The White House has just confirmed what had been reported in Russian media that CIA Director John Brennan was in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev over the weekend.
“Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is accusing the CIA of being behind the new government’s decision to turn to force,” AP reports. “But the CIA denies that Brennan encouraged Ukrainian authorities to conduct tactical operations.”
One would have to be incredibly gullible to believe that the CIA Director was in Kiev for benign reasons, just to catch up and have tea with the new leadership.
The film – which has been three years in the making – identifies the unit conducting CIA strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas as the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron, which operates from a secure compound in a corner of Creech air force base, 45 miles from Las Vegas in the Mojave desert.
Several former drone operators have claimed that the unit’s conventional air force personnel – rather than civilian contractors – have been flying the CIA’s heavily armed Predator missions in Pakistan, a 10-year campaign which according to some estimates has killed more than 2,400 people.
- Pass the Drone Strike Transparency Act
- New bill would force Barack Obama to publish US drone strike casualties
- Can Any Court Hold U.S. Accountable For Killing Americans Overseas with Drone Strikes?
- Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Over Drone Killings of US Citizens
- Killer Drones in a Downward Spiral?
- Ex-Pilot: US operates global drone war from German base
- Delays in Effort to Refocus C.I.A. From Drone War
- Europe Shows Resistance to US Drone Policies
The British government allowed the CIA to run a “black” jail for Al-Qaeda suspects on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, it was claimed last night. The report, based on leaked accounts of a US Senate investigation into the CIA’s kidnap and torture programme after 9/11, contradicts years of British government denials that it allowed the US to use Diego Garcia for its “extraordinary rendition” programme.
The alleged Diego Garcia black site was used to hold some “high-value” detainees and was made with the “full co-operation” of the British government, according to Al Jazeera America, quoting US officials familiar with the Senate report. Last night William Hague was facing demands from international and British lawyers representing victims of the CIA “extraordinary rendition” programme to urgently clarify the new allegations in a letter from Reprieve, the legal charity that represents several rendition victims.
We know a lot about the crimes committed by the U.S. government during the Cold War, but there remain areas of Cold War foreign policy almost completely hidden from the public. One of those dark areas is the U.S. role in the overthrow of a democratically elected government in Brazil in 1964.
Yesterday [April 3rd], the National Security Archive posted transcripts of taped conversations in the Kennedy White House about deposing the Brazilian government. April 1 marked the 50th anniversary of the coup.
A secret package arrived at CIA headquarters in January 1958. Inside were two rolls of film from British intelligence — pictures of the pages of a Russian-language novel titled “Doctor Zhivago.” The book, by poet Boris Pasternak, had been banned from publication in the Soviet Union. The British were suggesting that the CIA get copies of the novel behind the Iron Curtain. The idea immediately gained traction in Washington.
“This book has great propaganda value,” a CIA memo to all branch chiefs of the agency’s Soviet Russia Division stated, “not only for its intrinsic message and thought-provoking nature, but also for the circumstances of its publication: we have the opportunity to make Soviet citizens wonder what is wrong with their government, when a fine literary work by the man acknowledged to be the greatest living Russian writer is not even available in his own country in his own language for his own people to read.”
The memo is one of more than 130 newly declassified CIA documents that detail the agency’s secret involvement in the printing of “Doctor Zhivago” — an audacious plan that helped deliver the book into the hands of Soviet citizens who later passed it friend to friend, allowing it to circulate in Moscow and other cities in the Eastern Bloc. The book’s publication and, later, the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Pasternak triggered one of the great cultural storms of the Cold War.
Foreign governments have long accused the U.S. Agency for International Development of being a front for the CIA or other groups dedicated to their collapse. In the case of Cuba, they appear to have been right. In an eye-opening display of incompetence, the United States covertly launched a social media platform in Cuba in 2010, hoping to create a Twitter-like service that would spark a “Cuban Spring” and potentially help bring about the collapse of the island’s Communist government.
[...] Though better known for administering humanitarian aid around the world, USAID has a long history of engaging in intelligence work and meddling in the domestic politics of aid recipients. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the agency often partnered with the CIA’s now-shuttered Office of Public Safety, a department beset by allegations that it trained foreign police in “terror and torture techniques” and encouraged official brutality, according to a 1976 Government Accountability Office report. USAID officials have always denied these accusations but in 1973, Congress directed USAID to phase out its public safety program — which worked with the CIA to train foreign police forces — in large part because the accusations were hurting America’s public image. “It matters little whether the charges can be substantiated,” said a Senate Foreign Relations Committee report. “They inevitably stigmatize the total United States foreign aid effort.” By the time the program was closed, USAID had helped train thousands of military personnel and police officers in Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and other countries now notorious for their treatment of political dissidents.
Are drone strikes creating more enemies for America than they are killing extremists? That’s the question at the heart of new bipartisan legislation aimed at requiring the executive branch to issue an annual report detailing the combatant and civilian death toll from missile strikes by U.S. unmanned aerial vehicles. Rep. Adam Schiff of California, a top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and Republican Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina, a frequent critic of “war on terrorism” policies, introduced the “Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act.” The goal? Find out who is dying in drone strikes.
…The measure calls for an annual report on the number of combatants and civilians killed or injured in strikes by remotely piloted aircraft. It also aims to require that the administration define what it considers “combatants” and “civilians.” And it seeks a full accounting of casualties over the past five years… The bill would exclude strikes in “theaters of conflict” — which really just means Afghanistan, Schiff said. That’s because singling out drone strikes, as opposed to bombings, raids and firefights, is of “less significance in a war zone than in a third country,” he explained.
- House Bill Seeks Data on Who US Drone Strikes Kill
- Micah Zenko: Reforming U.S. Drone Strike Policies
- U.N. rights forum calls for use of armed drones to comply with law
- UN report calls for independent investigations of drone attacks
- VICE on HBO: Children of the Drones
- Collapse of available bases could push the U.S. to revamp its failed counterterrorism strategy
- UN Report Identifies 30 Drone Strikes That Require ‘Public Explanation’
- Obama’s Broken Promise to Shift Drone War to Defense Department
- Obama’s itchy trigger finger on drone strikes: what happened to due process?
- Robert Fisk: Why is the World Turning a Blind Eye to US Drone Strikes?
- “The CIA Which Should Be A Foreign Intelligence Agency Has Turned Into Paramilitary Killing Organization”
- Michael Ratner: US Drones Reaping Death by Sim Card
- Norman Solomon: If Obama Orders the CIA to Kill a U.S. Citizen, Amazon Will Be a Partner in Assassination
- Medea Benjamin: The Dangerous Seduction of Drones
- Tweaking the Constitution to Make Extrajudicial Killing Easier
- Alberto Gonzales Calls for Limits on Drone Strikes
- Mike Rogers: Drone limits put Americans at risk
- 6 Unanswered Questions About Obama’s Drone War
Who knows, soon we might see headlines and cable TV shows asking: “Is Dianne Feinstein a whistleblower or a traitor?” A truthful answer to that question could not possibly be “whistleblower.” It may already be a historic fact that Senator Feinstein’s speech on March 11, 2014 blew a whistle on CIA surveillance of the Senate intelligence committee, which she chairs. But if that makes her a whistleblower, then Colonel Sanders is a vegetarian evangelist.
In her blockbuster Tuesday speech on the Senate floor, Feinstein charged that the CIA’s intrusions on her committee’s computers quite possibly “violated the Fourth Amendment.” You know, that’s the precious amendment that Feinstein — more than any other senator — has powerfully treated like dirt, worthy only of sweeping under the congressional rug. A tidy defender of the NSA’s Orwellian programs, Feinstein went on the attack against Edward Snowden from the outset of his revelations last June. Within days, she denounced his brave whistleblowing as “an act of treason” — a position she has maintained.
Snowden and other genuine whistleblowers actually take risks to defend the civil liberties and human rights of others, including the most vulnerable among us. Real whistleblowers choose to expose serious wrongdoing. And, if applicable, they renounce their own past complicity in doing those wrongs. Dianne Feinstein remains in a very different place. She’s 180 degrees from a whistleblower orientation; her moral compass is magnetized with solipsism as a leading guardian of the surveillance state.
- Senator Feinstein Takes CIA Spying Accusation to Senate Floor: Interview with William Binney
- Why Won’t Senator Feinstein Call Torture Torture?
- Surveillance-Defending Senator Slams Surveillance of Senate
- Snowden accuses Senate intelligence chair of hypocrisy over CIA disclosures
- CIA steals the limelight from the NSA – and finds itself in full-blown crisis
- Jesse Ventura Interviewed on CIA vs. Senate Scandal
- Did the CIA Chief Just Dare Obama to Fire Him?
- Graham: ‘The Legislative Branch Should Declare War On The CIA’
‘The CIA have proven themselves over and over again to be able to come up with some utterly terrifying ideas and programmes. Whether it involves the overthrow of democratically elected governments, drugs, murder and assassination attempts, experimenting on people without their knowledge using biological and chemical agents. The list is virtually endless. There are so many options that whittling it down to just five was quite tricky, but here’s our take on the five most terrifying CIA operations ever, including (in no particular order): MKUltra, PBSUCCESS, Operation CHAOS, the Phoenix Programme and Operation Northwoods.’ (Truthloader)
The Central Intelligence Agency is under investigation for allegedly spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee, panel Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein confirmed Wednesday. The CIA is prohibited from spying on Americans, and spying on members of Congress and their staff would raise particular concerns about the separation of powers. Congress created the House and Senate Intelligence committees in the 1970s to oversee the CIA, the National Security Agency, and other spy agencies after uncovering a slew of spying abuses.
The CIA’s internal watchdog, its inspector general, is reviewing whether CIA agents hacked into the computers of Senate staffers who were involved in producing a report critical of the agency’s now-defunct detention and interrogation program, The New York Times reported Wednesday. According to McClatchy, the inspector general’s office has asked the Justice Department to investigate the case. The committee worked on the 6,300-page interrogation report for years. The report, which remains classified, concluded that brutal interrogation techniques produced little valuable intelligence. Last June, the CIA responded with its own 122-page report challenging particular facts and the conclusion of the Senate’s document. Ending the interrogation program was one of President Obama’s first acts in office.
Sen. Mark Udall, a Colorado Democrat and member of the Intelligence panel, wrote a letter to Obama on Tuesday, urging him to support declassification of the full report. Udall referred vaguely to the CIA’s alleged spying on the committee. “As you are aware, the CIA has recently taken unprecedented action against the Committee in relation to the internal CIAreview, and I find these actions to be incredibly troubling for the Committee’s oversight responsibilities and for our democracy,” Udall wrote. “It is essential that the Committee be able to do its oversight work—consistent with our constitutional principle of the separation of powers—without the CIA posing impediments or obstacles as it is today.”
The provincial government in Pakistan’s northwest state of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has said it has ended a more than three-month blockade of a NATO supply route to Afghanistan over contentious US drone strikes in the country, citing change in policy, Aljazeera reported. Until Thursday, the Tehreek-e-Insaf party, led by cricketer turned politician Imran Khan, had been blocking the route to pressure Washington to end drone attacks targeting armed groups in the region bordering Afghanistan. Khan himself has led these protests and has been a vocal critic of drone attacks in Pakistan.
In a statement, Khan’s party said it ended the protest after seeing a change in the US drone policy. Their decision also comes days after a Pakistani court ordered authorities to end the blockade of transit goods into landlocked Afghanistan. The party’s top leadership also “felt that the pressure of the blockade had already resulted in a shift in the Obama administration’s drone policy and as a result drones had been stopped for the present”, the statement read. It also said it ended the protest to respect the court order.
Party official Fiaz Ahmad Khalil said the blockade lasted 97 days. “We are happy that the American government has stopped drone attacks, and we are also positively responding by ending our protest,” Khalil said. Khan’s party launched the blockade after a US drone strike in November killed Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban.
- Pakistan: US Won’t Let Us Finish Iran Gas Pipeline
- US Claims to Curb Drone Strikes at Pakistan’s Behest
- Former Pakistani general says US seeks to ruin his country
- Robert Fisk: The world cannot turn a blind eye to America’s drone attacks in Pakistan
- Former military ruler Musharraf in court for treason trial
- Musharraf admits to have accepted ‘some’ US conditions after 9/11
- US-desired operation’ to be against country’s interests, says Imran
On Friday, Feb 14, 92 prisoners escaped from their prison in the Libyan town of Zliten. 19 of them were eventually recaptured, two of whom were wounded in clashes with the guards. It was just another daily episode highlighting the utter chaos which has engulfed Libya since the overthrow of Muammar Ghaddafi in 2011.
Much of this is often reported with cliché explanations as in the country’s ‘security vacuum’, or Libya’s lack of a true national identity. Indeed, tribe and region seem to supersede any other affiliation, but it is hardly that simple.
On that same Friday, Feb 14, Maj. Gen. Khalifa Hifter announced a coup in Libya. “The national command of the Libyan Army is declaring a movement for a new road map” (to rescue the country), Hifter declared through a video post. Oddly enough, little followed by way of a major military deployment in any part of the country. The country’s Prime Minister Ali Zeidan described the attempted coup as “ridiculous”.
Others in the military called it a “lie.” One of those who attended a meeting with Hifter prior to the announcement told Al Jazeera that they simply attempted to enforce the national agenda of bringing order, not staging a coup.
- Edward S. Herman: NATO’s war on Libya
- Obama Order: Libya an ‘Extraordinary Threat’ to US Foreign Policy
- Is General Khalifa Hifter The CIA’s Man In Libya?
- Libyan PM announces ‘compromise’ after militia ultimatum
- Militias’ ultimatum heightens Libya tensions
- Disillusionment in Libya Over Vote on Charter Assembly
- Libya to compensate women raped during 2011 uprising
- NOC: Libya’s oil output falls to 390,000 bpd due to protests in west
- Libya MPs ‘agree on early elections’
- Niger extradites ex-Gadhafi official to Libya
The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of U.S. military veteran and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern against John Kerry, in his capacity as the Secretary of State, and against officers at George Washington University.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia three years to the date of Mr. McGovern’s brutal and false arrest at GWU during a speech of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. After the arrest, the PCJF uncovered that then 71-year-old McGovern was put on a “Be On the Look-Out” list, and agents were instructed to stop and question him on sight. The reasons cited included his “political activism, primarily anti-war” — a clearly unconstitutional order.
Getting information on the intelligence spending habits of the United States has been virtually impossible over the years, with only a single dollar figure of all spending everywhere released publicly, usually in the $70-$75 billion range.
But there are 16 distinct civilian spy agencies in the United States, and then there’s military intelligence spending on top of that. Yet when Congress gets the bill and is asked to approve the spending, it just gets the one number lumping everything together.
In fact, the only look they’ve ever really gotten at how that money is divvied up is a leak from Edward Snowden, which showed a handful of the top-line figures for individual agencies. Many in Congress say that’s not good enough.
A group in the House of Representatives led by Reps. Peter Welch (D – VT) and Cynthia Lummis (R – WY) are pushing a new bill that would require individual dollar values for each of the 16 civilian spy agencies. The White House has yet to comment on the matter, but the fact that they have refused to provide such data when asked suggests they’ll also be opposed to being forced to hand it over.
The United States used former Nazi doctors to develop interrogation techniques — including some that used hallucinogens like LSD — during the Cold War, according to a new book by investigative journalist Annie Jacobsen. “Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America,” published Tuesday, documents a top secret intelligence and military program run with the help of prominent Nazi scientists and doctors, including Nazi Germany’s surgeon general.
“The CIA teamed up with Army, Air Force and Naval Intelligence to run one of the most nefarious, classified, enhanced interrogation programs of the Cold War,” Jacobsen wrote, in an excerpt posted on the Daily Beast. “The work took place inside a clandestine facility in the American zone of occupied Germany, called Camp King. The facility’s chief medical doctor was Operation Paperclip’s Dr. Walter Schreiber, the former Surgeon General of the Third Reich… The activities that went on at Camp King between 1946 and the late 1950s have never been fully accounted for by either the Department of Defense or the CIA.”
Back in 2012, the ACLU of Massachusetts published a report called ‘Policing Dissent’, exposing the Boston Police Department’s ‘red squad’ surveillance operations, directed at antiwar and economic justice organizers. Among the documents we obtained through a public records lawsuit were so-called ‘intelligence reports’ from the Boston police fusion center, the Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC). These documents shocked the public. In files labeled “HOMESEC-DOMESTIC”, “GROUPS-CIVIL DISTURBANCE”, and “GROUPS-EXTREMISTS”, detectives described the entirely peaceful activities of groups and individuals ranging from Veterans for Peace and CodePink to Howard Zinn and a former city council member.
While the BPD files didn’t explicitly call these non-violent activists ‘terrorists’, detectives working at a so-called ‘counterterrorism fusion center’ came about as close as they could get to doing so without spelling out the T word in black and white. But it’s no secret that other law enforcement agencies jumped that shark long ago. In recent years, undercover informants have infiltrated antiwar movements targeted as “domestic terrorists”. While the past decade’s terror wars have given local, state, and federal law enforcement seemingly endless funds to pursue activists simply for challenging government policy, the US government’s conflation of peaceful dissent with terrorism has a long history in the United States, dating back at least to the 1970s.
It was sad last week to wake up to news of the passing of former New York Democratic congressman Otis G. Pike. During the fierce debates of 1975, known as the “Year of Intelligence” (because the controversies of the day led to the first significant investigations of the actions of U.S. intelligence agencies) Representative Pike held to a steady course in the face of a concerted effort by the Ford administration — and the CIA, NSA, and FBI of the day — to head off any public inquiry. Sound familiar?
Like the current controversy, ignited by leaks from NSA contract employee Edward Snowden, the Year of Intelligence began with revelations of U.S. intelligence spying on American citizens revealed by investigative reporting by journalist Seymour Hersh and published in the New York Times. Mr. Pike headed the committee of inquiry the House of Representatives established to explore intelligence activities. In contrast to the deferential chiefs of congressional intelligence committees today — Senator Diane Feinstein and Representative Mike Rogers — Pike was in nobody’s pocket and he persevered to the end.
Saudi Arabia has long been a backroom player in the Middle East’s nuclear game of thrones, apparently content to bankroll the ambitions of Pakistan and Iraq (under Saddam Hussein) to counter the rise of its mortal enemy, Iran. But as the West and Iran have moved closer to a nuclear accommodation, signs are emerging that the monarchy is ready to give the world a peek at a new missile strike force of its own – which has been upgraded with Washington’s careful connivance.
According to a well-placed intelligence source, Saudi Arabia bought ballistic missiles from China in 2007 in a hitherto unreported deal that won Washington’s quiet approval on the condition that CIA technical experts could verify they were not designed to carry nuclear warheads. The solid-fueled, medium-range DF-21 East Wind missiles are an improvement over the DF-3s the Saudis clandestinely acquired from China in 1988, experts say, although they differ on how much of an upgrade they were.
Imagine a documentary film about the Holocaust which makes no mention of Nazi Germany.
Imagine a documentary film about the 1965-66 slaughter of as many as a million “communists” in Indonesia which makes no mention of the key role in the killing played by the United States.
But there’s no need to imagine it. It’s been made, and was released this past summer. It’s called “The Act of Killing”and makes no mention of the American role. Two articles in the Washington Post about the film made no such mention either. The Indonesian massacre, along with the jailing without trial of about a million others and the widespread use of torture and rape, ranks as one of the great crimes of the twentieth century and is certainly well known amongst those with at least a modest interest in modern history.
Here’s an email I sent to the Washington Post writer who reviewed the film:
“The fact that you can write about this historical event and not mention a word about the US government role is a sad commentary on your intellect and social conscience. If the film itself omits any serious mention of the US role, that is a condemnation of the filmmaker, and of you for not pointing this out. So the ignorance and brainwashing of the American people about their country’s foreign policy (i.e., holocaust) continues decade after decade, thanks to media people like Mr. Oppenheimer [one of the filmmakers] and yourself.”
The Post reviewer, rather than being offended by my intemperate language, was actually taken with what I said and she asked me to send her an article outlining the US role in Indonesia, which she would try to get published in thePost as an op-ed. I did so and she wrote me that she very much appreciated what I had sent her. But – as I was pretty sure would happen – the Post did not print what I wrote. So this incident may have had the sole saving grace of enlightening a Washington Post writer about the journalistic standards and politics of her own newspaper.
And now, just out, we have the film “Long Walk to Freedom” based on Nelson Mandela’s 1994 autobiography of the same name. The heroic Mandela spent close to 28 years in prison at the hands of the apartheid South African government. His arrest and imprisonment were the direct result of a CIA operation. But the film makes no mention of the role played by the CIA or any other agency of the United States.
In fairness to the makers of the film, Mandela himself, in his book, declined to accuse the CIA for his imprisonment, writing: “The story has never been confirmed and I have never seen any reliable evidence as to the truth of it.”
Well, Mr. Mandela and the filmmaker should read what I wrote and documented on the subject some years after Mandela’s book came out, in my own book: Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower (2000). It’s not quite a “smoking gun”, but I think it convinces almost all readers that what happened in South Africa in 1962 was another of the CIA operations we’ve all come to know and love. And almost all my sources were available to Mandela at the time he wrote his autobiography. There has been speculation about what finally led to Mandela’s release from prison; perhaps a deal was made concerning his post-prison behavior.
From a purely educational point of view, seeing films such as the two discussed here may well be worse than not exposing your mind at all to any pop culture treatment of American history or foreign policy.
A little more than three years ago, Congress passed a law ordering the nation’s top intelligence agencies to review their classification procedures. Those reports on government secrecy are finished — but they won’t be released for public consumption just yet.
The National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency have all rebuffed HuffPost’s requests for copies of the reports on over-classification, or withholding documents from the public with no compelling or legal reason to do so. None of these reports, produced by the agencies’ inspectors general, are themselves technically classified, but they have been marked “for official use only,” which means they can only be released to the public after a review process.
The NSA said its report is “not available for public release” and told HuffPost to submit a public records request. The CIA refused to respond on the record to HuffPost’s request for its report, but a spokesman did say that its review had found no instances of over-classification. The lesser-known DIA provided more detail; according to a spokesman, the agency’s report found that its personnel “often misclassify, and typically that means over-classify, information.”
[...] The latest polling data shows that some 47% of Britons “would not be happy for a gas well site using fracking to open within 10 miles of their home,” with just 14% saying they would be happy. By implication, the government views nearly half of the British public as potential extremists merely for being sceptical of shale gas.
This illustrates precisely why the trend-line of mass surveillance exemplified in the Snowden disclosures has escalated across the Western world. From North America to Europe, the twin spectres of “terrorism” and “extremism” are being disingenuously deployed by an ever more centralised nexus of corporate, state and intelligence power, to suppress widening public opposition to that very process of unaccountable centralisation.
But then, what’s new? Back in 1975, the Trilateral Commission - a network of some 300 American, European and Japanese elites drawn from business, banking, government, academia and media founded by Chase Manhattan Bank chairman David Rockerfeller – published an influential study called The Crisis of Democracy.
The report concluded that the problems of governance “stem from an excess of democracy” which makes government “less powerful and more active” due to being “overloaded with participants and demands.”
This democratic excess at the time consisted of:
“… a marked upswing in other forms of citizen participation, in the form of marches, demonstrations, protest movements, and ’cause’ organizations… [including] markedly higher levels of self-consciousness on the part of blacks, Indians, Chicanos, white ethnic groups, students, and women… [and] a general challenge to existing systems of authority, public and private… People no longer felt the same compulsion to obey those whom they had previously considered superior to themselves in age, rank, status, expertise, character, or talents.”
The solution, therefore, is “to restore the prestige and authority of central government institutions,” including “hegemonic power” in the world. This requires the government to somehow “reinforce tendencies towards political passivity” and to instill “a greater degree of moderation in democracy.” This is because:
“… the effective operation of a democratic political system usually requires some measure of apathy and noninvolvement on the part of some individuals and groups… In itself, this marginality on the part of some groups is inherently undemocratic, but it has also been one of the factors which has enabled democracy to function effectively.”
Today, such official sentiments live on in the form of covert psychological operations targeted against Western publics by the CIA, Pentagon and MI6, invariably designed to exaggerate threats to manipulate public opinion in favour of government policy.
Even though present-day Afghanistan flies under the news radar, it remains to be the longest military quagmire in US history. Aside from troops still occupying the country, thousands of private contractors are on the ground that the Pentagon can’t even account for. Considering how Obama’s foreign policy strategy has been to replace ground troops with drone strikes, the administration’s logic behind continuing the occupation remains unclear.
War has always been about resources and control. Alongside the supposed surprise discovery of Afghanistan’s $1 trillion wealth of untapped minerals, the Taliban had successfully eradicated the opium crop in the Golden Crescent before the US invasion. Now, more than 90% of the world’s heroin comes from the war torn country.
As reported by Global Research:
“Immediately following the October 2001 invasion, opium markets were restored…By early 2002, the opium price (in dollars/kg) was almost 10 times higher than in 2000. In 2001, under the Taliban opiate production stood at 185 tons, increasing to 3400 tons in 2002 under the US sponsored puppet regime of President Hamid Karzai.”
After more than twelve years of military occupation, Afghanistan’s opium trade isn’t just sustaining, it’s thriving more than ever before. According to a recent report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, 2013 saw opium production surge to record highs:
“The harvest this May resulted in 5,500 metric tons of opium, 49 percent higher than last year and more than the combined output of the rest of the world.”
Wow, that’s a lot of opium – and a lot of money being made. So… who is reaping the spoils?
Fifty years ago, exactly one month after John Kennedy was killed, the Washington Post published an op-ed titled “Limit CIA Role to Intelligence.” The first sentence of that op-ed on Dec. 22, 1963, read, “I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency.”
It sounded like the intro to a bleat from some liberal professor or journalist. Not so. The writer was former President Harry S. Truman, who spearheaded the establishment of the CIA 66 years ago, right after World War II, to better coordinate U.S. intelligence gathering. But the spy agency had lurched off in what Truman thought were troubling directions.
Sadly, those concerns that Truman expressed in that op-ed — that he had inadvertently helped create a Frankenstein monster — are as valid today as they were 50 years ago, if not more so.
Truman began his article by underscoring “the original reason why I thought it necessary to organize this Agency … and what I expected it to do.” It would be “charged with the collection of all intelligence reports from every available source, and to have those reports reach me as President without Department ‘treatment’ or interpretations.”
Truman then moved quickly to one of the main things bothering him. He wrote “the most important thing was to guard against the chance of intelligence being used to influence or to lead the President into unwise decisions.”
It was not difficult to see this as a reference to how one of the agency’s early directors, Allen Dulles, tried to trick President Kennedy into sending U.S. forces to rescue the group of invaders who had landed on the beach at the Bay of Pigs, Cuba, in April 1961 with no chance of success, absent the speedy commitment of U.S. air and ground support.
On Wednesday the Environmental Protection Agency’s highest-paid employee and a leading expert on climate change will be sentenced after pleading guilty in September to pretending to be a CIA spy working in Pakistan, Michael Isikoff of NBC New reports.
Prosecutors argue that John C. Beale, who defrauded the U.S. government out of nearly $900,000 since 2000, committed a “crime of massive proportion” and deserves to go to prison for at least 30 months.
The Obama administration on Thursday fought to keep secret a CIA account of the 1961 Bay of Pigs debacle.
Half a century after the failed invasion of Cuba, and three decades after a CIA historian completed his draft study, an administration lawyer told a top appellate court that the time still isn’t right to make the document public.
“The passage of time has not made it releasable,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mitchell P. Zeff told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
But in this latest battle over government secrecy and the lessons of history, judges Thursday sounded a tad skeptical about the Obama administration’s sweeping claims. At the least, judges on what is sometimes called the nation’s second most-powerful court suggested there could be a limit to how long government documents remain locked away.
The former CIA director Leon Panetta revealed secret information to the scriptwriter of Zero Dark Thirty, Mark Boal, when he gave a speech at the agency’s headquarters marking the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, according to newly declassified documents.
Judicial Watch filed a request for the 200 pages of documents which the CIA has now released. The files concerned the internal investigation of its role in the acclaimed film about the capture of Bin Laden.
“I had no idea that individual was in the audience,” Mr Panetta said in a statement. “To this day, I wouldn’t know him if he walked into the room.”
The CIA has recently declassified the September-December 1951 Director’s Logs for CIA director General Walter Bedell Smith. The several hundred pages of General Smith’s daily diary logs are replete with interesting goodies about the type of CIA clandestine intelligence gathering and covert action operations that the agency’s National Clandestine Service has traditionally refused to declassify.
A review of these declassified Director’s Logs revealed several instances of cases where CIA operatives, or agents employed by the CIA’s former covert action arm, the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC), engaged in secret sabotage operations, including one instance where Chinese guerrillas in the employ of the OPC blew up a oil refinery in the former Portuguese colony of Macau on December 1, 1951. It can be deduced from context that the CIA believed that his refinery was supplying petroleum and petrochemical products to the People’s Republic of China, which was then actively engaged in combat with U.S. and U.N. troops in Korea.
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.