When Nelson Mandela was released from prison in February 1990, President George Bush personally telephoned the black South African leader to tell him that all Americans were “rejoicing at his release”.
This was the same Nelson Mandela who was imprisoned for almost 28 years because the CIA tipped off South African authorities as to where they could find him.
And this was the same George Bush who was once the head of the CIA and who for eight years was second in power of an administration whose CIA and National Security Agency collaborated closely with the South African intelligence service, providing information about Mandela’s African National Congress. The ANC was a progressive nationalist movement whose influence had been felt in other African countries; accordingly it had been perceived by Washington as being part of the legendary International Communist Conspiracy. In addition to ideology, other ingredients in the cooking pot the United States and South Africa both ate from was that the latter served as an important source of uranium for the United States, and the US was South Africa’s biggest supporter at the United Nations.
On August 5, 1962, Nelson Mandela had been on the run for 17 months when armed police at a roadblock outside Howick, Natal flagged down a car in which he was pretending to be the chauffeur of a white passenger in the back seat. How the police came to be there was not publicly explained. In late July 1986, however, stories appeared in three South African newspapers (picked up shortly thereafter by the London press and, in part, CBS-TV) which shed considerable light on the question. The stories told of how a CIA officer, Donald C. Rickard by name, under cover as a consular official in Durban, had tipped off the Special Branch that Mandela would be disguised as a chauffeur in a car headed for Durban. This was information Rickard had obtained through an informant in the ANC. One year later, at a farewell party for him in South Africa, at the home of the notorious CIA mercenary Colonel “Mad Mike” Hoare, Rickard himself, his tongue perhaps loosened by spirits, stated in the hearing of some of those present that he had been due to meet Mandela on the fateful night, but tipped off the police instead. Rickard refused to discuss the affair when approached by CBS-TV.
CBS-TV newsman Allen Pizzey did interview journalist James Tomlins on the air when the story broke in 1986. Tomlins, who was in South Africa in 1962, stated that Rickard had told him of his involvement in Mandela’s capture.
On June 10, 1990, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution reported that an unidentified, retired US intelligence officer had revealed that within hours of Mandela’s arrest, Paul Eckel, then a senior CIA operative, had told him:
“We have turned Mandela over to the South African security branch. We gave them every detail, what he would be wearing, the time of day, just where he would be. They have picked him up. It is one of our greatest coups.”
After Mandela’s release, the White House was asked if Bush would apologize to the South African for the reported US involvement in his arrest at an upcoming meeting between the two men. In this situation, a categorical denial by the White House of any American involvement in the arrest would have been de rigueur. However, spokesman Marlin Fitzwater replied:
“This happened during the Kennedy administration … don’t beat me up for what the Kennedy people did.”
The CIA stated:
“Our policy is not to comment on such allegations.”
This is what the Agency says when it feels that it has nothing to gain by issuing a statement. On a number of other occasions, because it thought that it would serve their purpose, the CIA has indeed commented on all kinds of allegations.
While Mandela’s youth and health ebbed slowly away behind prison walls, Donald Rickard retired to live in comfort and freedom in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. He resides there still today.
The war on democracy: How corporations and spy agencies use “security” to defend profiteering and crush activism
A stunning new report compiles extensive evidence showing how some of the world’s largest corporations have partnered with private intelligence firms and government intelligence agencies to spy on activist and nonprofit groups. Environmental activism is a prominent though not exclusive focus of these activities.
The report by the Center for Corporate Policy (CCP) in Washington DC titled Spooky Business: Corporate Espionage against Nonprofit Organizations draws on a wide range of public record evidence, including lawsuits and journalistic investigations. It paints a disturbing picture of a global corporate espionage programme that is out of control, with possibly as much as one in four activists being private spies.
The report argues that a key precondition for corporate espionage is that the nonprofit in question:
“… impairs or at least threatens a company’s assets or image sufficiently.”
[...] The CCP report notes that:
“A diverse array of nonprofits have been targeted by espionage, including environmental, anti-war, public interest, consumer, food safety, pesticide reform, nursing home reform, gun control, social justice, animal rights and arms control groups.
Many of the world’s largest corporations and their trade associations – including the US Chamber of Commerce, Walmart, Monsanto, Bank of America, Dow Chemical, Kraft, Coca-Cola, Chevron, Burger King, McDonald’s, Shell, BP, BAE, Sasol, Brown & Williamson and E.ON – have been linked to espionage or planned espionage against nonprofit organizations, activists and whistleblowers.”
In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the CIA reportedly used a secret facility at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention center to turn a handful of prisoners into double agents and then sent them home to help kill terrorists.
The program, which was carried out in a complex known as Penny Lane just a few hundred yards from the administrative offices at the prison, aided in the killing of “many” top al-Qaeda operatives, current and former U.S. officials told the Associated Press.
[...] The CIA offered the prisoners freedom, safety for their families, and millions of dollars from the agency’s secret bank account, code-named Pledge, in return for spying for the U.S.
Some of the information provided by the released detainees was used to launch Predator drone strikes, an official said, while other double agents ultimately stopped providing information and lost contact with the CIA.
- Navy shows WikiLeaks movie at Guantánamo, where surfing WikiLeaks website’s a crime
- Last British resident in Guantánamo Bay: we are treated like animals
- IMAP/OSF Report Calls for Investigation of Drug Given to All Guantanamo Detainees
- Guantánamo’s forever captives to make pitch for freedom in secret
- Torture inquiry ‘finds UK intelligence officers knew of mistreatment’
- Court rejects Polish request to keep CIA jail hearing private
- GOP to seek restricting detainee transfers to Yemen
- Leahy: Gitmo is ‘shameful’
n May, the White House leaked word that it would start shifting drone operations from the shadows of the CIA to the relative sunlight of the Defense Department in an effort to be more transparent about the controversial targeted killing program. But six months later, the so-called migration of those operations has stalled, and it is now unlikely to happen anytime soon, Foreign Policy has learned.
The anonymous series of announcements coincided with remarks President Obama made on counterterrorism policy at National Defense University in which he called for “transparency and debate on this issue.” A classified Presidential Policy Guidance on the matter, issued at the same time, caught some in government by surprise, triggering a scramble at the Pentagon and at CIA to achieve a White House objective. The transfer was never expected to happen overnight. But it is now clear the complexity of the issue, the distinct operational and cultural differences between the Pentagon and CIA and the bureaucratic politics of it all has forced officials on all sides to recognize transferring drone operations from the Agency to the Defense Department represents, for now, an unattainable goal.
[...] Along with Khan and three other victims, Akbar filed criminal charges against Jonathan Banks, the CIA station chief in Pakistan who was responsible for giving the green light on the drone attacks. With his cover blown by the legal case, the CIA station chief was yanked out of the country within two days. Since Khan’s pioneering litigation, others have broken their silence and come forward to seek justice through legal action.
“In the beginning I wasn’t sure that this is something I would do for a long time. It was just about proving my point,” Akbar told AlterNet. But what started off as proving a point has now become Akbar’s legacy.
In 2011, Akbar created the Foundation for Fundamental Rights, an organization that provides legal aid to enforce fundamental rights guaranteed under the constitution of Pakistan. Not only is Akbar the co-founder, legal director and a trustee of this foundation, he is also a legal fellow at Reprieve, a UK based organization that promotes the rule of law around the world. Akbar’s fight is a tough one, and Reprieve provides him with much needed “moral, financial and emotional support.”
Together with other lawyers and researchers in Waziristan, Akbar now represents 156 drone strike victims. While these cases have yet to be resolved, they have played an important role in bringing attention “to the issue of the illegality of drone strikes,” Akbar says.
Despite repeatedly denouncing the CIA’s drone campaign, top officials in Pakistan’s government have for years secretly endorsed the program and routinely received classified briefings on strikes and casualty counts, according to top-secret CIA documents and Pakistani diplomatic memos obtained by The Washington Post.
The files describe dozens of drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal region and include maps as well as before-and-after aerial photos of targeted compounds over a four-year stretch from late 2007 to late 2011 in which the campaign intensified dramatically.
Markings on the documents indicate that many of them were prepared by the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center specifically to be shared with Pakistan’s government. They tout the success of strikes that killed dozens of alleged al-Qaeda operatives and assert repeatedly that no civilians were harmed.
Pakistan’s tacit approval of the drone program has been one of the more poorly kept national security secrets in Washington and Islamabad. During the early years of the campaign, the CIA even used Pakistani airstrips for its Predator fleet.
But the files expose the explicit nature of a secret arrangement struck between the two countries at a time when neither was willing to publicly acknowledge the existence of the drone program. The documents detailed at least 65 strikes in Pakistan and were described as “talking points” for CIA briefings, which occurred with such regularity that they became a matter of diplomatic routine. The documents are marked “top secret” but cleared for release to Pakistan.
- Pakistani PM pleads with Obama to put an end to drone strikes (Guardian)
- From 2011: Why Pakistani Military Demands a Veto on Drone Strikes (IPS)
The school announced on Friday that Petraeus has been appointed a non-resident senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
Petraeus will jointly lead a new project focusing on the technological, scientific and economic dynamics that are spurring renewed North American competitiveness. “The Coming North American Decades” project will analyse how potential policy choices could effect this ongoing transformation.
Pro-Assad factions have regularly accused the United States of setting their policy around keeping the Syrian Civil War going. It turns out that they were more or less right.
The latest Washington Post report quotes top US officials, who are talking up an escalation of CIA training for rebel factions, as designed around “the White House’s desire to seek a political settlement, a scenario that relies on an eventual stalemate among the warring factions rather than a clear victor.”
Just to make that clear, the officials later say that the CIA’s aid to the rebels is designed to ensure that pro-US factions don’t lose the war outright, but that the aid has to remain small enough that they don’t actually win either.
- The Army of Islam Is Winning in Syria (Foreign Policy)
- Saudis bankroll new rebel force to fight own war on Assad (UPI)
- Turkey denies aiding Qaeda-linked Syria rebels (AFP)
- Al-Qaida spokesman criticizes rival Syrian rebels (AP)
- U.S.-backed Syria rebels urged to break with al Qaida allies over alleged abuses (McClatchy)
- More Syria rebel groups leave U.S.-backed command amid worry ‘moderates’ will be shut out (McClatchy)
- Syria FM tells UN regime fighting ‘terrorists’ who eat human hearts, dismember people alive (AP)
- Syria rebels executed civilians, says Human Rights Watch (BBC)
- Assad’s forces executed 130 men in Damascus suburb, Syrian opposition says (AP)
- Syria the newest magnet for self-styled jihadists (Globe and Mail)
- Who are the British jihadists in Syria? (BBC)
- In Europe, young Muslims head to Syria to fight (McClatchy)
- Christians under threat in Syria as Islamist extremists gain influence (Washington Post)
- Balkan jihadists in Syria (Serbianna)
- Syrian Rebels Fight Each Other Along Turkish Border (Antiwar)
The US, through USAID and the University of Nebraska, spends millions of dollars developing and printing textbooks for Afghan schoolchildren. The textbooks are “filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation.” For instance, children are “taught to count with illustrations showing tanks, missiles, and land mines.” Lacking any alternative, millions of these textbooks are used long after 1994; the Taliban will still be using them in 2001. In 2002, the US will start producing less violent versions of the same books, which President Bush says will have “respect for human dignity, instead of indoctrinating students with fanaticism and bigotry.” (He will fail to mention who created those earlier books.) [WASHINGTON POST, 3/23/2002; CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, 5/6/2002]
A University of Nebraska academic named Thomas Gouttierre leads the textbook program. Journalist Robert Dreyfuss will later reveal that although funding for Gouttierre’s work went through USAID, it was actually paid for by the CIA. Unocal will pay Gouttierre to work with the Taliban (see December 1997) and he will host visits of Taliban leaders to the US, including trips in 1997 and 1999 (see December 4, 1997 and July-August 1999). [DREYFUSS, 2005, PP. 328]
It was supposed to be joke on General David Petraeus, but the New York City Police Department wasn’t laughing.
Police say a friend mailed a fake grenade to General Petraeus’ office in the Solow Building on 58th Street.
His secretary opened the box around noon Tuesday and saw what she thought was a real grenade.
Investigators describe it as a “novelty item.”
Police evacuated the office and shut down 58th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.
The Iranian parliament on Saturday voted to designate the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Army as terrorist organizations, IRNA, the country’s state-run news agency, reported.
The CIA and the U.S. Army “trained terrorists and supported terrorism, and they themselves are terrorists,” the parliament said, according to IRNA.
The Iranian parliament said the condemnation was based on “known and accepted” standards of terrorism from international regulations, including the U.N. charter.
The parliament said it condemns the “aggressions by the U.S. Army, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan” and calls on the United Nations to “intervene in the global problem of U.S. prisons in Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and secret jails in other countries,” IRNA reported, quoting a statement from Iranian lawmakers.
The Iranian parliament also decried the CIA’s and U.S. Army’s involvement in the 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II, U.S. involvement in the Balkans, Vietnam and the U.S. support of Israel.
Arms smuggled by the United States to the Syrian rebels are just “symbolic” and won’t make a difference in the fight against the regime or against Islamists, Free Syrian Army rebel commanders and the Syrian opposition told USA TODAY.
Human rights groups say a deal being discussed to take out Syria’s chemical weapons will do nothing to stop the regime’s campaign of killing people with incendiary bombs, missiles, tank shells and the denial of medical care — which they say amounts to war crimes.
“The repeated use of these high-explosive weapons with wide-area effects in areas populated by civilians strongly suggests that the military willfully used methods of warfare incapable of distinguishing between civilians and combatants, a serious violation of international humanitarian law,” said Ole Solvang, senior emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch.
President Obama announced in June that the United States would provide “lethal” arms to Syrian rebels to counter the regime’s slaughter of their fighters and destruction of cities and towns sympathetic to them.
Shipments — mainly going via Jordan — have consisted of light munitions and anti-tank missiles. Nothing heavier has been delivered because the U.S. government is worried weapons may get into the hands of Muslim jihadist groups fighting in Syria, rebels say.
OTHER RELATED NEWS:
- US Arms to Syria a ‘Message’ to Russia, Analysts Say (Antiwar)
- Syrian Rebels Say Saudi Arabia Is Stepping Up Weapons Deliveries (NY Times)
- Leader of Syrian Rebel Group Calls For Attacks Inside US (Infowars)
- Who’s a “Moderate” Rebel in Syria? Check the Handwritten Receipts (Mother Jones)
- Foreign fighters in Damascus jail tell their stories (RT)
- Think tank fires Syria analyst Kerry cited to support claims about moderate rebels (McClatchy)
- Aleppo rebels angry as diplomacy seems to let Assad off the hook (Guardian)
- U.N. Rights Panel Cites Evidence of War Crimes by Both Sides in Syria (NY Times)
- U.N. Leader Admits Failure to Halt Syrian Atrocities (NY Times)
- Freed Italian journalist found ‘evil’ in Syria (AFP)
- Dramatic report as Syria Army battles jihadists in ancient Christian village (RT)
- Witness to a Syrian Execution: “I Saw a Scene of Utter Cruelty” (Time)
- Italy seizes ‘mother ship’ full of Syrian refugees fleeing civil war (NBC)
- Jordan appeals for aid to cope with Syrian refugees (AFP)
- Who Is Less Sympathetic, David Petraeus or the Students Yelling at Him? (Atlantic Wire)
- David Petraeus May Have Committed Much Worse Crimes In Afghanistan (Business Insider)
- Petraeus advocates for U.S. action in Syria (Duke Chronicle)
- CIA Chief: We’ll Spy on You Through Your Dishwasher (Wired)
- Osborne, Petraeus, Lagarde among attendees at Bilderberg Group Meeting (UPI)
US spending on intelligence has doubled since 9/11, with the National Security Agency and the CIA taking the biggest share, according to the top secret budget leaked by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Details of the $52.6bn request for 2013 by America’s 16 spy agencies were revealed by the Washington Post on Thursday.
The NSA has requested $10.45bn from Congress, while the CIA is asking for $14.7bn. The NSA has long been regarded as the most productive of the spy agencies, so the higher spending by the CIA is one of the biggest surprises in the four-volume, 1,452-page budget.
The Congressional Budget Justification for the National Intelligence Program, dubbed the “black budget”, offers insights into new projects as well as the successes and failures of the spy agencies. It outlines the countries they have successfully infiltrated and those where they are struggling, primarily North Korea.
Ironically, in view of Snowden’s revelations, part of the budget is is dedicated to stopping whistleblowers. Among the $3.7bn counterintelligence section of the budget is an item dedicated to detecting insider threats “who seeks to exploit their authorized access to sensitive information to harm US interests.”
The intelligence community, pre-Snowden, had planned to investigate at least 4,000 possible insider threats this year.
The budget, a copy of which has also been seen by the Guardian, also provides tantalising details about the relationship between the NSA and the corporate sector. It describes “unique commercial partnerships” that “enable access and exploitation of international communications, and provide infrastructure to support operations”.
The document contains figures for spending on the corporate sector but no definitive total. US telecom and internet companies help the NSA in gathering data, although many say they do not do so voluntarily, but only because they are obliged to by law.
One figures puts the costs of running the corporate sector programmes at about $271m. Various programs involving the corporate sector are listed, including one codenamed Blarney which has a budget request for $86.2m.
But the names of the companies involved are not included.
As a result of the sequester-induced budget cuts, the CIA is closing the Historical Collections Division office, which declassifies historical documents, and transferring the division’s responsibilities to the office that handles FOIA requests.
The Historical Collections Division is described on its website as “an important part of CIA’s ongoing effort to be more open and to provide for more public accountability.” It is a “voluntary declassification program that focuses on records of historical value,” including information on the Vietnam War, spy satellites, the Bay of Pigs and other historical scandals and operations.
Neither of America’s two major political parties is definitively “pro-transparency” or “pro-obstructionism,” so unlike when the CIA closed the GOP-maligned Center on Climate Change and National Security, closing this office isn’t a victory for anyone—least of all, for Americans who want to see more transparency in government.
Ken Dilanian at the Los Angeles Times reported quoted Washington lawyer Mark Zaid, who said, “this move is a true loss to the public.” According to Zaid, the CIA office that handles Freedom of Information Act requests “is the most obstructionist and unfriendly of those I have dealt with during the last two decades.”
[...]The legal flap concerns a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit (.pdf) brought by the American Civil Liberties Union in which the CIA has been refusing to confirm or deny the covert military use of drones to kill suspected terrorists overseas, despite Obama’s and even a former CIA director’s admission of the government’s targeted killing program.
The use of drones to shoot missiles from afar at vehicles and buildings that the nation’s intelligence agencies believe are being used by suspected terrorists began under the Bush administration and was widened by Obama to allow the targeting of American citizens. Drone strikes by the U.S. have sparked backlashes from foreign governments and populations, as the strikes often kill civilians, including women and children.
The CIA is sticking with a so-called “Glomar” response, refusing to confirm or deny the existence of responsive records because doing so would expose national security secrets.
The FOIA litigation dates to 2010, when the ACLU sued in federal court seeking records concerning the legal basis for carrying out targeted drone killings; any restrictions on those who may be targeted; any civilian casualties; any geographic limits on the program; the number of targeted killings that the agency has carried out; and the training, supervision, oversight, or discipline of drone operators.
But the Obama administration is now claiming that the government does not have to fork over any responsive documents in the ACLU’s lawsuit because, in the end, the CIA has never “officially” said it has been involved, so the CIA can maintain its Glomar response.
This week Elise Jordan, wife of famed journalist Michael Hastings, who recently died under suspicious circumstances, corroborated this reporter’s sources that CIA Director, John Brennan was Hastings next exposé project (CNN clip).
Last month a source provided San Diego 6 News with an alarming email hacked from super secret CIA contractor Stratfor’s President Fred Burton. The email (link here) was posted on WikiLeaks and alleged that then Obama counter-terrorism Czar Brennan, was in charge of the government’s continued crackdown or witch-hunt on investigative journalists.
After providing the Stratfor email to the CIA for comment, the spymaster’s spokesperson responded in lightning speed. Two emails were received; one acknowledging Hastings was working on a CIA story and the other said, “Without commenting on information disseminated by WikiLeaks, any suggestion that Director Brennan has ever attempted to infringe on constitutionally-protected press freedoms is offensive and baseless.”
The emails also prompted a phone from CIA media spokesman Todd Ebitz. He said they were saddened by Michael’s death and reiterated their position that they had a cordial working relationship with the investigative reporter.
On the other hand, Stratfor, specifically Fred Burton, remains nonresponsive.
As for Hastings’ final story, his wife said Rolling Stone would publish the Brennan piece in an upcoming edition of the magazine.
For years, the Central Intelligence Agency denied it had a secret file on MIT professor and famed dissident Noam Chomsky. But a new government disclosure obtained by The Cable reveals for the first time that the agency did in fact gather records on the anti-war iconoclast during his heyday in the 1970s.
The disclosure also reveals that Chomsky’s entire CIA file was scrubbed from Langley’s archives, raising questions as to when the file was destroyed and under what authority.
The breakthrough in the search for Chomsky’s CIA file comes in the form of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. For years, FOIA requests to the CIA garnered the same denial: “We did not locate any records responsive to your request.” The denials were never entirely credible, given Chomsky’s brazen anti-war activism in the 60s and 70s — and the CIA’s well-documented track record of domestic espionage in the Vietnam era. But the CIA kept denying, and many took the agency at its word.
Now, a public records request by Chomsky biographer Fredric Maxwell reveals a memo between the CIA and the FBI that confirms the existence of a CIA file on Chomsky.
Judicial Watch is suing the CIA in order to obtain the guest list from a June 2011 awards ceremony during which former CIA Director Leon Panetta revealed “top secret” information in the presence of Zero Dark Thirty filmmaker Mark Boal, in order to ascertain whether the White House jeopardized national security in order to help Hollywood directors make a “pro-Obama” film.
The conservative watchdog group is seeking, “Any and all guest lists or other records identifying individuals who attended and/or were invited to attend the June 24, 2011 awards ceremony at CIA Headquarters for individuals involved in the search for, and killing of, Osama bin Laden,” in addition to, “Any and all records of communication between any official, employee, or representative of the Central Intelligence Agency and any other party regarding the attendance of Mr. Mark Boal at the aforementioned awards ceremony.”
Despite being required by law to respond to Judicial Watch’s December 19 Freedom of Information Act request on the matter within 20 days, the CIA denied the request and invited the group to make an appeal to the Agency Release Panel. Deciding that no administrative appeal was possible, Judicial Watch launched the lawsuit on June 21 and announced it yesterday on their website.
During Panetta’s speech at the ceremony, the former CIA Director revealed ”the name of the Navy SEAL unit that carried out the Osama bin Laden raid,” the unit’s ground commander, as well as other “classified information designated as “top secret” and “secret”.
Judicial Watch also highlights the hypocrisy of the Obama administration in pursuing whistleblowers like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden while simultaneously revealing sensitive information to Hollywood directors.
1976: CIA and Other Intelligence Agencies Use BCCI to Control and Manipulate Criminals and Terrorists Worldwide
Investigative journalist Joseph Trento will later report that in 1976, the Safari Club, a newly formed secret cabal of intelligence agencies (see September 1, 1976-Early 1980s), decides it needs a network of banks to help finance its intelligence operations. Saudi Intelligence Minister Kamal Adham is given the task. “With the official blessing of George H. W. Bush as the head of the CIA, Adham transformed a small Pakistani merchant bank, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), into a world-wide money-laundering machine, buying banks around the world to create the biggest clandestine money network in history.” BCCI was founded in 1972 by a Pakistani named Agha Hasan Abedi, who was an associate of Adham’s. Bush himself has an account at BCCI established while still director of the CIA. French customs will later raid the Paris BCCI branch and discover the account in Bush’s name. [TRENTO, 2005, PP. 104] Bush, Adham, and other intelligence heads work with Abedi to contrive “a plan that seemed too good to be true. The bank would solicit the business of every major terrorist, rebel, and underground organization in the world. The intelligence thus gained would be shared with ‘friends’ of BCCI.” CIA operative Raymond Close works closely with Adham on this. BCCI taps “into the CIA’s stockpile of misfits and malcontents to help man a 1,500-strong group of assassins and enforcers.” [TRENTO, 2005, PP. 104] Soon, BCCI becomes the fastest growing bank in the world. Time magazine will later describe BCCI as not just a bank, but also “a global intelligence operation and a Mafia-like enforcement squad. Operating primarily out of the bank’s offices in Karachi, Pakistan, the 1,500-employee black network has used sophisticated spy equipment and techniques, along with bribery, extortion, kidnapping and even, by some accounts, murder. The black network—so named by its own members—stops at almost nothing to further the bank’s aims the world over.” [TIME, 7/22/1991]
How The Washington Post’s New Owner, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Aided the CIA, Blocked WikiLeaks & Decimated Book Industry
The Washington Post announced on Monday the paper had been sold to Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos for $250 million. Bezos, one of the world’s wealthiest men, now controls one of the most powerful newspapers in the country. Some critics of the sale have cited Bezos’ close ties to the U.S. government. In 2010, Amazon pulled the plug on hosting the WikiLeaks website under heavy political pressure. Earlier this year, Amazon inked a $600 million cloud computing deal with the CIA. Independent booksellers and publishers have also long complained about Amazon’s business practices.
The second-in-command of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) says that the toppling of Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria is the largest threat to United States national security and may help al-Qaeda acquire chemical weapons.
Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell said the prospect of the Syrian government being replaced by al-Qaeda his biggest worry.
Morell’s statement is especially surprising considering America’s official position on the Syrian civil war. US President Barack Obama and his officials have repeatedly called Assad a “dictator” who is responsible for more than 92,000 lives lost in a bloody conflict between government forces and rebels – some of whom are openly affiliated with al-Qaeda.
Should the current regime collapse without a stable government to step up to the plate, Morell said the warheads being held by Assad may end up in the hands of America’s adversaries.
- Rep. Engel Pushes Pentagon for More Syria Attack Options (Antiwar)
- U.S. adds $195 million in food aid to Syria (Reuters)
- Rebels reportedly target Assad’s convoy, Syrian president said to be unhurt (Reuters)
- Syria’s Assad says war is the only way to crush terrorism (Reuters)
- Jordan foils alleged Syrian arms smuggling attempt (AP)
- Al-Nusra Mercenaries in Syria Slaughter Kurdish Women and Children (Kurt Nimmo)
CIA officials often assert that while the spy agency’s failures are known, its successes are hidden. But the clandestine organization celebrated for finding Osama bin Laden has been viewed by many of its own people as a place beset by bad management, where misjudgments by senior officials go unpunished, according to internal CIA documents and interviews with more than 20 former officers.
Fifty-five percent of respondents to a 2009 agency-wide survey who said they were resigning or thinking about it cited poor management as the main reason, according to a 2010 report on retention by the agency’s internal watchdog that mirrored the findings of a 2005 report. Although the CIA’s overall rate of employee turnover is unusually low, the report cited “challenges” in the retention of officers with unique and crucial skills, such as field operatives.
The heavily redacted, unclassified report by the CIA’s inspector general was turned over to the Los Angeles Times/Tribune Washington Bureau recently, two years after a request was filed under the Freedom of Information Act. Retired CIA officers who talk regularly with former colleagues say little has changed. CIA employees are generally prohibited from speaking to the news media and are grilled during periodic polygraph exams about any contacts with reporters.
“Perceptions of poor management, and a lack of accountability for poor management, comprised five of the top 10 reasons why people leave or consider leaving CIA and were the most frequent topic of concern among those who volunteered comments,” the inspector general’s report says.
A former CIA officer has broken the U.S. silence around the 2003 abduction of a radical Islamist cleric in Italy, charging that the agency inflated the threat the preacher posed and that the United States then allowed Italy to prosecute her and other Americans to shield President George W. Bush and other U.S. officials from responsibility for approving the operation.
Confirming for the first time that she worked undercover for the CIA in Milan when the operation took place, Sabrina De Sousa provided new details about the “extraordinary rendition” that led to the only criminal prosecution stemming from the secret Bush administration rendition and detention program launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The cleric, Osama Mustapha Hassan Nasr, was snatched from a Milan street by a team of CIA operatives and flown to Egypt, where he was held for the better part of four years without charges and allegedly tortured. An Egyptian court in 2007 ruled that his imprisonment was “unfounded” and ordered him released.
The real-life intelligence agents of the CIA tried to copy the gadgets used in James Bond movies, research from the University of Warwick suggests.
Prof Christopher Moran, an expert in US national security, has been studying the friendship between the director of the CIA and Bond author Ian Fleming.
He says CIA boss Allen Dulles was fascinated with the fictional spy.
Prof Moran says he has found a “surprising two-way influence between the CIA and the James Bond novels”.
His study of declassified letters and writing by Dulles, director of the CIA in the 1950s, has shown how much the professional spies of the Cold War wanted to emulate the gadget-powered success of the fictional agent James Bond.
Records obtained by DeSmogBlog pertaining to City University of New York (CUNY) Macaulay Honors College’s hiring of former head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) David Petraeus to teach a seminar this coming fall reveal that his syllabus features two of the most well-known “frackademia” studies.
“Frackademia” is shorthand for oil and gas industry-funded research costumed as independent economics or science covering the topic of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the controversial horizontal drilling process via which oil and gas is obtained deep within shale rock basins.
According to the syllabus, Petraeus will devote two weeks to energy alone, naming those weeks “The Energy Revolution I” and “The Energy Revolution II.” The two “frackademia” studies Petraeus will have his students read for his course titled “The Coming North American Decade(s)? are both seminal industry-funded works.
One of them is a study written by industry-funded National Economic Research Associates (NERA) concluding liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports are beneficial to the U.S. economy, despite the fact that exporting fracked gas will raise domestic home-heating and manufacturing prices. NERA was founded by “father of deregulation” Alfred E. Kahn. The study Petraeus will have his students read was contracted out by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to NERA.
The other, a study written by then-Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) research professor Ernest Moniz—now the head of the DOE—is titled “The Future of Natural Gas” and also covers LNG exports. DOE oversees the permitting process for LNG exports. That study was funded by the Clean Skies Foundation, a front group for Chesapeake Energy and covered in-depth in the Public Accountability Initiative‘s report titled, Industry Partner or Industry Puppet?
Noticeably absent from the reading list: studies tackling the climate impacts, air quality impacts, over-arching ecological impacts such as water contamination, wastewater impacts and diminishing supply issues.
Together, the two crucial studies on the syllabus reading list—and the lack of critical readings on the topic of fracking—offers a glimpse into the stamp of legitimacy industry-funded studies get when they have the logo of elite research universities on them. It’s also another portrayal of the ascendancy of the corporate university.