Category Archives: CIA

The NSA’s New Partner in Spying: Saudi Arabia’s Brutal State Police

Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain wrtie for The Intercept:

Featured photo - The NSA’s New Partner in Spying: Saudi Arabia’s Brutal State Police‘The National Security Agency last year significantly expanded its cooperative relationship with the Saudi Ministry of Interior, one of the world’s most repressive and abusive government agencies. An April 2013 top secret memo provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden details the agency’s plans “to provide direct analytic and technical support” to the Saudis on “internal security” matters.

The Saudi Ministry of Interior—referred to in the document as MOI— has been condemned for years as one of the most brutal human rights violators in the world. In 2013, the U.S. State Department reported that “Ministry of Interior officials sometimes subjected prisoners and detainees to torture and other physical abuse,” specifically mentioning a 2011 episode in which MOI agents allegedly “poured an antiseptic cleaning liquid down [the] throat” of one human rights activist. The report also notes the MOI’s use of invasive surveillance targeted at political and religious dissidents.

But as the State Department publicly catalogued those very abuses, the NSA worked to provide increased surveillance assistance to the ministry that perpetrated them. The move is part of the Obama Administration’s increasingly close ties with the Saudi regime; beyond the new cooperation with the MOI, the memo describes “a period of rejuvenation” for the NSA’s relationship with the Saudi Ministry of Defense.’

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European Court of Human Rights Holds Poland Responsible for Allowing CIA Torture & Rendition

Kevin Gosztola writes for Firedoglake:

‘The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Poland had violated the United Nations Convention Against Torture when it allowed the CIA to torture and abuse prisoners on its territory. It also ruled that the country had violated the Convention by allowing the CIA to transfer prisoners, even though they would likely be subject to undisclosed detention. And the court ruled that Poland had violated the Convention by transferring prisoners to a country where they had a real risk of facing a “flagrant denial of justice.”

The complaints of violations of the torture convention came from Abu Zubaydah [PDF] and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri [PDF]. Poland was ordered to pay 130,000 euros to Zubaydah and $100,000 to Nashiri for “enabling US authorities” to subject the two men to torture and ill-treatment. ECHR also sought to hold the country accountable for its “failure to carry out an effective investigation,” a violation of the torture convention as well. The Polish government has not decided whether it would like to appeal. Throughout the ECHR proceedings, the government consistently refused to constructively participate and provide information that would help the court make a fair ruling.’

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The Top 4 Most Mind-Blowing CIA Operations You’ve Never Heard Of

Abby Martin goes over a few of the most outrageous CIA operations around the world, such as the agency’s efforts to destabilized Latin America through a series of coups and assassinations and even an attempted character assassination through a CIA producer porno film.’ (Breaking the Set)

CIA employee’s quest to release information ‘destroyed my entire career’

Greg Millter reports for The Washington Post:

‘His CIA career included assignments in Africa, Afghanistan and Iraq, but the most perilous posting for Jeffrey Scudder turned out to be a two-year stint in a sleepy office that looks after the agency’s historical files. It was there that Scudder discovered a stack of articles, hundreds of histories of long-dormant conflicts and operations that he concluded were still being stored in secret years after they should have been shared with the public.

To get them released, Scudder submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act — a step that any citizen can take, but one that is highly unusual for a CIA employee. Four years later, the CIA has released some of those articles and withheld others. It also has forced Scudder out. His request set in motion a harrowing sequence. He was confronted by supervisors and accused of mishandling classified information while assembling his FOIA request. His house was raided by the FBI and his family’s computers seized. Stripped of his job and his security clearance, Scudder said he agreed to retire last year after being told that if he refused, he risked losing much of his pension.’

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The Lies that Lead to War (and the Complicity of the Media): Interview with Charles Lewis

‘As the exploding crisis in Iraq spotlights once again the tragic record of American policy in the Middle East, Bill speaks with investigative journalist Charles Lewis, whose new book, “935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity details the many government falsehoods that have led us into the current nightmare. Lewis details the deceptions and illusions that have caused “most Americans and their elected representatives to completely ignore facts, logic and reason in the rush to war.” A complicit partner, he says, is a media intent on preserving the status quo and never offending the ruling elite.

Lewis tells Bill, “An outrageous thing happened. We lost $2 trillion. More than 100,000 people died. Folks are going to be maimed for life in the tens of thousands… And no one has ever acknowledged that this was a war on a lark. It was a complete war of choice, because a certain little faction wanted to do it and they orchestrated it… Did they make statements that weren’t true? The answer is yes.” This week’s show begins with an essay by Bill on the foresight of the legendary Lawrence of Arabia, who, after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, predicted the trap in which the West would fall attempting to interfere in the Middle East.’ (Bill Moyers)

CIA Let Iraq Spy Network Degrade After Occupation Ended

Jason Ditz writes for Antiwar:

Officials familiar with the situation are faulting the CIA’s lack of intelligence on Iraq in the lead-up to the ISIS offensive, saying the agency let most of its huge spy network rot on the vine after the occupation ended. With no ground troops to back them up, the large CIA presence in Iraq mostly wound up hanging out in the Baghdad embassy, reluctant to go anywhere without protection.

The CIA defended its spy network, insisting anyone who was really familiar with the intelligence the CIA had produced on Iraq wouldn’t have been surprised by what ISIS had done. Other officials, keen to shift the blame overseas, are faulting Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki, saying he had compromised a number of CIA spies over the years. They implied Iran had something to do with this.’

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Ex-CIA spy: The open source revolution is coming and it will conquer the 1%

Nafeez Ahmed writes for The Guardian:

Robert David Steele‘Robert David Steele, former Marine, CIA case officer, and US co-founder of the US Marine Corps intelligence activity, is a man on a mission. But it’s a mission that frightens the US intelligence establishment to its core. With 18 years experience working across the US intelligence community, followed by 20 more years in commercial intelligence and training, Steele’s exemplary career has spanned almost all areas of both the clandestine world.  Steele started off as a Marine Corps infantry and intelligence officer. After four years on active duty, he joined the CIA for about a decade before co-founding the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity, where he was deputy director. Widely recognised as the leader of the Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) paradigm, Steele went on to write the handbooks on OSINT for NATO, the US Defense Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Special Operations Forces. In passing, he personally trained 7,500 officers from over 66 countries.

In 1992, despite opposition from the CIA, he obtained Marine Corps permission to organise a landmark international conference on open source intelligence – the paradigm of deriving information to support policy decisions not through secret activities, but from open public sources available to all. The conference was such a success it brought in over 620 attendees from the intelligence world. But the CIA wasn’t happy, and ensured that Steele was prohibited from running a second conference. The clash prompted him to resign from his position as second-ranking civilian in Marine Corps intelligence, and pursue the open source paradigm elsewhere. He went on to found and head up the Open Source Solutions Network Inc. and later the non-profit Earth Intelligence Network which runs the Public Intelligence Blog.’

READ MORE @ THE GUARDIAN…

MPs demand control over CIA activity on British territory of Diego Garcia

Richard Norton-Taylor reports for The Guardian:

US bomber plane on Diego Garcia‘The US must not be allowed again to use Diego Garcia, Britain’s territory in the Indian Ocean, to transfer terror suspects, for combat operations, “or any other politically sensitive activity”, without the explicit authority of the British government, a cross-party group of MPs insists. Information about the extent to which the CIA used the island as a “black site” to transfer detainees is still being withheld, it suggests.

Inhabitants of Diego Garcia were forcibly removed by the Labour government in the 1960s to make way for a large US military base. The island has been used as a bomber base for air strikes against Iraq and Afghanistan. More controversially, it was secretly used as a refuelling transit stop for CIA aircraft rendering detainees to Guantánamo Bay. In 2008, the Labour government was forced to retract assurances it had previously given to MPs about the CIA’s use of the base. In its report on Thursday,, the Commons foreign affairs committee refers to a classified US Congress investigation that suggests the British government is still withholding information about the full extent of the CIA’s use of Diego Garcia.’

READ MORE @ THE GUARDIAN…

Drones: 10 Years of Judge Jury & Execution by Robot

Abby Martin reports on the 10th anniversary of the CIA’s first drone strikes in Pakistan, looking over Breaking the Set’s coverage of drone strikes since the beginning of show first aired.’ (Breaking the Set)

Report: CIA rendition jet was waiting in Europe to snatch Snowden

Duncan Campbell writes for The Register:

‘As the whistleblowing NSA sysadmin Edward Snowden made his dramatic escape to Russia a year ago, a secret US government jet – previously employed in CIA “rendition” flights on which terror suspects disappeared into invisible “black” imprisonment – flew into Europe in a bid to spirit him back to America, the Register can reveal.

On the evening of 24 June 2013, as Snowden arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong intending to fly on to Cuba, an unmarked Gulfstream V business jet – tail number N977GA – took off from a quiet commercial airport 30 miles from Washington DC. Manassas Regional Airport discreetly offers its clients “the personal accommodations and amenities you can’t find at commercial airports”.

Early next morning, N977GA was detected heading east over Scotland at the unusually high altitude of 45,000 feet. It had not filed a flight plan, and was flying above the level at which air traffic control reporting is mandatory. “The plane showed up on our system at 5:20 on 25 June,” according to our source, a member of an internet aircraft-tracking network run by enthusiasts in the UK. “We knew the reputation of this aircraft and what it had done in the past.”‘

READ MORE @ THE REGISTER…

The CIA’s cute first tweet can’t cover its bloody tracks

Owen Jones writes for The Guardian:

CIA HEADQUARTERS IN LANGLEY, VIRGINIA‘[...] Of course, the CIA is far from alone in trying to lighten up its image: PR offensives are all the rage among tyrants, too. Are you a bloodstained despot who wants to polish your sullied reputation? Your first port of call is surely Bell Pottinger, run by Thatcher’s publicity guru, Lord Bell. The dictatorships of Bahrain and Belarus, the Syrian dictator’s wife, Pinochet himself – all have had their reputations spruced up by the firm. Its services include cleaning up those embarrassing Wikipedia articles and Google search results. Kazakhstan’s pro-western dictator, Nursultan Nazarbayev – who locks up dissidents and massacres striking oil workers – is a pro at PR campaigns, hiring Tony Blair at vast expense. The Burmese junta hasn’t hired Blair, but its “new Burma” rebrand is very New Labour. Equatorial Guinea’s dictator ropes in Hollywood stars, pop stars and other celebs to distract from torture, arbitrary detention and execution.

The CIA might try and LOL away its record, but given the world is still dealing with the consequences of its many disastrous postwar interventions, it shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it. “Terrorism” is normally used when referring to acts of violence committed by non-white people hostile to the west. But if we’re understanding the term to mean acts of terror committed for political ends, then the CIA is surely the greatest terrorist organisation on earth.’

READ MORE @ THE GUARDIAN…

After bin Laden backlash, CIA promises: No more fake vaccination campaigns

Oliver Knox reports for Yahoo! News:

‘Amid a deadly backlash again vaccinations and a resurgence of polio in Pakistan, the White House has promised that the CIA will never again use an immunization campaign as a tool of spycraft. “I wanted to inform you that the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) directed in August 2013 that the agency make no operational use of vaccination programs, which includes vaccination workers,” President Obama’s top counterterrorism and homeland security advisor, Lisa Monaco, wrote to the deans of 12 public health schools.

“Similarly, the Agency will not seek to obtain or exploit DNA or other genetic material acquired through such programs,” Monaco wrote. “This CIA policy applies worldwide and to U.S. and non-U.S. persons alike.” The Central Intelligence Agency had enlisted a Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi, to collect intelligence under the guise of an immunization effort in the city of Abbottabad as part of planning for the high-risk May 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound there.’

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Court: No Matter How Long Ago It Happened, CIA Can Keep Final Volume of Bay of Pigs History Secret

Kevin Gosztola writes for Firedoglake:

‘A federal appeals court has ruled against the release of the final volume of CIA history of the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba. It decided the agency could keep it secret under an exemption in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that is supposed to protect inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters from being subject to release. Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who was appointed by President George W. Bush and played a lead role in drafting the “Starr Report” urging impeachment of President Bill Clinton, wrote the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit’s opinion [PDF].

“The CIA here invokes the deliberative process privilege,” Kavanaugh writes. “A form of executive privilege, the deliberative process privilege covers deliberative, pre-decisional communications within the Executive Branch. One of the rationales for the privilege is to encourage the candid and frank exchange of ideas in the agency’s decision-making process.” Kavanaugh adds, “We have held that a draft of an agency’s official history is pre-decisional and deliberative, and thus protected under the deliberative process privilege.”

But there are a few critical questions to ask in response to this decision: What exactly is the CIA keeping concealed? Why have the other volumes of draft history been released by the agency with a few redactions? Is this even a reasonable interpretation of the law?’

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Former top Iranian terrorist living under CIA protection in U.S., new book claims

Jeff Stein writes for Newsweek:

‘The senior former Iranian intelligence officer who quarterbacked the 1983 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut and killed scores of Americans was recently living under CIA protection in the United States, a book being published Tuesday says. Ali Reza Asgari was given asylum by the George W. Bush administration in 2007 after he defected in Turkey, according to The Good Spy, a biography of Robert Ames, a legendary CIA officer who was among those killed in the embassy bombing. In all, 63 people died, 17 of them Americans, including seven other CIA officers. Ames, who had been the agency’s Beirut station chief, was visiting the embassy as the CIA’s top Middle East analyst.

Asgari, a top commander of Iran’s shadowy Revolutionary Guards force in Lebanon, “remains in the United States, probably living under a CIA agent-protection program,” according to the book’s author, Kai Bird, who a shared Pulitzer Prize for biography in 2006 for his book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer. The CIA did not respond to Newsweek’s request for comment over the weekend, but on Monday evening flatly denied it had aided and abetted Asgari’s defection and resettlement.’

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Is the U.S. behind ‘rogue’ general’s Libya coup?

Jason Ditz writes for Antiwar:

‘On May 14, the US Marines announced the deployment of 200 marines to Sicily, in southern Italy, as a “crisis response” force for Libya. They did so at the behest of the US State Department, who at the time insisted there was no specific threat, nor any imminent plan to evacuate the embassy in Tripoli.

Just four days later, General Khalifa Hifter and his self-proclaimed Libyan National Army attacked Tripoli, took over parliament, and announced his intention to “purge” the nation of Islamists, starting with the parliamentarians themselves.

It’s Gen. Hifter’s second attempted coup this year, and seems to be going quite a bit better than the February fiasco, which began with statements announcing his takeover, and never really expanded much beyond that. The timing of the marine deployment suggests this latest move did not come as a major surprise to the administration, but Hifter’s US connections may run much deeper.’

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Beware of aid agencies bearing gifts

Linda S.Heard writes for Gulf News:

‘There is no such thing as a free lunch as states that are recipients of western aid understand only too well. The naive may believe that foreign aid is a tool to help developing countries; sceptics are convinced it’s a quid pro quo enabling wealthy powers to exercise geopolitical policy objectives. In a documentary, filmmaker John Pilger made the case that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are “The New Rulers of the World” on behalf of their largest donor countries — the US, the UK, Germany, France and Japan. But some less powerful nations are alleging that one agency — the US Agency for International Development (USAID) — is acting as a front for the CIA.

When the Bolivian President Evo Morales expelled and shutdown USAID in his country last year for alleged attempts to undermine his leftist government, he wasn’t being paranoid after all. As a recent expose by the Associated Press shows USAID’s so-called “democracy promotion programmes” are designed to foment dissent against governments unfriendly to Washington. “In a number of countries, including Venezuela and Bolivia, USAID is acting more as an agency involved in covert action, like the CIA, than as an aid or development agency,” asserted Mark Weisbrot, an economist with a Washington-based think tank, the Centre for Economic and Policy Research.’

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Did CIA’s Fake Polio Vaccination Program in Pakistan Help Fuel a Global Health Emergency?

‘The World Health Organization has designated the spread of polio in Asia, Africa and the Middle East a global public health emergency requiring a coordinated “international response.” Three countries pose the greatest risk of further spreading the paralyzing virus: Pakistan, Cameroon and Syria. In an unusual step, the W.H.O. recommended all residents of those countries, of all ages, to be vaccinated before traveling abroad. The organization also said another seven countries — Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Nigeria and Somalia — should “encourage” all their would-be travelers to get vaccinated. Until recently, polio had been nearly eradicated thanks to a 25-year campaign that vaccinated billions of children. In Pakistan, the increase in polio is being linked to a secret CIA ploy used in the hunt for Osama bin Laden. With the help of a Pakistani doctor, the CIA set up a fake vaccination campaign in the city of Abbottabad in an effort to get DNA from the bin Laden family. The Taliban subsequently announced a ban on immunization efforts and launched a string of deadly attacks on medical workers. We are joined by two guests: Rafia Zakaria, a columnist for DAWN, Pakistan’s largest English newspaper, who has been covering the rise of polio in Pakistan since the bin Laden raid; and one of Pakistan’s leading polio experts, Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta.’ (Democracy Now!)

Files Uncovered: Nazi Veterans Created Illegal Army After World War II

Klaus Wiegrefe reports for Spiegel:

The information was uncovered by an Independent Historical Commission hired by...‘For nearly six decades, the 321-page file lay unnoticed in the archives of the BND, Germany’s foreign intelligence agency — but now its contents have revealed a new chapter of German postwar history that is as spectacular as it is mysterious.

The previously secret documents reveal the existence of a coalition of approximately 2,000 former officers — veterans of the Nazi-era Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS — who decided to put together an army in postwar Germany in 1949. They made their preparations without a mandate from the German government, without the knowledge of the parliament and, the documents show, by circumventing Allied occupation forces.

The goal of the retired officers: to defend nascent West Germany against Eastern aggression in the early stages of the Cold War and, on the domestic front, deploy against the Communists in the event of a civil war.’

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MI5 files reveal details of 1953 coup that overthrew British Guiana’s leaders

From the AP:

CHEDDI AND JANET JAGAN‘Secret documents declassified on Friday by MI5 reveal in detail how in 1953 the UK under prime minister Winston Churchill overthrew the elected government of British Guiana – now Guyana – because he feared its leftwing leader and his American wife would lead the British colony into the arms of the Soviet Union. The documents reveal how British spies kept up intense scrutiny on Cheddi Jagan and his wife Janet, who together founded the People’s Progressive party (PPP) to campaign for workers’ rights and independence from British rule for the sugar-producing colony in northern South America.

The UK had agreed a new constitution in the early 1950s which allowed British Guiana’s political parties to participate in national elections and form a government, but maintained power in the hands of the British-appointed governor. Christopher Andrew, MI5’s official historian, said the files provide new details of the coup and “further evidence that MI5 played a more important part in British decolonisation than is often realised”.’

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Important Revelations From New Leaks of CIA Torture Report: Interview with Michael Ratner

Former Drone Operators Reveal Air Force Plays Key Role in Secret CIA Assassination Campaign In New Documentary

‘A new documentary film reveals how a regular U.S. air force unit based in the Nevada desert is responsible for flying the CIA’s drone strike program in Pakistan. “Drone” identifies the unit conducting CIA strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas as the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron, which is located on the Creech air force base, about 45 miles from Las Vegas. We are joined by the film’s director, Tonje Schei, and Chris Woods, an award-winning reporter who investigates drone warfare. Woods is featured in “Drone” and is working on a forthcoming book on U.S. drone warfare.’ (Democracy Now!)

John Glaser: The Intoxicating Pull of Proxy War Will Worsen Ukraine

John Glaser writes for Antiwar:

P050310PS-0374POD1The 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.

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CIA’s Pakistan drone strikes carried out by regular US air force personnel

Chris Woods writes for The Guardian:

A regular US air force unit based in the Nevada desert is responsible for flying the CIA‘s drone strike programme in Pakistan, according to a new documentary to be released on Tuesday.

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.

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British gave ‘full co-operation’ for CIA black jail on Diego Garcia, report claims

Peter Foster writes for the Telegraph:

Photo: ALAMYThe 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.

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The US Helped Overthrow a Democratic Government in Brazil in 1964

John Glaser writes for Antiwar:

JFK and Goulart 2We 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.

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During Cold War, CIA used ‘Doctor Zhivago’ as a tool to undermine Soviet Union

Peter Finn and Petra Couvée write for The Washington Post:

HAROLD K. MILKS/ASSOCIATED PRESSA 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.

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‘Cuban Twitter’ and Other Times USAID Pretended To Be an Intelligence Agency

Catherine Traywick writes for Foreign Policy:

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.

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Who are U.S. drones killing? Lawmakers ask Obama

Olivier Knox reports for Yahoo News:

Photo: STML/ Creative Commons/ FlickrAre 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.

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The Feinstein Syndrome: ‘The Fourth Amendment for Me, But Not for Thee’

Norman Solomon writes for Disinfo:

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.

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