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Secret Document Reveals Former CIA Director’s Plan to Make Reading WikiLeaks a Crime

SECRET declassified report by then-CIA Director William Casey, titled, “Unauthorized Disclosures to the Media” proposed creating legislation that would make possession of classified information a criminal offense.

At the time that would make anyone reading a New York Times article with classified information, or WikiLeaks in the modern-era, criminally liable and able to be prosecuted by the state.

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Although Casey was in favor of creating new legislation to specifically target media leaks, as well as those who come to possess those leaks (journalists or readers), he argued against utilization of the Espionage Act to prosecute leakers.

The former CIA Director reasoned that using the Espionage Act to target leakers was extreme, excessive and was akin to “driving tacks with a sledgehammer.”

While Casey acknowledged that the media was conflicted in their obligations, he conceded that it’s the job of the media to inform the public.

Ironically, despite his admission that the job of a journalist is to inform the public, he goes on to espouse a desire to see the media prosecuted for their role in publishing leaks and held in contempt if they failed to name their sources.

Ironically, as Muckrock points out, far from minimizing the potential harm of national security leaks, Casey emphasized the damage that they could do. However, none of the five examples provided by Casey in his report resulted in any actual harm. Two examples “could have” resulted in adversary adjusting their techniques, though the language implies that hadn’t happened.

A third and fourth example resulted in potential damage which forced the Agency to cut off contact with a human source lest that danger be amplified. While endangering human sources is never a good thing and disrupting HUMINT operations was unlikely to have been the intention, the report again indicates that no actual harm came to anyone. A fifth example placed someone in danger of being discovered, again a possibility which hadn’t come to pass, though it “could possibly have an adverse effect on U.S. relations” with an unknown group.

Ideally, as Muckrock notes, Casey felt that the new law should not require they demonstrate that a leak caused any actual damage to the United States. Instead, the question should be whether or not the information was passed to someone not authorized to receive it.

Although he expressed that the Espionage Act was the wrong way to go about doing so in the report, only a few months later the government successfully prosecuted Samuel Morison – setting a new precedent for decades to come.

Since then, the draconian Espionage Act has been used to target whistleblowers and leakers alike — with Obama using it to prosecute and imprison a record number of journalists’ sources — and even threaten media publishers.

The declassified report gives a clear insight into the mind of a high-level government official, in terms of how free of a press they really would really like to see in the United States.

While it was admirable that then-CIA Director Casey made clear that the Espionage Act was overkill for leakers, the idea that he wanted to create legislation for the government to have the ability to prosecute journalists for informing the American public about the extrajudicial actions of their own government – and which could likely also be used to criminalize the public – seems extremely antithetical to the First Amendment and the entire notion of a free press.

For those that don’t remember, CNN also said the same thing—that reading WikiLeaks is illegaland this was just last year.

View full document on Scribd HERE.

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US Seeks to Monopolize Cyberwarfare

The use of information to enhance martial power goes back to the beginning of human civilization itself, where propaganda and psychological warfare went hand-in-hand with slings, arrows, swords and shields.

The most recent iteration of this takes the form of social media and cyberwarfare where tools are being developed and deployed to influence populations at home and abroad, to manipulate political processes of foreign states and even tap into and exploit global economic forces.

In the beginning of the 21st century, the United States held an uncontested monopoly over the tools of cyberwarfare. Today, this is changing quickly, presenting an increasingly balanced cyberscape where nations are able to defend themselves on near parity with America’s ability to attack them.

To reassert America’s control over information and the technology used to broker it, Jared Cohen, current Google employee and former US State Department staff, has proposed a US-created and dominated “international” framework regarding cyberconflict.

His op-ed in the New York Times titled, How to Prevent a Cyberwar,” begins by admitting the very pretext the US is using to expand its control over cyberwarfare is baseless, noting that “specifics of Russia’s interference in the 2016 America election remain unclear.” 

Regardless, Cohen continues by laying out a plan for reasserting American control over cyberwarfare anyway, by claiming:

Cyberweapons won’t go away and their spread can’t be controlled. Instead, as we’ve done for other destructive technologies, the world needs to establish a set of principles to determine the proper conduct of governments regarding cyberconflict. They would dictate how to properly attribute cyberattacks, so that we know with confidence who is responsible, and they would guide how countries should respond.

Cohen, unsurprisingly, nominates the US to lead and direct these efforts:

The United States is uniquely positioned to lead this effort and point the world toward a goal of an enforceable cyberwarfare treaty. Many of the institutions that would be instrumental in informing these principles are based in the United States, including research universities and the technology industry. Part of this effort would involve leading by example, and the United States can and should establish itself as a defender of a free and open internet everywhere.

Cohen never explains how this US-dominated framework will differ from existing “international” frameworks regarding conventional warfare the US regularly abuses to justify a growing collection of devastating conflicts it is waging worldwide.

And as has been repeatedly documented, the United States’ definition of a “free and open internet everywhere” is an Internet dominated by US tech companies seeking to enhance and expand US interests globally.

Cohen ironically notes that:

Cyberweapons have already been used by governments to interfere with elections, steal billions of dollars, harm critical infrastructure, censor the press, manipulate public conversations about crucial issues and harass dissidents and journalists. The intensity of cyberconflict around the world is increasing, and the tools are becoming cheaper and more readily available.

Indeed, cyberweapons have already been used, primarily by the United States.

Jared Cohen himself was directly involved in joint operations between Google, Facebook, the US State Department and a number of other US tech and media enterprises which before and during 2011 set the stage for the so-called “Arab Spring.”

It included the training, funding and equipping of activists years ahead of the the uprisings as well as active participation in the uprisings themselves, including providing assistance to both protesters and militants everywhere from Libya to Syria in overthrowing governments targeted by Washington for regime change.

One such tool used in these efforts was described in a UK Independent article titled, Google planned to help Syrian rebels bring down Assad regime, leaked Hillary Clinton emails claim,” which would report that:

An interactive tool created by Google was designed to encourage Syrian rebels and help bring down the Assad regime, Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails have reportedly revealed.

By tracking and mapping defections within the Syrian leadership, it was reportedly designed to encourage more people to defect and ‘give confidence’ to the rebel opposition.

The article would continue, mentioning Jared Cohen by name:

The email detailing Google’s defection tracker purportedly came from Jared Cohen, a Clinton advisor until 2010 and now-President of Jigsaw, formerly known as Google Ideas, the company’s New York-based policy think tank.

In a July 2012 email to members of Clinton’s team, which the WikiLeaks release alleges was later forwarded to the Secretary of State herself, Cohen reportedly said: “My team is planning to launch a tool on Sunday that will publicly track and map the defections in Syria and which parts of the government they are coming from.”

Would Cohen’s more recently proposed “framework” have prevented the United States’ use of these cyberweapons against sovereign states to undermine sociopolitical stability, overturn entire governments and plunge them into enduring chaos many still remain in 6 years later? Most likely not.

What Cohen and the interests he represents are truly concerned with is that nations are now not only able to recognize, prepare for and defend against US cyberwarfare, they may be capable of retaliating against the US.

Cohen’s proposal for an international framework to govern cyberwarfare simply seeks to define it in terms that leaves the US with both an uncontested monopoly over cyberwarfare as well as the means to wield it globally with absolute impunity.

It would be not unlike current “international” frameworks used to govern conflicts between nations which the US has used to justify an expansive, global campaign of extraterritorial war stretching from North Africa to Central Asia and beyond.

Such frameworks have become enablers of injustice, not a deterrence to it.

As nations from Iran to North Korea are discovering, the only true means of defending oneself from foreign military aggression is creating a plausible deterrence to dissuade foreign nations from attacking. This is done by creating a price for attacking and invading that is higher than the perceived benefits of doing so.

Nations like Russia and China have already achieved this balance with the United States in terms of conventional and nuclear warfare, and have now nearly established a similar deterrence in terms of cyber and information warfare. For the rest of the world, developing cyberdefense is not as costly as conventional military or nuclear arsenals, making cyberwarfare a corner of the battlefield unlikely to be monopolized by the US as it had done at the turn of the century.

Ensuring that no single nation ever has the opportunity to abuse such a monopoly again means exposing and confronting efforts by those like Google’s Jared Cohen and his proposal for an “international framework” for cyberwarfare that resembles the same sort of enabling the United Nations provides the US in terms of proliferating conventional conflicts across the globe.

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We Told You So: Google Is NSA

NOVANEWS

By Phil Butler – New Eastern Outlook 

Google wants to be Big Brother’s eyeballs on you. All us Internet gurus knew this since before the NSA was found out spying on everybody. But now the Mountain View boys are more determined than ever to filter your information, and to obliterate any semblance of truth reaching people.

If I had led into an article with that paragraph even five years ago, I’d have been instantly labeled a “conspiracy theorist” or worse. How about now dear reader? Is the idea the technocrats and their huge monied handlers want to run you crazy? I didn’t think so. But if you need proof beyond the obvious, Google’s 160-page handbook tells us all exactly how they plan to spoon feed us only “their” news. The lengthy handbook is a heavy read for the average person, but the book does lay out an Orwellian machination unlike anything seen since the Nazi propaganda machine of Hitler. Pay close attention to the “instructional” on page 108 where Google dictates who does and does not meet rating criteria. The section under Fails to Meet (FailsM) is a steamrolling of the free press, and suggested hiding certain kinds of sites:

“Pages that directly contradict well established historical facts (e.g., unsubstantiated conspiracy theories), unless the query clearly indicates the user is seeking an alternative viewpoint.”

As per usual, Google has obscured its real intentions with the idea some super smart algorithm is “filtering” or “learning” results to help your life be better. Once again Google supposes to do “what is good for us” by destroying some sources and propping up others. Using terms like “search quality rating guidelines” and “page quality rating guidelines” the little Machiavellis at Google provide justification for controlling what you see and read on the web. Censorship and monopolization of internet information and business – this is the case against the Mountain View boys this time.

Then there’s the section concerning how Google will rank the best of the best news sites entitled “A High Level of Expertise/Authoritativeness/Trustworthiness (EAT)”. The acronym should clue you that Google search users are about to be fed some bullshit truth. “High Quality Pages” for the Google oligarchs means that either the page owner pays Google through the nose, or that the site in question serves Google’s masters well – period. At the top of this matrix of sources are newspapers (High News 1) like The Washington Post and New York Times, followed by the articles within those pages (High News 2). On down the list of authority pages are government sites like the US State Department and White House, and then pages categorized (believe it or not) “High Humor”. So, Google has factored out the importance of truth or even the importance of the news story itself, in favor of “who” wrote the story and the “reality” Google wants you to accept – Big Brother’s network – end of story.

Melissa Dykes of Truth Stream Media made a video about the new Big Brother effort, and Government Slaves did their take as well. And the latter even suggests alternatives to using Google Search, such as Yandex and DuckDuckGo, for those refusing the totalitarian tendencies we see headed our way these days. For people who would rather boycott the imminent evil Government Slavesalso lists 400 sites for independent news outside Google’s MATIX. My advice for everyone is to start making the transition away from Google and Facebook now. My own vast experience in dealing with these tech people has revealed people with no morals whatsoever, people willing to do anything necessary to perpetuate their dominance in digital. Google has destroyed millions of people’s livelihoods, broken its own code, lawyers itself around anti-trust and fair practice rules, avoided taxes, and colluded against the people of the United States with the intelligence agencies. All these assertions are not just this writer’s ramblings. Back in 2014 John W. Whitehead wrote about the NSA and Google for the Huffington Post :

“Just look around you. It’s happened already. Thanks to an insidious partnership between Google and the National Security Agency (NSA) that grows more invasive and more subtle with every passing day, “we the people” have become little more than data consumer commodities to be bought, sold and paid for over and over again.”

On August 29th the notorious Zero Hedge creator, Tyler Durden wrote a piece entitled “Why Google Made The NSA”, which revealed a project called INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a crowd-funded investigative journalism project that had released a story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. You read that correctly. My past assertions that Sergey Brin and Larry Page were “lifted up” by unseen money were probably correct. While I presumed George Soros or Rockefeller being behind it, it’s conceivable Uncle Sam was the spook in the woodpile. The Zero Hedge story delves deep into a “deep state” we never imagined in our worst nightmares. The report unveils Pentagon Highlands Forum’s more or less taking over tech giants like Google to pursue mass surveillance. Furthermore, the report shows how the intelligence community has played a key role in secret efforts to manipulate the media and the public. The endless crisis and war we find ourselves in, is in large part because of the efforts of Google and the other technocratic institutions. In another section the author frames how the Obama administration really consolidated this “Big Brother” control:

“Under Obama, the nexus of corporate, industry, and financial power represented by the interests that participate in the Pentagon Highlands Forum has consolidated itself to an unprecedented degree.”

These people refer to themselves as “the gatekeepers”. Their arrogance is only exceeded by their amoral agnosticism. The successes of the information age, Silicon Valley’s dubious venture capital bonanzas, the mysterious ways in which fairly ordinary innovators were propelling into the limelight warns us to the underlying swamp Donald Trump described. But it is the immensity of the network that should clue us. Imagine a new president taking office and fending off attacks as best he could, only to discover that the whole machine of the US government being under such a controlling influence. It’s easy to theorize after learning all this, how Trump did an about face on so many issues. He must have been overwhelmed. Or, he was part of the plan all along.

Finally, if we expand on this news and include other technocrats like Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos, then understanding world crises caused by bad US policy becomes simpler. It’s a corporation – all of it is a corporation for war and friction. Bezos walking with former Marine General and current Secretary of Defense, “Mad Dog” Mattis at Amazon is symbolic. Trump’s posture with Israel, the Saudis, even on domestic policy tells us those campaign promises sank in the wake of a deep state ship at full steam forward. If we allow Google and other such players to continue unchecked….

Well, you are as capable as I of completing that sentence. I only pray we are not too late.

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The CIA Preps Their Next JFK Psyop

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corbettreport | August 29, 2017

We all know that the last of the JFK assassination records are due to be declassified in October. And we even know what the government says it’s hiding from us. But do you know the story that the CIA is trying to plant in the public consciousness about what is going to be “revealed” in these documents?

SHOW NOTES: https://www.corbettreport.com/?p=23860

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Real Fake Helicopter Money – CIA Counterfeiting Currencies to Destroy National Economies

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Why is it that countries are in the US cross hairs so often experience hyperinflation? In times of economic difficulties, such as war, it is normal to experience significant inflation. But in the countries mentioned as examples below, inflation was off the chart, where money became worth less than the paper it was printed on.

From time to time the New York Times publishes articles that contain extraordinary revelations, that show the real working methods of the CIA. These revelations are normally once-off news, never to be followed up. In 1992, the newspaper published an article with the headline Fake-Money Flood Is Aimed At Crippling Iraq’s Economy“, which had some extraordinary revelations:

Iraq’s economy is the target of an American-led destabilization campaign to pour vast amounts of counterfeit currency into the country, Arab and Western officials here say.

The fake dinar notes are being smuggled across the Jordanian, Saudi, Turkish and Iranian borders in an effort to undermine the Iraqi economy, said the officials here who closely monitor the situation inside Iraq. Those officials said counterfeit dollars are being smuggled into Iraq in smaller quantities to further confound the banking system. The officials, who insisted on not being identified, said the countries behind the separate counterfeiting operations included Western nations, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel.

The fake currency has contributed to Iraq’s severe inflation problem, which is aggravated by the fact that the Iraqi Government is printing money at uncontrolled speed to pay inflated salaries and cover the costs of reconstruction.

A Saudi official, who insisted on not being identified, concurred with the reports, saying that “all borders are being used.”

To properly understand this tactic of the CIA, it is worth noticing that the target country, Iraq, already was under severe economic stress. A common theme in the targeted countries are pre-existing weaknesses that become strongly exacerbated by hyperinflation. The countries have been excluded from the international financial markets, thus making loans impossible.

1992 was the second year of what would turn out to be a 13 year economic blockade for Iraq. The country’s  gold and hard currency reserves dwindled fast. Unable to get new hard currency earnings, the government was forced to print money to pay for salaries and reconstruction in the aftermath of the First Gulf War (1991). So an inflationary situation already existed.

As can be seen from the NYT article above, this left the field wide open for the CIA’s counterfeit experts to move in and flood the country with fake money. Given the service’s long experience and massive resources, the bills would be of high quality, indistinguishable from the real bills in circulation. NYT continues:

Along with international economic sanctions against Iraq, those measures have had mixed results since the Persian Gulf war ended in February 1991. They have clearly helped weaken the economy to the point where the local currency could become worthless, and they have loosened Mr. Hussein’s grip on the people […]

On the other hand, the measures buttressed the assertion, shared by a rising number of Iraqi nationalists including Sunni Muslims and Christians, that the West and its allies will not be content with the removal of Saddam Hussein, but only with partitioning and destroying the country.

And further down in the article it is said outright what Yugoslav government ministers hinted at a few years later, claims brushed aside as outlandish (my highlight):

Counterfeit money was dropped by United States helicopters in the southern marshland areas…

To see that these tactics are common in the US irregular warfare toolbox, it is worth remembering the CIA supplied the Mujahedin with at least 2 billion dollars in counterfeit Afghan money for transport and bribery during Operation Cyclone, the CIA support program for the religious guerrilla forces against Soviet and Afghan government troops in the 1980s. As a bonus, they got to fund these group on the cheap, where the target country suffer the inflationary consequences.

The scale, in the billions of dollars, might make one suspect this might just the top of a counterfeiting iceberg as a dirty tactic in the cold war.

Other great powers have used the same method. France used counterfeiting with great success to bring her recently independent colony Guinea to heel. In 1958, the country wanted to print its own money, but France flooded it with high quality counterfeit bills, making the local currency collapse. As a result, Guinea was forced to join the French-controlled CFA franc-zone.

Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwean situation is a bit more unclear, but it fits the pattern. The country is declared an «unusually and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States” and the leader (Mugabe) duly demonized. Of all the cases reviewed here, Zimbabwe is the one where this description is most absurd, as it cannot in any conceivably way be construed as a security threat to the US, except to big business interests.

Zimbabwe experienced hyperinflation in the 2000s, when there were endless articles in Western media describing the alleged horrors of the process of land reforms. If one should identify one single issue that got Zimbabwe in the cross hairs, it is the land issue. The economy was in the process of being restructured, from the grossly unfair old status quo, where 6000 (white) settlers owned most of the productive land, while 6 million (black) people lived on subsistence farms. This attempt to acquire land and distribute it to landless people alarmed Britain, the US and the financial world.

A weakness was identified, exacerbated and exploited. The country had an economy in transition and was vulnerable. As a first step, the country was sanctioned and blocked from international financial institutions. It could no longer take up loans to finance routine foreign trade. Export earnings went down, as a combination of several factors, among them the restructuring, drought and sanctions. The central bank would have to print money, with a following inflation, to keep the government apparatus going. And here comes a possible opening for the counterfeiters, when their efforts had maximum impact.

The country had a fairly heavy inflation in the period from the late 1990s, but in the period 2008-9, it changes to a massive hyperinflation. It was accompanied by a large psy-op campaign in the world press, with endless racist gloating over African mismanagement. Of course, this reporting was hiding and spinning the effects of the sanctions and the interference.

North Korea

This country hardly needs introduction as part of the “Axis of Evil;” one of the seven countries specifically singled out as a priority for regime change by the Pentagon. It experienced a severe hyperinflation in the years 2009-2011, leading to a currency reform.

Forbes magazine published an article in August 2017 by Richard Miniter, with the title Bomb North Korea – With Its Own Money. The articles seems to have been inspired by current thinking in the national-security apparatus.

The article suggests that if one dropped “phony North Korean won, like confetti, over every city and commune, the NK won would quickly collapse.” It would force the country and its inhabitants to do their business in foreign currencies, like the dollar or yuan. According to the article, the government had a flexible response to the last bout of hyperinflation in 2009-11, but as a result “today, more than half of transactions in the capital and at the Chinese frontier are in dollars or yuan.”

The article envisages the next bout of hyperinflation would lead to the government “turning a blind eye to the emerging market economy. Only this time, the dollarization and yuanization will spread from half of the economy to the whole of it.”… “Once weakened by hyperinflation followed by dollarization, the U.S. could target its few sources of hard currency.”…. “Quite simply, North Korea’s won would disappear as a medium of exchange. Dollars, yuan and other regional currencies will be used to settle nearly all accounts (certainly including payments to Pyongyang), making North Korea absolutely dependent on a consistent supply of outside money. This is leverage that the civilized world may use against it.”

As an interesting aside, with hints of what the military-security apparatus considers within the realm of the possible, the article also envisages a driving the global coal price down to below North-Korean production cost levels to damage its export earnings. This is comparable to the low oil prices the last few years in relation to the economic drive against Russia and Venezuela.

As a sign that this counterfeiting might be a continuous operation, UPI reported in May 2016 in an intriguing notice:

A “massive pile of fake North Korean money weighed about 330 pounds [150 kg], and was found in a heap of wastepaper in south-western Seoul”… “The counterfeit bills were printed in 5,000 North Korean won denominations.”

This amount of North-Korean fake money would be useless in the south, and difficult to justify for financial gain by ‘normal’ counterfeiters. A reasonable explanation would be that it was part of a routine operation to smuggle fake money into North-Korea, somehow gone amiss.

Yugoslavia

Yugoslavia  experienced two spikes in hyperinflation, 1992-3 and 1999. During the wars of secession, draconian sanctions were introduced and the country blocked from access to international finance. President George W. Bush declared Yugoslavia to “constitute and unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security “in May 1992, due to the civil war in recently independent Bosnia, where Yugoslavia (which now consisted mostly of Serbia) was accused of meddling.

The second spike came in 1999, during the Clinton-administration, when US/NATO was in full war drive to make Kosovo independent and attempt to topple president Milošević.

Yugoslav authorities were aware of the possibility of counterfeit money being smuggled into the country. An article in the Washington Post before the Kosovo war claimed:

“[Yugoslav] government officials quietly and seriously discuss what the CIA might be up to further the Clinton administration’s goal of getting Milosevic removed from power. They wonder, for instance, if the agency might be airdropping counterfeit Yugoslav dinars to sow further turmoil in the economy.”

Steve H. Hanke, an expert in the field of hyperinflation, with really extensive experience working closely for the US government in many capacities, gives us several interesting anecdotes in his article with the title Syria’s Other Problem: Inflation:

“In October 1999, [Yugoslav] Minister for Information Goran Matic claimed that I was in charge of shipping huge quantities of counterfeit Yugoslav dinars into Milosevic’s Serbia, in an attempt to cause the dinar to collapse and inflation to soar.”

Henke denies the veracity of the accusation, but mentions in the same piece that the Syrian government had similar suspicions a few years ago:

“The Syrian Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Qadri Jamil, claimed that Britain, Saudi Arabia, and the United States were engaged in a conspiracy to undermine the Syrian pound by flooding Lebanon and Jordan with counterfeit Syrian pound notes.”

Iran

It is worthwhile to take a look at possibly the same tactic is being used for Iran, where counterfeiting the rial might have been used in an attempt to crash the national currency. Hanke gets enthusiastic about having identified a period of hyperinflation in Iran in 2012. The groundwork was there, as Washington Post wrote in a story from 2012 with the title Hyperinflation finally arrives… in Iran:

“Since 2010, the United States has been steadily tightening sanctions on Iran. A good chunk of Iran’s $110 billion foreign exchange reserves is locked up in offshore accounts that are now frozen. Overseas banks have been barred from doing business with Iran’s central bank. And Iran is having trouble selling its oil abroad. Add it all up, and those sanctions have restricted the supply of dollars and other foreign currency reaching Iran.”… “U.S. sanctions are biting down and inflicting a vicious bout of hyperinflation on the country. “… “That problem finally exploded last month. In the black markets, the value of Iran’s rial has now plunged 65 percent in the past few week” What triggered last month’s sudden collapse? That’s not yet clear.”

Nicaragua

The same hypothesis could be used for Nicaragua, which also declared “an unusual and extraordinary threat” by Reagan. In the 1980s, at the same time as the US printed counterfeit money for the Mujahedin in Afghanistan, Nicaragua experienced hyperinflation, from June 1986 – March 1991.

The country was fighting the Contras, a guerrilla/terrorist group almost exclusively financed by the CIA. One might remember that the CIA and Contras had no qualms to smuggle large amounts of cocaine into the US, so printing and distributing fake money would hardly have been reagarded as beyond the pale. The campaign against the country followed the same pattern: demonization, years of steadily tightening sanctions, inflation when the government was forced to print money, which then goes into overdrive as hyperinflation.

Venezuela

Today this tactic might be in use against Venezuela at this very moment. The currency has crashed during the last few years. One could of course say that it is entirely due to ‘natural’ economic factors, but the pattern is there. The country has been in the cross hairs since at least 2002. The United States declared Venezuela “a national security threat” in March 2015, and has imposed steadily stricter sanctions. The economy is in such a weak position that counterfeit money would strongly exacerbate existing problems.

The country even prints its bills abroad, which gives Western intelligence services access to the printing plates. Counterfeit bolivares would be indistinguishable from the real thing. As in several of the other places, one can observe a massive campaign in the international press to highlight the inflation, and thereby further reduce faith in the currency.

Russia, the biggest challenge

Russia is a different ball game. Ever more draconian sanctions and attempts to lock the country out from international financial mechanisms have had limited success. Russia is such a big and self-sufficient global power that it would take an operation of a scale never seen before to make the economy scream. The stage has not reached where introduction of large amount of counterfeit money will exacerbate an already exiting weakness. To be truly successful, the tactic needs to have stopped all forms of credit and significantly damaged export earnings.  Of course, in the meantime, counterfeit money, being virtually free, could finance all sort of groups working to topple the government.

Conclusion

Introducing fake money is an incredibly devastating measure in an economic war. A weak country gets targeted for counterfeiting with forgeries of superb quality, and the central bank is unable to effectuate proper countermeasures, in fear of creating a panic.

Instead, the central bank is forced to play along in CIA’s game. Since the government is dependent on it for funding, despite the threatening hyperinflation, the bank is forced to print ever higher denominations.

Maybe a million people died in the 13 years of sanctions against Iraq. Destroying the currency helped in this process, by pauperizing the population, making them unable to afford even basics necessities and destroying their lives.

Observers of other nations in the cross hairs should be aware of this possibility. Smaller economies, say Bolivia or Pakistan, that are in the bad books, should be aware that financial warfare isn’t only done with above board tactics, such as sanctions. It can be very hard to counter a flood of false money at the country’s weakest moment if the other elements of an economic siege have been successfully put in place.

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ACLU settles torture case with CIA-contracted psychologists

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The ACLU has declared a “historic victory” following the settlement of its lawsuit against two CIA-contracted psychologists involved in torturing suspects and developing the agency’s ‘enhanced interrogation program.’ The terms are confidential.

CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou told RT that while the settlement is historic, he is disappointed on three fronts.

American Civil Liberties Union attorneys, acting on behalf of three plaintiffs who claimed they were tortured, said it’s the first time the CIA, or its private contractors, had been held accountable for torturing suspects.

“This outcome show that there are consequences for torture and that survivors can and will hold those responsible for torture accountable,” Dror Ladin, an ACLU attorney said, according to AP.

“It is a clear warning for anything who thinks they can torture with impunity.”

Kiriakou, a former CIA counter-terrorism officer who blew the whistle on the torture program in 2007, noted the historic victory “because nothing like this has ever happened before,” but added, “I am disappointed with a settlement.”

He said the American people will never know the details of what would have been released had the case gone to trial.

“Documents would have certainly been de-classified, there would have been a number of people testifying in open court, and so we I think we will probably never know the real details of the CIA torture program. That’s a disappointment,” he told RT.

Another disappointment is over the the sealed terms of agreement.

“I am happy for the victims and the families of the victims of CIA torture, but I wish that we were able to say definitively that the final terms were enough of a deterrent to stop the CIA from possibly doing this again,” Kiriakou said.

Kiriakou said his third disappointment was over the two psychologists –James Mitchell and John Jessen – being indemnified at the time they signed their contract with the CIA.

“So not one cent from this entire ordeal comes out of Mitchell and Jessen’s pockets, leaving taxpayers footing this bill for this lawsuit, and that is very sad,” Kiriakou added. “Especially as they made $81 million and they pay none of it to their own victims.”

Kiriakou said he wished the case had gone to trial but was nevertheless surprised it had gone as far it did. A trial date was set for September 5 in federal court in Spokane, Washington. He said the CIA had ample opportunity to invoke ‘national security’ and ask for a dismissal but they elected not to do that.

“That order would have to have come from the White House, the Obama White House. When Donald Trump became president, he did not invoke ‘national security’ either, so it seems the CIA made an internal decision to just to get this thing behind them and be done with it,” said Kiriakou.

“And I think they were able to convince the Obama administration and the Trump administration that it was the right thing to do.”

The ACLU filed the suit in 2015 on behalf of Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud and the family of Gul Rahman under the Alien Tort Statute, which allows for federal lawsuits for gross human rights violations. Rahman froze to death in a secret CIA prison.

The two men and Rahman’s family claimed the trio were tortured and experimented on using methods developed by the CIA-contracted psychologists, Mitchell and Jessen, following the terror attacks of 9/11.

During the interrogations, the plaintiffs claimed they were subject to waterboarding, slammed into walls, stuffed inside coffin-like boxes, exposed to extreme temperatures, starved, and kept awake for days, the ACLU argued.

James Smith, the lead attorney for the psychologists said his clients were public servants whose interrogation of suspected terrorists was authorized by the government.

“The facts would have borne out that while the plaintiffs suffered mistreatment by some of their captors, none of that mistreatment was conducted, condoned or caused by Drs. Mitchell and Jessen,” Smith stated, according to AP.

AP reported that as the two psychologists worked as government contractors, their legal bills will be covered by US taxpayer money.

The Justice Department got involved in the case to represent the government’s interest in keeping classified information secret but did not try to block the lawsuit.

As part of the settlement agreement, both sides agreed to release a joint statement in which Doctors Mitchell and Jessen acknowledged they worked with the CIA “to develop a program for the CIA that contemplated the use of specific coercive methods to interrogate certain detainees.”

The parties acknowledged that Rahman “was subjected to abuses in the CIA program that resulted in his death” and plaintiffs Suleiman Abdullah Salim and Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud were “also subjected to coercive methods in the CIA program, which resulted in pain and suffering.”

The ACLU said it had based its legal claims on the declassified facts in the executive summary of the Senate report on CIA torture. The ACLU claimed that in addition to torturing prisoners themselves, Mitchell and Jessen trained other CIA personnel in their methods. The pair founded a company in 2005 that the CIA contracted to run its entire torture program, including supplying interrogators for the agency’s secret “black site” prisons. The government paid the company $81 million over several years.

A US Senate investigation in 2014 found that the techniques developed by the two psychologists produced no useful intelligence. President Obama terminated the contract in 2009.

Posted in USA, C.I.AComments Off on ACLU settles torture case with CIA-contracted psychologists

How the CIA spies on your everyday life, according to WikiLeaks

NOVANEWS
How the CIA spies on your everyday life, according to WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks’ latest release from the Vault 7 series of CIA leaks, sheds more light on how ordinary people can be easily tracked and targeted by the US intelligence agency through everyday electronic devices.

Since March 7, WikiLeaks has revealed CIA hacking techniques used to weaponize mobile phones, conduct surveillance via smart TVs, and load and execute malware on a ‘target machine’.

READ MORE: Dumbo: WikiLeaks reveals CIA system to take over webcams, microphones

In light of Thursday’s 20th release from Vault 7, RT looks back at the most explosive revelations from the CIA’s hacking arsenal, showing how the intelligence agency could spy on you in your own home.

Home Security Systems

The ‘Dumbo’ program is purportedly designed to manipulate home security systems, altering the functionality of webcams and microphones on Microsoft Windows-operating systems and corrupting video recordings.

WikiLeaks suggested that this allows the operator to create fake – or destroy real – evidence of their intrusion into the device.

 

@wikileaks reveals CIA system to take over webcams, microphones  https://on.rt.com/8jez 

Photo published for Dumbo: WikiLeaks reveals CIA system to take over webcams, microphones — RT Viral

Dumbo: WikiLeaks reveals CIA system to take over webcams, microphones — RT Viral

Details of the CIA’s Dumbo project, a system that manipulates devices such as webcams and microphones on Microsoft Windows-operating systems, have been published by WikiLeaks. The program also…

rt.com

Smart TVs

Many of the exploits revealed through the leaked Vault 7 documents appear designed to target ordinary individuals through commonly used devices.

READ MORE: WikiLeaks publishes #Vault7: ‘Entire hacking capacity of the CIA’

The CIA allegedly has access to a range of tools that even target Samsung TVs under its ‘Weeping Angel’ program. The project involves infiltrating the smart TVs to transform them into covert microphones, which can record and store audio.

Android devices

Google’s Android operating system was found to have 24 ‘zero days’ – the codename used by the CIA for tools to identify and exploit vulnerabilities and secretly collect data on individuals.

The OS is used in 85 percent of the world’s smart phones, including Samsung and Sony.

By exploiting gaps in the OS, it’s possible to access data from social messaging platforms, including WhatsApp, Weibo, Telegram and Signal before encryption is applied.

 

 : WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Wiebo also hacked before encryption applied http://on.rt.com/84zw 

Photo published for WikiLeaks publishes #Vault7: 'Entire hacking capacity of the CIA' — RT News

WikiLeaks publishes #Vault7: ‘Entire hacking capacity of the CIA’ — RT News

WikiLeaks has published what it claims is the largest ever batch of confidential documents on the CIA, revealing the breadth of the agency’s ability to hack smartphones and popular social media…

rt.com

Another program appears specifically designed to target mobile devices running Android 4.0 to 4.3, allowing a third party to intercept and redirect SMS messages.

 

 WikiLeaks release ‘HighRise’, SMS redirector appears as app on phone named ‘TideCheck’

READ MORE: CIA can intercept & redirect SMS on Android, according to ‘Highrise’ document

Apple products

Apple products are not immune to the CIA’s hacking tools either. In fact, Vault 7 revealed a specific division dedicated to the hacking of Apple devices .

A tool known as ‘NightSkies’ specifically targets Apple products including the iPhone and Macbook Air. It purportedly even allows the CIA to infiltrate factory-fresh iPhones and track and control them remotely, providing “full remote command and control.”

WiFi

WiFi can be easily exploited by the agency for spying, according to a number of leaks. One program called Cherry Blossom allegedly targets WiFi devices to monitor, control and manipulate the Internet traffic of connected users.

No physical access is needed to implant the firmware on a wireless device, as some devices allow their firmware to be upgraded over a wireless link.

Another malware called Elsa tracks WiFi-enabled devices running Microsoft Windows, allowing the CIA to gather location data on a target’s device and monitor their patterns and habits.

The malware allows the CIA to track the geo-location of wifi-enabled devices even when they are not connected to the internet.

READ MORE: #Vault7: CIA’s secret cyberweapon can infiltrate world’s most secure networks

Microsoft

Most of the malware referenced throughout the leaks is designed for use on the widely popular Microsoft Windows operating systems.

Many of these programs focus on uploading the malware via removable devices such as USB drives. Some, such as the ‘brutal kangaroo’ project, are designed to hide themselves from detection, and can even infect devices that have never been connected to the internet by air gap jumping.

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Don’t be Fooled, the CIA was Only Half the Problem in Syria

NOVANEWS

By Steven MacMillan – New Eastern Outlook 

The news that President Trump has halted the CIA program to arm and train rebel groups in Syria should be viewed with caution, as the CIA program only represented half of US involvement in Syria.  Even if we take this information as completely accurate, and the CIA will cease to be involved in any covert programs in Syria, there is still a giant arm of US imperialism that is going to be heavily involved in the Syrian conflict for the foreseeable future; namely, the Pentagon.

The notion that the CIA was the only branch of the US establishment involved in the destabilization of Syria is nonsense. The US has always had two operations running simultaneously in Syria, with one being run by the CIA, and other being ran by the Pentagon. As Reuters reported in an article in May of this year, titled: Syrian rebels say U.S., allies sending more arms to fend off Iran threat, military aid has been provided through “two separate channels:”

“Rebels said military aid has been boosted through two separate channels: a program backed by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), known as the MOC, and regional states including Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and one run by the Pentagon.”

These two programs have often clashed, as was the case last year, when militias armed by the CIA fought against militias armed by the Pentagon.

The Pentagon has been as involved in the disastrous operation to arm and train rebels in Syria as the CIA has, and has contributed heavily to the mess on the ground.

In September 2015 for instance, it was reported that a Pentagon-armed group of rebels – named Division 30 – handed over their weapons to al-Qaeda in Syria, a scenario that was a common outcome from many CIA operations as well. The Pentagon, never shy to blow an obscene amount of taxpayers’ money on imperial matters, has already wasted hundreds of millions of dollars training and arming rebels in Syria, yet Trump only wants to increase the US war budget. 

Trump: The Man of the Military 

Trump’s decision to halt the CIA program was hardly surprising, considering the support Trump has received from large sections of the military. A look at the backgrounds of the individuals that Trump has given cabinet positions reveals Trump’s close relationship with the military.

The Secretary of Homeland Security for instance, John Kelly, is a retired Marine Corps General and former Commander of US Southern Command. Trump’s pick for the Director of the CIA is even more telling, as Mike Pompeo has his roots in the military, graduating from West Point in the 1980s:

“Mr. Pompeo graduated first in his class at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1986 and served as a cavalry officer patrolling the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Berlin Wall. He also served with the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry in the US Army’s Fourth Infantry Division.”

Undoubtedly, there are many good forces in the US military (as in any other large organization), and there is nothing wrong with having a military background. But equally, there are also many nefarious forces in the military, and the influence of military-industrial complex is pervasive, constantly agitating for more imperial wars.

With this context in mind, it is hardly surprising that Trump favours the Pentagon program over the CIA one, especially considering the power struggle taking place between the CIA and the military within the US. It should be highlighted that Trump has notcompletely halted all US programs to arm and train militias in Syria, he has merely shutdown one channel.

Pentagon Using Kurds to Balkanize Syria 

The Pentagon has been heavily involved in arming Kurdish forces in Syria, using them as a tool to attempt to Balkanize and fracture Syria into micro-states. In May of this year, President Trump approved a plan – supported by many in the Pentagon – to arm the People’s Protection Unit (YPG), a Kurdish militia operating predominantly in northern Syria.

The YPG is also the controlling militia in the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which includes an array of other militias. In addition to providing arms to the YPG, US special forces have been pictured on the ground in northern Syria working in conjunction with YPG fighters.

When most of the public was distracted by the story of Trump halting the CIA program, footage surfaced showing US armed military vehicles passing through Qamishli – a city in northern Syria on the Turkish border – reportedly on route to Raqqa. The recipients of the vehicles are believed to be either the SDF or US forces directly, who are involved in the battle against ISIS in Raqqa.

If (or when) ISIS is defeated in Raqqa, it will be very interesting to see who ends up controlling the city. It is possible that the Pentagon wants to defeat ISIS in Raqqa, and then hand Raqqa to the Kurds – a scenario that many Kurds would only be too happy with. In March of this year, Saleh Muslim, the co-chair of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) – the political affiliate of the YPG – said that once ISIS is defeated in Raqqa, the city should be incorporated into a Kurdish state in northern Syria. 

The Pentagon’s support for Kurdish forces is clearly part of a strategy to break the northern part of the country away from control of the Syrian government in Damascus. A subservient Kurdish state in northern Syria (which would probably join with Kurdish zones in Iraq and other countries in the future) would allow the US to have a permanent military presence in Syria, and easy access to the natural resources in the Kurdish region.

The creation of a Kurdish state in northern Syria would of course cause a severe breakdown in relations with NATO member Turkey, given the views of the current Turkish leadership that is. Turkey considers the YPG to be an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a group Ankara views as a terrorist organization. Turkey has repeatedly denounced US support for Kurdish groups in Syria, with this being a major source of disagreement between the US and Turkey. It is no coincidence that Turkish state media recently published a list of classified US military bases and outposts in northern Syria, with this information revealing the extent to which the US military is embedded in Kurdish-controlled regions in Syria.

The plan to Balkanize Syria is well on its way, and the Pentagon is leading the charge. How Russia positions herself in the coming months will be crucial for the future of Syria.

Posted in USA, C.I.A, SyriaComments Off on Don’t be Fooled, the CIA was Only Half the Problem in Syria

SIRHAN SIRHAN: A “REEL BAD” ARAB?

NOVANEWS
By J. Michael Springmann | Hausfrau Leaks 

On July 20, 2017, William F. Pepper, Ed.D., J.D., spoke at the National Press Club about his previous day’s filing of a 200-page petition regarding Sirhan Sirhan.  Sirhan, jailed since 1968, is the alleged killer of Robert F. Kennedy, late New York U.S. senator and Democratic presidential candidate.  Organized by Andrew Kreig, J.D., editor of the Justice Integrity Project (http://www.justice-integrity.org/), the well-attended conference enabled Dr. Pepper to discuss his long-sought evidentiary hearing.

As Sirhan’s lawyer for many years, Pepper conceded that the legal remedies for his client in the United States have been exhausted–at both the State and federal levels.  California, where Kennedy had been murdered in a Los Angeles hotel kitchen, did not assure a fair trial.  Essentially, ineffective assistance of counsel got the accused wrongly convicted.  Grant Cooper, his attorney, under threat of a sealed felony indictment, did almost nothing to defend Sirhan.  He failed to investigate the matter, obtain the autopsy report, or examine ballistics tests.  He spent most of the court proceedings arguing that Sirhan was guilty and, that because of diminished capacity, should not be given the death penalty.

Sirhan also got no relief in the federal system, neither with with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, nor with the extremely liberal and contrarian U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, nor with the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to review the case.

Now, Pepper is staking Sirhan’s chances on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), an Organization of American States (OAS) body. His goal is either a new trial or an evidentiary hearing. The filing alleges that the California and U.S. justice systems violated Sirhan’s right to a fair trial, as required under the OAS Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. By treaty, the IACHR may review U.S. cases and those from 34 other nations when domestic remedies have been exhausted.

Pepper, who had been a friend of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, is known for his winning defense of King’s supposed murderer, James Earle Ray, during a 1993 mock trial on HBO.  In a celebrated wrongful death proceeding in 1999, Pepper obtained a symbolic award based on 10 years of dogged pursuit of relevant evidence and witnesses.  He is doing the same now with Sirhan.

Noting that the U.S. media is controlled, by high level businessmen, bankers, and other influential figures who move in and out of government, such as John J. McCloy one-time U.S. High Commissioner for Germany and member of the Warren Commission, Sirhan’s lawyer said that the “conclusive evidence” reported as news was, in realty, extremely weak.  There was never a hearing on the facts, he commented.  Such an investigation would have shown that Sirhan, the claimed criminal, was nowhere near Kennedy when the shooting started.  Thomas Noguchi, Los Angeles’ chief medical examiner at the time, swore that Kennedy was struck by three shots fired within inches of his body, from behind.  Sirhan got off two shots at Kennedy from a six-foot distance, in front. Sirhan was immediately tackled and pinned down while still pulling the trigger on his handgun.  However, Sirhan fired only eight shots total yet a carefully-examined sound recording heard thirteen rounds.  Moreover, the shots came from different directions.

Yet, the Los Angeles Police Department, Pepper revealed, failed to preserve the physical evidence from the crime scene, such as ceiling tiles, doors, and door frames with bullets buried in them.  The cops’ excuse?  There was no space in which to store them.  Pepper went on to say that the Los Angeles police had long-standing and very close ties to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The suspicion is, Pepper remarked, that Sirhan appeared to fit the parameters of the infamous CIA drug and consciousness-altering program, MK-ULTRA.  (Its former director, Sid Gottlieb, destroyed most of the operation’s records in 1973.)  Dr. Daniel Brown, Harvard Medical School, spent nearly 70 hours examining Sirhan through hypnosis and questioning, concluding that the Palestinian Christian had undergone a variety of procedures coupled with drugs to make him controllable.  Notably, Pepper said, this could have occurred while Sirhan had mysteriously disappeared for two weeks before the assassination.  Seen as a patsy, he was prepped as a distraction while the real murderer fired the close-up shots killing Kennedy, Pepper continued.  Sirhan had apparently had a handler, a woman in a polka dot dress, the attorney remarked.  She disappeared after she pinched the scapegoat on the neck, apparently triggering Sirhan’s belief that he was really shooting at a paper, man-shaped target from a firing range.

COMMENT.  Despite Andrew Kreig ‘s extensive and most vigorous efforts, only a few members of the press turned up at the conference: an intern from the Washington Times, a representative from Al-Mayadeen TV, Beirut, along with a knowledgeable White House correspondent for an alternative news site.  This appeared to validate Dr. Pepper’s view of the heavily-managed American media.  And it bodes ill for what seems to be the attorney’s goal in filing with the OAS–to generate enough adverse publicity to force the United States to re-examine the questionable trial of Sirhan Sirhan.  Indeed, a casual search of the Internet turns up a number of references about “conspiracies” revolving around the problematically convicted man.

Perhaps everyone involved in this matter should take a look at Dr. Jack Shaheen’s writings on Arabs, notably Reel Bad Arabs:  How Hollywood Vilifies A People.

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The ‘Civilianization’ of Movie Scripts: The Pentagon’s Counter-Subversion Program for Hollywood

NOVANEWS

Image result for Pentagon CARTOON

By Tom Secker

While Hollywood is generally supportive of the government – and of the military in particular – the Pentagon faces a problem.  In order to stand out from the crowd and make their screenplays a bit different to the usual schlock, screenwriters like to include subversive elements and aspects, even in films that are broadly in favour of institutions like the Department of Defense and the CIA. Because the Pentagon wants to support films that promote them as a benevolent force in the world, these subversive elements present a problem for them. One solution is civilianization.

In our new book National Security Cinema: The Shocking New Evidence of Government Control in Hollywood, we document numerous politically-motivated changes made to script by the Pentagon and CIA in exchange for production assistance. We collated this information from a vast range of sources including over 4,000 pages of documents we obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. One recurring theme we found in these changes is the civilianization of characters, action and dialogue that the Pentagon didn’t like.

The Civilianization of Contact

In the 1997 extra-terrestrial epic Contact the National Guard provided vehicles and uniformed extras for a small handful of scenes but in exchange had a considerable influence on the script. In one scene in the White House where the protagonists are deciding what to do with blueprints they have decoded from an alien signal the original script portrays the military as deeply worried that this could be a ‘Trojan Horse’ that would instantly transport an alien army to Earth and take over. Jodie Foster’s character Ellie responded, ‘This is communist paranoia right out of War of the Worlds’.

The Pentagon saw scenes like this as a ‘silly military depiction’ and so they ‘Negotiated civilianization of almost all military parts’. In the revised scene it is the National Security Adviser, not the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who expresses outlandish fears about what this technology might be, and Ellie’s response about paranoia was cut entirely.

In another scene in the pre-civilianized version, the President gives a stirring speech at the UN about the building of this great new technology and this is intercut with a military convoy and Apache helicopters approaching the construction site. The script describes how ‘Encircling the installation is a vast graveyard of discarded aircraft—the detritus of Twentieth Century war-making.’ This is rather obvious symbolism representing how technological efforts are moving from the violence of the 20th century military industry to peaceful 21st century space exploration. In the final version this sequence does not appear, and there is no indication of military involvement in the construction of the wormhole machine. This compromised the creative and philosophical vision behind Contact – of a future where war-making is left behind in favour of learning and discovery.

The Civilianization of Jurassic Park and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

National Security Cinema records numerous other examples of this phenomenon, where instead of outright censoring troublesome scenes the Pentagon distances itself, reducing its presence in these films to a benevolent or benign background entity. For Jurassic Park III the producers approached the Pentagon wanting to film some A-10 gunships for a scene where they battled with flying dinosaurs.

The Pentagon’s chief Hollywood liaison Phil Strub turned down this request because ‘We weren’t about to provide them something that would only generate sympathy for the dinosaurs’. He also requested that they change the identity of the character who discovers the island full of dinosaurs, asking, ‘would you change his character, make him like the president’s science adviser or something like that? Just get him out of the uniform.’ Strub also promoted the idea of the film ending with a ‘nice military rescue’, reducing the military’s role from reckless pioneers and murderers of cute flying dinosaurs, to responsible officials providing emergency/disaster relief.

This technique continues into the most recent films we examined. In 2016’s Whiskey Tango Foxtrot – a Tina Fey comedy – the military allowed several days filming at Kirtland Air Force Base in exchange for civilianizing one aspect of the script they didn’t like. The version the DOD reviewed, ‘portrayed a US Army transport brake failure, resulting in it hitting a group of Afghani shoppers in Kabul, killing and injuring them. This was changed to an NGO vehicle.’

Independence Day: When Civilianization Fails

Independence Day was not so lucky. When they approached the Pentagon for support making their alien invasion adventure there were numerous aspects of the script that Strub and his colleagues found objectionable. From Will Smith’s Air Force character dating a stripper to the fact that ‘all advances in stopping the aliens are the result of actions by civilians’ which contrasted the ‘anaemic US military response’, the Pentagon was not happy on a number of levels.

They particularly objected to the inclusion of references in the dialogue to Area 51 – the common name for the Groom Lake facility at Edwards Air Force base. Even when the producers civilianized Area 51, making it a non-military facility run by non-military officials, this still didn’t satisfy the Pentagon. As a result, the producers of Independence Day had to use CGI (still a relatively new and very expensive technology at the time) to duplicate the one fighter jet they had to create the scenes of numerous jets in dogfights with alien craft.

However, despite the production being made more difficult and expensive, the Pentagon’s rejection did mean that the producers had more creative freedom. The result was a hugely popular and successful summer blockbuster that is fondly remembered. Had the scenes in Area 51 been removed, or reworked so that they did not involve such an obvious element of UFO folklore, then the film would have been fundamentally different, and less memorable. By contrast, the Pentagon did support the sequel Independence Day: Resurgence, which almost everyone who saw it has already forgotten.

The Consequences of Civilianization

At its most fundamental, the Pentagon’s strategy of civilianization of movies is a means of removing subversive moments from the military realm, or of changing them so they aren’t subversive at all. The image of a US Army transport crashing in downtown Kabul and killing innocent people is an effective, provocative symbol representing the abject futility and stupidity of the ongoing war in Afghanistan. Changing this to an NGO vehicle dilutes this subversive element to almost nothing, and it becomes more of a plot point than politically-charged symbolism.

Similarly, by removing the scene from Contact where the construction of the wormhole machine rises above the detritus of 20thcentury war-making, the Pentagon diluted the subversive philosophy of that film.  While Contact remains an intelligent and in places profound movie its critical light was not allowed to shine on the Pentagon – all so that they could use a couple of National Guard helicopters and jeeps and a handful of real life troops as extras.

This is perhaps the more obvious consequence of military involvement in Hollywood – that films are less radical and challenging than they would otherwise be. However, there is another, more significant and perhaps unintended consequence. In movies subject to this process the characteristics of recklessness, incompetence, deceit and so on are civilian traits, not military ones. The result of this is a semi-consistent worldview across a range of fantasy movies that says that the problems of the world are civilian problems, not resulting from the military’s behaviour.

In reality, as the biggest, richest, most violently powerful organisation in the world, the Pentagon, has greater means to inflict the consequences of human vice on people around the world. While Hollywood is rarely known for being realistic, the ‘soft censorship’ of civilianization exacerbates this problem, with considerable political consequences. Hundreds of millions of cinema-goers are being repeatedly told that the reasons bad things happen are because of ordinary citizens, and not institutionalised military power on a massive scale. This makes it seems like in the real world wars are not the forces of murder and destruction they really are, but are rather the background noise to the evils of human nature. As a result, civilianization of movie scripts helps make wars more likely, more popular and therefore easier to maintain for long periods, and thus more prolonged and destructive. What likely began as a means of ensuring better PR for the military through Hollywood adds up to a powerful political phenomenon.

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