole Mercury natives are not noted for their overwhelming honesty. Sometimes this is blatant lying, sometimes internal revisionism which the native genuinely thinks to be an accurate depiction of the facts, but in either case, their statements can be difficult to verify. Mercury is also conjunct asteroid Icarus at 19 Pisces, and exactly semisextile Jupiter at 17 Aries: there is a tendency to somewhat rash (Icarus) pronouncements (Mercury), especially in the political (Jupiter) sphere. This is consistent with the Speaker, third in line to the presidency, essentially accusing a major governmental agency of lying, without any proof. Further, natal Mercury broadly opposes natal Neptune at 23 Virgo, indicating a propensity toward playing fast and loose with the truth which is less severe than the CIA’s own, but still a potential factor.
An exact semisextile from Pluto at 0 Leo to asteroid Memoria at 0 Cancer could indicate trouble reconstructing past incidents from memory, and even an urge to falsify memories in order to manipulate others or increase personal power (both Pluto). The fact that Memoria lies in a tight square to the supermassive Black Hole center of Galaxy M-87 at 1 Libra, the largest anomaly of its kind of which we are aware, does nothing to lessen its pull on Pelosi’s psyche, and may additionally cause warping of memory which the native does not recognize as a departure from the truth. A pairing of Saturn at 0 Taurus with asteroid Washingtonia at 2 Taurus indicates that Pelosi’s career will involve the nation’s capitol, and also suggests her achievement of a position of high authority (Saturn) there.
With a 4 Aries Eris closely conjoined the 5 Aries Sun, Pelosi is a lightning rod for disaffection and strife, with a personality that tends to grate on others and bring out the worst in them. Natal asteroid Nancy at 24 Gemini squares her natal Neptune at 23 Virgo, and neatly reinforces a CIA T-Square composed of their Sun at 24 Virgo, Uranus at 26 Gemini, and asteroid Chaos at 24 Pisces. Her natal asteroid Karma at 27 Capricorn is an exact match for the USA’s Pluto, governing both torture and secrets, and thus broadly overseeing the CIA itself, so perhaps Pelosi’s role in this controversy was inevitable and fated.
At the 4 September 2002 briefing, the Sun at 11 Virgo squared Pluto at 14 Sagittarius, apt for a briefing about torture, as well as prefiguring the power struggle that would eventually ensue. But Jupiter at 7 Leo is also opposed Neptune at 8 Aquarius, indicating a high potential for politically-based deception, and is allied with Mercury at 8 Libra, in sextile to Jupiter and trine Neptune, suggesting that not all the facts were revealed, or that some form of deception was practiced. That Mercury highlights the CIA’s natal Mercury/Neptune conjunction at 10 and 9 Libra, sourcing the deception to them, and is squared asteroid Nancy at 10 Cancer as well as trine Pelosi’s natal Lie at 12 Gemini, defining who was the recipient of that deception. Asteroid Nancy is very broadly conjoined asteroid Lie at 0 Cancer, exactly conjunct Pelosi’s natal Memoria; again we have the basic question of the hour—is this outright lying or faulty memory? Lie also conjoins Saturn at 27 Gemini, suggestive of deception directed at a high government official, or proceeding from one. But since the chart of any incident speaks most strongly to the conditions pertaining at its genesis, and not to those which accrue subsequently, the presumption is that in that moment, the deception was directed at Pelosi, and not created by her at a later date.
Uranus for the briefing at 26 Aquarius is exactly conjoined the USA natal Moon, its people, and shows the most startling connections to Pelosi’s press conference more than six and half years later. For that May 14, 2009 incident, the Uranus of the briefing is exactly conjoined by transit Neptune and Chiron, and also conjunct a Quasar, highlighting (Quasar) the revelation (Uranus) of the deception (Neptune), and instituting a power struggle which may end up being a decisive wound (Chiron) for one participant or the other. Jupiter, ruling politics and inflating or exacerbating the situation, is also closely conjunct at 25 Aquarius, along with asteroid Pandora at 23 Aquarius, unleashing unexpected consequences impossible to control.
The whole of this stellium squares the press conference Sun at 23 Taurus, conjunct a reality-warping Black Hole at 24 Taurus, and transit Mercury at 29 Taurus retrograde, indicative of going back into an old circumstance, itself conjoined a volatile, controversy-provoking Maser at 28 Taurus. These Taurean points conjoin Pelosi’s natal Mars at 25 Taurus, bringing the fight (Mars) home to her. This Aquarius/Taurus square forms a T-Square with transit asteroid Memoria at 26 Scorpio, which is also conjoined the CIA’s Jupiter (politics) at 23 Scorpio.
Asteroids Nancy, Lie, Washingtonia and House (for the House of Representatives which Pelosi heads) are also active in the chart for the May 14 press conference. Nancy at 15 Gemini is tightly squared (conflict) transit Saturn (career, her leadership position) at 14 Virgo retrograde, and opposed the 14 Sagittarius Pluto (secrets, torture, power plays, manipulation) of the September 2002 briefing, with the CIA’s natal Pluto at 14 Leo bisecting the Nancy/Saturn square, in sextile to Nancy and semisextile Saturn.
Asteroid Lie at 17 Taurus conjoins a Black Hole at 16, and is also exactly sextile Pelosi’s natal Mercury at 17 Pisces and her natal Jupiter at 17 Aries, and exactly square the CIA Saturn at 17 Leo. Asteroid Washingtonia at 6 Leo is closely conjoined the 7 Leo Jupiter of the briefing, sextile the briefing Mercury at 8 Libra and the CIA’s natal Mercury/Neptune at 10/9 Libra, and trine Pelosi’s Sun/Eris at 5/4 Aries.
Asteroid House at 1 Capricorn retrograde conjoins transit Pluto at 2 Capricorn retrograde, which could indicate this as a turning point for House affairs, with a possible change in leadership resulting. If not now, this may be a warning shot over Pelosi’s bow for the upcoming Pluto transit to her Sun next spring, when Pluto stations at 5 Capricorn in exact square. If Pelosi becomes too toxic, the Party may feel the need to jettison her from her prominent leadership position before the upcoming mid-term elections that fall. Pluto is also exactly trine the CIA’s natal asteroid Lie at 2 Virgo, and closely opposed both the 0 Cancer Lie of the September 2002 briefing and Pelosi’s natal asteroid Memoria at the same degree.
Transit Uranus for the press conference at 25 Pisces ignites the CIA’s natal asteroid Chaos at 24 Pisces, opposes its Sun at 24 Virgo and Pelosi’s Neptune at 23 Virgo, and squares the CIA natal Uranus and natal asteroid House, both at 26 Gemini, and Pelosi’s natal asteroid Nancy at 24 Gemini, providing shocks, upsets and potential revelations for all involved.
Where is all this headed? Summer 2009 eclipses impact Pelosi strongly, with a Lunar Eclipse on July 7 at 15 Capricorn that squares her 17 Aries natal Jupiter, ruling politics, and a Solar Eclipse July 21 at 29 Cancer which conjoins her natal Pluto at 0 Leo, her power center. Either of these could indicate a crisis period for the Speaker. A second Lunar Eclipse August 5th at 13 Aquarius conjoins a Black Hole and tightly squares her 12 Scorpio natal asteroid House, perhaps evoking a dramatic change in her status there. The CIA is also hit by this last eclipse, which opposes its natal Pluto at 14 Leo, conjunct a volatile, controversial Maser. For now, Pelosi appears to be on solid ground, with the Democratic leadership rallying around in support, but Black Hole energies can contort any situation in the blink of an eye, and apparently safe, secure foundations can evaporate unexpectedly. Much will depend on the results of the investigation that is now all but inevitable—someone is likely to get a black eye out of this, it just remains to be seen who.
Alex Miller (formerly Alex Miller-Mignone)
is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of "The Galactic Calendar," and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society.
His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. Alex can be reached for comment or services at firstname.lastname@example.org.